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CHAPTER 3 - CONFESSION OF FAITH: PART 1
It was by His very words that God created the world.
Then God said, Let there be light; and there was light. Then God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. Then God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. Then God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth; and it was so. Then God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; Then God said, Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens. Then God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind; and it was so. ( (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24)
It is by words that we are recreated in Christ Jesus. We ourselves are word products of Gods own omnipotent words.
But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10)
Few Christians recognize the importance of confession and the place it should hold in our lives. In the minds of most people, the word confession refers to confession of sins, weaknesses, and failures. This is one side of the subject; the other side is the confession of faith, i.e., confessing what the Word says.
CONFESSION IS VITAL
Confession is one of the most important areas in our walk as believers, though in many churches it is never taught or even mentioned. There are even those who devote themselves to discrediting what they call the name it, claim it teaching. It is seen in this negative light because of failure to recognize the power of words.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
The positive meaning of confession is to say or affirm what God has said in His Word about a certain thing. It is agreeing with God. The prophet Amos puts it this way: Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3). If we are to walk with God, we need to agree with Him by saying the same thing as He says in Scripture.
Our Words Reveal Our Heart
Some people feel that if you confess, I am healed, I am healed, the sickness will disappear. Mouthing vain repetitions or quoting of a formula does not produce a miracle.
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. (Matthew 12:34)
When someone hears the Good News (the gospel), the Holy Spirit brings conviction upon him, illuminating his mind and heart to the provision of salvation. He then receives the Word of God, calls upon the name of the Lord, and is saved.
It is not just simply mouthing the words Jesus is Lord that saves a person, but it is the confession He is Lord that spontaneously erupts from the heart of faith. Therefore, it is not sufficient to say He is Lord in the abstract. You must really believe that He is Lord, and faith then makes Him the Lord of your life.
But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10)
Confession Affirms God's Word
Confessing that Jesus is Lord is not just a glib sentence across the lips, but is a declaration of faith from a believing heart that brings possession of eternal life. Positive, faith-filled words that bring possession come from a heart that is positive and faith-filled. Vain repetition of a verse is just a meaningless mantra, but words flowing out of a revelation of Jesus are energized with life to produce results and bring about miracles.
When we discover the rights we have in Christ that are given to us throughout the Bible, we are to constantly affirm them and testify to them. The apostle Paul said that as we share our faith, we will have an understanding of what we have in Christ:
That the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. (Philemon 6)
Therefore, our faith will only be effective as we confess with our mouths, from a believing heart, all the good things which belong to us as believers in Jesus.
We know that in Jesus Christ we have been given salvation. Salvation is a wonderful word. It means much more than just being saved from hell so that you can go to heaven one day. It is salvation for the whole man: spirit, soul, and body. It is for our peace of heart and mind, our homes, our health, and our finances. It is freedom from all bondage and fear, with nothing missing and nothing broken.
Affirmation of these truths should ring from our lips. We are told to hold fast to them without wavering. Wavering is brought about through double-mindedness and causes our confession to deny the very things that God has promised us.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:6-7)
Boldly Say What God Says
Make Gods Word the standard for your life. Train yourself to say what He says. Think before you speak. Say what God says. Do not contradict Him. When you start to align your heart and words with His Words, a revolution will take place in your life. You will find that you are truly living the bold, abundant life set forth for you in Gods Word.
In the presence of human evidence which is contrary to Gods Word, believers dare to stand and calmly declare that the Word is true.
Confession affirms Bible truths by repeating with your lips (from your heart) the things God has said in His Word. You cannot confess or witness with conviction things you do not know. You must confess what you know personally about Jesus Christ and who you are in Him. These facts are made known as you give yourself to the diligent study and meditation of the Word of God.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
Confession Results From Meditation
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psalm 1:1-6)
We are warned to be careful who we allow to influence us (Psalm 1:1-6). The people around us can influence us and shape our thinking and speaking, ultimately affecting who we are and what we will achieve. We have been taught not to be influenced by the ungodly; in fact, we ought to be influencing them by our message and lifestyle. We should be meditating on the Word day and night (Psalm 1:2), allowing Gods Word to be our standard for life and ministry. His Word should determine our value system. Instead of being squeezed into the mold of the worlds system and values, we need to be shaped by God and transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2).
We undergo a metamorphosis as the Word of God shapes and changes our lives. This is what God was telling Joshua (Joshua 1:8). He would become a godly leader by allowing the Word to determine for him who he was and how he would conduct himself. But also notice that he was to say or confess the Word, This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth... (Joshua 1:8).
In order for it to get into his mouth, it had to first get into his heart. How? Through meditation!
* Meditation leads to revelation (being convinced or fully persuaded)
* Revelation leads to confession (declaring what you believe)
* Confession leads to possession (you can have what you say, but it must come from a believing heart)
The secret of confession and of dominating faith lies in knowing and really understanding what Jesus did for us, who we are in Him, and what the Word promises we can do as a result of His finished work. This knowledge coupled with a firm confession of these truths will cause you to develop great faith. You will be robbed of faith if you simply admire Bible truths and say that you believe them, yet refuse to confess them boldly and act on them.
* When I know who Jesus is and what He did for me, I know what actually belongs to me now. Knowing this, I may enjoy my daily life and confess it. That makes me a victor!
* To know that Satan is defeated by our Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that his defeat is forever settled, makes our redemption a blessed fact and reality.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:11)
* We know that God Himself put Satan and his entire kingdom beneath our feet, and we are considered by God and by Satan as victors. We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).
* The confession of faith is as natural to us now as the confession of fear before we were enlightened.
* We have been liberated. Our confession has changed; we talk like people of another kingdom, which we are.
Jesus - Our Intercessor And High Priest
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. (Hebrews 3:1-2)
Jesus Christ is not only our intercessor, but also our faithful High Priest.
In times of need we boldly confess Gods promises. When we confess His Word, our High Priest Jesus acts on our behalf, interceding to our Father for the fulfillment of the promises we are confessing.
Between the time that we ask God for some benefit provided for us, and the time that that request is fulfilled or met, we hold fast the confession of our faith.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
As we faithfully confess the promises in our prayers, our daily conversation, and our testimony, the High Priest of our confession will be faithful to intercede for us until the answer is granted.
You Can Move Mountains
So Jesus answered and said to them, Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:22-24)
Confession of Gods Word from a believing heart is powerful. It is like the Word in Gods mouth. It creates, it moves mountains, and it releases heavens power!
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CHAPTER 4 - THE CONFESSION OF FAITH: PART 2
WORDS ARE POWERFUL
Words are powerful, whether used positively or negatively.
When someone receives a compliment, the words of encouragement are so enriching and uplifting that they are a blessing to the recipient. We all appreciate positive words spoken of, or about us. When we deal with children and youth, it is easy to see that positive words produce a positive attitude in them.
Many marriages break down because words of love are neglected and marriage becomes a platform for criticizing one another. That is why husbands and wives should constantly seek ways to encourage and bless one another.
On the other hand, negative words can curse and destroy. A teacher who is irritated says to a young child, You are an absolute failure and youll never make anything out of your life! Though these words were only spoken in the heat of that moment, they have the power to destroy the childs self-esteem and dignity, humiliating him in front of his class and grieving him deep down in his emotions. He may possibly even be scarred for life. As the child grows older, these words can become so rooted that it happens just as the teacher said!
* The tongue can be a creative force or a destructive force
* The tongue can bring blessing or cursing
* The tongue can be a well of life or a pit of death
The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. ((Proverbs 10:11)
There is more to words than just saying them. Words are an extension of the inner condition of our lives. When positive, faith-filled words spring forth from a healthy inner-man, they are creative and so full of spiritual power that demons, principalities and powers are subject to them, and angels respond to them. The spirit world is controlled by the Word of God in our mouths.
By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. (Proverbs 11:11)
The positive, faith-filled words we speak over our city can influence its entire destiny. We should find the good in our city and speak about it. There will always be problems, but these will become fewer and fewer as we apply words of life. As believers, we have the ability to change the spiritual atmosphere of our cities by blessing them rather than cursing them. We would then start to see spiritual hunger increase among the people.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)
The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. (Proverbs 11:9)
You are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth. (Proverbs 6:2)
The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble. A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, and the recompense of a mans hands will be rendered to him. (Proverbs 12:13-14)
All these proverbs show us the potential for good or evil by the words that we speak.
