Five Minute Faith Talks: “Faith That is Persuaded”

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Hebrews 11:13-14  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  (14)  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

In our last video, we talked about how Sarah considered God to be a God of His promises. In her case, she saw the promise come to pass. In this video, we will talk about how all those mentioned thus far were also convinced of God being a God of His promises, and yet they didn’t see the promises come to pass.

What promises are we talking about? Promises such as the land God promised to Abraham (the Promise Land) modern-day Israel and much of the land around it, the promise of the Messiah, the promise of eternal redemption from the penalty of sin, the promise of an eternal kingdom, the promise of an eternal city that is built and governed by God!

They didn’t need a contract to be signed by God and they didn’t need to have a sign shown to them, they were fully persuaded of God’s promises to be good because they knew that God, the Promise Maker, was good and the fact that He made the promises was good enough for them!

Are you persuaded that the promises of God’s word can be completely depended upon simply because it is God who gave those promises? Such promises as Philippians 1:6  he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: and where it says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 God is faithful, who will not suffer (allow) you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

All these promises are true when you are walking with the Lord and in the power of His might! The saints mentioned in Hebrews 11 knew this and God wants you and me to know it as well, so that we may also have Faith That is Persuaded!

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Five Minute Faith Talks: “Faith that Waits on the Answer”

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Hebrews 11:11  Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

In our last Five Minute Faith episode, we talked about Faith that Doesn’t Need All the Answers. In this episode, we’ll talk about Faith that Waits on the Answer.

If you don’t know who Sarah was, she was the wife of Abraham, the patriarch of Israel, and she was mother to Isaac, who was the promised child of God to Abraham and Sarah in their old age but also the heir of Abraham’s estate and Messianic promise.

For those who know the story of God promising them a son in their old age, we know that when Sarah learned of this announcement she laughed to herself in disbelief of the promise in Genesis 18, and I believe that often we think she was the only one who laughed, but Abraham also laughed at this news when it was told to him in Genesis 17.

It would be easy to hold that one event of unbelief against Sarah, but that is not how God tells the story here in Hebrews 11. He tells us Hebrews 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. It matters more how God tells the story than how your past tells the story.

There was apparently a time in Sarah’s life where her faith grew and, rather than continuing in her old mindset of unbelief, she began to have faith in God; the kind of faith that learns to wait on the answer. She didn’t do this because she had some great sign shown to her, but she simply considered God to be a God of His promises!

We do not have to be defined by any one particular incident or time in our lives. Sarah, not only shows us the importance of learning to wait on God’s answer, but she also shows us what it looks like to move beyond times of unbelief and failure and to move forward into greater levels of faith.

Let’s allow Sarah’s faith in action to stir our hearts to put the same kind of faith into action in our lives…even if it’s the action of…waiting on the answer.

If you find these Five Minute Faith Talks to be valuable, please consider subscribing and sharing them out to all your social media pages so our community may grow and so that others may also learn to have stronger faith in God!

Five Minute Faith Talks: “Faith That Doesn’t Need All the Answers”

Hebrews 11:8-10  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  (9)  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  (10)  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

                 How many of us like to know as many answers as we can possibly know before we make a decision? I would say we ALL, to some degree, feel more comfortable when we feel like we have some answers before we make decisions, especially life-altering decisions such as starting a new job, relocating our family, deciding whether or not to invest, deciding whether or not to buy a house or to rent, etc.

                 While it is certainly wise to get as many answers as possible, it is not possible to get ALL the answers because there is probably always one more question that can be asked. For those who tend to seek “all the answers”, they tend to fall into what’s called “Analysis Paralysis”, meaning they get so bogged down with analyzing whether or not they should do something, that they never actually do that something.

                 Abraham did not allow himself to fall into this trap. But rather, when God called him to go out to where the Lord would lead him, the Bible says he “…obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went…”.

                 One thing we notice about Abraham’s life is that he knew how to make sure it was God speaking, and once he was assured of it, he didn’t keep asking for more answers; he just obeyed and had faith that God would direct his next steps. He understood that he didn’t have to know all the steps, or the outcome, but he DID have to take the next step, and so do you and I if we are to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives!

