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[thoughts] Stepping Out in Faith (January 12-18, 2009)

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  • Mark Roth
    Thoughts for the Week Mark Roth http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/ ... This edition goes out today to 4142 subscribers. Thank you! ... STEPPING OUT IN FAITH
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 14, 2009
      Thoughts for the Week
      Mark Roth

      This edition goes out today to 4142 subscribers. Thank you!

      (Joshua 3:1-17)


      If faith doesn't act, is it faith?

      Whose faith are you following?

      What are some differences between recklessness and stepping out in faith?

      Is there an aspect to your faith you are unwilling to act on?

      What can we do to encourage another's faith?

      GOT FAITH?
      (written in late 1998)

      Faith. What is it? And how do you know if you have it?

      First question first: what is faith? Well, I suppose we could say that faith
      is a system of belief, and that would be a good beginning but it certainly
      wouldn't be enough. Otherwise the Israelites could have parked at the
      edge of the Jordan for 26 generations, proclaiming their unflagging belief
      that what God said was true: a path would open through the river as soon
      as the feet of the priests touched the water. So there has to be another
      element to faith.

      Let's amend our definition. How about this? Faith is a system of belief
      that leads to actions consistent with those beliefs. Satisfied with that? I
      have to tell you that I am not. It just seems something is still lacking.
      Otherwise the people could have left their tents pitched and their stuff in
      their tents while they curiously waited for word if the priests got more
      than the soles of their feet wet. What I mean by that is rather elementary.
      The people could have said, "We believe a path will be made through the
      river, and we will walk through that path . . . once it appears." So there
      has to be yet another element to faith.

      Time for another amendment: Faith is a system of belief that, unhampered by
      the lack of tangible evidence and human reasoning, leads to actions
      consistent with those beliefs. OK, I'll grant you that this definition does
      not flow very smoothly. I'm certain it does not rise to the level of a
      dictionary definition. It may even lack another element or two. Even so,
      I think it has enough meat now to make for some profitable chewing.
      So let's chew.

      Faith is belief. That may seem redundant. But it isn't, because this kind
      of belief is a conviction, a certainty. You see, I can say, "I believe
      tomorrow it will rain" and not have any certainty or conviction as I do
      when I say, "I believe Jesus rose from the dead." When Joshua said the
      river would open up, he was absolutely convinced.

      Faith is not shackled by the physically and humanly obvious. We humans
      get hung up on the obvious. Faith could be defined as seeing as God
      sees. Faith goes by what is obvious and tangible to *God*! Listen to this
      definition from Hebrews 11:1 -- "Faith is the substance of things hoped
      for, the evidence of things not seen." A thing hoped for is generally
      intangible, but faith gives it substance. In other words, it sees something
      as accomplished . . . even before it is tangibly so. Have you ever seen
      invisible evidence? No, I'm not being silly; I'm trying to demonstrate the
      reach of faith!

      Faith acts. To put it another way, faith works. If it doesn't, it isn't.
      Because "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). Those who try to be
      Christians with a works-free faith are fighting a losing battle!

      Faith. Do you have it?


      Thanks again for subscribing!
      Mark Roth

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