Tag Archives: faith

Unwavering faith that brings results

Experience faith, live in faith, and rejoice in the results of faith. God is the source and giver of faith that permeates our lives and brings results that only God can do.

We cannot create faith. Through God, we can experience it.

‘Believe and receive’ is not ‘name it and claim it.’

“Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop” {Mark 11:23-25, Amplified Bible).

Just believe and you have it? Name it and claim it? No, that is not what this Scripture teaches. The type of faith Christ is talking about was taught in the Old Testament also, long before Christ taught it in the New Testament. Of course Christ, through the Holy Spirit who inspired the Old as well as the New Testaments, is the Author of the the following passage from Proverbs as also.

“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:5-6, The MSG).

From Proverbs 3, we get a hint of the source of this faith: God is the author. We cannot muster it up. We cannot earn it. It is a gift from God as we “listen for God’s voice in everything…everywhere.” We cannot create faith. We can only experience it.

Struggling with doubt

So how can I get God to give me this faith that receives answers to its need? One man did it very simply. He just asked for it with a yearning heart, and set the example for us all:

“And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us.

And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!

At once the father of the boy gave [an eager, piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith!” (Mark 9:22-24).

We simply ask God with an “eager, piercing” even an “inarticulate” cry. In other words, we ask him sincerely. We recognize our own inability to believe with this kind of faith (“help my weakness of faith”). We may not even be able to express our need (inarticulate), but God knows our heart.

God responds to the truth in our hearts, not to the words we on our lips. We ask God to give us this faith constantly, as the father in the above Scripture did, and to teach us to live in a way to receive it constantly.

Mark 11:23-25 (first passage in this study) also teaches that we cannot believe with sincere faith if we harbor un-forgiveness. “Let it go” the Bible teaches. When we “leave it, let it go” Christ promises that he will “forgive you your own failings and shortcomings and let them drop.” So the basis of this type of faith is being right with our fellow-man, and right with God — the first two Commandments found in Exodus 20, to love God supremely and to love others as ourselves. Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40).

How can we find faith like this?

This leads us straight to the Source, the Author, the Giver of faith that takes over our lives and brings the results that only God can do: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)

Yes, faith comes by reading God’s Word. Do you read the Bible, God’s Word, daily? We must live according to God’s principles to experience this unwavering faith. Yet, how can we know God’s principles if we are not reading his Word?

Living by faith

Paul said to the Colossian Christians: “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7 Amplified Bible).

We cannot have this unwavering faith unless we first have an unwavering life. We cannot believe and receive unless we first commit all situations of our life to the Lord Jesus Christ. So now it is time to go forth and experience faith, live in faith, and rejoice in faith. We can trust God, not because we muster up the faith to believe, but because our God has proven himself faithful!

Live in God’s Word today,
Lois

05. Does faith ever doubt? Finding your mustard seed

Faith requires doubt in order to be faith. Apply the faith you have, and God will give you more. God doesn’t expect mountain-size faith. A mustard seed will do!

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

How can I believe what I cannot see?

“Sure” and “certain” in the above Scripture indicate lack of doubt. “Hope for” and “do not see” indicate doubt. How can these two opposites be compatible in the Biblical definition of “faith”? Can I believe and have unbelief at the same time? Can I be sure of something and hope for it at the same time. Can I be certain of something, having never seen it?

One of the most profound statements in God’s Word is, “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” (Mark 9:24). We tend to think of faith as being 100% sure. But being 100% sure is having it in our hands. Faith requires doubt in order to be faith.

I don’t have faith that I have a computer. I know I do. I’m typing this on it right now. If I do not doubt that I have a computer, I cannot call my knowledge of my computer faith.

However, I do have faith that if the Lord doesn’t come back tonight I will be able to turn on my computer tomorrow. I don’t know with 100% knowledge that my computer will come on tomorrow. I’m 98% sure. But there is a margin of doubt, because I know things can happen to computers

Yet how many times have I told someone, “I’ll email that to you tomorrow”? I live as if my computer is going to come on tomorrow because I believe so strongly that it will.

