Previous studies in this program lead to understanding that God assigns individual responsibilities to people based on creating every person to represent him in human interactions with others. He assigns individual responsibilities regarding positive reputation, i.e., visibility of human value; care and diligence, i.e., in a call to compassion; appreciation; peace; humility; protection of civil rights; and individual responsibilities regarding faith and human effort. We provide a condensed discussion of the responsibilities to better understand the human implications of Christ teaching regarding final judgment: that God will accept into his kingdom those, and only those, that perform their individual responsibilities in human interactions and relationships.
We learned in the preceding bible study (Individual Responsibility for Positive Human Interaction: Continuous Living) that God will accept into his kingdom those he judges as people that perform their individual responsibilities in human interactions and relationships. In contrast, he will not accept those he judges as people that decline their individual responsibilities. Also, we know that God assigns individual responsibilities based on creating every person to represent him in human interactions with others. This bible study provides a condensed discussion of the individual responsibilities based on previous studies in this program.
We discuss the individual responsibilities regarding positive reputation, i.e., visibility of human value; care and diligence, i.e., in a call to compassion; appreciation; peace; humility; protection of civil rights; and individual responsibilities regarding faith and human effort.
We discuss each of these aspects of the individual responsibilities in enough details to understand the human implications of Christ teaching regarding final judgment: that God will accept into his kingdom those that perform their individual responsibilities in human interactions and relationships; but will not accept those that decline the responsibilities; based on how he sees a person at the time. A more-detailed discussion of each aspect of the individual responsibilities is available at the Banking Blessings Ministry website under Individual Responsibility Series.
We discuss faith and human effort based on Christ interactions with his disciples during two storms on Sea of Galilee. In the first event, the disciples panicked in the storm and shifted focus from work to pray for miracle. He released a miracle to end their ordeal and scolded them for lack of faith. In the second event, the disciples focused on work but got distracted by the glory of his presence. He encouraged them to keep working and released a miracle to end their ordeal. The interactions convey a message that God sees and encourages human effort of those that work on his task. If your task is motivated by seeking to fulfill God’s purpose and your methods and approach are consistent with Living in the Image of God: then, your task belongs to God. Focus on doing what you can humanly do. He sees your struggles and difficulties and will guide you to victory when and how he chooses. He has never lost a battle and will not ever lose one, including yours.
In this bible study, we discuss human relationship with God regarding faith, prayer, and human effort; based on Christ interactions with his disciples during two storms on the Sea of Galilee. In each event, Jesus sent the disciples to sail to a destination on the other side of the lake from their location: “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side’” [Mark 4:35]. Similarly, in the second event: “Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd” [Mark 6:45]. Therefore, the account of each event begins by establishing clearly that the task of sailing to the other side of the lake was assigned by God to the disciples. He was with them physically during the first storm. In contrast, during the second storm, he was not with them physically at the beginning but joined them later.
Christ interactions with the disciples during the storms reveal God’s view of human behavior during a hardship associated with seeking to fulfill his purpose. The study enables an understanding of how faith, prayer, and human effort work together to help a person navigate through difficulties when working on a task of God. Both storms ended with a miracle. However, in the first storm, the disciples had panicked and shifted focus from work to pray for miracle. Jesus released a miracle to end their ordeal but scolded them for lack of faith. In the second storm, in contrast, the disciples focused on work but got distracted by the glory of his presence. He encouraged them to keep working and released a miracle to end their ordeal.
The interactions convey a message that God sees and encourages human effort in his tasks and will guide you to victory. He sees your struggles and difficulties and will intervene with miracle as he chooses. Therefore, if your battle belongs to God, focus on doing what you can humanly do. He will guide you to victory in his way and at his time.
We discuss Christ interactions with the disciples during the two storms to understand God’s promise for those that encounter difficulties while seeking to fulfill his purpose. Further, we discuss criteria for evaluating your task and any associated battles to determine if they belong to God.
Intercession and human effort by others can move God to grant favors to alleviate the suffering of another person. Therefore, a prayer for the needy will likely be more effective if intertwined with human effort to provide goods or service to alleviate the need. Four men, motivated by compassion and driven by faith, persevered to take a paralyzed neighbor to Jesus despite physical difficulties. Their faith, manifest through their effort, moved Jesus to forgive and heal the paralyzed man.
