Faith _ 2
Priscilla Van Sutphin
Eph 2:8-9 NKJV For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Eph 3:17-19 NKJV
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
This is one of my favorite scriptures to pray over people because without this revelation of the LOVE of Christ, we cannot attain the fullness of Christ it implies. OUR FAITH also is strengthened by how we see Jesus, how we see the Father and Holy Spirit. If our vision is scewed because we have been so hurt by our earthly parents it is hard to trust an invisible God. We hardly trust man, and man is made in His image God is so creative in the way He reveals this love to each person, depending on their backgrounds, but HE knows how to get through to us and He alone knows how long it will take to break down all the distrust and abuse, abandonment and lies of the enemy. We MUST be rooted and grounded in HIS LOVE, we must know the depths of His great love to also love others as we love ourselves. This is like the "bottom line" in business, in God's business, LOVE is the bottom line.
I don't know if it is true, but there is this story of John the apostle coming to a church and everyday he would preach only a sentence"Love one another as I have loved you, says the Lord " Then he would leave and finally one day a young man, irritated stood up and asked the apostle why every day he would say the same thing ? and nothing more. And the apostle supposedly responded "When you learn this, then, I will go on to teach more." Note also that it is the requirement for being filled with the FULLNESS OF GOD !...WOW ! We all want that don't we ?
Eph 4:4-6 NKJV There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
This is also a bottom line related to love for if we learn love, which the whole of life is about learning love. Then we can walk in love towards others, with varying ideas of how to apply scriptures, so long as they are not apostate. We should be able to walk in UNITY out of our love for Him. Not a superficial hierarchal UNITY, but to love all who are a part of the kingdom of God, in or out of the church - the church should not have walls.
Eph 6:15-18 NKJV
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
This tells us that the shield of faith is for quenching all the fiery darts of the evil one. Every day he is working to bring you down. It will never stop. We are in a war for our souls and the souls of others. And especially if you are doing anything to reach out to others, whether it is in prayer, or actually one on one evangelism, preaching, whatever, you are a target of the enemy. He will not relent. In a war, the enemy does not take a rest. Everyday there are confrontations, big or small and some of the biggest are in our minds. Will we choose to believe TODAY what God's word says about us? ...or give in to the enemy working on our minds, or through the words of others ? That is where the battle is most fierce. Anything he can do to steal your joy, then he is winning and keeping you from witnessing the truth of God's love.
Think about that a minute. Chew on it. Everything he does is to try to disfellowship you from the presence of the Lord, or to discourage you from telling others how wonderful HE is, and if you are crying in bed because of feelings that are crushed by the words of others, then satan is a happy camper because he has just rendered you useless from helping yourself or anyone else !!! If he can make you think you are useless, or too sinful to be used, then you won't DO anything for God. Prayer and worship are to be cut off at any cost in his kingdom he especially hates them.
He hates it when we LOVE each other and have sweet fellowship and company with each other, because then we are built up. So he will always try to sow division and dislike for others to keep us from unity of fellowship. If that doesn't work, then he'll work on your family relationships, or if it is a church that worships he will try to sow discord, or give you a preacher who will keep you in check from going all the way in worship to the presence of the throne room, so that he renders the whole fellowship from attaining entrance in the throne room of God, where miracles and ecstatic experiences are common....because those things manifest His beauty and love and empower God's people.
Phil 1:25-26 NKJV
And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.
When there is faith, there is JOY in the Spirit, because there is confidence in God's ability to defeat the enemy which is greater than the enemy's ability to defeat you. Another thing it says that without faith it is impossible to please God, and the Lord just showed me that means, you will not be able to walk in the light, to walk in His grace without faith. In other words, without faith, how can you walk the walk ? It is important because apart from HIM we can DO nothing. So if we don't believe that He will help us, we will walk in our own strength, which makes it impossible to be pleasing to Him. And we will only walk then, into pretense and hypocrisy, trying to do it in ourselves. Also He is a rewarder of those who SEEK Him, but if we walk in unbelief, we will not be seeking Him. We will not because we have not the faith to pray, to worship, to read the word etc.