Negative words reveal a negative life. Making a negative confession (speaking words of defeat, failure, or the supremacy of Satan) actually provides a glimpse of the condition of your heart. No one can rise above his or her words. If your language is that of defeat, fear, failure, anxiety, sickness, etc., rest assured that your life will be lived at that level. Your words reveal the state of your heart:
* About your family
* About your church
* About others
Your words reveal the state of your heart, and will either be carriers of life or death. If your conversation is foolish, trifling, impractical or disorganized, your life will invariably be the same way.
A wrong confession is a confession of defeat, failure, and the supremacy of Satan. If you talk about your combat with the devil - how he hindered you, what a hard time he is giving you, and how he is keeping you in bondage - you are glorifying your adversary. It is an unconscious declaration that your Father God has failed you. Thus, not only are you grieving the Lord, but you are bringing great pleasure to the enemy and his agents, because they thrive on being the center of attention.
Such negative confessions continually sap the very life out of you, destroying strong faith and holding you in bondage. A confession with your lips that developed out of living faith in your heart will defeat the adversary in every battle.
Boldly affirm Gods care, protection, and provision for every area of your life, proclaiming that the Greater One, Jesus, lives in you. In doing so, you will rise above all satanic influence.
Believe And Declare God's Word
Go to higher level living in the Kingdom of God. Believe you are who God says you are. Think that way, act that way, train yourself to live in that way.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4-5)
You may not master the secret of the positive confession of Gods Word in one day, or even one week, but you will learn how to apply it as you continue to walk in it faithfully.
Don't Contradict God's Word
Do not allow your thoughts to contradict what God says about you!
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. (James 3:1-12)
Some people spend time in idle talk. We ought to ensure that our conversation is edifying and productive to the spiritual wholeness of our lives.
He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. (Proverbs 13:3)
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)
Many victories won through prayer were then lost through loose talk, i.e., words spoken that were unnecessary. Others fail to obtain what they have prayed for because they have no understanding of the importance of their confession.
Faith talks about the thing prayed for as if it were already possessed. Before it is seen, heard, or felt. For example, you pray for a sick person. You lay hands on the sick and God promises that they will recover.
They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:18)
As you are leaving the house, the sick persons wife says: Keep praying for him! This statement indicates her lack of faith in Gods Word which clearly states that the sick will recover. Instead of giving glory to Gods power and faithfulness, she may even go on to give glory to the enemy by saying, As soon as you leave, the devil is sure to give him a severe test and will do his best to steal his health. Once this negative confession leaves her lips, it can nullify your prayer of faith over her husband.
Instead, confess confidence in Gods Word and His faithfulness, even if the symptoms remain or get worse. When symptoms or problems come, we often nullify our prayers and our faith by magnifying the problem.
Thank God And Confess His Word
A person with a broken hand does not say, My hand is not broken, my hand is not broken! This is neither a faith-filled confession nor a positive confession but rather is foolishness. It is foolishness like this that discredited faith teaching and brought with it confusion and hurt.
The correct confession would have been this: Lord, I thank You that You restore my hand to full use and movement and that the bone is knitted together speedily and that all pain goes.
Positive confession is not denying the reality of the problem, but denying the problem to have a permanent hold upon your life. Positive confession recognizes that the problem is real, but that the Word of God is able to solve it.
Confessing negatively is like signing for a package that the express company has delivered. Satan has the receipt and wants your signature by your confession. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), so you do not want to accept anything sent by the devil. Even though your senses may testify that it has come to you, refuse to accept it or confess it, and send it back.
Be followers of God, as dear children. (Ephesians 5:1)
The word follower means imitator. We are to imitate God as a child does his father. Jesus said, I do that which I see my Father do.
Then Jesus answered and said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19)
I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father. (John 8:38)
Speak Gods Word, not like a parrot but with understanding. Speak to your mountain or storm, do not speak about it.
So Jesus answered and said to them, Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:22-24)
Speak The Truth
Speak the truth. Gods Word is truth; therefore, anything contrary to His Word is a lie.
Jesus never spoke negatively, never prayed a problem, and never spoke in doubt. He was always accurate, never crooked in speech. He never confessed present circumstances, but the desired results. Let us be imitators of God in our speech. May the confession of our lips bring health and prosperity to every part of our lives and to everyone around us.
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CHAPTER 6 - MAKING A FAITH DEMAND
God Has Time For You!
You can make a faith demand anytime. It doesn't matter how busy God is; He always has time for you. When you pray, He hears; when you call, He says, I'll answer. That's why the gospel is good news! God is accessible. We can approach Him anytime and anywhere because He is always ready and willing to meet with us.
If we really had a revelation of the power of prayer and understood the access that we have, not just to heaven, but to the God of heaven, we would do more asking.
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. ( (Jeremiah 33:3)
Do you understand that we have direct access to God? He's not just God, He is our Abba Father. Because He is our Father and we are His children, we have direct, personal access to Him. We are talking about a God who is great, the Creator of heaven and earth. Through faith, we now have uninterrupted fellowship and access to Him.
You shall call, and I will answer you. (Job 14:15)
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)
In no way will you be put to shame. He will not reject you. He will not turn you away. He is never too busy for you. Hallelujah!
And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, Lord if You are willing You can make me clean. Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed. Immediately the leprosy left him. (Luke 5:12-13)
Miracles Happen In Impossible Situations
The first thing seen in this text is that the lepers situation was impossible. Impossible situations make you a good candidate for God's intervention. Every miracle in the Bible took place in times and situations of impossibility. Medical science has become so advanced and so accessible that we have put our confidence in it. It is not that I am against medical science. If it weren't for medical science, many people who are alive and well today would be dead. Medical practitioners have done a good job, but the problem is that when there's another option, we turn to it rather than to God. It is when there is no way out of an impossible situation that God comes through. Its not that you cannot have God come through in medical science, but we tend to put more confidence in the medicine or doctor than in God.
A friend who was in a car accident almost had to have his legs amputated. He lay trapped for about an hour in his car. He was conscious, praying the whole time. At the hospital he grabbed the surgeons hands and prayed for him. He said, God, you use this man. And he prayed again. The power of God must have hit that doctor because he saved his legs, and as far as I know, didn't charge him for the surgery. Now that's a miracle!
Put Your Trust In God
You can put your trust in your finances, your bank balance, and even in your possessions. You can put your confidence in some other means of help, but when you recognize that your only hope is God and that He is what you need, you are then ready to make a faith demand. Peter put it another way when he spoke to the lame man:
Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and anklebones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8, KJV)
Silver and gold was not the issue. Peter was saying that silver and gold is not what was needed. The beggar thought that he needed silver and gold, but what he really needed was the touch of God upon his life.
It wasn't that Peter and John took a vow of poverty and were walking around financially destitute. They were going to church. They took their checkbook with them for an offering; that wasn't the issue. They weren't trying to avoid giving money to the man, but they knew that the man didn't merely require something to meet his temporal need. More than just money for a meal, they knew that he needed the power of God.
The problem is that we are like the lame man. We put our confidence in the silver and gold and not in the God of the silver and gold. It's not what we need, but who we need. If you want a miracle, the first thing to realize is that nothing and no one else can help you. Sure, there are remedies that may alleviate the pain and help you in some temporal way, but the real issue is whether you will tap into the resources of heaven.
Press Through Impossibilities
The leper's situation was bad (Luke 5:12-14). He didnt just have leprosy, he was full of leprosy. I dont know what the Greek word means when it says he was full of leprosy, but I would take it that the disease covered his entire body.
Have you ever seen a person covered with leprosy? Its a terrible sight to behold a person covered with leprosy. Technically, this man should not even have come to Jesus because lepers had to stand afar off ringing a little bell. When people came near, the lepers had to shout, Unclean! Unclean! Keep your distance! Dont come near me, I'm contagious! Im unclean!
Lepers could not go to the temple, nor could they go home to be with their families. Family members would come and leave food and provisions. When they had walked away a certain distance, the lepers could then go toward the food.
Leprosy is a terrible thing. This mans situation was impossible. He did not even have access to people, so he was breaking the law by coming to Jesus.
It was the same for the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43). That issue of blood made her ceremonially unclean. She shouldnt have been in the presence of a man. She should never have touched a mans garment, let alone even been in the crowd that day.
A Faith Demand Says It Can Be Done
People who make a faith demand go beyond every obstacle, every hindrance, everything that says, It cant be done. A faith demand says, It can be done.