I have good reason to believe my computer will come on tomorrow. It has come on every day for the past two years since I purchased it. The person I went through to purchase it said it should last me several years and that person is a trusted friend.

Applying this same example to God’s Word: I don’t have faith that I have a Bible. I know I do. I’m looking at it right now as I quote verses from it to you. However I do have faith that God will provide for me everything I need tomorrow. I don’t know with 100% knowledge that God will provide every need. I am 99.9% sure (A bit more sure of God’s provision than that my computer will come on!). But being human I cannot be totally 100% sure of something I have not yet seen. I have not seen tomorrow.

Yet how many times have I told someone, “God will take care of me tomorrow”? I live as if God is going to take care of me tomorrow because I believe so strongly that he will. I have good reason to believe he will take care of me. He has cared for me daily ever since I trusted him as Savior and Lord, and even before. He is the one who taught me I needed him before I ever knew him. His Word says he will never leave me nor forsake me and his Word has become a trusted friend.

Can opposites co-exist? They can if you have a mustard seed!

God does not expect his children to have 100% faith, or even 99.5% or 98% or 75%. He is not measuring how much faith we have.

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:19-20).

Jesus said they had little faith, but only needed as much as a mustard seed. Yet a mustard seed is tiny. What did Jesus mean?

Could it be that the disciples were looking at the impossibility of driving out the demon. It is impossible. Could you drive out a demon? They looked at the impossible and Jesus wanted them to look at the possible.

If they had just a tiny glimmer of hope inside them that they could drive out the demon in the power and authority of Jesus’ name that he had given them, and applied that glimmer of hope; if they trusted with all the little faith they had and surrendered to God, God would act on the little faith they had and drive out the demon.

Faith is not, yet faith is

  • Faith is not something we call up by positive self-talk.
  • Faith is not wishing for something badly enough we convince ourselves it will happen.
  • Faith is not saying with our intellect God will do something for us just because it is something we want him to do.
  • Faith is learned from God’s Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)
  • Faith is knowing from God’s Word and from his working in our lives in the past that he has always been faithful to us and promises he always will be. It is placing our hopes in him that he will be true in the future to what we have experienced of him in the past, and what his Word promises will come to pass.
  • Faith is a process of growth. God does not expect us to be “there.” He only expects us to be on the way.

“Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

Application

Whatever amount of faith you have is enough. If you apply that faith, God will respond to it and he will give you more faith in the process. How do you apply faith? It is simple. You determine to keep your mind off of the problem and on the promises. You determine to keep your mind off of the past failures and off of the future worries, and on the present.

Is God sufficient for you just now? Are you fulfilling his will for you this minute? Does he have something to say to you in his Word this minute? Can you survive the present circumstances for just this moment? Can you trust God to be with you in the next moment as he is now? Great! That is faith.

Study questions

Read Mark 9:14-35 and Matthew 17:19-20 to answer these questions for extra study or discussion:

1) What were the teachers of the law were arguing about? (verse 14-16, 33).
2) Why do you think the father of the demon-possessed boy was so quick to answer?
3) Why did none of the teachers answer Jesus?
4) Why were the disciples unable to deliver the boy from the evil spirit?
5) What was Jesus’ attitude toward the disciples unbelief?
6) What do you think was Jesus’ attitude toward the father’s unbelief?
7) Was there a difference in Jesus’ attitude toward the unbelief in the disciples and the unbelief in the boy’s father?

Does God ever give a ‘word of knowledge’? That’s next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

02. Daring to surrender: the best choice I ever made!

What if I surrendered my life to Christ, and he didn’t manage it the way I wanted him to? I was a stubborn 9-year-old girl when I pondered that question. I’m glad I chose to turn loose!

Part of me said, “No, don’t do it!” But the other part said, “I can’t afford not to!”

Three elements of faith

Faith is composed of three elements — believe, trust, surrender — in varying degrees. Yet alone, none of them seems adequate to completely describe it.

Immature faith is mostly belief with a small measure of trust and a daring decision to surrender. It is a sort of “taking a chance” on God, though not in a sense that we plan to see if God comes through and if not we won’t stay with him. No, “joining up” with God is an all or none proposition from the beginning. That is why it is so daring. God wants us to mean business.

