441:  Faith is Justified by Action

441: Faith is Justified by Action

We have previously looked at how to pray at all times and in all circumstances by letting the Holy Spirit, through God’s Word, direct our prayers.  But next on the Faith Prepper list of required spiritual skills is learning how to trust Him at all times by allowing our faith to grow by having it exercised in often unpleasant circumstances.  After all, faith grows when it is tested.  And testing is usually unpleasant during the process but wonderful at the end.

The Greek word translated “faith” in the New Testament is pístis and means: “to win over, to persuade. Subjectively it means firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth”  This definition is used over 250 times in the New Testament alone.  Everything in the Spirit is based on faith and everything of faith is designed by God to bypass the senses.  Everything.

In addition to this, all faith is not justified by merely having it.  But all faith is justified by the action it produces.  In other words, faith by itself is worth little.  But faith, accompanied by actions or works based on that faith is alive and real.  This is exactly what James was trying to tell us in James 2:14-26.  Read it for yourself.

They Did Something

If you look at the people included in Hebrews 11, what we affectionately call the roll-call of faith, they are all listed there not because of their faith, but what they did based on their faith.  Or what actions they took empowered by their faith.  To believe God told you to do something but then not have the faith to actually do it, will not land you on this list.  Faith is justified by the actions empowered by our faith.  Let’s look at Hebrews 11.

By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain (Heb. 11:4).  Or, “by faith Able did something…”

By faith Noah prepared an ark (Heb. 11:7).  Noah did something by faith.  He built a boat in a desert when it had never rained.

By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was told to leave his home and travel to a land promised to him by God (Heb. 11:8-10).  His faith was justified, not by the fact he believed God had a land for him, but by the fact he actually left his home to travel to a foreign country.  He did something.

By faith, Abraham was told to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering (Heb. 11:17-19).  And he did just that.  If God hadn’t intervened, Abraham would have obeyed God explicitly and his son would have died.  Why?  Because faith is justified by actions.  And Abraham’s actions proved his faith.

By faith, Isaac and Jacob and Joseph did something on their death bed (Heb. 11:20-22).  They did something.  And what they did, by faith, is what qualified them to be listed with the others in this chapter.

Next, we have Moses (Heb. 11:23-29).  Then the story of the fall of Jericho (Heb. 11:30).  We are presented with the faith and actions of Rahab (Heb. 11:31) and so many more, Gideon, Barak,  Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets (Heb. 11:32-34).  And they are all listed in the chapter because of the actions they took based on their faith.  Not the other way around.

So where are you in your journey of faith?  Do you have the faith needed to be a faith prepper?  Can your faith survive the coming darkness?  What are you doing today to place yourself in situations where you must rely on your faith and not on your own wit or resources?  Where do you want to go from here?

To find out more about becoming a Faith Prepper, keep listening.

The following is a study on Trusting God by Faith and becoming a Faith Prepper.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

Download this episode (right click and save)




440:  Taking God at His Word

440: Taking God at His Word

One of the attributes of becoming a Faith Prepper is learning how to trust God as His Word.  I know many of us will say that we do.  When pressed, almost all believers will state the mantra, “I believe everything God says, start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation.”  After all, that’s the expected answer.  To say anything less would make us seem like a lukewarm believer.

But the truth is, most believers, maybe ever you, don’t truly take God’s Word as the final authority in your life.  How can I say that?  Because God’s Word speaks to just about every issue we face today yet the church seems to be divided up into various opinions that differ greatly from one another.  If God’s Word doesn’t change and is always true, how can that be?  If God’s Word says something is wrong, for example, how can any believer who claims God’s Word as the final authority in their life, have a different opinion than what the Word says?  It seems inconsistent, doesn’t it?  Hypocritical.

As the adage goes, the Scriptures are true about everything it teaches.  And it teaches about everything.

To test whether God’s Word molds your opinions or whether your opinions are determined independent of God’s Word, I have listed a number of controversial issues below.  What is your opinion on these?  And whatever your opinion is, does it line up with the Word of God?  If it doesn’t, who is wrong, and what are you prepared to do about it?

