Walking By Faith

When a child is born, he is not expected to be able to walk until he is about a year old, some a little sooner and some a little later.  However, if he is not walking by the time he is about 2 years old something is wrong.  Walking is usually preceded by crawling or scooting, though not always.  It is a major turning point in the life of a child when he begins to walk and ushers in major changes in his life from that point on.  Walking is basic to life as we know it.

But have you ever considered what is involved in the process of walking.  Please follow along with this breakdown.  Walking in the animal world is usually on 4 legs but in man it is a balancing of the body on two legs.  In the process of walking, all of the mass is balanced on just one leg, and the other leg supports nothing and is allowed to transition to another position.  Upon that transition, all of the weight is then transferred to that leg from the first leg, which frees it up to transition to another position.  Walking , then, is the alternating of the body’s weight from one leg to the other and back again, with each freed leg transition to another position and enabling a continual transition of position.

It is important that you are conscious of this process to fully comprehend the Scripture,  2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  As I studied this concept of walking by faith, I noticed the descriptive prepositions that accompany this spiritual walk.  The first one is the word “in”.  We are told to walk: in the steps of that faith (Romans 4:12); In newness of life (Romans 6:4); In the Spirit (Galations 5:16, 25); In Love (Ephesians 5:2); In Him (Colossians 2:6); In the light (1 John 1:7, Revelations 21:24); In truth (3 John 4).  From this we can deduce the security that we have in attempting this walk.  Just as a child learning to walk has something to hold on to that will aid his balance, these things will give us balance in trusting the Lord in our faith walk.

The second preposition is the word “as”.  This word is used illustratively and reveals additional truth.  For example, 1 Corinthians 3:3 directs us to walk as men.  That is adult men who have walked with the Lord for many years and have long passed the elementary stages of just beginning to walk.  A second example is found in Ephesians 5:8 where we are directed to walk as children of light, who have matured in their faith and properly represent God’s intention of our walking by faith. 

The third preposition is the word “by” as in 2 Corinthians 5:7 and reveals the methodology of how to do this walking.  Going back to our description of walking, we see a transitions of the weight from one leg to the other and back again.  Here is what is happening on the spiritual level.  The Lord is represented by one leg and we represent the other.  He carries the weight of responsibility and direction while we carry the weight of obedience and faith in Him.  We cannot move until He directs us and He will not move without our obedience and faith in Him.  Our first steps of faith and uncertain and our trust is a new process but as we gain an understanding of how God is developing our new and living way, we gain confidence and skill in walking in harmony with Him.  This process is necessary to ‘grow in faith’ so that we do not remain undeveloped in His image and likeness.  Without it we will become ineffective in our service, insensitive to the Lord’s voice, and unconscious of our spiritual existence.  Simply put, we will be salt that has lost its savor. 

Sometimes a young Christian struggle with this concept as there is few or poor examples for him to emulate.  Others lack encouragement and other have wrong teaching or some other hindrance so that they attempt to walk in a manner that doesn’t work, such as acting on their own without the Lord’s direction .  That would be like hoping on one foot without the benefit of the other leg.  You might do it for a short time but you will quickly find out that it is without the Lords blessing and you will not be able to continue for long.  The process of walking by faith is understood that that faith is in the Lord and not in yourself nor in anyone or anything else.  As you learn to trust Him to lead and to empower you to do His will, you will find Him doing more and more through you.

Why the Trials?

For the past two weeks I have had computer problems and could not log in to my own site.  I just got the problem corrected and now I am back on line. 

For some time now I have had a problem that I continually had to work around.  I could not open my start button.  It (my computer) suddenly decided to stop working and I spent days trying to fix it with two different IT specialist who also had trouble with it.  I finally had to save my documents and completely wipe my hard drive and then reload everything.  When I got it reloaded for some unknown reason it would not recognize my password.  Just a few moments ago that problem was resolved and now you are getting my apologies for my lack of input. My computer is now working properly and it is so great to have it fixed.

During the time I have been wrestling with this problem it seemed that everything had been turned upside down.  My schedule was in shambles and my control was nonexistent.  This is much the same as the world dealing with the Corona virus or any other chaotic moment you may be going through.

