Tag Archive | faith

Every Family Needs a Grandma Lois 28-7

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Three Dimensions of Flourishing Faith 28-5

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Helping Non-Christian Friends Hear God’s Voice

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Core Values (Newsletter 3-3)


 

 

 

 

By Rick A. Hughes

Apples are quite symbolic: many people believe apples were the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Apples are the symbol for knowledge. Apples are the symbol for good health. Apples also symbolize what we cherish: you are the apple of my eye. If you say someone is “rotten to the core” you mean their character, their core values are corrupt. In other words their foundation, who they really are in private is contaminated! When it comes to the core, consistency is everything. It’s the core of the apple that makes the rest of the apple all that it is. The apple core is NOT the good part, just the most critical part. The core stands tall and holds the very seeds of the future; without it there would be no apple. Even the core has a center, and the center is the backbone of the core. Without it there is ultimately no core. So core values are the nonnegotiables, those principles we refuse to compromise. When all is stripped away, core values remain. Your core values are who you really are. Roy Disney is quoted as saying, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Core values are guiding principles by which we live our life’s, the internal ‘DNA’ that programs our thinking and guides our actions. Living your values can cost you; not living them can destroy you. Here’s the question that tests the validity of the things on your “core values” list. It is this: “Would you be willing to lose everything to stay true to this value?”

There is great value in our core values! Obviously, values should define our behaviors. Unfortunately we often live backwards and allow our behaviors to define our values. Core values create boundaries, boundaries create focus, and focus minimizes drift. Setting up landmarks or boundaries for ourselves becomes the basis of what we believe and practice. The Bible commends core values in our lives. Paul challenged Timothy “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine (core values); continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16). King Solomon expressed “Remove not the ancient landmark (core values), which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28). Perhaps the greatest value of core values is in times of a crisis of faith. We all experience times when our our faith, our belief system is severely tested: a time when we question our faith and decide what we believe. This crisis of faith is generally the result of one of the following: 1). poor choices followed by a tsunami of guilt, leaving you to decide whether to get right and repent or else abandon your faith and/or change your belief system, or 2.) unexplainable tragedy, painful or adverse circumstances that do not make sense and you question why? Unfortunately this is where many abandon their faith and lose out with God.

Johann von Goethe said it well when he declared “Things which MATTER MOST should never be at the mercy of the things which MATTER LEAST.” Perhaps we should all do an inventory and evaluate our core values and see where we stand. Remember, if you are good to the core, your future is bright: the core is where the seeds of your future lie.

 

Victory Worship Center, Ponca City, OK
Pastor Rick A. & Valeria Hughes
Email: rickahughes@sbcglobal.net
Blog: http://livingalatte.com

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The Supernatural (Entire Article)

 

By Kenneth F. Haney

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We are brothers and sisters of like precious faith. This movement must be filled with much love and appreciation for one another. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). We share a profound revelatory truth that our forefathers were greatly despised for and it is not shared by the religious world of tradition, for it is anchored in the Word of God: the Mighty God in Christ Jesus and baptism in His name!

Many of us have come out from traditional Christianity and now we are going to propagate this truth all over the world. This can only happen if we are bonded together with love. We have only one Lord and King! There should be no big and little or important and non-important people among us. I want to make it perfectly clear that we as God’s people, who make up the church, are all of great importance. I want to hear your thoughts or opinions whether you are an older or younger minister. We are brothers and sisters: young, middle-aged and old, with different personalities and gifts, but ONE BODY, ONE CHURCH and ONE MESSAGE for ONE WORLD that Jesus died for. We have ONE VISION: to bring the gospel to every person. What an awesome task!

It is the business of Satan to keep us from fulfilling this mission. If he can ever divide us, he will succeed. He will try to get us to major on our differences rather than our common bond of truth, but we have much more in common than the things that divide us.

As your general superintendent, I have asked God to help me to lead this great movement into this latter day harvest. The preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ must be accompanied by the supernatural acts of God, and by the spirit of true holiness.

Where does the supernatural come from or begin? It all starts with the power of God; therefore, the church must get in contact with God as never before. This is done through prayer and meditating on His Word.

