Last month I wrote a study of what I hoped would give all of you a deeper understanding of the word FAITH. From your letters this month, it seems that not many of you guys got it.
It is the word that you need to understand in order to know God, with the end result being that you are saved and ready to walk in faith, from faith to faith in the circumstances of life, the very end of that being Heaven and not that other place. I cannot express it enough; it is truly a matter of life or death.
At the very end of his life the Apostle Paul wrote: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” (2nd Timothy 4:7). What did he mean by “kept the faith?”
In that verse he says that he fought a good fight. The word fought in this instance is translated from the Greek as “agonize,” as one in a fierce battle. It is the battle against evil forces around us, the ones no one wants to talk about. But they are real, just the same. And there is no way to stand against them, except to use your faith.
We all at one time or another suffer from depression, doubts, fears and sadness. A person doesn’t have to be in prison to suffer this way, but prisoners are more vulnerable than most people. Any trial or adversity gives you all a great opportunity to “build your faith muscles” (to quote Dr. Scott). Your body gets stronger from working out, and so do your faith muscles, and some day the circumstances that bother you today will just slide by you like it’s nothing.
But remember the word “agonize” that Paul used. We are chosen by God and are a thorn in satan’s side. There will always be battle because satan hates God and would love to destroy the faith in our Creator that we have. Paul agonized through it. Picture in your mind a runner, almost out of breath ready to collapse. Yet he presses on to the end of the race. Paul did it and we can, too.
Dr. Scott used to say that “Christianity is not for wimps,” and that is true. Christianity is hard, and it is not what’s being taught from most pulpits today. What’s being taught has nothing to do with faith in God. The preachers today try to tell us that we can fix ourselves through various practices or positive thinking. This does not work as the focus is on ourselves and not God.
If it’s not in the Bible, then it’s not true. Get to know the Word of God then you cannot go wrong. When it comes to reading the Bible, we hear excuses like “I don’t know where to begin,” or “I know I should, but I just can’t get started.” That is spiritual warfare and a lack of faith. I said that Christianity isn’t easy. If satan could glue your Bible shut he would, and it seems as if he is succeeding and done just that.
When Paul said, “I have kept the faith,” the word KEPT means to continue to follow, or hold to, to maintain a hold upon. So when we are dragged down by some difficult circumstance, hold on to the faith that God will see you through, and maintain that hold by reading the Word, especially the Psalms. Look for the promises. God does not lie, and what He has said, He will do. You can count on it.
This is what God says in Psalms 34:17-19: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but he Lord delivers him out of them all.”
If these verses do not fit your circumstance, then keep looking until you find one that you can really hold on to. The Bible has an answer for every problem.
Most people, even those who claim to be Christians, do not really know what a Christian is. If you ask someone, they will say, “a Christian is a person who is good, kind, helps the sick and poor, and so on.” But even a total unbeliever can do all those things. A Christian is a follower of Christ, period! And as such, they have faith in the Father God, just as Jesus did.
Question: If evidence and reason are essential parts of faith, I don’t see why God should demand faith at all. Why not give us the proof of everything? To have to take that step of faith seems unreasonable to me.
Response: The answer to your question is dictated by our own limitations, not because of some unreasonable demand that God makes. In order for everything to be proved and reasoned out for us, we would have to be equal to God. Obviously we are not: We are finite and God is infinite. We simply don’t have the capacity to understand everything about God and His universe. Therefore, we need to trust Him when He tells us about things that we cannot fully comprehend. That’s where faith comes in.
What we can understand of the universe and of our accountability to God from reason and our conscience is sufficient to point us in the right direction. Knowing on the basis of the evidence that God exists, we ask Him to reveal Himself to us and to show us His will for our lives. We are willing to trust Him in whatever He tells us,
even though we cannot understand it all. We discover (as we shall see) that He has spoken to us in the Bible, and very clearly and comprehensively.
Faith Reveals a Universe
Beyond Human Comprehension
True faith opens to us a knowledge of God and His truth that we could not otherwise discover. Such is the value of faith in God. Once we know Him and have confidence that we are indeed hearing from Him, then we understand His truth by believing what He says. As a result, we can know and understand what would otherwise be impossible for us to grasp. For example, the Bible declares: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).
These words, penned nearly two thousand years ago, clearly tell us that the universe was made out of an invisible substance. No one at that time nor during the many centuries that followed had the scientific knowledge to provide the evidence to support this statement. The proof had to wait until modern science had caught up with what the Bible had said 1,800 years earlier.
Today we know that the entire universe is composed of an invisible substance called energy. In spite of the brilliant advancements of science, however, though we know much about energy, we still don’t know exactly what it is. Yet by faith the believer knew all he needed to know: that God spoke the universe into existence by His infinite power and that He made it out of something that is invisible.