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  In looking at this verse I realized that it is not an uncommon event in the lives of Christians, rather, it is the norm.  Christians will have multiple such events that push them beyond their limits.  There is a very good reason for that because it isn’t until you are put under such condition that true growth can happen.  A body trainer will tell you that this is where you get stronger than you were before.  This is where your limits are stretched, your vision expands, and your faith is validated.  It was in this light that Jesus said in John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  The discipleshad hoped that Jesus would set up His millennial kingdom and that they would reign with Him.  They knew nothing of Jesus’ death and the coming of the Holy Spirit who would lead them into all truth.  The journey was vitally important in preparing them for the final destination. There will be a time when we can rest with the Lord, but now is the time to be molded and sharpened into His image.  The journey through the trials is how we change our minds about everything, and how we are transformed and fitted for eternity.

Trials do another thing for us in that we learn how to think.  The natural man’s inclination is to avoid problems, pain and pressure, and when confronted with them we look for a way out.  This is known as escapism.  The favorite verse for the escapist is 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.  This verse is not for facing trials but for facing temptation.  These are not the same thing. Trials deal with barriers to be overcome while doing God’s will but temptations deal with diversions from doing God’s will.  We are not directed to become escape artist but rather we are to be over comers.  There are few rewards that compare to facing a difficult or impossible task and overcoming it.  It does something to you that gives you confidence, and a sense of accomplishment that builds you up in a way that makes it worth the effort.  We think different about difficulty much differently from then on.

It also brings hope.  Before the trial the picture looked impossible but after the victory, we have hope.  Hope that other difficulties can be overcome and that the possibilities can become realities.  We discover that the objective was not in our defeat but in our victory.  The trial only brings out what God had put there in the beginning. 2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.  Our cheering section is lead by God, Himself.

Instructions On Life

Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him

My wife and I have two favorite Bible teachers that we listen to regularly.  They are Chuck Swindoll and David Jeremiah.  This morning we were listening to Chuck Swindoll and he was teaching on raising children.  He made the point that we need to not just know about our children but that we should really get to know our children on the inside.  After the program, we were discussing his teaching and my wife made the point that one of the reasons that we have difficulty knowing our children is because we don’t know who we are either. 

The conversation then turned to the fact that this is a precipitating characteristic, in that I know who I am partly because of my parents teaching and how I am understood.  If my parents did not know who they were and did not know what values were critical for life, then I would struggle in knowing who I am.  Further, this knowledge comes only from God and His Word.  Therefore, it is critical that we study the Scriptures (Bible) to discover who we really are and what that means.

Another observation we made is that the basics, such as the importance of repetition; respect of authority; consequences; values; relationships; etc., are not emphasized, and in their place we substitute social values (how I am seen) and worldly values of personal gain, enjoyment and position.  Happiness is not a goal, but it is the product of choices. 

A third observation we made is that just one of the great benefits of regular Bible study is that it regulates and directs our prayer life.  All of the answers for what life is about and who I am are in the Bible and if we do not spend time in Scriptures we will only be guessing what the real answers are.  I can never know how to live until I discover the giver of life, Himself.  It is then that I discover His plan for me and how and why I was made. 

Sadly, too many Christians are like the ones in Hebrews 5:12 listed above who are like the baby birds in a nest that always want to be fed but contribute little to securing their own nourishment.  They continually look for someone else to package it in a manner that is entertaining, conclusive and simplified, that requires little from them.  The picture in their mind is that they are the audience at a worship service and the service is for them.  However, the Scripture paints an entirely different picture.  The observing audience is God who sees us following His Word in our individual roles.  We are there to give God glory and honor in the exercise of our faith in Him.  Some will do that by exhortation, some by music, some by carrying out different roles of the service but the one that is least understood and possibly the more important is that of the assembly that we call the audience.  What is their role?  It is multiple and universal in that there are several ways you can demonstrate your faith in God which is the purpose of everyone present.  You can demonstrate your faith in God by your giving.  It is your physical demonstration.  You can demonstrate your praise of God through music which is the expression of your heart.  You can demonstrate your faith in God through your reception and application to your practice, that is take it personal.  God is instructing you.  The preacher is not making the application but it is God, Himself speaking to you through His word.  You can apply your faith in God by your response to His Word in changing the direction of your life to conform to His Word.  That may require a response to the invitation but it may also require you to follow up on how you make decisions, express your love, help, etc.  The worst thing you can do in a worship service is to remain unchanged by the presence of God.  He is worthy of your worship.