Those four men who carried their friend on the stretcher did not give up when they got to the house in which Jesus was teaching and it was too packed to carry the friend inside. They went up on the roof and broke it up, lowering their friend down so that he could receive his miracle (Mark 2:4-5). These were desperate people. They would not allow themselves to be turned away by the crowd, or by the limitations of the roof.
A faith demand is a bold, desperate act. One reason that people dont get their miracle is that they dont get desperate. When you get desperate, you get a miracle. Desperation forces a way through the crowd. Even though the leper was unclean, he got to Jesus.
Can you imagine the scene as the blind man on the side of the road yelled, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! (Luke 18:38). Others around him warned him to keep quiet, as he was disturbing Jesus. Ignoring this, the man yelled even louder, Son of David
! He wasnt discouraged by the comments of other people. Faith pushes everything aside. When there is that kind of faith, people get their miracle. Jesus stopped, touched him, and made him whole.
Abandon Yourself To God
Another reason people dont get their miracle is that theyre not willing to abandon themselves. There is something about that place of abandonment; you just don't care about what other people say or think. Its in those moments that people get their miracle. Its when you are locked up in yourself, in your pride and in your reputation, that you stand at a distance. Get to the place where you abandon yourself to God.
David abandoned himself before the Lord and before the ark of His presence (2 Samuel 6:14). The result was that the presence of God filled his life. If you will abandon yourself, you too can have the presence of God fill your life.
The woman who fell at Jesus feet abandoned herself (John 12:3). She wept and washed His feet. She came and broke open her alabaster box. True to Jesus' words, sermons are still preached about her today because she abandoned herself.
Abandon yourself before Jesus, just fall down before Him, and be immersed in Him. Lose yourself in His presence. Pride will keep you back. Your mind will also keep you back unless you determine in your heart to press in to that place of total abandonment.
There are many things to be learned about the realms of the Spirit. One in particular relates to being in control of worship services. I was trained to keep a firm hand on a meeting, but there's a place of perfect abandonment where the peace and presence of God is so real that nothing else compares, let alone matters. As His presence manifests, the power of God is released and miracles happen. When I had my hand so tightly holding the reins, I was not as sensitive to the flow of the Spirit.
Those who practice witchcraft abandon themselves to demon spirits. They start to jerk, gyrate, shake, and scream; some even babble in tongues. I have used this anti-type illustration of demon witchcraft as a picture of abandonment. Just as people have opened themselves up to demons by abandoning themselves to them, we can get to the place of God-possession by abandoning ourselves to Him.
We have access to the perfect, pure, holy One. In worship, I try to forget about what I am going to preach and about what is going on around me. I want to abandon myself to God because I realize that if I can touch heaven, the God of heaven will then touch me and those around me.
Back to (Luke 5:12). I believe that is what the leper did: he abandoned himself. He just came and fell. I guess when it says he came and fell, he literally came and just sprawled at the feet of Jesus. He didn't come, kneel down, move his garment nicely, and then ease himself down. He just ran and sprawled at the feet of Jesus. He just lay there. I'm sure he was tempted to grab the ankles of Jesus. I don't know whether he did or not. The Word just says that he lay there. This speaks not only of humility, but also of abandonment and worship.
The leper called Him, Lord, thus implying: God, You are above me; my faith is in You because of who You are. It also speaks of recognizing Gods authority and ability. Those who want a miracle must see the greatness of God, His authority, dominion, and power.
The leper said, Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean (Luke 5:12)
Faith Always Asks
When the leper asked for his miracle he was actually acknowledging Jesus ability to heal.
Jesus said, Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask
that your joy may be full. (John 16:24)
One reason that people don't ask is that they feel unworthy and inadequate. They say, How dare I come before God with this when there are so many other needs.
Faith Requires Righteousness
Faith operates out of righteousness. In order to get a miracle you need to come in righteousness, not in sin-consciousness. Righteousness sounds blasphemous, but it is the ability to approach God the way Jesus approaches God. Righteousness elevates you from being a mere man. It elevates you from being a speck of insignificance into being the creation of God, loved of God, accepted of God. It allows you to stand before God without a sense of inferiority, as if you never sinned. Like Adam before the Fall, you walk with Him in the cool of the day in innocence. There is no nakedness. There is no blemish in your life. You stand before God knowing that everything you have and everything that you are is laid bare before Him. Nothing is hidden from His sight.
Righteousness is your access to God. It is not arrogance. Righteousness stands in amazement that such a sinner and vile creature, one who was a blasphemer and a murderer, can now stand before God just like Jesus does. You never stand in arrogance, but in humility. Yet there is boldness because of your righteousness that comes forth, enabling you to make a faith demand.
Righteousness says, God, I've come before You today to receive from Your hand, the hand of Your goodness, the hand of Your greatness, the hand of Your generosity, knowing that You have given me this privilege. I don't come to You as a servant, I come before You as a son. I don't come with cap in hand, wringing my cap in fear of rejection. You are not a boss that I have come to appeal to and hope to catch in the right mood, but I'm coming before You in Your goodness, knowing that You are not going to reject me. I am confident in Your love.
Access Is A Privilege
I've been invited to meet some great men of God, and just to stand in their shadow has been enough for me. What a privilege just to shake the person's hand. When I shake their hand, I often think, Well, this person is just like me. I have read books about them; I have read their books; I have heard them preach in conferences and on tapes and I think, Wow, Im actually shaking their hand. That is nothing compared to our heavenly access. We do not have access just to a great preacher, but to God, the God who made the great preachers and is the King above all earthly kings! It may be an honor to come before certain people, but through the blood of Jesus, we have access to the Creator Himself!
To have access to the White House would be a great privilege, even if you were not of the same political party. You would count it a privilege to actually be able to go and shake the hand of the President of this nation. To be quite honest, you would be blessed if you could get to the undersecretary of the undersecretary. Yet how much more should we be blessed, having an open invitation to come before the God of heaven, with instructions to just ask for what we need.
Faith asks. It doesnt hope, it asks. It comes with expectation. The leper asked from the place of ignorance. He said, Lord, if You are willing
. (Luke 5:12). He didnt know the will of God. Today, we know the will of God. When we ask, we know the will of God. Do you understand the difference? This mans words were recorded so that we would know the will of God.
Unfortunately, many have learned to limit their asking by saying, Lord, if You are willing, You can heal me. That kind of teaching has promoted unbelief and doubt. It does not leave you with the anticipation of success, but leaves you in a position of hopefully, maybe, if only. Faith should not even consider the possibility of rejection, failure, or disappointment. Faith has the title deed to the miracle.
MAKE A FAITH DEMAND TODAY!
It could be said that believing in Jesus for your sins to be forgiven requires greater faith than anything else you could ever need to believe for. To believe that a holy God could actually forgive us and cleanse us is incredible! That same faith that saved you can be released into any area of your life. If you believe with the same confidence that you believed for your sins to be forgiven, you will find yourself getting answers to your prayers in other areas of great need.
God Is Willing!
Note the response of Jesus to the leper: I am willing (Luke 5:13). He then put out His hand and touched him. Do you know what it means to touch a leper? It means to become unclean. Jesus stretched out His hand in total identification with humanity and its suffering. Not only did Jesus say He was willing, but He also went a step further and touched that leper, bringing him his desired healing. Today, God is saying, I am willing, and He is reaching out to touch you. Every single time you ask, His response is the same: I am willing!
I want you to see something important. Jesus said I am. Faith recognizes the I Am. If you do a study of all the times that the phrase I Am is used in the Bible, you will quickly see that it is always speaking of God. He is not the I was or I will be. He is the I Am and He remains the I Am. In other words, He is always a present tense reality. Faith brings the present tense reality of the I Am into our everyday lives. To us, He will always be I Am.
Points Of Contact
When Jesus put out His hand and touched the leper, His hand became a point of contact. A miracle needs a point of contact. There must be a place where you release your faith in God, where God touches you. It could be a shadow, a touch, an anointed minister, a cloth, or a spoken word.
The Word became the point of contact as it says, And his servant was healed that same hour. (Matthew 8:13).
If your faith is not in a point of contact, it will do nothing. The shadow of Peter fell on many people, but they did not recognize or acknowledge it. To them, Peter was just another face in the crowd, but those who recognized the hand of God upon his life were able to use his shadow as a point of contact. Through it, they releasing their faith in God and were healed.