*If you find these Five Minute Faith Talks to be valuable, please consider subscribing and sharing them out to all your social media pages so others may also learn to have strong faith!

Five Minute Faith Talks: “Faith That Moves”

Hebrews 11:7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Many people have heard of the story of Noah and the ark. It’s often used in preaching and in many Children’s Ministry lessons. We have to remember that Noah was a real person, living a real life, in this real world, with real people, and real circumstances. What distinguishes Noah from the rest of the people around him was that Noah had real faith in God. When I say “real faith”, what I mean is he had faith that believed God enough to get moving on that which God had placed in his heart.

We’re reminded in James 2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Long before these specific words were penned by the Apostle James, the prophet Noah understood this concept and that is why the Bible says he “…moved with fear…”, because he had Faith that Moves.

When you and I face this life, as Noah did, and we place our unreserved faith in Almighty God, we no longer have to live in fear, as others may, but we can confidently pursue that into which God has led us. We don’t just believe in God, but we believe Him enough to move when He says to move, because true faith is shown when it is acted upon, as it was with Noah.

As we seek God for stronger faith in this new year, let’s also ask Him to give us the heart and courage to move on that faith as well, for THIS is where we will see the blessing in our lives!

*If you find these Five Minute Faith Talks to be valuable, please consider subscribing and sharing them out to all your social media pages so others may also learn to have strong faith!

Five Minute Faith Talks: “Faith that Pleases God”

Hebrews 11:5-6  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.  (6)  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.

                 “translate” – Greek metatithemi; to transport or transfer. This speaks of Enoch, whom Jude says was a prophet of God, whose life so pleased God that God brought him from this life into eternity with God without Enoch having to die a natural death. Some may say that God did this because He has a future plan for Enoch during the Tribulation time period, but this would be incorrect.

                 God did this, as the Bible declares in these verse “…before his translation (transfer to Heaven) he had this testimony, that he pleased God”. While it is true that God has a special calling for Enoch during the Tribulation time period, Enoch wasn’t chosen for that because his name was Enoch and it would just sound cool to have someone named “Enoch” be one of the guys fulfilling that prophecy. He was chosen for that very special task because he first had faith that pleased God.

                 While you and I will not be chosen to fulfill the same prophecy that Enoch has been chosen to fulfill in the last days, we can have the same kind of God-pleasing faith that moved God to give Enoch a special calling in God’s eternal plan. As a matter of fact, in the next verse we are told that we can’t please God without faith.

                 This is good news during times of great trouble and distress because God isn’t looking for some great one to come along and save the world. He already has someone who can do that…His name is Jesus! But rather, all God is looking for is someone who will simply place whatever amount of faith they do have in His eternal hands and let Him begin to work things out.

                 So, are you ready to have faith that pleases God? If so, simply connect with him in a simple prayer of sincerity and ask Him for that kind of faith, and He will surely develop it in your heart!

                 *If you find these Five Minute Faith Talks to be valuable, please consider subscribing and sharing them out to all your social media pages so others may also learn to have strong faith!

Five Minute Faith Talks: “Faith that Gets Noticed”

Hebrews 11:4  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

We live in a social media world, in other words it’s rather easy to get noticed…for at least a few seconds…just long enough for someone to click “Like” or to retweet something before they move on to the next catch picture or phrase.

                 Abel, son to Adam and Eve and brother to Cain, had a faith that was noticed. The Bible says “…by which he obtained witness…”. This means that his faith was taken notice of by those around him, and ultimately by God.

                 During difficult situations, such as we’re facing in these last days, while others are fretting, wringing their hands, and wondering what’s next, does your faith in God and a better tomorrow stay strong to where people around you take notice of it and are encouraged by it also?

                 If your faith isn’t where it should be, you can reach out to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your faith so that you may stand strong in the days of adversity. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:39  But we are not of them who draw back We don’t draw back into fear and uncertainty like those who have no hope, but rather we draw closer to God and allow Him to strengthen our faith and we let our faith rest in His ability.