There came a time when I began to comprehend what God was trying to tell me. I was lost, and needed to be saved. Saved from what and to what? Saved from eternal punishment in hell, yes, but much more than that. Saved from futility in this life. From nothingness and hopelessness. From loneliness and fear. From insecurity and defeat. Saved to what? To peace and hope. To fulfillment and joy. To victory and excitement. To a future secure, to a love unending, to an eternal home forever with the one who made me then loved me enough to buy me back from my inheritance of sin.

Daring to surrender

I didn’t comprehend all of this in one sitting. I understood just enough to know I needed Jesus but that my sins and failures kept me from him. I understood just enough to know that he had given his life to make a way for me to be saved from the punishment of sin and live forever with him. I understood enough, though, to realize that just believing these things was not enough. I understood enough to know that trusting that he could do them and would do them if I asked him to was not enough. I understood that he was waiting for me to surrender my life to him, not just for salvation, but for Lordship.

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NIV).

That was what stopped me. How could I know that if I surrendered to him as Lord he would manage my life the way I knew it needed to be managed? Lots of audacity for a 9 year old girl to ponder that question, huh? But I had struggled with surrender since I first began comprehending the call of Jesus Christ upon my life at age 6. I just couldn’t let go. What if God messed my life up?

One day I was standing in the hallway of my home. It was like suddenly the light shone in. “If Jesus loved me enough to leave heaven and go to the cross to pay the price I owed for my sins, surely he must love me enough that he will do what is best with my life.”

I was faced again with the question of surrender. But this time, I saw the picture more fully. Part of me said, “No, don’t do it!” But the other part of me said, “I have to do it! I cannot take a chance on not doing it. I will take my chances on God!”

I am so thankful for that day. I determined that I would wait till I was in bed. I wanted to be totally alone and undisturbed by any interruptions. That night I would tell Jesus that I was accepting his offer of salvation on his terms, surrender. Such a wonderful peace flooded over me. All afternoon, and all evening, my heart was light. I could hardly wait till bedtime.

That night I went to bed and prayed for a long time. I thanked Jesus for dying for my sins, and I told him I knew I did not deserve it and had nothing he should want, but that I was giving him all of me for whatever he chose to do with my life. I told him that this did not seem like enough and if ever there were anything else I needed to do in order to be saved to let me know. In all the 44 years since, he has never shown me anything else I should do. What he did was enough!

I believed. I trusted. Finally I surrendered. Many years later it dawned on me that I did not receive Christ into my life that night as I prayed. I received Christ into my life in the hallway as I surrendered!

Surrender is like this

Jesus stands at the door and knocks. The door is locked from the inside. Jesus can’t get in unless I unlock the door. I can believe it is Jesus knocking at the door. I can trust him that he will come in. I can even say, “Come into my heart Lord Jesus.” But until I unlock the door and surrender the barriers to him, he cannot come in. I unlocked the door to my heart without saying a word, by a choice to surrender. The words of my prayer later that night were a confirmation and a wonderful time of fellowship with the One who had become my Lord and Savior earlier that day.

Living faith

It is important for us to get the saving part down right because the Bible says the living part is patterned after the saving part. If you would like help with this important step, please visit our Seekers page.

“And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him” (Colossians 2:6 TLB).

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him” (Colossians 2:6 NIV).

We will talk about the living part next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

01. Saving faith: believing, trusting, and surrendering

Faith is believing, trusting, and surrendering. Until I surrender my own will to his, he cannot save me from wrong ways, for I will still be committed to them.

“And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him” (Colossians 2:6 TLB)

Three categories of faith

Colossians 2:6, as paraphrased above in The Living Bible, is one of the best approaches to living the Christian life that I’ve ever seen. The Living Bible is an out-of-print paraphrased version of the Bible. Here is a literal translation::

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

There are three categories of faith represented in Colossians 2:6 as paraphrased in TLB. We could call them:

  1. Saving faith: “just as you trusted Christ to save you”
  2. Daily faith: “for each day’s problems”
  3. Committed faith: “vital union with him”

What is faith?

