Biblical Faith 5

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and appreciation of Biblical Faith, and to put it to practice today.

Scripture

Mark 2:1-12

1  And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  2  And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.

3  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.  5  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7  “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8  And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the paralytic– 11  “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”

12  And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Observations

  1. Jesus healed the paralytic man because of the faith of the friends. How did Jesus see their faith?
  2. Connect the persons or groups on the left with the most appropriate characteristics on the right, as illustrated in this text:

Jesus                            Ecstatic with thanks

God                              Focused on what is right and wrong

Friends                        Alone can forgive sins

Paralytic                      Amazed

Scribes                         Filled with compassion

Crowd                          Acted in faith

  1. What is the lesson on faith in Jesus’ interaction with the friends?
  2. What is the lesson on faith in the Jesus’ interaction with scribes?
  3. What is the lesson on faith in the Jesus’ interaction with paralytic man?

Application and prayer

  1. It is so easy to miss the needs of people or even what God is doing when one fixate on what is “right and wrong” as the scribes’ did. Spend some time to ask the Lord for love and “eyes of faith” to see what he is doing in the lives of the people you interact with today.
  2. The lame man obeyed the command of Jesus to get up immediately and received his healing by faith. Ask the Lord for that faith to obey when He commands to day.
  3. The friends took it upon themselves to act in faith – with lots of creativity and effort – to bring their friend to Jesus for the miracle he needs, and Jesus reward their faith. Which friend needs a miracle today? What will you do to bring him/her to Jesus?  Start in prayer now, and see what the Lord says. (It can be as simple as bringing him/her to church).  Be that friend!
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Biblical Faith 4

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and appreciation of Biblical Faith, and to gain greater eternal perspective of our faith and suffering.

Scripture

1 Peter 1:3-9

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4  to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5  who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8  whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9  receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls.

Observations

  1. These verses are loaded with descriptive terms. In two short sentences give the summary of this text.
  2. Write the characteristics of the hope we are born into as Peter describes it here – and what does it mean? In short, what is this hope?
  3. Write the characteristics of our faith as Peter describes it here, and what does it mean.
  4. What is the relation between hope and faith here?
  5. What is the relation between suffering and faith here?
  6. What is meant by the phrase “that the genuineness of your faith… through tested by fire”?
  7. What is meant by the phrase “receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.”

Application

  1. It frequently happens that people who suffer (while being righteous) gets shaken in their faith, or disillusioned in their hope. Recall the last time you went through a hard patch – what did that do for your faith or hope?
  2. How would Peter’s text here (written to a suffering, persecuted church) be meaningful for people undergoing suffering today? Send a message similar to Peter’s encouragement to someone you know who needs encouragement.
  3. How does the hope that Peter writes to you make you feel? How do you relate to it?  Do you long for it?  Why / why not?

Prayer

In prayer mediate and talk to God about the “living hope” and “salvation ready to be revealed in the last day”.  Also talk to God about the “testing” and “genuineness of your faith”.

And then pray for someone who is going through a tough time along these lines as well.

Biblical Faith 3

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding of Biblical faith and to evaluate our lives in the light of Jesus’ life and teachings on faith.

Scripture

Mark 9:17-29

17  And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18  And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”

19  And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”  20  And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.

21  And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.  22  And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

23  And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.

24  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

25  And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”  26  And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.”  27  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

28  And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”  29  And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Observation

This text is another notable teaching of Jesus on prayer.  Read through the text again, making notes on the lessons in faith you can learn from Jesus’ teachings and actions:

  1. Note Jesus’ the interaction between Jesus and the disciples (v19, 28-29). How would you describe Jesus’ response to the disciple’s failure to deal with this situation?  And what was Jesus’ faith lesson to them?
  2. Note Jesus’ interaction with the possessed boy’s father. How would you describe his attitude with the father’s desperate request?  What was Jesus’ faith lesson to him?
  3. Notes Jesus’ interaction with the boy. How did Jesus exercise his faith in this situation?