We concluded our conversation with the second Scripture in I John 2:27.  There is not excuse I can find that allows me to go on through life floundering because I don’t know how to live.  If my parents didn’t know me well enough, they did teach me what they knew.  No parent knows it all so all of us are to take what we are given and add to that what we can gain.  We shouldn’t blame them because of their failure, rather we should thank God for giving them to us for what we got.  We shouldn’t blame the church because of their failure to provide us with simple answers for life requires us to apply ourselves. The answers have been provided by God, Himself in His Word.  Look again at this verse in I John.  You don’t need anyone to be your teacher for The Holy Spirit is your teacher.  Everyone born of the Spirit has the personal teacher, the Holy Spirit.  It does not matter what kind of situation you come from, whether it was a terrible environment, physical handicap, or even persecution; you have what you need to know what God wants you to know.  Even if you were born to unbelieving parents, in a place where the Scriptures are forbidden, and there are no missionaries and limited means of substance; if you will follow the light you have in doing what is right, it will lead you to know Him.  Where are your choices taking you? The most important choice is to choose to follow Christ and be born again and you will receive the Holy Spirit to guide you.

The Mirror of Your Faith

When trials come, how do you react?  One of the things that I have learned over the past 3/4  of a century is that my reaction tells me where I am in my relationship to the Lord.  There is no argument that your responses to the difficulty of life are the exact reflection of your faith in God.  If you are trusting in the Lord then your actions will be one of faith in Him; and if you are not trusting in Him, then your actions will be one of self-reliance or reliance on someone or something other than God. 

The old saying of “you can fool some of the people some of the time.  You can fool all of the people some of the time.  You can fool some of the people all of the time.  But you cannot fool all of the people, all of the time.”  Of all of the people in the world , don’t fool yourself.  Self-deception is one of the most deadly and frustrating lives that you could ever live.  Nothing will make sense and paranoia will most certainly be present.  You will find that you are suspicious of everyone and everything. 

It is vital that you be honest with yourself.  So many times we have a dishonest concept of our self, thinking that we are the greatest, the best, or the answer to whatever comes.  We need to make an honest appraisal of who we are and what we are.  We don’t have to be top dog, standing head and shoulders above the rest.  It is much better to find where you fit in and then you will value the others that are a part of life as well.  Looking at your performance will also aid you in seeing yourself in a true perspective.  Seeing repeated efforts fail can really help you to see the truth about yourself.  Accepting those results is necessary to seeing not only what needs changed but owning them as the truth of your self-observation.

I don’t always like what I see in myself so I am faced with how I will proceed in light of it.  I could justify my actions by some reasoning or I could place the blame elsewhere, or I could deny any fault but none of that will help me the next time I face another trial.  There is only one course of action that will leave me improved and that is to own my actions as the truth about myself.  Only then can I begin to correct my understanding about myself and then change my conduct.  It never works in reverse, I cannot change my actions and then change my understanding about myself. 

As we face this coronavirus pandemic we see various responses.  Some rely only on their-self and they hoard as a means of self-protection.  Some become quite benevolent and make it better for everyone.  Some become anxious and panic because they cannot see a way through it.  Some use the crises to take advantage of others in many ways such as raising prices for profit, offering what they don’t have, etc.  Some come to face their need and turn to the only real solution which is Christ.  Eternal life is only found in Him.

It is not a question of will I die.  It is a 100% certainty that you will die from something, someday.  It is not a question of will I suffer.  That too is a certainty for it is the struggle that strengthens us.  It is not even a question of the survival of the nation for every nation that has ever existed in the past have fallen, but life has continued because God is the one who is in control and holds all nations and people in His hand.  I am amazed that the greatest economy the world has ever seen has been brought to its knees in a matter of a few months.

So what is ahead?  It would be foolhardy for me to predict as the Lord has not told me to share such a message.  I can tell you this.  I am not nearly as concerned about what the future holds as I am about how I stand in the midst of this trial.  My prayer is that I can honor my Lord in how I stand.  My faith is in Him and not in how I come out.  He’s got this and I know that you or I don’t.  He holds all the blessings and we should look to Him and not to a government, a provision or ourselves for the solution.

The Necessity of the Struggle

1Co 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

When we think of the Apostle Paul, we often think of a man who presented his message powerfully and had everything under control, when in fact that is just the opposite of how it was.  He was a man of small stature, and his appearance was marred because of a physical ailment.  To see him you would not think that he was significant or mighty and would not intimidate you in any way.

He did not even suggest that was the answer to your problems for he had problems of his own.  He struggled continually with the carnal nature and the elements of this world.  So what made him so effective?  It was the struggle itself, because people do not need to see the greatness of another person, but the greatness of God.  When we trust Him, He alone is the solution to our struggles.  By seeing Paul in his weakness, they could see the greatness of God.

