Faith verses fate YouVersion Devotional

Four Stages In Progressive Faith
Moses’ story is always one of amazement, and his parent’s faith is what preserved his life so that he would one day become the deliverer of the people of Israel. I wonder what would have happened if Moses’ mother accepted the fate presented to her. I am sure God could have raised up another person, but before the foundation of the earth God had written the plan for Moses’ life, and he would look for partners of faith to bring his plan to fruition. I am sure glad Moses’ parents didn’t sit on the bank of the river Nile and said, “Whatever will be, will be.”

Today as we come to a close I want us to examine the scriptures in Hebrews 11 about Moses and pay attention to the words used in the Amplified Bible as the author describes Moses’ journey. 

1. Aroused faith 

When our faith is aroused we can:

Conquer the things of the world and refuse to be called a son of bondage – (Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter).

We can take up the greater cause for Christ, and his church even if it means being cut off from being popular according to the world standards – (Moses preferred to share in the oppression of his own people).

We can weigh our choices and make Godly decisions – (Moses gave up the riches and comfort in bondage to have freedom with God).

[Aroused] by faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,

Because he preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.

He considered the contempt and abuse and shame [borne for] the Christ (the Messiah Who was to come) to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt, for he looked forward and away to the reward (recompense). Hebrews 11:24-26 (AMPC)

2. Motivated faith 

When our faith is motivated we can:

Conquer fears of the present situations and circumstances and look to the One who promises – (Moses left Egypt).

[Motivated] by faith he left Egypt behind him, being unawed and undismayed by the wrath of the king; for he never flinched but held staunchly to his purpose and endured steadfastly as one who gazed on him Who is invisible. Hebrews (11:27 AMPC)

3. Simple faith 

When we operate in simple faith we can:

Depend on God as your only source of life, needs, protection, health, wholeness, and wealth – (Moses instituted the Passover)

By faith (simple trust and confidence in God) he instituted and carried out the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood [on the doorposts] so that the destroyer of the firstborn (the angel) might not touch those [of the children of Israel]. Hebrews 11:28 (AMPC)

4. Urged on faith 

When urged on by faith we can:

Set the stage for miracles – (with God’s help Moses parted the Red Sea)

Release everything into God’s hands – (Moses had total faith as he led the people of Israel in the dry path of the sea)

See the enemy defeated by the very same thing that was your deliverance – Moses saw the Egyptian army drown in the Red Sea).

[Urged on] by faith the people crossed the Red Sea as [though] on dry land, but when the Egyptians tried to do the same thing they were swallowed up [by the sea]. Hebrews 11:29 (AMPC)

So you see my friends, faith is progressive, but with every level, while there may be more difficult obstacles to overcome, it becomes easier to trust God who is greater than our troubles. Faith catches God’s attention because faith screams, “I can’t do this Lord but I know you can!” Without fail, God will show up at every juncture of faith. I pray that you will live your life by faith and not fate.

“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” ~ Oswald Chambers

1 John YouVersion Devotional

Love for fellow believers is a nonnegotiable part of the Christian faith. If someone professes faith but does not love his fellow believers, such a person has not been truly converted. Love may be stronger or weaker, more or less consistent, but if conversion has occurred, it will be present. At this point in redemptive history, as Christ has accomplished his work on the cross, has poured his Spirit upon us, and continues to make intercession for us, a lack of love among believers is particularly inexcusable. If anyone seeks to justify hatred toward other believers, it is clear that such a one is blinded, unable to see the clear truth of this text. 

Since darkness does indeed blind people, we must remember that mere rational explanation will not be adequate to bring others to Christ; the work of the Holy Spirit is necessary. Our duty is to speak the gospel, but only God can open blind eyes. 

John’s use of “beloved” is instructive. Although “dearly beloved” has for many become an overused, archaic-sounding convention, we must not lose the pastoral import of addressing the people of God in ways that regularly affirm our love and God’s love for them. Pastors, particularly, can learn from John’s example by addressing their people in ways that make clear their affection for them, even when challenging or rebuking them.

John 1 YouVersion Devotional

This is a powerful and important text as we deal with the reality of sin in the life of a Christian. Any discussion of this topic must begin, as John does, with the bedrock truth of God’s utter holiness. Without this we will tend to downplay or excuse our sinfulness for various reasons. I have had countless pastoral discussions that ended up with the person saying, in essence, “If you just knew how difficult this is, you would understand that my sin must be excused. God wants me to be happy, and this difficult marriage makes me unhappy, so I must be allowed to walk away.” Or, “I am attracted to people of the same sex, and since I am lonely I must be allowed to marry someone of the same sex.” The examples abound. We must begin with the absolute holiness of God so that we are reminded that the standards of holiness do not depend on our whims. 

John, then, is an example of a wise pastor guiding us through the possible dangers of responding to our sin. We tend, on the one hand, to excuse or hide our sin or, on the other, to be crushed by despair over the reality of our sin—and the enemy of our souls does not care which snare catches us. He deploys both stratagems readily and cunningly. John refutes all claims to sinless perfection this side of heaven. He pokes a hole in all of our puffed up pretension. For all of us, sin is not merely a past memory but also a present reality. We must face it. But when we face it, we can be overwhelmed. We must face it and then run to Jesus. We must take sin seriously, and we must also take God’s forgiveness seriously. 

The best way to fight sin is to confess it. It often feels like admitting our sin would lead to taking it lightly (“Oh, it’s okay. We all do it”) and that it would be better to conceal our sin (“I would never do that”). But this is not the way. We find cleansing by confessing. This faithful cleansing produces gratitude in the forgiven. Since, as Jesus taught, he who is forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:41–47), this confession leads us to greater love for Jesus, and such love is a greater deterrent to sin than fear of exposure is. 

It is also interesting to note how John contrasts things we might say (“If we say . . .” 1 John 1:6, 8, 10) with God’s truth. People make all sorts of claims and sometimes will allow no disagreement. But God’s Word determines truth despite our claims.

John 1 day 1 of 15 YouVersion Devotional

John opens this letter with a firm declaration of his authority as an eyewitness of the incarnation (as Paul often did). Despite the fact that some denied the truth of the incarnation (as we discover later), John asserts that he and the apostles know the reality of the resurrection through firsthand experience. 

John’s audience had experienced a break in fellowship when the incarnation-deniers left. But John tells them that what they need is fellowship with him, because he is in fellowship with the Father and Son. John is saying to this church, “Stay with us. Do not follow those who left.” As John will make clear later, break in fellowship is not to be desired. If such a rupture happens, however, John counsels his audience to stay with those connected to the apostolic witness, which is connected to God. 

Notice John’s two stated pastoral purposes. As just noted, his first purpose is that his readers remain in fellowship with orthodox believers and thus in fellowship with God. In other words, John is pursuing their perseverance. It is true that God preserves his people, but one way he does so is through the teaching, rebuking, and correcting of pastors and other believers. If we turn a deaf ear to such instruction, we ought not expect to persevere (Prov. 19:27). Secondly, John writes to ensure the joy of his people. This also shows us the heart of a true pastor, yearning for and laboring for the perseverance of his people. John “has the heart of a pastor which cannot be completely happy so long as some of those for whom he feels responsible are not experiencing the full blessings of the gospel.”*

Notes:

*I. Howard Marshall, The Epistles of John, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1978), 105.