Psalm 1 reveals how we can walk in God’s blessings.
Contrary to what some teach, being blessed by God is not an automatic response to salvation.
While Christians are saved by grace through faith we still have to grow up in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10)
Growing in the knowledge of God means learning about how the kingdom of God works.
Lack of knowledge pertaining to kingdom principles causes God’s people to be destroyed. (Hosea 4:6)
Destroyed in the Hebrew is dâmâh. It means to fail, perish, be cut off, silenced, utterly undone.
Some Christians who have experienced failure refuse to get over their offense. They may have been taught improperly or hurt by grievous wolves twisting scripture. Instead of admitting failure due to ignorance some because of offense will omit scriptures or cherry pick scriptures rather than admit they were wrong.
Failing at something in life should cause us to seek the Lord for answers. What happened? Where did I go wrong? What did I miss?
According to Psalm 1 there are certain prerequisites for being blessed by the Lord which are are not always monetary.
Psalm 1 tells us how we can prosper in God’s kingdom.
Psalm 1 says blessed is the person that does not walk in the counsel (takes advice from) the ungodly.
This is the first principle of being blessed by the Lord.
God’s word is above every one else’s word. If God said it in the scriptures then it’s true. Regardless of evidences to the contrary because those “evidences” could be the expression of a faulty response to truth.
For example. Many churches do not teach or preach healing from their pulpits. Consequently no healing takes place in those churches.
Some churches don’t preach about salvation. Then they wonder why no souls are getting saved.
Scriptures clearly tell us that God’s works FOLLOW the preaching of the word.
Whatever you preach about or talk about is what the Holy Spirit will perform in your midst. Whatever you ask for you will get.
Remember that Jesus literally asked a blind man what he wanted from him. (Mark 10:51) It’s an important spiritual principle, to ask specifically.
Adhering to secular wisdom rather than Biblical wisdom will prevent God’s blessings from coming into your life. Many times secular wisdom is contrary to the word of God.
Some Christians put secular reasoning above the Bible. Science is not static. It changes all the time and some times it is wrong. Neither does humanistic ideology benefit the hearers. It has no power to perform miracles.
Putting trust in men’s wisdom can lead to ship wreck of our faith.
God’s word is above every word. It is “yes and amen” regardless of whether it is believed or not.
An important point to mention is that knowing God’s truth through revelation and experience does not give us the right to condemn others who don’t know what we know.
The law of love leaves someone in their ignorance if they are not open to the authority of scriptures.
However, due to incorrect interpretation or outright denial of a scriptural precedent its best to not walk too close with those mindsets.
People who have to explain away everything Jesus said are not beneficial to our spiritual life. Christian or not.
Truth hurts sometimes but I’m going to say it anyway. Rejecting scriptures that blatantly tell us something is calling God a liar.
The next principle for prospering in God’s blessings is to not stand in the way of sinners. That means not walking the way ungodly people walk. Not following their behavior patterns.
If God condemns something in the scriptures then it’s best to agree with his word and avoid the behavior.
Some non Christians and even Christians blatantly adhere to non biblical ways of thinking and doing. They believe that God will overlook or even support their disobedience to his word. That is so not true.
When we are disobedient to the word of God written plain as day then we will reap the whirl wind sooner or later.
All of us have fallen short and all of us have faced consequences for our disobedience. But thank God he is a redeemer. When we confess our sin and turn from it then God will forgive and restore us.
Another principle for receiving blessing from the Lord is to avoid taking a seat among the scornful. That means not hanging around with scoffers who don’t believe God’s word or respect it. Unbelief is like a cancer. It’s spreads.
Jesus said, “be careful what you hear”. (listen to) Mark 4:24
To recap. Psalms 1 tells us that Blessed are those who:
Put God’s word above every other word.
2. Avoid living ungodly.
3. Don’t hang with scoffers who deny God’s word.
Psalm 1 then goes on to tell us that if we do these things then we will have the following blessings.
We will be like a tree planted by streams of water.
Interestingly enough but when trees are planted by river banks they keep the soil from eroding into sediment which causes pollution. In other words a life continually washed by the water of the word keeps us from corruption.