When the disciples were unable to operate in the realm of the supernatural, they asked Jesus why. Jesus answered them in Mark 9:29: “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” By nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

PRAYER

Without prayer the church will dry up in the spirit; they will refuse to give themselves, their time or the finances to further the gospel. It is prayer that gives people the inspiration to go beyond themselves. Jesus gave a warning concerning the last days in Luke 21:34-36: ‘And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”

Jesus gave the answer on how the church can be alert and ready for His coming: WATCH and PRAY ALWAYS!

Programs are good and necessary but NOTHING can take the place of prayer! Jesus declared in Luke 18:1: “Men ought ALWAYS to PRAY, and not to faint.”

There is the word “always” again. In 2002 I am asking the pastor of every church, whether small or large, of the UPCI to organize a daily or weekly prayer group on a consistent basis to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into the harvest field that is ripe. Think of the power that will be generated.

`And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; It is imperative for the church to watch and PRAY always! and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31

We already have the powerful Network of Prayer that is reaching around the world, and everyone should become a part of this. Every church should plug into the Network of Prayer. I encourage the women to be involved in the powerful Daughters of Zion network of prayer, which is already in many nations. This is the time to get involved and pray as Jesus instructed us to do!

FASTING

When James was giving instructions to the church on how to overcome worldliness, he wrote: “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep. . . . Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:9-10).

How do people afflict themselves? It is not in the cutting of the flesh; it is in the humbling of the soul. Ezra proclaimed a fast at the river of Ahava, “. . . that we might AFFLICT ourselves before our God, to seek of Him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance” (Ezra 8:21). WE AFFLICT OURSELVES TO SEEK HIM.

“The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we FASTED and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us” (Ezra 8:22-23).

Seeking God is done through PRAYER, FASTING, and studying the WORD. The men and women of the Old Testament knew that when prayer was accompanied with fasting, something happened.

When Jehoshaphat, king over Judah, was surrounded by enemies, Jehoshaphat proclaimed a FAST throughout all Judah. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD” (II Chronicles 20:3-4).They not only sought the Lord through prayer and fasting, but God spoke to them and gave them instructions how to win the battle against their enemies.

The Old Testament is filled with examples of those who sought the Lord through prayer and fasting. Jesus also gave instructions on fasting, and the early church followed His example and direction.

Jesus assumed they would fast and told them how to fast in Matthew 6:16: “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, That they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

Fasting is not to be done to impress people or show how spiritual one is, but it is important in humbling oneself in seeking after God.

There is a dimension in the Spirit that can only be attained when prayer is coupled with fasting. Jesus referred to this in Mark 9:29: ‘And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

Jesus was the great example in preparing for His ministry. He fasted forty days and nights. He never would have practiced anything that He did not want His followers to follow.

The early church practiced this in the Book of Acts. `And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:3).

We do wrong when we think we can operate in the realm of the Spirit without following the practice of the early church. They PRAYED, FASTED, WITNESSED, DID MIRACLES and were full of ZEAL, proclaiming the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!

The above article, “The Supernatural” was written by Kenneth F. Haney. The article was excerpted from chapter seven in Haney’s book One God, One World, One Church, One Vision.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

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The First Essential

The First Essential: Faith by B. E. Echols

B. E. Echols

 

 

 

 

 

 “He that corneth to God must believe” (Hebrews 11:6). The gospel of Jesus Christ cannot become effective in one’s life until he believes it. “For . . . the gospel of Christ . . . is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Romans 1:16). Jesus was careful to put this emphasis upon the gospel message when He delivered the great commission to His apostles, as recorded in Mark 16:15, 16: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Faith Our Purchasing Medium

Faith is “the medium of purchase” in God’s kingdom, the same as currency is in this present world. Without faith we are spiritual paupers and unable to obtain the things we need from God. On the other hand, we can obtain anything God has for us if we can “only believe.” So we read: “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Again our Lord said: “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). It is said that every person possesses a certain amount of faith, though it is often channeled in the wrong direction. Some folk can believe in anything except God, it seems some church folk included (Luke 24:13-15, 25). No wonder Jesus said: “Have faith in God.” The very moment a person can put his faith in God for his needs, he can have them—if he will humbly ask and seek earnestly enough for them (Matthew 7:7-8 and 5:6).

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    The above article, “The First Essential: Faith” is written by B. E. Echols. The article was excerpted from the 2nd chapter of Echols’s book Four Essentials Unto Salvation.

