​Faith (10): Strong in faith

And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;” (Romans 4:19-20) (ESV)

Abraham is the focus of the above words. Here, we understand the components of being weak in faith and of being strong in faith.

That one can be weak in faith also means he can be strong in faith. So where do you fall in that classification? 

This is not determined by God, but you do something about it. We are told that we should be strong in the Lord, it is another way of saying we should be strong in faith.

We cannot see the Lord, so to be strong in faith is not a matter of what is physcial, but something spiritual. There is no relating to the spiritual except by faith.

And with the example of Abraham, he did not allow what God has told him to be just “one of those things” that can be said. 

He held on to it with his two hands. He was strong in faith, giving glory to God. he was not weak in faith considering what is seen.

Paul giving a recipe for being strong in faith, said: we look not at things which are seen but things which are not seen. 

The things which are not seen are real things. And in the final analysis, they are more real. They are the things of the glory of God, and Abraham was strong in faith giving glory to God. When he thinks about what God has said, he regarded it as a done deal and rejoices in advance.

We learn from Abraham that what you “consider” will determine if you are weak or strong in faith, i.e. what you fix your heart on.

Abraham did not consider his body that was dead or the deadness of Sarah’s womb.

The challenge of faith is to move from what is known to embrace the unknown as stated in the word of God. And as we have said, faith is about the word of God, not your speculation or assumption or wishful thinking. 

If Abraham followed natural thinking he could not be strong in faith. If he was looking at his body, faith will take wings. 

Faith is also at the point of what he wanted. Nobody can force you to have faith in what you do not want. So Jesus said whatever we desire we should ask and we should have.

So the faith training for Abraham was on the point of what he wanted and God made a promise to him about, and what he saw in the physical showed that God will have to act to make his word come to pass and that is the stuff that strong faith is made of.

God said that the word that has come forth from his mouth will not return to him void but shall accomplish the task it has been sent to do.

Faith and the word of God are intertwined. That God said it means God has faith that it will come to pass. When you sync with him, you are saying: let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, let the rule and order or heaven be manifested on the earth.

Some have told us that when Jesus said have faith in God, it means have faith of God. It is faith derived from who God is, and what he has said. There can be no strong faith without strong relationship with God. 

God releases his word and depended on the word to create the reality for which it has been sent forth and God rests from his works after speaking forth the words. 

Coming into the rest of God in the book of Hebrews is attached to faith, to standing firm in faith. 

God made us in his image, so we need to learn how he works, to walk with God as we have shared means to sync with him at the faith channel. 

Since the worlds were framed by the word of God, nothing works except the word, either written or spoken.

As Jesus said: man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. 

The bible says, who says it and it stands if God has not spoken it? Therefore to not agree with God is tacit rebellion. It is to call him a liar. Jesus said that he will be a liar, if he did not say about himself what is true before God, trying to be religiously correct before the Pharisees. 

You cannot contradict the word of God, and walk with him at the same time. So the carefulness of faith is to ensure that we prioritise the Word above everything as the only wise God. And God leads us into deeper and deeper end of his word, so that we can become stronger and stronger in faith.

You have to line up with His word, line up with His kingdom. Jesus said that the man who hears his words and does them is like one who builds his house on a rock, and that house stands. That is a picture of strong faith- a house built on a rock. 

It starts with hearing. So we need to put ourselves in the position to hear then agree and line up with it and consistently so. 

With what Jesus said about doing his word to build our house on a rock, we know that testing comes to faith, but strong faith will remain standing after all is said and done. The testing comes in rains, storm, winds that Jesus said will confront both the house built on the sand and built on rock. 

The testing of faith come in two ways ways: 

Time test

Time asks the question: will you stand in faith even with the passage of time? 

Abraham passed the test of time. He was promised a child and he stood in faith even in old age. 

Will you continue in the hearing of faith, confession of faith and the action of faith on and on and on into infinity? 

The bible urges that we should with faith and patience obtain the promise. Patience is the language of time. 

Look at Abraham as the example of faith. We are supposed to live in the realm of God and act as if there is no time between when we stepped out in faith, made a confession of faith, ask in prayer in faith and when we actually receive it. 

Faith is a spiritual substance. That it is spiritual means it has no regard for time. So as one in faith, we move away from the time to the spirit and as Abraham gave glory to God, he moved from time to eternity and eventually time lined up with eternity as Abraham’s strong faith passed the test of time.

Options test

Options ask the question: can you settle for less 

Many people fall behind at this level of testing of faith. And Abraham is not an exception: he opted in for the option of sleeping with the servant. 

A lesser option that may not be so bad comes to test faith. It was an option that will cut short the time of waiting, but it smelled all over of the effort of man and it was rejected by God. And when God will bring his answer to Abraham it was by his word.

The devil offered Jesus the glory of the earth, if he could just bow down and worship him, it was an option. But Jesus was strong in faith speaking forth the word of God to him.

When the test of option came to Jesus he was strong in faith, not weak in faith, was not a push around for the devil.   

To be strong in faith does not mean getting result. If it were just that then Abaraham would be applauded for impregnating Hagar. 