Through the years, I have gained a bit of a reputation as a minister, enough so that I can make an illustration of a point here. Upon my arrival at a certain church where I was booked as the guest speaker that night, I found my way to the office so that I could relax for a few moments before the service began. As I was relaxing and meditating on the Lord, a man walked into the office. As I stood to shake his hand, he asked, What do you do in the church? I said, Im actually the guest speaker. Im just waiting to go in. He staggered back and said, Are you teachers name? THE teachers name (dubbed by me)? Are YOU the one? You are not what I expected! I thought, Well, what did you expect?
From that encounter I learned something about the point of contact. If you have no confidence in the point of contact, youre probably not going to receive anything. Thats the reason that when Jesus sent out the disciples, He said, And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you." (Matthew 10:12-13)
In order to receive the blessing, the members of the home would have to receive the point of contact as carriers of the blessing of God. They would have to believe and receive through that point of contact. When Jesus went to His own hometown, the people did not have confidence in the vessel, Jesus. Therefore, they did not receive any miracles. If you have no confidence in the point of contact, whether it be a touch, a shadow, or a word spoken, you probably will not get your miracle. If you have no confidence in the apron or the handkerchief and the human vessel that touched it, you probably will not get your miracle. It will just be another handkerchief, another apron, another shadow, or another hand laid on you. But if you have confidence that it represents the hand of God, there will be an actual impartation beyond the vessel, and the power of God will be released into your life.
Recognize The Anointing
The problem we have with the anointing is the humanity in which it is packaged. That is why I always try to elevate pastors with their congregation. If the church receives and recognizes the man as just another man, they will miss the anointing that is on his life and ministry. You must look beyond the man. Although he is nice and is a good person, he is prone to failure just like any of us. A problem arises when we see their humanity in its weakness. We tend to reject the anointing. Your pastor will probably let you down at some point. Wives and children find it hard to receive from their husbands and fathers because they are intimately acquainted with their humanity. However, if they would dare step beyond what they know and trust the anointing, that vessel could become the point of contact for their miracle.
I know myself well. If I look at myself outside of the call of God upon my life, I would not put myself into the ministry. There is no way I would use myself, but God somehow found in me some potential and entrusted me with a measure of anointing; if you lay hold of that deposit, there is potential for you to obtain your miracle.
Somebody said to me, How can I get to be like you in the ministry? I thought to myself, You dont actually want to be like me, you want to be like Jesus. People see God using someone else and they think, Oh, if I could just be like that person.
When the crowds saw the miracle at the gate called Beautiful, they wanted to worship Peter and John (Acts 3:2). I would paraphrase the disciples response this way: Its not because of our holiness. Its not because of who we are. Its because of faith in His name that this man has been made whole. It has nothing to do with us. It has only to do with Jesus.
Ministers are just vessels that Jesus somehow found grace to flow through. In spite of my own failings and weaknesses, my hand to you can represent the nail-scarred hand of Jesus. One day I walked up to a man and blew on him. It was just a little blast; Ive done it a lot. He felt the rushing mighty wind of God come right through his face. I realized that at that point, my breath suddenly became the breath of God for him. I was amazed.
I am sure that when Peter walked down the road that day, he had no inkling that his shadow would minister healing (Acts 5:15). He was just walking, but that shadow became a point of contact which represented the touch of God to those who were in his path.
Find Your Point Of Contact
You also need a point of contact, a place where you can release or focus your faith. When you do that, a spiritual explosion takes place: your faith is loosed and a chain reaction begins. How it actually works, I dont know. It may be an angel or the Holy Spirit who comes, or the physical hand of Jesus that stretches down and touches you.
In the meetings, people see Jesus walking in the aisles, angels drifting in the aisles, the glory cloud, the fire. These are all various signs which indicate that He is present. How He does it, I dont know.
Just imagine your faith suddenly blasting towards heaven. At that moment when it reaches heaven, whether you feel it or not, something takes place. I like it when I feel it, but faith actually dares to go beyond what I feel. It sounds like a contradiction, but its not. Faith has a revelation that says, Its done. The moment you get that revelation, its over. Regardless of what you feel or how your circumstances appear, it is done at that moment.
Its now only a matter of time before the chain reaction is put into motion and your answer is manifested in the natural realm. But it is already a settled and finished work in heaven. Faith says, Its done. At that moment, its yours. The title deed is in your hand. You may not see it or feel it, but its yours.
I dont know what the leper felt, if anything. Immediately he was made whole
. (Luke 5:13)
Immediately the leprosy left him. Immediate in the Greek means, at once, directly or forthwith. Then and there it's settled. Somehow, we have to see the immediately in our lives.
Release The Power Of God
I have sensed the touch of God a whole lot more these last few years because of the tangibility of the anointing. God's presence is real to our senses. You can touch, feel, and see God with your physical senses. There is tangibility to the anointing, but if I never saw or felt anything, faith would say, Yes, its done, its a settled fact.
That is what you have got to go for, because if you are moved by your feelings, your circumstances will intimidate you. Your feelings will always let you down somewhere along the way. People who get a healing miracle often become shaken when the symptoms recur in their body a few days later. At the moment they received their healing they walked away bending, shouting, twisting, and rejoicing. But if that pain surges back into that organ, they start to focus on that. Suddenly, it becomes bigger than the healing they received. Before you know it, that health problem has overtaken them once again.
You say, But what about when my body doesnt respond, what about when I dont feel it? You start to speak what the Word of God says, you start to believe what God says about you as though its true. Now, its not denying the pain. Its not saying, There is no pain, there is no pain. It says, By His stripes I am healed. It says, I believe, and having believed, I spoke.
Start Giving God The Glory
Abraham gave glory to God. Start giving glory to God. In the period between the manifestation of your prayer (the beginning of the miracle) and the end of the chain reaction, give glory to God. Start laughing, singing, dancing, running, and shouting, giving glory to God. It will only be a matter of time before that situation will turn itself around.
When Jesus said, I am willing, that man believed. From then on, he was healed. When Jesus said, I am willing, the leper said, This is my day. When you go to the Word of God, youre going to get the I am willing. And at that point it doesnt matter what you feel, what you hear, or what you see. At that moment, as far as youre concerned, the hand of Jesus has touched you, and its yours.
Faith is the product of your spirit. You cant build it up in your mind. Its not a matter of how much you know. People say, Build yourself up in faith, read the Word. You can read the Word until youre blue in the face. You can quote the Word and still not believe it. What youve got to do is translate those words into a revelation. Revelation means that its yours. Its when you are fully persuaded that it becomes yours.
It is like healing. If the revelation of healing is yours, youve got it. If you have the revelation of righteousness, it does not matter what your failures are, you know you are righteous. There is a confidence. You become fully convinced of its reality. When you get that in your finances, it will start to produce. You start to rest in God.
Build Yourself Up
Read the Word and build yourself up in it. If youre facing sickness, go to the Word concerning health. Dont just go to the Word; go to the Word concerning health. You must find an anchor for your faith. Find a place of confidence for your faith in that specific Word and make it yours. Get fully convinced that God is speaking to you. Next, pray in tongues. Theres nothing more powerful than praying in tongues to build yourself up in your most holy faith. Build up your spirit.
Faith is not the product of your mind. You can stand and quote the Word of God, but that is not a faith confession. A faith confession is the Word coming straight out of your spirit. Its what comes out of the believing heart that counts, so thats why you want to build yourself up in your spirit.
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
One of the finest ways to build yourself up in your spirit is to worship, resting in the presence of God. Take your thoughts captive. Dont just let your mind run around; it will wreak havoc with your spirit. You have got to take your thoughts captive so that you dont get caught up in thoughts which run contrary to the Word of God.
Take Thoughts Captive
If you allow such thoughts to run around in your mind, youre going to start believing what your mind is telling you. Thats why the sword of the Spirit can separate between soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12). Thats why you must take your thoughts captive to what God says. (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Christians are defeated by their minds, not by the devil. Strongholds exist in their minds by the thoughts that have been flung at them through the world's system that governs our society and culture. This system is controlled and manipulated by the prince of the power of the air (Satan). If you are not on constant alert, those thoughts will permeate your mind and you will start to believe and eventually act upon what you are thinking. That is why you win your battle in the spirit first, taking those thoughts captive and believing what God says.
Faith pleases God. It is very, very powerful. Jesus was a man of faith. The Bible says that we have precious faith, like Peter, James, John, Stephen, and Philip. We have the same quality of faith that they had.
I pray you will get a revelation of faith that is going to elevate your spirit into new realms of prayer, power, authority, dominion, victory, and worship. Every area will be touched by faith. It will go beyond just believing for things. Use faith for the harvest of souls, the changing of nations, and the building of the Church.