Trees planted by streams of water also provide shade to help animals from being exposed to heat. This helps both vegetation and animals flourish.
Being watered by the word of Jesus Christ is beneficial for the growth of others. They will benefit from being in our presence as we reflect God’s goodness.
Watered continually with God’s word we will make us bear fruit at the right season. Our fruit will be a blessing not only to us but also to others. They will through our witness taste the goodness of the Lord.
Lastly whatever we do will prosper.
When our plans are committed to the Lord he will bring them to pass. The Lord will bless our lives when we go in and when we go out. Everything we do will prosper.
In Mathew 10:1 Jesus called his disciples and gave them power that is excousia or authority in the Greek. Jesus made his disciples ambassadors representing the kingdom of God but did you know the delegated authority or excousia in the Greek is defined as one who is a magistrate.
A magistrate is a civil officer or lay judge who administers the law. Especially one who conducts a court and deals with offenses. When Jesus gave his disciples excousia or authority in the Greek what he did was call them to have delegated influence in a jurisdiction. Matthew 28:18
The Bible says that the whole world lies in wickedness under the power of the evil one. The world system and those not saved are under the influence of Satan and his hordes.
Jesus delegated his authority to believers. Those who are his disciples (disciplined ones)
What is the Lord’s authority? ALL authority.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority power (translated excousia or authority) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18
Under the authority of Jesus Christ believers are delegated authority over all the works of darkness. Not some but ALL authority.
That is all power over unclean demonic spirits. To cast them out. To expel or send them away. Authority to set captives free from the dominion of darkness. Authority to heal, every manner of disease or sickness.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28: 18-20
Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld. John 20:19-24
In Luke 10 :19 Jesus said I give unto you power...excousia…athourity…to trample over…(put in subjection) snakes…(sly cunning malicious persons)…and scorpions…(the sting or piercings of evil attacks)..and over all the power of….(demonic activity ..demonic strength)….the enemy…(Satan and his demons.) And nothing shall hurt… (injure…do wrong)…to you.
Believers have been given authority or jurisdiction over the evil one. In order to exercise that authority one must receive dumanispower .
When Jesus was with his disciples he gave them his authority to cast out devils and heal the sick but after Jesus was risen from the dead he sent the Holy Spirit to empower them to have delegated power and authority over the works of darkness.
Luke 24:49 says wait until you receive power from on high. Endued with or clothed with….power… dumanis … from heaven.
To be clothed with means to be endowed with or provided with a quality or insight. This power works in conjunction with authority.
One must not only be saved or regenerated by the Holy Spirit but also empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to exercise authority in this world to do works of the kingdom of God.
Some Christians call this being baptized in the Holy Spirit or sanctified by the Spirit. The Bible calls it receiving or being clothed with dumanis power from on high.
Notice that the receiving of power is from heaven. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit occurs from regeneration or being born again. There is also an endowment of supernatural ability the Lord gives.
Some Christians have dumanis power but they do not exercise authority. You can find this kind of situation in many churches. There are also Christians who use authority in Jesus Christ but have no power to back that authority up.
Positionally Christians have authority over the devil but that authority cannot be exercised without power or dumanis.
In Luke the scriptures tell us that the power or dumanis of the Lord (power of the Holy Spirit) was present to heal. With power or dumanis Jesus commands the unclean spirits and they come out.
Dumanis is also power to preform God’s mighty miraculous strength and power.
With authority or jurisdiction, Jesus commanded the evil spirits and they obey him.
This is exercised through authority and power which is given from on high or heaven.
Jesus preached the word or logos with power and authority delegated to him from heaven.
John 1 :12 tells us that those who receive Jesus have been given authority to become the sons of God.
What does being a son of the most high give positionally? Basically the power and authority to not only walk in the same character as Jesus Christ but also to perform the same works. Greater works because there are now many sons of God in the earth.
Satan hides this biblical truth from Christians. Most Christians do not walk in what Jesus Christ died to provide for them.