If it is about getting result quickly, Jesus needed to be chided for not bowing to the devil.

Rather than be strong in faith in God to deliver them from the fire of the Nebuchadnezer, Shadrach Mechach and Abednego could have taken the option of bowing down to the image. 

They were pressed to shift their position of faith in God but they stood strong.

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9: Walk of faith (4)

2Corinthians 5:7  for we walk by faith, not by sight.

part three here

If the only thing you did were things you “had” to do as told by others, and you have occupied your time for living for yourself, then you are not ready for the walk of faith.

That won’t lead you beyond the Jordan to deliver the double portion of the anointing.

The double-portion of the anointing is seen in that Elisha recorded twice the miracle done by Elisha. The double-portion means to be foremost. To be foremost in the things of God demands a walk of faith.

The walk of faith demands a high level of focus. Elijah told Elisha, if you see me go then you will get it. We need to ask: How strongly are you seeing Jesus with the eyes of faith?

Paul prayed that the eyes of our understanding needs to be enlightened so that we will know/experience.

What you see is based on the tenacity of your walk. You will not see the chariots of fire and the horses of fire come take Elijah if you did not walk by faith into it.

You need to press through the works of the flesh, press through the criticism, press through the mockers, press through contradictions, press through the naysayers and not give up, to connect with somethings greater than you.

It takes a walk of faith to do that.

An example of a walk of faith is the woman who had the issue of blood and had to press through the crowd to reach Jesus. She heard but that was not enough, she confessed but that was not enough, she needed to press through the crowd in a walk of faith to lay hold of something beyond her.

It is time to leave the crowd behind, it is time to leave the naysayers behind, those who tell you why it cannot be done, the small-minded, the fearful.

That woman pressed on (drained and weak, she pressed on, blinded to her pain, she pressed one) and Paul also said he presses on to the  prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

That is what the walk of faith is about. It is not about taking it easy, it is about the violent takes it by force.

That woman had to press on beyond the disappointments, the betrayals. Some people have fallen along the way side because of those things.

She had to wade through the fake promises, the stab in the back, the lies told against her, the abandonment she experienced.

She pressed on in a walk of faith, so should you. Even if you are bloodied and pained, you need to press on, lied to and lied against, you have to press on. The bible says: here we have no abiding city, but we look for one which comes from above. Don’t settle by the wayside. So we press on.

She pressed on and she got it. It is a walk of faith. She was going to get it or she was going to get it. It was either of the two, so she got it. There was no other option.  That is the same level of determination you must approach the walk of faith.

People who have other options will choose them.

The Joshua generation (who entered the promised land) had no other option but to press on to take the land, regardless of what they feared or did not fear.

There was no other option. They had to step into the water when God said they should or step into the water when God said they should. (That is not a typo)

The kingdom  of heaven, Jesus said. suffers violence and the violent take it by force. We take territories by force. No negotiations.

Jesus said that for anyone to be his disciple, he has to carry his cross and follow him. You are not supposed to carry the cross of another. People want to put burdens upon you, reject them. It is your own cross and you are supposed to follow Christ. It is your own identification with him to follow him.

To follow Jesus in the walk of faith means you mind your own business.

Peter asked Jesus about John, and he answered: what is that to you, you follow me.

You need all your time, energy, focus on your own walk of faith, you cannot afford to be distracted by anything or anyone.

Jesus asked someone to follow him and he said that he wanted to go and bury his father first. Jesus said, let the dead bury their dead, but he should follow him.

We can learn that family attachment can pull us back from following God. But Jesus said that he has not come to bring peace on the earth but a sword because the father will become at odds with the son.

You need a razor sharp focus in following Jesus in the walk of faith. What is happening around you cannot be allowed to distract from the word of God, which you should line yourself with, in the walk of faith.

concluded

9: Walk of faith (3)

2Corinthians 5:7  for we walk by faith, not by sight.

part two here

Everyone that God has called into a walk of faith (and that is every believer, since the just shall live by faith) get the opportunity to make eternal impact.

But you need courage. God called Paul to walk by faith and he needed courage.

To take the Promised Land, you needed to confront the gaints (in different forms and presentations), but God has promised to give the land to you and your business is to believe and act on it.

It is time to take on the mantle that has fallen from heaven, it is time to take the leadership mantle and strike the Jordan, cause things to be shifted in the natural by the authority we wield in the spirit.

Jesus has ascended to heaven and his mantle of the Holy Spirit has fallen down on us.

The similarity between what happened with Jesus and the disciples (the church) and what happened with Elijah and Elisha is uncanny.

Jesus in his resurrected body went to heaven in the sight of the disciples on the Mount of Olives, just as Elijah went up without seeing death in the sight of Elisha.

Just as a mantle fell from heaven from Elijah, Jesus released the Holy Spirit from heaven. And just as the sons of the prophets said that the Spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha after Elisha went up, the Pharisees noticed that the Apostles had been with Jesus.

