Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Faith!!!! (Galatians 3:1-14, Hebrews 11:1-3,11:6, Isaiah 40:31, Zech 4:6)

"Mustard Seed Faith"
Fuji Finepix Camera

St. John, Caribbean 
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

I honestly read these verses and feel very afraid because I'm clumsy.  If I moved a mountain who knows who would get hurt?  I don't think that's what Jesus meant.  Sometimes life is full of mountains:  financial, work, family illness, etc.   Paul starts out, "O foolish Galatians!"  I can definitely sense his frustration here.  Isn't faith something we struggle with even today?  The mustard seed story is about faith and not works.  With faith anything is possible.  With despair even getting out of bed is a huge effort.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Galatians 3

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you:  Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
This is a common temptation.  After I became a Christian I dove into the Bible and read every morning.  I wanted to do the right things and not the wrong.  I remember trying out different ministries and then the pride sneaks in.  "Wow, I'm doing great!"
"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the LORD Almighty.  (Zechariah 4:6)
And then the realization that I wasn't giving God the credit, and I forgot about faith.  It takes awhile to get into the habit of faith and prayer.  And even then we all get distracted.  A few problems send me back to my knees in prayer.  The Holy Spirit helps us when we ask Him too.  He is God's Spirit within us.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.  3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
(Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV)

5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? — 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
Abraham and his wife, "Sarah," were to have a child that would be named, "Israel."  It was the beginning of the nation.  Ok, ok, so it was his wife, Sarah, that got anxious and figured God needed help with this since it wasn't happening fast enough.  And then stuff happened.  Patience is a virtue and it's always best to have faith and wait on the Lord.  All through the Bible there's a story of someone, male or female, that decided to take things into their own hands and then it's never good.  One of those underlying messages I often forget.  Even my best photos come after I pray.  I see with new eyes.

Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31 NASB)

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
Faith!  I can see why the Apostle Paul was so determined to forge faith into the minds of the Galatians.  You see, when I try and do everything alone without God's blessing it never goes very well.  I get tired and frustrated and give up.  BUT!  After I give up, His peace comes.  And then the song comes back to my heart, joy is restored.  He sets me on a new path, the right one.

I'm so glad faith is what God requires.  There's no way I could be perfect enough to obey all the laws, all the time. 

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The good news is we don't have to be crucified to become a Christian or do the most excellent possible things.  We just need to believe.  And on those days when we don't feel faithful or like a Christian.  He carries us, and waits for us to come back to Him in faith.
(Galatians 3:1-14 NKJV)

"I believe in the sun when it's not shining, I believe in love even when I feel it not, I believe in God even when he is silent."  Old Irish saying 

Dear Heavenly Father I lift up Ukraine and Israel to You.  I pray for peace in both nations.  You are God nothing is impossible for You, please let the wrong fail and the right win.

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10 Set the world right;
Do what's best––
  as above, so below.
11 Keep us alive with three square meals.
12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
  Yes. Yes. Yes .
(Matthew 6:9-13 Message)

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

This song is from Steven Curtis Chapman, "Glorious Unfolding"(link)

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