From the Pastor’s heart Believing to be blessed in 2017 and beyond
Mar 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Mar_9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Believing should always bring a confession of what one believes. The father confesses his true state of what he believes. Though it is a negative confession, he is saying the truth. That confession of his state of belief saved his son because he was telling Jesus to help him believe. Jesus did by healing his son. Imagine the joy and boost of faith he would have experienced after the healing of his son. It would have given him the much needed boost to keep believing for his son and all his family after that.
Often time we are taught only to confess the positive side of our faith. However, a simple lesson can be learned from this verse to be truthful. The Samaritan woman at the well too told Jesus a “negative” truth in reply to the request of Jesus for her to bring her husband. She told Jesus that she had no husband even though she was living with a man. She had been married five times before but now she was not now. Instead of lying or deviating from the truth, she just confessed the truth without giving away her true condition. Jesus found her out anyway and told her the true state of her current life but accepted the fact that she had spoken the truth.
Believing and receiving has a lot to do with confessing the truth. Rom_10:9That 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. The truth however difficult it may seem or even if it is not fully understood, has to do with faith. The truth about our Christian faith is; it is still unfolding its content and application through faith. No one person knows the whole story about our Christian faith. God had been unfolding it slowly but surely for thousands of years. Yet, God honors our faith by the simple reason that He delights is us when we believe Him just for what He says.
How does one come to that place where they believe without question? The word of God says, faith comes by hearing. Hearing has to do with receiving the word of God as it comes. Receiving a word from God must be received in faith and not in letter. Faith is an active ingredient of life. Without it, the word of God cannot be empowered in a person’s life. I have read the Bible over and over again but it has not produced the answers I needed till I believed what I read. Then there were times when I heard that word of faith through what others preached causing me to receive by faith what I had not fully understood. Faith is the main ingredient in receiving blessings even though they are already provided by God.
Obededom in the Old Testament received God’s ark into his home by faith even when it was causing so much trouble for everybody else. Even King David did not have the faith to bring it back to Jerusalem. Suddenly, the man of faith that King David was had no faith to believe he could receive the ark. Fear had gripped him after he saw the demise of the high priest for steadying the ark when the ox cart that was carrying it stumbled and it looked like the ark was about to fall. Fear is the opposite of faith. Fear will kill faith every time or cause it to become dormant. Faith is only built up when one steps out in faith on hearing the word of God. Faith is spelt, RISK. Many will not step out because they are constantly waiting to hear God over and over again. Yet, faith is an ingredient that has been instilled in an individual even before they were born again. That is how, one was able to get saved when they heard the gospel. Suddenly, after hearing the gospel and getting saved, many find it difficult to move on in faith and believing because of fear.
For us to be blessed in 2017 and beyond, we will have to believe even more than we have ever believed. There are many forces besides fear that are operating in this present world to destroy our faith in God. Discouragement, worldly pursuits, the decline of society and nations are all building up against faith in God. Many ask, why is all this happening and why is God taking so long to answer me personally or settle the issues of this world? The truth is in what Jesus told the disciples when they asked Him when God would settle matters. Act 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? Act 1:7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. Act 1:8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Jesus changes the whole context of their question by stating that God’s timing is not our concern but we should focus on establishing the kingdom by the power of the Holy Ghost. This means, we have to believe in the midst of a dark and evil generation no matter how difficult it gets. One outstanding verse of blessing always suggests that the brave who believe and arise in faith will receive an abundance of blessing in the midst of evil and darkness. Isa 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. Isa 60:2For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. The entire chapter speaks of how God is going to bless His people as they step out and do what is needed. It was not their doing that brought the blessing but the believing.
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Joh 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? Jesus never wrote or spoke anything that was not relevant or real. Many Christians do not believe so they do not the works of the Holy Spirit or receive blessings from God in spite of being Christians. Often time, the journey for a Christian is so fraught with sin, danger, discouragement and hopelessness that it is impossible for them to rise up. Like the father with the tormented son, they cry out; “help thou my unbelief”. Instead of criticising them, we should encourage them. That is when the faith of another Christian comes into the picture. The believing Christian needs to help the unbelieving Christian. Once the negative forces are dealt with, then the unbelieving Christians too can walk in the newness of faith. So, teaching Christians and demonstrating the power of that faith is a major part of someone else being built up visibly.
For us to grow, we must walk in the Spirit. No one person is able to believe everything at all times. The receiving of the Holy Spirit should settle matters for us just as it did for the disciples. Even though they walked with Jesus and saw Him after the resurrection, many had doubts. Yet, once they received the Holy Spirit, it was settled. From then on, they only had to believe that no matter what they faced in life, God was with them even unto death. As a result, many of them were martyred but never denied the faith. Too often, modern day Christianity has trivialised believing into gaining worldly goods and a comfortable life on earth. Yet, there is a clear admonition form the Lord. Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled Col 1:22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: Col 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; I find that many have moved away from the true gospel of Christ and have reduced it to either gainsaying (to make money and preach falsity) or have modified the gospel to allow man made liberties in the faith. These are true dangers in moving away from the gospel truth because it does not please God when it is no longer of faith. What is not of faith is sin. The wages of sin is death.
How then do we progress without compromise or deviation? It is quite simple really. Listening to the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of truth will never take us away from God. The Holy Spirit only operates in the word of God and never deviates. This is the only true message to the Church that Jesus gave before He birthed the Church through the Holy Spirit and after He birthed the Church. Anyone who does not listen and obey the Holy Spirit denies the voice of God. The written word of God can be manipulated and corrupted quite easily even innocently by thinking one is doing the right thing. That is why Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit. So that, we will not deviate from the truth. Yet, many are doing exactly that.
I am a firm believer that we as a Church at Calvary Assembly need to yield more to the Holy Spirit by making every attempt to hear Him. What we hear and do will certainly be a blessing to us in 2017 and beyond. I am always reminding myself that it is about eternity and the establishing of the Kingdom of God that the Holy Spirit is interested in. He is not about just blessing us in this life time but for eternity. Unless we realise this, we would have reduced God to an idol whom we approach for blessings in this life time. 1Co 15:19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. My friends, let us not be of little or weak in understanding like so many others. Let us arise and shine in this world for our light has come and we have the power within us to believe for 2017 and beyond.
Not by might or by strength but by my Spirit says the Lord
Lots of love