We often slip into the thinking that it is our strength, or wisdom or our presentation that conveniences and convicts others to come to Christ.  In reality, that may be the very thing that stands in the way of them trusting God for that is the job of the Holy Spirit.  Even if we could persuade them by our efforts then they would become dependent upon us instead of God and their faith in us would not help them, but would be a hindrance to their faith in God. 

But there is another purpose in God’s plan beyond our usability, and that is our own growth.  Note that Paul specifically stated that it was for our own faith that would bring stability with God.  It is encouraging to see faith work for someone else but it is life changing when faith works in our own life.  Like the adage “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.”, so it is with faith.  Show a man faith and he has the pattern, but when he proves God for himself he has hope and promise.

Faith in God only comes after the old nature has been subdued.  The reason for this is that our old nature fights to be in control and the conflict is not won until the old nature is overcome.  This is a task that we cannot accomplish through any natural means and it requires supernatural power which we do not have until we place our faith in Him.  John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.  The struggle is necessary for the individual to release his grip on the controls and take his place as a passenger on this journey to forever.  We do not have the wisdom nor the skills to navigate life successfully.  The struggle is within us and the victory is won by surrendering to the Lord as our pilot (Savior) by trusting Him to get us home safely. In our weakness, we are made strong and in our coming under His control we are saved.

Bits and Pieces

Yesterday was a day of progress in several ways.  I began my day with sleeping in because I was up past midnight.  I took a leisurely shower got dressed and spent time with my wife as we usually do.  I then spent some time in my office catching up on different projects and miscellaneous paper work. 

My wife had a luncheon with one of the ladies at church so I fixed myself some lunch.  I had a meeting with my pastor at 2:30 in which we discussed the status of the latest developments of the Christian Training Center for Eastern Asia, that I am working on.  I shared with him about my meeting in Oklahoma City with a Chinese pastor and his chairman of deacons.  We considered the establishing of the Christian Training Center and a suggestion was made to consider Taiwan as a central location as it was fairly central and visas would be easier. What do you think?

We then discussed the organization plan and objective.  My pastor had given me an assignment to write out my vision of what that was and I went over it with him.  We then considered the target audience and I shared the need I see from my perspective.  This is where I need your help.  Would you write me and share with me your ideas and needs?  I know that I do not have a complete view of the real need but here is what I have so far.  The main target is the new pastor or church leader with little or no training in his role in the church.  The objective is to assist and enable him in his development so that he can equip his people in Christian living.  He will be charged with self-study within the bounds of the curriculum.  Our task is to provide an environment of support and guidance as well as the resources for him to accomplish that task.  To this end we noted that we need the curriculum of specific courses of study and identified the first as being that of walking by faith.  This is a project that I will begin immediately.

To achieve this end, I need your prayers, ideas and input to provide the best program to meet your needs.  I need individuals who the Lord has placed in this time and space to step forward with wisdom, resources, prayers and a heart to be God’s hands and feet for such a time as this.  I need to be sensitive to what the Lord is doing and keep in step with Him. 

After my meeting with my pastor, I met with our pastor of Discipleship and shared with him our present status of this project.  He then shared with me that we have within our church, two additional resources.  One is a project that our church is already working with and that is a similar project in Africa.  He will be getting me in contact with the leaders of that project to see what we can glean from what they have already done and enable us to avoid wasted motion.  The second is an individual who has worked with Eastern Asia radio and how we might utilize that resource in our efforts.  I continue to see God’s fingerprints on every step of this effort and am continually being amazed at what He is doing.

I think that it is important to remember that this is not my project, nor is it our project but that this is God’s project.  He began it and has led it along the way.  We are finding the different resources that He has provided ahead and we proceed based on His power and provision.  In the final analysis, our own development and transformation is His first objective while in the process we become tools in His hands to build His kingdom.

The Flaming Sword

Occasionally, I like to address a Scripture that is commonly misunderstood.  Today is one of those days.  The Scripture is found in Genesis 3:22-24 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:  23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.  24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

A common understanding is that since man sinned, he was driven out of the garden where the tree of life was located because he couldn’t be trusted any more and the angel with the flaming sword was stationed there to protect the tree of life by preventing man from ever returning. 

