Is it possible to really understand the Holy Trinity? I have heard some theologians say it is just not possible for man to fully comprehend. God is infinitely wiser and more complex than we can fully understand. But he does want us to seek him, and ask him for wisdom and understanding, in things concerning himself. If we do, he has promised to give it to us. Jesus said in John 10:30 “I and my Father are one. For this saying, the Jews were ready to stone him.” The very first verse of the gospel of John states, John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John goes on to explain that Jesus was and is, that Word. John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” So Jesus and the Father are one, and they were together at the beginning of all things. Jesus is referred to three times in John chapter 1 as, the Word. Of all the names John could have used for Jesus, he used the strange title the Word. The Holy Bible is complete. It was given to God’s prophets and apostles through direct revelation by his Spirit. That same Spirit now guides and directs us through that Word. Jesus told his followers, John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” It is only through God’s word that we know anything about Jesus, our only hope of salvation. Jesus prayed, John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, are not one being, but they are one God. Inseparable in all that is good, and holy, and righteous, and pure about their character. God the Father is love, Jesus is love, his Spirit is love. They are always in agreement, not on which direction they might travel, like Siamese twins, but in the way they think and behave. They can never lie or deceive, they are one in thought, word and deed. Imagine a one carat diamond. Perfect in all its facets. If a jeweler were to split that diamond into thirds, each would be completely a diamond, with all the characteristics of a diamond. Philip asked Jesus if he would show them the Father, John 14:8-10 “Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” Jesus appears to be a bit puzzled at Philips request. Jesus knew that each piece of that perfect diamond was identical. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we begin a journey, guided by his Spirit and Holy Word, to become more like that diamond.
Has the time for miracles, and mighty acts of God past? Many people would say yes, or point to modern technology as a miracle. Even people of faith have come to the conclusion that, the days of miracles ended, with the original apostles. Acts 10:34 “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:” God did not grant special powers to one group of children, and withhold them from another. The original apostles walked and talked with Jesus for three years, this increased their faith, and it is our faith in Jesus, and in his word, that produces miracles. In the gospel of Mark a man who was not a disciple, brought his son to Jesus, to cast out an evil spirit, he asked Jesus, Mark 9:22 “but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” These words are as true today, as they were two thousand years ago. Another time Jesus followers found a man preforming miracles in Jesus name, that was not one of his followers. This should debunk the notion that only his disciples were given the authority to preform miracles. The story is found in Mark chapter 9. They asked Jesus if they should forbid this person from doing these miracles and Jesus answered them by saying, Mark 9:39 “But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.”
Jesus has ascended to heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. In his absence he has given his Spirit and authority to his followers, to think as he thought, Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:,” and to do as he did, John 14:12-14 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Jesus says in this verse, that this would be accomplished by those that believe, in him. Not those that walked with him, or came shortly after him, or witnessed him, or touched him, but those that believed in him. When we preform any miracle in Jesus name, it brings glory to Jesus, and to the Father. Mark 13:34 “For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.” Jesus has given his authority, to those that believe in him. His servants. When a person is invested with authority, it is up to that person to use that authority. The Bible states, James 2:20 “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” Faith that is never exercised does not produce miracles! This type of faith comes from trusting in God, and not the material things of this world. It is likened to the kind of faith a small child has in its parents. Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” By reading Gods word, we become more and more familiar with who God is, and who we are as His children. It is no small thing to be a child of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and beyond!
Finally how do we put this faith in action to produce a miracle? Jesus cursed a fig tree, when he found it had no fruit. Jesus wants all his creation, especially those he died for, his brothers and sisters, to produce good fruit. His disciples were amazed to see how quickly the fig tree had shriveled up, and died. He then told them this, Mathew 21:21 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” Jesus spoke a word to the fig tree, he spoke the entire universe into existence. He told his followers to speak to the mountain. Speak to that thing in the name of Jesus, that does not conform to his will. Command it by the authority he has given you, believe he is willing to accomplish anything that is according to his will, and you will begin to see miracles!
