What Faith Feels Like


2014-09-20 11.58.28and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  John 17:23b

The Question

A co-worker asked me how I know what faith feels like.  I got crickets…well, at first, I did.  I wasn’t sure what to tell him.  It dawned on me that having faith, and being able to explain the joy of it, are two different things.  I could wax rhapsodic about the glorious feeling I get inside when I consider what happened at the great exchange on the cross.  I could explain to him the famous verse about faith:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

But that would be using the word I am trying to define in the definition.  That kind of circular reasoning will not give a real answer.    This guy has a very high IQ, and is more often looking for an argument in which to showcase his intelligence.  I do not want to get into that kind of thing.  It would be pointless and frustrating.

I was left with the proverbial problem of trying to describe the color orange to a blind man.  Then I remembered I was once blind to faith, too.  I was blinded to the things of God, and wanted to understand them, just like this guy does.  Like him, I had God in a box, I new more than anyone else, and had very little patience with the cretins around me who had no idea about anything.  How do I explain faith to someone who is like this?

The Root of the Matter

I told my coworker I will only answer in the context of what the Bible has to say about faith, but needed time to frame an answer.    His immediate reaction was to tell me he doesn’t want to hear my religious point of view, but only wants a philosophical discussion.

I recognize an evasive maneuver when I see one.  I used to use this very argument when I was under conviction, and was afraid the answer would get too real for me to handle.  Fear drives that sort of thinking.

I needed God to show me how to get past the wall of fear this guy has constructed so I can show him what faith looks like.  I knew that the only thing to do was give this to God and wait for Him to show me how to explain faith.

I asked God to open my eyes, and the eyes of my coworker, so we could both see what God wants to show us both about faith.

IN THE MEAN TIME

The company I work for sent me to Richmond, Virginia for training.  At the end of the week would be a final exam.  The brochure made it clear that the exam period is 8 hours.  The company booked my flight to leave right in the middle of the testing time.  This was really bad timing.  I would have to walk out during the middle of the test just to make my flight.

I called the home office and explained my situation.  Their answer was that it would cost too much to reschedule my flight, and, besides, one of my peers claimed to have taken the test in one hour, so I shouldn’t have a problem doing the same thing.

I checked with the instructor about the testing times.  He explained that no one in the history of this test has ever completed it in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes.  I called the home office back and told them what the instructor said.  The answer was a very firm “no”.  It was made very clear to to me that there was no way the flight would be changed.  I would just have to work it out to be done with the test in time to leave for the airport.

The Old David (Me before the Holy Spirit) would have thrown a very loud fit and gone totally nuts.  I was tempted to be angry and frustrated.  For once in my life, though, I obeyed God and took this to Him.  I called Sandy and we prayed about it ( Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. – Jesus – Matt. 18:19)

Within two hours of our praying, I got an e-mail from the home office telling me that my flight was rescheduled from Friday to Saturday.  The solid and resounding “NO!!!” had been turned into a “But of course we can!” after Sandy and I prayed.

When I got the e-mail, I nearly cried.  God had moved the hearts of the people on my behalf.  Once again, God had come through in a situation where the world had said it was not possible.

I felt complete in Him through this.  I felt assurance of His love for me that His promise is true:  Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Even in the little things, God shows His love and care.  For the first time in my existence, I felt what it is like to know the love of a caring father.  This is why it is so easy to trust Him.  He cares.  He loves.  He demonstrates that love in the most remarkable ways.  It is when things are really frustrating that God is able to reveal something that I would have otherwise missed.  All I have to do is remember to trust him with my circumstances.

It is easy to have faith in one whose love is complete and unconditional.

THERE WAS MY ANSWER

It dawned on me that God had opened my eyes.  Again, He revealed Himself.  Perfect love casts out all fear.  It is easy to have faith in one who loves you completely and demonstrates that love so freely.  God’s perfect love casts out all my fears.  When the world says no, God says, yes.

WHAT DOES FAITH FEEL LIKE?

Faith feels like love.

This Love fills me with reckless abandon toward the things of God.

Faith feels fearless, Charles.

That is what faith feels like.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

I love you in the name of Jesus,

Now, Let’s Be About It!

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

Whom God Chooses – Part 3a – “Through”


But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!”
(Act 3:1-8)

In Part One, we looked at how the heroes of faith got out of the way of God. God helped them get out of the way, so He could work through them.

In Part Two, we saw that the heroes of faith acted out of absolute assurance that they were in God’s plan.

In this part, Part Three, we will see that the Heroes of faith are absolutely willing to be a channel through whom God blesses others.

“… while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” (Act 4:30)

The operative word here is “through”. The point made about getting out of the way of God and be willing to let go of your agenda and be confident that you are in His will is so that God can work HIS will through you. God does the work. He chooses to do His work through us. We do not bring our agenda to Him and hope he blesses it. One of the best summaries of this thought is given by the Chinese Evangelist, Watchman Nee. Nee was giving a series of messages at a special conference held in Shanghai from June 11 through June 18, 1940. In that series of messages, Nee talked about the question, “What is God’s Work?”

He said:

“In Philippians Paul says: “That I may lay hold on that for which I also was laid hold on by Christ Jesus.” The Lord Jesus has a special, specific purpose in laying hold on us – and that specific purpose is the thing we want to lay hold of. He has a purpose, and this purpose is that we might be co-workers with Him. Nonetheless it is still true that we cannot do God’s work, since it is absolutely and wholly His. But on the other hand, we ARE His coworkers. So that on the one hand we must recognize and acknowledge that we cannot touch with even one little finger the work of God, yet on the other hand we are called to be co-workers with Him! And this is that for which He has laid hold on us. The Lord has a definite purpose in salvation – and a clear and specific purpose in saving us – which is, that he might have us as His co-workers.”

“Now just who is a co-worker of God? Well, it is NOT one who wants to work for God, one who sees a need and wants to meet it; it is not even one who gets people saved; rather is it the one who does what God has appointed him to do in His eternal purpose, and ONLY that does he do. If we truly see that for which we have been laid hold on by Christ Jesus, all our labors, all our former works for Him will be smashed to pieces”

“The aim and object of God in everything is to reveal His Son, to manifest His Son, to “show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward is us in Christ Jesus.” This is His eternal purpose. Is this YOUR object in the work you are doing now? If it is any lower than this, then you are not a co-worker with God.” – (“God’s Work” by Watchman Nee, Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.)

Am I saying that you shouldn’t do good works? No, what I am saying is that our good works are led by God. God is doing them through us because we have gotten out of the way. Our works will reflect the will of God. We are the conduit through which God’s will is excised.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
(John 5:19)

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
(John 5:30)

If the King of Heaven was subject to the will of God on earth, why do we think we can develop our own agenda and bring it to God and expect Him to bless it? We are called to be just like the Master.

The Apostle Paul reminded us to:

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Php 2:5-7)

 

Even this is not a work we humans can strive to accomplish. It is already accomplished in Christ Jesus. If we rest in the finished work of the cross, we are filled with the spirit of God. We are able and empowered to act and be what God has designed us to be.

God does all this in us, so that, when it is time, He can work through us. The aim and object of everything God does is to reveal His Son, to “show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

 

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

At our very best, we can imitate some of the works of God, but they, being driven by the flesh, are ineffective. There will be no works in Heaven that are not of Christ, and for Christ. All other efforts will be destroyed in the end.

 

“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Mat 7:22-23)

The difference is not what they did, but whom they obeyed when they did it. Any and all works, even if they were done in the name of Jesus, if they were not first conceived by God and flowing from Christ through you, then they are of no account.

When we bless others, it is because we see Christ doing this through us. When we do anything at all, it is because we are in the vine, who is Christ Jesus. We hear the voice of Jesus and know the will of the Him who sent us, and we obey.

God worked through Jesus. We are to let Jesus work through us. The work He will do through us will be to demonstrate what the message of the Cross is so that as many as will accept this free gift will be saved.

“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

(John 14:11-13)

When we get out of the way, and understand we are part of the plan of God, and let God work the life of Jesus into us and through us, we will become a channel through whom God blesses others.

This is what it means to be chosen.

Stay tuned for part 3b.

Let’s be about it.

I love you,

David G. perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

Our Position in Christ: When Trouble Comes Knocking


Forgiven“One of the great inhibitors to our boldness is the responses that people in our lives give.

Although God is merciful and ready to forgive, people are not.

We cannot let the responses of people affect our honesty before and our trust in the Lord.

Though people may reject us, God does not.”

Richards, James (2001-12-01). Grace: The Power To Change (Kindle Locations 542-544). Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.

THE WORLD

When the world says I am a loser, I am too old to be part of what they are doing, or too fat, or overqualified, or under-qualified, or whatever excuse the world offers because I am not in my 20’s or 30’s and that is all they are looking for, it is easy for me to get discouraged.

When old friends or family know that I am a new creation in Christ, and say they have forgiven my past, but still treat me as if I am still that same old self, or they are so in love with their opinions and assumptions of me that the facts and evidence do not count for anything, it is easy for me to get discouraged.

MY MIND

Discouragement temps my mind to resort to old beliefs, to old habits, to old methods of acknowledging to opinions of the World and Family.  I find it refreshing that because I am a new creation, I have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16 – For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.  KJV

Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. KJV

When I rest in the Lord, I find what His mind desires for me.  When I find that He desires the fruit of the spirit of God, then I am able to rest in Him and walk after Him.  Then I am not discouraged, or angry, or disappointed.  My temptation to be my old self literally vanishes.  I find that instead of discouragement and anger, I have joy and peace.  I see the Grace and Mercy He purchased on my behalf, and receive it, and am filled with it, and understand how Godless and Religious people have missed it.  It is impossible for me to resort to my old self when I pray for these circumstances.  I have tested the claims of the scriptures, and find that they are true.  They are true because I have placed my faith in the Grace of God and His mercy.

Because of the Hope He has given me, my mind calms down, and I can wait on Him to see what he has already set in motion for me.  His ability to keep me focused on His will makes it possible for me to Wait on Him:

“O rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him, and He shall give thee thy heart’s desires.  Commit thy way unto Him, and trust in Him; and fret not they self because of evil doers.”

If I try by my own strength to follow the will of God, I become a law unto myself, and forgo the Grace (Ability) of God.  Then I have to try to do everything right, even though all my effort will never be enough to please God or get me saved, or change me into the likeness of Christ.  If I fail in any single thing by my own effort, then I have failed completely.

There was only One who lived a sinless life, and who walked in the will of God.  Jesus’s promise to us is that, when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, WE will have the same ability as God poured into Christ.

ABIDING IN HIM (The Mind of Christ)

There is a verse in the Bible that talks about ABIDING.: 1 John 2:6 – “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

The Greek definition of the word walk could more accurately be translated into this phrase: rest in the Lord so HE will cause you to walk.  If I try to walk on my own strength, the best I can do is produce what is NOT the will of God for my life.  I know this because I just spent the last 20 years doing that very thing.

It is because Jesus rested in the will of God that He was able to know and do the things He did: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him (God the Father) who sent Me.” John 6:38 NASB  Parenthesis added by me.

Our position is one of rest in Christ, who set the example by resting in God and His will.  When we do that, life becomes clearer and simpler.  By resting in Him, a very intimate relationship in the Greek language, we get to know Him and His thoughts and His will.  This intimacy causes our love and dependence on Him to grow geometrically.  After doing His will in your life, sin and temptation become apparent for what they are:  Death and Destruction.

God has placed a new desire in my heart.  It is become apparent that I cannot, nor do I want to, return to the world I left behind.  All having my way has gained me is loss and destruction.  Now I am beginning to see glimmers of what God wants for me, and I can wait on Him because Christ did the same.  Christ makes me able to rest in Him.  Christ makes me able to walk after Him because HE is my motivation and ability and power.

WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?

I tell you all this because I know you are human, and go through the same temptations.  Believe me when I tell you that the gift of God’s grace (ability, will, mind, power) comes as you surrender yourself to it.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

In Christ there is rest.  In my own will there is the sweat of my brow that leads to failure.  I know that my present circumstances is not the judgement of God on me, but simply the logical and natural consequences of living by my own will instead of trusting God.

God is with you if you are going through this, too, if you believe in His Son.  His Mercy has forgiven you and His grace sustains you.  Rest in Him, give whatever it is you are going through to Him.  He will show you a better way than any way you can come up for yourself.  I know this, too, is a fact.

You are His beloved.  You are an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.  He is longing to help you if you will rest in Him.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NASB

PRAYER:  I thank you Lord for this opportunity to share this topic with my brothers and sisters who are going through the storm of doubt, frustration, disappointment and anger.  Because you have delivered me from these things, I desire to share this with anyone who will listen, and I pray you pour your Holy Spirit on those who read this message and take it to heart.  I love you God, that you have sent Jesus Christ who died for our sin, and in our resting in Him, we are led to the green pastures and clear water that is your will for us.  Reveal to each of us your will for our lives.  I pray this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. AMEN

Let’s be about it!

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com