My Opinions

Let’s see how you would answer the following:

  • Abortion – Does a woman have the right to end the life of her unborn child under any circumstances?
  • Homosexuality – Is it a sin? Or did God create people both heterosexual and homosexual?
  • Sex – Is premarital sex always a sin?  Always?
  • Divorce – Is it proper to divorce a spouse?
  • Education – Whose responsibility is it to educate our children? Or, is it proper to send our children to government (public) schools?
  • Tolerance – Is it true that Jesus never judged any one and neither should we as His followers?
  • Children – How many children should a family have?  Is birth control or family planning ever in God’s will?
  • Church – Should women be pastors?  Should women have leadership roles that involve men?
  • Friends – Should a believer have friends that are non-believers?  How close should they be?
  • Home – Should a man be a stay at home dad?  Or should a woman go to work outside the home and put the kids in daycare or public school?
  • Spiritual Leadership – Whose responsibility is the spiritual leadership in a family?  Father?  Mother? Church?  Someone else?
  • Environment – How concerned should a Christian be about the environment?  And what should they do about it?
  • Politics – Should a believer ever vote for a Democrat?  Should a believer ever vote for a Republican?  Should a believer vote at all?
  • Dating and Marriage – Should a believer ever marry an unbeliever?  Should they date an unbeliever?
  • Dating vs Courtship – Should a believer date at all?
  • Islam – How is a believer to view the god of Islam?
  • Drinking – Should a believer drink alcohol?
  • Entertainment – Should a believer watch or listen to media that includes profanity, nudity, or sex?  Should a believer watch or listen to media that promotes anything contrary to sound Biblical teaching?
  • Money – How much money should a believer accumulate?  And how much of their income should they give away?

How many of your opinions were just that, opinions?  How many of your views or convictions were based on Scripture?  And those that weren’t based on Scripture, does that bother you at all?  Are you willing to change?  Right now?  Today?  No matter the costs?

To find out more about becoming a Faith Prepper, keep listening.

The following is a study on Trusting God’s Word and becoming a Faith Prepper.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

Download this episode (right click and save)




439:  Kingdom Praying

439: Kingdom Praying

When we look at the content of the prayers of the early church we are amazed they didn’t pray like much of the church does today— for the little answerable “fix”.  Instead, they prayed for Kingdom matters, what we call Kingdom Prayers.  Let me explain.

A “little answerable” is a prayer for a little “fix” that is often related to our sense of entitlement from God.  These can be called horizontal prayers.  We lose our job so we pray for a new one.  A loved one is sick, so we pray for their healing.  We don’t have enough money to make it through the end of the month, so we pray to win the lottery.  And on the surface, these seem like proper, loving, spiritual prayers.  But that’s not how the early church prayed.

A Kingdom prayer, on the other hand, is praying for something that has lasting value and importance in the Kingdom of God.  For example, look at the following prayers and note what they are asking for (and what they are not):  Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-19, Romans 15:5-6, 13, Philippians 1:9-11, Philemon 1:4-6.

Kingdom Prayers

Do you see the difference?  Instead of praying for the current situation to be remedied, the early church prayed for a lasting effect in the believer no matter how the situation turned out.  Their prayers were long-term, character-focused, and not merely looking for an immediate “fix” to make life better.

So what can we learn from this?  Assuming you looked up the verses listed above, the following are a few truths we can glean from the content of the Kingdom prayers.

One, don’t immediately just jump to the obvious when you pray for a need.  Instead, begin by asking God what He wants to do in that situation?  Or, what is His will regarding what you pray?  Or finally, what would give Him the most glory in this situation?  Then, begin to pray accordingly.

Two, don’t be so quick to pray for the results or the “fix”.  Instead, pray for spiritual growth, insight, and development in the life of the one in need.  Again, ask God what He wants to do to bring glory to Himself in this situation or how He wants to transform the person into the image of His Son in this?

Three, when you don’t know what to pray, then pray Scripture.  The Holy Spirit will guide you in your prayer and even pray for you when you don’t know how to pray. Remember the promise in Romans 8:26-27.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God – Romans 8:26-27.

