Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 8:10’

Ever increasing faith

February 9, 2019

The Verse of the Day for February 9, 2019, comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 in the Amplified Bible:

3 We ought and indeed are obligated [as those in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as is fitting because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of every one of you each toward the others is increasing and abounds.

This verse reminds us that faith is not static, but God wants our faith to grow, increase and abound. When the apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith,” he responded:

6 And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6 Amplified Bible)

As we plant and water the Word of faith in our lives, God will give the increase, as we grow from those of “little faith” to those who demonstrate “great faith.” That particular expression along with the Verse of the Day brings to mind my recently released book, Embracing Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs. Indeed, faith continues to be an essential component of my life, and I discuss its importance in Chapter 6: “The Faith Factor: Without faith it is impossible. . .” This excerpt serves as an appetizer to the full course meal offered in the book.

Throughout my encounter with prostate cancer, I was well aware of the importance of faith because the diagnosis challenged me to go to God and seek His guidance and direction as never before. During this time, I was asked to write an article sharing what faith means to me. This task helped me to articulate the importance of faith which I describe as the “bedrock of my life.” Defined as confident assurance, trust and conviction in God that I will prevail, faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I recognized that the topic has been of interest to me since high school when I first taught a Bible study on faith at a youth camp. Focusing on Hebrews 11, verses 1 and 6, I shared what little I knew at the time, but I have since expanded my knowledge of the subject and personal application of the principles of learning to live by faith. Those two verses have contributed to the foundation upon which I have built my life as a teacher and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the years following my diagnosis, I expanded my knowledge of the subject of faith, examining the Word of God and pointing to essential illustrations of faith in Hebrews 11 and elsewhere in the Scriptures and in life. . . . The Gospels offer an account of an individual who impressed Jesus Christ with his “great faith.” The centurion in Matthew 8 comes to Jesus Christ with a request that he heal the man’s servant. In response, the Lord says that he will come and do as he asks. The centurion counters by saying that Jesus does not have to come to his house, but he has“. . . only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” In response, the Lord says, “I tell you truthfully, I have not found such great faith [as this] with
anyone in Israel. The centurion demonstrated “such great faith” and profoundly impressed the Lord.

A contemporary term corresponding to “great faith” is “crazy faith.” When believers encounter circumstances that seem utterly impossible and respond that they know the situation will turn out favorably, despite what appears to be a hopeless case. The world might respond to their positive expectations with, “That’s crazy!” We know, however, that we walk by faith and not by sight, and we counter with “That’s not crazy. . . That just means we have ‘crazy faith.’” Larry King says, “Crazy faith is when you simply refuse to let what you perceive –that is, your circumstances, your situations, your trials, tests, and obstacles – interfere with what you believe.”

Here is a poetic description:

Such Great Faith—Crazy Faith

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed,
Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith,
not even in Israel!

Matthew 8:10 (KJV)

As servants of a king assess his vast treasure,
When the Lord returns, will he find faith on the earth?
When He appraises our faith, what will it be worth?
When all is said and done, may we add our measure,
Though small as the grain of a tiny mustard seed.
Should the Lord come during the Age of the Gentiles,
May our faith be found so pure that nothing defiles.
May we be living by faith in word and in deed,
For God is ever faithful and His Word is true.
May such great faith descend from the centurion
To the faithful ones who bear this criterion:
Whatever God shall speak, this shall He also do.
We will still be walking by faith, not by what we see,
While pressing toward the mark, reaching toward our destiny.

Here is John Waller offering a musical expression of “Crazy Faith”:

Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs is available wherever books are sold and online. For more details check out https://lonnelledwardjohnson.com.

Such great faith: crazy faith

July 26, 2018

Earlier this week, I shared the good news that the much awaited book, Not Just a Survivor—More than a Conquer, should be in print in mid-October of this year. I expressed my gratitude to God for all those who provided encouragement and support in helping to bring to pass one of my heart’s desires.

While reflecting on today’s Verse of the Day, Chapter 6 of my book also came to mind: “The Faith Factor: Without faith it is impossible. . .” with its reference to Hebrews 11:1 (Amplified Bible):

[The Triumphs of Faith] Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

This excerpt serves as an appetizer to the full course meal that will be served in about ninety days, Lord willing:

Throughout my encounter with prostate cancer, I was well aware of the importance of faith because the diagnosis challenged me to go to God and seek His guidance and direction as never before. During this time, I was asked to write an article sharing what faith means to me. This task helped me to articulate the importance of faith which I describe as the “bedrock of my life.” Defined as confident assurance, trust and conviction in God that I will prevail, faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I recognized that the topic has been of interest to me since high school when I first taught a Bible study on faith at a youth camp. Focusing on Hebrews 11, verses 1 and 6, I shared what little I knew at the time, but I have since expanded my knowledge of the subject and personal application of the principles of learning to live by faith. Those two verses have contributed to the foundation upon which I have built my life as a teacher and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the years following my diagnosis, I expanded my knowledge of the subject of faith, examining the Word of God and pointing to important illustrations of faith in Hebrews 11 and elsewhere in the Scriptures and in life. I endeavored to relate the simplicity of faith, being that of hearing from God by way of the written Word of God or the Bible or by revelation from God. By acting upon what you have heard, you receive the corresponding results of your actions. Romans 10:17 speaks of source of faith: “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

In addition, I learned about another factor that can impact faith. “Unbelief, the Thief” describes this corrosive element that can potentially undermine strong faith. In the same way that unbelief kept the Children of Israel from entering into the Promised Land, it can cause believers to forfeit their inheritance. I recognized the importance of maintaining a joyful heart of faith rather than harboring “an evil heart of unbelief.”

