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~ THE MYSTERY OF BIBLICAL 'FAITH' ~
ESSENTIAL 'FAITH’  – Even through a fearful future.

Here we offer some encouragement as we steer our way through the oceans of news and ideas, plus the challenges of our lives right now ~ and even possible future suffering as Believers!

Biblical words are in purple italic from N.I.V Translation, in English.
 (By Suzanna, another person that struggles to make her faith real every day!)

THE WORD ‘FAITH’
A. This can be used as a noun, meaning a Religious 'Faith'.

> It refers in peoples’ minds, as a name for any religious dogma, or form of ideology, controlling people's lives.
>
There are thousands of these all over the world.

Some of these are tied in with the Nation that people are born into, and is part of the politics of that nation. Historically for example, Thailand is largely Buddhist, India was mainly Hindu, Most Middle East nations are Islamic, etc.

1. Some well-known religious Faiths:
The Islamic Faith’, with over a billion followers, because of the Nations they are born into, plus the politics of the nation and pervasive education.

Buddhism, Hinduism and similar 'Faiths' are mainly in Asia.
'Animism' and various forms of 'Spirit worship' was the religion of many African Nations and the Islands of the Pacific also, for many centuries.
The Faith of most Jews is called 'Judaism', centered in the nation of Israel.
The ‘Christian Faith’, has been largely linked to Western nations, or South American nations, but is widely practised in Africa and Polynesia.

> Bringing different 'Faiths' together.
In modern times it is fashionable for famous Leaders, like the Pope, or ex-president Clinton, or King Abdullah ll of Jordan, or his uncle, to talk about ‘Inter-Faith’ dialogue – seeking to bring various religions together. This will actually happen later on in the last 7 years of Mankind's rulership of the World, the time of the 'False Prophet'. This is called Humanistic 'Syncretism'.

2. Note, within each Religious ‘Faith Organisation’, there are many streams of slightly different main beliefs often called 'denominations’.
>
Christianity. So if someone asks ‘what is your Faith’ - for us, it is the ‘Christian Faith’, but expressed in different worship and organisational forms. There are 2 main divisions into 'Orthodox'; or 'Protestant' ~ such as; Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist and Pentecostal, and many more.
>
Islam has Sunni and Shi’ite, with many other divisions.
>
Judaism also has many divisions, as every ‘Religion’ does.

3. The Christian Faith.

>
We use the name ‘Believers’ as a way of emphasising and bringing together our understanding that we can all be one Bible-believing Family, by believing in the whole Truth of God in the Judeo-Christian Bible. The most basic belief is that we can only be in God’s true Family through faith in all that His Son; Jesus/ Yeshua/ Isa has done for us including His life, death, resurrection & ascension to Heaven, where He lives to pray for us. Are you a ‘Believer’ this way? We trust so!
This is a better name even than ‘Christian’ because it emphasises our FAITH in Jesus.

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B. 'Faith' as a verb, or ‘action’ word.
>>
This actually indicates an unseen attitude of the mind and heart of an individual person. This is why it seems mysterious, and hard to understand.
>>
This is then translated by their will or determination to apply this attitude to actions in their own lives. “I believe therefore I do…”
>>
Other words, which mean the same in English, are trust, belief, conviction, credence

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GOD VALUES OUR FAITH/ TRUST IN HIM - AS GOLD!

How the Apostle Peter describes 'FAITH' in his 1st letter, verses 3 -9.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Messiah!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth ~ into a living hope ~
through the resurrection of Jesus Messiah from the Dead!
AND ~ into an inheritance that can never perish [or rot] ~ kept in Heaven for YOU ~ who through FAITH are shielded by God's power ~ until the Coming of the Salvation, that is ready for ['the big REVEAL'] in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice ~ though now (for a little while) you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your FAITH ~ of greater worth than
gold, which perishes ~ even though refined by fire ~ may be proved genuine, and may result in praise, glory and honour, when Jesus is revealed!"

WHY 'GOLD'?

1. For this writer, gold, is a good ‘picture’ or symbol of true, Biblical faith!

Firstly because the whole world’s economy can be measured by actual gold, although equivalent values of ‘goods and services’ or commodities, are also frequently used. Yet gold is the final ‘measurement’ of Earthly wealth.
It seems amazing to think our faith is virtually priceless to God!

