Activated

The How-tos of Healing

By Maria Fontaine

free-bible-studies-online-activated-the-how-tos-of-healing

For the longest time I tried to figure out the how-tos of divine healing. I had wanted to be able to boil everything down into a step-by-step, one-two-three healing formula so I could say, “If you want to get healed, all you have to do is follow these steps.” But I finally concluded that it doesn’t work that way.

If two people followed the same steps, one might get healed and the other might not. The more I studied various cases, the more I saw that each situation was different. The Lord seemed to handle each individual differently and tailored their healing to their particular needs and His will for them. No two people are exactly alike, and the Lord works differently in each of our lives—not only in the matter of healing, but also in our circumstances, the lessons He teaches us, the tests He puts us through, and the blessings He gives.

Trying to give universal counsel on how to get healed is just not possible, because the Lord doesn’t follow a set pattern. That’s why, if you read many accounts of healing, some seem to conflict or even contradict each other. Sometimes the Lord heals without any help from anyone or anything, sometimes He uses natural remedies, and sometimes He uses doctor’s prescriptions and skills.

When we realize the Lord works differently in each of our lives, we can better understand why in some cases He heals us and in other cases He doesn’t—at least not right away. If we can grasp this point, it will help us to not feel condemned when we pray to be healed from whatever is ailing us and it doesn’t happen immediately. It will also help us to have more compassion and be less judgmental of others when they’re sick or suffer long-term afflictions.

 
Divine wisdom at work

Each of us is a complex physical and spiritual being. The Lord has bestowed on each of us different abilities, physical and spiritual attributes, and strengths and weaknesses. No two of us are alike. The Lord, our Maker, knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows everything about us—our every thought, our every weakness, our every joy, our every need. He knows exactly how to teach us the lessons He wants us to learn. He knows what tests and trials we need to endure to make us into what He wants us to be, and He measures these things out to us in just the exact portion that He knows we need—never too much and never too little—and so it is with our afflictions and our healing.

Two people could have precisely the same affliction, they could both pray to be healed, and one could get healed immediately and the other could continue to be afflicted for years. Does this mean that the one who gets healed immediately is stronger spiritually or closer to the Lord than the other? Not necessarily. The reasons the Lord allowed these two people to be afflicted in the first place may have been completely different. If His reasons for allowing the afflictions are different, then His reasons for healing or not healing are different as well.

Perhaps the first person needed to be more humble, so the Lord allowed them to be afflicted. When the affliction had accomplished its purpose, the Lord healed them. In the second case, maybe the Lord knows the person needs to endure the affliction longer in order to learn patience or accomplish some other purpose He wants to bring about. Whatever the case, afflictions are good things in disguise because they have the potential to bring about spiritual blessings in our lives.

 
Faith for healing

I suffer from a serious and supposedly incurable eye problem, yet I consider that I have faith for healing. I have faith that the Lord is going to heal my eyes in this life, because He’s given me His personal promise that He would and I believe Him. Faith is a gift from God that comes from hearing the Word of God (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 10:17), and I’ve heard the Word and believe it. I don’t know when my healing will happen, because the Lord hasn’t told me that, but I have no doubt that He will do it sooner or later. If He doesn’t want to heal me right now, then He’s not going to give me the gift of faith for immediate healing, but I do have faith for eventual healing. I know the Lord will heal me when He’s ready.

I can trust my life and my health and my eyes to the Lord, because I have faith in His love and know that His ways and thoughts are far above mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). I believe that He knows what’s best for me, and that He will heal me according to His plan and His timetable. To me, that’s the best kind of faith—knowing that the Lord is in complete control, trusting Him to make it all turn out the way He wants it to, and expecting Him to carry me through till it happens.

It’s not just a question of having faith for healing; it’s a question of having faith to accept the Lord’s plan and design for your life, whatever that may be. Those who suffer long-term illnesses or injuries have to keep believing even though they aren’t healed. When the affliction persists month after month, they have to hold on and trust the Lord to either heal them eventually, or to give them the grace to continue to bear the affliction and try to learn whatever He wants them to learn through it. They have to find and accept the Romans 8:28—“All things work together for good to those who love God”—in their situation. In each and every case where they trust the Lord and hang on and don’t give up, it bears good fruit in their lives through the lessons they learn.

Who really has the most faith?—The person who is instantly healed of an affliction, or someone who has to bear that affliction and still carries on loving and trusting the Lord even though they may not understand why they haven’t been healed? They both have faith, but the one who has had to suffer long-term affliction has had to have enduring faith—not necessarily for healing, but faith to trust the Lord day by day to take care of them and bring them through.

 
In God’s time

Sometimes the Lord may not heal you right away because He knows you’re more useful or more yielded or more open to His lessons when you have an affliction. If the Lord isn’t ready to heal you, then how can you have faith for healing? If He intends your infirmity to be long-term, if He’s made you that way and wants you to stay that way, should you be condemned because you don’t get healed? No, because under those circumstances, the Lord doesn’t want you to have faith for it. Faith is a gift of God, and He’s not going to give you the faith for your healing until He’s ready to heal you. In a case like that, what He wants to give you is faith to endure it, faith to praise and thank Him for it, and faith to be a good testimony to others in your affliction. Then, when He’s ready to heal you, He’ll give you the faith for that.

Sometimes people don’t have faith to be healed because it’s not the Lord’s time, but other times it’s because they’re not immersed in God’s Word, they’re not claiming His promises in the Word or meeting His conditions. Without taking in and obeying the Word, it’s impossible to have faith for healing or anything else.

But if you’re doing your part and the Lord doesn’t choose to heal you, you shouldn’t feel condemned. Perhaps you are weak in faith for healing, but that can be remedied through the Word. Or perhaps it’s not yet the Lord’s time to heal you because there are things He wants to teach you first. Or perhaps He wants to use you as an example of someone who is very strong in faith that He’s going to help carry through the difficult times, because He knows you’ll remain cheerful and positive, come what may. Whatever the case, real faith is doing what the Lord tells you to do for your situation and trusting that He knows best, whether you get healed or not.

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Activated

Answers to Your Questions: God’s Law of Love

free-bible-studies-online-activated-gods-law-of-love

Q: Why did God give the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law of Moses in the first place?

A: God gave us the Law to show us that we’re sinners, for “by the Law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The Bible says the strict Mosaic Law was our “tutor” to teach us right and wrong, and show us that we need to come to God for mercy and forgiveness (Galatians 3:24).

The Law is also God’s means of regulating the ungodly and those who do not choose to live by His Law of Love. “The law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners” (1 Timothy 1:9).

But once we are “born again” by the Spirit of God’s love (John 3:3) and have become “new creatures in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV), we are free from the old Mosaic Law. “After faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:25). “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

 
Q: Does this mean there are no more laws of God that Christians have to keep?

A: Christians are no longer under the Law of Moses, but now, having received Jesus and become His born-again children, we are under a new and actually much stricter law—God’s Law of Love as described by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40.

 
Q: Does that mean Christians are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want?

A: No, God’s Law of Love does not allow selfish, reckless freedom to the detriment of others. To the contrary, we are now obligated to love others. If we truly do that, all of our actions will be ruled by love. “Love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10). We’re not going to do anything to them that we wouldn’t want them to do to us.

In the Mosaic Law it was simply “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20). But Jesus went much further when He said, “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12). This is God’s Law of Love!

 
Q: If “God’s only law is love,” does this mean that we are free to disregard all the laws of man?

A: Of course not! God’s Law of Love does not free us from respecting society’s laws. Again to the contrary, the Bible instructs us to obey the governments under which we live (Romans chapter 13; Titus 3:1) and to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).

Once we are “born again” by the Spirit of God’s love and have become “new creatures in Christ Jesus,” we are free from the old Mosaic Law.

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Activated

God’s Only Law—And How to Keep It

free-bible-studies-online-activated-gods-only-law-and-how-to-keep-it

An expert in the Mosaic Law, God’s law for His people in Old Testament times, tested Jesus by asking, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”—to which Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:35-40).

Jesus summarized God’s Law of Love in general terms in the above passage. He expressed it again in His now famous Golden Rule: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12 NIV), and, “A new command I give you: Love one another” (John 13:34 NIV).

Saint Paul echoed Jesus when he said, “All the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).

These biblical passages are the essence of all of God’s laws and should govern everything we think or say or do.

If a person’s actions are motivated by unselfish, sacrificial love—the love of God for our fellow man—and are not intentionally hurtful to others, such actions are in accordance with Scripture and are thus lawful in the eyes of God. “The fruit of the Spirit is love … against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Through the Lord’s salvation and His Law of Love, Christians are released from the hundreds of rules under the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament. “The Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

Of course, it’s common sense and part of love to practice some aspects of the Mosaic Law. For example, we shouldn’t kill, steal, covet our neighbor’s things, etc. If we love someone we’re not going to do things that would hurt them. We may also refrain from eating unclean foods or engaging in other unhealthy habits that the Mosaic Law warns against.

Not surprisingly, this radical doctrine of the Law of Love caused a raging controversy between Jesus and His followers and the religious leaders of the day, who lived under the Law. This controversy spilled over into the new Christian movement itself. From its very inception, a struggle took place between those who believed that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was the fulfillment of the Law and released believers from the Old Testament laws, and the legalists, who believed that all the Old Testament laws and customs must still be observed.

As recorded in the book of Acts, the apostle Paul reached out to the Gentiles with the message of salvation in Jesus. Paul was of the firm opinion that the old Mosaic Law had been fulfilled by Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. He wrote: “Christ is the end of the Law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4 NIV), “We have been released from the Law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:6 NIV), and, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13).

While some continue to this day to promote the Old Testament style of Christianity, a prayerful study of the Scriptures illuminates the true intent of God’s Law of Love: “You are not under the Law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

In some ways, God’s Law of Love is a stricter code of ethics than the old Mosaic Laws. The Ten Commandments told people how to act in order to avoid God’s judgments. Under the Law of Love, much more is required—love and mercy.

You do not attain salvation by being good, but rather by asking Jesus Christ to forgive you for your sins. When you do, He comes into your life and loves others through you. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This godly love is actually a much higher ideal to aspire to. In the Mosaic Law, there was little forgiveness or mercy. It was “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20). But Jesus went so far as to say that we should love our enemies, pray for them, and forgive them! (Matthew 5:38-44.)

In fact, the Law of Love is so much more difficult to keep that it’s humanly impossible. This kind of love is only possible through the supernatural love of God, which we find in Jesus.

Love should be the main motivation for every Christian’s every action, with God’s love being manifested in loving deeds to help meet others’ physical and spiritual needs. “For the love of Christ compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Anchor

Follow Me!

And I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19)

David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-anchorWhen Jesus walked by the seashore, He called to the fishermen who had just caught the biggest, most miraculous catch of their lives, “Come now and follow Me!” (Matthew 4:19) It was as if He said, “That’s the most fish you’ll ever catch; that’s the ultimate! So you might as well come with Me now, and I’ll teach you how to catch something better.”

“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw … James and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:18–22)

They had such great faith that they forsook all and followed Jesus! How could they follow this stranger and His motley crew? Because He spoke the truth and they felt it was the very voice of God. Those stinking sons of fishermen wandered off with a perfect stranger and made history that has helped to save millions of souls for eternity! Isn’t it ridiculous now to compare those few fish, a boat, and a business with the millions of immortal souls who have been saved for eternity through the decision of those fishermen to put God first that day, drop everything, forsake all, and follow Jesus? Now that we can see the results, it’s easy to know they made the right choice.

It costs something to serve the Lord. He says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37–40) He says these are the first and greatest of all the commandments in importance, and that you shall have no other gods before Him, for He is a jealous God. (Exodus 20:3–5) He desires your love and for you to love Him first of all, above all, and to seek first His kingdom.

A powerful sample of commitment and dedication and living for Jesus speaks louder and clearer than the sermons you may be preaching. This is often what will challenge and thrill and encourage and inspire others, when they see a dedicated, wholehearted example, and realize that you’re happy serving the Lord. After all, most people want something that is worth living for as well as worth dying for! As my mother used to say, “I’d rather die for something than live for nothing!” Are you looking for a challenge to really be able to give your life and yourself to something worthwhile? Why settle for something halfway and mediocre?

Don’t be like the rich young ruler, who came running to Jesus sincerely seeking answers, to whom Jesus said, “Go and sell all that you have and give it to the poor, and come, take up the cross and follow Me, and you shall have treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 19:21) When the young man heard this, it says that he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

The saddest thing was that this young man’s riches hadn’t brought him happiness or satisfaction in the first place, or he wouldn’t have come running to Jesus begging for an answer. Yet when Jesus gave him the answer to life and love and happiness in forsaking all for Him and others, he went away still full of the sorrows that riches bring, back to his riches which had never satisfied. As rich as he was, he was still unable to pay the price of the joy of giving all!—Which, of course, shows that he loved things more than God. What a sad, sad story.

You don’t have to have very much to have “great possessions.” It only has to be a little bigger than God in your eyes, just big enough to keep you from serving Him, that’s all. Just enough to keep you from breaking loose and serving the Lord. And whether it’s fame, fortune, or fun, it will not be easy to give up, and usually the more you have, the harder it is to let go. But if you are willing to forsake a good thing for a better and a greater thing—like the picture of the little girl dropping her toy, totally losing interest in it, as she lifts her hand to receive a beautiful dove descending upon her finger—God will mightily bless you.

Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him. He only said, “Follow Me” and “Come and see.” He doesn’t draft you; you have to volunteer. He said, “Pray the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into the harvest.” (Matthew 9:38) He’ll be glad to send you if you’re willing. He likes wholehearted volunteers.

After all, Jesus gave His all. He came and suffered and bled and died for you to save your soul, to save your life for eternity. Jesus was willing to die for us to save us, and He wants us to be willing to die for Him to save others. He died for us and others, so He asks us to be willing to do the same. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

You are no longer your own. “Know ye not that ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price!—With the precious blood of Christ!” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20; 1 Peter 1:18–19) Jesus bought and paid for us. We’re His property, and we belong to Him now. My goodness, when Jesus did all that He did for us, of course we owe Him everything. Of course we should follow Him and try to win as many others as we can. We should certainly be willing to die for somebody who saves our life. That’s why His Word says, “I beseech you that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) It’s only our “reasonable service” to try to give our lives back to Jesus, seeing that He gave His for us.

He died to save us. Why should we not die to self to save others? In fact, the apostle says, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)

Jesus Himself said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit!” (John 12:24) And if we will “die daily” for the Lord in His service, (1 Corinthians 15:31) we will bring forth much fruit—more Christians like ourselves to preach the gospel to more of the lost and win them to the Lord also, that He may have much more fruit.

“And He said to them all, if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.” (Luke 9:23–24; John 15:8)

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) Are you willing to “cheerfully give” your life to Jesus?

 
 

Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.

Activated

Eight How-tos of Change

free-bible-studies-online-activated-eight-how-tos-of-change

1. Take stock and set goals. Make a list of the areas you want to change in and what you need to do to change in those areas. Refer to your list daily at first, then as needed until the desired good habits are formed (James 1:23-25).

2. Find instruction and encouragement in God’s Word. “How can a young man”—or anyone, for that matter—“cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word” (Psalm 119:9). A concordance or Bible study helps make it much easier to find what the Bible has to say about specific topics related to the changes you desire.

3. Depend on the Lord, not on your own strength or your ability. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. … Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). But the Bible also promises that you can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).

4. Find others who are going the way you want to go and associate with them. Being around like-minded people provides positive reinforcement and moral support—two important catalysts of change. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).

5. Ask others to pray for you. The Bible tells us to confess our faults one to another and pray for one another (James 5:16), and Jesus Himself promised that if two or more agree on anything in prayer, their heavenly Father will do it for them (Matthew 18:19). There is great power in united prayer.

6. Continually thank and praise the Lord for His help. The more you do, the more He “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” will want to do for you, so “enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (Ephesians 3:20; Psalm 100:4).

7. When you fail, ask the Lord to help you keep trying. “A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again” (Proverbs 24:16). “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:24).

8. Keep trusting and believing that you can change, with God’s help. Claim verses that increase your faith in His ability to change you, such as, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24), “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure,” (Philippians 2:13), “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), and “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Activated

Breaking Bad Habits

By David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-activated-breaking-bad-habits

Everyone has weaknesses. That’s part of being human and imperfect. When you entertain a habit long enough, it becomes part of your nature—and that’s the scary thing about bad habits.

But the good news is that the Lord can turn those weaknesses into strengths, so what was once a bad habit can be replaced by a good habit.

Besides bad physical habits, there are all kinds of wrong attitudes and behavior that can become habitual and do even more damage to you and others, such as thinking negatively about yourself or your circumstances, being critical of others, being rude or inconsiderate, being unwise or unloving in your speech, getting in a rushed or pressured spirit, or being angry or impatient. There are also bad habits that affect your spiritual life and relationship with the Lord, such as neglecting Him and His Word.

Habits can either take root for good or bad, and if it’s for bad, they can become very difficult to change for the better—difficult but definitely not impossible, with the Lord’s help. Jesus is always willing and able to do the impossible. It takes an impossible situation for Him to do a miracle, but He loves to work that way because it causes you to recognize His miracle-working hand.

That’s the wonderful thing about Jesus and His power: He can overcome anything—any sin, any problem, any bad habit, or any negative personality trait. There’s nothing too hard for Him; He will deliver you from whatever bad habit you’ve formed if you put your will on His side and determine to work on it until together you win the victory.

It will take work on your part, but most of all you have to pray for His help. Ask Him not only to do what you can’t do, but also to show you specifically what you can and need to do to get over whatever bad habit is hindering you. You have to believe what He tells you, and then you need to go to work and do what He shows you, because if you don’t try, He can’t do the miracle.

It’s impossible to change through your own human strength, especially if you’ve allowed the bad habit to go on for years. Longstanding habits can become second nature. They become part of your personality, part of your nature, so you hardly even notice or recognize that they’re there.

Or if you do recognize them, they can be a source of terrible discouragement. You begin to think that things can never change, because that’s just the way you are. But really you weren’t that way before you allowed that bad habit to form, so of course you can change it if you’re willing to get serious with the Lord and work on it.

For example, people who have had a problem with thinking negatively most of their lives usually find it very difficult to break that habit. Nevertheless, many have overcome it through the Lord’s power and Word and are now positive thinkers with a whole new outlook on life. They’ve been transformed and no longer have that old negative mindset (Romans 12:2).

So if you’ve formed some bad habit by repeatedly acting or reacting a certain way, the sooner you ask the Lord to help you, the better. You might think you’re beyond hope and there’s no use trying, but that’s not so. Every time you catch yourself, ask the Lord for help, and make a conscious effort to not give in to your bad habit, you’re forming a good habit that will eventually take root and grow until it crowds out the bad habit.

If a bad habit has gotten to the point that you’re not sure what to do about it, the first thing you need to do is ask the Lord for His thoughts on it. Ask others too—people you’re close to and respect, or someone who has the good quality or habit you hope to replace your bad habit with.

It’s also important to look to the Lord for encouragement along the way, because sooner or later you will most likely get discouraged and feel like giving up. Ask Him for some promises to claim—specific ones about how He will help you break that particular bad habit. Keep a record of the specific instructions the Lord gives you, as well as the encouraging promises He gives, so you’ll have something to refer to if you don’t seem to be making progress or are tempted to quit.

It’s much easier to overcome bad habits if you go to work on them as soon as you notice them forming. That’s why it’s so important to take stock of your life regularly. Get in the good habit of asking the Lord every day or two how you are doing and what things you need to change before they become habits that will be much harder to break.

You have to make a commitment to continue to work on breaking that bad habit until it’s gone. And remember, if you want it badly enough and do your part, the Lord will always do His because He loves you and wants you to be happy and free from the problem. Do your part, and He’ll do His!

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Activated

The Measure of Faith

By Virginia Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-activated-the-measure-of-faith

A friend of mine asked the manager of a supermarket if he had ever cashed a bad check for a stranger. “No, I never did,” he said, “because I never look at the check—I look at the man. If I can trust the man, I take his check.” What a lesson in faith!

In Hebrews 10:23 we find these words: “He who promised is faithful.” Who makes the promises in God’s Word?—God does. Look at the Maker of the promises, and then there can be no question as to their absolute validity. God’s Word says, “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you” (Job 22:21).

To know God is to be sure that He keeps every promise He has made. Abraham knew God and “did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith … being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:20-21).

Some people think of faith as something very mysterious and far beyond their reach. Others think of faith as a gift that some people are born with; some have it to a great degree, but others don’t. Both of those are misconceptions.

“God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). Everyone has been given a measure of faith, but many people don’t use their faith. If you don’t use your faith, it becomes flabby, just like muscles when you don’t use them. For faith to grow, you’ve got to keep exercising it.

Faith is not gained through scholarly analysis; it’s “not to the wise and prudent” that the deepest secrets of God are revealed (Matthew 11:25). It’s to those who dare to take God at His Word.

Those of childlike faith push right through all the arguing and doubting. They put the intellectuals to shame as they reach out and take from God the fulfillment of some promise that the intellectuals don’t seem to be able to grasp.

Faith operates in an entirely different realm from our five senses, but some of the same principles apply. When we taste something sweet, we have evidence that it is sweet because our taste buds tell us so. No matter what anyone else says, we know it’s sweet because we have evidence.

In the spiritual life, faith conveys to us evidence of spiritual truths, just as our five senses convey evidence of physical things. Just as we accept what our five senses tell us, we must accept as evidence what our faith tells us. When we do, our faith brings that thing to pass and makes it real to us. “As you have believed, so let it be done for you” (Matthew 8:13).

Take God at His word. When the troubles and trials come, instead of letting them grow and grow, get your Bible, find a promise, and claim it in Jesus’ name. Here is one that is surely too big for me to comprehend, but I often claim it: “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). And here’s another one: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

No wonder the Word calls these promises “exceedingly great and precious” and tells us that through them we can become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). All you need is simple faith!

* * *

Just as an unseen force of attraction holds the material world together and the unseen principle of confidence holds the financial world together, so the unseen law of faith is the underlying force that holds the spiritual world together.
—Virginia Brandt Berg

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.