Friday, July 23, 2010

Feeding Your Faith

Faith and Doubt.

The first thing humans see when we open our eyes as an infant is still unknown to us. The infant has no words to describe what is seen. I asked a friend of mine, Adam, who was made blind during his infancy, how he would describe a sunset. He thought for a short time and said: Warmth then some feelings of coldness. Colors meant nothing to him. Distant things as well as things that are close meant nothing to him.

I wonder what it was like for the blind men that Jesus met in Matthew 9:27~31. Let’s read that short passage now:
I’d like to talk about Feeding Your Faith.

The first thing you will find is that 1. Need Drives Faith. If there is a need in your life, you will most likely be driven (in faith) to find an answer. Unless your heart is not being driven by your love of God, you will feed your need with something other than Him.

You have two dogs, one being a German Shepard and the other a lap dog, and it is time to feed them. You know that the bigger dog gets three cups of dog food and the smaller one gets one small cup of food. The big dog needs the extra food otherwise he would eat your sofa! When you go to the food box, you find that there is only one cup of food left. What do you do? Which dog do you feed?

You may not have two dogs but you do have two pets. One is named FAITH and the other is named DOUBT. You feed one of them more than the other and it will show. You really can’t feed both of them--you have to choose. Feed FAITH or feed DOUBT.

How about you? Do you feed FAITH more than DOUBT? Or do you feed DOUBT more than FAITH? Please answer this. Which one do you spend more time with? Is your life a life of FAITH or a life of DOUBT?

1. Need Drives Faith. 2. Faith Builds Courage.
We can see that from the woman who had been bleeding for over 12 years. Nothing helped her. She had been to all the medical people around and all she got for it was poorer. All her money was gone. She could not even worship in the Temple ‘cause of her uncleanness. She was bleeding for 12 years and no worship/no fellowship for that long. Her own family could not even be with her. She was unclean. She was desperate. She was at the end of herself. She knew she could not help herself. She entered the crowd and touched the hem of the Messiah’s robe saying to herself, “If only I could touch His hem, I would become well again.”. That took courage! Faith does take courage AND this courage was rewarded. She was made well! She now could rejoin her family. Touch her children for the first time in 12 years and be part of the Faith Community once again—all because she had courage to step out in Faith. Do you have such courage?

1. Need Drives Faith. 2. Faith Builds Courage. 3. Courage Sees Results.

Yes, the Lord saw her courage and He saw it as FAITH. He said to her: “Take heart, Daughter, your faith has healed you.” . Yes, this woman saw the resulting healing because of her courage and because of her belief that Jesus could do it for her. Where did that courage come from? What does Faith produce?

This is the kind of Faith we are going to grow in this year! We are going to be driven to Faith; our Faith will be building Courage and that courage will see Results. Do you believe that? Do you want that? You do not NEED to stay in the hole of self-doubt.

Let’s look at this story of the two blind men and see just what does Faith Produce?

1. Faith MOTIVATES us to ASK GOD. Matt 9:27.
These men called out “Son of David”. That means they believed what the Spirit was teaching those who would believe that this Jesus was the Messiah. He was to come from the House of King David. This term was not just something that was commonly spoken of back then. They KNEW Jesus was the promised One.

Faith is a Gift. It comes from God, the Father’s Hand. The one who made the world and all that is in it is the One who gives Faith. It can’t be built up from within Man. It is a Gift of God. Without it, no one could come to the Father. He gives this Gift of Faith to those who will believe. Are you given such a gift? If so, what did you do with it? Except it and receive the greatest gift of all time: Forgiveness for all your sins. And these men were getting ready to receive such a gift from Jesus. They were motivated to ASK GOD.

2. Faith INSPIRES us to FOLLOW JESUS. Matt 9:28a.
Come to Him. He is calling all who are weary, heavy laden, thirsty, sick, to come to Him for satisfaction and find your rest. Have you come to Him? Has your faith inspired you to FOLLOW JESUS?

3. Faith ENCOURAGES us to BELIEVE. Matt 9:28b.
And be restored. Restoration is the goal. God’s Plan is to restore the broken relationship Man has with Himself—because of sin. And as we accept this Gift of Faith He willingly and openly gives to us faith, we then find that FAITH generates true FAITH in our life. The circle is not broken.

•Faith motivates us to ASK GOD.
••Faith inspires us to FOLLOW JESUS.
•••Faith encourages us to BELIEVE.

Today’s Core Belief is 1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 6 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. (Heb 11:1, 6)
o What does DOUBT PRODUCE?
Just one thing: Doubt leads us to Blaspheme. Matt 9:34.

When we treat God disrespectfully, through our words and actions, we are blaspheming the Lord. See what the response of the Religious leaders was? ~ “It is by the prince of demons that He drives out demons.”. They said this miracle was not of God. They said this healing was set into place by Satan himself and that Jesus was working with the Evil Host. Totally wrong! How do we know? By faith, we can see that the healing of these men and of the lady who had been bleeding for 12 years and for Jairus’ daughter all brought Glory to God and not to man. “News of this spread through all that region.” And “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”. And when we cut God out of the picture of His creation, we blaspheme. When we cause others to doubt that God is real, we blaspheme. When we disrespect God in any way, our lives become a mess of blaspheming God. Exodus 20:7 says in NIV. 7.“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name.”.the Message 7. No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won't put up with the irreverent use of His name.

Misuse His Name—in a curse, or silly banter—God will not have anything to do with that person.
Faith clarifies our view of God while doubt clouds it.

Matthew 9:29~30a. “29 Then He (Jesus) touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; 30 and their sight was restored.”. Sometimes the blind see much better than those with good eyesight. Which are you this morning? Can you see that Jesus is the One who can heal and who can save you by Faith? Or are you blinded by doubt?

This 20th year, let’s encourage each other to choose Faith. Make the right choice! Choose Life! Feed FAITH!

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