Faithfulness and Dedication by Cheri Sweetjackson

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Faithfulness and Dedication by Cheri Sweetjackson

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Cheri worshipping!

Oh what a wonderful topic, and taught by someone whom I consider to be very faithful. She is our church secretary, and puts in many hours above and beyond her daily job to serve the church, an incredible praise singer, and a person I count blessed to call “friend.” Cheri graciously gave me her notes for this teaching which is good, because it is so filled with information. I don’t want you to miss anything. You should know she was told Tuesday night she was to teach Friday at lunchtime – she had very little time to prepare this wonderful teaching!

Webster’s Dictionary gives the following definition of faithful: 1. Keeping faith; maintaining allegiance; constant; loyal (faithful friends). 2. Marked by, or showing a strong sense of duty or responsibility; conscientious (faithful attendance). 3. Accurate, reliable, exact (a faithful copy). 4. Full of faith, especially religious faith – the faithful. 1. True believers in any specified religion; 2. the loyal adherence of supporters – faithfulness N.

Cheri told us faithful implies steadfast adherence to a person or thing to which one is bound as by an oath or obligation; loyal implies undeviating allegiance to a person, cause, institution, which one feels morally bound to support or defend; constant suggests staunch… implies such strong allegiance to one’s principles or purposes as not to be turned aside by any cause; resolute stresses unwavering determination, often in adhering to one’s personal ends or aims.

DEDICATE – To consecrate, declare, to proclaim…dedicated, dedicating. 1. To set apart for worship of a deity or devote to a sacred purpose. 2. To set apart seriously for a special purpose: devote to some work, duty, etc. 3. To address or inscribe to someone or something as a sign of honor or affection.

DEDICATION – Wholehearted devotion.

CONSECRATE – To set apart as holy: make or declare sacred for religious use 2. To devote entirely; dedicate.

RESOLUTE – unwavering allegiance.

Cheri then told us that first we wanted to look at the faithfulness of God, for He gives us the model we need to follow.

We are to be imitators of God. Many of these Scriptures need no further comment, but paint a beautiful picture of God’s faithfulness.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 119:89-91 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.They continue this day according to Your ordinances, for all are Your servants.

Psalm 89:1-2; 8-9; 33-37 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.” (8-9) O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty like You, O LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them. (33-37) Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.”  Selah  


How faithful God is. This passage tells us  God is faithful in the Heavens. Cheri looked up faithful witness in Strong’s and it is #539 the word “aman” in the Hebrew, and some of its definitions are to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet, to be true or certain – of long continuance, steadfast, sure, trusty, verified.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

Hebrews 6:17-18 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

Cheri told us, since it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie, we can know He will remain faithful forever.

Hebrews 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

No matter what we do, where we go, how unfaithful we are, God remains faithful. What He says is true and He doesn’t lie.

1 Peter 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

If we believe in Him and He is faithful, we must commit ourselves to our faithful Creator, and He will respond to us by pouring out His blessings to us. God will respond to our faithfulness.

JESUS IS FAITHFUL

Revelation 19:11  Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.

Cheri then studied the FAITHFULNESS OF MAN WITH GOD.

Faithfulness is a Fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Cheri shared a few quotes from Beth Moore’s study on the Fruit of the Spirit, called Living Beyond Yourself.

P. 156 “Faith is not an action; it is a response. If we strive to have faith we may be miserably disappointed. But if we learn to trust in His faithfulness, we of all persons may be most blessed.”

P. 157 “The Greek word for faithfulness is pistis and it means “firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness.” It carries the idea of giving someone credit. An English synonym of the word, oddly enough is reality. Think about it: you focus your deepest faithfulness on those things that are most “real” to you. Doesn’t that make sense?”….”The faithfulness of God is His believability! What does faithfulness mean when it is applied to us? Look back at the definition of pistis. The faithfulness of the believer is his belief in God’s believability!”

2 Corinthians 1:18-22 But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Yes, to us who are in Christ. This is the culmination and embodiment of God’s fulfillment to us in Christ, that through His Spirit we can remain faithful.