     

    The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    The Law Of Faith

    WILLIAM HIRSCHE

    It would seem at first quite unnecessary to speak of the need of faith in relation to prayer. Would one pray if one did not believe in God’s willingness to hear and answer? In actual practice however, we find that
    there is often much prayer with little or no faith that prayer will be heard and answered. The truth of the matter is that it is easier to pray than it is to believe. The reason is to be found in the fact that prayer is
    the human side of the matter, while faith puts it over on the divine side. We all by nature (I do not say by grace; grace is another matter) have a high regard for our own doing, whereas we are blind to the operations of God. Furthermore, faith is in proportion to our obedience and the purity of our lives and motives, John in his first Epistle states it in this fashion: “If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God,” the inference being that if our hearts condemn us, we just cannot work up real
    confidence.

    So we are driven back to the first law of prayer: the Atonement. The moment we get our eyes off Calvary real faith goes by the board. It is only as we see our way clear to a satisfactory straightening out of our accounts before God (and how can that ever be apart from the Cross where our sins were dealt with and put away forever) that we are in a position to come boldly before the throne of grace with the burning requests of our hearts.

    Faith comes quite naturally to one who is waiting in the pathway of obedience to his Lord and is enjoying His ungrieved presence. We read in I Corinthians twelve, where we have that most classic passage on the working of the Holy Spirit and the gifts He imparts to believers, that it is He who inspires faith, which does not mean that cooperation on the human side is not necessary, for it is man who is commanded to exercise faith and with him it must begin. In the heart of one who is filled with the Spirit, faith is as natural and as unconscious as breathing. It is because we have received the Spirit of adoption that we cry Abba, Father (see Rom. 8:15). If the Spirit is quenched then prayer is quenched. Indeed, faith has its laws. We do not believe by sheer force of will, though there is such a thing as the will to believe, as William James, America’s foremost philosopher and father of pragmatism, used to say.

    Faith, Paul tells us, comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. If I may only find the right words – the promise in Holy Writ which will fit the need as a key fits a lock for which it is made – then faith in the hour of prayer is given a sure footing and great things will be wrought. I shall soon be singing the glad song of victory even as Moses and Joshua and David and Paul and the galaxy of Old and New Testament saints were wont to sing as they saw the arm of God laid bare in answer to prayer.

    We must indeed believe that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Prayer without faith is a mockery. Listen to the voice of Jesus as He speaks saying: “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24). We must ask in faith, writes James, nothing wavering. If he is tossed about as a wave of the sea, “Let not that man think he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (Jas. 1:7).

    The Saviour declared that all things are possible to him that believeth. We are wont to think of such potency as attributed to faith in terms of hyperbole, if not gross exaggeration. But our Lord was not indulging in poetic license, nor were the words of Him who is the Truth ever those of an extremist. “Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:22,23). But the Saviour is not simply talking about faith in God. The Greek brings out the though of the faith of God. Paul seems to have had
    this in mind in that passionate cry which is the quintessence of the Gospel: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by
    the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” It is the faith of the Son of God. He could not dwell by His Spirit within our hearts without being not only our humility, our love, our patience, our righteousness, but our very life, and that means our very faith.

    When it is the faith of the Son of God which rises within the Christian’s breast in the hour of prayer, not only are mountains of difficulty removed, but miracles such as Jesus our Lord brought to pass are wrought. He said to his disciples that they would do greater works than those which He had wrought. That need not shock us. Greater works are wrought but it is still the Lord working through His disciples. It is “the faith of the Son of God.” Greater works because of Calvary is now the ground of our praying. Calvary and the empty tomb and Pentecost make possible for the believer what was not yet possible in the days when Jesus our Lord walked in Galilee.

    Indeed we must not doubt in our hearts as we seek the Father’s face in prayer; nor is it possible to doubt when in union with Christ we lay hold of the promise. Ours is “the faith of the Son of God,” not something worked up in the strength of the natural, but an overflowing joy, a certitude which surges within as we stand united with our Lord in the power of His resurrection (Phil. 3:10).