The Bible often uses the word “believe” to describe faith. For example:

“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.'” (Acts 16:31 NIV)

Paul and Silas had been in jail for preaching the Gospel. God sent an earthquake to free them as they sang praises to God. The jailer realized that the God of Paul and Silas was real, and asked “What must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas responded with Acts 16:31.

To publicly acknowledge Christ meant severe punishment, maybe even death, for the jailer. After all, Paul and Silas had been in prison with stocks and chains and heavily guarded because of their faith. Yet the Scripture says: “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God — he and his whole family.” (Acts 16:32-34 NIV)

Did he just believe with the intellect? No, intellect could never be sufficient to cause the jailer to dare to be baptized publicly, bring escaped prisoners to his home and feed them, and lead his family to do this too. Even if he were willing to risk his own life, could he risk subjecting his family to the Gospel message and their subsequent public commitment unless he had more than intellectual knowledge?

Verse 32 says “they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.” Paul and Silas explained that the one who had been born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, ministering in all Judea, and recently crucified between two sinners was truly the Son of God. No doubt they told the jailer that just as faith in Jesus had set Paul and Silas free from the bondage of prison, so could faith in Jesus set men free from the bondage of sin. Faith in the one who died and is alive again could give the jailer hope and peace in this life, and an eternal resurrection with the Lord.

The jailer did more than just believe. He trusted in Jesus Christ. He trusted that Jesus would do for him just what he said he would do:

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” (John 8:12 NIV)

The jailer trusted enough that he was willing to surrender to baptism and public commitment. He was willing to surrender to whatever God asked him to do even if it cost him his life. He dared to believe that as he followed God’s plan for his life, God would take care of him and his family in this life and the next. He surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.

Faith is these three

Faith is these three: believing, trusting, surrendering. It is not enough to simply believe that Jesus is God’s son and that he arose from the dead if I don’t trust him to apply that forgiveness to my life. Until I surrender my own will to his, he cannot save me from wrong ways, for I will still be committed to them.

Questions for thought and discussion

  1. Are we Christians just because we believe facts about Jesus or trust that he can save us from things we have done? Why is the third step of surrender an important step?
  2. If you had to describe faith using one word only, what word would you choose and why?
  3. If you could use one sentence only to define faith, how would you define it?
  4. “And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him” (Colossians 2:6 TLB). Later in this study, we will get to the “each day’s problems” and “union with him” part. But for now, consider: Why do we need to be saved? What are we trusting him to save us from? to save us to?
  5. To think about: Have you just “always believed” in Jesus. Or can you remember a time when you made a commitment to him and trusted him to the point that you were willing to surrender control of your life to him?

It will be great to get into discussions of growing in faith as Christians. But the first step is saving faith. Before we can grow, we must be saved from our wrong way. If you are struggling and trying to live the Christian life yet are not getting anywhere with it, perhaps you’ve been depending on intellectual believing. Perhaps you’ve been trying to trust Jesus, but you’ve not given your life to him so he can change your life.

I’ll share my own story of surrender to God next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

Wait in expectation, God’s answer is “Yes!”

God always says, “Yes,” but his “Yes” is more than we can comprehend. We see the moment, but God bids us wait in exptectation of his “Yes” that covers the whole of us.

“in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3).

God’s Answer is “Yes”

But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
–2 Corinthians 1:18-22

Jesus is “Yes.” He is not “No.” The confusion comes when we ask with wrong motives. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

There can be wrong motive even in something so noble as wanting to put a marriage back together. Motives of personal fulfillment, companionship, or security can overshadow the motive of living for Christ in whatever circumstance we are in. Living by God’s principles is not a foolproof insurance policy for marriage. The ultimate goal is not even a wholesome marriage, but rather to be obedient to Christ. When we are obedient to Christ we can find peace no matter what happens.

Your home may be hurting. You may feel God has let you down. Set your heart to being the wife God has called you to be and leave the results with him. Jesus says, “Yes,” but his “Yes” encompasses a lot more than our minds can take in. We see only the moment, but his is an all encompassing, everlasting “Yes.”

