The Walk of Faith

Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-11

“For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (v. 11).

The inseparable law of the Christian life is — “No Cross, No Crown.” Today‘s Scripture highlights the paradoxes we can expect when we walk by faith. We are:

Sore pressed at every point, but not hemmed in;
At our wit’s end, but never our hope’s end;
Persecuted by men, but never abandoned by God;
Knocked down, but not knocked out.

This walk of faith, despite life’s adversities, makes us more than conquerors through Christ. We are strengthened with divine courage, knowing that if we share the life of Christ, we must also share His suffering.

The location chosen for the great Hoover Dam comprised a vast area of desert. In its construction, inevitably there were those who lost their lives. At the completion of the project, a tablet was placed in the wall of the dam which bore the names of the ninety-six workers who had perished, with this inscription below it: “These died that the desert might rejoice and blossom as a rose.“ Today, the reservoir created by the 726 feet tall structure supplies water to farms, businesses, and millions of people in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Mexico.

How could Paul go through what he did? He knew his afflictions were not in vain; they were to bring others to God. Walking by faith, whatever the risks or cost, enables us to do and endure all things for Christ’s sake. Trials do not disappear, but God gives overcoming grace.

“Faith makes things possible, not easy” (Unknown).

This devotional is the Wednesday, November 8, 2017 entry of Opening the Word.

The Importance of Faith

Lesson 11 - November 12, 2017

Focus Text: Genesis 22:1-13

Central Truth: Our faith in God is demonstrated by our obedience to His will.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to identify why faith must result in action.

Lesson Outline:

  1. The Command Received (Genesis 22:1-2)
  2. The Command Respected (Genesis 22:3-10)
  3. The Command Rescinded (Genesis 22:11-19)

The Persistence of Faith

Read Matthew 15:21-28

"But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us." (v. 23).

The story was told of a great Christian statesman of a previous generation. As a youth, he attended a Christian school, but his rebellious attitude kept him in trouble. Time and again he was brought to school authorities and was often on the verge of expulsion. A teacher in that Christian school had taken this young man to his heart. As often as the boy was in trouble, the teacher interceded to the administration on the boy’s behalf. Eventually, the boy was saved and went on to become a missionary statesman who served his generation well.

Many years later, the missionary statesman preached in a camp meeting I attended. At the close of the service, I responded to the invitation, telling God I would do whatever He wanted me to do. During those minutes at the altar, God called me to preach.

What if they had sent that young man away? My life and many others lives might have been very different. What if we send people away from Jesus? Instead, let us do everything we can to point people to Jesus. He can and will make a difference in their lives. Our faith and theirs will make a difference. (Mark Avery)

Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring the wand’ring ones to Jesus.
Alexcenah Thomas (Public Domain)

Don’t send people away from Jesus; bring them to Him.

This devotional is the Thursday, October 6, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.

Two Aspects of New Life in Christ

In "Doctrinal Discussion" Glenn McClure writes:

There are two major aspects that become evidence of one’s new life: identification (acknowledging Jesus as Christ and giving Him allegiance); and incorporation (witnessing to the world of our union with Christ).

McClure fleshes out this thought with the outline:

  1. Identification
    1. Faith's Declaration: Acknowledgment of Christ
    2. Faith's Dedication: Allegiance to Christ
  2. Incorporation
    1. Faith's Distinction: Union With Christ
    2. Faith's Demonstration: All Things New in Christ

You can find this discussion on pages 72-73 of the quarterly.

Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, pages 72-73.

Why does God provides miracles?

In "God's Word for Today", David Fry writes:

The reason for miracles is for us to accept Jesus Christ as the true God. The greatest faith, according to Jesus, is the faith of those who simply believe Him and do not ask for signs and wonders. I am reminded that the reason Gideon asked God for a sign was because of the uncertainty of his faith. Our asking God for a sign may reflect an uncertainty in our faith, or it may be our lack of understanding of God’s will. Either way, Jesus made it clear that our faith should not be dependent on Him performing signs and wonders for us.
The nobleman is an example of simple faith... Simple faith believes what it understands and seeks understanding of what it does not know.

Discussion: What is the reason many people think God performs miracles?

Discussion: How can understanding why God performs miracles encourage our faith in Him?

Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 66.

Faith Defined

Read Hebrews 11:1-10

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (v. 1).

In The Edge of Adventure, Keith Miller and Bruce Larson tell of a letter that was discovered in a baking powder can. The can was wired to the handle of an old water pump on the seldom-used trail across Nevada’s Amargosa Desert. The letter read, “This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years. But the washer dries out, and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock, I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up. There’s enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about one-fourth and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You’ll git water. The well has never run dry. Have faith. When you git watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller. [signed] Desert Pete. P.S. Don’t go drinking the water first. Prime the pump with it and you’ll git all you can hold.”

Just as the thirsty traveler had to trust in something he could not see to receive water he desired, so the Hebrew writer tells us we must trust God for that which we desire. (Gayle Woods)

Faith in God is based on the substance of hope and the evidence of a yet to be realized reality.This devotional is the Monday, February 8, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.

How is our desire for miracles often misplaced?

In "Biblical Perspective" Gayle Woods writes:

Miracles tend to produce excitement, but not necessarily faith. The disciples had seen many miracles, but they were still having issues with their faith. The people were excited about physical healings and paranormal dis- plays of power, but not many were coming to Jesus for spiritual healing. Today some have an unnatural hunger for the supernatural display of miracles in the physical realm, not realizing that the results are temporary and earthly at best. Our mission is spiritual in nature rather than physical.

Discussion: What should be our greatest desire?

Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 60.

How Are the Trials of Life Good for Us?

In "Doctrinal Discussion" Glenn McClure writes:

We often refer to trials and tribulations as “storms” because they come upon us suddenly and overshadow our lives with devastation. It is not always easy to understand why they come, but we know that they do come. We soon learn that we must face them squarely and deal with each one properly. We should keep in mind, however, that trials are for our benefit, not our destruction.

He then lists three benefits of trials:

  1. Trials refine our character.
  2. Trials refire our commitment.
  3. Trials refresh our confidence.

Discussion: How have you experienced these benefits of trials in your own life?

Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, pages 61-62.