Here are some people who have been seen as faithful in the Bible,

Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Caleb, Joshua, Ruth. We can look at the scriptures to see what are the qualities of those whom God considered faithful, so that we can learn how to be faithful unto God.

Moses: Numbers 12:7 Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house.

Caleb: Numbers 14:24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully.

We want God to look at our lives and say, we followed Him fully. To follow God fully is to be pretty faithful.

Faithful Priest: 1 Samuel 2:35-36 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever. And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, “Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread.”

Chief priest and priests faithfully brought offerings and tithes: 2 Chronicles 31:11-12 Now Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the LORD, and they prepared them. Then they faithfully brought in the offerings, the tithes, and the dedicated things; Cononiah the Levite had charge of them, and Shimei his brother was the next.

Workmen: 2 Chronicles 34:10-13  Then they put it in the hand of the foremen who had the oversight of the house of the LORD; and they gave it to the workmen who worked in the house of the LORD, to repair and restore the house. They gave it to the craftsmen and builders to buy hewn stone and timber for beams, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed. And the men did the work faithfully. Their overseers were Jahath and Obadiah the Levites, of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to supervise. Others of the Levites, all of whom were skillful with instruments of music, were over the burden bearers and were overseers of all who did work in any kind of service. And some of the Levites were scribes, officers, and gatekeepers.

Daniel was faithful: Daniel 6:4-5 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”

We want to aspire to only be found guilty like Daniel – guilty of obeying God’s law.

Hananniah: Nehemiah 7:2 that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

Responsibility is given to people who are faithful. We need to be faithful for man to be able to trust us and for us to be able to trust ourselves, and for God to trust us.

Abram: Nehemiah 9:7-8 “You are the LORD God, who chose Abram, and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and gave him the name Abraham; You found his heart faithful before You, and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites— to give it to his descendants. You have performed Your words, for You are righteous.”

Proverbs 25:13 Like the cold of snow in time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him, for he refreshes the soul of his masters.

God longs for our faithfulness. He created us to be faithful and He delights in people who are faithful to Him.

Proverbs 27:6; 18 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful….Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; so he who waits on his master will be honored.

If we are faithful to God, and obey Him, we will be fruitful, and be able to eat of the fruit that God gives us.

Matthew 24:45-47  “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.”

Faithful stewards: 1 Corinthians 4:1-2  Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

We are stewards in the House of God. A good steward has to be found faithful in the small things. If something is out of order, put it in order. If you come to church and find a piece of trash on the ground, pick it up. If something needs straightening, straighten it. If we are faithful in the little things, then God rewards us more and more. When we are worthy and trustworthy on the small things then we can be trusted with greater things. It is the ripple on the pond. A small pebble tossed into a pond creates a big ripple, reverberating throughout the whole pool.

Counted as faithful. (Cheri’s original idea was verses 12 & 13, but we kept reading more and more, for it is such a beautiful passage.) 1 Timothy 1:12-19 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise,be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 

No matter our past, we can still be counted as faithful.

Hebrews 3:1-6; 14 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (14) For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 

We want to be steadfast, faithful. Remember, the word “steadfast” is in the definition of faithful.

3 John 4-5 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers…

Think about this.  God wants us to be faithful. He wants to reward us. But He wants us to be faithful with ALL PEOPLE, that even means the ones we consider unloveable.

Revelation 2:10  Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 

We need to be faithful, and not fear. The world can throw some difficult situations our way, but no matter our circumstances, be faithful and true to God.

Revelation 17:14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” 

CONSECRATION AND DEDICATION (Cheri sent these Scriptures to me in her notes, but we did not get to them in Bible study. I know they will bless you.)

Judges 5:2 When leaders lead in Israel, when the people willingly offer themselves, bless the LORD!

2 Chronicles 17:16 and next to him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself to the LORD, and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valor.

Psalm 40:7-8 Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.”

Acts 6:4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.

2 Corinthians 8:5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Cheri shared some examples of people that we know in our church that are faithful.

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Barry playing keyboard and worshipping God.

