Tag Archives: god’s promises

0. Foundations of faith – Contents

Faith lives in God’s promises. It is daring surrender. Faith doubts, but it grows stronger with exercise. Faith frees us from worry. It is a decision to trust.

Discussions of what faith is, how much we need, and how we develop our faith.

Fondations of Faith Bible study

Table of contents

01. Saving faith: believing, trusting, and surrendering

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

03. You have enough faith: Choose to exercise it.

04. A promise for every problem: God’s substance of faith

05. Does faith ever doubt? Finding your mustard seed

06. Does God give words of knowledge? The Bible is full of them!

07. God meets our financial needs when we’re doing his work

Start with the first session here.

06. Does God give words of knowledge? The Bible is full of them!

If it is a word from God, it will be based on God’s Word. Any promise God gives will generate peace, not turmoil. If you are struggling or fearful that it may not happen, re-evaluate.

Every promise in God’s Word is a word of knowledge.

God’s words of knowledge

People often ask me if I believe God gives personal promises or a word of knowledge to an individual. I believe he has given a Book full of personal promises to us. Every promise in his Word is a word of knowledge for me. But, yes, I do believe he makes those promises personal in a very real way sometimes. God does occasionally give a word of knowledge, but I think we need to be very careful with this.

I have worked with women, for example, whose husbands had left them. They clung to a “word of knowledge” that God had shown them that their marriage would be reunited. However they struggled continuously as they watched their estranged husband drift farther and farther away. They had no peace in their “word of knowledge.”

Greater than a word of knowledge

I have heard all the teaching of claiming certain things in prayer, being specific, having faith they will happen, etc. There are some things we can claim in prayer. God says he will never leave us and will be with us through every circumstance. We can claim that. God says where two or three of us gather in his name he is in our midst. We can claim that. But one thing is greater than a word of knowledge. That is faith that offers the following prayer:

Lord, I am not going to tell you how to answer this. You know I want my marriage restored. You know I want to be healed. You know I need a job. You know the things I need and want. I come to you with these needs. But I do not ask you to meet these needs in any specific way. I simply lay them at the foot of your cross and trust you to work according to your very best plan for me.

Your way is always best. The thing I fear most is being outside your will and your best plan for me. So I ask you to work, not as I would tell you, but according to the way you know is best.

I am relieved of the need to worry about this because I know the outcome will be far greater than I could ever imagine, though at present I cannot comprehend how it is possible that you could bring something better than saving my marriage, or healing, or financial help, or meeting other needs. I can’t see it but I know you, God, and I trust you for whatever answer you bring forth.

That is the prayer that is always answered exactly as it is prayed. That is the prayer that I have learned to pray and I have seen God truly give me more in every way than I could ever have if I dictated to God how to answer my prayer.

Getting our motives right

The prayer that tells God how to answer, no matter how noble our request, even saving our marriages, is (in my humble opinion) still a prayer with wrong motives. You see, we want our marriages saved for us ultimately. Our marriages fulfill a need that we have. Our motive should be serving God and living according to his plan. That is a higher motive even than saving our marriages. Definitely, God is interested saving our marriage. But his greatest concern is restoring the partners in that marriage. Here is what God says about asking with the wrong motive:

“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).

This is heavy stuff, but Job learned this lesson. He said: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance!” (Job 13:15-16).

God’s personal promise brings peace

God can and does sometimes reveal things to us, or give us a word of knowledge. But we must be very careful with assuming we have gotten a word from God if it is not based on a promise he has already given us in his Word. There is only one thing we can be absolutely sure of. That is the Word of God, the Book he has already given to us.

There have been times when I have just known that God was working in a certain way. I had peace and could feel his presence so real. It was not a doubtful, up and down experience, but rather a calm knowing. But even those times came because I have a practice of immersing myself in his Word. When those times have occurred, I have seen the thing I knew come to pass. But those times almost always stemmed, if not from a specific promise, from the knowledge of the principles of God’s Word.

But if your word of knowledge is not coupled with peace — if you are continually struggling to make it happen or fearful that it may not happen — then you need to re-evaluate. Any word from God will generate peace for you, not turmoil. It is easy to want something so badly that we believe that surely it must be his will for it to happen. We assume that since it is his will, it is a word from God. Yet God is not held in a box at the mercy of our own desires and ideas of what is in accordance with his will.

Delight in the Lord, not your desires

I speak from experience here. There have been times that I have trusted that something surely must be God’s will and it did not come to pass. I believe to the utmost in holding onto God’s promises of hope and peace and joy and abundance. I believe we can expect specific results in accordance with specific promises. But are we willing to trust God when it seems he is not accomplishing the things we just knew he would accomplish if we turned to him?

It is easy to follow him with the assurance that he will do thus-and-so. But when thus-and-so doesn’t happen over a period of time, we easily become discouraged. I find it much easier to follow him knowing that he is always at work to accomplish the very best with my present circumstances. I trust his judgment, not what I see as the best thing to do.