Secondly
because gold is hard to find, and takes enormous effort to ‘dig it out’! I have puzzled why is seems hard to just 'trust' (instead of worrying for instance), when God has made so many GREAT promises, and never lies!

Thirdly,
gold has to be tested and refined by very great heat.
The more refining it goes through the more valuable it becomes.
"So that the genuiness of your
FAITH
may be tested, [being] infinitely more precious that the perishable gold that is tested and purified by fire!" 1 Pet.1: 7Amp.Vsn.
This indicates how much God cares about us having an unshakeable faith!
'Fire' seems like the ultimate kind of test... Yet always supervised by God Who IS Love.
   >The spiritual meanings of these will be clear to most Christians!

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~ ONLY GOD CAN CREATE AND PURIFY THE ‘GOLD’ OF OUR FAITH. ~

1. It is good we have a Biblical definition of Faith.
> Our title about ‘faith’ being mysterious
is because we may find it hard to understand it, if we only use Earthly concepts. But it is far higher and better than any human can define. Fortunately we have a perfect explanation in the letter to Hebrew Believers, in chapter 11! Verse 1, in the Jewish N.T. says it so clearly, “’Trusting’~ is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things that we do not see.”  It's not about what we can see physically.

>
That is; we accept Biblical, Spiritual truths, which cannot be seen or easily proved, (except by experiences based on our trust/ faith!) This fact needs enlarging on, but the truth that human eyes cannot see the focus or goal of our faith is an absolute certainty here! This is why reading the Bible often and taking the written Word of God by faith ~ is essential!

Your own further study and practicing ~ matching God's Word with your deliberate prayers and actions ~would be exciting! Just try it for yourself!

The reality is that a Biblical Christian faith is based on trusting GOD ~ Who is a Spirit, and believing words written in the ancient book we call the 'Holy Bible' - (the Hebrew 'Tanakh' and Greek 'New Testament'). ALL are totally true and reliable, even though written between 3,000 years B.C.E. and 100 years A.D. (or C.E. in the 'Common Era'), all are TRUE!

2. 'Being in God's Royal Family' or Kingdom ~ means we have to have a true relationship with our Heavenly Father God, El Shaddai ADONAI ~

Almighty God, only by essential faith! See Hebrews 11:6, JNT.

And without trusting it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches Him must trust that He does exist and that He becomes a Rewarder to those who seek Him out.”

This is witnessed to as the criteria of every godly person told about in the Tanakh/O.T. and referred to in the marvellous 'Picture Gallery of Faith' in Hebrews 11. It was for this [their trust/faith] that Scripture attested to the merit of the people of old.” Merit =blessings! Please read it again today!
The rest of the chapter gives 18+ examples of how ‘faith’ was the key factor in the lives of so many O.T ‘saints’, or Believers! These people chose to believe God and take Him at His Word, not by seeing God or even seeing the end result of their actions. Neither did they have all the help we have today!

Their faith was what made them ‘right with God' = ‘righteous people’.
It will never, never change – no one [Jew or Gentile] can be in
God’s family without trust/ faith – ever!

3. So we have a responsibility to make a thoughtful response to God, by faith!
a) It is actually a huge privilege - to use our minds
to think and understand ~ using our minds ~ like a golden key to God's Presence and blessings with us.
 This is part of the Mystery! It certainly is true that just to live in this world we have to learn, understand, and remember many things and practice or experience them often. Our brains are a gift from God. So no wonder the Bible says in Romans 12:2

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

b) Then we need to use our will or volition to turn it into some kind of action.
Romans 12: 4 explains this accurately.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.” So what we believe and know controls our actions, so no one can separate what they believe from what they do.
In Matt 15, Jesus said, "You have great faith. Your request is granted."

> In every life we will need some kind of tests of the decisions made even if it is in our own conscience. Not all ‘doubt’ is bad; it can be a means of assessment. Sometimes a test or challenge will come from other people, or a message from the Bible to make us stop and check if our decisions are good.
Job said, (23:10): When He has tested me. I will come forth as gold.”

4. However it is still true that God helps our faith!

>> For us Believers in the One true God, we have the greatest help in all of these, through God’s written Word or commands, advice, instruction and examples of other people throughout history! Romans 10: 17, Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Messiah/Word of God.”