Don't Use Faith Selfishly
Faith gets prayers answered. Jesus said, If you ask anything in My name, I will do it (John 14:14). Dont put limitations on your faith. Ask anything. But in your anything, include souls, backsliders, other churches, your city, your country, and other nations. Dont use faith selfishly. Use faith with a worldview for the gospel and for the kingdom of God. When we get our eyes off what we need and focus on the gospel and others, those little things we need come our way out of the overflow.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [that we think are so important] shall be added to you [anyway]. (Matthew 6:33), [brackets mine]
Seek the kingdom and use your faith for the kingdom. I am not against Christians using faith for things, but use your faith for the kingdom. It will be pure, holy, and very powerful. We had better be raised up in faith because the Word says, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17).
The faith teaching may have become distorted or gone out of vogue, but God is a faith God. His Word works by faith. It is brought into our lives by faith. Everything we ever get from God is by faith. When you have revival, you have it by faith. Everything about God is faith. One of the things being restored to the church is faith.
Like the leper who came to Jesus, you have needs. He touched God with his faith and God touched him and made him whole. The hand that touched him will also touch you.
* Know that you have access to the living God.
* Come as one who recognizes that you need a miracle.
* Press through the impossibilities.
* Abandon yourself to God.
* Ask God. Faith asks!
* Know that Gods answer is, I am willing.
* Get a point of contact and release your faith in God.
* The power of God is released and you are touched by God.
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CHAPTER 7 - FAITH, FOOLISHNESS, AND PRESUMPTION
Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (confidence) of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. ( (Hebrews 11:1-2)
Character And Integrity Are Needed
The development of Christian character needs to be taught in church because of the great need for integrity in the Body of Christ today. Christians should be the best workers in our places of employment, always willing to go the extra mile. The word of Christians should be reliable, and we should be honest, fair, and the most loving people on the face of the earth. People of faith and godly character will produce a good testimony.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because [the report of] your faith is made known to all the world and is commended everywhere. (Romans 1:8, AMP)
For while your loyalty and obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I would have you well versed and wise as to what is good and innocent and guileless as to what is evil. (Romans 16:19, AMP)
Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. (Acts 16:1-2)
I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine (lit. unhypocritical) faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. (2 Timothy 1:3-5)
The faith hall of fame records all those before us whose faith produced a good testimony (Hebrews 11). Today, other men and women of faith are continually being added to this list. God wants you, too, to be known for your faith and godly character.
Foolishness And Presumption Produce Failure
Hyper-faith can lead to foolishness and presumption, bringing embarrassment to the Body of Christ. Hyper is a prefix meaning, over, above, more than normal, excessive. An example of hyper-faith would be believing God for a new $100,000 car when you are having difficulty right now making the payments on a $5,000 car. Foolishness and presumption go beyond the mind, will, and purpose of God, and get into the mind, will, and purpose of the flesh of man. Desires, imaginations, and special revelations that have not been submitted to the lordship of Jesus can lead people into all kinds of foolishness.
Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
We are to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, which is what protects us from moving beyond our level of faith. Each one of us has been given a measure of faith which can grow by staying in the Word of God. While we are developing our faith to new levels, we need to operate in the level of faith that we are currently at. Some people have tried to operate beyond their level of faith, or on someone else's level of faith, becoming angry at God or at one of His servants because they ended up in failure. Sometimes these people have a difficult time moving back into genuine faith again, and may even become backslidden.
Jesus was impressed by great faith. With patience and a good discipline of hearing the Word of God and using the faith we have, we can be assured that Jesus will be impressed by our faith also. Our faith will then always be growing and producing a good testimony.
* Faith means confidence or trust in a person or thing. Faith acts on what you believe. It is the title deed of what you believe for, the realization of things hoped for. Faith brings hope into reality. We act upon what we believe, because we believe we received when we asked.
* Foolishness means the lack of sense or sound judgment; imprudence.
* Presumptionmeans relying too much upon; taking something for granted; making unwarranted suppositions not based on fact; the overstepping of proper bounds.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)
God saved you by His special favor when you believed. (Ephesians 2:8, NLT)
It is by faith, or believing what Jesus Christ has accomplished for us, that we are brought into a relationship with God. It is by faith that we receive all that He has done for us. As we continue in faith, we receive His ongoing provision for our lives.
Some Christians move away from the simplicity of the grace of God and begin to operate outside of faith, ending up in presumption. They forget what He has done for them, so they attempt to obtain the provision by self-effort. They become performance-oriented, thinking that God will have to answer their prayers because their good works have impressed Him and earned them favor with Him. For example, some think that by reading so many chapters of the Word a day, or fasting often, or giving generously, they are therefore entitled to the promises God has for them. However, the reality is that He wants us to receive His promises by faith through His grace. Our approach to God has to be by faith in the accomplished work of Christ alone.
An example of this is found in the life of Abram and Sarai. God gave Abram a promise of a son (Genesis 15:1-21). In ignorance of faith, Abram and Sarai started in presumption, thinking God needed their help to bring forth the promised child. Instead of having simple faith, they tried to help God, thus getting into trouble and birthing Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-16). The name Ishmael means, a wild thing. God blessed their mistake but did not leave them in presumption. Together with them, we have had to deal with the consequences of Ishmael. How many of us have birthed a wild thing when weve moved from faith into presumption, trying to help God bring His promises to pass? There may be blessing upon our effort, but that thing birthed by the flesh will always cause trouble and will keep us from obtaining Gods best.
MOVING FROM PRESUMPTION TO FAITH
The following passages speak of God moving Abram and Sarai from presumption into faith.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations." No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you."And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name." And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. "But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. (Genesis 17:1-7, 15-22)
Then they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "Here, in the tent." And He said, "I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." (Sarah was listening in the tent door, which was behind him.) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?' "Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son." But Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh," for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh!" (Genesis 18:9-15)
God moved them from presumption to faith:
* Reveal Himself to them
* Affirm the promise
* Confront their thinking (unbelief)
* Change their confession by changing their names
God is gracious and rescues us in our presumption and self-effort. In order to bring the promise to pass, God had to move them back to faith from presumption. The following passage reveals how this was done.
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed - God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be. "And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness. (Romans 4:16-22)
Abraham has become our biblical example of faith. Like him, we also can have our presumption turned into faith.
Add The Following To Your Faiith
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)
In the bold portion of the above scripture, we are instructed to add to our faith virtue (general moral excellence and goodness of character). This speaks of good sound judgment. When God speaks to us, He needs our cooperation of faith (our believing and trusting the promise) instead of our help (our trying to make things happen).
The rest of this lesson will discuss areas in which we believers must use good sound judgment so as not to discredit the ministry by acting foolishly. However, to bring balance to this, we need to understand that what we do and how we live will never satisfy the natural (unsaved) man.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
The world, and those who serve the god of this world, will not agree with the operations of the spiritual man (the man of faith and anointing). We will be mocked, ridiculed, and misunderstood, but we need to act in such a way as to represent Christ in order to win them to Him.
FAITH VS PRESUMPTIVE DECISIONS
Many sincere and well-meaning Christians have made decisions that they believed were based on faith, but were viewed by others as foolishness or presumption. Peter getting out of the boat and walking on water doesnt make sense to the natural mind, but when you have heard the word of Jesus, Come, you cannot be moved by the opinion of wet onlookers but will have to obey God.
I trust that knowing how to handle the following issues will bring balance, yet not be seen as compromise to sincere faith.
What About Doctors And Taking Medication?
People have stopped taking prescribed medication, thinking that this was a way of demonstrating their faith. They have been seen as fanatics because of this step of faith. If their step of faith always produced healing, no one would dare challenge their actions, but when their condition worsens or they die, those around them start ranting against faith. Therefore, the way we handle this situation is critical. We want to see Gods healing power flow and miracles take place. We want to be in faith, so what do we do?
There are a few ways that we can approach this, remembering that each person must be responsible for his own actions. You cannot walk in anothers conviction and revelation; if you copy what others have done but lack their faith measure and experience, you may find yourself facing disappointment and failure. You have to walk in your own level of faith.
Some people have put undue suffering on their children by not giving them medication. They may even consider it a sin to give them an aspirin. Certain ministers have taught that it is sin or a lack of faith for believers to take medication, to go to a doctor or to have an operation. These false teachings and beliefs have done great damage to the Body of Christ. Our faith needs to be developed in the promises of God in His Word. Then we can thank God for medication and doctors while we are developing our faith. When our healing has manifested, we can go to the doctor and let him confirm our healing, allowing God to receive all the glory.
