In Addition To All, Take Up the Shield of Faith

(Ephesians 6: 10-19)

The writer to the book of Hebrews gives the most definite and solid meaning of faith: the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). Who can understand faith, when never gone through difficulties? The measure of faith in one’s life is seen through hard times. Everyone has a certain applied degree of faith outside the spiritual. It is an important ingredient essential to life. Faith removes the doom and gloom of today’s when one has faith for a better tomorrow. Faith is a lifter upper brightening hope in whatever we hope for. But faith is much more than that when its shield is taken up in the spiritual battle field. The Bible says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. That is, not against humans. It is against the devil and his forces. Paul uses the Roman armor example to symbolize the armor of God’s proficiency in its use in every spiritual battle.

Faith is used as a shield. A shield means protection. The Roman shield was a very important piece of the armor used for that purpose. But it was not only used for protection, it was also to push out the enemy. It was made of wood-covered in hide. When wet it extinguished flaming arrows.  The Roman shield had an impressive size: almost three and a half feet tall and three and a half feet wide; its curve provided means of deflection against the enemy’s attacks.

According to the Promise of Life

The word promise bears a wonderful meaning, especially in times of trouble. It assures us of better things; it brings hope to the soul, strengthening it when all seems gloomy and hopeless. I am referring in particularly to the promises of our Lord YAHSHUA, promises that will never fail us. Paul, God’s faithful servant, who suffered much persecution, and was taken for dead, endured all because of God’s promise. He wrote, For I know Him Whom I have believed (II Tim. 1:12).  For knowing God, Paul without a doubt, believed His promises. The word know according to Webster, is to have a clear perception or understanding of. YAHSHUA said that will take knowing Him personally for one’s entrance to heaven. Not by work of miracles, not by work of uttered prophecies, neither by the casting of demons. He said, Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven (Matt. 7:21). “Depart from Me, I never knew you” will be the words those who did not do the will of God will hear.

Paul’s life, when YAHSHUA revealed Himself to him through a bright light, on the road to Damascus, was changed forever. Now an apostle of Messiah he pursued a deep relationship with God. His words, For I know Whom I have believed, is a solid statement of his faith. In a letter to the Philippians, he expressed his desire to know God by saying, [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed to His death (Phil. 3:10). At the time when the day for his departure from this world was approaching, he said, I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that day… (II Tim. 4:7,8). Paul endured all, never losing his faith, for the love of God and the promise of his victor’s crown.

Faith and Reason- Journey of the Soul

How does one reason God’s way, plan, and His fulfillment? We sinned; He gave us His Son to ransom us from its penalty with His life. While being nailed to the tree, YAHSHUA prayed a prayer of forgiveness for those who were nailing Him to the cross. How can one reason God’s love for us to the point of not only dying in our stead, but wanting us to live in heaven with Him? The soul, in its journey of reason, wonders clueless to the fact that there is no answer to these questions. Reasoning is good for us to understand the whys of the matter, but it takes faith to calm the heart and the mind, when there is no answer to the questions. Our rational conclusions do not always line up with faith, if we so depend on it for our understanding of things. The acceptance of Scripture without regard to reason and logic is a step of faith outside human’s interference.  Faith, true faith, that is, relies on confident expectation. Think, for example, Abraham, who had to wait for twenty-seven years before God fulfilled His promise to him of a son. Not only that, the fact that he and his wife were past the age of childbearing, opened the door to reasoning to step in, as he asked the Lord the question: “After I have become aged shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord, being old also? And shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? And Sarah, who is ninety-nine years old, bear a son?” (Gen. 17:17b). But God is not limited by impossibilities; in fact, nothing is impossible to Him, as He confirmed it to Abraham with these words: Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord? At the appointed time, when the season comes around, I will return to you and Sarah shall have borne a son (vs.14). Here we have God reasoning with Abraham, leading him to apply faith on that which seemed to him unreasonable.