Phil 1:27-30 NKJV 27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in, any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.
THIS faith which is overcoming to any terror from the enemy is only possible when we really KNOW how much God loves us. Because then we will understand that if we share in His suffering, we will share in His glory and God will be able to trust us with suffering because our faith will keep us through it and we will still seek Him and not give in to the torments of the enemy fully, but cling to Him as best we can through it. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them ALL. Before I went to Russia last year, a few nights before I was to leave, I turned into bed late and turned towards the wall and as I did, I heard a growling like a lion behind me and I knew it was the devouring one, and just cried out to the Lord " Lord I'm so tired, YOU deal with him, I need to sleep ! " and I must have almost instantly went asleep as I don't remember anything after that ! I am sure I am not alone here, but years ago as a new believer, I had terrible nightmares. God had to walk me through many years of healing, deliverance, and fearful experiences with demons to get to this point. Fear is overcome when you do what you are afraid of anyhow, casting all your cares on HIM knowing that HE cares FOR you.
Phil 2:17-18 NKJV Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Phil 3:9-11 NKJV 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul talks in Corinthians about carrying about in our bodies the death of the Lord Jesus and the above seems to make it understandable. Only through knowing HIM, the real Him, can we cast ALL our cares on Him, not holding anything back, but taking all things to Him. We must carry our cross daily, but mostly we don't want to carry any crosses, not in our flesh. Our heart says YES Lord ! But our flesh says "NO WAY !" "I don't think I can surrender that much. Our desire for comforts rob us sometimes from the explicit wonder there is in walking IN HIM. Our lives are NOT our own. We are bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus. But our flesh will try to cling to what WE want. Ultimately, it will only slow us down from getting to the place of true RESURRECTION LIFE in dying to self and living totally for HIM. So often we only want to give 10% or 50%, or even 80%, but not that last 20%. WE need to let Him into that last area of our hearts and when we do, OUR FAITH will be made PERFECT IN HIM.
Col 1:19-24 NKJV 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
If we shrink back from faith He has no pleasure in us. If we shrink back we risk great loss as we will be in that place of shrinking grace and self-striving, and never know real freedom. Shrinking back in faith causes us to lose HOPE. And at the end Paul says this amazing thing. HE makes up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ for the sake of the BODY of Christ !!!! Now a lot of people might balk here... after all it says when He died on the cross He said " IT IS FINISHED." ( yes, His part is finished ) But I can show you in Ruth, where it symbolically indicates in the scriptures, that the BRIDE of Christ will also surrender all for the sake of Christ and the church.
So although HE did finish the work of the cross, our part in carrying OUR crosses LIKE HIM, walking like HIM, is NOT finished. In 1 Corinthians 11 where it talks about communion, Paul says some are suffering in their bodies because they have taken communion sacreligiously, and many are sick in the body, indicating our sin also affects others. Well so does our incarnate suffering. It helps the church. It sows seeds for the church of Jesus Christ if we react appropriately to it IN Him.
The ministry of intercession is more than prayer. If you doubt that look up the greek words for compassion and bearing one anothers burdens. We are told to REJOICE in ALL things, not just some. If we can thank God even for the hard things we have to endure, it mutes the enemy ! If instead of complaining and talking so much, we realize all things that come our way are for our perfecting... Even the battles laid before us are sometimes a test if we will fight God's way and keep the FAITH He has put in us. If we will humble ourselves to the rest of the body with confession and prayer. And sometimes our suffering is a test to the body of Christ. Will THEY respond as they should ? Even the weaker members are necessary Paul said, WHY ? Why are they necessary ? If not for teaching us something about our own weakness, or vulnerability without Him.