Why? Unbelief. Ignorance. Disobedience to the truth.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7 We have this power in earthen vessels when we have become born of God.
All true Christians have been given authority and power over the works of darkness.
Being endued with power from on high is a one time experience but it is also a continual experience.
Just because we have a well of water or Holy Spirit power dwelling within us does not mean we can drink without drawing from that well.
We must draw from that well. In other words we must tarry with God. Spend time with him. Get our heart right. Repent of all sin. Gain spiritual insight from him. Get his plan or purpose for our life.
It is the same with endowment with power from on high to perform miraculous signs and wonders. We must continually pray and stay close to Jesus to appropriate his dumanis power.
Jesus specifically said that the Holy Spirit will be in you AND on you.
If we are born again the Holy Spirt indwells us but also cloths us with his power.
Acts 1 :8 says that when we receive power dumanis after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, that is arrives to bring his influence then we become his witnesses. Bearing record of him by becoming a martyr (sold out to God) in all the earth.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38
The Bible talks about being indwelt with the Holy Spirit and having the Holy Spirit come upon you to be a witness.
Some Christians teach there is no difference but scriptures tell us other wise. To indwell or be in you is the anointing. All Christians have an anointing for service. All who believe in Jesus Christ can operate in the gifts of the Spirit in utterance, inspiration, healing, etc.
There is another phenomena of the Spirit that can occur. Being clothed with power from on high to preform miraculous signs and wonders.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8
Acts 4:33 says that God gave apostles. (ambassadors…commissioners….sent with miraculous power to witness with great grace charis...that is with mighty divine influence.)
When Holy Spirit comes upon some one it is to demonstrate miraculous power.
This power and authority was given to the apostles as well as evangelists and prophets after Pentecost. However, this power and authority has not passed away as some teach. It is given specifically for a particular ministry God raises to be a witness for him in this world. Usually with miraculous signs and wonders.
Can all have this dumanis power come on them for service? I can’t answer that but I do know we can ask for it when we desire to reach others for Jesus or minister to the body of Christ.
Stephen was not one of the original 12 disciples nor did he have first hand testimony of Jesus Christ but he still had a testimony of what good things happened to him through his salvation. Stephen was an evangelist according to the Bible.
Today many apostles as well as evangelists have been given miraculous dumanis power to be witness in this world. To heal, deliver and perform signs and wonders.
Acts 6:8 says that Stephen was full of faith. (trust in the Lord) and power. (dumanis). He did miraculous miracles, performed supernatural signs among the people.
Paul was not a first hand witness either but he became a believer supernaturally and according to Romans 15:19 Paul did mighty signs and wonders by the dumanis power of the Holy Spirit. He fully preached the gospel.
Paul said that in 1 Cor. 2:4 that his preaching was not in man’s persuasive words or wisdom but by demonstration of the Holy Spirit in power or dumanis .
I can only tell you what the scriptures tell us about being endued with power from on high but I can also give you a personal example.
Both my husband and I are evangelists. We are highways and byways preachers and ministers.
That is we witness for Jesus Christ every where we go. Although I have worked in many faith based ministries over the years I finally got fed up with the unbelief and boxes I was put in so with God’s direction I went independent. Now I listen to Jesus and do what he tells me to do.
God wants his people to minster in the world. In their neighborhoods and cities. There are too many big shots out there and not enough believers who want to minster in dumanis power in their neck of the woods. That’s what we do. I preach Jesus Christ every where I go and to all kinds of people. From the homeless to clerks and bank tellers.
My husband has a powerful healing anointing. He is a tradesman. God gives him opportunity to minster on his job and in his private life. Every where he goes My husband carries this anointing. I know because one of my gifts from the Lord is the discerning of spirits. I can discern gifts, anointings, hearts, heavenly manifestations and the demonic realm as the Lord wills.
My gifting is different. While I have the Holy Spirit indwelling I also have the Holy Spirit come on me for specific works he wants to perform. I can be feeling normal one minute and the next minute the power of God comes on me to be a witness. When this happens I never know what is going to occur.