Application and prayer

  1. Reading Jesus word’s to his disciples “O faithless generation… how long am I to bear with you?” – how do you feel? Can you associate with the disciples?  Spend time in prayer with God and talk to him about your measure of faith (cf Romans 12:3).
  2. Reading the father’s plea for help “I believe; help my unbelief!” – how do you feel? Can you identify with the father?  Consider a situation in your life where you acknowledge your unbelief; confess it to God and ask for faith in that area.
  3. Take 5 minutes and meditate* prayerfully on Jesus teaching “All things are possible for one who believes.”

*mediate here means to think about, speak about, pray about and repeat the phrase in prayer with God.  The idea is to internalize and consider the consequences of the truth.

  1. Grab your phone and encourage one person who needs to hear this truth today!

And here is a good anthem for the road today.  Sing along!

Biblical Faith 2

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding of Biblical faith and to evaluate our lives in the light of the John’s teachings on faith in Jesus.

Scriptures

John 20:30-31

30  Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  31  but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 1:1-3

1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2  He was in the beginning with God.  3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Observation

  1. In John 20:30-31 John writes the intent of this gospel is “to believe” through recorded conversations, miracles and teachings of Jesus. Unpack this statement and write down what it reveals about the Christian understanding of faith?
  2. John thus wrote down everything in this gospel account intending to stir belief (or trust) in Jesus Christ. Study John 1:1-3, 14 and discover at least 4 reasons that John intentionally gives to put your faith in Jesus Christ.

Application

Shortly answer these questions form your personal perspective.

  1. How do I relate to Jesus as the One who was “in the beginning?” How does that truth stir my faith in him today?  How can it find expression in my life today?
  2. How do I relate to Jesus being “with God” from the beginning? How does that truth stir my faith in him? How can it find expression in my life today?
  3. How do I relate to Jesus being “God”? How does that truth stir my faith in him?
  4. How do I relate to Jesus being the “creator of all things”? How does that truth stir my faith in him? How can it find expression in my life today?
  5. How do I relate to Jesus who “became flesh and dwelt among us”? How does that truth stir my faith in him today? And how can it find expression in my life today?

Prayer

In personal prayer, confirm your faith (and perhaps doubts) in Christ, in God, as well as in the Bible as the Word of God.  Ask God to reveal Himself more sincerely to you.

Biblical Faith 1

The Aim of this devotion is to grow in understanding of Biblical faith, to evaluate to which degree you “live by faith”, and to help put your faith into practice today.

Scripture

Mark 11:12-15, 19-24

12  On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.  13  And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.  14  And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

15  And they came to Jerusalem… 19  And when evening came they went out of the city.

20  As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.  21  And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”

22  And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.  23  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.  24  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Observations

  1. Why Peter was surprised when he saw the fig tree had withered so quickly?
  2. Jesus’ reply to Peter is a teaching on faith in action. Make simple points on Jesus’ teaching on faith.  Now summarize it as “my own principles of faith to live by.”
  3. Jesus’ first principle in his teaching is “Have faith in God.”  Write in your own words what it means to “have faith in God”.
  4. Jesus moves his conversation from “say to this the mountain” to “ask in prayer”. How does it differ in practice? (i.e. when, for what and how will you “say to this mountain”?  When and how will you “ask in prayer”?)
  5. Try a few synonyms for “faith” in this context.

Application

  1. Look at your “principles of faith to live by.” Think of you prayer life and daily activities and future aspirations.  Which principles do you put in practice, and which do you neglect?
  2. Consider your greatest “fig trees” or “mountains” in your life (relational, financial, personal weakness or sins, or some insurmountable situation – anything too big for you). Write a declaration against it, commanding it to be removed (if it is a situation too big for your) or to die (if it is a sin or stronghold such as addiction, anxiety etc).  Read this every day for the next week at least with the confidence “it will be done for you.”

Note: “Our battle is not against flesh and blood… but against spiritual forces” [Eph 6:12] therefore we do not speak death to people, but the situations and sinful habits.

  1. Considering Jesus promise in verse 24, make a list of things you really need or desire (also consider non-material things, and requests on other’s behalf!) Write the date on the top of the page, and leave space where you can write the date in which your prayer has been answered. Have it somewhere where you can ask that of God daily.

Prayer

Looking at your application of Jesus’ teaching on faith in this section, talk to God about your life of faith, and how you put it in practice – whichever way the Spirit leads.

Then look at that list of things you ask of God in faith, and start asking God boldly, with the assurance that he hears and will give “whatever you ask”.