    The story appeared not long ago in The Christian Digest of how George Muller laid hold of the Lord in an hour of crisis. It is told by a captain of a transatlantic vessel who said he could never be the same after having Muller aboard. A heavy fog lay upon the ocean, and the great ship had been brought to a stop. After a while George Muller appeared at the door of the captain’s cabin. He knocked and asked for an interview which was granted. “Captain,” he said, “I must be in Toronto by Sunday.” The Captain, somewhat irritated, gave his intruder to understand that the ship could not move until the heavy fog lifted. “I understand,” was Mr. Muller’s rejoinder. “But in forty years of service for my Lord I have not failed to keep an appointment. I must be in Toronto Sunday.” George Muller asked the captain if he would pray with him. The captain, not a little taken aback, said he would. Together they knelt and Mr. Muller offered a short prayer asking the
    Lord to lift the fog so the ship might go forward and he might preach Sunday at Toronto. The captain was about to pray, but Mr. Muller stopped him. He said, putting his hand on the captain’s shoulder, “You need not pray. You do not believe.” As the two walked out on the deck, behold the fog was being lifted. The sun began to shine. In a few moments the ship moved forward. George Muller kept his appointment in Toronto.

    Can Christians pray that way? Yes, if they fulfill the conditions, one of which is to believe. Believing is as easy and as natural as breathing when we know God and He possesses us and is given a free rein in our lives. The child who knows a loving parent does not “try” to believe. He rests in a father’s love with a certitude which no eventuality can shake. To doubt God is to make Him out a liar as John tells us in his First Epistle. What could be more heinous?

    I find it a helps to interpret trust in terms of expectation. Someone has said that the answer to prayer is often hindered by the fact that when God’s hour strikes and the blessing is sent from the throne, the petitioner is not in a position to receive it in view of the fact that the door of expectation is not open. Some friends once chided George Muller, if I may refer to him again, for saying that his prayers were all answered. His reply was that he had been praying for forty years for two unconverted men, friends of his. He said that he knew that these two would eventually be brought to know the Saviour; for that reason he said that all his prayers were answered. And so it was. Before another year had passed these two men
    were saved.

    The door of expectation must be kept wide open. It is not enough to pray for revival. We must be on the tips of our toes in expectation. Without this there is no true faith. God needs time to work out great things which have to do with the salvation of souls in answer to the prayers of his children. The widow who cried, “Avenge me of my adversary,” before the unjust judge, persevered. She held on. She gave the judge no rest. She won because she fully expected to win. The Father in heaven is pleased to see us determined. Our constant expectation moves Him. He is glorified by our faith. Though He tarry long we must not weary. Let us make sure that what we asking is in keeping with His will and purpose. And then let us be bold as we come to the throne of grace. The answer may come at once. It may be on the way even before we ask as we read in Isaiah, or we may be kept waiting many years. In any case may we not waver. Great is God’s
    faithfulness. He can be trusted with perfect confidence. His promises are sure; they are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    (The above material was taken from Prayer’s Deeper Secrets.)

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    A Salute to Those Who stayed with the Stuff

    By David Wilkerson

    In the book of 1 Samuel, David and his men came home from battle to find their town burned to the ground. Ziklag, where David was headquartered, had been attacked by the Amalekites. To make matters worse, the enemy had taken the families of David’s army captive. All the wives, children and livestock were gone.

    When David and his men saw this, they fell on their faces weeping. They were convinced their loved ones had been killed in a bloody holocaust. Scripture says they all wept until they had no more strength.

    Then David’s men rose up in anger against him. They picked up stones, blaming him for the calamity. Yet, despite this, David encouraged himself in the Lord. He called on Abiathar the priest and asked him to inquire what God would have him do.

    Abiathar gave David this word from the Lord: “Go, pursue the Amalekites. You will bring back everything that was taken.\You won’t lose a single thing. All will be recovered.”

    So David set out with 600 men in pursuit of the Amalekites. When they came to the River Besor, they found an Egyptian slave who had been wounded. When the slave heard their mission, he led them to the Amalekites’ encampment.

    Of the 600 men in David’s army, 200 of them weren’t able to move forward into the front lines of battle.

    These 200 soldiers may have been weary from battle fatigue, or perhaps some were injured or sick, but they were not cowards. They were simply held back by circumstances. As David prepared to move on, he entrusted to these men’s care all “the stuff” the army had to leave behind: equipment, utensils, weaponry, clothing and such.

