Faith For These Times

When I tell other people about my faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, and they say something like “I wish I could believe that, but….”, I generally point out the fact that the average person doesn’t really understand how the internet works, or how the television and satellite images work, and we don’t understand every little thing about how an airplane is capable of taking off and landing.  We don’t crawl over every inch of the plane to assure ourselves of its soundness and safety, and even if we did, 99% of us would not know what we were looking at or looking for.

The one requirement for salvation in Christ Jesus, is to believe what the Bible tells us about Jesus, about God, and about salvation itself.  We can believe without perfect understanding.  Sometimes the things we believe, really have not much concrete evidence to hang them on.  Yet we believe them anyway.  The Bible has all sorts of archeological and historical confirmation, and yet people still believe in evolution with no proof or scientific evidence whatsoever.

My faith is a required “ingredient” for the realization of anything I ask of God. This is an immutable spiritual law.  Yet I have failed to grasp it fully, partly due to the fact that I have been turned off by people who, while I and my family were going through trials and difficulties, have turned the situation around, insinuating or out-right stating that the trials were due to our own lack of faith.  We were admonished to “rebuke away” any trial or sickness.  As a person who never shrank from helping others when I was able, this was also an affront to my sense of care and concern for one another that Christians are supposed to have, when folks who might have had the means to lend real support, offered instead, only empty platitudes.

“The Way” is narrow

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Christians are often accused of being narrow-minded.  The truth is, God’s Way is narrow, in the sense that it is utterly incompatible and uncompromising with any other “way”.

Faith, having belief that God will fulfill His promises to us, is a choice that we make.  God either is Who He say’s He is, and does What He says He will do, or He isn’t and He doesn’t.  It is that simple.  Yet I have so often not dared to hope for the things that I have asked God for, in dread of disappointment.

At some point we have to stop asking and start receiving.  When we ask persistently, not flippantly and without real faith and expectancy, we ask amiss.

I have seen this principle at work.  Once on a trip, the weather report called for rain and storms over our entire route and hours of travel.  I prayed for sunshine and clear skies, but I also expressed out loud, my confidence God was not going to let it rain.

A rich kid knows Daddy will take care of everything.  There is a certain audacity in that, to which most of us who have had to work for anything we ever had, react negatively.

But God is not an earthly Dad who dispenses His riches indiscriminately and without wisdom.  We can always ask, knowing whatever the answer, it will be for our best.

Asking “without expectancy”, when you think about it, is an insulting and grievously unfair characterization of God’s heart toward me, akin to accusing him, like the servant in the parable of the talents, of being a “hard master”.

I know how much I love to give things to my kids that I think will please them, but there are sometimes things they want that I’m not so sure about, insofar as how good it will be for them.  It is easy to give in to their enthusiasm and yearning, then find out later it wasn’t such a good move.  That never happens with God.

I don’t go around asking God for a million dollars, a new Mercedes, a mansion, etc.  Not that there is anything wrong with those things if God sees fit to give them to some people, or enables them by the intellect and work ethic He put in them, to attain those things, as long as they are not idols worshiped in God’s place.

But to ask God for good health? (For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them). In order to carry out the good works He has planned for us, we need a sound body and mind!  To ask God to provide the money to pay the accumulated medical debt? (Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law), these are requests of the Lord that are “according to His will” (And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him). So we can and should expect Him to grant them if we ask.  (Ye have not because ye ask not!)

First believe that He Is. (The I AM), and then also believe that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.  Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (our needs) will be added unto us.

This is not the “Prosperity Gospel”.  He will not make us wealthy for the sake of wealth and ease.  Then again, maybe He will, if we persistently ask, even if it would be to our detriment, so that the unfaithfulness of our hearts might be fully revealed.

Active and persistent faith may not eradicate all doubt from our minds, but it will should refuse to invite the doubt in, to make itself at home, and to stay as long as it likes.  Active and persistent faith should treat doubt as an intruder and remind all involved, what God’s Word says.

God did say to think on whatsoever things that are true, honest, pure, just, lovely, and of good report, if there be any virtue, any praise, think on these things.  The things Paul teaches in his epistles, the principles we have learned in the Word, if we do them, the God of peace will be with us.

I know these things by heart.  You probably do too.  But in the thick of things, do we believe them?  Do we remind ourselves of them, pulling them up from our memory and meditating on them?  Or is our knee-jerk reaction to cringe back like a whipped dog and “brace for the inevitable”?

I’m just saying…how does that differ from the woman who takes abuse from a spouse?

