Grace activated by Faith

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(Romans 1:5-6) We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about obedience of faith among all the nations, on behalf of His name, including yourselves who also belong to Jesus Christ by calling.

What is Faith? “Trust” belief, confidence, credence, reliance, dependence
What is Grace? Free unmerited favor of God, a divinely given talent or blessing, * A period officially allowed for payment of a sum due….
Oxford dictionaries

I don’t have a religion, I have a Relationship?!

Relationships: “Intrinsic” One changes without the other, Therefore, Relationships are “Two-sided” God gives Grace, we respond in Faith (Trust).
The problem: God Almighty gave more than we could ever (Jn 3:16)The imputed righteousness (Undeserving grace of God) was given so all people may enter into this relationship of trust with Him. Our Faith: Obedience, Genuine gratitude for the precious gift of salvation.

Faith is Obedience.

Abraham’s faith was repeatedly tested. He remained obedient even when his future was unclear (Genesis 12:1-7) 1 Now the Lord God said to Abram,”Go out from your country, your relatives, and you father’s household to the land that I will show you. He kept the faith, and trusted God to look out for his interests when he was wronged by another(Genesis 13:8-13), And he certainly pressed into his faith in times of distress (Genesis 22:1-12) 1 Some time after these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham” “Here I am!”” Abraham replied. 2 God said, “Take your son- your only son whom you love, Isaac-and go to the land of Moriah! Offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will indicate to you.

(4:16) For this is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants-not only to those who are of the law, but also those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father to us all. When we accepted salvation, we entered into a trust relationship with God. Striking a balance between grace and faith

Grace comes from God,Salvation comes by His grace.Therefore, By Faith, we fall into the Grace of God:

(5:1-5) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with our God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into His grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and there’s no shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

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The Power of Prayer

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Your pain does not belong to you: You number my wanderings; put my tears in you bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8) NKJV

They said to him, “This is what Hezekiah says:”Today is a day of distress, rebuke and disgrace, for the children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to deliver them” ISAIAH 37:3

King Sennacherib launches a campaign against all of Judah to conquer and destroy all of God’s kingdoms. Sennacherib appoints Rabshakeh of Lachish (Chief cup-bearer)to go King Hezekiah of Jerusalem (37:10). His instructions were clear-Make Hezekiah to submit, and surrender. Issue a warning of the impending attack His intent was to instill fear to the point of Hezekiah questioning his faith, and turn his back on God.

Hezekiah responds: He sends Eliakim (Royal Chamberlain)son of Hilkiah, Shebna (Court Secretary), and all the leading High Priests to seek the counsel of Isaiah.

…for the children have come to the point of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. They are in dire circumstances and have reached a point of unbearable pain. Just as your clothes would press firmly against your body in the wind, They did not acquiesce, They pressed even harder into their faith. Hezekiah sends Eliakim (Royal Chamberlain)son of Hilkiah, Shebna (Court Secretary), and all the leading High Priests to seek the counsel of Isaiah

In addition to the gift of prophecy, Prophets made intercessory prayers *The best way to baffle the enemy is to pray. Prayers are the “Mid-wife” of mercy; These are the times when our prayers should be the most boldest before the throne of grace

God is taunted.
(37:4) Perhaps Yahweh your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom the master of the king of Assyria sent to mock the Living God, and rebuke him for the words that Yahweh your God has heard. Therefore offer a prayer for the surviving remnant.

Isaiah’s prophesy:
(37:5-7) So the servants of King Hezekiah went to Isaiah, who said to them, “Tell your master this, “The Lord says: Don’t be afraid because of the words you have heard, which the king of Assyria’s attendants have blasphemed me with 7I am about to put a spirit in him and he will hear a rumor and return to his own land, where I will cause him to fall by the sword.

(Isaiah 59:18) Thus He will repay according to [their] deeds: fury to His enemies, retribution to His foes, and He will repay the coastlands HCSB

Despite God’s warning, Sennecherib is relentless in his pursuit, and continues to taunt God-He uses his recent conquests to validate himself: (37:10) 10 Say this to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Don’t let your God whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem won’t be handed over to the king of Assyria:

Hezekiah’ letter.
(37:14-15) Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers, read it, then went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. 15 Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. This is now the 2nd petition brought to the Lord concerning this matter. His plea to Isaiah (37:3), and now taking it before the Lord himself.