And just as Elisha called on the God of Elijah, our only action in dominion is in the name of Jesus, not our own name. Our reference is to Jesus, not ourselves. It is his dominion, his mandate, his calling, that we express, it is his identity we express as members of the body of Christ. As I am writing this, I am expressing Jesus as writer by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Elisha asked for the double portion of the anointing on the Holy Spirit in Elijah, and Jesus said that we will greater works than he did because he goes to the father.

Elisha asked for the double portion of the anointing of Elijah, not for it to hang on his lintel but to be an effective servant of God, to express God on the earth in a bigger measure.

We need to also ask for the Holy Spirit as Jesus said and we will be given for the double expression of Christ (the anointed one) on the earth.

By the force of desire, Elisha walked with Elijah until he was lifted up by the chariots of fire and horses of fire.

We need a similar desire to move from where we are to where God wants us to be, to go on a mission for God, on an assignment.

After we are saved, which stands for Elijah going to pick Elisha in the midst of his normal occupation, we need to press on in the walk of faith which is about carrying out the assignment upon Jesus, just as Elisha was to carry out the assignment upon Elijah.

Elijah dropped the mantle on Elisha and that stands for the initial experience of the Holy Spirit when we believe and we are born of the Spirit, having the spirit being that mark that we are one of his.

 

But it is another experience (of the same Holy Spirit, but in a different dimension), to receive the Holy Spirit in his baptism, similar to the mantle falling down from heaven on Elijah, the same mantle. The first is the calling mantle, the second is a commissioning mantle for greater works.

Remember that when Elijah was saying that it is better that God kills him, but God restored him, he asked him to anoint some people. He did not fulfill that but Elisha did.

In the same vein, we carry out the assignment on Jesus, after he has gone. And that demands a walk of faith, looking unto Jesus, just as Elisha had to follow Elijah to the end to pick up the mantle and he got the double portion when he saw  Elisha taken up.

We also need to set our eyes on the ascended Jesus for the walk of faith. We set out eyes on things above where Christ who is our life is.

After Elisha was picked by grace (God mentioned him to Elijah), we are also saved by grace. But for him to do the greater works, he needed a walk of faith.

Our walk of faith is powered by our love of God (faith works through love), our earnest desire for him and his glory, which others cannot understand.

It was a walk of faith because it was not something Elisha determined. You also did not determine how God will use you, but you must want to be used.

Elisha’s desire to be used was shown in his break from his past, cutting up and sharing the meat of the bulls he used in his farming business to others.

You have to with your own mouth say like Isaiah did: here am I, send me. There is no fence sitting here.

It is in the arena of the walk of faith that Jesus said: many are called but few are chosen.

Not all is called. But the many that are called are those who have already received salvation in Jesus Christ, but to be chosen is another ball-game entirely.

To pick those who will represent the nation in a relay race, many are called, but few are chosen. The few are not chosen based on sentiment, based on looks, who they know, but how they can deliver on the mandate as determined by the coach.

Elijah said, say I am going there, and later he will say I am going in another direction and later in still another direction. And Elisha had to follow.

Similarly, the walk of faith is walk in the Spirit. Jesus said that the wind blows where it wills, but you feel the effect, but you don’t know where it is going or where it is coming from. Therefore, with a pre-set agenda, you cannot embark on the walk.

It was a walk of faith because Elisha was even told he did not have to do it. But he pressed on by the force of desire.

To be continued tomorrow

9: Walk of faith (2)

2Corinthians 5:7  for we walk by faith, not by sight.

part one here

And later on in that book (Hebrews), the  writer told us of those who have  moved on to the advanced level of faith, which is beyond confession and receiving, to the walk of faith.

He mentioned Enoch, Abraham and Noah

He said that by faith Enoch walked with God. And the bible recorded that was for a period of 300 years. God is invincible and to walk with God you need focus, and be able to see what is unseen. Faith is a walk, Enoch proved that. It is “with God.”

Abraham walked with God, acting on what he said to move from his father’s house and by faith he sacrificed his son Isaac.

He moved from the receiving to sacrificing by faith, walking a three-day journey so that he had an ample opportunity to go back on obeying God. God had told Abraham, walk before me and be perfect. And that takes faith. Faith for him became a walk of sacrifice.

Noah acted based on what God said, that there will be flood on the earth and for 120 years, built an ark based on that. Noah showed that the walk of faith involved building things for the future based on the word of God, building things for a world to come in cooperation with God.

Enoch walked by faith, 300 years; Abraham for 100years (from the time he moved from his father’s house aged 75, to when he died, aged 175); and Noah walked for 120 years, building that ark. It is a walk,not a day’s affair.

By faith Abraham and Noah did things beyond their time. Without Noah there won’t be you and without Abraham there won’t be Jesus together with the eternal implications for that.

The people the writer of the book of Hebrews wrote about confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers on the earth. They believed: here we have no abiding city. There actions therefore matched their confession and they moved into relevance for generations yet unborn.

Actions need to back your faith and in the specific area of your life-calling.

The bible says we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we should walk in them. And we walk by faith and not by sight.

Let’s take a lesson from the devil to understand what it means to be a workmanship.