There are several things wrong with that interpretation.  First, God was not protecting the tree of life from man but rather He was protecting man from the tree of life.  Had Adam taken from the tree of life, he would have sealed his own doom because that would have sealed his eternity in the fallen state and God had greater thing planned for man.  It would have destroyed God’s plan of man being completed in God’s image, likeness and authority.  Man needed time to be changed into that likeness.

Second, it was not an angel that was placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden, but a Cherubim, which means spiritual enforcer.  This was not to prevent man from taking from the Tree of Life, but to restrict man until he would come restored to a right relationship. 

Thirdly there are two directives as to man’s exodus.  In verse 23 states that the Lord sent him forth from the garden to till the ground from whence he was taken.  The ground was cursed for man’s sake (v. 17)  He needed to see the effect of sin in order to turn from it and back to God.  Then in verse 24 we see that man was driven out.  Man had willfully gone against God and he needed to understand that thereare consequences for sin.  God will not lower His standards and wink at our sin.  It will take God’s intervention to deal with sin and it was pictured in the slaying of the animal for their new coverings or clothing.

Fourthly,  the flaming sword is described in Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: as the Word of God.  We know it as the Scriptures or The Bible.  It is further described in Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  You cannot fool God and He will know you to the depth of your inner most being.  Entrance is restricted to only one way, the way of the cross.

Finally, the phrase “to keep the way” does not mean to keep the way closed, but just the opposite, to keep the way open.  Though it is kept open it is still restricted to meet God’s standards.  There is hope for man to complete God’s plan for man by entering in the manner that God is pleased with and that is the was of Faith in Jesus.  However, we must come repentant of our self-government and surrender our will to the Lord Jesus for it is His blood the brings our sin into submission.  Without that blood there is no remission.

Seeing the invisible

As I sit here this morning, I am already seeing God at work.  The mission meeting in Oklahoma is starting to take shape and I see God’s fingerprints on each thing that happens.  Each person is key to its success.  God began this work many years ago.  As I consider just how long ago, I find that it began before He created anything.  We were in the mind of God and everything needed for us to become what He intended was provided.  He has been working ever since and I found Him working in my life long before I found out that I was a part of His plan.  You may remember a blog that I wrote recently about HIStory.  That is what history is all about, it is HIS story.  He alone establishes kings and rulers and He alone removes them.  He orders the natural laws that govern the universe and He made mankind, and more specifically, He made me.

He is the one who spoke to my heart and called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light.  He is the one who gave me a burden for the persecuted church.  He directed me to write The Mystery of Faith, then moved me to where I now live, and connected me with all of the ones who have established this vision of equipping the church leaders.  He provided the translators of my book, paid for the mission trips and provided everything to go on these trips.  Now I am beginning to see His plan on equipping the persecuted church leaders to do the work of shepherding their churches.

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has some wonderful insights on seeing spiritually.  It begins by listing a number of notable Bible personalities who LOOKED for a city, made by God and SAW it from afar (verse 13).  There is an interesting note in verse 27 concerning Moses which says “for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.”  Then based on that vision, they responded by faith which is summarized in verse 33-38.   The chapter concludes with the statement, “having obtained a good report through faith . . .”

As I look ahead I see a vision taking shape.  It is not my vision, but His plan which has it beginning in God, and will see its realization by faith in Him.  The hardest part of such an endeavor is to keep my hands off.  The temptation is to claim it as my vision, my work, my heart, etc. but it is in truth, not mine at all but His.  This is His working so we must not lead but follow, we must not offer our works but our faith in Him.  If I can do it without His involvement then it will not require faith nor His power and will not properly represent Him.  It is precisely because of this impossibility that I can see the invisible.  It is because I see God working on all fronts that I can see His objective.  It is because the devil is working so hard to keep people in darkness that they need God’s light in order to see beyond this world into eternity.

We are much like the 12 spies that Moses sent into the promise land to search it out.  They all came back with a report that the land was a good and rich land and even brought evidence with a bunch of grapes that it took two men to carry.  The difference was in what else they saw.  10 saw the giants and determined that the fight was impossible.  The other two, Joshua and Caleb, also saw the giants, but also saw God who was greater than the giants.  So here you stand, giving your report of the Promised Land.  What do you see, Giants, in the form of an oppressive government or God who is greater than the opposition?  What is your report on what you see?

Having Faith

Yesterday, while my wife and I were shopping for Christmas gifts, I noticed a lady in the store who looked at me as though she knew me and then walked over to me and asked me if there was anything that she could pray for me about.  My immediate reaction was where did this come from?  I don’t know you and this is so out of the ordinary so why do you want to pray for me?  I made no response but knowing that the Lord works in wondrous ways.  I thought about it for a moment and the first thing that came to mind was the Christian Training Center in Japan so I asked her to pray for that.  I specifically asked that she not pray that the Lord would bring it to pass but that we would be sensitive to what the Lord had planned.

I have learned that God is not concerned about the doing of mission projects as He is about our walking by faith in Him.  After all, He is the one doing the work, as the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.  You see, God’s greatest work is us.  He is completing His image in us so that the world can comprehend what He is like.  He will bring it to pass without our effort if we will “believe in Him”.  Another way to say it is “if we will have faith in Him”.   

In my Bible studies I try to find the exact meaning of the original language in order to accurately understand.  This led me to an amazing discovery and that is that the word we translate as “faith” is pistis, which means to trust, rely on, or follow.  Then I found that the word that we translate as “believe” is also pistis, and has the exact same meaning.  The only difference is that faith is a verb or action, whereas believe is a noun or the act of trusting.  In other words you can substitute one for the other without violating the meaning.  For example, in Mark 9:23  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  This is an amazing promise and most people believe that God can do anything. However, if you substitute the word faith, for the word believe it takes on a whole new dimension.  Now it reads “. . .if thou canst faith, all things are possible.”  Do you see the implication?  What is holding God back from doing, is our unbelief or our non-faith in Him.  In other words we are the limiting factor in God working. 

Most of the time, we focus on the doing, instead of the believing.  That is because the carnal mind is trying to earn God’s favor but God has removed effort from the formula of pleasing him and now all that is required is for us to “believe in Him” or “to have faith in Him”.  God’s part is the doing and our part is the believing.  He works through our faith but He doesn’t work because we work.  God’s power is only exercised upon our position of faith in Him.  This is perfectly aligned with James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Our efforts should first be to know the Lord intimately, and then to discover what He is doing and join Him.  He does not join us to fulfill all our plans and dreams but when our plans and dreams are to see Him magnified here on earth we will see Him do amazing things.

God At Work

As I said in my last blog, I would share some more developments in the training center for Eastern Asia.  The need is growing day by day.  The attempt to stamp out Christianity by several countries only emphasizes the importance of this effort.  I considered why these countries would fight so hard to eliminate the church and I came up with a few considerations.  First, the number of Christians is growing dramatically.  In China alone there are somewhere in the neighborhood of a million or more Christians.  That is one in fourteen of the people in China are professing Christians.  That is a serious block of people who could potentially threaten the government’s power.  This “threat” would make any government uncomfortable by itself.  What the governments fail to recognize is that the Christians will only make the government stronger when they are seeking to do what is right.  Christianity stabilizes the people.  Yet the genocide and persecution of Christians to death , is alarming.  There have been more martyrs in the last 10 years than in all of the previous years of recorded time, and the rate is increasing every year.

Secondly, historically speaking, every government that has set out to destroy the church and its people, have incurred God’s wrath and have fallen as a result of their error.  Governments were established by God to be a blessing to the people but when they reject God and His ways, they are removed by God.  The Christians are not the ones that they should fear but rather, God who set them up to begin with for he sets up kingdoms and also removes them.  If they truly want to do what is right then they should embrace them. 

There is a hunger for Bible Training that must be met.  I saw this in China last year and again in Japan this year.  People are willing to make great sacrifice of time, resources and personal suffering in order to satisfy this hunger.  I saw people endure long sessions on small plastic stools night after night, taking notes as thought their lives depended on it; and do it night after night.  Stories abound of the cost to satisfy this need.  People are crying out for help and God is listening and has already begun to answer their prayers.

My burden is to set in motion the working of a Bible Training Center that will be available for God’s people to get that training that is so needed.  I have already begun to contact key people who are in a position to be a part of supplying this need.  I have talked with at least two different schools that presently have online courses available as well as many of the colleges and universities that also have such opportunities.  I have talked with a couple of individuals that have financial resources that are willing to help.  I am personally in contact with some professors and educational institutions that are willing to step up and be a part of this effort.  I will be in a meeting in December with two key people who will be praying and working with me to outline such a program.

Would you make it a matter of prayer to support this effort?  As I look around I see God’s fingerprints on each part of this work.  I did not choose it but it was placed upon me and I can do nothing but move forward with it as the Lord leads.  Please understand that this is not my project, but the Lord’s.  We are seeing God at work.