    As David marched forward with the other 400 soldiers, they found the Amalekites encamped on a great plain. And they were amazed at what they saw: the enemy had over 1 million livestock in its possession, for the Amalekites had also raided the Philistines and stolen their spoil. In the midst of this awesome scene, David’s army saw what they came for: their captive wives and children.

    As David and his men drew closer, they saw the Amalekites sprawled out among their tents. They were drinking, carousiing and celebrating their great gathering of spoils. Combined with the sounds of 1 million animals bellowing, it must have been quite a riotous, chaotic scene.

    David spread out his men for the attack, and the 400 soldiers surrounded the camp. The battle that followed was bloody, lasting a full day-and-a-half. When it was over, David had triumphed and just as Abiathar had told him, he recovered everything. Not a single person, animal or possession taken from his men had been lost.
    David had a specific plan for the spoils of war.

    After the battle, as the accounting of the Israelite spoils was done, David laid claim to the goods taken by the Amalekites from the Philistines. He declared, “These also are mine,” and he had a specific purpose in mind for them.

    Now, as the returning victors approached the River Besor, the 200 soldiers who stayed behind saw them coming with all their wives and children. What an amazing sight it must have been as they rushed out to embrace their loved ones, weeping.

    Yet it was a moment both sweet and bitter. Though circumstances had hindered these men from going into battle, they had been just as brave, just as qualified, and just as passionate to fight the enemy, even as the others went forward. Yet they didn’t feel worthy to celebrate the victory.

    David knew what these men were thinking as they hugged their loved ones: “I haven’t earned the joy of this moment. I didn’t accomplish anything. I should have been among those on the front lines.”

    Indeed, some of the 400 warriors who had gone to battle began grumbling. Scripture calls these soldiers “wicked men” and “men of Belial.” They said to each other, “We’re not going to divide the spoils with these laggards. They didn’t risk going out, as we did. They didn’t accept the challenge and pay the price” (see 1 Samuel 30:22). Their murmuring was about to become a mutiny.

    But David had the heart of God in that moment. And “when David came near to the (200 men), he saluted them” (30:21).

    At that moment, with that one great gesture, David laid down the law of spoils. He told them, “As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike” (30:24). Simply put, all 600 men were going to share in the spoils equally.
    David wasn’t about to permit any soldier in his army to feel regret over not being on the front lines of battle. So he called a meeting of his leaders and instructed them, “I will not allow this division to happen. We are going to share equally. This backup army is just as important as those who went to the battlefront.”

    When David saluted those 200 men, he was telling them, “Well done! This victory is as much yours as it is of those who went out. You were useful right where you were. And, as your king, I declare that you are to share equally in the spoils of victory.”

    From that time on, every king in Israel’s history kept David’s law of spoils.

    It is my privilege today to salute God’s present-day backup army.

    I want to speak to every Christian who can’t go to a foreign mission field but has to stay back through circumstances. I’m referring to those who are faithful in prayer, sacrificial in giving, supportive of mission works. To all such believers, here is a clear message from 1 Samuel 30: You are the supply line to the battlefront. And the spoils of war are yours, too.

    On that glorious day when our battle has ended, when we are finally able to lay down our spiritual swords, many will stand before the Lord thinking they are empty-handed. These unsung, unknown saints will say to themselves, “I have nothing to present to the Lord. I didn’t do much of anything. I never led many souls to Christ.”

    Yet what a glorious moment awaits them, as Jesus begins to divide the spoils. They’ll be overwhelmed with joy, as their eyes are opened to see just how important they were to the battle.

    Those who thought they had no good works or deeds to present are going to share equally in the spoils! Among these will be widows, shut-ins and retired people who gave sacrificially to support missions works.

    As I think of these unsung saints, I picture the American women who maintained the home front during World War II. When I was growing up, my family would visit my grandmother’s home near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nearby was a factory that produced heavy bombshells. During those visits, I stood outside the fence of that factory and watched the dozens of women laborers come and go.

    While their husbands, brothers and boyfriends did battle on the front lines; in the Pacific, Europe and Africa; these women manned huge assembly lines. They worked around the clock, toiling and sweating, with the factory’s loud noises constantly whirring in their ears.