Be Still… and The Winds Calmed Down

(Matthews 8:23-27)

YAHSHUA, after teaching the famous sermon on the mount, came down with a multitude of people following Him. From that crowd, a leper shows up and begs Him to be healed, as he prostrating himself and worshiping Him said, “If You are willing, You are able to cleanse me” … YAHSHUA then responded, I am willing and healed him. His day begun reaching out to a spiritually hungry and thirsty crowd. These were as if sheep without a shepherd. They always seemed to know where to find YAHSHUA. It was as if they had an appointment with Him. That day was no different. On His way to Capernaum, a Centurion came up to Him begging Him to heal his servant. He expressed the anguish of his servant by saying, Lord, my servant boy is lying at the house paralyzed and distressed with intense pain (Matt. 8:5-6). This Roman Centurion, without out a doubt, had heard about Him and now came to Him believing Him. It only took the first step for him to receive the result of his faith. In fact, YAHSHUA marveled at his faith and as a result, his servant was healed. Entering Peter’s house, He found Peter’s wife sick with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her. After that, many who were under the power of demons came to Him; He drove out the spirits with a word and restored to health all who were sick. The Word of God concludes, Thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, He Himself took our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases (vs.14-17). Those were very busy days for Messiah YAHSHUA. Compelled by love, compassion, He healed diseases- all kinds of diseases, He freed many from the power of demons.  Those were physical, emotional, and spiritual storms people brought to Him. None who came to Him left emptied handed or disappointed. Out of His fullness, as John said, they had received one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift upon gift (John 1:16).

The Victory That Conquers the World

(1 John 5:4; Hebrews 11:1-3, 6; 4:14-16)

Everything having been regenerated of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory which overcomes the world, even our faith; who is the one overcoming the world except the one who believes that YAHSHUA is the Son of God (I John 5:4, 5)?

Faith is the victory that conquers the world; faith, even the size of a mustard seed, has the power to move the hardest mountain; faith is the most essential ingredient in the recipe for spiritual success, for it is generated from God and it is the foundation and pillar of our belief. When YAHSHUA imparted His Spirit to the believer, He imparted faith, because He is faith. The greater the faith that we have, the more of Him that we have. We can only have the fruit of His Spirit and experience the true joy, and peace through faith, the root of hope, and all that pertains to the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Faith is the seed of the Holy Spirit planted in our spirit, giving us spiritual life, so we can bear His fruit of righteousness, as in characteristics of joy, peace, love, patience, goodness, kindness, humility, self-control, faithfulness. Using the example of an apple, we see that although it is one fruit, it has many characteristics: it is sweet, or sour, small, or big, ripe or green; it is red or yellow, or green, but only when we eat it we can define its taste. Like all fruit that God created, it has the most important part to reproduce –seeds. The seeds are the life of a fruit; inside that tiny seed there are many possibilities of tall or short trees with many thousands of fruits. Faith is like the seed in a fruit, it is the life, the essence of our belief; the Spirit of Faith is the HOLY SPIRIT HIMSELF, giving life to whomsoever will, instructing the believer to bear fruit with the same characteristics of His fruit. We can only experience joy and peace, when we have experience Him in our spirit and soul.

Stand Firm in The Faith to be Able To Stand

(Isaiah 7: 1-9)

“If you do not stand firm in your faith you will not stand at all.” (Isaiah 7: 9b). The confederacy planned against Ahaz King of Judah could not succeed because the Lord emphatically had said that it would not happen; It was emphatic because He had it said it twice. Two, or three, even four against one is powerless when the Lord God is not on their side. No king is saved by the great size and power of his army; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength, a horse is devoid of value for victory; neither does he deliver any by his great power. Behold, the Lord’s eye is upon those who fear Him, who wait for Him and hope in His mercy and loving kindness (Ps. 33:16-18). The Lord assured King Ahaz of his deliverance with a warning: If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all (vs.9b). Faith was the factor for King Ahaz to succeed, and it is for us today. Faith, the Word of God says, Is the victory that overcomes the world. It is the victory that overcomes any challenge that comes to us. Standing in faith is having a shield covering to protect us against the enemy. Paul admonishes us to lift up the shield of saving faith, upon which we can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. When the plans from the evil one against us are without basis, they will not succeed, for we are secured in God’s shelter.