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15). God has promised to give us what we ask of him in prayer. But God’s “Yes” is always in accordance with what is best for us. You may say, how can this be? In that case it may seem “No” to you.

An illustration I heard as a child has always stuck with me. A little boy had to climb a mountain to get to church each Sunday. It was a very difficult and somewhat dangerous trip. Yet he longed for the fellowship and teaching he found with God’s people and he faithfully made the trip each Sunday.

He learned that God says if you have enough faith you can ask him to remove a mountain and he will do it. In childlike faith he began to pray that the mountain be removed so he could easily attend the church.

A couple weeks later he came across some folks working on a building project at the foot of the mountain just before he would have to climb it to get to his church. He asked what they were building, and they said they were building a mission of the church across the mountain, so folks on this side could easily attend.

God did not remove the mountain. So I ask you, did he say “Yes” to the little boy’s prayer? Of course he did!

God’s “Yes” is not always in accordance with the exact thing we are asking. If we are not careful, we may not see his “Yes” when it comes. Begin to look for God’s “Yes!”

Wait in Expectation

Does God ever say, “Wait.”? How do we know when God says, “Wait.”? God always says “Wait.”

“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3).

Wait in expectation! Wait a few minutes or wait a few years. Wait on God to work it out in the best way possible. “Wait in expectation.” Two seemingly contradictory words. Yet God says it is the answer for us. Wait.

Wait is a peaceful word. It is not worrisome. It is not fretful. It is simply resting in God’s “Yes.” Expectation is not jumping at every flicker of light. It is calm assurance in God’s “Yes.” Yes, he will come through. His “Yes” will be what is good for you in every way. No where in the Bible will you find where his “Yes” promises to restore broken marriages. But you will find where he says, “My peace I leave with you.”

Are you at peace? His “Yes” is peace and hope and the two wonderful words, “wait” and “expectation,” two words that seem to contradict yet meet together in the calm assurance of resting in God’s promise of “Yes.”

Yes, God cares about your marriage! But he cares more about you. His “Yes” takes in all of you, not just your marriage. Jesus says to you: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1).

Wait in expectation for his “Yes.” God has given you rest.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

0. Daughters of Sarah – Contents

Helps wives with unbelieving husbands, women in difficult or unequally yoked marriage unions, or any woman seeking to be a better wife improve her marriage relationship. Studies on submission.

Bible answers from the book of 1 Peter.

Daughters of Sarah

The Daughters of Sarah Bible studies for women are based on the story of Sarah and her husband Abraham, whom God made “the father of many nations” (See Genesis 17:4-5 and Romans 4:17-18).

For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, when she called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do (1 Peter 3:6 The New Living Translation).

Table of Contents

Daughters of Sarah: Wives of great worth (Introduction)
Chosen for God’s Best: Chosing to obey, 1 Peter 1:1-5
Take Control by Submission: Given to God, 1 Peter 1:6-15
Live by Faith: Trusting God’s faithfulness, 1 Peter 1:7-21
Rid Yourself of Selfish Attitudes: Needed and honored, 1 Peter 2:1-8
Called to Be Holy: Welcome and equal, 1 Peter 2:9
Winning the Inner Battle: Set yourself free, 1 Peter 2:10-16
What About Our Rights? Given to God’s protection, 1 Peter 2:17-25
Winning Behavior: Repay evil with blessing, 1 Peter 3:1-12
If things still go wrong You go right, for you are blessed! 1 Peter 3:13 – 5:11

— Begin reading Daughters of Sarah

03. Live by faith: Trusting God’s faithfulness

We are no longer ignorant of God’s requirement of submission to his faithfulness. Our submission to God is demonstrated by submission to our husbands. Anything short of that is rebellion against God.

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 3 (1 Peter 1:17-21).

We Are Accountable

God has called us to take the ultimate step of trust in His faithfulness. “Your faith and your hope are in God….” (1 Peter 1:21). By submitting to our husbands, we are trusting God to intervene for us if needed. We are totally dependent on God. There is no safer place.

What if He Leads Me to Sin?