Some will say that is a cop-out, that it is easy to trust when you don’t have anything specific to trust in. But I have very specific things to trust in. For example I do not trust that God will force any individual to do what is right. But I do trust that God will give them every opportunity as I pray for the person and commit my heart to being what God says to be in the situation.

Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Lots of people have used this to say that we can have whatever we want if we “delight in the Lord.” They are not wrong. But the problem is they misinterpret what it means to delight in the Lord.

Delighting in the Lord means we delight in his will, not ours. We delight in him more than our husbands. Yes, we are to enjoy our husbands. But they are not to be our major fulfillment. God is. As long as we delight in God, we can lose everything else and still have the greatest desire of our heart, for our desire will be the treasures we receive from God – treasures of peace and joy and the knowledge that we have a God who can see us through anything.

Application

Should we give up hope for our marriage, then? No. God can do anything. Pray and trust God. Believe him. Base your life on the promises in God’s Word. We may fail our husbands and they may fail us, but God will never fail!

Financial problems? Faith and finances is next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

04. A promise for every problem: God’s substance of faith

God’s promises are the substance of faith. Rather than trust God to meet needs our resources are insufficient to manage, we blame God for not providing more resources.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for….” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV).

“Just trust God?” How easy is that?

“Just trust God and it will be alright!” Has anyone ever given you this empty advice?

Empty? Yes, that statement is empty. It gives you no reason to trust God. There is nothing in that statement to base trust upon. For Christians who have learned faith by walking hand in hand with God through many trials, that gentle reminder may be appropriate. But for the Christian whose faith has not yet been developed, the encouragement to “just trust God” is unreasonable.

God never requires blind faith. God went out of his way in the Scriptures to prove himself. He provided miracle after miracle throughout the Old and New Testaments, and he recorded them as evidence of his trustworthiness. For those who are willing to take the time to learn to trust him, God will develop a foundation of faith that will outlast any storm. Trust is something we learn.

Competitors to faith: job security, financial stability, medical insurance…

We have the faith to believe that God can meet our needs. But do we have the faith to trust him to do it? There are many things that compete for our trust. Job security, financial stability, disaster preparedness, medical insurance, and retirement planning are some of the major competitors to our faith. Each of us could add other competitors as well, such as people we depend on, etc.

“Are you saying it is wrong to seek a secure job and stable finances, and to prepare for the future?” you ask. No, not at all. But it is wrong to trust in these things.

“Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:18-21 NIV)

When things go awry, what do you think of first? Most of us do a quick assessment of our resources. For the Christian, God sees to it that our resources are never enough, for he wants to be our loving supplier. But we forget that. When we see our failing resources, we panic. Instead of trusting God to meet the needs our resources are insufficient to meet, we blame God for not providing us more resources!

We proceed to tell God how to supply our needs: “Lord, send me a job that will provide enough money to pay the rent.” God doesn’t need jobs and he doesn’t need money, though he often uses both to meet our needs. But he can work through any means at any time to be there for us. Don’t limit him!

God’s promises make our faith tangible

How do we get beyond the empty admonition to “just trust God” and apply it into a dynamic living part of our life? We can only “get there” by taking the time to allow God to develop this faith in us.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV).

The promises have always been my favorite part of the Word of God. I’ve learned that for every problem we encounter, there is a promise. If we will take the time to find the promise God wants to give us in his Word for the current problem we encounter, we will discover a faith for this current need that we can never attain by an empty “just trust God.”

“For the word of God is living and active…” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). God’s Word is what makes our faith tangible.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). “Substance” is something I can reach out and touch. I can grab it and hold it in my hands and keep it for my own. The only part of the Word of God that we can touch and make our own are the promises.

Think of it. Every Bible story would be meaningless to us personally without the promises. They would ring with the empty, “Just trust God.” Even the most meaningful Bible story of all, the story of how Jesus came to earth to die for our sins and offer forgiveness, would be worthless if God didn’t promise me that when I depend upon what Jesus has done for me I can have eternal life too! Our very salvation is based upon a promise:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

Ask God to give you a promise for your present need. Don’t turn lose of it. God wants you to hold him to his Word. He delights when you come to him and say, “Lord, I will not accept anything less than what you have promised me here!”

Take time to find the promise God has for you in his Word today!

How to find your promise in the Bible

  1. Browse through our Bible Promises topic category.
  2. Look in the concordance of your Bible for a keyword of a need you have: marriage, fear, disease, children, mother, etc. Check out all the references. Not every word will be listed, and you may need to find alternative words.
  3. Look for a promise online. Bible Gateway’s searchable online Bible is my favorite. It is available in over 50 versions and 35 languages. Just type in your keyword, or use the Topical Index.
  4. Purchase an inexpensive Bible promise book and check the topical index to find promises for your needs. My favorite Bible promise book is God’s Promises for Your Every Need
  5. Ask God to lead you to the promise he has for you as you begin to read his Word. There are promises on every page, and he has often led me to a promise for my current need as I have picked up his Word searching for answers to my need.
  6. Find a Scripture reference you can remember that is related in some way to your need and check out the cross-references to other similar Scriptures.
  7. Large Print Thompson Chain Reference Bible-NIV is my favorite study Bible. It is available in several versions, including KJV and NIV, and smaller pint as well. I recently ordered the large print version linked here to accommodate my failing vision. (Some reviewers report poor quality in some Thompson’s versions available now. The one I’ve linked above appears to be of excellent quality. To see more regarding this, click here.)
  8. Sometimes God will give us a Scripture promise through a sermon, a poster, or just sharing among friends.
  9. Topical List of Bible Promises from InTouch Ministries is a wonderful link that provides Bible promises on many topics:

Look now for a promise in God’s Word for your present need!

