Faith Pleases God

HEBREWS 11:6 NKJ
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who
comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder
of those who diligently seek Him.

Our experience does not always agree with what the Bible says.

For example, the Bible says that God will supply all your needs
in Philippians 4:19, but it may seem like your needs are not
being met.

The Bible says that God always leads us in triumph, but it may
seem like you are losing.

When our experience does not agree with the Bible, it is an
opportunity to keep our faith in what God said, or to give up
on that faith.

Circumstances are subject to change. But God will never change
what He has said. When we hold on to our faith in God’s Word,
circumstances will change.

Believing what the Bible says when the circumstances disagree
can be very difficult. It’s a great temptation to give in and
forget what God said.

But what greater purpose could your life have than to please
God?

Many people strain and sacrifice to please other humans. How
much greater of a goal it is to please God!

Resist unbelief! Keep your faith in God! You will be rewarded!

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Why Are There Delays?

JAMES 1:2-4 NIV
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials
of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops
perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature
and complete, not lacking anything.

Why are prayers not all answered instantly? Why don’t we always
experience the blessings promised in the Bible immediately?

If all results were instant, we could never walk in faith.
Without faith, we could never please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

If you always reaped the harvest of your deeds immediately, the
incentive to do right and refrain from wrongdoing would only be
selfish. No faith, or love for God, would be required.

During delays we have opportunity to demonstrate whether we
really love God, and trust Him, or not.

A delay is a test. Without testing, there could be no reward.
God does not test us so that we can fail, but so that we can
overcome. He believes we will make it with His help.

We desire an instant manifestation of victory. God’s desire is
for us to press into Him and His Word and walk in faith until
we see victory.

To overcome there must be opposition and struggle. God cannot
always shield us from problems without taking away from us the
privilege of overcoming.

Victory is sweet. What makes it sweet is that it is not easy.

If we really trust God, time is not a problem. Leave that with
God. His timing is perfect and He is dependable! We know He
promised, and can never fail — and that is enough.

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What Is Bible Meditation?

JOSHUA 1:8 NKJ
8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but
you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to
do according to all that is written in it. For then you will
make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

The Hebrew word (hagah) translated as “meditate” in the above
verse is translated in the KJV by many words, including
meditate, speak, imagine, study, mutter, utter, roaring, and
talk.

Here are some verses where hagah is translated as speak. It is
obviously not just an inner thought, because lips, tongue, and
mouth are the subject of hagah in these verses.

JOB 27:4 KJV
4 My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter
deceit.

PSALM 35:28 KJV
28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy
praise all the day long.

PROVERBS 8:7 KJV
7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an
abomination to my lips.

Isaiah has an interesting verse where hagah is translated as
roaring.

ISAIAH 31:4 KJV
4 For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and
the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of
shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of
their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall
the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for
the hill thereof.

This verse does not picture a lion chasing his prey, but
already possessing his catch, unmoved by any attempts to get
him to turn loose.

Instead of translating hagah as “roaring” here, it could make
sense to translate it as ingesting, or obtaining nutrients.
This is what we do when we meditate on God’s Word.

A roar can also be thought of as bold speech. When we find
God’s Word, we should be bold as a lion, confidently speaking
God’s Word, refusing to let go regardless of opposition.

The Good News Bible says “No matter how shepherds yell and
shout, they can’t scare away a lion from an animal that it has
killed.”

We should have the same bold commitment to keeping and
devouring our spiritual food, the Word of God.

Here is a verse where hagah is translated as imagine.

PSALM 2:1 KJV
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

The only way a human can see the past or the future unaided, is
through their imagination. Memory uses the imagination. Much of
our thinking, whether planning or “jumping to conclusions,”
involves our imagination. Both fear and faith operate in the
realm of imagination.

Imagination is part of Bible meditation. But what are we to
imagine?

God’s Words are meant to paint a new picture in your thinking
— the picture of reality as God sees it.

Bible meditation is not emptying your mind, but filling your
mind — and your mouth — with God’s Word. It is focusing on
God’s thoughts, until they also become your thoughts.

So meditation is to help us see things the way God sees them.

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The Rich Man’s Problem

JOHN 21:16a NLT
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love
me?”

Every one desires to be loved.

We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are. We all
want to be wanted.

Possibly the greatest human desire is to have a suitable
companion who thinks you are wonderful.

The rich man’s problem is determining whether someone loves him
as a person, or whether they only pretend to love him in order
to receive the benefits he can provide.

I once knew a wealthy man who discovered in his wife’s diary
her whole plan to deceive him into thinking she loved him, so
she could marry him just for the purpose of getting his money.
What a blow!

The rich man has a huge problem. How can he know that someone
loves him instead of his money? How can he be certain that he
is not just being used for what he can provide because of his
wealth and power?

God faces the same difficulty as the rich man.

If God were to openly reveal Himself in all His power, riches,
and splendor — the owner of the entire universe — how could
anyone resist?

Yet, by hiding or concealing Himself, even to the point that
some people think God does not even exist, God is able to
determine who really wants to know Him — not just for what
they can get out of it, but because they love Him.

Yes, God is our provider and source. Without Him we can do
nothing, and we would have nothing. But, on some level, God
desires to be pursued and loved for who He is, not just what He
does for us.

JOHN 4:23 ESV
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true
worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the
Father is seeking such people to worship him.

God is on a mission to redeem the world and make everything
right. But He is also on a hunt for those who love Him. For
those who will worship Him in truth. Worship has to do with our
idea of someone’s worth — how valuable we think they are. It
can be thought of as worth-ship.

JOHN 14:23 ESV
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my
word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and
make our home with him.

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Hang On To Your Faith

The devil’s whole strategy is to get you to turn loose of your
faith in God and His Word.

