Be ye Steadfast :: In your mind until death

The Bible counsels us to be steadfast (1 Corinthians 15:58). Ruth 1 records the account of Naomi, asking her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth to return to their own people (the Moabites) when their husbands, the sons of Naomi, died. Orpah obliges but Ruth asks Naomi to not intreat her to return. She tells Naomi, wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people will be my people and your God will be my God, and wherever you die, I will die and be buried there. What is interesting to note, is that when Naomi noticed how stedfast Ruth was in her mind to go with her, she stopped asking Ruth to return.

Points to ponder:
Ruth was steadfast in her mind, to no only go with Naomi, but to stay (lodge) with her. She was steadfast in her mind to not only accept Naomi’s people but Naomi’s God as well as her  own. She was steadfast in her mind to go with Naomi until death.
Are we steadfast (in our mind until death) like Ruth, to be the followers of Jesus Christ?

Ruth 1:16-18 (KJV)
16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

Be ye Steadfast :: In perceiving faith

The Bible counsels us to be steadfast (1 Corinthians 15:58). Acts 14:8-9 records the incident of the healing of a lame man, who was crippled from birth. This man was in Lystra, where Paul and Barnabas has fled, to escape the assault of the Jews in Iconium. He had never walked since birth. But what is of note is that Paul steadfastly looked at this man, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” and the man leaped and walked. One one hand, it was the man’s faith that he would be healed that healed him, but on the other hand, it was the steadfast look of Paul on that man, by which he perceived the faith that was in him, that made this miracle happen.

Points to ponder:
Do you and I  take the time to steadfastly look at those around us? And when we look, are we merely glancing at those around us or are we steadfastly looking at them and perceiving the faith in them; faith to be saved and be made upright; to walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:4). Let us be steadfast in perceiving the (saving) faith of those we look at and let us boldly proclaim for them to be saved by pointing them to Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of their faith and ours!

John 14:8-10 (KJV)
And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:
The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Be ye Steadfast :: In your focus

The Bible counsels us to be steadfast (1 Corinthians 15:58) and to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

When all those who sat in the council looked steadfastly on Stephen, a man full of the Holy Spirit of God, they saw his face, as if it had been of an angel (Acts 6:15). Some of the Jews that disputed with Stephen, unable to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke, lied against Stephen and accused him of blasphemy against Moses and God and sought his death before this council. Even when Stephen’s life was on death row, he used the opportunity to witness about Jesus Christ, the Just One, who justifies all who believe in Him by His blood (Romans 5:9). But those who heard him, resisted the conviction of the Holy Spirit’s that Jesus, spoken of by the prophets (whose voice they did not hear as well) is the Just One, whom they have now betrayed and murdered. This made those who heard Stephen furious and they gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55) and when he expressed this, the people who were furious cast him out of the city and stoned him to death.

Points to ponder:
When the people steadfastly looked at Stephen, who was full of the Holy Spirit of God, they saw his face to be like that of an angel. If the world was to steadfastly look at you and me, will they find our face angelic because of the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God in us?

On the other hand, Stephen’s focus was not on the people, who for all practical purposes had his life in their hands, but his focus was on God, in whose hands, he knew his life was. His focus was on life and not on impending death. He focus was on the Solver and not on the problems of life. His focus was steadfast (unwavering) into heaven, where he saw the glory of God and Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the Cross, despising its shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). But did you note, that Stephen sees Jesus standing at the right hand of God and not seated down; as if, Jesus was giving Stephen a standing ovation for his unwavering faith and steadfast focus. Is your focus and mine, like that of Stephen’s; steadfast on Jesus?

Acts 6:15 (KJV)
15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. 

Acts 7:55 (KJV)
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God 

Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)
Looking unto Jesus [steadfastly] the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Be ye Steadfast :: In your belief in God

The Bible counsels us to be steadfast (1 Corinthians 15:58). Recently, after my beloved wife, Sangeetha checked the weight of our darling 6 year old firstborn son, Reuben’s, she was concerned as he had no change in weight for a considerable period of time. Out of love and concern, she was counseling him that he ought to eat well so that he can grow physically. When they were sharing the constancy of his weight with me, I used the opportunity to jokingly express to Reuben, that when we teach him, that he ought to be like Jesus, the same yesterday, today and for ever, the matter of his weight is not what we were talking about. Reuben asked me, “Really, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and for ever?” and I responded affirmatively and assuredly, “Absolutely!”

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is stedfast; the same yesterday, today and for ever (Hebrews 13:8). He is good and his mercies are stedfast (endures for ever) (Psalm 136). Even Darius, a foreign king, recognized this, when Daniel, was miraculously saved from the lions, by God, who sent his angel to shut the mouth of the lions, because Daniel believed in God (Daniel 6:22-23). And when Darius recognized this, he made a decree that in every dominion of his own kingdom, men should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. Why? Because God is a living God and stedfast for ever and God’s kingdom is one that shall not be destroyed and his dominion shall be unto the end (Daniel 6:26).