I had SO much pride that God had to get my attention. And I asked Him to crush the pride and He did and continues to do that. He gave me the scripture"You made my strength into the drought of summer" when everything fell apart in my life....my family, my health. He threw me on a sickbed because I was walking in a spirit of jezebel. I had so much pride and control on me and didn't see how terrible I was. Now I was not walking in the seduction part....That was something HE delivered me from immediately when I came to Him, but I still walked in so much insecurity and fear and pride, I was a ball of pretense and misery. But in His GRACE, He brought me low, that I might fulfill my HEART's desire to BE LIKE HIM. He knew my heart was to be different.
Col 2:5-9 NKJV 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
There is a very sad thing in the church under the sun and that is the robbery done when unbelief is perpetuated through traditions of man. For example, I have always believed in supernatural healing, that God wants to heal, and I remember moving to a place north of where I am now when I was still married, and I was astounded to find people in such a low measure of faith , not really EXPECTING God to do anything. But I had been privileged to sit under a pastor in the beginning, that made you feel like you could do anything in Christ. He had once prayed for a baby who died , and went home after an hour of praying with the family, and the baby was raised from the dead ! It came back to life. They had put him in another room in a crib and suddenly he was crying. They called the family back in to see a healthy ALIVE baby ! Interestingly enough his middle name was Elijah (the Pastor ).
So I was trained that GOD WANTS to answer our prayers. It says if any TWO or more agree as touching ANYTHING it SHALL be done...not it MIGHT be done, but it SHALL be done ! But I found after I went through a dark night of the soul myself, where I almost died and had been under so much attack from witches and covens of Satanists, of jezebel in the church, that my faith had weakened. I had become tired and I needed others to lift me up, and at the time, I was not attending church. The church had driven out the prophets and I was a marked sheep by the enemy. HE will devour us if we don't work TOGETHER in unity and submit ourselves to each other. Even if mistakes are made, it is SO important to have other Christians to pray with you, to not be alone in the pastures...a mark for every wolf that comes along. He made us interdependent. Can the arm say to the eye, I don't need you ? Can the heart say to the lungs, I don't need you ? WE need each other and FAITH should be built up in sharing testimony of what the Lord is doing in each other's lives. It strengthens us to see prayers answered.
1 Thess 3:2-10 NKJV 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, 3 that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4 For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. 5 For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.
6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you7 therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?
Have you ever noticed that when your faith is low, so is your prayer life suffering ? Here they are praying night and day.
God has done the most wonderful thing in giving us gifts like tongues, for in every situation in the day, we can pray in our spirit. So night and day we can pray. Off and on throughout the day and at night when we are sleeping.our spirit doesn't need sleep. Have you ever woken up singing worship songs ? Why is that ? It is because our spirit doesn't sleep. Sometimes we are still effectually doing warfare in the night watches without realizing it !
1 Thess 5:7-9 NKJV 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 Thess 1:3-5 NKJV We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;
2 Thess 1:11-12 NKJV Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Note it says WITH POWER that HE will fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness towards us, and the work of faith to faith with POWER. His gifts and manifest presence in our midst in POWER, is evidence of His love and goodness towards us. I remember when I was married it would seem that satan would always provoke an argument before going to church. And we'd be standing there worshiping thinking what hypocrites we are, worshiping God when we had been so bad to each other. And we would repent in the worship, and the presence of the Lord would be so sweet and powerful, it seemed even MORE powerful at such times, and I always wondered if the enemy got us to fight because he knew we might be blessed, or if God just wanted to pour out in us, because He know how lousy the day had started...maybe both !
Have you ever noticed how those most hurt seem to be so talented ? Some of them are wonderful artists or musicians, or actors ? I think it is the goodness of God poured out in us, knowing how much we have been through. He is SO LOVING a father. Just like I long to see my son blessed and walking in all God has for him, so God the Father longs for His best for us.
2 Thess 3:1-2 NKJV
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.