This bible study examines the events of Christ healing a paralyzed man: to understand that intercession and human effort by others can move God to grant favors to alleviate the need of another person. Jesus healed a paralyzed man because of the faith and effort of four men that brought the man to him. The four men recognized the need of the paralyzed man, committed to doing what they could to alleviate the need, believed he would be healed if they took him to Jesus, and persevered to take him to Jesus despite difficulties they encountered. Jesus was moved by their faith to forgive and heal the paralyzed man.
The account illustrates intercession motivated by compassion. The four men and their neighbors decided to take the paralyzed man to Jesus because they had compassion on him and believed that taking him to Jesus would be sufficient to obtain healing for him: “Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them” [Mark 2:3]. They took him to Jesus physically at the time because Jesus was with them in human form. Today, they would have taken him to Jesus by praying for him: that is, by intercession.
Furthermore, the account illustrates that intercession often may need to be intertwined with human effort. That is, a prayer by others on behalf of the needy often will be more effective if intertwined with human effort directed at providing goods or service to alleviate the need. The men were determined to obtain healing for their paralyzed neighbor by taking him to Jesus, organized themselves for the effort, took the man to the site, and persevered against physical difficulties to accomplish their objective of getting him to Jesus. Their intercession, intertwined with human effort, conveyed their faith and compassion to Jesus. He was moved by their faith and effort to forgive the man his sins and heal him from paralysis: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’” [Mark 2:5].
If you recognize a need, care about the needy, and commit to doing what you can to alleviate the need; then you have received a task of God. He will guide you and would perform a miracle as necessary to complete the task. We discuss two examples: one regarding the compassion and faith of a Centurion that invited Jesus on behalf of his servant; and another regarding Jesus’ compassion for a bereaved widow. The events show that God could intervene with miracle to complete human responsibility in a call to compassion.
We discuss two examples from Christ ministry to understand a relationship between compassion and faith. Compassion means a person recognizes the need of another and provides goods or service to alleviate the need. Faith in compassion means a person recognizes that a call to compassion is a task of God and that God will guide him or her to accomplish the objective. He will guide your human effort through and beyond your human capabilities.
In the first example, a Centurion had pity on his servant that was sick and recognized that Christ could heal his servant. He had compassion for his servant and faith that Christ will heal his servant. He invited Christ on behalf of his servant [Matthew 8:8]: “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Christ healed the servant in response [Matthew 8:13]: “Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that moment.” The Centurion’s compassion and faith led to his intercession and resulted in healing for his servant.
In the second example, Jesus encountered the funeral procession for the only son of a widow. He had compassion on the widow, stopped the funeral procession, and restored the dead son back to life. As human, he had compassion for the bereaved widow: “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry’” [Luke 7:13]. As God, he performed a miracle to restore her dead son [Luke 7:14–15]: “…He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”
The examples illustrate that God can perform a miracle to complete human responsibility in a call to compassion. Therefore, in responding to a call to compassion, focus on your human effort while having faith of God guiding you through and beyond the limits of your human capabilities.
Christ delivered the message of faith, human work, and miracles through his disciples on two occasions. You are committed to God’s purpose and motivated to complete his tasks and accomplish his goals; in humility through compassion, peace, and righteousness. Therefore, every battle you face belongs to God. Focus on your human work. He knows your difficulties, sees and encourages your effort, and will intervene to guide you to victory when and how he chooses.
God creates every person to represent him in interactions with others: to be for others what he would be for them if he lived with us in human form. He provides resources to empower every person to perform the responsibilities and blesses those that do. If your motivation is to perform the responsibilities and to follow methods and procedures consistent with Living in the Image of God, then every battle you face is his battle and he will guide you to victory.
Therefore, we can state the basis for our faith as follows. Seek to fulfill God’s purpose always. In humility, to be his representative among people that he places in your network: to be a channel for his presence among them and his human interactions with them; and a conveyor of his image and impact among them. Then every task and every battle belong to him. He will lead you to complete his tasks and accomplish his goals, when and how he chooses.
Thus, faith drives human effort. Your motivation is to perform your individual responsibilities toward fulfilling God’s purpose. In humility toward God and toward other people, you are committed to compassion, peace, and righteousness; and you focus on doing what you can humanly do. God sees your effort and wants you to succeed. Your battle is his battle and he will lead you to victory. He will determine if a miracle is needed and intervene when and how he chooses.
Jesus delivered this message—the message of faith, human work, and miracles—through his disciples on two occasions, in interactions with them during two storms on the Sea of Galilee. We discuss the interactions to understand our faith as the driver for our human effort.