We are no longer slaves to sin.  Not only does that mean we can resist temptation to sin by the Spirit’s power within us, but we also do not have to be subject to the residue and side-effects of the sin-curse, in this world.  It can still hurt us, but it can no longer harm us.  (Remember hurt is temporary pain which can be recovered-from, while harm is real damage with serious and lasting implications.  Your doctor may hurt your feelings if he warns you that your excess weight is going to set you up for other diseases, but it is actually your poor diet choices that will have caused real harm, if you ignore your doctor’s advice.)  Our own willful sin, does harm us, by causing “sickness” in our spirit by separating us from the Source (Holy Spirit) that gives our spirit life.

I don’t want any of the “itching ears” apostate junk that is floating around in churches these days, (i.e. “prosperity gospel”) but I sure don’t want to walk away from my rightful “inheritance” in Christ because of the counterfeits.  I want everything God wants to give me.  Power to prevail over sin, power to persevere in hardship, power to overcome temptation, power to call that which is not as though it were, to contribute the ingredient of faith to God’s recipe for bringing into being, that which is “hoped for” and “not seen”.

Is it within God’s will for me to ask Him to provide the large sum of money which would get us out from under the burden of medical debt that has accumulated on our backs since December of 2012?  I would say that passes the “God’s will” test.  Owe no man anything (except love and the gospel).

Considering that God owns everything, what does that mean in regards to this earthly monetary debt?  The doctors who did the procedures and treatments, have nothing that was not bestowed upon them by God.  Their mind, their abilities, the money that put them through medical school, the offices and hospitals they work out of.  It is all God’s.

Satan is a bully.  If we give him any indication that our circumstances are “getting us down”, he will not miss the opportunity to torment us further.

Is doubt a sin?  If I maintain a belief that “God can but He probably won’t” is that honoring to Him?  Is that the truth?  Is it what the Bible says?  Satan loves to tell us we are the un-favored step-child of God’s family.  Ever feel that way?  I know a guy, who shall remain nameless, who expresses it this way; “It feels like God is sitting up there flicking boogers at me”.   Well, at least my friend has reckoned himself beneath God in this word picture, but is that a fair assessment of God’s attitude toward any of His own? (Crassness of the chosen verbiage aside).  But I am guilty of the same mis-indictment  of God’s heart.  We often misjudge the motives of people we live with, so how much easier is it to misjudge God, Whose ways and thoughts are so much above our own?

17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians chapter 1) We are joint-heirs with Christ! (Romans 8:17).

I don’t understand everything about these promises or how they work in our life as Children of the King here on Earth, but by faith, I receive them all!  Not because I deserve them, but because God has granted them, out of the love and goodness of His heart to those who are in Christ Jesus!

My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.

I am tired of settling for less than the peace and joy that God wants us to have, being less than “a conqueror in Christ Jesus”.

 I definitely have grown tired of people who stand in pulpits and preach that Christians ought to have peace and joy within, but do not tell how it can be obtained, or worse, lie about how!

  We have to submit our minds for an overhaul because the Bible tells us we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  Christ gave Himself up for the church in love, so that we could be washed by the water of the Word.  God’s Word is what washes and renews and transforms our minds!  (If that makes me “brainwashed” then so be it!)

The scriptures were not given for our information, but for our transformation!  ~D.L. Moody

It is easy to get really good at nursing and rehearsing your hurts, sins, failures, and disappointments.  But the apostle Paul says:

  “forgetting that which has gone before, (forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching for those things which are yet to be attained), I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

It takes some intentional effort and determination (practice!) to form the habit of letting those rest in the “sea of forgetfulness”.  It is impossible to keep focus on what is ahead while focusing on our own past that is behind us, though it is profitable to remind ourselves of God’s past blessings, provisions and protections.  It is good to fill our mind with thoughts from the Word and thoughts of the “future glory” that awaits every joint-heir with Jesus, which includes all that are born again of the Spirit.

This world is so rife with trouble.  And we are not promised to be immune or exempt from it, just that God will meet our every need.

Rejoicing, like love, is a choice we make.

It is so easy, when you become an adult, with all the responsibilities of adulthood and especially parenthood, to forget to rejoice.  Strongs  defines rejoice as follows:

H1523
גּוּל    גּיל
gı̂yl  gûl
gheel, gool
A primitive root; properly to spin around (under the influence of any violent emotion), that is, usually rejoice, or (as cringing) fear: – be glad, joy, be joyful, rejoice.

Interesting!  To spin!  That is a word we newsaholics know!  To “spin” a news story  is to present it in a pre-determined (positive or negative) light for the purpose of having it perceived a certain (preferred) way.  It is a manipulation of sorts.  Lots of news folks are pros at this.  If you state it as if it’s a good thing, people will probably think it is a good thing.

But we don’t have to deny reality, we just need to “spin” our perspective until we are viewing things in the light of scripture.  We are joint-heirs with Christ.  Every resources is at His feet!