1 Tim 1:3-7 NKJV 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia--remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. 5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
1 Tim 1:14 NKJV And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
1 Tim 1:18-19 NKJV 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, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
Without FAITH we certainly are in shipwreck. The enemy is determined to shipwreck our faith every chance he gets, so we must learn to stand on the word of GOD. Just a wee bit of discontentment, or discouragement will plummet us from the heights of FAITH and JOY to the depths of despair.
1 Tim 3:8-9 NKJV Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
1 Tim 4:1-5 NKJV Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Just this definition alone tells us the times we are living in. Praying in faith over our food, means that even eating poison won't harm us according to Mark 16. I know a church in town here that is Presbyterian that was teaching the youth that all ways lead to God...Hindu, Islam, Jewish, doesn't matter. There was a great church split when the former pastor came, who preached the real Jesus, and he was kicked out. TheChoir director is homosexual, and that is a paid position of $40,000 per year. On the other side of town however is another Presbyterian church with lots of charasmatics and which withheld missions funds from the main office on the basis of their stand on homosexuality.
1 Tim 5:8-9 NKJV But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
At the time of Jesus, the Pharisees were so selfish, they wouldn't care for their own parents. LOVE begins at home. If we can't love our own family, how can we reach out to others? God convicted me with this when my husband told me he wanted a divorce, rather than working it out. He (God) had me read Luke 6 where it says to love your enemies, be good to those who hate you, pray for those who spitefully use you. If I cannot love my rebellious son, how can I love someone else's rebellious son ? A lot of people kick out their teenagers when they are rebellious - put them out on the street to teach them a lesson. That is NOT taking care of your family. You FIGHT for those you love. You don't cut them off. You don't treat them as disposable extras. Where is faith in doing the opposite?
Warfare is always about sowing in the opposite of what is going on. How can I say I love my neighbor if I talk evil of him ? What if that neighbor is my husband. Am I speaking LIFE over him or just complaining about what is wrong with him ? An old friend called me today to tell me she is going to give her 21 yr old daughter who just lost her job a 30 day notice of eviction because she isn't respecting her and is very angry. She admitted she needed healing. I know there are all those tough love people out there who would say I'm crazy, but Jesus is loving to those who are undeserving. Hasn't He loved US when we deliberately have disobeyed him in areas of our lives ? Doesn't He still love us when we blow it ? Doesn't He forgive us ?
The intolerance and impatience in our society is at critical mass. I told her to go in another room when her daughter gets angry at her and thank God for that, thank God she is living with her and asserting her normal 21 yr old behavior of independence. Thank God for her rebellion, and for how HE will turn it around. I had lived this one, so I knew what to say. I learned it from Merlin Carothers books. Learn to praise HIM in all things, even if you react bad at first in your flesh, go in the other room, get with God and praise Him. Speak scriptures over your children, your husband, your wife, and watch the Lord answer. Ask for Him to give you HIS ATTITUDE toward that individual at church that bugs you. That is FAITH working in you.
1 Tim 6:9-12 NKJV For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
This is hard to say, and I am not proud of it. But this year I found myself falling into this sin of selfishness and greed. I had lived many years poor, and a couple years on faith, and then suddenly comfort. And what happened is that I lived out what I had judged others for. I had been harsh in my judgments of those who do nothing to help others. It seems always that those who are down and out, help those who are down and out. That those who have had hard times have compassion. Yet here I was seeing in myself, something I had also hated in my mother, and foster mom. I was distressed to see it in myself and have had a rough year filled with conviction, and more healing and deliverance, by the GRACE of God ! I lived in faith much better when I was poor, I must say. There were of course generational roots to this. A spirit of poverty will make you greedy, if you didn't know that. It hurt SO badly to see myself in the light of the Lord. I was SO grieved in my spirit at my own foolishness and pride. BUT GOD IS GRACIOUS. GOD IS SO GOOD. GOD GIVES SECOND CHANCES. And it is His mercy to convict us before it overwhelms our soul. Apart from God's grace I can do nothing.