That these words are found in the Bible is one of many reasons to believe it rather than any of the other scriptures that are sacred to the world’s many religions. By contrast, those scriptures, far from containing statements that science can only confirm and never refute (as is the case with the Bible), contain numerous ridiculous ideas that reflect the level of understanding of mankind at the time and of the culture when and where they were written.
It was once believed that the earth was flat and was supported on the back of a tortoise floating in a sea. The Greeks thought that Atlas, a giant, held the universe in his arms. The Egyptian account of
creation involved gods (such as the sun god, which was born on a flower), some of whom were part animal and part human. Plato thought the world was a living being and that earthquakes were caused when it shook itself. The Bible, though written in the same time period and by men who lived in these same cultures, is completely free of such myths. Even the Qur’an, of far more recent origin, contains Arabian myths. As it has often been pointed out: The Bible is the only ancient book that is accurate in all scientific details. Other ancient holy books from the East include legends and errors too childish for consideration. Even comparatively modern books like the Koran abound in historical and chronological blunders.
There are many reasons for believing that the Bible is, as it claims to be, God’s infallible Word.
An excerpt from: IN DEFENSE OF THE FAITH (pp. 25-27) by DAVE HUNT.
You say, “it’s impossible.”
God says, “All things are possible.” (Luke 18:27)
You say, “I’m too tired.”
God says, “I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
You say, “Nobody really loves me.”
God says, “I love you.” (John 3:16 & 3:34)
You say, “I can’t go on.”
God says, “My Grace is sufficient.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9 & Psalms 91:15)
You say, “I can’t figure things out.”
God says, “I will direct your steps.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
You say, “I can’t do it.”
God says, “You can do all things.” (Philippians 4:13)
You say, “I’m not able.”
God says, “I am able.” (2nd Corinthians 9:8)
You say, “It’s not worth it.”
God says, “It will be worth it.” (Romans 8:28)
You say, “I can’t forgive myself.”
God says, “I forgive you.” (1st John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say, “I can’t manage.”
God says, “I will supply all your needs.” (Philippians 4:19)
You say, “I am afraid.”
God says, “I have not given you a spirit of fear.” (2nd Timothy 1:7)
You say, “I’m always worried and frustrated.”
God says, “Cast all your cares on me.” (Acts 5:7)
You say, “I don’t have enough faith.”
God says, “I’ve given everyone a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)
You say, “I’m not smart enough.”
God says, “I give you wisdom.” (1st Corinthians 1:30)
You say, “I feel all alone.”
God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
-submitted by Willie Scott, Grady, Arkansas
November, 2012 Prayer Requests
For Joseph Runge’s (Centralia, IL.) Mother, Mavis Runge. She recently suffered a stroke due to blockage in her carotid artery (same situation as Brian).
For Willie Grady’s Mother (Illinois) who recently had a leg amputated.
For Willie Clark (Lubbock, TX). He has cancer around his brain and the right side of his face. He has already lost hearing in his ear and is fighting to keep sight in his eye.
For William McAllister’s (Taylorville, IL.) fiancée, Shirley Ragland, for a hedge of protection.
For Robert Casto (Cushing, Oklahoma) who wants his children to be saved.
For Dennis Martin (Lexington, Oklahoma) who just had another heart surgery.
For John Crutcher (in Oklahoma) who needs a liver transplant.
For Johnny Carruthers (Florence, Arizona) who is borderline diabetic. His feet hurt.
For McKinley Perry (Illinois), that God keeps a hedge of protection around him.
For Michael Small’s step-mother Suzanne (Illinois) who is being treated for vision problems.
For Gary David’s uncle (Oklahoma), who is fighting lung cancer.
For William Holland (Joliet, Illinois), for favor with the courts.
For Willie Scott (Grady, Arkansas), for a lower custody level.
For Anthony Grayson (Shawangunk, New York), that his health gets better, and that he finds legal assistance.
For Jimmy Huff (Colorado City, Texas), for health.
For Mike Long (Larned, Kansas), for health.
For Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Frank Williams, Jr. (Death Row, Grady, Arkansas).
For Freddie Lee Lott (Dixon, Illinois), to keep his healing and stay cancer free.
For Robert Heffernan (Grady, Arkansas), that DNA evidence will prove his innocence.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles.
For Bob McDaniel (Lexington, Oklahoma - Rodney‘s Dad) who has been in the hospital.
For all of us at Wingspread
Thanks to all of you who have been praying for Brian and Gail. On October 8th Brian had surgery to repair the blockage in his carotid artery (main artery feeding the brain). The doctors said that his artery was 95 percent blocked. The operation went well and Brian came home a couple of days later. The blockage is what caused his stroke a few months ago and so hopefully the chances of another stroke have been dramatically reduced.
Gail has been able to go back to work, which is another answer to prayer. She works a few hours at the hospital each morning and then is able to work from home the rest of the day. The hospital is sitting up a computer and phone system to make this possible. This arrangement allows her to work and still be home with Brian, and is an example of what we mean when we say, “blessed men go thru valleys.”
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