                 Next time you are tempted to allow fear and discouragement to set in, just remember that God already has provided a way to have strong faith, and that kind of faith is what gets noticed by others.

Five Minute Faith Talks: “Faith That Sees Beyond”

Hebrews 11:1-3  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  (2)  For by it the elders obtained a good report.  (3)  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

In these verses, the author Paul establishes a very concise and strong definition of the kind of faith that pleases God. He points out that this kind of faith is not only pleasing to God, but it enables us to see beyond our current situation to something better that awaits us.

                 Because of recent events, we just want to take some time to connect with our community and encourage you to look beyond this situation with faith.

                 In Vs. 1 he tells us that this Faith that Sees Beyond is substance and evidence. Substance (Greek hupostasis; assurance; confidence) and evidence (Greek elegchos; proof; conviction). Faith that Sees Beyond has assurance that there is something better beyond this and a conviction of this to be true. Where does this conviction come from? It comes from the fact that our hope is not in this life alone, but in the eternal God who gives us this hope.

                 In Vs. 2, he tells us that those who came before us also had this Faith That Sees Beyond and because of that did great things in this life. We now look back on their lives with great admiration. They didn’t let their current situations, which were difficult, dissuade them from seeing beyond and faith that things would eventually turn out better.

                 In Vs. 3, he tells us that this Faith that Sees Beyond recognizes that everything around us was created by the spoken word of God and that if God can create this great universe and everything that therein is with just a spoken word, that same God sees things on a bigger scale than we do and therefore can, with a spoken word, create a better future for us! It simply takes holding on to that Faith That Sees Beyond  and waiting on it to come to pass!

                 *If you find these Five Minute Faith Talks to be valuable, please consider subscribing and sharing them out to all your social media pages so others may also learn to have Faith That Sees Beyond!

Progress, Not Just Perfection (With Video Podcast)

Hebrews 6:1  let us go on unto perfection

Here in this chapter, the Apostle Paul encourages followers of Christ both to steadfastness in their faith and to strive for a higher level of commitment and obedience to Christ. In doing this, he gives us a basis from which to start this process.

He says in Hebrews 5:13-14  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  (14)  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

In other words, those who understand the word of God the least are not those who study it the least, but those who implement it the least. And those who understand the word of God the most are not those who study it the most, but it is those who implement its teachings the most.

It is after this that he then says “…let us go on unto perfection”. The key phrase here is “go on”. In other words, action! When it comes to a relationship with God, it is implementation, not just information, that God uses to bring progress in our lives. This is the key factor that moves us forward in our process of perfection.

People’s Definition Of Perfection

We’ll start by pointing out that there are two definitions of perfection; people’s definition and God’s definition. We’ll start by looking at people’s definition. In order to understand more fully what it means to “go on unto perfection” we must first understand what kind of “perfection” we are looking for.

When we think of the term “perfection” we can probably get its best definition from the dictionary, which tells us that perfection is being free, or as free as possible, from all flaws and defects. Aren’t you glad that definition gives us an out by saying “as free as possible”. But, when we think of the word “perfection” we don’t always think of that part. We think of the part that indicates being free from all flaws and defects.

We see very quickly that this is an untenable position to hold for anyone, and yet there are those who, while excusing themselves from such a definition, will consciously, or subconsciously, hold others to this definition. Maybe you know someone like this. They do this by being almost overly demanding that things be “the best they can”, which is a great thought, yet when pressed upon for more details often even they can’t tell you what that means.

My approach to this is simply that we should look for specific things that can be made better and then work on those things. By doing this, we can little by little, make the entire thing as close to “perfect” as possible.

So, we see that people’s definition of perfection is not usually attainable and thus we should strive for another definition of “perfection”.