1 Tim 6:20-21 NKJV O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babble and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen
Knowledge puffs up the word says and we can go down this path to the point of loss of faith too. If we trust in our revelations even as being perfect, or our knowledge and understanding over HIS understanding and knowledge, or think our knowledge is so much more than someone else's we are in trouble indeed for pride comes before a fall it says. Doing things based on your knowledge is not faith. FAITH depends on GOD. For example when I was first Christian, and still in a clinical nurse specialist, it would have been easy with my knowledge and background to pray for someone for healing of emotions. I knew how to recognize a lot of things, but my faith should not be in what I know, but what GOD WANTS. So I had to be careful of presumption. Only God knows what HE wants to heal. Only God knows each individual perfectly so we need to rely on HIM in FAITH doing only as He speaks to do, not ever assuming. Faith does not trust on what I know but what GOD knows. He knows past, present and future.
2 Tim 1:5-7 NKJV when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Tim 2:22-24 NKJV Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,
When you need to stir up faith, don't hang around people who don't have any. Also faith is often learned and it was so with Timothy. And below it says from his childhood he knew the scriptures so he had a lot going for him in the way of building of faith. What a treasure that must be to be taught as a child by your parents the scriptures and see it modeled in your relatives !
2 Tim 3:14-16 NKJV and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Tim 4:6-8 NKJV I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Paul had his eyes on the Lord, and not on this earth, but the heavenly city which is our true home. It enabled him to run the good race as he puts it. He fought the good fight of faith. Faith is definitely a fight. WE must stand on the word of GOD and not on the words of man or demons speaking through them, or to us.
Titus 1:13-14 NKJV This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
Walking in faith is impossible with traditions of men because then you are relying on rules and man made regulations instead of the Spirit of God. Religion destroys faith and quenches the Holy Spirit. It robs us of faith. See what Galatians said...."Who has bewitched you ? "
Philem 4-7 NKJV I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.
Now that is interesting - sharing of our faith becomes effective when we acknowledge that anything good in us is from CHRIST JESUS ! AMEN to that...it is not from my innate goodness that is for sure, as our flesh is very stinky.
Heb 4:1-3 NKJV For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,"
When you preach to those who have no faith to mix with the word...it's like it falls on hard, rocky ground. It is not received. So you just sow your seeds and don't get too upset by those who don't receive it. Your responsibility is to sow....the Spirit's is to water them, and if they don't receive it, it isn't your fault. It doesn't mean you aren't effective. Same with prophecy. If someone has a word for me
but I don't have the faith or don't MIX it with FAITH, then it won't do me much good. With faith, I will proclaim it, and pray for it to come to pass. Without faith it can be delayed or fall to the ground.
Heb 6:1-8 NKJV of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed,
We have all seen backsliders come back to the Lord and seen them renewed in faith so what does he mean by this. Well I will try to give this a shot because I have seen those who completely forsake God IN THEIR HEARTS, after getting saved and yet, those who were immature in their training and understanding of the scriptures, and fall back, out of ignorance, I think God is able to restore. So often, someone will slide back out of a lack of healing and deliverance. Notice that it says those who were a) once enlightened b) received the Holy Spirit c) know the word d) and have tasted the powers of the age to come. Those are the parameters, that if you have them and then fall away it is impossible to be restored. So he is not talking about your average immature believer. He is speaking of those like Judas, who spent years with Jesus, participated in the Holy Spirit, healings, and deliverances, etc....saw the miracles...a taste of the age to come....and then turn away. Now Peter, John and James actually saw a taste of the age to come in the apparition of Jesus with Moses and Elijah on the mountain. They had certainly tasted of the age to come. We have here an enigma, as there are so few in this age who have tasted that compared to the time of the apostles. So many in our age, even if they have the Holy Spirit, walk so much in the flesh, because of lack of healing. And the point here I think is that it is extremely rare if not impossible for someone to turn away when they have seen all this. I am sure there is more here but that is all I know.