But what if my husband leads us into sin. Will I not be held accountable? The Bible has much to say about submission to our husbands. Yet no where in Scripture does the Bible address how a woman is to respond if her husband asks her to actively participate in a direct sin. There is a good reason for the Bible’s silence on this issue. When a woman submits to her husband in an act of total submission and sacrificial obedience to God, God will never allow her husband to require her to actively participate in a direct act of sin. She is “shielded by God’s power” (1:4).

What if He Forbids Me to Serve?

God will never allow his children to be placed in a position of having to choose between two opposing commands. It may seem so at first. But if she looks to God, he will provide a way of escape. God may allow a husband to deny his wife the privilege of actively participating in commands that God has given. For example, a wife may desire to tithe or be active in church and her husband may forbid it.

“Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself. But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them. If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he is responsible for her guilt” (Numbers 30:13-15).

God may allow her husband to deny her the privilege of certain acts of commitment and worship. But even as her husband denies it, he is unknowingly providing her opportunity for a more supreme sacrifice of commitment and trust in God by submission to her husband.

“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear” (1:17).

“Man” in this verse is referring to “mankind,” both male and female. We call on a loving heavenly father. In our father’s eyes we are judged individually and impartially. We are accountable before God to be the wife he has called us to be. Whether our husbands fulfill the role God has called them to as Godly leaders is immaterial to our responsibility before God. It is also immaterial to God’s provision for us. God will judge us impartially and provide for our needs as we are faithful to the wifely role of submission he has given us.

We Are Secure

How can this be? We are bound together as one flesh. Our livelihoods are bound together. Yet the God who created male and female, who ordained marriage, who hung the stars — this God will move heaven and earth if necessary to meet the needs of a wife who faithfully submits to her husband and trusts in her God! We no longer have to live in emptiness and defeat.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1:18-20).

We are “chosen…for obedience.” Christ was chosen for the sacrifice that would pay for our disobedience!

“Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (1:21).

“Your faith and hope are in God…” When we as wives refuse to submit to the leadership role God has given to our husbands, we are placing our faith and hope in our own ability rather than in our God. We are deliberately choosing to live outside God’s will. That is the most dangerous place on earth to be!

God has called us in some ways to take a step of faith even greater than that to which he has called our husbands. He has called us to willingly submit to the judgment of another whether that judgment is sound or unsound. God has called us to take the ultimate step of trust in His faithfulness.

“Your faith and your hope are in God….”

Prayer

Thank you, Oh Lord, our Judge, that you stepped down from the bench to long enough to give your life for our redemption. You have demonstrated a love that we can trust. We bow in submission before your throne. Amen.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Is submission to our husbands always compatible with obedience to God?
  2. Has God ever shielded you by his power from a wrong action someone required you to take?
  3. Why is it dangerous to live outside God’s will?
  4. What should we do if our husbands lead us away from what we feel is God’s plan?
  5. How does the Scripture “Your faith and hope are in God…” apply to marriage?

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted.

18. Battling the giants: Reclaiming our children

God commissioned Joshua to take the land of the giants. Joshua didn’t hesitate. Will we tremble in fear as our children follow giants today, or will we reclaim our children for God?

“God is getting ready to do something great!” (Joshua 3:5, paraphrased).

Commission and Covenant

“After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them–to the Israelites'” (Joshua 1:1-2).

This was an awesome responsibility that God placed upon the shoulders of Joshua. Fear had kept the Israelites from inhabiting this land forty years earlier. Those people had died in the wilderness, and a God had raised up a new generation.

Then Moses died, and Joshua’s first commission from God was to take the land of the giants. But with God’s commission, God gave a promise!

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates–all the Hittite country–to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

–Joshua 1:3-9

God promised to be with Joshua. He told Joshua to take courage in the fact that God would never leave or fail him. He told Joshua that his success would come from meditating continually in God’s Word.

“Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you'” (Joshua 3:5).

Consecration and Conquest

When God spoke to Joshua, Joshua didn’t hesitate. Immediately he told the people, “Get your hearts right with God. God is getting ready to do something great!” (Lois’ paraphrase).