    Circumstances didn’t allow these women to be on the battlefront. So they “stood by the stuff” in support of their loved ones. And without the fruit of their labors, their faithful production on those assembly lines, the war never could have been won.

    Beloved, this is the true picture in eternity of every unknown saint who thinks he has nothing to present to Jesus.

    David based his law of spoils on a precedent that Moses set in Numbers 31.

    During Moses’ time, an army of 12,000 Israelite soldiers defeated the Midianites and five vicious warlords. When the spoils were gathered afterward, Moses instructed:

    “Take the sum of the prey [spoils] that was taken…and divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation” (Numbers 31:26-27).

    Here were two co-equal groups, according to Moses: combatants and congregants, those who went to battle and those who “stood by the stuff.” The Lord himself commanded that these two groups share equally in the spoils.

    When Israel accounted the Midianite spoils, here is how the division went:

    – 337,500 sheep went to combatants, 337,500 to congregants.
    – 36,000 cattle went to combatants, 36,000 to congregants.
    – 30,500 donkeys went to combatants, 30,500 to congregants.
    – 16,000 captives went to combatants, 16,000 to congregants.

    You get the picture: it was entirely equal, between those who went and those who stayed.

    On our day of accounting, I picture the apostle Paul being called forth. All of his soul-winning victories will be recounted, as well as all the churches he established.

    Then a number of unknown men and women from Antioch will be called forward to stand next to Paul. These are the people who fasted and prayed for the apostle, who laid hands on him and sent him out as a missionary. They supported him with sacrificial gifts.

    Simeon, Lucius and Manaen were elders at that church in Antioch. They and other unknown saints like them never went to the far-off battlefront. They probably never crossed a sea or traveled to Macedonia. Yet they will be called forth to share in Paul’s spoils.

    Why will these others be handed a portion equal to the apostle’s? It is because they played a part in every soul that Paul won, every church he built, every trip he took.

    God desires that we all rest, and rejoice, in our calling.

    Many Christians feel guilty that they’re not serving on a foreign mission field. But staying home with the stuff is also a high calling in Jesus Christ. If you love the Lord and walk in his Spirit, you can be sure of your calling. God’s Word assures us:

    “Now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Corinthians 12:18).

    Do you see what Paul is saying here? If you’re a church elder, you have a high calling in the Lord. The same is true for those who teach Sunday school.

    Yet the same is equally true for any single mother who’s striving to raise her children for Christ. She has a high calling right where she is.

    Likewise, if you’re a businessperson, a lawyer, a doctor: rest in your calling. If you’re a salesperson, a mechanic, a teacher, a food service worker, you don’t have to try to work up a calling to some mission field to please God. Unless the Spirit himself is stirring you, you can be at rest where you are, in what you do.

    “Ye are the body of Christ… And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
    “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way” (12:27-31).

    It is important that every believer not be frustrated that he isn’t in Africa or some such mission field. The Lord never brings condemnation to any of his people over a mission calling when he himself has placed them where they are in his body.

    Of course, it is important to stay open and willing to hear from the Spirit about serving elsewhere. But we are to surrender the issue completely to the Lord’s stirring and direction. God knows how to stir our nests and open doors to ministry, at home and abroad.

    The apostle Paul brings a deeply convicting word on this matter of serving the Lord.

    Paul was a world-traveling missionary with a heart of love for the poor. He heard the cries of the poorest in every nation he visited. And he instructed every pastor and evangelist under him, “Remember the poor.” Paul regularly took up offerings for the poor, at one point traveling to several cities to raise money for Jerusalem when a famine was imminent.

    Of anyone who ever lived, Paul understood the cry of human need. Yet as much as this godly apostle sacrificed, even to the point of dying a poor martyr himself, Paul gave a convicting warning:

    “Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3, my italics).

    I have to wonder: are we ready to accept Paul’s convicting word here? He is saying, in effect:

    “You can weep over the desperate cries of the poor. You could go to Africa to the filthy slums.
    You could be ready to die a martyr. But if you have not laid hold of charity, everything you do is in vain whether at home or as an overseas missionary.”

    Think about this. Even Jesus told his disciples to begin their work in Jerusalem, their home city, before going to the uttermost parts of the world.

    This tells me our first mission has to be to our own hearts. In other words, the Holy Spirit has to do his work in us before he can work through us.

    A few years ago, I began asking the Lord to enlarge my own vision for missions. At the time, I had begun traveling the world holding ministers conferences, and I’d seen some of the world’s worst slums. My heart burned to know how to answer the desperate cries coming from those slums. So I spent hours before the Lord in prayer, seeking his burden and asking for direction.

    The first word I received from the Holy Spirit was this: “David, first of all, take the lowest seat in the house. If you want a heart to reach human need, humble yourself.”
    I prayed for God’s grace to do this. I also began to preach this word in our church, so our mission-minded congregation would receive the same word I was hearing from the Lord.

    Then, later in prayer, I received the following word: “Mortify the remnants of your pride. I can’t work through you in fullness unless you deal with this. Reaching human need is strong business, and all pride must be dealt with.” Again, I asked God for his grace.

    Then later came this word: “Deal with your temper. You are still easily provoked at times, in your work and with family. That must be mortified by the Spirit.”

    In all of this, the Spirit kept reminding me of Paul’s words: “Yes, there is faith, and there is hope. But the greatest of all is charity” (see 1 Corinthians 13:13).

    Right now our ministry is putting roofs over churches in Kenya. We’re helping finance a Kenya Kids program for orphans in the capital city of Nairobi. We help dig wells in poor areas. We’re helping support a center for addicts and alcoholics. We help feed hungry children. The Lora has clearly called us to do each of these works of compassion.

    Yet all these works would be without profit if they were not flowing out of true Christ-like charity.

    It is amazing to hear what God is doing through dedicated missionaries throughout the world.

    In Iraq, a missionary friend grieves over the murder of two of his associates. He and his church members are threatened daily, yet they refuse to stop evangelizing among the poor and homeless. These are front-line soldiers of Christ.

    I think also of Kevin, a dedicated missionary serving in Swaziland, Africa. In that nation, 42 percent of the total population is infected with AIDS. Chances are nine out of ten that a fifteen-year-old child will die before reaching age thirty-five. The unemployment rate is 40 percent. There is a terrible drought and food is scarce. The average child eats only one meal every two days. Hopelessness abounds.

    Yet Kevin was moved by the Holy Spirit to do something. He began refurbishing old, abandoned houses and turning them into homes for orphans. Each home, staffed by a caring mother, houses eight children. Those orphans are provided nutritional food, education and medical care.

    The ministry also reaches out to the entire community, providing help to babies infected with HIV and operating a live-in care center for drug addicts. Now Kevin envisions sending teams into slum areas, to help feed families consisting of single mothers and their children, and to teach the mothers life skills. These teams would also care for the dying.

    We are honored to be a major supporter of this incredible ministry. Kevin is one of God’s front-line warriors giving his all on a foreign mission field. Now let me tell you about an amazing widow who never had the opportunity to serve as a missionary in a foreign land.

    Grandma Carosso, my wife Gwen’s mother, died at the ripe age of ninety-five. She was a praying woman, quiet and unassuming. In fact, this devoted woman prayed for me every day. Very few people knew her name.

    When she went to be with the Lord, Gwen and I found a cardboard box in her closet, filled with checkbook stubs dating over many years. Grandma Carosso had spent little on herself, but the record showed she had supported missionaries for many years. She would send in small amounts at a time: five, six, ten dollars.

    All that time, Grandma Carosso had thought she didn’t do much in the work of the kingdom. She would say she had no talent, no ministry. But she was just as important to Jesus and his kingdom as the many missionaries she supported over the years with her sacrificial gifts.

    When our blessed Lord rewards all those wonderful missionaries she supported, Grandma Carosso will share in all the spoils of their front-line spiritual victories. Remember what Jesus said of the poor widow who cast two pennies into the offering: “She has cast in more than all the others.” The widow gave all she had.

    My wife, Gwen, stayed at home “by the stuff” while I traveled for years on the front lines of evangelism.

    Gwen is much like her departed mother: quiet, unassuming and very dedicated to her family. During the decades of ministry when I traveled the world over, I was away from home much of the time. Gwen had to stay behind to care for our four children. She was always there when they came home from school, always there when they expressed a need.

    When I came home, Gwen rejoiced with me at the reports of numerous souls being won to Christ, or addicts and alcoholics being healed. Yet Gwen wasn’t able to go and do this work herself. She had to stay behind with “the stuff,” all the ordinary obligations.