Interactions with a man healed from leprosy convey a message that God expects a recipient of favor (benefit provided by others) to appreciate the favor, appreciate the benefactor, and appreciate God for empowering the benefactor. Further, he expects the recipient to show appreciation by giving testimony. Also, his expectation of a favor recipient is the same even for those that could claim the favor as an entitlement. The man was one of ten healed in the event but he alone returned to give thanks. Christ criticized the nine but acknowledged the one and confirmed his faith had healed him.
We discuss Christ interactions with a man healed of leprosy to understand that God expects appreciation from every recipient of favor (i.e., benefit provided by others) and expects the recipient to show appreciation by giving testimony. Even if the favor is done to fulfill an entitlement, God expects appreciation and testimony from the recipient. As we discuss previously in Understanding Appreciation, appreciation means thankful recognition of benefits received, the human provider of the benefits, and God that empowers the provider. Testimony regarding appreciation provides opportunity to share the information with others and inspire them (especially the benefactor) to do more likewise.
The man was one of a group of ten men that Christ healed from leprosy during the event. However, only the one man (a foreigner) returned to give thanks. The other nine did not return. Jesus criticized the nine for failing to return to show appreciation, notwithstanding they could claim to be entitled to the favor because they were Jews from Israel. We learn from his criticism that their response differs from what God expects of a favor recipient. In contrast, his interactions with the one man that returned convey a message that appreciation and testimony regarding appreciation are important to God.
Appreciation pleases God. He wants every recipient of favor to appreciate the favor, appreciate the benefactor, and appreciate God for empowering the benefactor. Furthermore, he wants the recipient to show appreciation by giving testimony. Also, his expectation of a favor recipient is the same even for those that could claim the favor as an entitlement.
Interactions with woman healed of persistent bleeding indicate testimony and appreciation are important to God as opportunities to initiate long-term benefits to an increasing population. The woman was healed privately by touching Jesus and could have gone home without interacting with the public if healing her was the only important outcome. However, Jesus stopped activities until she testified publicly and showed appreciation. Her appreciation and testimony were important for motivating her and others to hunger and thirst for righteousness, thus initiating benefits of the healing that potentially could reach countless others.
The bible provides two events from which we can discern Christ teaching on appreciation. In each event, his teaching on appreciation is conveyed through interactions with a healing recipient. The current study focuses on his interactions with a woman healed from persistent bleeding. The woman was healed privately by touching Jesus. However, after the healing, he provided opportunity for her to testify and show appreciation publicly. After she testified and showed appreciation, he declared that she was healed and released her to go in peace.
The woman could have gone home in peace without interacting with the public after she was healed privately by touching Christ’s garment. However, there was more to her healing that Christ wanted her to share with every person.
We discuss the interactions to understand that her appreciation and public testimony were important for providing an opportunity to initiate the long-term benefits of her healing. As we discuss in a previous study under Call to Appreciation of Compassion, her appreciation would motivate her to be good to others that would, in turn, motivate yet others to do likewise. Furthermore, her public testimony would inspire others to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Thus, her appreciation and public testimony were an opportunity to initiate benefits of the healing that potentially could reach countless others over endless time.
Building faith by Living in the Image of God arises from commitment to God’s purpose and recognizing that your every task or battle belongs to God and he will guide you to complete his tasks and accomplish his goals. Furthermore, “Living in the Image of God” makes you a beneficiary of God’s promise of blessing proclaimed in the Beatitudes and illustrated in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Every blessing you earn is yours to keep until fulfilled.
Living in the Image of God begins with commitment to God’s purpose and living according to the commitment. A person builds and strengthens faith by Living in the Image of God—based on recognizing that every task or battle belongs to God and he will guide you to complete his tasks and accomplish his goals. Furthermore, in the Beatitudes, Christ proclaims God’s promise of blessing for every person that commits to the responsibilities of representing God in human interactions: through humility toward others, compassion, motivation for righteousness based on commitment to God’s purpose, and acceptance of individual responsibility for peace and righteousness irrespective of what others do or fail to do. Also, Christ describes the blessing further in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, using compassion as an example for Living in the Image of God.