MARK 4:15 NIV
15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is
sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the
word that was sown in them.

How can the devil steal the Word from someone? Only when it
seems untrue. People don’t turn loose of what they believe is
true.

So, to steal the Word, the devil must convince people it’s not
true. The devil does this by getting us to focus on what our
senses tell us, instead of on God’s Word, the seed which
changes our circumstances when we retain it.

As with any seed, the full manifestation of its life is not
apparent immediately, but manifests over time with the proper
care. God’s Word will change your circumstances!

If you don’t believe God’s Word, you won’t act on it. Without
following God’s instructions, you will not be made free (see
John 8:31-32).

Actions cannot be separated from believing. Whatever you are
acting on is what you really believe.

In the New Testament, “faith” is the noun and “believe” is the
verb form of the same Greek word. So, hanging on to your faith
means to keep believing what God said — regardless of
circumstances.

HEBREWS 10:23 KJV
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without
wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

A key to hanging on to your faith is found in what you say.
When you speak of fear and doubt, faith shrivels. But when you
speak faith words in line with the Bible, your faith grows
strong.

The devil tries to get you to doubt God and His Word. The devil
wants you to give up on God, to not trust Him, to not expect
Him to do what He said in His Word. Do not give up! God can be
trusted.

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Focus On Jesus

True Christianity is not a religion based on rules and rituals,
but a living relationship with Jesus Christ.

Many people reduce Christianity down to attending church
meetings and trying not to commit a list of certain sins.

But being a Christian is being united with Jesus, a member of
His body, with His life in your heart.

Jesus should be your focus — not religious activity — but the
person of Jesus, the Lord and Christ.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 NIV
9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus
Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Church meetings, Bible reading, etc. can be good, but should
not be allowed to become an end in themselves. They are tools
to help us know Jesus and walk more closely with Him.

The Bible says we are to be faithful; but faithful to what: a
religious system, an organization — or, a Person? Are you
serving Jesus — or serving something else as His substitute?

The focus of your life should be to please Jesus.

COLOSSIANS 1:18 NRSV
18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have
first place in everything.

Does Jesus have first place in your life? In your schedule? If
not, why not?

In everything, Jesus should be central.

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You Can Cast Out Demons

MARK 16:17 NKJ
17 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name
they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

A demon is a member of the devil’s forces. Any Christian can
cast out demons, because all believers have authority over
demons in Jesus’ Name.

PHILIPPIANS 2:10 NKJ
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in
heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

All believers have the delegated authority to use the Name of
Jesus — at which every knee shall bow in submission.

Demons operate through fear. But you don’t have to be afraid,
because Jesus is backing you up. So, when you command demons to
leave in the Name of Jesus, they must obey you.

Don’t limit this to casting out demons from “demon-possessed”
people. If there is demonic activity in any area of life
affecting you, use your authority in Christ and throw the
demons out in Jesus’ Name. Command them to cease their
activities and stop their operations against you.

How do you know if something is demonic? If it steals, kills,
or destroys — it certainly is not of God! (See John 10:10.)

JAMES 4:7 NKJ
7 . . . Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

EPHESIANS 4:27 NKJ
27 nor give place to the devil.

The Bible tells you to not give any place to the devil, and to
resist him, so it is obvious you can do so. If the devil, or
his forces, have a place in your life, it means you are
allowing it.

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God’s Word Is Settled

PSALM 119:89 NKJ
89 Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.

Heaven is not running around trying to figure out the will of
God. His Word is settled in Heaven.

God surely had enough time before the Bible was written down to
make any changes in His plans. Now that He has given His Word,
He will keep it and see that it comes to pass.

MARK 13:31 NKJ
31 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no
means pass away.”

ISAIAH 40:8 NKJ
8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God
stands forever.”

1 PETER 1:23 NKJ
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but
incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides
forever,

JOHN 17:17 NKJ
17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

The issue is settled in Heaven. Now you should settle it: God’s
Word is true. God said what He meant and meant what He said.

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God’s Word Will Make You Free

JOHN 8:31-32 NKJ
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you
abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free.”

Many people are afraid that God’s Word will put them in bondage
— because of the rules they think they will have to follow.
But Jesus said God’s Word would make you free.

Abide means to live, to continue, or to spend time somewhere.

If you continue to spend time in Jesus’ Word — you will know
the truth.

When you know the truth, you will act on that knowledge — and
acting on the truth will make you free!

The Bible, especially the message of Jesus Christ in the New
Testament, will set you free if you continue in it.

We are not guaranteed instant results, although sometimes they
do happen. Freedom is certain, however, if you stick with God’s
Word. Jesus gave His guarantee!

If you are not enjoying freedom in any area of your life — you
have not continued in God’s Word enough in that area. Feed it
in: speak it, sing it, read it, write it, think it, dream it!

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Jesus Is The Friend Of Sinners

MATTHEW 11:19 NKJ
19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say,
`Look, a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of tax
collectors and sinners!’. . . .

Jesus had trouble with the religious leaders of His day,
because He was a friend of sinners. Jesus is the same today. He
never changes. Jesus is your friend.

LUKE 19:7 NKJ
7 But when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, “He has gone
to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

Religious people couldn’t understand how Jesus could love a
sinner — they certainly did not. But Jesus did, and He still
does.

Notice what Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of
adultery.

JOHN 8:11 NKJ
11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do
I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Jesus does not condemn you for your sin. He understands. He
came to earth and lived in a human body just as you do.

Jesus knows the pressure you face. He knows the pain. And Jesus
cares. He cares enough to help you be free of the sin; because
He knows that sin will destroy you.

Sin may give a temporary pleasure, but in the end sin always
destroys. Jesus loves you so much, and does not want you to be
destroyed.

So Jesus is against sin because He loves you.

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