God wants us to trust him, and his promises. Hebrews 11:6 “ But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” We cannot please God without faith. Faith in Jesus is the bedrock of our salvation. The power of God, and the Holy Spirit, is released through faith. Mark 11:22-23 “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” This verse not only describes what can be done with faith, it tells us how to use it. First Jesus tells us to have faith in God. When we read the Holy Bible, we need to be aware of how many times God came through for the person, or people, he was dealing with. God wants to teach his children, like any parent would, to be able to do things for themselves. God wants us to take off the training wheels on our bike. He does not want to follow us around, holding onto the back seat forever, as we pedal. Notice Jesus said, “whosoever shall SAY, onto this mountain, be thou removed.” We must use our words, to speak to our problems, or the problems of others. Next Jesus says, we must not doubt, but believe those things we Say, they will come to pass. The term, come to pass, is not an expression of immediacy, but denotes a thought of patience, or waiting. James 1: 3-4 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
We have had an infestation of stink bugs in our home this spring and summer. I have tried everything to get rid of them. One day I was fed up, and almost without thinking yelled, “In the name of Jesus, stink bugs leave this house now, and don’t return.” I was surprised that I had waited so long, to speak to this problem. I noticed they were still around a few days latter. Perhaps worse then ever! Well I guess they were coming out from their hiding places, because after about a week they were all gone! Some things I have spoken to, in Jesus name , have manifest themselves almost immediately, and a few other things, I have been waiting on for years. James states, the trying of our faith works patience. Use your faith correctly, and it will increase. Romans 4:17 “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” Paul here is speaking about Abraham. God called Abraham a father of many nations, long before he had any children. And Abraham continued to believe God, and his promise, long into his old age. We need to hold onto, and wrestle with the things we are believing for. Jacob wrestled all night with an angel, and declared, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Genesis 32. Finally, don’t waste your faith on things of this world. A house in Florida, a cottage by the lake, the newest car, or fanciest cell phone. James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Remember it is more blessed to give, then receive. Read the Holy Bible, write down God’s promises to those who have received Jesus, as their Lord and Savior. If you have, all God’s promises in the Old and New testament are yours! You are a child of God. Paul wrote, Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Read God’s word. Hunt for the power and blessing you have been given, when you became a part of the family of God, like you would hunt for gold or silver! God’s promises and blessings are more precious then all the gold and silver in the world. Trust in God and be patient, and your faith will increase.
How can a person know for sure if they have been saved? Is there a complicated formula, or set of rules to observe, or adhere to, for a person to know with certainty they have been saved? I see this question come up quite often, and there seems to be a good deal of confusion concerning this topic. God certainly does not want his children confused, when it comes to such an important topic as salvation itself. 1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” God wants you saved! He sent Jesus to die for your sins. If there had been an easier way for us to obtain eternal life, then for God to send his only begotten Son to be humiliated, beaten, and crucified, God would have done it. God not only wants you to be saved, but he very much wants you to know, with out fear and doubting, that you have been saved. 1 John 4:17-18 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” God says he wants us to have boldness in the day of judgment. Looking forward with a joyous and happy expectation, for the return of Jesus to judge the world. Now let me get to the point. We know we are saved, if we believe Jesus died for our sins, and he was raised on the third day, and we tell God this with our mouth, asking Jesus to come into our life, and be our Lord and Savior. Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” That is all there is to it. You could stop reading this article now, and know you have eternal salvation. Many denominations would like to complicate this Good News, some out of ignorance, and some out of a desire to manipulate and deceive. Romans 16:17-18 “ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Satan and his ministers, want you to be deceived into thinking there is more to it then that. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “ For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” It states in this verse, Satan’s ministers are ministers of righteousness. They want you to think, that righteousness comes from them, and not from Jesus and his finished work on the cross. There is no complicated formula, or procedure. Satan wants you confused, scared, uncertain, and deceived. 2 Corinthians 11:3 “ I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” But many would argue, what about repentance? You must REPENT of your sins. God does not want us to continue to sin, not because it harms Him, but because it harms us. He loves us, and does not want to see any of the consequences of sin, come into our lives. If after you have accepted Jesus into your life, as your Lord and Savior, you want to reap the benefits of being a child of God. Begin to read His word. Everywhere you read a good promise, know that it is now yours! Referring to Jesus, Paul wrote, 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.” If you read any curse that comes from disobedience to God’s word, know that Jesus paid the price for it. Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” The more you read God’s word, and come to understand how much he loves you, your sinful life will begin to disappear, as a foggy morning is replaced by a brilliant and warm sun. Romans 2:4 “ Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
Do we need to mix good works with our faith, to get to heaven? Ephisians 2:8-10 “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 3:27 “ Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” Lucifer’s original sin, was one of boasting. His brightness and beauty led him to be vain, and think more of himself, then of his Creator. God wants us to come to Him completely humble, and thankful, for His free gift of salvation. God does promise, in many places, to reward us for our good works and deeds. Mathew 6:20 “ But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” God is faithful to reward us for our good works. Some servants will be given 10 cities to rule over in His kingdom and some 5, but salvation is a gift. Lets be always mindful of what a good and wonderful God we serve.