God sees and encourages human work and will intervene with a miracle as he considers necessary. If your motivation and methods and approach are consistent with Living in the Image of God; then focus on doing what you can humanly do, because your battle belongs to God and he will guide you to victory. We discuss these principles based on Christ interactions with the disciples in their encounter with two storms. Both ended in miracles. However, he scolded the disciples in one and encouraged them in the other. Differences between the two help us understand human relationship with God regarding faith, human work, and miracles. Also, we examine David’s motivation and faith in his victory over Goliath. He focused on doing what he humanly could and received a miracle to end the battle.
We conclude our study series on Following God’s Schedule with a discussion of human relationship with God regarding faith, human work, and miracles. We begin with a discussion of Christ interactions with the disciples in their encounter with two storms on the sea of Galilee. Both storms ended with a miracle. However, Jesus scolded the disciples regarding their behavior in the first storm but encouraged them in the second storm. We examine the different interactions in relation to the behavior of the disciples during the storms to understand that God encourages human work that is consistent with his purpose; is aware of the human effort; and will provide a miracle as needed based on his consideration.
The study leads to an understanding of the basis for faith as a driver for human effort. If the motivation for your effort is consistent with God’s purpose and you are committed to methods and approach consistent with the principles of Living in the Image of God, then the battle belongs to God (see Following God Schedule by Living in His Image). Therefore, he sees your effort and wants you to succeed. He will determine if you need a miracle and what, when, and how. Therefore, focus on doing what you can humanly do—with faith of God intervening as necessary according to his schedule.
We use this understanding of basis for faith to examine David’s famous victory over Goliath. He was motivated to fight Goliath to remove a “disgrace to Israel” due to Goliath’s defiance and confirm that Israel’s army was the “army of the living God.” He expected victory because the battle belongs to God, focused on fighting as he humanly could, and won victory by a miracle that manifested through his human effort. God sees your effort in human work, wants you to succeed, and will intervene with a miracle as he considers necessary.
Would you end 2018 understanding that God defines work for every person, divides the work into task increments, initiates each task, and provides the person guidance to proceed and complete the task on time? Christ explains and illustrates this relationship through interactions with a man born blind. Each task, if completed, leads to a miracle and ushers in the next task. To receive and complete your tasks, you need to stay connected to God: by praying continually, interacting with other believers in fellowship, and living in the image of God. You will receive his guidance, follow with faith, and complete each task on time to receive your miracle and guidance for the next task.
We invite you to end 2018 learning from Christ’s teaching on human relationship with God regarding work, through interactions with a man born blind. Christ uses the interactions to lead us step by step through an illustration of the relationship. Apostle John provides an account of the teaching and illustration in the first 39 verses of chapter 9 [John 9:1–39]. In the teaching, Christ explains that God defines a work mission for every person, divides the work into task increments with a performance time for each, initiates each task, and provides guidance for the person to continue and complete the task on time. Each task completed on time results in a miracle and ushers the person onto the next task.
The mission for the man born blind appears to be to start proclaiming the gospel message to all, using his life experience as physical evidence that Jesus is the Messiah and to illustrate the work aspects of human relationship with God. He performed the mission in task increments as God guided him. The biblical account describes the first three tasks and the beginning of the fourth. We describe the three tasks using a sketch format to emphasize the relationship they illustrate.
Each task description identifies an objective, initiation, instruction, outcome, and miracle.
Task Objective represents the purpose to be accomplished through the task. The objective of a task could be identified at the end of the task but is usually not obvious at the beginning. For example, when Christ told the blind man to “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” [John 9:7], he did not tell the man the objective was to gain sight.
Task Initiation represents something that God does to get the task started. For example, Christ anointed the man’s eyes with moist clay before giving him the instruction to go and wash in the pool: “He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay” [John 9:6]. We encountered an example in a previous bible study under Peter Escapes from Herod’s Prison, when an angel released Peter from prison and left him outside the prison gates to complete his escape from King Herod. God’s initiation of a task is at times contained in the miracle of a previous task. Anointing the man’s eyes with moist clay appears symbolic to illustrate task initiation by God. If all he wanted was to heal the man, he could have accomplished that just by touching him and pronouncing the healing.
Task Instruction represents a specific command to do something. God gives the recipient an instruction to do something: either a clear and direct instruction as in Task 1 or an instruction that becomes evident with the unfolding events as in Tasks 2 and 3.
Task Outcome describes the result of a task and includes a miracle.
Task Miracle Every task includes a miracle with the outcome. The miracle is an aspect of the task outcome that could not have happened through human effort alone.