A person who has been suffering with a chronic disease, such as diabetes, has to take daily medication. After prayer, should this person cease taking medication?
I believe that if God has healed your body, the medical tests will confirm it and the doctor will tell you to go off or reduce your medication.
Unbelief is not the taking of medication, but is the rejection of Gods power to heal your body. It is the failure to act or stand on the Word of God. It is the going to doctors without seeking Gods help (James 5:13-16).
If you face a bout of flu or the symptoms of it begin to manifest, start to exercise your faith by resisting these in faith. Start to confess the promises of God over your body. Instead of going around telling everyone how sick you feel, start to praise and worship God. Instead of immediately turning to over-the-counter medications because of your negative confession that you are coming down with the flu, make a spiritual stand of faith. This will allow you to grow in faith. If you cant stand strong with a minor challenge, it will be difficult should you ever face a severe one.
Dont force your convictions on other Christians. If you have stood against sickness and have won a victory, dont be arrogant and think evil of anyone who isnt healed.
If you do take medication, every time you take it should be used as an opportunity to confess what Gods Word has to say. Here is an example of what you can say: The report that I believe is what Gods Word declares: by His stripes I was healed. The medication that I am taking is causing my body to come into health and healing.
To conclude this point, it should be stressed that using medication and going to doctors does not mean that one is in unbelief. Unbelief is not trusting God and what His Word says.
Is It Wrong To Borrow Money?
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
This scripture is not saying that we cannot buy something on credit or on an installment plan. The word owe in this verse simply means not to be indebted. We are required by the Word of God to love our brothers and sisters in the Lord and to owe them nothing but love.
Some Christians have taken the above verse to mean: I cannot buy anything on credit or in installments. I should not buy clothes, cars, furniture, houses or anything on credit. Some believe that to buy on credit is to partake of the worlds system. They call credit the worlds system, but do they realize that banks are also a part of the worlds system? Should we not put our money in savings or checking accounts either? There are many things in the world that God has given us to use, and though it is true that many of these things are under the influence of the worlds system, they are still permissible for Christians to use, as long as we do not become enslaved to them. Our faith and trust must be in God and His Word, not in banks, credit ratings, or things of the world.
What is sin are actions which discredit the work of God, e.g., a person buying goods even though he knows that he cannot pay the amount. Some will buy goods and say, I will trust God to give me the amount, but this is presumption. If God wants you to have it, let Him provide the amount first, and then you can make your purchase.
Writing out a check knowing that you do not have the funds to pay for the goods is not only illegal, but it is sin. Some Christians have made a mistake in their calculations and have written a hot check; they need to put it right as soon as possible and apologize to those affected by their error.
To be late in making payments is a discredit to the Lord. I know of ministries that do this regularly because they are trusting God for their finances. They are not living in integrity.
Integrity is the state of being of sound moral and ethical principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity. A believer ought to be a person of integrity.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You. (Psalm 25:21)
Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars. (Proverbs 9:1)
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. (Luke 16:10)
Our integrity often meets its match in money matters. God calls us to be honest even in small details like paying our bills promptly and keeping our lives free from the lust of things that we can buy but will struggle to pay for.
In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility. (Titus 2:7)
Is It Wrong To Have A Credit Card?
Credit cards are not evil; it is the misuse of them that is evil. We live in a society that has developed a system of banking that makes it difficult to move about in travel and business without owning a credit card. For example, for a traveling ministry not to have a credit card makes it almost impossible to get a hotel room or rent a car. Without a credit card, it would also be very difficult to purchase airline tickets. What if a family decided to go on vacation in another state or country, but could not get a place to stay because they had no credit card to reserve the room. It would require traveling with lots of cash, which in these times is unwise.
Because of a weakness in their flesh, some believers cannot afford to have a credit card. This does not make credit cards bad. If a person cannot say no to his flesh, he probably should not have a credit card. The problem arises with a believer who has never let his spirit have control over his flesh. Such a person needs to pray and get into the Word of God to build up his spirit and learn to buffet his flesh. This is called self-control and is the evidence of a life that is Spirit-filled.
The key to having a credit card is to never spend more than we can afford. If we cant pay for it, we should not buy it. This way, when the bill comes in next month we have the money to pay it off. If we follow this principle we will never become enslaved to the credit system. We will not have to pay the bank an outrageous interest for our purchases. We will not be serving the credit card but it will be serving us, making our business easier and safer to conduct.
Budgeting is also a good way of curbing uncontrolled spending. If it is not in the budget we cant buy it. The way into the land of prosperity from the land of lack is through the land of even. Budgeting is a good tool to help us come out of the land of lack into the land of even, on our way to the land of prosperity.
As Christians, we need to pay all of our bills punctually. This is a good testimony to our creditors. The Bible says that the borrower is servant to the lender (Proverbs 22:7), so if we dont want to become servants to our creditors, we need to pay our bills on time.
A good alternative to a credit card is a debit card. In order to make any transactions, you must first have existing funds available to pay for them. These cards are great for such things as the supermarket, gas, hotels, and car rentals. You are not paying interest and not living on high percentage credit; you may be using plastic, but it is actually the same as using a check.
Should I Work?
Some have departed from the faith, thinking that they no longer have to work. They think they can just stay home and use their faith to supply their living expenses. This is not faith! Doing work and earning a salary for it does not mean that you are in unbelief.
Some have even thought, I will go into the ministry so I dont have to work. The late Kenneth Hagin said, Ministry is spelled W-O-R-K! I believe people should first learn how to work before they go into the ministry. This way they can bring good working skills into the ministry and they will be a good example for other ministers they are training. A pastor looking for workers in the church should look for people who are faithful workers at their place of employment.
Young married men in Bible school should work at least a part-time job even if their wives are working full-time. They are to be a support for their family even when they are in Bible school training for the ministry.
This is a common act of foolishness that you will find among Bible students and others who say that they are called by God into the ministry. These pseudo-spiritual people believe that if they pray and study the Bible, God will move upon someone to pay their bills. This is not Gods way!
Gods way is for you to work. Even those who are called into the ministry ought to enter the ministry from the place of success in the business sector. Entrance into the ministry is not because you dont like working, but because you are proven in your church and you have the reputation of balance and order. From this place of security you can help those who are struggling in life.
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. (Proverbs 10:4)
The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor. (Proverbs 12:24)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)
Note that it says, whatever he does shall prosper. The word does here is an action word. God wants to bless the work of our hands.
Should I Have Insurance?
This seems to be another area that is a stumbling block to Christians who have the erroneous idea that to walk by faith means that one shouldnt have any insurance: no automobile insurance, no fire insurance, no life insurance, and no medical insurance. Is that really walking by faith? Is that what faith really means? I dont believe so and I believe it is wrong to instruct someone that this is faith.
Fire insurance does not stop fires. Medical insurance does not stop sickness. Automobile insurance does not stop car accidents, and life insurance does not stop death.
Insurance is available to help us. It can stop the devil from taking everything we own. None of us plans on having an accident, but we do not live in a perfect world and situations happen. No one plans on having a fire or a sickness, but if these things do happen, it helps to have insurance to cover the costs. Automobile insurance is now mandatory in many states, so therefore in this case we must obey the laws of the land.
Having an insurance policy is not wrong or faithless, but speaks of order and budgeting for the needs of your family. Government funds can help certain individuals who have no insurance, but you could face a serious financial struggle if you do not meet their criteria. There are caring Christians who will help people in their times of adversity, but it would be better to make sure that your home, car, health, and family are all cared for. However, we do not trust in these funds and policies. Our trust is in God.
Casting Out Calories
Some people have tried to cast out the calories of the food they are eating, thinking that this will enable them to eat anything, and as much as they want. All food has calories. The problem is not the calories or food, but overindulgence and gluttony.
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12, NAS)
Casting out calories or binding up calories is not faith but foolishness. It is a misapplication of Scripture. The Bible does not teach such a principle. We need to use our faith to put our flesh down. Those who fall into this category need to learn to control their appetite instead of being controlled by it.
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)
We all need to learn from Pauls example of living a disciplined lifestyle. The issue is not casting out but putting in. Christians need to exercise self-control and eat a healthful diet, thereby taking care of their bodies.