>> Also we have the help of God’s own Holy Spirit of TRUTH within us. 1 Corinthians 9:12: Faith [given] by the same Spirit.”

>So we can work together with God as He creates, and purifies our individual trust.

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SINCE GOD DESIGNED FOR ‘FAITH’ TO BE SO IMPORTANT,
HE HAS THE LOVING RIGHT TO WANT TO MAKE IT PERFECT.

1. This is ONE reason for ‘suffering’ in the life of Believers.

> The brother of Yeshua/ Jesus wrote about this in the first part of his letter, Consider it joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops… [us].”  James chapter 1: verses 2 – 18 are so good, and important for you to read carefully for yourself. > In the victorious list of famous O.T. leaders and people, in Hebrews 11, there is a sudden change in the examples of what having faith meant to some, in verse 35… But ~ other people were stretched on the rack and beaten to death… others underwent the trials of being mocked and whipped, then chained and imprisoned. They were stoned, sawn in two, murdered by the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted, mistreated, wandering about in deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the ground.

The world was not worthy of them!” What a challenging report! Yet sadly in the last 100 years, thousands of Christians have suffered terrible persecution!

2.However we know, that the whole world is coming up for ‘final tests’ -like never before! This is called the ‘time of Tribulation’, and Jesus Himself was most concerned for this as He said in Luke 18:8, When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?”  A very serious question. Jesus will be looking for Believers - with faith! Oh! May God find me faithful to Him...

This is the main focus of this Ministry, [The Gethsemane Olivet Fellowship], ~ seeking, not to be ‘scare-mongers’ but to try to prepare others for a future of great tests, just like many of our fellow Believers are already facing! We believe Yeshua/ Jesus was not asking us to “WATCH’ to be ‘entertained’ or in order to be experts on the events of the future, but by being prepared in the renewing of our minds, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we will be able to stay true, by Faith, even through terrible distress, to the End”. [Matt. 24: 13.]

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A>  WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME TO ‘HAVE FAITH’?

Every person on Earth has some sort of ‘faith’.
Faith or trust is behind almost everything we do.
1. There is faith in natural laws
.
If we let go of something above ground level, we know it will fall to the ground, because of the ‘Law of Gravity’. This kind of faith influences our understanding of our environment in our world, from considering the weather or birth, life and death, in plants, animals and people, and in every aspect of our lives. We exercise faith even in growing plants from seeds or bulbs!


2. There is faith in the natural laws harnessed by modern technology.

When we operate a switch on any electrical equipment or wired up area, we expect a reaction, because we have faith in the electrical current being activated by the switch/button. We have faith in cars, aeroplanes, telecommunications, household utilities, computers and myriads of other examples of developed technology.

3. There is some level of faith in human relationships.
These can be trust in people, from personal family and friends - to people in every kind of public office. Instructors: (teachers, professors, etc,) governing bodies: politicians/leaders of organisations of all kinds on the local, national or worldwide level. Also emergency helpers, (doctors, police, firemen, etc.) We may not always like those involved, or have chosen them, but like it or not, we are forced into some kind of faith in people  - even shop keepers, bankers, journalists, neighbours and many people - in this world!

4. There is faith, which people hold in unseen philosophies (theories, called ‘Faiths’ - Religious Faiths).
These exist all over the world and throughout history. Some well known ones are: Buddhism, Communism, Christianity, Hinduism, Humanism, Islam, Judaism, etc. Sadly, some forms of ‘blind, uninformed Faith’ can even lead to death, or dangerous activities.

>>
The philosophy, called
The Christian Faith’. This is based on an understanding of what we read in the Bible. Allowing for all the variations that are known of, we [in the G.O.Fellowship] are grateful to be part of a very widely accepted form of Christianity, briefly described as evangelical and fundamental and expressed in some basic creeds, such as the ‘Apostle’s Creed’. We believe in the whole Bible. It is good we have a true GUIDE!

You could check our ‘Doctrinal Statement’ of what we do believe, here.

Please look for a further article about how to exercise a personal faith, as we individually try to "walk by faith" as the New Testament Scriptures tell us.
If you would like to be part of the Christian Faith, and be in God's Royal family, please do write to us, or ask a real Christian about it.

Here is a good web site to visit: www.clarifyingchristianity.com

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