Heb 6:12 NKJV that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Again, if you want more faith, and to walk in overcoming power learn from those who already do. Study them, ask them what they do. Read of people who have gone before us, like Finney, Wesley, Madame Guyon, David Brainerd or a Maria Woodworth Etter, H.A. Baker, or "Praying" John Hyde.
Heb 10:22-23 AMP **** let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Drawing near to God must be in faith. If we go in our own sin and grief over it we would surely not go. It must be IN FAITH that we draw near to Him, trusting in His infinite LOVE and mercy towards us.
Heb 10:38-39 NKJV Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
Faith sustains our walk in Him. If we lack faith, we can ask for more. Faith is also a gift. Trust is a gift as well as something that is built. God always knows where we are at anyhow, so how else can we come, except in the faith of the Cross and what HE did. If we lose that faith in His love and lose sight of HIM we will end up into perdition. Proverbs says, my people perish for lack of vision. If we have a vision for our life, then we have hope and can stand in FAITH in what God has told us or shown us. The enemy is always trying to sow doubt. He started it in the garden and hasn't stopped or changed his techniques any since then. He is always trying to undermine our faith so that we will draw back into sin and be discouraged, and defeated in our attitudes, hoping that will give way to suicide and another soul in hell for him another soul LIKE HIM, separated from GOD.
The idea satan has is to doubt God's LOVE for us...and that is infinitely more than we can think or ask or understand...As we grow in the knowledge of His love...our faith is strengthened as well.
Heb 11:1-12:1 NKJV
11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude--innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. 23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command. 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
Heb 12:1-2 NKJV
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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.
I have always loved this scripture. It is always amazing to read that He saw it as JOY to die for us ! I sure don't always see death to self as joy. I want to be like HIM. The only way for that is to look to Him. To keep my eyes on Him is the only way I can make It through anything. Everytime I get my eyes off Him, my faith sinks, just like Peter when he tried to walk on water. But Jesus lifted him up, even when he sank, His love is so great and He will keep taking you through the tests until you pass, like a good teacher that He is.
Heb 13:8-9 NKJV Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
It is not in the doing of things that our hearts are established and certainly not by the LAW, but by the GRACE of God who loves us and died for us. The Holy Spirit sheds His love abroad in our hearts. It is His presence that helps us to walk straight and to take the narrow path. If we listen to people who say well if you pray 15 minutes of every hour, then you will attain righteousness, NO. It is by the blood of JESUS, that we have any righteousness at all and the working of His Spirit in us. Not by anything we have done. It is by HIS POWER, not our own, that no man can boast .
James 1:3-4 NKJV knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Some people say "don't pray for patience" but avoiding what is necessary is no solution. We are a very impatient society. We pray for the other fruits of the Spirit like love and goodness, so why not patience ? Because those who say that don't want it tested. If I pray for love God will give me opportunity to love others. It is impossible for me to do that without HIS love in me. I can't get His love without hanging out with Him.
James 1:5-8 NKJV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Anything we need, God is our resource, wisdom, faith, love. But if we ask, it says ask in FAITH for if we doubt, then we are being double-minded. Now this kind of faith doesn't come overnight most of the time. In some it may come easier, but in the wounded it comes by much trial and testing....Much reinforcement of His love. When love has been betrayed, it takes a rebuilding of trust to believe you are loved again. God knows this and is gracious enough to continue to pour out affirmations, and experiences to those who need to have it rebuilt. Oftentimes He uses other people to help. Double-mindedness is like having one foot on solid ground and the other on a banana peel. It is NOT surety of faith.
James 2:1 NKJV My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.
James admonishes us to not be prejudiced. Prejudice is more than just an ethnic or race thing. Some people are prejudiced against fat people or ugly people. Yeah, I said that right. I heard a discourse on this from a black woman I met. Her theory is that what people really react to is when people act ugly, or look ugly. We all have different notions about what is attractive or not and often we base judgments on that, rather than on what GOD says about a person. I notice God doesn't care much if you are tall or skinny, short or fat. He loves everyone.