Believing God Not To Get Pregnant
Some young married Christian couples believe that they can do what it takes to make babies, yet not become pregnant. This is foolishness! God gave the command to mankind, Be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). God has never revoked this commandment. We still have the power to be fruitful and multiply.
While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)
The power is still in the seed. Couples who want to wait on having a family need to find an acceptable form of birth control.
Claiming A Particular Husband Or Wife
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:24)
Some read this verse and say, The Bible says I can have whatever I ask for; therefore, because I ask for this man to be my husband (or this woman to be my wife), I receive them and that's it. But this is not what this verse means. Nowhere in the Bible does God give one person authority over another persons will. Both people will have to agree before they can be married. God will not force one persons will over another just because one person desires it.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:3)
There is nothing wrong with desiring a mate, but believers can get into trouble when they claim a particular mate based on intelligence, body shape or height, hair color, etc., instead of claiming the mate God has for them.
Faith, which is trust in God, will say, God, I believe you have the right person for me. You have prepared them for me and have prepared me for them. I trust you are working to bring us together in your perfect timing.
A related issue in which people can fall into foolishness concerns being instructed by false prophets or ministers to leave a spouse and be joined to someone else. Such prophecies clearly go against the Word of God and should not be acted upon. Some prophets have given single people a word that a certain person was to be their spouse. They then married based on this word, only to wind up in a miserable marriage ending in divorce. You cannot choose your future partner for life through a word. There must be other checks and balances to protect you from making mistakes in these important areas of life. Marriages are to be entered into as a covenant before God and one another, and therefore should not be entered into lightly. Love and a strong friendship are foundational, together with your mutual faith in God (dont become unequally yoked). Sharing your entire lives together requires more than a word from a prophet.
Living Within The Laws Of The Land
Note the following scriptures:
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is Gods minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is Gods minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are Gods ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (Romans 13:1-7)
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lords sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men - as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:11-17)
We are to live according to the laws of the land, whether or not we agree with them. We obey the laws because this is the will of God. The only exception to this is if we were required to renounce our faith in Christ or to defile our conscience through commanded compromise. In this case we would obey God rather than man, even if we face imprisonment or death as a result of our righteous stand.
So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. (Acts 4:18-21)
Don't Break The Law And Expect God To Fix Things
* It is wrong to claim Gods protection while driving over the legal speed limit, but it is foolishness to then wonder why God didnt protect you when you receive a ticket.
* It is wrong not to put on your seat belt if the law requires you to wear it. You want to be a good steward of the money God gives you and not have to spend your money on court costs and fines.
* It is wrong to withhold or cheat on your taxes. You should be willing to pay them because Jesus said, Render
to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the things that are Gods (Matthew 22:21).
The life that a Christian lives should be a good testimony before God, other believers, and the world. Therefore, it should go without saying that an essential part of that testimony requires obeying the laws of the land.
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CHAPTER 1 - DEFINITION OF FAITH
Faith is the parent force of all that exists:
* The natural world will respond to faith.
* The spirit world will respond to faith.
* Everything that can be contacted with the five physical senses is subject to the force of faith.
Though the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters ( (Genesis 1:2), nothing happened until God spoke. As He spoke, the Holy Spirit took the substance of faith that resided in His words and performed what He said.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FAITH
Some teachers have taken a stand against what is known as the Faith Movement. It should be noted that there is no such thing as a faith movement. Jesus Christ is not building a movement, but His Church. This Church is certainly going to be a people of faith.
God knew, without a doubt that the desired result would be manifested
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
The redeemed of the Lord are saved by faith and live by faith. All that they accomplish is by faith. All that they ever receive is by faith. They pray the prayer of faith. Miracles are wrought in faith.
In the 1980s, there was an emphasis in the Church (undoubtedly Holy Spirit-induced and sustained) on what is known as faith teaching. Men and woman of God such as Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland, Oral Roberts, Jerry Savelle, Charles Capps, Fred Price, and many others began to deal with subjects such as healing, deliverance, prosperity, and the confession of words. Word churches were raised up, and with this awakening, there were many miracles, many salvations, and many positive results from this kind of ministry emphasis that was touching so many people. At the same time, there were ministers who were offended, mostly because of the following:
* Members were leaving their churches and joining these new independent churches.
* Traditional and Pentecostal churches declined in numerical growth and were affected financially.
* The new churches were exploding numerically, and prosperity was in their midst.
* On the negative side, certain teachings were extreme and even appeared to be erroneous when looked at outside of their context.
* People were confessing health; some stopped medication and some died. This was seen as the product of faith, so faith teachers were blamed when these peoples conditions worsened.
* Books were written to challenge the teachings.
* The media attacked the new churches and their leaders.
Despite all the negatives, the failures, the indiscretions, the excesses and the lack of experience and wisdom, the positive impact of the awakening of this teaching continues to this day. The dust has settled. The pendulum has stopped its swing. Now we can study the Word of God and gain insight into the subject of faith, learning how to tap into the positive and avoiding the errors and extremes of the negatives.
WHAT IS FAITH?
* Faith is the parent force of all that exists
* Faith is the product of the recreated spirit
* Faith is not a teaching or a movement, but is the very life we live
* Faith is what grants us access to an open heaven
Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)
Note that the just shall live by faith. Therefore, we could say that faith must be a way of life.
Some have thought of faith as an instant get-rich-quick-scheme, a panacea for all ills, a parachute to bail out of all problems. However, faith is not so much a means of getting things, but rather it is what brings us into relationship with God so that all of heavens resources become available to us. Faith is a way of life.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17)
But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for the just shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11)
Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. (Hebrews 10:38)
The just - those who have been justified by the blood of Jesus, who have been made righteous, declared forgiven and restored in relationship with God - shall live by faith.
Faith is not a denomination, church, or religion.
Certain terms which have no validity or basis in the Bible have crept into our everyday language. For example, we have all heard the question, What faith are you - Catholic, Protestant, Jewish? To ask a person what faith he is, is a misuse of the biblical word faith.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Sight refers to the sense realm. We who are in Christ should be walking by faith and not by what we perceive with our sensory mechanisms. Too often, people have a relationship with God that is based on emotions, feelings, and sense knowledge.
As long as you walk dominated by your senses, you will be unable to walk consistently by faith.
Therefore, we can confidently say that when our senses are dictating information contrary to what the Word of God has revealed to us, we choose the truth, i.e., what the Word of God says. Faith always chooses what the Word of God declares. What our senses declare is not permanent or fixed, but is subject to change. Facts change, but truth is unalterable and therefore supersedes facts. What Gods Word reveals will stand the test of eternity. As the prophet Isaiah said, The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).
And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarahs womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (Romans 4:19-21)
In this text, we see that Abraham (known as the father of faith) believed God. His body declared that he was too old, and those around him were in agreement with the obvious, but God had spoken. Gods Word to him was that he would have a son. Even though his body, feelings, sight and sense knowledge was communicating the opposite, his faith would bring him into agreement with God and would release Gods power into his body and circumstances; he would receive his miracle. Abraham believed God; Abraham had faith. He walked by faith and not by sight.
A Product Of Our Recreated Spirit
Faith is not the product of the mind but of the spirit. Faith is not positive thinking, though negative thinking will destroy faith. It is not produced by reason or by study, but by the heart. Because of this, the walk of faith appears to be irrational or irresponsible to the natural man or carnal Christian. Note the following from this text:
Abraham's faith was strong.
* We ought to seek to have strong or great faith. Too many Christians are satisfied with weak faith and dont want to exert effort into growing their faith.
* Jesus never commended weak faith but always commended strong or great faith.
He didn't consider his age.
And Abrahams faith did not weaken, even though he knew that he was too old to be a father
. (Romans 4:19, NLT)
The Greek word for consider is katanoeo, meaning to behold, consider attentively, discover, to fix ones eyes or mind upon. So here we see that Abraham did not fix his mind and eyes on the reality of his age and body, but he chose truth, which was the Word of promise given by God.
He didn't consider Sarah's age.
His faith would not only cause him to look beyond the obvious in his own body, but in his wifes as well. In other words, his faith would work even into the realm of someone elses circumstances.
He believed the promise of God.
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief
. (Romans 4:20, KJV)
This word waver or stagger comes from the Greek word diakrino, meaning to separate oneself in a hostile spirit, to oppose, to be at variance with oneself, to hesitate or to doubt. Abraham did not separate himself from Gods promise through unbelief. The word for unbelief in Greek is apistia, meaning lack of faith or weakness of faith.