Points to ponder:
God is a good God and his mercies endures for ever. He is a living and stedfast God. Do you and I tremble and fear before this living and stedfast God, who is the same yesterday, today and for ever? Are we stedfast in our belief as was Daniel? Is our belief so stedfast (unmoveable) that the kings (rulers/powers/authorities) of this world would recognize the indestructible nature of God’s kingdom and his very own nature as Sovereign (ruling over all), Stedfast and Living?

Daniel 6:22-23…26 (KJV)
22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
23 Then was the king exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

Hebrews 13:8 (KJV)
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever [is stedfast].

Psalm 136:1-26 (KJV) 
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth [is stedfast] for ever.

Approved of God :: Faith

Th Bible avers that Jesus Christ, was a man approved of God (Acts 2:22) and since we are counseled to be imitators of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:1), we ought to be approved of God as well. But what does it mean to be approved of God? According to the Bible, to be approved of God, we ought not to glory in ourselves but solely glory in the Lord for he who commends himself is not approved, but approved is the one whom the Lord commends (2 Corinthians 10:17-18).

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word “commend” as the following:
To be commended is to be entrusted for care or preservation (or)
To be commended is to be recommended as worthy of confidence or notice.

In his prayer, Jesus entrusted his believers for care and protection to God the Father (John 17:15).
When we trust  in Jesus, receiving and believing in him, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and made worthy unto the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:13-55).

Points to ponder:
Are you approved of God? In other words, have you put your trust in Jesus and believed in his Name, so that he can entrust you to be kept safe from evil and secure in God the Father’s hand? When we believe, Jesus’ righteousness is imputed on us and we who are unworthy are made worthy to be called the children of God (John 1:12). Can God recommend you/me and deem you/me worthy of confidence and/or notice. Are you approved of God?

Acts 2:22
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

2 Corinthians :10:17-18 (KJV)
17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth

Ephesians 1:12-15 (KJV)
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

FAITH is a Four Letter Word

If I was to ask you, What is ‘Faith’? What would you say? I am sure that are many definitions that you can come up with, but it is the most simplest of definitions that are often the most effective.If you were to ask me the same question? I would say that the answer to ‘What is Faith’ is It depends. What? Superficially my response may seem like I am either dodging the question or that it does not really even address the question, but give me a moment to explain my position.

To answer the question, ‘What is Faith’? depends on whether you know Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life.

To the one who does NOT know Jesus Christ as their Lord, Faith is spelled – RISK
To the one who knows Jesus Christ as their Lord, Faith is spelled – SURE

Point(s) to ponder:

What is God asking you to trust Him with? Do you/I have the Faith to obey (or) in other words, can we be SURE that God will see us through or do we feel like we are RISKing everything? Think about it.
The writer to the Hebrews most eloquently defined faith that it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For a related reading, see Rahab – in Jesus’ Genealogy

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Rahab – in Jesus’ Genealogy

Rahab has been accounted for a few times in the Holy Bible, but did you know that she appears in the ancestry of Jesus?

She is first made known to us in the book of Joshua (Joshua 2), where she shows favor to the two spies that were sent out by Joshua to spy the land of Jericho. She puts her personal safety on line and lies not once, but twice, to the messengers sent by the King of Jericho. The first time she tells them she does not know where these men (Israelite spies) came from (Joshua 2:4), although she knew where they were from (Joshua 2:9-11) and the she tells them that she did not know where they went (Joshua 2:5) while she had hidden them on her rooftop (Joshua 2:6).

She is then mentioned in the book of Hebrew (Hebrew 11:31) along with Joshua and commended for her faith (in action).

Then she is mentioned in the book of James (James 2:25) in the same echelon as Abraham, who is deemed to be the Father of Faith. Faith according to the writer of the Hebrews is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Breen and Kallestad in their book, A Passionate Life, state that Faith is a Four Letter Word. It is not spelled ‘r-i-s-k’, but is spelled ‘s-u-r-e’.

Abraham, a Jew was justified by Faith because of his belief. He knew that he and his son would return as he informs his servants, wait here, I am the lad (Isaac, his son) will go and worship and “We“, not “I” will come back (Genesis 22:5). Though he believed he expressed it in his actions. So did Rahab, a gentile, prostitute (harlot) who proselytized of the victory that the Israelite army (army of God) will have the land of Jericho as she expresses, “I know that the Lord has given you this land” (Joshua 2:9). To make the long story short, in due course of time, she and her family was saved when the Israelites took over the land of Jericho. In a sense, you can say if Abraham was deemed the father of Faith, Rahab can be deemed to be the Mother of Faith.

Matthew 1:5 lists Rahab to be in the ancestry of Jesus Christ himself. Wow, what a testimony.

Point(s) to ponder:

  1. When we believe, let us act. First we must believe (Hebrews 11:31 says Rahab believed and so she acted)
  2. Putting our personal safety/comfort/etc on the line in the hands of men for God is not really paying the cost and God promises to be our shield and bulwark.
  3. Jew (Abraham) or Gentile (Rahab), it does not matter, as long as we ACT on our faith
  4. Faith is a four letter word; it is spelled ‘s-u-r-e’, not ‘r-i-s-k’
  5. Can someone call us the father/mother/brother/sister of Faith? Think about it.