In fact, I think He gets a kick out of using people who other people think are misfits just to test our hearts. It seems to say that in 1 Corinthians 1. He uses even the despised things of this earth. And not only the despised , but the BASE things. Now base is as low as you can go...it is those we consider unfit in society. I used to have a friend who said all the time, that God would rather take a drunk and sober him up and use him, than a prideful Christian. I believe she is right. To me it is very ugly when we reject people because of their looks. One renewal church I once attended had a man in charge of conferences and when we asked if this homeless lady could come, he quipped "just make sure she is cleaned up !"
Also they couldn't come unless they worked the parking lot or something. When will the church learn to just give without getting in return like JESUS does ? Another church that helped me with the food program, for which I am really grateful would not help after a while, because they weren't getting any new members from it. Yet none of them wanted to come out and minister to the Mexican Americans here in the neighborhood. So unless they got tithers out of it , I guess they just didn't want to make the effort. It is only my opinion but it LOOKS that way from what I saw. I think this makes God NAUSEOUS. That is not giving in faith. Nor did they help pay for the food. And finally took away my ability to do it, so another church took over helping. We need to learn as a church what it really means to love people like Jesus does.
James 2:5 NKJV Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
Truer words were never spoken. The poor HAVE to live by faith. They are amazing ! I look at my brothers and sisters in India, Russia and Belize, where I have been, and their faith is remarkable. They must trust God. There are no rich church members in India in the villages. They have to live on faith in the Son of God not the sons of God. We drove out to the villages in Russia in a car that broke down every 10 minutes or so, needing water...it was an interesting trip....but we were in FAITH doing everything. And amazingly we made it each time to the next water pond where the driver could find water to put in the engine. In the village church there, there was no electricity so we had service by candlelight. They are meeting there in trust that God will provide more in time. Many other places in the world, people are dying for their faith, or being jailed for their faith. And we complain if the seats are not comfortable. In India, most places they sit on the floor. We'd be complaining about getting our dresses messy.or getting germs from having to take off our shoes.
James 2:14-26 NKJV What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Here is the real meat of the Word, also reiterated by his brother Jesus. Jesus said, if you give a piece of bread to one of these little ones, you are giving it to me. REAL FAITH is not afraid of losing anything, because you know that God will supply all our needs through His riches in glory. I have seen this lack of faith and fear of loss in so many churches when it comes to helping the poor. I have seen it in me. GOD is not enamored with our selfishness and holding on to things of this world. THIS IS NOT OUR HOME ! So when a neighbor comes to the door or you see someone on the street and the Lord whispers give them $ or food, or whatever, you just do it. WE seem to expect in America that it will cost us nothing personally to expand the kingdom of God.
In other countries, the hospitality which is "love of STRANGERS" so outshines Americans it is grievous. In India I have to fight to keep them from feeding me...it is unbelievable. Yet here we are so stingy about so many things....so unwilling to share...so full of apathy and complacency about those who lack, and even hatred... "why don't you get a job ?" Grant it there are those who take advantage, but the Holy Spirit once told me when I was afraid of losing things, that HE could replace anything I lost. There is also the issue of following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. There are some on the streets who are under judgment. Others are there out of hard times...there is a difference and we need discernment and to do things led by the Spirit. God knows the hearts of people so He can show us. All I know is loving on people is HIS WAY. Remember the Good Samaritan parable !
I will let you read the rest of the scriptures without comment
James 5:13-16 NKJV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
1 Peter 1:3-8 NKJV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love.
1 Peter 5:6-10 NKJV
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
2 Peter 1:5-8 NKJV
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:4 NKJV For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.
Jude 3 NKJV Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
Jude 20-23 NKJV
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Rev 2:12-13 NKJV "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
Rev 2:18-21 NKJV "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, 'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 "I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
Rev 13:10 NKJV He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people7 saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water." 8 And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." 12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.