In the Gospels we also note the corrosive and destructive effect of unbelief in that Jesus Christ was unable to perform many miracles or many mighty works in his hometown of Nazareth and the surrounding areas because of their unbelief. This negative spiritual force has also been described as “the only thing that defeats the promises of God.”

Also recorded in the Gospels is an account of an individual who impressed Jesus Christ with his “great faith.” The centurion in Matthew 8 comes to Jesus Christ with a request that he heal the man’s servant. In response, the Lord says that he will come and do as he asks. The centurion counters by saying that Jesus does not have to come to his house, but he has “. . . only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” In response the Lord says, “I tell you truthfully, I have not found such great faith [as this] with anyone in Israel. The centurion demonstrated “such great faith” and profoundly impressed the Lord.

A contemporary term that corresponds to “great faith” is “crazy faith.” When a believers encounter circumstances that seem utterly impossible and respond that they know the situation will turn out favorably, despite what appears to be a hopeless case. The world might respond to their positive expectations with, “That’s crazy!” We know, however, that we walk by faith and not by sight, and we counter with “That’s not crazy. . . That just means we have ‘crazy faith.’” Writer Larry King says, “Crazy faith is when you simply refuse to let what you perceive –that is, your circumstances, your situations, your trials, tests and obstacles – interfere with what you believe.”

Here is a poetic description:

Such Great Faith—Crazy Faith

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed,
Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith,
not even in Israel!

Matthew 8:10 (KJV)

As servants of a king assess his vast treasure,
When the Lord returns, will he find faith on the earth?
When He appraises our faith, what will it be worth?
When all is said and done, may we add our measure,
Though small as the grain of a tiny mustard seed.
Should the Lord come during the Age of the Gentiles,
May our faith be found so pure that nothing defiles.
May we be living by faith in word and in deed,
For God is ever faithful and His Word is true.
May such great faith descend from the centurion
To the faithful ones who bear this criterion:
Whatever God shall speak, this shall He also do.
We will still be walking by faith, not by what we see,
While pressing toward the mark, reaching toward our destiny.

Here is John Waller offering a musical expression of “Crazy Faith”:

Stay tuned and keep stopping by Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe for updates on the book.

Faith, our foundation: Great faith

May 1, 2016

Hebrews 11--1,6

The Verse of the Day for May 1, 2016 is a scripture that is particularly meaningful to me, in that it is one of two scriptures that I used in the first Bible teaching that I conducted at youth camp when I was a rising high school sophomore:

Hebrews 11:6 (KJV):

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

In this instance, faith, then can be said to be a kind of sine qua non, an indispensable condition, element, or factor; an essential ingredient. This verse reminds believers that faith is essential to building and maintaining a solid relationship with God, for without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11, known as the Hall of Faith, introduces an array of individuals who accomplished great spiritual exploits, as they walked by faith. Likewise, as we progress in our walk of faith, we learn that faith must be the firm foundation upon which we build. A number of years ago, I was asked write out my definition of faith and relate its application. Here is an excerpt from a statement entitled “Faith—the Bedrock of Our Lives”:

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we grow and develop, while discovering that faith is the bedrock of our lives. We define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction that we will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

In the midst thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!” Voices shout “You can’t,” but faith proclaims, “We can and we will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than we can number, faith gives us courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious—you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says “No way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

In terms of illustrations of faith, we find excellent examples from the Bible and from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible. We recognize and rejoice, knowing that “with God all things are possible.” Indeed, faith is our solid foundation. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is our sure foundation.

Many years subsequent to my first teaching on faith, I was asked to share on faith and in the process of preparing to teach, I looked closely at individuals were described as having “great faith”, and I examined a question raised by  Jesus Christ,who wonders will he find faith when he returns. Both passages inspired the following poem which has since been modified and seems to be appropriate to add to our discussion at this point:

Will He Find Faith?

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said

to those who followed

“Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith,

not even in Israel!

Matthew 8:10

And shall not God avenge his own elect,

which cry day and night unto him,

though he bear long with them?

I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.

Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh,

shall he find faith on the earth?

Luke 17:7-8

As servants of a king assess his vast treasure,
When the Lord returns will he find faith on the earth?
When He appraises our faith, what will it be worth?
When all is said and done, may we add our measure,
Though small as the grain of a tiny mustard seed.
Should the Lord come during the Age of the Gentiles,
May our faith be found so pure that nothing defiles.
May we be living by faith in word and in deed,
For God is ever faithful and His Word is true.
May such great faith descend from the centurion
To the faithful ones who bear this criterion:
Whatever God shall speak, this shall He also do.
We will still be walking by faith, not by what we see,
While pressing toward the mark, reaching toward our destiny.

Contemporary musical artists, Kutless, offer this remarkable reminder: “That’s what faith can do.”