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.

Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD–the Lord of all the earth–set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them.

Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

–Joshua 3:9-17

With this, the Israelites entered the promised land. And the battle had begun!

Application

God gives a commission to parents today. God says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The giants have claimed our children. If we would carry out God’s commission, we face an awesome task.

But every promise Joshua had, and many more, are written in God’s Word. These promises are ours today. God tells us to “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV). “…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). Will we tremble in fear as our children follow the giants? Or will we take our children for God?

God, as mothers, we ask you to cleanse and prepare our hearts. Our children are in the land of the giants. But the land belongs to you. You have commissioned us to take it. You are getting ready to do something great!

Thought for Today

“Get your hearts right with God. God is getting ready to do something great!” (Joshua 3:5, Lois’ paraphrase.)

Questions for Discussion

  1. How did God use previous victories in Joshua’s life to prepare him to face the tremendous responsibility of taking the land of the giants without the aid of his mentor?
  2. How did God bolster Joshua’s faith with a promise?
  3. What are the giants God is calling you to take for the protection of your children?

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

16. Faith for the battle: Listening in God’s presence

Joshua found faith for the battle by listening in God’s presence, meditating upon God’s deliverance, and rehearsing God’s words. God told Moses, “Make sure that Joshua hears it.”

“Write this…to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it” (Exodus 7:14).

Joshua Rehearsed God’s Words

In chapter 15, we saw that Joshua remembered God’s deliverance and God’s banner. Joshua also rehearsed God’s words.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14).

“Make sure that Joshua hears it.” God gave Moses the words to write to describe what happened, and God told him to read and discuss this especially with Joshua. God was nurturing Joshua’s faith. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). God was preparing Joshua to be a man of faith.

God is challenging us today to study his Word that we might become God’s faithful women. We must accept the challenge. Only by faith can we pull our children from the edge of the sword.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

–Ephesians 6:10-18

We go to battle for our children against the armies of Satan himself. Our sword is the Word of God, and our shield is faith in God’s faithfulness. The victory is ours as long as we hold God’s banner high.

Joshua Spent Time Listening God’s Presence

Not only did Joshua remember God’s deliverance, God’s banner, and God’s Word, but Joshua also remembered his personal encounters with God as Moses’ aide. Wherever Moses went, Joshua went to assist and minister to Moses. Whenever Moses encountered God, Joshua encountered God also.

Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

–Exodus 24:13-18

When Moses received the instructions for the tabernacle and the ten commandments written on two tables of stone with the finger of God, Joshua was near. Joshua and Moses went together up into the mount of God. For six days, Joshua and Moses fellowshiped in the light of God’s glory. On the seventh day, Moses went farther, into the midst of the cloud, and he stayed there forty days and forty nights.

Joshua probably could not go all the way with Moses. But Joshua remained in the warmth of God’s presence. For forty days and nights, God spoke with Moses. God ministered to Joshua during this time as well. Joshua probably could not hear God audibly, but this was a time of refreshing for Joshua. Joshua basked in the glow from magnificent splendor of the glory of God. He meditated upon the ways God had delivered them. Surely Joshua rehearsed again and again the words of God that Moses had already shared with him. He experienced the calming atmosphere of the presence of God. And he waited in anticipation to see what Word God would give them through Moses.

When Moses and Joshua came down from the mount, Moses brought with him God’s instructions for building the tabernacle. But before the actual tabernacle was constructed, God would talk with Moses inside the makeshift “tent of meeting.” When God met with Moses in this makeshift tabernacle, Joshua was there:

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.

As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent.

The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

— Exodus 33:7-11

Application

Joshua delighted in the presence of God. Just being in God’s presence while God spoke with Moses gave Joshua strength. It was during these times of refreshing that Joshua found the faith to go back into the battle.

Joshua remembered God’s deliverance. Joshua fought under God’s banner. Joshua rehearsed God’s Word. Joshua spent time in God’s presence. These things made a difference for Joshua, and these are the things that will make a difference for us!

I wrote earlier about Joshua meditating on God but, when I proofread what I had typed, I discovered that instead of typing “meditated,” I accidentally typed “medicated.” This may be the best rendering of all: “Joshua medicated on God.” As we medicate on God, our spirits are healed!

Thought to Remember

Like Joshua, we can win this battle if we remember our past encounters with God, and spend time in his presence through Bible study, prayer, meditation, and medication on our faithful God.

Question for Discussion

  • How can I have the kind of faith that gets results? (part 2)

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

15. Remembering the past: Lessons from Joshua

Joshua believed God’s promise, remembered God’s faithfulness, obeyed God’s orders, experienced God’s victory, and led the Israelite army under banner of God’s deliverance.

“The Lord is with us. Do not be afraid” (Numberrs 14:9).

Joshua Believed God’s Promise

How can I have the kind of faith that gets results? The story of Joshua in the Old Testament shows us a wonderful answer to that question.

When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country.

At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land…. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.

–Numbers 13:17,25,27-33; 14:6-10

The Israelites were at Kadesh-Barnea, just 50 miles from the promised land. Moses sent twelve men to spy out the land. The land was magnificent, but the taking of it was impossible from a human viewpoint. Only Joshua and Caleb had the faith to believe that God could enable them to possess the land God had promised them. Had the Israelites believed God here, they could have been spared forty years of wandering in the wilderness!

Joshua’s Remembered God’s Faithfulness

Joshua was human just like you and I. What made Joshua different? Why did Joshua believe God could give them the land while almost everyone else trembled in fear? Joshua was different because Joshua remembered some things.

Joshua remembered God’s mighty deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Joshua remembered the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Joshua remembered how God departed the water so the Israelites could walk across on dry ground. Joshua remembered the Egyptian army drowning in the same water. Joshua remembered the manna that God provided each day.

Joshua remembered. While the rest of the people saw a situation that could not be overcome, Joshua remembered a God who could not be defeated. And Joshua’s mind must have gone back to the Israelites’ initial encounter with these huge warriors that lived in the land.

This initial encounter came not long after they crossed the river in flight from Pharaoh’s army. As slaves of the Egyptians, the Israelites had never been trained in warfare. God caused the Egyptians to give the Israelites food, clothes, cattle, gold, silver, weapons, and all they required before the Israelites fled from Pharaoh’s clutches, but the Israelites had never been taught to use the swords and shields they bore. As they wielded their armor, they were almost like children playing with toys.

Joshua Obeyed God’s Orders

Egypt had fought the Israelites’ battles before, because the Israelites were Egypt’s slaves. Now the Israelites must learn to fight for themselves. Surely God would give the Israelites a small battle at first, and gradually train them until they were capable of fighting a larger army. But this was not God’s plan. Here is the account of that initial encounter with the inhabitants of the land:

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.

–Exodus 17:8-15

Joshua Experienced God’s Victory

The Amalekite warriors were huge. Their army was vast and ruthless. All the heathen nations would reinforce the Amalekites to oppose Israel. What hope did Israel’s faltering, unskilled army have against the Amalekite army and all the heathen world?

Moses appointed Joshua to lead the Israelite army, and Moses himself stood on a hill and held holy hands up to God. Moses held high his rod. God had used Moses rod to perform miracles in the past. Moses’ rod represented God’s deliverance, and that deliverance was the banner of the Israelite army.

As long as Moses held high the banner of God’s deliverance, the Israelites were victorious. When the banner began to slip, the enemy prevailed.

Application

What hope do we as mothers have against the army of Satan as he marches against our children, pulling them into the clutches of a heathen world today?

After the battle was over, Moses built an altar and called it “Jehovah Nissi” in Hebrew, which means “The Lord is my banner.” We have the same banner today that Moses did. We have the same Lord.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).

He is the same God who delivered Joshua and the Israelites from the Amalekites. We hold our hands high to him, and wave his banner of promise and victory.

Thought to Remember

Sometimes our hands get heavy. We cannot maintain the vigil. But our campaign of prayer has provided intercessory prayer partners who support us on either side. Our banner waves on.

Question for Discussion

  • How can I have the kind of faith that gets results? (part 1)

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted