Faith and Trusting God

What exactly is faith? Faith is defined as the act of believing in that which we cannot see. If that is true then we can say, with confidence, that trusting God involves training ourselves to see beyond what we can only see and to see and understand that which we believe; but what about the things in which we don’t believe or things we have never considered? 2Kings 6:17 tells us about how Elisha prayed that his servant could see beyond his own understanding to envision what Elisha, the servant of God, prophetically envisioned.  Life principle number nine, from InTouch Ministries states: “Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees”. OK, but if we can all see the future, like God, why would sin even exist? Wouldn’t we already know the right way to respond to life circumstances? Not necessarily, and why? Well, we don’t teach ourselves to understand how God thinks, so most of the time we can’t see what He sees. Reading the Old Testament stories can give us examples as to how God works in our lives, how He responds to disobedience and how He rewards us for living within His plan and purpose for our lives. But we can also augment that with listening to stories of our elders – parents and grandparents, pastors, teachers, even the old guy down at the mini mart.

I can remember a weekend, the last weekend my grandfather lived. It was a bit cold in the very early spring in southern Pennsylvania. We packed up and drove to our little tiny vacation place because we needed to tend to a tree which had bent over from the weight of a recent snow and it was sticking out into the path of the highway traffic a bit and had to be cut. After a hard day of cutting, hauling and burning pine branches, we washed up in the tiny bathroom and had hoagies for supper. Then I remember my father and my grandfather sharing their memories together as I sat and listened. They talked and laughed for hours, recalling events from their pasts and sometimes the consequences resulting from what they had done. I probably learned more that evening, as this father and son drank Kentucky whisky and reflected on their lives, than I could have ever learned on my own.

Reading the old testament and the great stories of old, for me, is just like listening to the old stories of my father’s and grandfather’s past, and learning about how to react in circumstances that may or may never enter my life. And because of those lessons, now I can say for certain that if we can understand how God thinks, even just the tiniest bit, we can greatly improve the way we respond to those circumstances, whenever they may occur. I challenge you to try it for yourself. Pick up your Bible and read some of the wonderous stories of kings and slaves and both men and women of great courage and valor. Remember those stories and when those same types of circumstances pop up in your life, I just know that you’ll know better how to react.

(also see What is Faith?)

God’s Endless Love For Us

God loves us and He wants us to love Him as well. But how can you love something and/or someone we have never seen? The Bible, God’s Word, tells us how. If we study “InTouch’s” Life Principle number one, it teaches the following: “Our intimacy with God – His highest priority for our lives – determines the impact for our lives”. God seeks fellowship with us which is why He created us the way He did (Gen 1:26). But to experience God’s best for us, we need to surrender to Him, completely. If you’re holding something back in your life from God, you are not getting His best for yourself. (Eccl 2:24-26), (Song 5:16)

Genesis 1:26 tells us God made man in His own image and then gave man rule over all things on the earth. In return, He wants our service and worship to be fruitful and effective. But often times we resist and move away from God’s will for or lives. Why? All too often it is out of greed and pride. Our world has become a world of instant gratification. We want what we want and we want it now. (Psalm 27:14) Also, pride makes many people feel like they can do better for themselves than God can. Still others believed that God is vengeful and if they give God control, He will do things that will make them miserable.

A friend once argued with me that God is not righteous.  His example depicted a young child suffering and dying from cancer.  I tried to show how this is, in some way, a blessing.  Well, I failed.  Recently a pastor friend taught me this philosophy:  “I have given eulogies for 90-year-olds as well as 9-week-olds.  Consider each life as only a single drop of water in all the oceans of the world, as compared to eternity”.

God does not make bad things happen – they just happen. He will allow some bad things to happen and most often, He will make good will come from it (Rom 8:28), but we need to remember two very important things: first, God is omnipotent, in control, and second, we have something call Free Choice.  We can easily step out of God’s will by using this free choice, but there will be consequences.

So the next time you feel like God is punishing you, remember God loves us and has the best for us within His will. Then, ask yourself: Have I stepped out of God’s will for my life and are simply suffering consequences from my own choices? If you contemplate your situation and pray about it, the answer will become clear. (Matt 7:7)

God has given each and every one of us His greatest gift of all time (John 3:16). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:3)

God’s Promises in His Word

We have all heard this song sung by children and other Christians everywhere: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. Well, then, how do we know that what we read in the Bible is really what God wants us to know? (Deut 6)  Wasn’t it written a long time ago by other men just like us? And since it was written so long ago, does what is written still apply to us today?  The answer is a resounding YES! (Joshua 1:8)

God’s Word was taken down over a long period of time. Why it was stopped at Revelation, perhaps nobody on earth will ever know. The New Testament letters were written to certain churches and to/by certain disciples of Jesus, but they were written FOR all of us for eternity.

In Touch Life Principle number three states: “God’s word is an immovable anchor in times of storm”. Someone might say “You believe the Bible is God’s Word because your Bible tells you that. You’re just talking in circles.” I think we Christians can put together enough testimony to prove our belief in God’s word and to prove that the Bible is just that – God’s Word for our lives.

To test this life principle, I would challenge anyone to live for 3 months, as stringently by God’s word as possible and they will see that their lives will be changed miraculously for the better. Be very careful, though. Claiming a promise that is not explicitly given in the Word can cause frustration, disillusionment and failure. As believers, we are spiritually wealthy because of the exceedingly great promises we have in Jesus, our Savior. (2 Peter 1:1-4)

Click the link below to review some of the better known, wonderful guarantees, out of HUNDREDS, we have been given in Scripture. God challenges us to expect these promises to be fulfilled when we live in accordance to His will. (Matt 6:28-34)

God’s Promises