Sometime back, our eldest son was going through a difficult transition in his life.
Daily, he reads the devotional book 'Streams in the Desert' as well as the Psalms and Proverbs in the Scriptures.
This always helps him, but ever now and then, he needs a word from Mom and Dad.
I referred him to Malachi 3:10 which encourages us to 'prove God now saith the Lord of Hosts and I will pour out blessings.'
The other word that God gave me was Galatians 3:23 where the Apostle Paul says, "Whatever came, I was shut up to faith".
Paul had been in prison and all he had left was his faith.
It carried him through and it is still carrying our son (and us)....and it will you also.
Acts 16 gives us the beautiful story of Paul and Silas, singing praises at midnight while in prison. God was with them and even the jailer got saved!
Paul wrote Galatians (perhaps the greatest book on Faith) from prison in Rome to the churches in Galatia, a district in Asia Minor. It was written as a defense of the doctrine of justification by faith, warning against reverting to Judaism which taught that observance of the ceremonial law was an essential part of the plan of salvation.
The emphatic words Paul uses are Faith, Grace, Liberty and the Cross.
I wish to emphasize Faith....with the other words in mind.
In his study of words in the Bible, W.E. Vine says that the main elements in Faith are:
1) A firm conviction producing full acknowledgment and belief in God's revelation.
2) A personal surrender to Him (like John says in John 1:12)
3) A conduct inspired by such surrender
My favorite Scripture on Faith is "we walk by faith, not by sight" (II Cor. 5:7)
This is more than opinion without proof....it is convictions backed by certainties!
A cynic asked an elderly believer (who had endured great physical pain for 20 yrs.)
"What do you think of your God now?"
The Godly sufferer replied, "I think of Him more than ever!"
Not matter WHAT we go through, go through it with Faith in Jesus and His Promises!
Alexander McLaren wrote:
"Sometimes Christ delays His help that He may try our Faith and quicken our prayers."
Matthew 8 gives us a great story of the storm on the Sea of Galilee while Jesus is sleeping.
We learn that the boat may be covered with the waves and He sleeps on...
but He will awaken before the boat sinks.
He may sleep, but He never 'over-sleeps' and there are no "too lates" with Him.
An old song says: "Be Still my Soul, the Lord in Thy Side!"
Faith puts God between 'self' and 'circumstances'....
and looks at them through Him and His Promises.
It is not so much 'rose-colored glasses'....
but 'Cross-colored glasses' that PROVE Promises and underlines all of them in His blood.
Do not allow what lies behind you...or what may be BEFORE you...
cause you not to live fully in the NOW.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us!"
I don't know Emerson's spiritual condition, but what he said is not enough...
unless he was referring to Christ within us as we are 'complete in Him'
(Colossians 2:10 and 1:27)
So you have problems? Be 'Shut Up by Faith' with THE Problem Solver.
The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalms 40:10)
My friend Calvin Miller said:
"When I stop hurrying, then the God within me can hold a lively dialogue...
with the God Who is beyond me."
Now, let's put the two Promises together:
'Prove God Now' (Malachi 3:10)
be 'Shut Up to Faith' (Galatians. 3:23).
What do we have? We have ALL of the Promises of God and He can not lie.
"All the Promises of God in Him are 'yes' and in Him 'amen' (II Cor. 1:20)
"He staggered not at the Promises of God through unbelief...
but was fully persuaded that what God had promised, he would perform."
"There has not failed one of God's good promises which he made to Moses, his servant". (I Kings 8:56)
"Be of good cheer, for I believe God that it shall be as he told me." (Acts 27:25)
We certainly do not mean to put ourselves in the company of these Godly men,
but just tho't that we would continue this way.
On November 25, 1997 I was preparing to preach on this very subject the following Sunday.
I got up and started down the hallway of our home when the whole left side of my body went limp.
I told La Moyne to call 911 and within minutes, there were several medics and firemen attending to me on the floor of our den. As they were hooking me up to all sorts of medication, I looked up and joked, "I guess you guys know that where two or three are gathered together, a Baptist preacher will start preaching!"
La Moyne said that she started praising God because she knew that my humor meant that my mind must be okay!
They rushed me to the hospital where a CAT scan showed that I had had a stroke.
Understandably I was scared as my Dad had 3 brothers who died suddenly at young ages, from heart attacks.
Praise the Lord, a neurosurgeon was on duty that night in the ER.
The feeling began to return in my arm, so he decided not to use the 'clot buster' medicine.
I recovered rather quickly and was even dubbed 'the Miracle Man' by the nurses.
That 'miracle' continues and how we praise Him for giving us more time and more opportunities to serve Him.
ASK LA MOYNE:
In 1996, we had received a call from Wailuku Baptist Church on the Island of Maui, asking Travis to come serve as their Interim Pastor. Though we wanted to go, I still dreaded leaving my Mom (who was not in good health), so I had told Travis that God was going to need to REALLY underline this one for me! Well, He did...
Travis was to preach at First Baptist Church in Sentinel, Oklahoma the next Sunday.
He had been having some back pains, so I bought him a back cushion for the car seat. As we were getting ready to leave, I took that cushion out of the box and an instructional video tape fell out of the box. I just put it in the car (along with some cassette tapes) and we left for Sentinel.
As I got ready to play one of the cassette tapes, I was curious to see 'where' it had been recorded, so I turned it over and read:
RECORDED BY KEALII REICHEL IN WAILUKU, MAUI. (Sign #1)
The church had a nice little room in their fellowship hall where we were to stay. After unpacking our things, I laid across the bed and told Travis, "I need a STRONG sign that we are to go to Maui as it is getting harder and harder to leave my Mom!"
About that time we noticed that they had a VCR by the TV, so we decided to watch that instructional video tape. As I was opening the package, I read on the back side that it was made by a company in KIHEI, MAUI....just down the road from WAILUKU, MAUI. Who would have thought that a back cushion for the car seat would be made THERE. (Sign #2)
Along with these SIGNS FROM GOD, we were reading daily in our devotional book, 'Streams in the Desert'. On July 27, the Scripture was Malachi 3:10: "Prove me now".
S.D. Gordon was quoted on that day: "I can never forget my mother's very brief paraphrase of Malachi 3:10. The verse begins, 'Bring ye the whole tithe in" and it ends up with "I will pour" the blessing out 'till you'll be embarrassed for space.
Her paraphrase was this: Give all He asks: take all He promises."
Needless to say, we followed God's leadership to Maui where we served for a year with those precious saints and God blessed our efforts for Him.
That church now is called Valley Isle Fellowship, pastored by Richard Smith and his wife, Cindy and God is greatly blessing that body of believers.
Should you ever visit Maui, we highly recommend that you worship with them if possible.
A word of caution to us 70+ years folk:
As we are no longer 'active' in our vocation, we may tend to faith-less and allow the physical and mental limitations to overwhelm us. That is when we need Malachi 3:10 and Galatians 3:23 put into practise with more Scripture, Prayer, Faith and claiming ALL of God's Promises.
God says to us in our relationships and experiences with Him:
and have Faith in MY faithfulness to the end.
At the last Olympics, a marathon runner from Tanzania, Africa finished the race one hour after the last runner.
He was asked, "Why bother?"
He replied, "My country did not send me 1,000 miles to START, but to FINISH!"
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