Sometimes the conviction of the Holy Spirit falls. He will fall in a bank, a store, the street. People will start feeling uncomfortable. I can see them squirming. Other times they start crying and confessing their sin.
Sometimes the word of knowledge starts operating. Sometimes prophecy. Sometimes the gift of faith comes on me. Sometimes a miracle occurs. Sometimes a deliverance.
This dumanis power comes on me only for a specific work the Lord wants to do. Other wise I’m as normal as can be. My husband on the other hand has an anointing that’s constant even if he is not praying for some one.
I am an intercessor so not only can I feel the Holy Spirit manifestations but I can also feel the demonic. This means many times I’m wrestling for the soul of someone in prayer or some spiritual situation. All I can feel in those many times is the oppression I’m praying against. Its not an easy ministry.
When my husband comes home the whole room fills up with the healing anointing. That’s an upside of being married to him! I start feeling better!
Paul exhorted believers to be filled with joy and peace in the Holy Spirit power. He said to put on the armor of God, be filled with the word of God and continually be filled with the power of God. Romans 15:13, 2: Corinthians 6:7
Each of us have been given gifts and callings from God but we must be endued with dumanis power to perform them. Whether indwelling anointings or endued from on high for specific works.
Not just once but every day. We must draw from the wells of salvation as David exhorted. That means walking holy, being in prayer, and the word.
Eph. 3:7 I was made a minister (servant of the gospel) according to the gift of grace (divine influence) given by the operation or working of God’s dumanis power.
We need to preach God’s word with dumanis power and authority and not by our own abilities. Other wise we will not be truly effective. 1Thessalonians 1:5
Not with man’s wisdom but in the power of God.
Be filled with or supplied with the Holy Spirit.
To walk in authority over all the works of the evil one we must be continually supplied with dumanis power whether flowing from us, coming on us, or both. This comes from a life dedicated to seeking God and being obedient do what he tells us to do..
Whoever helps the poor will be helped in their time of need according to the scriptures.
Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. Psalm 41:1
This is a spiritual principle we see throughout scripture. Helping the poor is giving to to the Lord.
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” Psalm 19:17
The person who considers the poor is blessed according to scriptures.
“Considers” Zaman in the Hebrew includes the following: To look at attentively; to observe; to examine. To have regard to; to take into view or account; to pay due attention to; to respect. To estimate; to view. To think seriously about; to make examination; to reflect; to deliberate. Giving serious thoughts to. To practice, purpose, devise. To contemplate, think seriously about.
The Lord says that he blesses those who give not just monetary means but also discipleship and service to those who are in need.
The promise attached to this outreach to the poor is deliverance when they themselves are in need. The Lord promises to save and rescue from trouble, evil, distress, calamity, sorrow, harm, adversity. “As you have helped others so will I help you.”
The Lord goes even further. He promises that those who give to the poor or those in need, (physically, emotionally and spiritually) will be preserved and kept alive.
Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.
The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. Psalm 41:1-4
The Hebrew translation of the word preserve (Shamar) means to keep or save from injury or destruction; to guard or defend from evil, harm, danger, protect, put a hedge about, watch over.
The Lord will bless those who give to the poor. He will not allow them to be delivered over to their enemies. He has promised to give power and strength to them. He has promised to recover or heal them in sickness.
This means that God will overthrow all attacks, turn back the evil ones plans and agendas. Thwart off all distress, diseases, grief, anxiety, depression.
For those who help others in their need the Lord will always be there to help them in their need.
Those who give to the poor are blessed by the Lord.
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. Proverbs 22:9
And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10
Refusing to help the poor or ignoring their pleas brings a negative result according to the Bible.
He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse. Proverbs 28: 27
If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. Deuteronomy 15:7-10
Giving to the poor not only brings God’s blessings in this life but also in eternity.
Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsemen, nor thy rich neighbours, lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 7:12-14
Blessed by God are those who give to others who are in need!