Isaiah relays God answers (37:21-35)

(37:21-22) Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah:” The Lord, the God of Israel says: Because you prayed to Me about Sennecherib king of Assyria, 22this is the word the Lord has spoken against him:…

(Psalm 107:28-30) Then he cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven

God responds to Hezekiah regarding Sennacherib’s arrogance: (37:23) Who is it you have mocked and blasphemed? Who have you raised your voice against and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!
Then makes good on His promise:
37:36-38) 36 Then the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians.nWhen people got up in the morning- there were all dead bodies 37 So Sennecherib king of Assyria broke camp and left. He returned home and lived in Nineveh. Where he met his demise: 38 One day, while he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adramalech and Sherzer struck him down with the sword and esvaped to the land of Ararat. Then his so. Esar-hadden became king in his place. Remain vigelent, and intentional in prayer. Aloha Ke Akua

The Devil rear’s it’s ugly head

 

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Dealing with spiritual persecution:

(1Peter 4:12-14),”Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His gliry, you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you.

“I don’t believe in God!” If He is such a loving God, then, Why…?! and, It’s all the Christians fault that…!! The resonate cry of the unbeliever. Now imagine it’s your sibling, a member of the same household?
(Genesis 4:6-7) Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why are you despondent? 7If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. His desire is for you, but you must rule over it.
The reality is, Sin no longer crouches at the door, but sits with you at the dinner table, it occupies the very living space you do; It even sits with you in church.

We know God allows circumstances for a reason, and almost always for reasons we don’t understand. For the believer, it is a test of our spiritual fortitude, and represents the hope to grow our faith. For the unbeliever, the perfect reason to deny, and persecute Jesus Christ; Their “Sword of Damocles.”

This warfare is real: (1 Peter 5:8) Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a lion, looking for anyone he can devour. The scriptures are clear on the consequences of how we (believers) respond, and make no concessions for those who persecute His very own. (Ephesians 6:10-11) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Remain steadfast in the faith, Press harder into the cross. We are already victorious!John 16:33) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.
Aloha ke Akua “God bless”

Reconciled back to God

 

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“MENDING FENCES”

Lv 4:5-6 If someone incurs guilt in one of those cases, he is to confess he has committed that sin. 6 He must bring his restitution for the sin he has committed to the Lord: a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering. In this way, the priest will make atonement on his behalf for his sin. [4:31b] The priest is to burn it on the altar as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. In this way, the priest will make atonement on his behalf and he will be forgiven.

As we carefully examine our reconciliation, let us consider the full weight behind the transaction that took place thousands of years ago on our behalf-our “Salvation” Let us prayerfully be transparent before the cross to allow our indifferences (to God),be exposed and come to light, as we learn to push-back against the proclivities of our sinful nature.

Under OT Law, atonement for sins were only acceptable through sacrificial offerings. Observing and submitting to these Laws was a display of a believers faith in the promise of the Sacrificial Lamb to come.

Understanding Sacrificial Offerings and their purposes:

OT sacrifices (Levitical Offerings) were divided into five categories: 1. Burnt,2. Meal, 3. Peace (Fellowship), 4. Sin, and, 5. Trespass (sin). Each sacrifice, Deliberate, and filled a specific requirement of man’s relationship with God (Lv 4:5-6). These sacrifices were made with the highest reverence for what each represented.

Provisions for Atonement:
Merriam-Webster
Atonement (n) to make reparations for offense/injury; satisfaction

Recompense: (n):atonement. to pay back in equal amount to injury, to give something to, by way of compensation (a for a service rendered, or damage incurred)

OT: Sin(un-intentional), Atonement(Sacrificial offerings), Restoration:

NT: Sin (un-intentional), Atonement(Recompense, repentance), Restoration(Un-merited Favor with God) through the Son.

Observation: Atonement was/is available for OT and NT reconciliation, Our focus should be on how and what changed to affect our attitudes of worship. We should be humbled by the price that was paid on our behalf, and relishing in the saving grace of Christ, as we hold fast to the virtues of our faith: 2 Corinthians 5:5 And the One who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a downpayment.

Aloha ke Akua

In all we do, Seek the Lord

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(danash) Hb. vb.;to resort to, seek.

