Always Faithful

Our Creator has designed us so that we are always under the influence of faith. The poison that has affected all of humanity in a way that twists our use of faith includes having the knowledge that there is good and evil (Genesis 3:22-24). The knowledge from the tree of death did not include knowing good from evil, just the surprise that they exist.

What we believe of consequences or other future concepts is formed by our faith. What we believe of origins of the universe or humanity is formed by our faith. What some people call our “world view” is our “statement of faith.”

Faith in one idea that opposes another idea or other ideas amounts to doubt in those other ideas. So, we always have doubt, too.

When we aim or focus our faith, we drive the consequences of our acts and words to comply with our faith. We can bring good or evil into the earth by faith. Since we only know the difference by the revelation the Holy Spirit gives us of what righteousness is, we need to submit to Him for what Paul listed as one of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: fullness of faith.

Here’s a story that includes Jesus attributing a woman’s success to aiming her faith at her desire:

A woman suffering from bleeding for 12 years had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse. Having heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His robe. For she said, “If I can just touch His robes, I’ll be made well!” Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was cured of her affliction.

At once Jesus realized in Himself that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My robes?”

His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing against You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'”

So He was looking around to see who had done this. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came with fear and trembling, fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth. “Daughter,” He said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be free  from your affliction.”

(Mark 5:25-34 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)


Feeding Myself and Others

Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be clear-headed and disciplined for prayer. Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the oracles of God; if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides, so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 4:7-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

If prophecy, use it according to the standard of faith;
if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching;
if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.
(Romans 12:3-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

If you are a hand, and you feed a mouth, the stomach will distribute the benefit to the whole body, including yourself. Seemingly unrelated benefits will be experienced when we are all doing our parts. I will bless members of the Body I never encounter directly when I do my part.

When we build each other up, especially when we do it directly, we all become capable of accomplishments that we could never do apart from the rest of the Body doing their parts.

Leaven of Pharisees

Jesus warned His disciples to beware of teachings from Pharisees that He called “leaven,” (Matthew 16:5-12). Leaven is yeast, or some similar agent of fermentation, like malt. It creates gas.

In Matthew 13:52, He told them that someone who had knowledge of Scripture and gained knowledge of the Kingdom was like a landowner (prestigious and wealthy) who could bring things of value that were both old and new from his storehouse. The old has one value, the new has another. John the Baptist only had the old, and could not recognize the new (Luke 7:11-19).

Leaven swells things up with gas. The Holy Spirit fills things up with Life.

Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1).


Helping Orphans

From one end of Scripture to the other, Yahweh instructs His people to take care of the widows, the fatherless, and strangers.

A situation when you may be able to help an orphan is when a person becomes a new believer. If you know someone who gets saved, and you don’t see that someone is taking them into relationships that amount to family connections, help them find someone who will care for them and pray with them and mentor them into their ministry.

If they are like over 90% of new believers, they will not find enough professional servants of God to connect with them at that level, and will wander away. Every believer has potential of being part of the family that should receive and take responsibility for raising new children of God.

If all they find is a pew and programs, they are orphans.

The Tares are not in the Church

He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. The landowner’s slaves came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’

“‘An enemy did this!’ he told them.

“‘So, do you want us to go and gather them up?’ the slaves asked him.

“‘No,’ he said. ‘When you gather up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn.'”

Then He dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached Him and said, “Explain the parable of the weeds in the field to us.”

He replied: “The One who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; and the good seed—these are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Therefore just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen!

(Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Jesus told the parable of the wheat and tares, and when asked, then decoded it. He made it clear that the parable was about the Kingdom, not the Church. The seeds are believers, but He started the parable by saying that it was about the Kingdom. Read it more than once, and look for a picture of what it looks like in the earth in the places where the King is obeyed. That is the Kingdom.

Money or Power

I have been directly involved in the process of creating budgets for both ministries of congregations and for entire congregations. The process helps leaders plan for doing work in the future by, as Jesus advised, being sure that if they want to build a  tower that they have sufficient resources to finish it.

How much more important it is to examine how much power we have to do work, though! Acts 3:1-10 relates the story of the man who was healed by the name of Jesus at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. Having no money, Peter seems to have advanced to a better level of thinking about how to help people: apply the power of the name of Jesus, and the faith that comes through Him in that name!

Lord, show us how to plan our ministries based on how much power we expect you to extend to us in the coming year…

Peace Through the Blood

He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation;
because by Him everything was created,
in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and for Him.

He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
so that He might come to have first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself
by making peace through the blood of His cross—
whether things on earth or things in heaven.

(Colossians 1:13-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Do Your Part

Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:11-16 that it is when each part of the body is doing its part that the body grows and builds itself up in love. I have seen many people become annoyed at having to serve the rest of the body and unbelievers with the work that their gifts produce.

Examples are a teacher, because of the drive in her/his heart to learn, and the ease with which they gather understanding when they read the Scriptures, telling people that they just need to study a lot so that they can understand, rather than patiently teaching them.

A prophet, weary of being asked for revelation and answers from the Spirit, tells people that anyone can hear from God; they just need to pray. Paul Cain was weary after a long night of prayer line ministry. On his way out a back hall of the place where the meeting was, he encountered a woman who asked, “Brother Cain, do you have a word from the Lord for me?”

Annoyed, he wagged his Bible at her and answered, “Yes! Its in here!” She responded, “Oh, thank you, brother!” and grabbed his $80 Bible and left. The Spirit offered him no comfort…

Weary intercessors instruct people to pray. Evangelists instruct people to lead people to Christ – its easy! Numbers 20:1-13 contains the story of Moses striking the rock that produced water for the nation and their animals to drink. “Do we have to bring you water?” Moses asked.

The fact that he was a prophet and the leader of the nation under the guidance of Yahweh made the answer to that question be “Yes.” When his attitude toward his work was a desire to avoid it, he was disqualified from the next step of leadership, which was handed to Joshua.

It is the Spirit of God Who works in you both to want to do what pleases Him, and to be able to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:12-13). If you are short on desire to do something He has led you to do, pause and ask Him to increase your desire before you move forward with the work.

Don’t be Surprised

Moving on from there, He entered their synagogue. There He saw a man who had a paralyzed hand. And in order to accuse Him they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

But He said to them, “What man among you, if he had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, wouldn’t take hold of it and lift it out? A man is worth far more than a sheep, so it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Then He told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored, as good as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.
(Matthew 12:9-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Your ministry may be somewhere other than a congregation. In that place where you serve Jesus, there are likely to be people who are not godly, who, in fact, are happy to find a way to destroy you. Serve Him well there, with no fear of being cast out or harmed.

Just as David apparently said when his son Absalom was intending to destroy him, “I did not make myself King. Yahweh made me king, and He can keep me king or replace me.” (2 Samuel 15:25-26)

Expect every difficulty in the place where God has sent you to be turned into benefit. Some benefits are costly, some are painful, but the more inclined we are to expect our King to be at work in us and around us and through us, the greater space we are creating for Him to do just those things.

Don’t be surprised when people plot against you. Be surprised that they are silly enough to think they will prevail against your purpose. Your purpose is the desire of Yahweh. Expect Him to be satisfied in your life by surrendering it completely to Him.

You Will Do

At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure. All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:25-30 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

The first leaders of the Church did not have degrees from Duke or Liberty or Regent or Fuller in divinity or theology. They had burdens and yokes from Jesus. That is actually what you have, too!

You, therefore, are as qualified to serve the King in any way or place that He calls you to as Peter, Paul, James, Barnabas, and everybody else. The way or place may be business, education, government, arts, or anything else that He has put in you as a burden. His yoke is the power He puts in you to move the burden.

Your identity is made up of what you do and to whom you are related. Draw as much of both of those as you can find from Who He is and what He does.