We must guard against this negative force called unbelief because it can stop us from receiving what God has promised. Like Abraham, we want to receive everything God has promised us, but the only way to accomplish this is through the force of faith.
His faith was strengthened.
The purpose of this study of faith is not only to examine what faith is and how it operates, but even more, to become strengthened in faith.
Two Important Keys
There were two important keys that Abraham had which kept him strengthened in faith. (There are other ways to be strengthened, but this verse tells us how Abraham was made strong.)
* He gave glory to God
* He was fully convinced that what God had promised He was able to perform
By gaining insight into these two principles of faith through meditating on them, we too will be strengthened.
* To give glory to God means to worship God. This is not passive, but is an act of your will and involves your words. Abraham got his eyes off his impossibilities and looked to God. When you look to God you must worship Him. As you worship God and bless Him, He begins to bless you.
* Being fully convinced or persuaded that what God had promised He was able to perform, clearly indicates that Abraham made up his mind. He would not be double-minded. The double-minded person cannot receive from God (James 1:6-8).
When I consider difficult times and how I received miracle breakthroughs, I had to get to this point of being fully convinced. When I could train my spirit man to rise in faith above my circumstances, I was single-minded. God had promised and God would do it! That meant taking every thought captive. It meant the ruling of my circumstances by the declaration of Gods Word, even when it looked like nothing was happening. You will remember that in Abrahams case, for years it looked like nothing was happening, but all the time Abrahams faith in Gods promise was producing in his body and in Sarahs body. Their impossibilities were being changed. Eventually, the provision, Isaac, came forth.
More Than Believing Gods Word
Christians get good teaching regarding Gods provision. They hear the Word of God and they like it, so they believe it. While they are enjoying Gods provision they believe it, but what do they believe when the provision appears to have dried up? Your faith in God, or in His Word, is really revealed when there is an apparent contradiction. When you believe in Gods provision from a convinced heart even when your circumstances are contrary, it is then that you know what you believe.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-8)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:2-8)
Act On What You Believe
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (James 2:14)
We are talking about faith primarily as it relates to God, but the principle of faith works the same way in the natural world. If you say you believe something but fail to act on what you believe, although what you may believe may be true, historically or scientifically, you will get no benefit out of it until you apply it. You have to act on what you believe in order to get results.
For example, you say that food will nourish your body and keep you from starving to death, which is true, but you can starve to death in the middle of a supermarket if you do not eat. Merely believing will not keep you from death. Faith believes God and His Word. Therefore act on the Word of God. Be a doer of the Word.
Faith without works is dead. (James 2:20)
Most of the time this verse is used with respect to salvation, but James is not talking about salvation here. Most people have interpreted this to mean that if you are saved you will act like you are saved, but here he is talking about the operation of the principles of faith. He is saying that if you say you have faith but do not have the works to back it up, then it will not do you any good. He is talking about actions that correspond with faith.
Faith Pleases God
Jesus never rebuked anyone for having too much faith. He chided the doubters, O you of little faith (Matthew 6:30), and How is it that you have no faith? (Mark 4:40).
And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. And He asked the scribes, What are you discussing with them? Then one of the crowd answered and said, Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not. He answered him and said, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me. Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, How long has this been happening to him? And he said, From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:14-24)
Remember: Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). To put it another way, God is pleased with faith.
Faith is not merely a spiritual force to obtain things, but is to be developed to do great exploits for God.
FOUNDATIONS OF FAITH
Faith is based upon a two-fold foundation:
God's Word Is Truth
God and His Word are one. He cannot be separated from His Word. His Word has integrity that is beyond reproach. Just as His nature and character do not change, neither does His Word. Gods Word is His bond and He will not break it.
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
Truth can be defined as the quality of being in accordance with reality, genuine, loyal or faithful or constant, conforming to the appropriate standard.
We base our belief on what we know is truth, i.e., the Word of God. Because His Word is truth, it cannot lie; it is always totally dependable and reliable.
God, who cannot lie
Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
God's Word Is Living And Powerful
If the Word of God were inconsistent and only worked sometimes for some people, how would we ever be able to know if we were part of that select group at that particular time? Gods Word is not like that; we can depend on it. We must treat Gods Word as a stable foundation. God will never alter, change, forget, or neglect His Word.
As human beings, we may change or forget our words or even Gods Word, but He is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
Then the LORD said to me, You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word. (Jeremiah 1:12)
Faith Is Based On God's Character
My faith in God is not only dependent on what He has said, but is also based on who He is. The fact that God is good means that He can never be evil; therefore, I can have faith in Him because of my confidence in who He is.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)
Good gifts come from God who is unchanging. Just as His unchanging Word gives me confidence for faith, so Gods unchanging nature also gives me confidence for faith.
Because faith is from God, it is what connects me to Him. Therefore, I approach Him not only because of what He has said, but also because of who He is.
| 2012/5/16 15:21||Profile|
| Re: |
Joe- we are constantly changing our website. J.O. mentioned how you pointed it out and is talking to Admin's about getting it up there I believe. You have to remember how strong changes have been happening all along at our church. That we are very much still figuring things out as we go along, like how to church plant for example. This course was only recently grafted into part of a necessary curriculum because we saw the lack you are pointed out on the website.
I cant begin to pick this apart. Look at how many times he (DRL) speaks against the extremes. Looking forward to talking with you about this in person.
If you could, print this out and highlight your fears in what is said. We'll talk about it. Something you could have easily done with VJ or JO but nonetheless I'd love to hear what you specifically have to say instead of everyone else's opinions.
| 2012/5/16 18:02||Profile|
| What do you want to do? Go, or stay.|
First you ask for doctrinal help, and then you post a small book that we should read about the answer?? It's not that complicated.
Because this, and everything other comment was buried in this odd avalanche below, I will repost mt idea of helping you decide what to do. It is doctrinal advice.
"Therefore, our faith will only be effective as we confess with our mouths, from a believing heart, all the good things which belong to us as believers in Jesus."..soulrider's overseer's teaching.
This has it's roots in the Word of Faith heresy: Here is a good piece from Clete Hux at:http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/wf-10.txt
"A number of the prosperity teachers believe that the
spiritual world controls and continually forms the physical
world. So, if one can learn to control the spiritual world,
then he can learn to control the physical world as well.
This teaching then becomes the foundation for securing
individual prosperity."....He then quotes Charles Capps,a prominent teacher in the movement.
That's why in "Releasing the Ability of God," Capps states,
"You can have what you say!... (because) the powerful force
of the spiritual world that creates the circumstances around us is controlled by the words of the mouth. This force comes from inside us... the confession of our mouth will cause you to possess it!"
This is nothing less than Babylonian witchcraft, where man becomes a god unto himself....BT
This is why he teaches, "Discipline your vocabulary," and "today your word is god over your circumstances." (pp.101-104).
"Capps also teaches that the power within a Christian,within one's spirit, functions according to unchangeable laws. He says "These principles of faith are based on spiritual laws.
!!!!"They work for whosoever will apply these laws."!!!!!
This should raise the hair of your head in shock! This reduces God Almighty's power to feeble mankind's lust, and that is exactly what witchcraft is based on...BT
Soulrider's teaching elder goes on, digging a deep grave.
"It is salvation for the whole man: spirit, soul, and body. It is for our peace of heart and mind, our homes, our health, and our finances. It is freedom from all bondage and fear, with nothing missing and nothing broken."
"Affirmation of these truths should ring from our lips. We are told to hold fast to them without wavering. Wavering is brought about through double-mindedness and causes our confession to deny the very things that God has promised us."
And "Confession of Gods Word from a believing heart is powerful. It is like the Word in Gods mouth. It creates, it moves mountains, and it releases heavens power!"
No, it is not Heavens Power at all that is being released. It is Hell being bundled into the precepts of ancient Babylonian Satan worship which exalts man over the Creator and His creation.
Should you run for your life? Yes. ...and don't look back.
| 2012/5/16 19:21|
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Men and woman of God such as Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland
The first few sentences gave it away, but when I got to the above it became terribly clear.
These be FAR from men and women of God.
Yup word of faith alright, head for the hills Joe.
| 2012/5/16 19:59|
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Men and woman of God such as Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland
I agree with Old Joe. Nail in the coffin right there. Keep clear.
| 2012/5/16 21:38||Profile|
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Brothertom your words do not fall on deaf ears. Thank you.
| 2012/5/16 22:08||Profile|