For each daily devotional time:
- Listen to the worship song This I Believe (on YouTube)
- Read the Scripture passage and short reflection.
- What do you learn about God?
- What do you learn about faith and belief?
- What is God saying to you personally as you read and reflect? Seek to be with Christ and experience his presence, work, and Word in your life.
- Spend time in prayer.
Day 1 // You Gotta Have Faith
Read Hebrews 11:1-3, 6
The important and repeated word in these verses is FAITH, which is the Greek word PISTIS. This word is most often translated into the English words faith or belief (or to believe, PISTEUO).
The first thing needed is a good explanation of faith. Look at the words used in these few verses: faith, confidence, assurance, understanding, and belief. If you read other verses in this chapter, you will find many references to faith in action or faith that works or a working faith that steps out in obedience. There is so much that is involved with pistis. It is a big word and a big part of your spiritual life.
God requires faith and God rewards faith, but God also nurtures our faith. The doubting father who was not sure Jesus could help his son said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe (pistis), help me in my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Jesus took that little faith and blessed the man.
You gotta have faith and you gotta start somewhere. Faith has good reasons, but faith does not necessarily mean you have full proof. Faith and doubt can co-exist. Jesus met Doubting Thomas where he was and helped him move to a place of faith (John 20:24-31). Still, Jesus is pleased when we have faith.
Pray, Reflect, Act
- How strong is your faith?
- How is your faith growing stronger?
DAY 2 // The Foolish Person
Read Psalm 53:1-6
For the most part, the Bible does not set out to prove that God exists. At that time in history, 99.9% of the people believed in God or god or gods, but there were a few who did not believe in any deities. (Note: The number of atheists increased in the Greek and Roman cultures.) In biblical times, anyone who did not believe in God was simply described as a fool.
Today, there are many who do not believe in God. There are others who believe in God but don’t act like they believe. I came across a phrase that describes this condition: functional atheism.Whenever you choose to act like God doesn’t exist, even though you are a Christian, you are, in essence, a functional atheist. You believe in God, but your way of living does not acknowledge God, depend on God, or reveal God. At this point you are not much different from the atheist who says there is no God and acts like there is no God.
Faith, trust, love, obedience, putting the words of Jesus into practice, prayerfulness, and worship – this is the way of those who believe in God. Anything else is the way of foolishness.
DAY 3 // The Stuggle of Suffering
Read Job 38:1-4; 40:1-8; 42:1-6 (but read my comments first)
Job is the story of a faithful follower of God who experienced great suffering. He tried to be faithful, but it was too much and he began to complain about God. Job still believed in God, but was this God worth believing in? He had severe doubts, major depression, and clear anger against God. The verses I selected are the summary verses to show how God interacts with Job and how Job learned to respond. You can read all of Job 38-42 if you want. Now read the passages listed above.
Suffering is one of the main reasons we struggle to believe in God. I know folks who have walked away from Christian belief because they simply did not understand why a good and loving God would allow evil and suffering – in particular, their suffering. Their confusion turned to doubt. Doubt turned to skepticism, which turned to disbelief and denial.
The last chapters in Job are powerful. God basically says to Job, “There is a God. Job – you are not God. Job – I am God.” To which Job says, “God, I think I’ve got it now. I repent. I believe. And I follow.”
Pray, Reflect, Act
- How have you experienced God in the times of your greatest struggle and suffering?
- What have been the most profound lessons of faith you have learned during those times?
Day 4 // What Happens When We Stop Believing?
Read Romans 1:18-32
This is one of the saddest sections in all of the Bible. Paulborrowed generously from the Psalms and prophets to shape his thoughts. It is a lament, a description, and a warning of what happens when we don’t believe in the real God – we then look for other gods/idols to follow. As we do that, morality disintegrates, spirituality disappears, and society crumbles. Belief and unbelief are serious matters. Sometimes people drift into unbelief. Other times they pursue it. Either way, there are serious consequences for ethics, morality, life together with others, and a life of meaning and purpose.
Day 5 // Jesus Shows Us What God is Like
Read John 17:6-8;25-26; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-3
God is the invisible God. God is transcendent, high and exalted above the earth, and his thoughts and ways are vastly different from our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). On our own we cannot know what God is like. We will intuit or sense that there is a God, but we will be confused about God. God takes steps to reveal himself to us. It is in Jesus that God reveals himself most fully.
Do you want to know what God is like? Then look to Jesus (John 14:6-11). Do you want to believe in God? Then believe in Jesus (John 12:44; 14:1).
Pray, Reflect, Act
Pray every day that Jesus would reveal himself to you.
Pick one of the Gospels and read through it in a week’s time. Mark is the shortest. John is the most spiritual/theological. Matthew is a teaching Gospel. Luke is full of the compassionate heart of Christ. Choose one and look to discover what Jesus is like.
God you are __________. Fill in the blank 10 times. Then try for 20 times. See how many things you can say about God.
- Songs We Sing
Other Messages in Series