Diet for Dreamers: The Facts of Faith

Share
“F” is for FAITH!

Previously: The journey to accomplishing your goals, fulfilling your dreams, or receiving a promise, can take years. Many people start out strong, but somewhere along the way — often just short of the finish line — they run out of steam and give up. If you’re going to achieve your goals, and reach your desired destination, you’ll need to: (1) stay on course — no veering, no side stops (Stay focused on your main objectives); and (2) stay fueled by faith, the premium “gas” that enables you to complete your journey. But what exactly is FAITH, anyway?

Faith is an unshakeable belief or confidence in something or someone. If Michael Jordan ever told his teammates he wasn’t sure he could make a particular shot from the free throw line, they probably smiled and said something like: “We KNOW you can make this free throw! We have FAITH in you!” Jordan’s teammates had seen “His Airness” in action, and they had complete confidence in his ability to slam dunk the basketball. Putting our complete confidence in God isn’t too different. Many of us have seen the
God of Creation do some pretty amazing things. And really, we can daily see His mighty hand in the flight of a hummingbird, in the smile of a child … in life itself. For others, including those individuals too myopic to see the everyday miracles taking place all around them, there’s an historical document recording the greatest feats and most glorious triumphs of all time — all performed by the all-powerful, all-knowing God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel — and it’s called the Bible (literally, THE book )! All we need do is read it!

Seeing is believing, right? But true Faith is still believing even when we can’t see. That takes an incredible amount of TRUST. We believe in the human soul, but we can’t see it or measure it’s physical dimensions. We also believe in an invisible God. And we believe in His divine ability to freely grant us eternal life. Jesus Christ — after returning from the dead, a fact verified by reliable contemporary witnesses — told His disciples, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:29 NLT) “In the same way, Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. The real children of Abraham [the Father of our Faith], then, are those who put their faith in God.” (Galatians 3:6-7 NLT)

Expectant faith: Yes, we will get a treat! We know it! In fact, we can already taste it!

How does the Bible define Faith? “…Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) So, you can imagine how important faith is for fueling our dreams and all those invisible goals we hope to achieve. Another translation states it this way: “…Faith is … the conviction of things not seen.” (NASB) Do you have any strong convictions? About issues or ideals? Or about certain incidents? Here’s an example: “I’m absolutely positive that Junior broke the cookie jar — even if I wasn’t there to see it happen.”

One last translation: “…Faith is the reality of what is hoped for….” (Holman CSB) Faith is confidence or conviction or — in this sense — treating something as though it were a done deal. Children do this all the time. Tell a child you’re taking him or her to the circus on Saturday at 2 pm, and the child will not just take you at your word. He or she will actually start planning what circus acts they’re going to see, how much cotton candy they’ll eat, which friends they’ll tell afterwards! The car could break down on Friday night — not a problem! You the parent could be told you have to work on Saturday — doesn’t matter! The circus could move on to the next town — so what?!  YOU made a PROMISE, and the child has just as much faith in your promise as he or she has in the sun rising the next morning. Nothing can prevent it. IT’S A REALITY!

That’s how God wants us to treat all the promises in the Bible. Even if we can’t see any progress being made, even if things “appear” to be going south, He wants us to consider His Word a done deal. A supernatural reality more real than our current circumstances and present  prospects. That’s FAITH! That’s CHILDLIKE faith — the kind Christ desires for us! (Matthew 18:3)

“…Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV) Tomorrow: How much faith is enough? And how do we get it?

Share

A Pleasing Aroma! (Angel in the Kitchen)

Share

As previously discussed, people are drawn to pleasing aromas. The smell of fresh bread baking in the oven will draw friends and family to your kitchen like bees to honey. And know what? There’s one very pleasing fragrance that attracts our Heavenly Father. It’s the irresistible aroma of PRAISE!

When we thank God and exalt Him in our words and music, we are in a sense offering up a sacrifice to Him: “the sacrifice of praise.” (Psalm 50:23; Jeremiah 33:11; Hebrews 13:15) Sacrifices made in Old Testament times gave off a fragrance that God described as “the pleasing aroma of your offering.” (Leviticus 26:31) As such an offering, our praise smells absolutely delicious to our Lord; and it draws Him near to us, the source of the “pleasing aroma”!

Psalm 22:3 teaches us that God “inhabits” or “dwells amid” the praises of His people. When we honor God with our songs of praise and worship, He quickly joins the festivities!

Having God close by is definitely a good thing! Besides, it’s only right that we honor the One who blessed us not only with life, but also with eternal life! “Praise the Lord! How good to sing  praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting! (Psalm 147:1 NLT)

But exactly how often should we praise the Lord? “I will praise the Lord at all times [in every situation]. I will constantly speak His praises.” (Psalm 34:1 NLT) King David, the Psalmist, gave us an example of this: “I will praise You seven times a day because all your regulations are just.” (Psalm 119:164 NLT)

What should we praise God for? “…With my whole heart, I will praise His holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for Me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and … fills my life with good things.” (Psalm 103:1-5 NLT)

Where should we praise God? Wherever we are: at home and in school; on the job and at play — and NOT just in our houses of worship. The definitive answer, however, is “in His presence”; and He’s everywhere! “Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise” (Psalm 95:2 ESV)

Under which conditions should we praise God? In what circumstances? Only when things are going our way, right? WRONG!! When we praise God in spite of our situation in life, despite adversity and heartache, we really are making a “sacrifice of praise”! God realizes this, and He finds the aroma of our offering that much sweeter.

“…Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise; the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.” (Hebrews 13:15 NIV)

Facing a challenge? Struggling through a bad situation? Or are you just hurting today? Praise God anyway — through your pain and tears. Praise directed at God will take the focus off you and your problems and put it on God, the problem solver; the miracle worker; the God of all comfort. And God will join you wherever you are. He’ll sit by your side, work on your behalf, and raise your spirits!

Share