When the devil was made as Lucifer, we were told that musical instruments were part of his make-up.

That means he was supposed to be a major part of the worship-sphere in heaven.

Similarly, being the workmanship of God in Christ Jesus means we need to move forward in his purpose, power and personality.

For us to walk in them we need courage. In both the preceding and proceeding verses from the lead verse of the this piece (we walk by faith and not by sight in the 2nd epistle of Paul to the Corinthians), the word courage was mentioned.

And when Joshua was about to lead the children of Israel, to their dominion as the messenger of dominion as Moses was he messenger of  deliverance, he was told repeatedly to be courageous.

For the deliverance message, what was needed was confession but for the  dominion message, what is needed is courage.

For the deliverance message, God takes care of things in agreement with us, but for the dominion message, we take care of things in agreement with God. In the first we need the Holy Spirit to come into us, in the second, we come into the Holy Spirit, triggered by the event of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Before preaching to the people about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they were told about becoming witnesses. They were made to be mission-oriented.

They had been uprooted from Galilee and were devoted to Jesus and were focused on him.

They received power to go on a mission, not to feel good, but to walk by faith as they witness for Jesus in Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.

The dominion message is primarily not “our” dominion, though it seems to be preached like that sometimes, as we re presented with a self-focused dominion.

But it is Christ’s dominion. We are his witnesses in whatever expression of dominion we have. We are to point attention to him, spread his name in all the earth, demanding that people bow down to the dominion of Jesus.

For the deliverance message we need to believe and confess but for the dominion message we need to believe and act.

And to act we need courage. We need to be directed by the word of God and not by any fear. We need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, recognise that and renew our minds to take territories for him.

But the children of Israel who left Egypt allowed fear to lead them into rebellion from God. They believed in the word to bring them out but not to bring them in. To be brought out was a moment, but to be brought in demanded a life-time.

Saul allowed over-confidence to lead him into rebellion and he lost out on the ultimate of God for him. We are not led by confidence, by our position, by what others say, we are led by the word of God, as we maintain a posture of humility and dependence on God.

But Saul lost sight of that and he lost the kingdom, though he still kept the position. The ordinary observer would think Saul has made it, not knowing that he is far from God and far from the walk of faith. People who equate dominion with position are in error.

It is about the kingdom. We can still keep our position in God as children of God, but we will lose out of the ultimate prize without an effective walk of faith, without an effective life of service to God, of kingdom orientation.

to be continued tomorrow

 

9: Walk of faith (1)

2Corinthians 5:7  for we walk by faith, not by sight. 

This is the most profound truth a Christian can know. The Christian walk is the walk of faith, that is the Christian life. It starts in faith and it is a walk of faith,it is from faith to faith. There is no graduating from the school of faith. When you think that you have achieved a level of faith, God puts another targets before you and you have to keep moving.

It is living out the reality of world the new birth  brings you into. And that is by faith.

We are focused on hearing of faith, confession of faith. We will now focus on what it means to walk by faith.

In the hearing-confession-walk continuum, we have increasing level of activity.

Case study one: The children of Israel were told to leave the land of Egypt to the land of Canaan. But they did not arrive because somehow, what they heard did not connect with what they did.

Case study two: But Abraham was told to move from his father’s house to the place where God will show him, he took the walk by faith. He did not just hear but acted based on what he heard.

According to scriptures, we are not supposed to be hearers alone but doers of the work. Our hearing and confession must connect with our action.

In the book of Hebrews, we read of the people of faith who confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers on the earth.

They confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They sought for things beyond them and for that they had to walk by faith, sync with heaven. Their confession matched their faith.

For Joshua to walk by faith, he needed to walk based on what the word of God says and not by what his eyes see. He saw the small size of the inexperienced army of Israel versus the large inexperienced army of the nations they are suppose to subdue which can band together to come against them. But the walk of faith means he had no choice by to move forward.

The word of God said that he has been given the land. God told him to be bold and courageous. There is no taking the land except by boldness and courage. You have to look the situation in the eye and press on regardless.

The message of deliverance is different from the message of dominion. The message of deliverance was preached to the children of Israel in the land of Egypt.

They cried out to God to save them from the terror-filled existence there, but God sent Moses to preach the message of deliverance to them.

They believed the message of deliverance and put the blood of the lamb on the lintel of the houses they lived.

For this second message of dominion, they needed courage because there were giants in the land.

For the first message, what they needed was a “confession” (I will explain shortly), but for the second what they needed was action.

It is time for action. But the lazy man, the lazy man, the lack of faith man will say there is a lion in the street and will not venture outside.

That stood for confession towards salvation (they used the hyssop, which stands for our tongue, to apply the blood) and they were saved.

But to move into the Promised Land, they needed to listen to the message of dominion. They had to shed a slave mentality. God could easily get the people out of Egypt, but it was a whole different ball game to get Egypt out of the people.

It takes the process of renewal of the mind.

To get the people out Egypt was the common denominator, but to get the people into Canaan, only two of the original number made it.

To get the people out of Egypt demanded only the act of God, but to get the people into Egypt, there needs to be a cooperation.