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38
Scriptures tell us that the Christian’s war is against demonic principalities, evil demonic rulers, and demonic powers in high places, but did you know that the biggest war we wage against is the war against the carnal nature? Demons are like vultures; they can only prey on uncrucified flesh. (Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 2:11)
Our battle according to the Bible, is against the bodily appetites of our 5 senses in this earthly realm which are in constant opposition to God’s word. The bodily appetites of our 5 senses or the carnal nature, are always trying to usurp authority over or exalt themselves above our spiritual born again nature, the Holy Spirit, and the word of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5-7, Galatians 5: 17-26)
The Bible tells us that out mind is where this battle resides. All the spiritual warfare against the satanic realm we do will be useless unless we put to death or crucify the carnal nature. (1 Peter 1:13,Galatians 5: 17-26)
If our ways of thinking are contrary to Biblical principles, then the flesh will have the advantage. That is why it is important to renew the mind with God’s word. When we put Biblical principles above what our 5 carnal senses think or desire then we are operating in faith. (Ephesians 4: 23-27)
Faith in Jesus Christ is the key to all victory. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Why?
Because whoever comes to God in faith with their struggle or need, to seek his face for answers, will find that God is both willing and able to move on their behalf. (Hebrews 11:6-8)
Scriptures tell us not to be conformed to the thinking of this world system but to be renewed in the spirit of our mind so that we will know God’s perfect will for our lives. (Romans 12:2)
Ps 119: 9-11 says that in order for our ways to line up with God’s ways we must seek the Lord with our whole heart. We do this through prayer, meditation and confession of the scriptures. (Psalms 119:15,Matthew 8:8, Romans 10:9,10, 1John 4:2, Jeremiah 1:17, Deuteronomy 18:18)
When the word of God dwells in our heart or spirit, then the word of God, by the Holy Spirit will keep us from yielding to the carnal desires and carnal ways of thinking. (Romans 6:13)
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word of God is like a double-edged sword that rightly divides our spirit from our flesh.
Our spirit will not be dictated to by the flesh or carnal nature when it becomes separated unto God. The spirit man must dominate the old man in order to crucify it to the world and to the ungodly desires of the carnal nature.
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14
Proverbs 23:7 tells us that a man is what he thinks he is. If we think God’s ways, then we will walk in God’s ways.
The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit agrees with the word of God to produce Holy Spirit life in us. We cannot become godly or live a life that pleases God in our own ability. ( 1 John 5:7, Romans 8:8, John 6:63,)
Paul tells us that he kept his body under the control of the Holy Spirit constantly. He died daily to his carnal nature. (1 Cor. 9:27)
Without the Holy Spirit making us born of God we cannot crucify the carnal nature. Religion, which is Christianity without the Holy Spirit, is a mechanical carnal exercise that does not please God. (Romans 8:8)
Jesus said you MUST be born again to enter into God’s kingdom. Only Holy Spirit can make one born of God. (John 3:3)
I will give an example of the difference between the religious Christian and the Spiritual Christian.
I watched this documentary about a Savant who was musically “gifted.” His parents spent a lot of money on music teachers so that this kid could become a musical “genius”. When I listened to this savant play his music, I could sense in my spirit that he had a mechanical form of musical genius. This savant had the ability to copy and understand musical concepts, but the music he played sounded like it had no “soul.” Although he played well without any error, the sound he produced was a mechanical sound.
I wondered why this would be so. Then when a musician began to play along with this savant in a duet performance, immediately I sensed a big difference between them.
The musician’s playing had life or “soul.” My Spirit felt uplifted when I listened to his playing. Then when the Savant began to play, I understood what I was discerning. The Savant had a form of musical talent, but he did not have a real gift for music. He had a learned structural performance that was very mechanical. His music lacked “life.”
The savant knew all the cords and the structure of music, but he did not have a real feel for music. He had no inspirational influence.
If our ears are opened by the Holy Spirit it is impossible to be fooled by the mechanical performance of the religious Christian. It may look like a good performance but when the real Holy Spirit filled Christian comes along and operates in the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit, you will immediately sense the difference.