The Word of God said, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all!” It is faith that assures us the equilibrium we need to stand firmly in place.  YAHSHUA assured Peter His prayer for him, when the devil asked Him permission to sift Peter, as wheat is sifted. He said, I prayed for you that your faith will not fail. These words from YAHSHUAconnect well with the words we read above. Faith is a very important factor in our daily lives for us to see the results we are looking for. When we approach our Lord, we must approach Him in faith, believing that He exists and there is nothing impossible for Him.  Faith that moves mountains does not have to be big; YAHSHUA describes it as big as a mustard seed. Faith is very powerful when exercised by the believer in his prayer. The Bible says that the earnest prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available. Elijah was a human being with a nature such as we have; and he prayed earnestly for it not to rain, and no rain fell on the earth for three years and six months (James 5:16b-17). Faith is an active part of the armor of God, for it is the weapon that will quench the flammable darts of the enemy. Faith makes things move in direction to God and compels Him to act in our favor. Without faith, we cannot apply the full armor of God, which is essential for us to take the first step against the enemy. And without it, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).

Faith in the Testing of Time

(Genesis 22; Job 1:8-9; I Peter 1: 7)

Blessed is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).

“For when he has stood the test and been approved” there will be a crown waiting for him, the crown of life which has been promised by God Himself to those who love Him,  shown in action of obedience and endurance. The crown of life is the crown that will be given to those who endure trials and martyrdom for their faith. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).

In his testing of faith, the Patriarch Abraham answered the Lord’s calling by saying, Here I am!  This is such a gesture of submission it cannot be ignored. Abraham had a friend’s relationship with God. His walk of faith confirmed it, and the fact that God Himself so expressed in Genesis 18:19: For I have known him [as My own], so that he may teach and command his children and the sons of his house after him to keep the way of the Lord and to do what is just and righteous, so that the Lord may bring Abraham what He has promised him. Abraham did not know about the test of faith he was about to go through at God’s calling his name. “Here I am”   he answered. The Lord then commanded  him saying, Take your son, your only son, whom you loveand go to the region of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I will tell you ( Gen. 22:2).

Faith

Faith is the assurance, the proof and the conviction. (Hebrews 11, 12)

The assurance of things hoped for; the proof of things not seen; and the conviction of their reality.

Faith gives us understanding that the world was created by the Word of God and not by visible things; faith brings righteousness and causes obedience to act for the glory of God; perfect faith pleases God and moves Him to act on behalf of those who walk in it; faith is the tool necessary to approach God for one to believe that He exists.

Faith causes one to believe the unseen and faith brings salvation to those who embrace it; faith leads us to obedience to God’s commands and fixes our eyes on the hope, with expectation of our redemption; faith sets the hearts on the spiritual world and gives us the glimpse of the eternal world, where our home is; faith causes us to yearn for our heavenly home and puts us in remembrance that we are strangers here on earth.

Genuine faith goes through the tests believing to have received the promises from Him who is faithful to do what He says He would do and faith reasons God’s ability and faithfulness and believes in His promises.

Daniel Prayed

(Daniel 6: 1-22)

The story of Daniel in the lion’s den is much more than just a children’s story. In fact, this thought obscures the meaning of the events God allowed to happen to show what will be in the future for the nation of Israel. Many events in the Old Testament have happened with a purpose to point out to the near or far future. The Word of God is unsearchable; only those who desire to have the understanding of it, to them will be given revelation of its prophetic meanings. Much is missed because of that. The book of Daniel is clearly an example of it. When we read this book is like opening the future right before our eyes. From the four Jewish youths the Bible mentions in this book, Daniel stands out, because God chose him to be his end time messenger. Daniel’s experience in the lion’s den, like that of his friends in the furnace, has a prophetic meaning directed to his nation. Daniel and his friends well represent the faithful ones in the time of the tribulation and their deliverance.

When King Darius of Persia, who was the successor of Belshazzar, took over the kingdom of Babylon he set over the kingdom 120 governors in charge of all the kingdom. He also chose three presidents over them. Daniel was chosen to be one of them. The Bible tells us that he was distinguished above all the presidents and the satraps because an excellent spirit was in him. The king then set him over the whole realm (Dan. 6:2-3). Daniel, like Joseph, was favored and placed in the right position to fulfill God’s plan. But like Joseph, Daniel had to suffer in the hands of the Gentiles for the truth to be sufficed. Jealousy abounded in the hearts of all those who worked closely to him. They desire was to find something to accuse Daniel in order to disgrace him. But Daniel was faithful to the only true God. They had to create a situation where Daniel would not bend to it.  So they came up with an idea that seemed good in the eyes of the king: the establishment of a royal statute to whom all people must pray and make their request to. Upon the signing of this decree Daniel went into his house, with its windows opened toward Jerusalem, there he knelt as usual three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God (vs.5-10).