Happiness and joy are feelings.  We may not immediately react with happiness spontaneously to our circumstances, but just like we can douse our doubt with liberal amounts of God’s promises, we can also turn that circumstance around in our minds, to where we are looking at it from God’s perspective.  We may not be able to see the outcome like He can, but by merely knowing what God wants for us (to give us a future, a hope, an inheritance of all His riches) we can celebrate and anticipate good things, no matter what it looks like right now from where we are standing.

Rejoice! It is an imperative, not a suggestion or request.  It does not mean we go around with an idiotic and clueless grin on our faces all the time like some Stepford Wife.  It has more to do with heaviness verses lightness of heart.

In North Korea, citizens must, by law, express love and loyalty to their leader if they are ever to find themselves in his presence.  I imagine few citizens would sincerely feel the sentiments they are verbalizing under coercion, if they also realized how much of what they are told by their dictator is lies.  But most of them don’t realize it, and therefore their expressions are genuine, their excitement sincere.  It all rests in what they believe.

God cannot lie.  His promises are sure.  He never changes!

If we can establish His good intent toward us in our minds, settle the matter in our hearts and believe that He is “over all things”, then it’s not the fault of “that jerk at work” that your paycheck was short this week, it was allowed by God for some reason.  If He is over all things, then maybe the fender bender your son was in, was God’s way of preventing some worse accident that would have happened if he proceeded unhindered 5 miles further along his route that morning.

Sometimes the only aspect of a situation which we have any control over at all, is our perspective!   If it feels like you have been wandering aimlessly and endlessly in a wilderness, remember that Jesus said (Matthew 9) to the blind men:   “Believe ye that I am able to do this? When they said unto him, “Yea, Lord”.   Then Jesus touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it unto you“. And, to a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years,  (who) came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

Asking in doubt equates to double-mindedness.  A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.

So if you are torn, between hope and despair, between faith and doubt, between belief and un-belief, know this:  You have to get off of the fence!  Trusting the Lord is no halfway proposition.  It is all or nothing!

As C.S. Lewis put it:  Christ is either Lunatic, Liar, or He is indeed the Lord over all!

For those who know this, Lord, help us know it better.  For those who have yet to assimilate this truth, I pray the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power…

Amen!

6 thoughts on “Faith For These Times

  1. \o/ “How wonderful and how marvelous is our Savior’s love to us” I thank the Lord that when we are sensitive to His Spirit that we can encourage ourselves as we bring to our remembrance who we are in Christ, and we can stand on God’s promises to us.

    You are so articulate and this is what I liked:
    “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.

    “I am tired of settling for less than the peace and joy that God wants us to have, being less than “a conqueror in Christ Jesus.

    “I definitely have grown tired of people who stand in pulpits and preach that Christians ought to have peace and joy within, but do not tell how it can be obtained, or worse, lie about how!

    ” We have to submit our minds for an overhaul because the Bible tells us we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Christ gave Himself up for the church in love, so that we could be washed by the water of the Word. God’s Word is what washes and renews and transforms our minds! (If that makes me “brainwashed” then so be it!)”

    The scriptures were not given for our information, but for our transformation! ~D.L. Moody

    To paraphrase what Paul said, “Let’s leave the past behind and move ahead with our lives, looking for the rewards and inheritance God has for us.”

    SUBMIT TO GOD’S RULE IN YOUR LIFE; SUBMIT TO HIS WORD (THEN, AND ONLY THEN) YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RESIST THE DEVIL AND HE WILL (HAS TO) FLEE FROM YOU! Again, my paraphrasing of James 4:7.

    God bless you!
    ~Liz

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    • Sometimes my mental train jumps the tracks, other times on this Acer laptop I use, the cursor jumps around and starts writing the current sentence in the middle of a word 2 paragraphs up, so sentences don’t always make sense, but I find stream-of-consciousness writing is my best bet for expressing what is on my mind, and figure folks can glean the gist of meaning out of it. It is a good thing to remind ourselves of the lessons and things we already know, because they get pressed back into corner shelves and gather dust otherwise. Just like exercising and eating healthy, we know what is required, but get lax in practice. The Christian walks comes down to always returning to “what you know you ought to do” and doing it! Weight comes off gradually, strength and endurance builds incrementally, and faith increases with each trial, whether we “pass” or “fail” the test, we learn from it. God redeems it for good purposes.

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  2. WOW! Very powerful- filled with Truth from the Lord Jn8:32,36, & Wisdom from above Jas3:17.

    Paul said ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus’. So be it Lord!

    Thank you for your wonderful & wise post! God richly bless you & yours even more!

    ~Drgold http://drgoldsite.wordpress.com

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