I noticed several similarities between Paul’s shipwreck recorded in Acts chapter 27, and salvation that comes through our Lord Jesus, and faith in him. Paul in this story, is being taken by soldiers with other prisoners, to be judged before Caesar. All men and women, small and great, will be brought before God, to be judged. Rev. 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” When this day comes, we do not want to be judged according to our works, we want to have our names written in the book of life. Rev.20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” All the good works in the world will not save us from this fate. Only faith in Jesus, and his finished work on the cross, will get our names written in the book of life. Next we see the ship is in great distress from a violent storm. Acts 27:20 “ And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.” This is how many come to accept Jesus into their lives. Often when we have no hope in this life, and things look there darkest, we turn to God for help or comfort. Paul was then given a message of encouragement from God, that he, and the men with him, would be saved. He then gives this message to the men sailing with him. Acts 27:25 “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Paul wrote letters to the brethren to encourage and instruct them, and us, while we wait for the fulfillment of our salvation. If we do turn to God, and accept Jesus, everything is not instantly wonderful and easy in our lives. Acts 27:29 “Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.” We likewise hope and wish for the day of our Lord’s return. When trial and tribulations do come, we sometimes want to flee from the presence of God, and run back into the world, just as ancient Israel wanted to return to the comforts they knew during their slavery in Egypt. Acts 27: 30-31″ And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” This is the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Except we hold fast, and abide in Jesus, we cannot be saved. Jesus told his disciples, John 14:6 ” I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” There is no salvation apart from Jesus. Next, Paul might be seen as giving communion to those that have trusted his word, and remained in the ship. Acts 27:35 “And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.” Following the last supper, Jesus was betrayed, handed over to the soldiers, beaten and crucified. Next we see the ship, was violently destroyed. Acts 27:41 “And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.” Although Christ was crucified and died, that was not the end of his followers as many had supposed. He had been told of the Father, that he would lose none that had been given him. Just as Paul had been told by God, all that remained in the ship would be saved. John 6:39 “ And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” The men aboard the ship make it safely to shore and things get much better. They are greeted by friendly natives, who give them food, and build a fire to warm them from the cold rain. But suddenly Paul is bitten by a venomous snake. In a similar way, Satan, often portrayed as a snake, continues to torment and persecute the Church. But we see that Satan has no power over God’s children. Acts 28:3-6 “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.” Finally, we see the snake is shaken off and cast into the fire, hallelujah! Satan will not be around forever to deceive and torment this world! Rev. 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
There has been much in the news lately, about radical terror organizations. Stories about Isis and other extremist groups are in the news daily. Many of the headlines involve bombings, shootings or beheading. Violence is the preferred method of gaining converts, and advancing there political, and religious agendas. Should a Christian ever be extreme, or radical, in there thinking and actions? I say yes we should! Should we take up arms and join the fight against other extremest groups, that oppose are religion, and way of life? Jesus was a radical, and they wanted him killed for his outrageous thinking.
What would the beliefs and actions be of such an extremist? Is it time to take up arms and fight, to preserve our way of life? Mathew 5: 43-44 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; This is truly radical thinking! Love, bless and pray for our enemies! Romans 12: 20-21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. The world is being overcome with evil, we are instructed to overcome evil with good. Is this practical advise? Wouldn’t our enemies just take advantage, and destroy us? Christians in many parts of the world are being persecuted and killed, for their love and faith in Jesus. Mathew 5:11-12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. Jesus told us we are blessed for being persecuted for him. And Peter said we should rejoice, when we experience any fiery trial for our faith, and love of Jesus. What are some other traits of a radical Christian? Luke 6:34-35 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Here we are instructed to lend to those in need, not taking into account their ability to repay us. Ephesians 4:28 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. And again we are instructed to put the needs of others above our own. How about fame and fortune, positions of strength and authority? How do they fit into the life of the radical Christian? Mathew 23:11-12 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. Here the Lord instructs us to be a humble servant. If we love this world, or the country we live in, shouldn’t we want to fight to preserve it? 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. They that are of this world, will fight, even to the death, for the things of this world. Mathew 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Jesus tells us we are not of this world. Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
In conclusion, a radical extremist Christian would love his enemy, and do good to them. He or she would rejoice when they are persecuted for the name of Jesus. They would be a humble servant to others, not exalting themselves, or their position in life. They would give to the poor and needy, and lend, not giving regard for the ability of the borrower to repay. They would not love this world, or the things that are in it. These traits, and many other things would define and exemplify the life of a radical Christian extremist. The life of the greatest Christian extremist is written in the pages of the four gospels of Christ. Lets all strive to be more like our wonderful Lord Jesus, and less and less like the extremists of this world.
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Three seeds were lying in a crag of a rocky hillside. They were brothers together long ago, in the womb of a delicious fruit. Over the years they had been blown here and there, wherever the wind carried them, was their home. Together they had seen the ocean and the hills. They had drifted over vast fields of wild flowers, very beautiful, and over mighty forests, green and lush. Several times they nearly met their end, but had always escaped. They had always been seeds, and as far as they knew, they would always continue to be seeds. One day the Lord saw them lying together on the rocky hillside, and immediately recognized them. I created you seeds, to be beautiful fruit trees. To provide shade for the weary, and delicious fruit for those that hunger. I will plant you in a plot of my best soil, warm and moist. I will provide gentle rain for you, and sunshine. Be patient my little seeds, and you will become greater then you have ever imagined. Mark 4:26-29 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
The three seeds lie in the ground for many weeks, and could see nothing happening. One seed said, “I have waited here and see no change, I was happier out in the sunshine. This place is dark and cold. Perhaps the one who put us here did not know what he was talking about.” So the first seed wiggled his way out of the soil, where the Lord had planted him, and found himself back in the familiar place he was accustom to. ” A seed I am, and a seed I will always be! ” Proclaimed the first seed. The other seeds shook their heads in disapproval. If only the first seed had waited, they thought. He could have joined us as beautiful fruit trees. After several months the remaining two seeds felt a change. They began to develop roots, and at last, their tiny shoots broke through the soil. How wonderful it was, to feel the sunshine and rain again on their faces, they thought. The second seed waited several months, but could not perceive any further growth. “The Lord said he created us. He also said, sunshine and water would help us to grow. I know a place that gets more sunshine then this. And the mighty ocean has more water then I will get in a lifetime, sitting here.” So the second seed pulled itself up by its roots, and made off for the sunny desert, and the mighty ocean. ” Wait! ” Cried the third seed. “The Lord told us to be patient, and He would provide what we need.” But the second seed was sure he knew better. And off he went. Soon the second seed was worse off then the first. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Now the third seed was all alone. But he remembered the words of the Lord, and waited patiently for the results. He missed his brother seeds, and wondered if they were right, and if he should have joined them. But he recalled how the Lord had said, He was their Creator. He must know what is best for me, thought the third seed. And so he waited.
After many years, the little seed became a beautiful fruit tree. Just as the Lord had said, all those years ago. The third seed thought back. I did not provide the rain when I needed it, or the sunshine. I did not create the good soil, that has provided for me all these years. I did not send for the honey bees, that have pollinated my lovely flowers. I did not call for the birds, that have taken the new seeds I have produced, and scattered them over the land. I provide shade for the weary, and delicious fruit for those that are hungry. I have become a blessing to all that come unto me!
Many TV evangelist spend a majority of their air time speaking about the importance of sowing a seed, in order to have financial success in the life of the giver. The more we give, the greater our harvest will be. Give until it hurts they claim. They also will tell you, it must be given to their ministry. Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. These men and women live quite well, and those at their service, or sitting at home, may be quite distressed physically or financially. It is important to give, God is the ultimate giver, and he wants us as his children, to be like him. In all my years of watching Christian broadcasting, I have never heard a single preacher tell the audience to give to the poor. They are always cajoling the listener to send a check to their web site, or post office box. You might be thinking, the Gospel of Christ is more important then a persons physical well being. I would say you are right, but the Kingdom of God, begins in the heart of the believer. James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. We can all spread the Gospel of Jesus, through our words and actions. Many of these TV ministries have made a lucrative business, out of the word of God. Proverbs 30:15 The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:16 The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough. I would add a fifth thing to this list, TV evangelists. Their coffers are never full, and they have an endless supply of testimonies of people, who have given to their ministries, and have received ten fold or more back again. Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. God will bless the giver, but we should not give to receive. We should give, because we have compassion on those we see in need. We also give, because we have been so greatly, and generously given to. God has given to those who rest, and believe in the finished work of Jesus on the cross, all things, including eternal life. Paul had this to say about giving. Ephesians 4: 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Paul did not say a person should labour, in order to give to him, so he could continue to travel and preach the gospel. He admonishes the reader to give, to him that needeth. And in Acts we read, Acts 20: 35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Proverbs 19: 17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. Finally Jesus himself was approached by a rich man, and the Master himself wanted nothing to do with his money in order to use it to spread his message, instead this is what Jesus instructed him to do. Mathew 19: 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
How do we know if God will answer our prayers? I have read God always answers our prayers, either yes, or no, or wait. This seems like a pretty poor answer to me. Everything that we desire happens or it doesn’t, whether we ask God or not. Atheist, and non believers of every stripe, have good and bad things happen to them every day. If I pray for a new job and get it, I suppose I can thank God for answering my prayer. What if I start the new job, thinking I would enjoy it, and find I hate working there? I read also, we should pray for everyday things, like green lights on our drive to work, or great parking spot at the mall. You may be lonely and praying for a spouse, or sick and praying for health. Some may find a spouse, and others are still waiting, some may get better and others worse. Does any of this make sense? Does God really care if you have a new car, or the best parking spot, if you own your house or rent? Some people may read these words, and are asking God for clean drinking water, or a pot to cook their dinner in. Paul wrote this to Timothy, 1 Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. Godliness with contentment is great gain! If we are content having just our basic needs met, we are at peace. But doesn’t God want us to have much more then that? Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Many of us find we are, at times, in need of very little, and at other times, we may find ourselves in great distress. Paul said he had learned to be content in both states. Was Paul someone who had all green lights on the way to work? Did he always receive the best parking spot? Was he always walking on the sunny side of the street? 2 Corinthians 11: 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Paul’s life was not easy. But he had this to say about his hardships, 2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. People who have little or no faith, quite often appear to have life the easiest. God does want to answer our prayers! And he has answered all of them, through Jesus our Lord and Savior! 1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s;22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s;23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. Paul said ALL things are ours! We may not see it yet, but we have eternal life, and all the riches of the universe, if we have made Jesus our Lord and Savior. What more could we possibly ask for? Proverbs 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! The better we come to know God’s word, the more we come to understand how much he loves us. Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Solomon asked God for wisdom, and all the other things he received were a benefit of that request. Solomon’s kingdom, and all his rich’s, pale in comparison to what God has given us, through his Son Jesus. Ask God for the peace that surpasses all understanding, no matter what circumstances you are in, and he will answer your prayer! 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
What does it mean to walk by faith, and not by sight? Walking by faith is not normal, it goes against what we are taught, and our basic human nature. God is a Spirit, and wants us to function, and think, in the spirit realm. Faith in God is the quality that allows us to function in that realm. Faith is trusting in a God that can not be seen, or perceived, with our five senses. Satan wants us to have strong faith, and actually most people do. God’s promises are full of positive faith. Satan’s promises are full of negative faith. Negative faith causes us to believe our senses, above and beyond the promises of God. Negative faith says impossible, positive faith say’s, Mathew 19:26 “… with God all things are possible.” negative faith say’s, “the doctor tells me I will have this condition forever, I will have to try and manage the pain.” Positive faith say’s 1 Peter 2: 24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” Negative faith say’s, ” I’m to old for that, you guys go ahead without me.” Positive faith say’s, Isaiah 40:29-31, “29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Negative faith say’s, ” I will never find a good paying job in this economy.” Positive faith say’s, Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Satan wants us to have strong faith in a negative world. He wants us to believe everyone, and everything, is out to get us. God wants us to have strong faith, in his promises, to actually believe them, and declare them publicly. Lets have faith, and believe, for things of real value. Colossians 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” To have faith in God, means to have faith in his word. Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” What we can perceive with our five senses, is often a lie. Close your eyes and smell a freshly baked apple pie, open them, and prepare to eat a burning candle. Our senses can easily be fooled. Jesus said his followers were not of this world, and his word is truth. John 17:16-17. Lets have faith in the word of God, and not the lies of this world. Lets walk by faith and not by sight.