God’s Definition Of Perfection

Let’s talk now about God’s definition of perfection. In Hebrews 6:1 when Paul says “…let us go on unto perfection…”, the Greek word used here for “perfection” is teleiotes; this word stems from the Greek word teleios and it means being mentally and morally complete. In other words, unlike people’s definition where perfection is looked at as something with little to no flaws, God’s definition is more comprehensive. It involves bringing something to mental and moral completion, which indicates that it was incomplete beforehand.

Without Christ, all men and women are both mentally and morally incomplete and thus incapable of pleasing God. It is when we are completed by Christ that we can then please God and be acceptable to Him. Many people attempt to please God only mentally, but the completion of Christ is both mental AND moral. It goes beyond head-knowledge. God is more interested in us having a heart-knowledge as well.

So, we see that God’s definition of perfection is both more attainable and more tenable because this definition is found in Christ and is empowered in our lives by Christ.

Progress, Not Just Perfection

The title of this message comes from a podcast I heard a while back where the speaker was telling a  story about a personal trainer he watches online. The trainer made the statement, “We want progress, not perfection” and he indicated that statement made exercising seem more doable and enjoyable because progress is measurable and attainable, whereas perfection, as people see it, is not.

This same thing is true when serving God. Are we more mentally, morally, emotionally, and spiritually mature than we were last week, last month, or last year? Or, do the same things that tripped us up then still have that effect on us today? Rather than wishing and waiting on the day where we are “perfect” in our actions, let’s strive to be perfect in our hearts so that we may start to see progress in our daily lives.

This life is a marathon, not a sprint and serving God is no different. While there is an expectation for us to go on to perfection, we must understand that God’s definition  of perfection is attainable, so long as we break it down into attainable steps called progress.

Strive through prayer, faith, and action to make progress and you’ll see perfection come to your life sooner and more effectively than you may realize!

Dealing with Angry People

Proverbs 22:24-25  Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:  (25)  Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Proverbs 29:22  An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

The wise man Solomon shares lots of insights in his Proverbs. He shares about topics ranging from marriage, to parenting, to leadership, to character, and so much more! In these verses he shares some rather interesting wisdom with us.

He makes it clear that we must be careful when interacting with those who are given to anger, which is shown by their constant angry countenance and the ease with which they are angered. Over my years of working with people, I’ve encountered those who are given to anger and the following are some of my observations and things to be careful of when dealing with angry people.

They will influence you to become angry, discontent, and critical as well

Even if you had no previous anger toward something or someone, if you allow an angry person too much influence in your life, you’ll find yourself taking on their anger as well, and you may not even know why. One thing that must be maintained is your own integrity and emotional boundaries. If you determine not to allow yourself to be swayed, then you have a better chance of staying immune from taking on the same anger of an angry person. Resolve not to allow them so much influence and control over your thoughts and actions.

They will give you no rest until you join them

They say “misery loves company” and this is especially the case with angry people. It seems they already know they are wrong for being so easily angered and, rather than admit it or deal with it directly, they just want to be validated by having you join their side. Even if you do join them, they will STILL give you no rest because they have rest in their own hearts. You can take decisive action to NOT allow them to influence you negatively.

They will drain you of your peace

If you tend to be a peacemaker, it is certain that an angry person will drain you of your peace because peace is not what they are looking for. For some, it could be about using their anger to control others. Some could use their anger to gain compliance from others. Some just may not know why they are angry to begin with or what they want.

Whatever the case, it’s best to take steps to protect your peace and not try so hard to bring peace to the angry person because it likely won’t work anyway. Let them keep their anger to themselves! You can only help those who want to be helped and some people just do not think they need help.

They will harm your good name and reputation

An angry person, especially someone who is known to be such, already has caused harm to their own name and reputation. They could cause you to do the same by influencing you to say and do things you otherwise would not have said or done.

Ignore their negative speak about others and do not give too much credit to their negative judgments of people and actions because they have shown that their judgments cannot be trusted anyway because they are tainted by negative bias

Again, the name of the game here is to limit their influence in your life. You may do this by limiting the time you spend with them, or at the least, determining within yourself not to allow them to influence you in the same angry way.  Double down on being the person you want to be and make it a point to ignore or push away their negative influence. It really does take that kind of effort!