People have wondered, why did God even allow the children of Israel to send out spies to the land, which led to their being discouraged. God needed to know how much they will believe in him, because without faith it is impossible to please God. God could have destroyed the people in the land, but he needed man  to cooperate with him in the frequency on faith,living by the word, which was what he made man to be.

The children of Israel said there are giants in the land and we cannot move into the Promised Land.

So that generation, because they chose not to walk in faith, perished in the wilderness, even after they have been rescued.

The second message of dominion should be preached to the believers. It is the possess-your-possession message, but not in the materialistic sense, but the kingdom reward for service sense.

It is the take-over-territories-for-God message; it is the message of your  destiny, the message of your divine mandate, the message of your spiritual calling.

The first message is about “come out from sin,” the second is: come into your purpose.

The writer of Hebrews said something about that. He said that  having left the elementary principles of Christ, let us move on to maturity.

And the first of the elementary teaching is repentance from dead works and faith towards God. There is the elementary level of faith which is about what you are to come out of, but there is the advanced level which is about what you should come in. It is from faith to faith.

continued tomorrow

Faith (8): Confession of faith

Hebrews 11:23: We must continue to hold firmly to our declaration of faith. The one who made the promise is faithful. (God’s Word Translation)

You give “the evidence of things not seen” in the court

Case study one: There was a storm in the middle of sea of Galilee but Jesus was sleeping and the disciples woke him up asking if he was unconcerned about what they were going through. After Jesus woke up and rebuked the storm, he asked them, where is your faith?

Case study two: When a centurion asked Jesus to come and heal his precious servant who was on the verge of death, and added that he should not bother coming but only say the word, Jesus was amazed that he had never seen such a great faith in Israel. So faith can be seen in the words that we speak.

As the disciples expressed fear and confessed death in that storm, their faith was no where to be found, but by saying that Jesus only needed to speak the word and his servant will be healed, the centurion expressed great faith.

Paul said that this is the expression of the spirit of faith: we believe therefore we have spoken. In the book of Hebrews, the people were told not to neglect the confession of their faith which has a great recompense of reward. And there is no need for such an encouragement if it is not possible to slip from faith. Faith is authenticated by what is said. The Centurion said Jesus needed to say the word. If faith is more than the word then faith becomes less than it can be because Jesus said that Centurion had great faith.

Jesus said if we confess him before men, he will confess us before his father in heaven. In the early history of the church, the battle raged on of what is the right confession of faith. When the man Jesus healed of blindness was asked what he has to say about Jesus, he said he was a Prophet and that led to his being chased out of the temple. That is how important confession is, the declaration of what is believed. There are no silent believers. You have to say what you believe. How would it be known that you believe if you don’t say it?

What we declare as true is very important. For example we have not seen Jesus and still we confess him as Lord.

But the people in the time of Jesus wanted him to do mighty miracles. They told him: show us a sign so that we will believe you. He said: a wicked and an adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but none shall be given to them except the sign of prophet Jonah, and that as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights he will be in the belly of the earth and will rise up.

That itself becomes the confession of faith because we were not their when he died and rose up. And what is written in scriptures are the account of eye witnesses that he actually rose up. They gave evidence of things we do not see and that becomes the basis of faith in us according to the Hebrews definition of faith, which we should confess. (I will give more explanation later).

And even after he rose up many did not believe in him. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, after the rich man died and went to the place of torment, and Lazarus went to the bosom of Abraham, the rich man asked that Lazarus be sent back from the dead so that his five brothers can believe and not come to where he is.

But Abraham told him that his brothers have Moses and the prophets (written word) and they should believe in their testimony. So a basic generator of faith is the written word. To neglect the written word is to neglect faith.

You do not need faith to realise that something is a miracle after it has been performed. In that case, the supernatural is right there in front of you, so what is there to believe or disbelieve?

But do you believe what is written and fasten your confession to it? Or you continue to argue with the truth? But you cannot do anything against the truth. No level of attack on the truth, on the scriptures will make the truth stop being the truth, so we do well to take heed to the testimony of scriptures and let that guide our confession. That is the origin of the life of faith.

Thomas did not believe that Jesus had resurrected, and said he won’t believe until he put his finger into the hole in his hand. That was a confession of unbelief and Jesus later told him that blessed are those who do not see yet believe. This is because there is no need to “believe” again after you have “seen.” So ultimately faith is not based on something that is seen.

If the word of God is not emphasised, and we do not realise that through the foolishness of preaching, things happen to build up our faith, then we have not started in faith. The aim of all preaching should be to build faith, otherwise it would have fallen short. It is therefore to re-emphasise truth, state the “evidence of things not seen” so that those things can be built into us in inward reality to be confessed by all.

Paul said that it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. God has decided to pitch his tent with the believer who believes because he heard words spoken and thereafter made a confession in that regard. You cannot for long be neutral to truth. You will have to pitch your tent one way or the other with the words you will speak as out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

In time past, God tried signs and wonders to generate continual faith/devotion to Himself but that was a failed experiment as the children of Israel who witnessed the signs and wonders repeatedly fell back to idolatry.

