Thursday March 14rh, 2024

Faith and Hope:

Hello my fellow friends, I pray that everyone is doing well and learning to live in the ways of the Lord. Last week’s newsletter was about one of those ways, waiting on the Lord, In this newsletter I would like to discuss 2 things that are essential for us while waiting on God, and all our life for that matter. Faith and hope. What do they mean? How to live our lives in faith and hope?

Are they the same? Are they gifts from God? Should we trust and hope in things of man? There probably are so many more questions on this topic and I believe that this newsletter will answer most or all of them or possibly lead you to the answers. As I mentioned in the previous newsletter,I believe waiting on God is something that we all have forgotten how to do. We hardly can wait in line for a few minutes without getting frustrated for crying out loud! I also believe that this generation in its majority does not know what true faith and hope is, or how to even apply them in their lives. Lets first try to understand the Biblical meanings of faith and hope. I don’t want to get into an extensive study, because there is so much to say on this topic. So here goes. I will give a few short explanations of what these words mean, then we will check out a few Biblical passages and see where the Word of God leads us. Sound good? Lets start with the word faith. I will use the Hebrew word Emunah and choose a few words that seem to explain its meaning pretty well.

Emunah means: Firmness, faithfulness, truth, honesty, official obligation.

We could expound more on each of the above words, but let me try to sum it up for times sake. “To be stedfast in the work of the Lord.” Not in your work, but in the work of the Lord. 1st Corinthians 15:58 says: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” If you are not always abounding in the work of the Lord, you are not living in faith, you are not stedfast. 1st Peter 5:8-10 explains a good reason why you should live faithfully at all times. It says: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” The devil is going to try and destroy you and he will if you do not live by faith. By running from the work of the Lord because of sufferings and afflictions that will come, is not living in faith. In this day and age we go by how we feel, “I feel God wants me to do this or that” or “I feel good about this or that.” When have you heard someone say “I feel God is calling me to suffer for another, or stand for what’s right although its gonna cost me”  I believe only when we are living by faith in God, will we truly give of ourselves to do the work and will of God for our lives. And there is a “clue” in the above passage. Yep, a sign of walking by faith is suffering and affliction, at least for a period of time that is. If you go by your feelings, I believe in due time you will not be living by faith. Why do I say that? Well, look at James 1:3-8. It speaks of a doubting man and how when he asks God, he should ask in faith, not doubting, because a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. He goes by feelings!!! But why does he doubt? Why does he not have faith? Well, verse 3-4 have the answer to that. The man led by feelings didn’t let the trying of his faith finish its work. He opted to get out of that test and never learned the lesson. There are moments in our lives where living in the furnace of affliction is just what God wants for you at that time. He wants us to learn to be led by His Spirit and not our feelings. To be led by His Spirit is to do the work of the Lord and live by faith. To be led by emotions and feelings is to do what “I” want. The will of God for your life might not be what you want, at least at first. It is what He, the King, wants for your life. As you surrender to His will, you will learn obedience by the things which you suffer. Hebrews 5:8 says: “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” Yes, it speaks of Jesus Christ our Lord. Shouldn’t we follow in His footsteps? So living by faith must include obedience, correct? (Note: I am not saying that you should not have feelings. Only that you dont let them be your guide).

Once you learn obedience; then your will, will be in tune with the Father’s will and your work will be His work. What you will want after that lesson is to live by faith, you will not trust your feelings. Please read Matthew 6:19-34, and ask yourselves, be honest about it, do you truly believe that you live by faith? I am not talking about believing in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, that is just the beginning. I am talking about trusting in Him as your Father, Provider, Guide, King, Friend and every other area of your life. I know that there is so much more that can be said on this topic, but I will let the Word of God do the rest. Study to show yourselves approved. Now lets have a look at the word “hope”.

I will be using the Greek now. Elpis means: “Favorable and confident expectation, a forward look of assurance, it has to do with the unseen and the future.” Romans 8:25 says: “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” So who or what do we hope for? 1st Timothy 1:1 says: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope:” Jesus Christ is our hope, we must only hope in Him and His promises. He is the Truth, therefore we must trust and hope in Him alone. Titus 2:13 says: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”.

The certainty of our hope keeps us from becoming lazy or feeling bored. Hope requires both an attitude of expectation for what God will do and confidence that we will have eternal life with new bodies in a new earth, as He has promised. Like an athlete, train hard and run well, remembering the reward that lies ahead. See Hebrews 6:10-12.

Now, I would like to go over a few things that I believe the Lord has showed Jordan and I in the past 2 weeks. According to the Word of God, your hope and faith should only be in the Lord and His promises. So when we invest our hope and faith in anything or anyone but in our Lord God, then whatever or whomever that is becomes an idol. Your faith and hope cannot be divided, its either in the Lord or not. You might think that you can have faith and hope in Jesus, but still trust the lawyer, doctor, etc. and hope that what you want works out. But what does Matthew 6:25 say “No man can serve two masters for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” I am not saying we cannot want or desire a certain outcome,(as long as it is not sin). Just don’t invest your faith and hope in what you want, invest them only in the Lord and His promises. No wonder we are in a faithless and hopeless world. Look at what Jeremiah 17:5&7 says- ” Thus saith the Lord, cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” In Jeremiah 17:5-8, two kinds of people are contrasted here: Those who trust and hope in human beings and those who trust and hope in the Lord. In this circumstance the people of Judah were trusting in false gods (AKA idols) and military alliances (AKA man) instead of in God; thus they were stunted and unfruitful. In contrast, those who trust in the Lord flourish like trees planted by a steady source of water (See Psalm 1).

In times of trouble, those who trust in human beings will be impoverished and spiritually weak, so they will have no strength to draw on. But those who trust in the Lord will have abundant strength, not only for their own needs, but also for the needs of others. I would like to end with the following Bible verse: 1st Peter 1:21 “Who by Him (Jesus Christ) do believe in God, that raised Him (Jesus Christ) up from the dead, and gave Him (Jesus Christ) glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” We must only have our faith and hope in God through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Please listen to the song Enter In by Steve Green, it has really touched my heart lately. Thank you everyone for your continued support and prayers. Some of you don’t want to be mentioned or known. I respect that, but want you all to know that God sees your gifts as an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. Thank you again for taking part in the Kingdom of God. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you all.

P.S. Please continue to pray for dad as he has been admitted to the hospital again.

Jonathan David,

A servant of the Lord.