Ever wonder about doubt? We’ll discuss that next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

14. Activating God’s promises: Catalyst of faith

We activate God’s promises with the catalyst of faith. Do we dare to force God’s hand? No, God has forced his own hand. God is honor-bound to keep his word.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16).

Seeking Faith to Believe

Jesus indicated that the key is to believe. Our problems with our children are not impossible, if we can just believe that they aren’t. We have power over our problems if we just believe that we do.

A father brought his ailing son to Jesus, and asked if he could help. Jesus told him: “Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

When the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith, “He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you'” (Luke 17:5-6).

But how can we make ourselves believe? The fact is, we can’t. We cannot believe. We cannot cause ourselves to have faith. But we can choose the focus of our attention. We can choose to focus our attention on problems or on promises!

Finding Faith in Focus

If we focus on our circumstances and those of our children, we will be helpless and hopeless before them. If we focus on God’s faithfulness, God will generate inside of us a faith that can pluck up trees and rearrange nature if necessary to accomplish God’s will.

God’s will. That is what we are talking about here. Remember the story of Hannah? Remember how we paraphrased Hannah’s words in 1 Samuel 1:28? Hannah was saying, “I trust God to do the right thing in Samuel’s life. I trust God to take over Samuel’s training where I cannot go. I accept whatever outcome God brings forth with my son.”

We will not find a faith that believes God will work all things out our way. But we can find a faith that believes God will work all things out the best way. God said it like this:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

To find this faith, we must be willing to say with Hannah, “I accept whatever outcome God brings forth with my children.” Throughout the Bible, God did remarkable wonders in the lives of men and women who dared to accept in advance whatever outcome God brought forth, knowing whatever God did would be right.

Whatever God does in our children’s lives will be right. How can we really believe this? Where can we find the faith? Herein lies the key to increasing our faith:

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

Finding Faith in History

God’s word is brimming with stories of his faithfulness down through the ages. It’s promises overflow into our lives as God illuminates them to us.

We come before the Lord. We have focused our attention on the accounts in his Word of his faithfulness to men and women who walked according to his ways. We reach into God’s word and grab a fistful of these accounts in our left hand.

Finding Faith in Promise

Now we reach deep into God’s Word, and clench tightly as many promises as we can hold in our right hand. We hold high before our God an open Bible. Every page is a promise and a testimony that our faithfulness to God will be multiplied beyond measure in his faithfulness back to us!

We refresh ourselves in God’s promises which are as old as all ages and as new as today! And above our heads is our Banner Promise, the promise which undergirds our hope in all the others:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

He is the same God who was faithful to Moses’ mother; to Samuel’s mother; to Timothy’s mother. He is the same God who was faithful to Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob; to David, Joseph, Isaiah, Rahab, Joshua, and Hannah; to Peter, James, John, Mary, and Paul. He is the same God who has kept his promises to Christians unnamed and unnumbered down through the ages.

Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not oneword has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

–1 Kings 8:56, Deuteronomy 7:9

Finding Faith in Boldness

He is the same God who has been faithful to you and to me in the past. He is the same God. He will always be faithful. As we stand before our God we hold our hands high. Our left hand holds before him the testimonies we have gathered of his faithfulness. Our right hand waves God’s promises toward heaven like a flag of victory. God is honor-bound to keep his Word to us!

Have we dared to force God’s hand? No, God has forced his own hand. We are nothing, unworthy, helpless and hopeless. God in mercy and love reached down through his Son our Savior and gave us hope and made us mighty in his Son. He gave us all power in his name. He has told us to come boldly before His throne. “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)..

The Lord has said:

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.

–Hebrews 6:10-19

Application

Let us give God the preeminence in our lives. Then God will teach us his promises. He dares us to hold him to them. We accept the challenge — and we have won. Our faith has been turned on. The catalyst that sets off God’s promises has been activated. The fulfillment of God’s promises has been accomplished. We simply await their enactment in a world bound by time!

In the next few sessions, we will study these principles as they were applied in Joshua’s life. We will see how the Word of God enabled Joshua’s faith to “turn on” God’s promises. And we will see our mighty God respond!

Thought to Remember

We will not find a faith that believes God will work all things out our way. But we can find a faith that believes God will work things out in a way greater than we could have ever imagined.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What do you do when the world seems to crush down upon you?
  2. What do you do when you claim God’s promises yet he does not seem to be doing anything?
  3. How do you keep from getting depressed when your children continue to go farther astray?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted