TRUE BIBLICAL FAITH

Autumn Leaves

Our Faithful God

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ Rom 10:17.

It is therefore important to read the word of God, meditate on the word of God, study the word of God, and in your ‘quiet time’ (time spent alone with God) to wait for God to speak to you. Faith comes by hearing. This, of course, applies to the born-again children of God, those who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and who are giving the faculty of ‘hearing His voice’. Didn’t the Lord Himself say in John 10:3,4 that ‘The sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when He puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice’? Listen to John 10:27. The Lord is saying: ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.’

The reflections in this hub are based on meditation of the Scriptures, and are meant to increase our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith (according to Heb 12:2). Apart from the word of God, it is important to pray. But by nature, we find it very difficult to pray. That is why the Lord allows trials into our lives, so that we learn to cry out to Him for help and deliverance. Trials increase our prayer life, and they also purify our faith. 1 Pet 1:7.

Here is a meditation on ‘Our Faithful God’, based on the verse in 1 Thess 5:24 -“He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

This is a favorite verse of mine. It says God is faithful, and what He has promised He will certainly do. But then comes the waiting. And waiting is a great trial, painful to the ‘flesh’ which wants things done immediately; human nature cannot wait. But God makes us wait. He says, ‘In patience possess your souls.’

Our faith is being tested. Can we hold on? Or are we going to give up? The weeks pass, and months pass by. There is no answer. Where is God? It is as if He has gone and hidden Himself somewhere. We keep clinging to promises, but the promises are not fulfilled, and we become frustrated and we throw up our hands. ‘Lord, where are You? What are You doing? Deliver me from my distresses!’

Nevertheless God is working. He works in mysterious ways. He is doing something that neither human intellect nor human imagination can grasp. It is ‘beyond sight’, beyond human understanding. God’s ways are higher than our ways; His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Isaiah 55.8, 9.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.

Yes, He is working out His will. His will, not ours. His will is best for us. His wisdom is unfathomable.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

We have to wait. Through faith and patience, Abraham inherited the promises. Heb 6.12, 15. Patience is a virtue that springs out of deep trial. Like ‘saxifrage, the flower that splits the rocks’. Patience is the virtue that deepens faith. So that we are not shaken, but continue to trust.

Our God will come; He will not delay. ‘Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me.’

Surely, He is a faithful God. Our faith may fail, but yet He ‘remains faithful’. 2 Tim 2.13. His faithful promise ‘abides forever’. In due time, it will bring forth its precious fruit. And we will rejoice in in our God. ‘This is our God for whom we have waited; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’ Isaiah 25.9

[November 2010. The link is https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/How-to-Increase-your-Faith ]

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A GREAT PROMISE OF GOD

Fortress at Masada

This is a discussion on one of the greatest promises in the Bible. It is also my baptism promise. The story of my baptism is a very interesting story by itself, and I hope to recount it in another hub separately, sometime. I was baptised in a very small and humble church, called Bethany, in a squatter settlement on the outskirts of a great city. This was 18 years ago. After I came out of the water, I was given this promise: Isaiah 41:10.

‘Fear not, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

What a great and loving God we have. How wonderfully He encourages us through His precious promises. I would like to discuss this promise in the Comments below.

Comments:

1. The first thing we notice about this promise are the repeated assurances given by God, seen in the phrases: ‘I am’, ‘I am’…and ‘I will’, ‘I will’, ‘I surely will’. In fact in the NASB version of the Bible: God is emphasizing the phrase: ‘I will’. Twice He says, ‘Surely I will’!

2. As weak human beings, living in a hostile world, we are constantly subject to doubts and fears. Here is a promise to strengthen our faith. According to the Bible, fear and faith are contradictory. If you fear, you have no faith. Fear is a powerful weapon of Satan. God says, Fear not. Why? Because God is with us; He is our Immanuel God. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He is with us, as He was with Joseph in Egypt, Israel in the wilderness and Paul in prison. Lo, I am with you always, Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 28. Always.

3. Don’t be anxious. Don’t look here and there. Don’t look at the circumstances. Don’t look to people for help. Look to Me. Looking unto Jesus. ‘They looked unto Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.’ Psalm 34:5. Keep your eyes on the Lord.

4. I am your God. He is my God. The Lord Jesus is my Saviour. He is mine, and I am His. He is God, God Almighty, the El Shaddai God, the all-powerful God, the Omnipotent God who reigns forever.

5. God says, I will strengthen you. He will strengthen your heart, Psalm 27. Your heart will be strengthened or established by His grace, Heb 13:8. His grace is abundant; His grace is sufficient. When we come to the throne of grace, we will obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, Heb 4.16. God will never fail.

6. He will uphold us, i.e. He will hold us up. There is no fear of falling. Underneath are the everlasting arms, Deuteronomy 33:27. Nobody can snatch us out of His hands, John 10.28,29.

7. The right hand of His righteousness. The right hand speaks of His mighty hand of power and authority. All power and authority belongs to God. It is a righteous right hand. ‘Righteous’ speaks of His being true and just and faithful. God means what He says.He is a true and righteous, a just and faithful God. He is the everlasting Rock.The Rock will never change. He will surely perform what He has promised. He is true to His promise.

8. Haven’t you noticed? God is saying, ‘Surely’, ‘surely’! This is more than a promise, it is an assurance. Oh, that we would keep trusting in Him at all times! That we would keep ‘looking unto Him’. That we would keep praising Him for Isaiah 41:10. Remember, when God speaks it is DONE. Psalm 33:9. If this promise has spoken to your heart, then consider that it is already fulfilled, and keep praising God continually…for even now God is working on your behalf.

[July 2011. The photo is the Fortress at Masada. The link is https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Great-Promises-of-God ]

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PRAYER PROMISES AND QUOTATIONS

Mother and Child Praying

One of the greatest problems in the Christian life is prayerlessness. When we remember the prayer life of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the prayer-lives of the great men of God in the Bible and in church history, our inability to pray should put us to shame. It is hoped that these prayer promises from the Bible will be learnt by heart. The prayer quotes are only additional insights into the practice of prayer.

May the Holy Spirit enable us to pray regularly and with fervour.

Prayer Promises

1. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me. ~Psalm 50.15

2. Call unto Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. ~Jeremiah 33.3

3. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. ~ Matt 7.7

4. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. ~John 15.7

5. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. ~John 16.24

6. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. ~Psalm 34.4

7. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~Phil 4.6, 7.

8. Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. ~1 Pet 5.7

9. Pray without ceasing. ~1 Thess 5.17

10. Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved. ~ Psalm 55.22

Prayer Quotations

1. “Prayer is not getting man’s will done in heaven, but getting God’s will done on earth. It is not overcoming God’s reluctance but laying hold of God’s willingness.”
~Richard C. Trench

2. No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it. ~Guy H. King

3. When a man is at his wits’ end it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way he can get in touch with Reality. ~Oswald Chambers

4. There come times when I have nothing more to tell God. If I were to continue to pray in words, I would have to repeat what I have already said. At such times it is wonderful to say to God, “May I be in Thy presence, Lord? I have nothing more to say to Thee, but I do love to be in Thy presence.”
~O. Hallesby

5. Prayer lays hold of God’s plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit’s prayer. ~ Elisabeth Elliot

6. Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused. ~ CH Spurgeon

7. Work, work, from morning until late at night. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer. ~ Martin Luther

8. Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers. ~ J. Sidlow Baxter

9. Too many women have too much leisure time for their own good. They have time for criticism, gossip, faultfinding, and complaining. They have time for idle games and lay too much attention to things of the flesh. There are other women who have too little time for the enduring things of life. They are too busy flitting about doing this and that. They have great activity and much doing, but they lack time for building Christian characters. Both kinds of women — the too-idle and the too-busy need to take time for meditation and quiet repose in prayer to God. They need time to cultivate their souls that in turn they may cultivate their children’s lives. ~ Billy Graham

10. When at night you cannot sleep, talk to the Shepherd and stop counting sheep.~ Author Unknown.

[October 2010. The picture is by F W Burton, 19th century A.D.  The link is https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Prayer-Quotes ]

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The Burden of Prayer

Praying Hands

I am convinced that prayer is a burden given by God. Which is why when we try to pray of our own accord, we find it so difficult, and often our mind wanders, and sometimes we fall asleep while praying! We need to carry a burden in our hearts, and this burden is an ‘internal prayer’ or ‘praying within’.

I have so many unsettled problems in my life relating to my family, my children, myself, etc. I need to keep praying about these family issues on a regular basis. Then there is also the burden regarding the church. I realize that I am a part of the church and I need the prayers of the saints on my behalf. So I need to share my burdens with the believers and be prayed for. I have to pray for the needs of the church. I must have a concern for the church, its growth, its strength, its purity.

Then I need to pray for others. Those who are not yet saved. This is true intercession. Intercessory prayer arises out of a burden. What is this burden? It is given by the Holy Spirit.

Why do I not have a burden? Because I am allowing ‘idols’ to cloud my thinking and capture my heart. Those ‘idols’ must go; they may be various interests, pleasures, hobbies, pastimes, even friends, work, career, ambition, desires…anything that creates a barrier between me and God. I should live in the presence of God and be able to come to Him at any time. If I am truly sensitive I will realize that these idols have robbed me of God’s presence and also robbed me of true inner peace.

Burden relates to the inner man. It is a weight upon the heart which I carry as I go about. It is a cry from deep within. “Lord, help me! Help my family! Help my church! Help those I pray for! Please give me a large and wide burden for the interests and purposes of God!”

[October, 2010. The link is https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Prayer-and-Burden]

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The Faith of Job

Job by Repin

For those of us who have been captured by grace, nothing is more touching than Job’s response to the terrible calamities that befell him because of the spite and malice of Satan. When he heard the shattering news of the loss of all his property and possessions and the sudden tragic deaths of all his children, what did Job do? It is written that he tore his robe, shaved his head, and worshipped. He said, ‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord!’ Job 1:20, 21

When his wife, seeing him smitten with foul boils, bids him abandon his integrity and curse God and die, he rebukes her saying, ‘Shall we indeed accept good from God, and not accept adversity?’ In all this he did not sin with his lips, nor did he renounce God.

It was only when his three friends intervened and pierced his soul with false insinuations of guilt and wickedness, that Job was provoked, and in his bitterness he begins to find fault with God, while all the time holding on to his innocence and integrity.

Nevertheless, despite the terrible trial and testing, Job does not abandon his faith in God. Here are the patriarch’s words, shining like stars in the dark night that his soul underwent. (For who ever suffered the way Job suffered, barring our Lord Jesus Christ?). I quote from the NASB.

i. It is still my consolation, and I rejoice in unsparing pain, that I have not denied the words of the Holy One. 6:10. He has not denied the word of God!

ii. Why then do You not pardon my transgression, and take way my iniquity? 7:21. You see here the longing for pardon, for forgiveness, for deliverance from sin. Job knows that God can (and will) pardon him; but how is the question? There is no talk about a lamb here, no reference to a sacrifice; but we in the age of grace know how pardon, forgiveness of sin, and deliverance has come to us through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

iii. There is no umpire between us, who may lay his hand upon us both. 9:33. Job longs for a mediator, or daysman. A mediator who is a Man; for Job says, ‘He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him’ 9:32. We know that our Mediator, who is both God and Man, is the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.’ 1 Tim 2:5, 6. Our Lord not only gave Himself as a ransom on the Cross, thereby procuring salvation for us, but even now He intercedes for us at the right hand of God. He continues to mediate or intercede on our behalf.

iv. Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. 13:15. NKJV. Can there be a greater expression of solid, steadfast faith that this statement in the whole Old Testament?

v. I know that I will be vindicated. 13:18b. Job asserts that God is a righteous Judge, and will never pervert justice.

vi. All the days of my struggle I will wait till my change comes. 14:14. From where did Job get this prophetic insight? We in the day of the New Testament know that there is a day of resurrection and glorification.

vii. You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for the work of Your hands. 14:15. God is working on Job, and will transform him into a saint full of beauty and glory.

viii. Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high. 16:19. We know that our Lord Jesus Christ is our Faithful Witness and Advocate before the heavenly Father. From where did Job get this insight?

ix. I know that my Redeemer lives. 19:25. Here is a wonderful New Testament utterance by a patriarch in the days of old, perhaps much before the days of Abraham. A great Messianic prophecy, if ever there was one.

x. At the last He will take His stand on the earth. 19:25b. Is Job talking about the First Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, or His Second Coming?

xi. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God. 19:26. Whom I myself shall behold, 19:27. Job is talking about resurrection. He is saying that he will see God not in spirit or soul but in the body, in the flesh. Is Job talking about a glorified body?

xii. Surely, He would pay attention to me. 23:6. The upright would reason with Him, and I would be delivered forever from my Judge. 23:7. Once again we see Job counting on the unchanging righteousness of God.

xiii. He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.23:10. Another beautiful expression of faith. When our faith is tried, we shall come forth with even more beauty and glory than gold. Pure and steadfast faith is more precious than gold, 1 Pet 1:7

xiv. I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. 23:12. How much Job values the word of God. Every true believer knows that he lives by not by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth. To him the word of God is like ‘milk and honey’.

xv. What His soul desires, that He does, for He performs what is appointed for me. 23:13, 14. Job knows that this trial has been appointed for him. It is a trial that has come from the hands of God.

xvi. To man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.’ 28:28. Job is quoting the very words of God. This statement is so in tune with the Wisdom books in the Old Testament. Believers in this day and age would do well to note that those who receive God’s abundant grace are not exempted from walking in the fear of God and from eschewing evil. Practical righteousness is the hallmark of a true believer.

xvii. Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom? 31:33. What a statement! How clearly it reveals Adam’s iniquity! Job, like David after him, was ready to confess his sins and failures.

xviii. Behold, I am vile. 40:4. He abases himself before God. What is puny man, an insignificant creature, before the awesome Creator?

xix. I lay my hand on my mouth. 40:4b. He realizes that in a multitude of words sin is not lacking. He has spoken too much, and beyond his limits.

xx. I know that You can do all things. 42:2. He is the Almighty God, and every man of faith believes that his ‘God is able’, and that there is nothing impossible for him. Jer 32:27; Luke 1:37

xxi. No purpose of Yours can be thwarted. 42:2b. He is the Sovereign God, and His will, his counsel, his purpose, will surely be executed on earth as it is in heaven.

xxii. I have declared that which I did not understand. 42:3. Humbly, he confesses his ignorance. Humility is one of the chief aspects of faith.

xxiii. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You. 42:5. This is revelation. May God open our eyes, so that we may see Him and know Him in a new way!

xxiv. I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes. 42:6. True repentance, true abasement. Job is the epitome of a true believer.

Taken from Hubpages, October 2010.
The link is https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Faith-of-Job

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A SENTIMENTAL CROSSLESS CHRISTIANITY

Crossless Christianity (2)

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LOSING BOTH SIGHT AND SMELL

mole and his mother

I think you will like this story by Aesop:

A Mole, a creature blind from birth, once said to his Mother: “I am sure than I can see, Mother!” In the desire to prove to him his mistake, his Mother placed before him a few grains of frankincense, and asked, “What is it?” The young Mole said, “It is a pebble.” His Mother exclaimed: “My son, I am afraid that you are not only blind, but that you have lost your sense of smell.” ~ Aesop.

Christians today, not only on the Internet social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, but also those in real life, especially in America, have lost both their spiritual sight and spiritual ‘smell’. It reminds me of the story in 2 Kings. 4:38-41. There is a famine of the Word of God prevailing all over the globe. The sons of the prophets, meaning Christians today have no idea of what is spiritual and what is sensual, carnal and merely ‘natural’. They are busy gathering wild gourds, thinking that these gourds are good fruit; they have been deceived by appearance. Lot of evangelical preaching looks good on the outside, but it is merely  ‘whitewash’. There is no emphasis on the Cross of Christ; no focus on obedience, holiness and humility. We have Christians who are in love with the world; obsessed with sports and entertainment, with worldly pleasures, so-called ‘christians’ who are devoid of the Spirit. False preachers and false teachers abound in every continent.

In Elisha’s story, the sons of the prophets did not lose their ‘taste’. They had lost their sight and their sense of smell; but they did not lose their taste. They cried out, There is death in the pot! But today’s Christians have lost all their spiritual senses. They seek after preaching and teaching that caters to their uncrucified natural desires; take Hillsong, for instance, or Benny Hinn. Worldwide apostasy abounds.

What does the flour speak of? 2 Kings 4.41. It speaks of the meal offering in Leviticus 2:1-16. The meal offering points to the life of Christ, His holy, incorruptible, stainless life. Note Lev 2.11; no leaven shall be added to the meal offering. That means sin should not reign in your life; the thrice-holy God will not accept an ‘unclean and impure vessel’. (Note also that no honey – natural sweetness – should be added to the meal offering; that means the sloppy sentimental evangelical Christianity of today which appeals to the shallow and carnal Christian is abhorred by God.)  Note Lev 2:13; salt speaks of incorruptibility and truth. Are you true to your faith? (2 Corinthians 13.5)  Are you ‘walking the talk’ (3 John 3, 4) ? If you are living a holy life and are controlled by the fear of God, you will be protected from all evil; but the bulk of today’s Christians are poisoned (corrupted) by the false doctrines of shallow evangelism, weird emotional Charismatic Christianity and the rigid legalistic Calvinist doctrines that stifle spirituality.

CH

 

 

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