Having the content of your prayers changed to focus more on the eternal rather than the temporal is one major step to becoming a faith prepper.  To find out more about how this is done and how to become a faith prepper, keep listening.

The following is a study on the prayer life of the early church or Kingdom Praying.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

Download this episode (right click and save)




Prayer:  Ephesians 2:19 – Household of God

Prayer: Ephesians 2:19 – Household of God

Today, as we begin to pray, we will look at one last blessing from Ephesians 2:19 that involves our inclusion in “the household of God.”  Our verse for today reads:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.

As always, before we can understand what the verse means, we have to understand exactly what the text is saying.  We do that by defining our key terms in order to see what the meaning of the word was when it was written, and not necessarily what it means today.  After all, language is constantly in a state of flux and changes with each generation.  For example, 50 years ago the word “mouse” meant only one thing to everyone, a furry rodent.  But today our primary thought when we hear that word is of a computer mouse.  You can see the importance of discovering the original meaning of the text and not making it say what we want it to say.  So let’s define our words.

The Greek word translated “household” is oikeíos and means “belonging or standing in relation to the household.”  Or, more literally, “belonging to a household.”  The blessing for each of us as revealed in this verse once again drives home the point we are now God’s family, His children, and as such, members of His household, the “household of God” (Eph. 2:19).  Which raises just a few questions and some encouraging answers.

The Household of God

First, how does someone become a member of a household?  There are basically two ways.  One, you can be born into a household or family as a son or daughter.  Or two, you can be chosen to be included in the household by adoption as a son or daughter.  For us as believers, both ways apply.

Jesus, when talking with Nicodemus, introduced the reality of being “born again” into the Kingdom of God.  Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  He then went on to describe what this process of the new birth was all about by saying it is supernatural, spiritual, and has nothing to do with natural, physical birth.  But Jesus also stated emphatically the new birth is the only way to enter the Kingdom of God.  It is a non-negotiable, unyielding requirement.  Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).  Did you catch the non-negotiable term in His statement?  It is the word, cannot.

Jesus said without the new birth you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.  Or, in other words, you cannot be saved or receive eternal life.

The Greek word translated cannot is a combination of two words.  The first is ou which means “not, no, expressing direct and full negation both independently and absolutely.”  The other word is dúnamai which means “to be able, to have power, by virtue of one’s own ability and resources.”  So cannot in Greek means “not, no way, never” and “to be able or to have the power within oneself.”  In essence, it ain’t gonna happen no matter how hard you try.

What Jesus was telling Nicodemus is the entrance into His Kingdom and into the “household of God” is not something we can do on our own.  We are not able, we do not have the power or resources, and there is literally nothing we can do to join God’s family on our own.  We have to be invited, called, accepted, changed, and “born again” by the Spirit (John 3:8).

There is so much more to unpack regarding “the household of God” and we will have to table much of that until tomorrow.  But for today, praise Him for the fact your salvation was a gift given to you by a sovereign Father who chose to include you in His family (Eph. 1:4).  He chose to not only adopt you as His child (Eph. 1:5), but also change you by the new birth into the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29).  In fact, He predestined you before time began for that very purpose.

So this is your calling.  This is what you were created for.  You were destined to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29) so others will see Him when they see you.  And rest assured, there is no higher calling than this.

Time to Pray

When you pray this morning, don’t pray as one who has no purpose or meaning in their life.  Instead, pray as one who has, and who is right now, receiving an inheritance from the King and has been commissioned to bring the light of His Kingdom into a dark and foreboding world.

Spend some time today thanking Him for this wondrous calling and praise Him for how blessed you truly are!

And enjoy Him to the fullest today.




Prayer:  Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 2

Prayer: Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 2

Yesterday we looked at the word saints and how the Lord continually used it to describe each of us that have been redeemed by the blood of His Son.  As you will recall, the word translated saints (hágios) means “holy, with the idea of separation, consecration, sanctification, and devotion to God” and is the standard name in the New Testament God uses to describe believers.  The verse we are using to help focus our prayers is Ephesians 2:19 which reads:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.