Her first example was Barry, her husband – pointing that he is faithful, loyal, loves people, blessed. She can trust him with everything, and he is unswerving in his commitment to everything – to God, to all that he is called to do. Barry is loyal to Pastor Don and is one of Pastor Don’s armor bearers. She said, Barry has his quirks, but he is faithful, loving and kind. This was bred into him from childhood. She has met people from his past that knew him when he was a small child, and all they can speak about is his kindness, faithfulness and loyalty. As far as she knows, Barry has no enemies from his past. She would trust him with her life.

Pastor Don – Cheri stressed we have no idea of his faithfulness to everyone here. Pastor Don would drop anything to help whoever needs help. He has a servant’s heart, is faithful, loyal, true, dedicated. We are so blessed to have Pastor Don as our pastor for he feeds us nothing but the finest food. Cheri considers it an honor to work under him.

Cynthia – Pastor Don’s wife, his other half is a good helpmeet, faithful. And because she is at Pastor Don’s side, he is able to do all that he does.

Cheri then mentioned many others in the church that are considered faithful. It was funny because our church is so incredible. Looking around the assembled people at Bible study, each person could be used as an example of faithful. These are people who do what they do quietly, can be depended on, if they commit to something, they do what they say they will do with no wavering. Some of them Cheri has watched grow in the Lord, and she noticed they are striving to be better. These are people who serve with a smile.

Cheri’s parents, worked so hard to help their children grow, and sacrificed much, when they had little, to put their children through school. Her father was a volunteer fireman, and he brought up his children right. The children strayed some, but her parents laid down good roots and they have all returned to the fold. The sincerity and depth of love that her parents showed instilled those qualities in her family. It was their faithfulness to Cheri that brought out the qualities that God put in her. After she made many side journeys, Cheri can now be used by God at this point in her life.

Someone commented that Cheri also fits the description of faithful for her untiring work for the church, and her commitment to the Lord. (I say, AMEN to that!)

Dedication of people’s hearts to the things of God separate them from people with the “I me mine” mentality.  What we must remember is God sees all of it.  He looks into the very depth and source of everything. He knows all of our hearts, thoughts, emotional reactions.  He knows the faithful ones, as well as the ones that could care less.  In these last days God is  executing judgment on His Church. I want my faith to be counted to me as righteousness – my faith in God should be displayed by my desire be like Him – faithfulness in the greatest degree – John 15:13: “greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends…” Jesus’ faithfulness to us is the epitome of what we are striving for. In John 10:15 Jesus says, “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  Can you say you are so faithful you would die for someone you call a friend?  I have thought about that, ……. I want to believe that I would lay down my life for Jesus….

(Heather’s comment, me too.)

There’s also a practical, simple, daily aspect of the quality of faithfulness… think about it… if we can demonstrate faithfulness in the small things….. Matt. 25:21 – “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things… Enter into the joy of your lord.”

Luke 19:17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’

Luke 16:10-11 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

We are to be faithful to God and then all the rest will come.

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

In these days and times, what can we do in our everyday realm? WHAT CAN EACH OF US DO IN THIS BODY AS FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS?

If we are looking to be more and more like Jesus, which all of us should be, then we should start out with the small things…. How about a gentle smile to someone?  faithfulness is also consistency – if you commit yourself to something, do you follow through and complete what you have said you would do?

Faithfulness inspires Faith.  The quality of faithfulness is admired by everyone we know.  For those of you that are parents, in order to instill that trust and faith in your children, you have to be an example of that.  Are you there for them when they need you to be?  If you are, then your child will develop a deep trust and faith in you because you inspired it by your dedication to them.  They in turn will grow up to have that same quality – “raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

People know they can trust you because you have proven yourself to be dependable and steadfast…. and what is even better than that is God knows He can trust you.  Once God trusts you, He will use you in ways you would never imagine or think possible.   Once that trust is there, He will entrust us with more – Luke 12:48 – “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”  I want to be used more and more by the Lord, and that only can come through faithfulness to Him.  Faithfulness inspires Faith.  People can rely on you,  God can rely on you, and you can rely on.

Someone then mentioned that we also need to be faithful in our prayer life. We need to be regularly praying for our family, our pastor, the government, our church. To be worshipping God.

This was an incredibly blessed teaching, and so thorough. I am glad to be able to share it with you.

Praying your day is blessed.

Heather

About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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