We are told be in constant preparation, and always on the look out for his coming, though, it would be impossible if we weren’t actively seeking him out. We know, Through him, All blessings flow, And, our attitude of worship should reflect our highest reverence for him. Our hope, that by leaning into Him in our seasons, we might become resplendent, and excited for His return

Seek (danash) Hb. vb.; to resort to, seek, the act of seeking

They were hungry, and came seeking; Their long awaited anticipation of a king turned to eagerness: Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, 2 saying,”Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw the star in the east and have come to worship Him.

He is there in times of our trouble. He will rain down mercy and grace on those who seek Him:(2 Chronicles 20:4) who gathered to seek the Lord, They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek Him Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, sought the Lord’s favor and protection against the impending invasion from the great armies.
Jehoshaphat assembled all the priests, and church leaders to the temple to pray for God’s favor and protection against the armies: (Deut. 4:29) But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul ESV

Seek Him in your worship. He finds favor in those who actively seek Him :Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the souls who seek him

Working out our salvation, Moving through fear

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“Paralyzed by Fear in our faith-walk”

Hebrews 6:11-12 Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope 12 so that you won’t become lazy but will become imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perserverence
Crippled by Fear. Numbers 13-14 The scouts returned and reported the exact opposite of what they witnessed, They were stifled by fear because of their lack of faith to take possession of what God had already promised. (13:31) But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are! Consequently, they were left to wander for forty years in the desert (14:17) Since the Lord wasn’t able to this people into the land He swore to give them, He has slaughtered them in the wilderness.

Stirring, and spurring. When we are being prepared for an assignment, a stirring begins to take place between our wiil, and the power of the Holy Spirt (pneuma-sarx). This spirit of contention creates a feeling of un-easiness, and discomfort, causing us to move-Praise God! Psalm 119:75-76 I know, O LORD, that your riles and righteosness, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.
Getting back on track. Separate the “Rocks from the Stones!” Of all our stuff, Which are the most pressing; causing the greatest discomfort? Devise a plan to work through it-Bring it to the throne for consideration, and Let the Lord make a way; To cause everything to fall into place.

Go after it! Obedience will cause our faith to increase: Romans 5:25 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into the grace in which we stand; rejoice in hope of the glory of God. This is a process that requires repetition, not the destination.

Why? Our faith is renewed as we pass through these challenges. We are moved from a spirit of bondage to a spirit of emancipation
Romans 6:22-23 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome of eternal life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord NASB

For the sake of Reconciliation

 

(Hebrews 2:5-8) 5 For He was not subjected to angels the world to come that we are talking about. 6 But one has somewhere testified; What is a man that You remember him, or the son of man that You care for him? 7You made him lower than the angels for a short time; You crowned him with glory and honor
8 And subjected everything under his feet.

(Psalm 8:3-6) 3 When I observe Your heavens,
the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which You set in place,
4 what is the man that You remember him,
the son of man that you look after him?
5 You made him less than God and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You made him lord over the works of Your hand

(Isaiah 53: 4,12) 4Yet He himself bore our sicknesses
and He carried our pains.
but we in turn regarded him as stricken, struck down and afflicted by God

12 Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion,
and He will receive the mighty as a spoil

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Hebrews 2:5-8 takes the most powerful verses of Isaiah 53 and points them directly to the pinnacle of Jesus’ ministry; Man’s redemption from sin through the blood of the lamb. Not that any part is less meaningful, But, to give the believer a renewed appreciation of what it took to fulfill the promise. “Not subjected to angels” Being made lowly didn’t make him any less than God-He was God incarnate (Hebrews 2:6-7) 6 But one has testified; What is a man that You remember him, or the son of man that You care for him? 7 You made him lower than the angels for a short time; You crowned him with honor and glory.

He came to affirm His diety: (Psalm 8:4-5) 4What is man than You remember him, the son of man that You look after him? 5You made him less than God and crowned him with glory

….Having Dominion over All things:
(Hebrews 2:8) And subjected everything under his feet
(Psalm 8:6) 6 You made him lord over the works of Your hand
(Isaiah 53:12) Therefore I will give him the many as a portion
and he will receive the mighty as spoil.

We know this transaction (Our redemption), was not without tragedy:
John 3:16) For God so loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son so so that every one who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life
(Hebrews 2:10) For bringing many sons to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God-all things exist for Him and through Him-should make the source of their salvation perfect through suffering