Therefore, there is nothing to make God go through that route again except to bring unmitigated judgement on the earth when the time comes as he did in Egypt.

Even the devil “saw” God in his glory and still fell away.

Paul said that the Jews seek for signs and the Greek for wisdom and both lost out from faith which saves. God knows that the problem is not lack of sign or lack of wisdom, it is unbelief. And your life changes when your confession changes, either the confession of faith or the confession of doubt. There are certain things that cannot be proved, but we still believe just because we are told, as people, with their words, provides evidence of things not seen.

Jesus expressed faith by a series of “it is written” statements, giving evidence as a man, of things he had not seen, referring to what the people who saw it in the scriptures saw.

What we do with the word of God is to confess it, declare it as true. Therefore, anything that attacks the word of God attacks faith, because faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God but after we have heard we need to confess it is about a reality that needs to be created or to counter something, just as Jesus countered the devil.

Confession also extends to what God says/sees about us. Jesus needed to confess. He said If I say I do not know the father, I will be a liar like you. Confession, therefore is not an attempt to brag it is just aligning with the truth.

God told Jeremiah: do not say I am a youth. He told him not to confess about himself something that counters what God says about him. You should confess what God has said about you in the specific sense of your divine destiny. Anything different is to bury your talent, is to be a liar.

Jesus refused to pander to the whim of the people for the purpose of peace with them. He made the right confession about himself, even if that freaked them out. He said about himself what God said about him, and nothing can be wrong with that.

But the people picked issues with that, saying that he claims he is equal with God, saying he claims to be older than Abraham their revered progenitor. But the truth is the truth because that is the divine eternal perspective about the matter and being politically correct does not change the truth. And when we hear the truth it should build us more and more in faith.

Paul said that Jesus made a good confession before Pontius Pilate. He confessed that he was a king even while that could be termed a treason (and at best someone suffering from delusion), he confessed that Pontius would not even have power over him, if not given to him from above, thereby confessing his submission to the father.

But faith in this hour has been turned to another thing. Faith has been attached to something physical, cloth, oil, money, and those are limited expressions of faith, which at its core is confession based on the word, either personal or scriptural.

If God has called you an Apostle, it is time for you to make a good confession. Jesus declared that he was king, he did not deny it so that he could be treated with leniency. He went all-in the confession of faith in what God has said he is. Therefore, the time for you to hide is over. You cannot be what you should be unless you confess that you are what God said you are.

Let’s learn a lesson from John the Baptist. People came to him asking who he was. He did not say I am nothing. He said I am the voice of him that cries in the wilderness, make the way of the Lord. He said I am the divine mouthpiece. He said he was what God said he was and that was a good confession. He did not speak what was possibly political correct in his days, trying to fit into the expectation of the people, in an unhealthy need to be understood.

Paul said more than once that he was an apostle not by the will of man but the will of God. The point is, if it were left for a committee to decide if he should be an Apostle, the vote would have gone against him but he recognised he was who he was by the grace of God and he aligned his confession to that. Therefore, you don’t only say what God says about himself, but also what God says about you.

Your confession does not have to meet the approval of men, but you will be doing the wrong thing to not call yourself what God has called you, for whatever reason.

Faith, as I have emphasised in this series is not just getting things, it is also getting you to where you should be in God. There is nothing wrong with getting things but God wants to get you, and he needs your faith to be firing on all cylinders for that.

Because God needed Jeremiah to stop saying I am a child, to stop considering his limitation, to start looking at himself with the eyes which He was looking at him, he went to a great length to get Jeremiah to flow at his own frequency.

God needs you to agree with him on earth and “release Him” to act on your behalf by your confession of faith, nothing more.

When the children of Israel made the negative confession that they will go back to Egypt and not go to take over Canaan as God has promised them, He did not give them the promised land, never overlooking their unbelief. They did not align their confession with the word of God and therefore they had God as their enemy, and what should take a few years took forty. That is the difference the confession of faith or lack of it makes.

Our confession is that powerful. The tongue, James wrote, can set on fire the course of nature, even though it is a small member. The decibel level of the words of the mouth may not register much on the “sound scale” but it is on it that heaven and earth hangs.

God said it and it stood fast, is the testimony of scriptures. And when it comes to your life, in the things that God wants done, you need to align your confession right, align your confession to his.

Again, I repeat, Jesus said that if we confess him before men, he will confess us before his father in heaven and when it comes to confession. He is the truth and we need to confess the truth.

Our faith comes by hearing the word of God, but faith is released by confessing the same word. Jesus said that if you have faith as small as the mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, “Be removed and cast into the sea and it will obey you.” It will not obey your thought, it will obey your statement of faith. With the confession, you move things from hope to faith.

So say the right words. Words are things, just as thoughts are things. The hearing of faith creates thoughts within us, create the reality within us, and reality needs to be created outside of us by the confession of our faith.

That is the way of God, the way of faith, that if we confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, we shall be saved.

Something of eternal value happens to you because the word came into you and became a thing in you in faith and you release it by faith confession.

Confession and believing work hand in hand. As Paul said: we believe therefore we have spoken. You believe before you speak and by speaking you hear again and believing is reinforced. And the cycle is kept going by the act of confession. And positive confession should go on and on.

True believing will be marked by right confession. A king told Paul you almost made me a Christian, but almost does not count. Almost a goal is not a goal, it is not even a subset of a goal. It is with your confession that you choose.

Faith is the substance of thing hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. The substance of things hoped for is something within, the evidence of things not seen is the confession.

If you go to the court and you were a witness to a murder, the judge was not there, nobody else was there, but your confession becomes the admissible “evidence of things not seen.” Faith connects to a reality beyond the obvious by confession. Hope exists within the realm of the imagination, for it to be substantial means it has moved from what is possible to what is now and confession announces it to be so.

Hold fast to your confession of faith without wavering. The word of your mouth creates the reality you want to see, or God wants to see through you just as God said let there by light and there was light.


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Faith (7): Hearing of faith 

Gal 3:2  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Gal 3:5  He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  (KJV)

Paul asked the Galatian church: the one who does miracles among you, did he do it as by the works of the law or the hearing of faith?

And Jesus said: be careful how you hear.

And we also read that faith comes by hearing and (the right) hearing comes via the word of God.

And in the book of Hebrews, the writer said that the word will profit those who hear it if it is mixed with faith in them.

Jesus went to his home town and he being “The Word” could not do much there except heal a few people.

The power of the word of God is therefore limited by the faith of the people. The workings of God is limited by faith.

The widow of Zeraphath was told by Elijah, go and prepare a meal for me and the flour and oil will last for many days.

She responded with faith and the miracle happened.

When Elisha said that “by this time tomorrow”, in the middle of a grievous famine in Israel, “things will become ridiculous cheap,” one man did not believe and the promise was that he will see it with his eyes but will not experience it. And he died in the stampede the next day in the rush after people knew there would was surplus. He heard what others heard but his hearing was not the hearing of faith.

We need our spiritual ears opened for us to hear with faith.

If something is normal, there is no need for faith.

There is no need for faith to believe that the sun will rise tomorrow, it is normal, you don’t need to faith so that water will be wet, that your seat in the office will hold your weight tomorrow.

But when you hear things that express the power of God, do you believe or you go into the doubt mode?

Isaiah asked: who has believed our report? It is that person who will see the power of God.

When you hear that miracles have not passed, miracles are for today, speaking in tongues is for  today, do you disagree and try to explain it away?

With that  you are refusing to hear by faith. For you, if something is not natural, it should be rejected.

When you hear of gold dust, supernatural gold teeth fillings, when you hear of the extraordinary, do you wave it aside as a joke? That will show that you are on the low end of the faith spectrum.

God told Moses: I will give the people of Israel meat and they will eat it for one month.

Moses started thinking of the logistics. He somehow presumed that the bread from heaven was the limit of God and that God will be overextending himself if he tried to give meat to the multitude of Israelites in the wilderness.

His was not hearing by faith, and God had to give him a lecture. He asked Moses: is my arm waxed short?

When we hear by faith, it means we do not put the limit on God, on what can happen, we switch to the supernatural zone of God where everything is possible as it is written: Everything is possible to him that believes.

Jesus told Peter, launch into the deep for a big catch.

Before he did that he wanted to update Jesus on the difficulty of the situation, that he had strived all night and have not caught any fish.

When he saw no reaction from Jesus, that Jesus could not care less whether they have caught no fish forever or for a day, Peter heard by faith and did as Jesus said, probably out of courtesy, but that was enough and the catch was big indeed.

When you hear Jesus say that those who believe in me will speak in new tongues, do you explain that away, that this “big man” of God and that “big man” of God, like Billy Graham do not speak in tongues therefore it is definitely okay not to speak in tongues.

Billy Graham via billygraham.org

You have heard the word concerning speaking in tongues but it was  not with the hearing of faith.

It was the hearing of “respect of persons.” The bible says that we should not have the faith of our lord Jesus with respect of persons.

That was the complaint that Jesus had against the Pharisee in his generation. He said that with their tradition, they neutralise the word of God.

There is nothing wrong with tradition, but when tradition runs in conflict to the word of God, it runs in conflict with faith and can block the ears so that we would not be able to hear with faith, and therefore the word will not profit, it will be as if the word was not preached at all, as tradition neutralises it.

Tradition, therefore, drowns the word of God. That is why the common man gladly heard Jesus, because tradition and respect of persons has not blocked their ears so they hear with faith and receive the miracles from Jesus.

Tradition could come in form of what we are used to and a rejection of the new. The people in the home town of Jesus was used to the normal carpenter and they were not ready to receive him as the miracle worker so they did not. They could not hear by faith and therefore it was almost as if Jesus was not around.

The faith movement primed the people to expect the unexpected, to reject tradition and embrace new things from God.

Some claim that the speaking in tongues is a gift and therefore not everyone will speak it.

They therefore leave it to God’s discretion.  With that they shut out faith. If it is left to God there is no need for faith.

If it were just left to Jesus to heal everyone who was sick in his home town, he would, but he will only manifest as he is believed and received. He does not cast his pearls before swine, before people who will regard it as nothing, not value it.

The hearing of faith values the word of God. The hearing of faith is what we need and we need to recognise that respect of persons will stop us from the hearing of faith.

I read a book by Billy Graham (titled The Holy Spirit) in which the only thing he has to say about speaking in tongues was that he knows many people who  were “spirit filled” but do not speak in tongues.

I wonder how he could with his ordinary eyes define who is “spirit filled”, but we all know he is not in the speaking in tongues camp, the pentecostal camp.

People give their lives to Christ in his meetings in their multitudes but most may never step into speaking in tongues because, somehow, the man does not believe in it, and he hides under respect of persons.

I want to remind you again that the bible (in the writing of James) clearly states that we should not have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons. Both are not compatible. They counter each other in a zero sum game, and God does not want that. For without faith it is impossible to please God. God is not neutral to faith, he is pleased with it.

To guard against respect of persons, Jesus gave a strict warning: Do not call any man on earth father, or teacher, saying, you have one teacher, and that is the Christ.

And Jesus said that those who believe in him will speak in new tongues.

The question, I repeat again is that, will you hear that with faith or you allow tradition, in which you have been seeped, to swallow you up? Do you put limits on God?

We have another man called Reinhard Bonnke, who is also an evangelist and just because he believes that every believers should speak in tongues, he has thousands of people baptised with the Holy Spirit, immediately after leading them to Christ.

Reinhard Bonnke via Charismanews.com

Some who read this piece will cringe with the  way I wrote about Billy Graham, that may means that somehow, you have mixed the faith of our Lord Jesus with respect of persons, exactly what the Bible warned against.

Man is still man and can never be God. But, of cause, human beings have the tendency to make a fellow man (either subtly of obviously, alive or dead) a deity.

But that is idolatry.

Hence, John writing in the first epistle ascribed to him, in the very last sentence, as if to create a long lasting impression, said: Little children, beware of idols.

Idols are what you have faith in as an alternative to God and that means the faith in God becomes compromised.

Paul told the Galatian church, you received the spirit by the hearing of faith and not by the works of the law.

But people seeped in tradition, say that since Martin Luther, John Calvin did not speak in tongues, it did not form part of their grid of interpretation the bible (they were silent on it) and they were great men, therefore, it is not needed at this time. So those who hold such an opinion are compelled to explain the phenomenon away.

But the first major huddle in the life of faith after you have believed Jesus by faith is to receive the Holy Spirit.

You will not be able to go into great things in faith if you do not cross this huddle. You may achieve some things but you will forever be putting limits on God.

Paul asked a set of disciples in Ephesus, did you receive the Spirit when you believed? So there is the first experience of believing after which we (every Christian without exception) should receive the Holy Spirit.

At the dawn of the 20th century, at Asuza Street, the Holy Spirit broke out in the tongues phenomenon, but till today people are still rejecting that reality.

Via trailoffire.org

It tests your faith because it is not “tidy”.

It tests your faith because it is foolish to men, like babbling, like someone with speech impediment. You may lose you ” sanity certificate ”

It tests your faith because, you mostly needed to have hands laid on you for it (though not compulsory) and that means you have to submit to another.

It tests your faith because it is against all the strain of tradition in you.

With advent of the faith movement, the idea that people needed to tarry and wait for days and beg God to be filled with the Holy Spirit was done away with, but some are still there and they need to come out.

By faith we understand that the receiving of the Spirit is via the hearing of faith and not the works of the flesh, like crying, fasting, begging God for many days, months or years.

Because of the way the matter of receiving the Spirit (remember it is RECEIVING) is, it tests your faith because you will not be waiting for God to do something, but you need do something.

But Jesus said we should ask for the Holy Spirit, not because he has not been given, but to release our faith, the same way we confess Jesus as Lord not because he is not Lord if we do not confess it, but as a release of faith.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit asks more of you, it asks that you act on what you believe which is the definition of faith.

If you can cross the huddle you can truly move into faith with God, it is the primary school of the experience of faith.

It demands that as hands are laid on you step out to speak with tongues believing that though you are not feeling anything right away, the Holy Spirit will immediately supply the spiritual words. (If you ask: how do I know what to speak, you have not heard with faith.)

And the faith movement sent by God shows us that what Paul said is true, that we can continue to speak with tongues after the initial experience anytime we want.

So Paul could say: I speak with tongues more than you all. He also said that I WILL speak with my spirit or speak with my understanding if I want to.

Again I repeat the words that Paul directed to the Galatian Christian when they seem to have seeped into the seeking justification through the works of the law. He said: in time past, did you receive the Spirit via the works of the law or the hearing of faith?

I believe that once you are moving away from being baptised with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues (I have a feeling that some people hate that part of the scriptures) you will move to the works of the law.

By we walk in the Spirit by faith and that faith develops needed muscles as we receive the Holy Spirit by faith.

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