Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.
(John 4:14)


(LIVING WATER)
ISSUE: #187

MEM

(Messianic Email Message)
Psalms 119:97 - 104
Seeking The Truth
MEM Index
Article Index

And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb
(Rev 22:1)

For His Glory!

Message

Looking Beyond Series*

"Faith"

(Can faith be as simple as trusting what YHVH tells us in His Word?)

By Ronald L. Dart

Jenniferís husband, Mike, was going into the hospital on Monday for open heart surgery. He was a little young to be having heart problems, but the surgeon said that his youth was in his favor. There were risks, of course, but they did this surgery several times a week at this hospital. They were good at it.

Jennifer worried anyway. She was a "professional" worrier-she was good at it. She could construct more scenarios of what could go wrong than the doctors could find in the medical journals.

Today he checked into the hospital and she prayed before she went to bed and then prayed in bed, but sleep wouldnít come. Tonight it bothered her that she didnít feel more confident. It wasnít that she didnít trust God. It was just that she didnít know what he might have in mind-it might be something very different from what she wanted. She would pray "thy will be done," but she wasnít all that sure about it.

"I wonder if he has paid up his life insurance," she thought. She got up went to his desk and rummaged through files and check registers to put her mind to rest on that. She went back to bed and turned off the light-still no sleep.

"I suppose I will sell the house," was the next thought. "His insurance will pay the mortgage, but I donít want to live here alone. Maybe I can move to Austin and be near Mike Jr. and Sue. Good grief," she thought, "Next thing I know, I will be planning the funeral" Öso she did that too.

She finally fell asleep around three, and felt perfectly rotten when she went to the hospital the next morning. "How," she wondered, "Can this be called faith?"

The best we can say for Jenniferís faith is that it is an anxious faith. It is a long way from outright unbelief, but it isnít outright faith either. A lot of us are like that. We believe, or perhaps we want to believe, but unbelief is never far away. It lurks in the form of anxiety.

Is faith a choice we can make? Or is it a faith that God either gives or doesnít give? There are those who believe faith comes as a spiritual gift and that there is nothing we can do to work it up. They cite Paul: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" Eph. 2:8-9. Elsewhere Paul said, "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same SpiritÖ" 1 Corinthians 12:8-9.

So faith comes as a gift from God. But does this mean we have nothing to do with our own faith? Surely if the faith that is in us is not "of works" then we cannot be blamed for not having faith, can we? Intuitively, we know this cannot be right.

On one occasion, two blind men followed Jesus along the road crying out at every step, "Thou son of David, have mercy on us." How far they followed him is not known, but when he finally got where he was going, they came to him begging to be healed. Jesus asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said, "Yes, Lord." Jesus reached out and touched their eyes saying, "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29). Their eyes were immediately opened.

Whose faith was this? Jesus said, "According to your faith." The entire issue hung on one question, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" Jesus knew that he could do it. It was not a question of what he believed, but what they believed. What would have happened if they had not believed?

Jesus expected, even demanded, faith from his disciples. On another occasion, as he approached a crowd of people, a man broke from the group and ran and fell at his feet. "Lord, have mercy on my sonÖ" he cried. It seems his boy had seizures that would cause him to fall into the water or even into the fire, "Öand I brought him to the disciples," he continued, "and they could not cure him" (Mt. 17:15-16).

Jesus response was acrid, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?" (v. 17). He called the child over, cast out the demon that caused the seizures and sent them on their way. The disciples knew the rebuke was for them and came and asked, "Why could not we cast him out?" Jesus replied, "Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you: (vv. 19-20).

This latter expression is, of course, a figure of speech. What Jesus is saying is that faith in the smallest degree can accomplish great things.

In Markís account of this, Jesus told the man, "ÖIf thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." And the poor man replied: "ÖLord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" (Mark 9:23-24).

We have a lot of practice at unbelief. We donít believe we deserve anything, so we donít ask for it. We ask for things, but we donít expect anything because it is obviously too good for the like of us. We forget the promises of Jesus, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fatherís good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). It has nothing to do with what we deserve-it has everything to do with our Fatherís good pleasure.

He demands of us but one thing: trust. We can call it faith, belief, or persuasion, but it involves a simple trust in God. He wants us to believe what he says, trust him to keep his word, and do what he tells us to do. It is a choice well within our grasp, and we cannot come to God without it: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).

