Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
Get all the Soul Foods online @:http://www.olivebranchministries.us
The Author and Finisher
Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. One translation says author and perfecter of our faith. Another translation says our leader and instructor.
I often emphasize the part we have to play in walking out our faith walk. One of the reasons that I emphasize our end of things more, is because I know that the Lord always honors His Word, and will never fail to honor His end of the Covenant. Knowing this takes a tremendous load off of our shoulders. We are not in this alone. We can know that He is absolutely faithful to fulfill His promises. It is never only up to us. Even when we feel all alone, we are not. His Word says He will never leave us or forsake us. He is always there assisting, encouraging, leading, comforting, giving direction, and disciplining, as needed.
He created us and He is the One who gives us faith and the ability to walk in it.
John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
As Hebrews 12:2 says looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Our responsibility is to continue to look unto Him, and keep on looking to Him. We don't look to Him once, and then thats it. It is a continual and ongoing process. Looking to Jesus, we never stop doing this, and He will never stop being the initiator, and perfecter of our faith.
Have you ever wondered why we have to commit something to Him that He gave to us in the first place just so that He can keep it for us? There are legal reasons for everything God does. Since He is telling us to do it, then that should be enough of an answer for us to go on. I do know this, there are millions of Christians who have never committed the things of God over to Him. This is an act of dedication and consecration. He will not take back what He has freely given to us, we have to willingly turn it back to Him. This is where the blessings come from. I believe God doesn't want something from us if it is not freely given. What kind of a father would want robot children. Certainly our Heavenly Father is no different in that regard.
2 Timothy 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
He is able to keep that which we commit to Him. That would imply that if we don't commit it to Him, He won't keep it. There is something legal that transpires and takes place that gives Him the right to do just that. When we make that exchange, we are handing Him the legal right to initiate and sustain that which we have given to Him.
Many Christians give God a little bit of their life here and there, yet when they get into trouble they call out to Him and wonder why He seems so distant, and many times will even blame Him for their own created problem. We should keep in remembrance that we have been given a free will. The more we give to Him the more He can fulfill His calling, will, and purpose, in our lives. There is a deep truth here. He wants submitted vessels unto Him.
2 Timothy 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
Even though we are the clay, and He is the potter, we are vessels that He created. We have to remember that our vessels must be consecrated unto Him in order to be used to His glory. He made us and gave us every good gift, yet we have to consecrate that gift back to Him in order for Him to use it. It is up to us to cleanse ourselves so that we may be vessels of honor.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
This is an act of our will, and He will not override it, yet He will bless it when it is consecrated unto His glory. His will has already been performed as He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Have you ever stop to consider, what do we have to offer Him, except that which we have already received from Him. The Word says He has freely given us all things.
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
Sometimes we are dragging around a trunk full of stuff and will not give it up. In other words we take the attitude I can do what I want with my stuff, not fully realizing our stuff was given to us for a reason and for a very specific purpose. A good example of this is talented musicians and singers, you see how gifted they are, and yet they may not be using these gifts for the glory of God. Their out in the world getting rich and not even thinking about where the gift came from or why they have it. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.
The Living Bible say it like this...
Romans 11:29 For God's gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises.
God is not going to take these gifts away just because they are not being used for His glory. I'm not trying to point my finger at a specific group of people, they are just an obvious example. You can see the same thing in all areas of life to one degree or another. I have been guilty of this myself. My purpose is to help not criticize. I am no singer but God has gifted me in certain areas. I want to glorify Him with what He has gifted me with. I hope you see my point in this.
We often take the attitude it's my stuff so I will do what I want with it. We loose focus and the very things that are the doorways to blessings become the cares of this world. The cares of this world are anything in our day to day existence that requires our attention, from getting up in the morning and doing all the things we do in course of the day. Are these things in and of themselves bad? No, not in and of themselves, but can they detract from eternal things if we let them, but we don't have to let the daily grind blindside us to what is more important do we?
These things can build up to choke the very life flow that is the channel to us being sustained. There is a better way, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Anything we care for more than Him and His word, by default we allow something else to overtake us.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:12. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
They are not in and of themselves wrong, unless we allow them to be. Things that are in and of themselves O.K., can become a hindrance to God's will being manifest in our lives. Lets put first things first. I can't tell you what that thing is in your life, but I bet that you could name it without too much thought. These lawful things are many times not expedient. In other words something that is legal could also be harmful when our priorities are in the wrong order. For instance, going to the lake with the family is a good thing, but if you are skipping church to do other things even if they are good things, the good things become contrary to the will and purpose of God. The word of God clearly tells us not to forsake the assembling of the saints. In this case our priorities are wrong and will also as Paul said, all things are not expedient. I don't want to belabor this point, but when our priorities are wrong every thing else is going to be out of balance. This is not a good place to be in.
It becomes much easier to keep looking at Him, the author and finisher of our faith when we are not looking at everything else, especially those things that are self induced. We can't even blame the devil, only ourself. It is our choice to look at other things. This seems like an obvious thing, but when we take the known distractions out of our sight, we only have the right things to look at. It becomes so much easier to keep looking unto Jesus when we don't have all that other stuff blocking our line of sight, doesn't it? This is an important key to having our faith fulfilled, eliminating the very things that keep us from looking at the author and finisher of our faith. We are the ones who have to do the looking, Jesus will start and complete the faith He began in us. I would like to leave you with some Scriptures to contemplate.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Jude:1:24: Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Romans 16:25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began
Revelation 21:6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7. "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
Dear brothers and sisters, that is something worth fighting for. Amen
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "… with the heart one believes to righteousness…" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.