But for many of us, the idea of being called a saint is unsettling and uncomfortable.  Why?  Because we view sainthood as perfection or something like a title given to someone far closer to the Lord than we are or who has done something for Him much greater than anything we have ever done.  And that is unfortunate.  Not that we haven’t accomplished what some heroes of the faith have accomplished.  What is unfortunate is our faulty view of how the Lord sees us in His Son.  For Him, we are saints, and that should settle the issue once and for all, no matter how uncomfortable we may feel.  But you and I both know that it doesn’t.

So maybe this will help.

If you feel your past sins keep you from ever being called a saint, you are in good company.  Many, if not most, believers today feel being referred to as a saint is something earned or deserved and not something given by grace.  But following the same logic, they would also have to conclude salvation must also be earned.  And if that was the case I, for one, would be in deep water.  Why?  Because all I have ever earned are the wages of my sin, which is death (Rom. 6:23).  But what I received from God was the gift of grace unto salvation.  So it also is with our position as a saint, or literally, a “holy one.”  God sees us as holy even though, by our actions, we prove otherwise.  Daily.  Maybe even hourly.  How can that be?

Let me ask you a question, what about you is holy?  That’s right, nothing.  So why does the Lord call you a saint or a “holy one”?   It is because your sins or unholiness have been imputed or reckoned to His Son and His Son’s holiness and righteousness has been imputed or credited to your account by grace.  As the Scriptures say, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).  So you and I are only considered holy because He is holy and because we are found in Him.  Therefore when we, defiled and unholy, approach our Father whose primary characteristic is pure holiness, He sees His Son’s likeness in us and not our sin.  That part of our life was nailed to His cross many centuries ago (Col. 2:14) and our forgiving Father has chosen not to remember our sins any longer (Isa. 43:25).  And that, my friends, is the definition of grace.

We Have a Choice

So we have a choice.  We can accept what God has deemed to be true in us, even though we don’t fully understand how it all works.  Or we can choose to live by our own standard of justice, rejecting the grace given to us because we feel God must somehow be wrong in how He views us or He has made a colossal mistake.  “After all”, we reason, “if God knew what I was really like He would have nothing to do with me.”  Which is probably true, if God was like you and me.  But thankfully He is not.  God does know exactly what we are like and yet He loves us still.  In fact, He has “made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6)  Remember that verse?  The word translated “accepted” is charitóō which means “grace, divine favor, to be highly honored or greatly favored”.  It literally means to be approved by God.  This passage in Ephesians states God the Father, who knows everything about us— every dirty sin, every broken promise, every sinister thought— has taken it upon Himself and has “made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).  He “made us highly honored or greatly favored” as recipients of the gift of His wondrous grace.  That is why God can call those He redeems saints.  And that is why He sees us as “holy ones” even if our lives are far less than holy.

One last thing before we go.  Do you know the only other place in Scripture where the word charitóō is used?  It was spoken by the angel Gabriel when he visited a young virgin to tell her she would bear the Christ-child.  That’s right, this word was used to describe Mary who was “highly favored” (Luke 1:28) and accepted and approved by God to conceive His Son through the Holy Spirit.  And it appears, according to Ephesians 1:6, He views those He redeems the same way.  That includes you and me and all the other called-out ones throughout history.  So once you come to grips with your unconditional acceptance in the Beloved not being granted to you as something you earned or deserved, then it’s not too far a stretch to see how our Father would also view us as being like His Son, who is also holy.   Hence, He calls us saints or those who are deemed “holy, separated, sanctified, consecrated, and devoted to God.”

Time to Pray

I do hope this glimpse into the heart of our Father for His children will help you in your prayer time with Him today.  Don’t view Him as someone disgusted with you because of all the stuff you’ve done.  He knows all about that yet still chose you “in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3).  Rather, view Him with at least the same amount of love and acceptance you have for your own children.  Then run into His arms and feel Him draw you close.

I pray you will not let the enemy rob you of the intimacy with God that Jesus suffered to provide for you.  After all, only believers, those called saints by God Himself, can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).  That’s who you are.  So today, live like He sees you.  Be a saint in Him.

Enjoy Him today.