Wednesday, September 29, 2010

a friend of Jesus

These are not my words - but thoughts from a message I heard recently at our church. Incredible truth and insight that I couldn't help but share...

We all have faith. Everyone does. Faith is simply believing something to be true. Whether its that the world is round, what you eat is what they say it is, your family loves you. Anything you have a firm conviction to be true or right.
Biblical faith is believing that what God has said is true and right.
Without this biblical faith, it is impossible to please God. Many throughout this world, serve their "god" with great conviction and passion. But a biblical faith, serves the God of the Bible. Apart from this conviction, all the good works we can muster up do not please the Lord. They are wrong... a righteousness of self works - "self-righteous." Hebrews 11:6 says "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

A friend of God:
Abraham was called a "friend" of God. What made Him God's friend? His faith - Hebrews 11:8-19. What did his faith look like?

1). Availability - the only ability God wants from us is our availability. Abraham was called to leave his family, house, life, everything he knew to go to Canaan - a place where he knew nothing... no one. He left for Canaan simply because God said. Simply available to God. (God then told him, look to the east, to the west, north and south - i don't just want you to live here... I'm giving it all to you and your family).
Available to God for a journey with God. Every christian is called by God. God calls us to a life full of adventure, danger, moments to trust Him for everything. Availability: the disposition to agree to go with God and do for God what He asks you to do before you ever know what it is. If you are waiting to hear what God wants you to do before deciding whether you're going to do it, He's never going to ask you. But for the heart who has determined ahead of time, Lord whatever it is, wherever it is, I'm yours. I'm available... for that person, like Abraham, God has a tremendous adventure. You're either His or you're keeping what you have for yourself.

2). Expectation - Abraham began to develop expectations from God to accomplish the impossible (providing an heir. he said to count the stars and that is how great his inheritance would be. he and Sarah were much too old to have a child.) When God calls us, He also provides the power to work through us - He does the impossible. Abraham believed that.
There are some concepts of faith that get us into trouble: Some of us think that faith is a form of positive thinking that insights God into acting on our behalf. These false or wishful notions about Gods benevolence has us thinking that God will act according to our ideas of kindness. We get this positive idea, we think it comes from God and we claim it by faith only to discover it never happens and we become disillusioned. We take ideas/notions about God and somehow transfer them into positive thinking and with that firm conviction that our own thoughts are correct, misunderstand - thinking that God HAD to work on our behalf & do what we wished Him to do. The divine attributes of God such as love goodness truth and justice do not obligate God to do EVERY loving, just and truthful thing that He could possibly do on our behalf - it merely insures us that what He does to, is done in love, justice, kindness and truth.
So what can I expect from God? God asks from us the impossible. Ever consider the Christian life? unconditional forgiveness, forbearance, thankfulness, prayerfulness, loving your enemies - if your enemy is hungry feed him, if they curse you bless them, if the persecute you pray for them. The christian life is like having Isaac, its impossible. but he has called us to that kind of life, to have that kind of holiness, to be that kind of light, and have that kind of fellowship with him because that is the very way he is, his nature to treat people. hes called us to be that way - the impossible. so what can i expect? with God's call comes Gods provision. God has called us to live for Him in the power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ - that's a miracle, something i cant manufacture on my own. i can try... I can serve with religious fervor in my own strength. simply, i wear out. God must supply somethings that is miraculous. the resurrected Jesus Christ living in me is the only miracle that can continue the evidences of the Christian life through me. God has called us to a miraculous life. How do we appropriate that life? believing that what He has said about christian living is true - its impossible for us to imitate but always possible for God to generate.
Not only being available to go on the journey, but while I'm on the journey, to know that His strength and His power is energizing me from the inside to perform those tasks & be that kind of person that Hes wanted me to be where Hes sent me.
Lord, it is you. I cant do it, but I trust you. Amazing journey & expectation.

3). Confidence - (sacrificing Isaac, the only heir, knowing God what God has promised. Abraham said "I knew, even if He had to raise Him from the dead, that what He promised, He would do.") Lord, there is nothing that is going to stop what you want to get done. Confidence that He will keep His promise. Some people think that faith is the ability to believe God for great things. Faith properly defined is a life that believes what God has said about great things. I'm not to invent great things & have God put His stamp of approval on them. Rather, I'm to read about what great things God wants to do, and trust that He will carry them out.

If You open doors that are unfathomable to me - can I go? am I available?
Have I lost my expectation of You? everything is so routine & explainable.
maybe I don't have the same confidence in You?

A person of this faith, a faith like Abraham, is a friend of Jesus. Hebrews 11:16 "Therefore God was not ashamed to be called their God."

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