How does faith come, and how does it go? There is a short passage in Romans that tells us how it comes: "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? Ö So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:14-17).

Faith is built brick by brick. It is torn down in much the same way. Our problem is that we spend more time tearing it down than in building it up. In the belief system of many Christians there is a kind of fatalistic determinism. Whatever will be, will be-it is out of our hands. But if it were not in our control, Jesus would not have said what he did in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matt 6:25 "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?

This entire section, to the end of the chapter is about anxiety, and Jesusí conclusion of the thought is,

Matt 6:34 "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I canít help recalling Paulís words to the Philippians: Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

How?

And Paul told the Philippians was this: Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

It seems we really do have the capacity and the responsibility to decide what we are going to think about. That decision has more to do with faith than we have ever imagined. By controlling our thoughts we can build faith, brick by brick, instead of tearing it down. It is not only within our grasp, it is demanded of us.

*Looking beyond our present anxiety by trusting our Creator and casting all our cares on Yeshua (Jesus).


Proverbs

Trust (Faith/Belief)

Proverbs 16:20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.

Proverbs 22:19 So that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you.

Proverbs 28:26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.

Our Hope Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.


Saying(s)

"Ö Practice seeing through the darkness of every problem or evil that confronts you-to the good that lies beyond it." Jonathan Cahn (Day 91 - The Book of Mysteries)


Did you know?

Tips:

A big flat-screen television, an LCD (liquid crystal display) consumes much less power than a plasma TV. Also select one with an LED (light-emitting diode) back light instead of a fluorescent light source.

Refit your shower head with one that consumes 2.5 gallons per minute.

Motion sensors can be used to automatically turn off lights to save on electrical energy.

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Helpful ways not to over eat at a festive occasion:

  • Donít skip meals in anticipation of the occasion as you will tend to overeat
  • Exercise portion control. Donít overload your plate - take sensible portions
  • Eat slowly to allow your stomach to fill up to indicate you are full before you become overstuffed. Make an effort to put down your fork and chew thoroughly between bites and drink plenty of water before and during your meal
  • Sit with the right people; someone trying to watch their weight may be an influence
  • Focus on the meaning of the festive time and not just eating
  • Get right back on track after the occasion, donít brood over what might be gained

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Tips for shopping:

  • Plan your shopping. Make a list
  • Set a budget so you donít overspend
  • If you shop online pay attention to the shipping cost
  • Get an envelope to keep receipts so you can track what is being spent
  • Know the return policies
  • Beware of sales that really are not sales (20% off an overinflated price is not a deal)

Not all items verified


Lighter Side?

When I am an old lady I am going to put snacks in plastic bags - then scatter them on the floor all over the house - in case I fall down.

Someday we older folks can use cursive writing as a secret code.

I remember being able to get up without making sound effectsÖ


Life in Messiah

Grace And Works

You know that you are saved by grace through faith, not of works. Yet Godís word teaches you how to live and how to conduct yourself toward others. You are to be kind and generous and love your neighbor as yourself. How strong a correlation do you see between good behavior and professed belief? Do you know some believers who are poor examples and some with no profession who are thoughtful and kind? Perhaps you see some whose behavior is better than yours. Once you trust the Father for salvation there is no going back. Concerning your behavior there is only going forward. You are not called to judge people and assign them to eternal destinations. You can observe and emulate the best behavior you see, for in so doing you are following Jesus (Yeshua).

Peace

Do you usually associate peace with pleasant circumstances and distress with agitation and strife? Yet have you ever felt calm about a situation in which you would expect to be unsettled? Your mind and your spirit may not agree about the seriousness of a situation. Your mind may consider true circumstances, yet potential risks are not always realized. Which indication do you trust? Jesus (Yeshua) promised you peace that surpasses understanding. Yet have you also ever felt a sense of alert when there was no apparent danger? Turn to Jesus and learn to be led by His Spirit, and He will keep you calm in the face of calamity and warn you of dangers unseen.

(Adopted from a blog post by Dale Cresap)


Psalms

Anxietyís Answer

Psalm 31:14 But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."

Psalm 25:2 O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me.

Psalm 40:4 Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Psalm 56:3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

Blessed be YHVH (Genesis 14:20 And blessed be God Most HighÖ)



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