You will sense the life of the Spirit, the supernatural gift of God residing in the Holy Spirit filled Christian. (dunamis power)
The mechanical performance of the religious “Christian” is pale in comparison to the Holy Spirit inspired life of a born again Christian.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:5-7
The word of God and the Holy Spirit work together to crucify the carnal nature. We must have both in order to perform the Lord’s good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13)
When the word of God dwells in our hearts by faith, and is ignited by the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit then we will produce a life that pleases God. A Holy Spirit inspired life!
The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace THROUGH faith.
Grace (charis) is defined as the divine influence upon the heart. A benefit of favour.
Paul uses the Greek word charis to define God’s favor bestowed by his Son Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Paul is preaching to ancient Greeks who were idol worshippers.
Characteristics in ancient Greece were often personalized as gods in Greek culture.
In ancient Greek mythology Charis is a representation of several Greek goddesses known as the Charities whose characters are charm, beauty, goodwill, human creativity and fertility.
Paul was pointing out to the Gentiles (non Jews) that the benevolence of God acquired for us salvation through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.
Grace or unmerited favor extended by God according to the scriptures must be accompanied by Faith in order for salvation to occur.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9
Some people preach that God’s grace saves in and of itself. This is not true. While God’s grace poured out by his divine love is extended to all it is not realized by any until grace is received by faith.
What is faith? In ancient Greek mythology Pistis or Faith was the personification or god of good faith, trust and reliability.
It is the same in our common law. Faith or “good faith,” is having an honest and sincere intention.
Many believe faith to simply mean belief. Again this is not true. To intellectually believe something to be true does not mean one receives that truth for themselves.
I may believe that red peppers have a very high amount of vitamin C and are good for me but I may not want to eat them because I don’t like them or because I am not in the mood for them or I’m indecisive about other aspects concerning them. Maybe I think I may get heart burn if I eat them.
Believing something to be true does not mean adhering to that something personally.
Pistis in the Greek is faith which sincerely believes and trusts in something which in turn leads to conversion or changing from one particular thing into another.
Pistis according to the ancient Greeks was faith or belief which came about by the act of persuasion.
To be fully persuaded is induced by evidence or proof which is given.
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:21
Blind belief is not Biblical faith. God has given much evidence for his existence and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Examples of this are;
Jesus rising from the dead seen by many witnesses.
Witness testimony of the disciples.
The power of the Holy Spirit confirming the word through signs following.
Jesus mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians in their historical texts.
In the Old Testament we can see an example of faith in action.
Abraham heard God’s voice telling him to follow him.
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. Genesis 12:1-4
Abraham heard God’s voice speaking to him. What Abraham did not know is where he was going. Abraham trusted God because he was a friend of God. You don’t become someone’s friend without a bona-fide relationship.
According to the Bible, faith comes by hearing God’s word or voice. (rhema)
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God. Romans 10:17
Evidences of faith are built by having a relationship with God.
This relationship requires obedience to his voice.
Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:3-5
Believing or Faith (pistis) in God requires trust. This trust is developed by having a relationship.
Paul used the word pistis to describe trust in God for his grace.
How is grace through faith received? The Bible tells us it is by repentance or metatoia.
Metatoia in ancient Greek meant changing one’s mind about something or some one. Metatoia was depicted by the ancient Greeks as a sorrowful goddess filled with regret for having failed or missed the moment.
In early Christian literature (See Tertillian) metanoia is expressed as a change in one’s thinking that leads to a fundamental change in behavior or way of living. This change is a key ingredient for receiving salvation.
Jesus made it very clear in scripture that without repentance there is no salvation.
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, yeshall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3
In conclusion, God’s grace extended through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Savior is received by faith which is trusting in God through obedience to the truth.
Since you have purified your soulsby obedience to the truthso that you have a genuine love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. 1Peter 1:22
This faith is realized by repentance or a turning away from one’s own ways to walk in obedience to the voice of God through his eternal word.
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 1 :22
When this is done, God through his grace by faith imputes or accredits to the recipient his righteousness.
That is the convert now is in perfect standing with God.
This is the admonition Jesus gave to his disciples concerning his coming again.
Let’s recollect about Lot’s wife.
Before Lot and his family left Sodom the angels gave the Lord’s command.
“Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”
Lot’s wife however disobeyed the word of the Lord and turned into a pillar of salt.
Now why do you suppose she would do that? Obviously it was more than just curiosity.
To “look back” in this scripture is the Hebrew word nâbaţ which means to look intently at, to regard with pleasure and care, to consider, to have respect for.
This means that Lot’s wife had an affinity to the place she was leaving. A sentiment for her home. An emotional attachment to the people she was leaving behind.
Jesus goes on after giving this admonition to say in Luke chapter 17,
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall preserve it.
“Losing our life” is the key point that the Lord is telling us here.
According to scriptures our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price.
“To lose” in this scripture means to die. Apollumi in the Greek. Which means to put to death or consider non operative.
Paul says that he dies daily. Death to self and the world is an every day thing.
Did you know that if we love the world or the things of the world then God’s love does not reside in us?
A sure way to tell a true Christian from a false one is if they are accepted by the world and if they love the things of the world.
What are the things of the world? Anything that the world esteems highly!
What does the world esteem highly?
John (1John 2) tells us that the things of the world are whatever your flesh or carnal nature lust after. Whatever your eyes lust after and whatever outside of God makes you feel prideful or you boast about.
So let me put this in modern terms. Whatever the world is running after, craving, pursuing, seeking for, desiring, addicted to, loving, and is their heart’s desire.
If you love those things too then you are not one of the Lord’s disciples. Sure you may believe in Jesus Christ but even the devil believes in God.
Remember that Jesus gave this warning.
Another way to tell a true Christian from a false one is how much they brag about themselves. How worthy they are. How blessed they are. How many special qualities they have. How wonderful their position in life is. How awesome their works are. How great life is treating them. Basically whatever is all about them.
Paul said that he boasted only in the Lord. He put no confidence in his own abilities. He boasted in being weak so that God could demonstrate HIS power through him.
Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Jesus told us as recorded by Luke(14) that if we desire to follow Jesus Christ and become one of his disciples then we must take up our cross. That is we must be willing to suffer like he did.
How did Jesus Christ suffer?
He was misunderstood, persecuted, judged, bullied, hated, ridiculed, beaten, and even put to death.
Yea, and all that will live godly inChrist Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12
Remember Lot’s wife? She turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to what God judged as evil. In the Hebrew pillar is netsîyb which means a post or garrison.
God made Lot’s wife into a sign post. For all with eyes to see. A reminder to “don’t look back.”
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
Luke 17:5 tells us that the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith.
This was the Lord’s response.
And the Lord said, Ifye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (vs. 6)
(Note some versions say mulberry tree but I lean towards the KJV sycamore. Mulberry in comparison to a mountain in the gospel of Mark just doesn’t fit the context of what Jesus was talking about. Check out the link below)
A sycamine or sycamore is a huge tree. In Mark this story is relayed as a mountain. The sycamore tree can grow as tall as 30 to 40 meters (or 98 to 130 ft) with a diameter of 1.5 to 2 meters (or 4.9 to 6.6 ft)
The sycamore has a very deep root structure. The root structure is so aggressive that it can even lift a side walk. While a mountain being tossed into the sea is a big obstacle the sycamore tree is a deep rooted problem. Either way it takes faith the size of a mustard seed to get rid of it.
Jesus uses the illustration of a mustard seed to describe the Kingdom of heaven or how the kingdom of heaven operates in Matthew chapter 13. That is why when the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith he referred to the mustard seed.
The kingdom of heaven is like a grain ofmustard seed that a man planted.
The mustard tree Jesus was referring to is a black mustard tree or bush that grows in Israel. A large annual plant which grows up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall.
The black mustard seed is quite small. About 1-2 millimetres.
The mustard seed must be planted in order to grow. In God’s kingdom many times things have small beginnings.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Zechariah 4:10
On the seventh time the servant reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” And Elijah replied, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 1 Kings 18:44
Growth of a mustard seed into a mustard tree takes time. Faith takes time to develop in the same way. Faith is having complete trust in God without doubting.
Faith comes from God’s word to our heart. Planted in our heart God’s word will grow and our faith will grow too.
Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
Take for example the scripture. Butmy God shall supply all your needs according tohis riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
When we make petition in Jesus name for our need to be met and that need is met our faith grows. A sprout occurs!
After a while another petition is answered and our faith grows even more.
God proves he is our provider and our faith in him grows through having experience with his faithfulness.
Then after a time of trust and reliance on Jesus a great big need presents itself. A great big mountain or a great big sycamore tree which is rooted down deep in our heart or someone else’s heart. It needs plucking up and cast into the sea.
We now have experience with God. He met all those little needs. He has proven himself faithful. Now that grain of mustard seed has become a mustard tree where the birds can feed and take rest.
Feeding on God’s word is important for our faith to increase.
I rise before dawn and cry for help; in Your word I have put my hope. Psalm 119:147
Resting is an important factor in the development of faith. When we rest we trust that the Lord is doing his work. No matter what the circumstances look like to the contrary.
Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
By telling the apostles the parable of the mustard seed Jesus was showing them how to increase their faith. By planting the mustard seed of God’s word in the heart faith will grow.
That big sycamore in your life may look like it’s an impossible problem. That mountain standing in your way may look like a real big hindrance but the Lord tells us to plant our mustard seed. Plant the word of God in our heart! Water it every day and it will grow!
The Lord has promised in his word to come through for us. We may not know the exact process or the timing but what we do know is that the Lord is faithful to perform what he has promised.
So we can say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper!” Hebrews 13:6,
In Matthew 6:28 Jesus tells his disciples to consider the lilies of the field.
The most probable flower that Jesus was referring to is considered by plant specialists to be an Anemone coronaria, a common field flower which can be red, purple or pink with black centers.
The Anemone coronaria incidentally is Israel’s national flower.They are usually found in meadows and grassy hillsides. In Jerusalem the red ones are more frequently found while in the basalt slopes north of the sea of Galilee blue and white are found growing on the hillsides.
The Hebrew name for this flower is Kalanit from the word kala which means beautiful like a bride.
Consider the lilies of the field. The Kalanit arrayed like a bride which Jesus says are more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory.
Jesus likened these field lilies to be more beautifully arrayed than Solomon’s kingdom.
Considering that Solomon’s glory was a magnificent kingdom full of pomp and splendor this is a fantastic statement.
Why would the Lord say that field flowers were more beautiful than Solomon’s glory?
The fact that their name means bride may give us a clue.
Was Jesus looking to his future bride? His bride so beautiful that she is more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory?
These field lilies are not only beautiful but Jesus told us that they do not toil or spin. That is they do not do any work!
To toil in Hebrew is kopiaō which means to work hard or labor until one is fatigued.
To spin is nēthō which means to spin yarn.
Spinning yarn was a laborious work in Jesus’ time. Spinning was twisting fibers together by hand in order to make material for clothing.
In Solomon’s kingdom all the pomp and splendor was achieved by hard work. Also the temple Solomon build was constructed by slaves. These slaves did hard labor. Probably from sunup to sun down.
The lilies of the field do not labor or spin. They just naturally grow and become beautiful without any labor at all. With rain and sunshine provided by their Creator the lilies of the field become beautifully arrayed in their glory.
It seems that Jesus is pointing out that under the law like Solomon’s Kingdom, the slave must work to build a temple or building for God to take up residence.
Those under the law are servants of sin who must labor under a ruler or the law, sacrificing animals to atone for their sin in a temple made by men.
Jesus is using a metaphor to tell us that the splendor of the dispensation of the law is not as glorious as the dispensation of grace where the beauty of the Lord resides in his bride.
The bride has no need to labor for the Savior has purchased her with his own blood. The bride has no need to spin or be clothed with the temporary intermedatories of animals because she is clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
The bride is altogether beautiful. Altogether lovely in her pure white garment! Altogether more splendid than the glory of the former dispensation!
Consider the liles of the field for they neither toil nor spin. They take no thought to toil laboriously to achieve right standing with God.
All the work has been done by Jesus Christ the Messiah ! (Yeshua Mashiach) It is finished!