    Many times I heard my wife say, “I can’t preach or sing. I’m not a writer. I feel I’m doing so little, if anything, for the Lord.”

    But Gwen came to believe that her calling was to be a faithful wife and mother (and eventually grandmother). Today, all four of our children are in ministry and have risen up to call her blessed many times over. It was Gwen who did the hard work that enabled our children to follow their callings.

    While writing this message, I told my wife, “On that day when I stand before Jesus, if I have been used to win souls or to raise up godly works that please him if there are any rewards to be had, Gwen, you will share in them equally.”

    Just as King David did, we salute all the special saints who stay “by the stuff.”
    We bless our missionaries in harvest fields around the world. They take great risks and hazard their lives for the sake of the gospel. Our missionaries and their families need our prayers and support. We honor them.

    We also honor all who cannot go, including the elderly, the shut-ins, the unemployed, and those who serve the Lord faithfully in their present calling, in every nation and tongue.

    Dear saint, God forbid you should be agitated in spirit because you don’t believe you’re doing anything important to God’s work. Your prayers, your continuous support for missions, your charitable spirit all are honoring to God.

    My prayer is that you will ask the Holy Spirit to bring you into his rest, and that he will give you peace and joy right where you are, in all you do. That is his desire. Amen!

    From, “World Challenge Pulpit Series”/www.worldchallenge.org /November 26, 2007, by David Wilkerson

    Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSMS - Miscellaneous Bible Studies0 Comments

    That Rock Was Christ

    By: J.T. Haywood

    The land of Palestine is a very mountainous country, and also a land of many rocks, which, in the days of old, made part of the country; for in the times of danger the inhabitants retired to them, where they found a refuge against any sudden irruption of the enemy.

    When the Benjaminites were overcome, and almost exterminated by the Israelites of the other tribes, they secured themselves in the rock Rimmon, and there they hid themselves for four months. Judges 20:47. In that rock was their salvation. After Samson had smitten the Philistines “hip and thigh with a great slaughter” he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock, Etam. Judges 15:8.

    It was into the rocks that David often hid himself when he was persecuted by Saul. At Engedi he entered into the cave of rock which was of so vast extent that he was able to hide himself and 3,000 men, and although Saul entered into it, while they were concealed therein, yet he did not discover them (I Sam. 24:1, etc.)

    From the security and deliverance of their people so often through the rocky regions of their coveted land the Israelites began to apply the metaphor to the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Nothing
    could have been more appropriate than esteeming Him as the Rock of their salvation. In Him they had found a refuge from the hands of their enemies. He was their Rock, His work was (and is) perfect; “a God of truth” just and right is He. (Duet. 32:4.)

    In rehearsing the wonderful work wrought through the mighty hand of their God, Moses inquires, “How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the
    Lord had shut them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” (Duet. 32:30, 31). Moses had not forgotten the God of his fathers, who in the time of the most
    decisive moment of his life, said, “My Presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest * * * Behold there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in the clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.” Ex. 33:12-23. It was while in the clift of the rock that the Lord proclaimed and revealed the meaning of His name, (Ex. 34:1, etc.) and renewed the tables of stone which had been broken in the hands of Moses.

    David’s faith in the Rock of Israel was firm. He trusted in Him alone saying, “Who is a Rock, save our God? God is my strength and power.” Unto thee will I cry, O Lord, my rock. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: LEAD ME TO THE ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I. He brought me up also out of an horrible Pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock. What a blessed thing it is to be made to stand upon a rock!

    “In the Lord, Jehovah, is the rock of Ages” (margin Isa. 26:4). He is the hope of His people. When fainting and thirsty in the “waste howling wilderness” Moses smote a rock and “water gushed out,” did eat and
    drink and were satisfied, and they did eat and drink and were satisfied, and “that Rock was Christ.” I Cor. 10:1-4. In his flesh as a man he was the “shadow of a Great Rock in a weary land,” but spiritually, “that Rock was Christ.” It is on this Rock that the Church of God is built (Matt. 16:18), and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Though rain descends, the floods come, the winds blow and beat upon it, it shall never fall for it is founded upon a rock. If we put our trust in Him, we shall be like Mount Zion which
    shall never be moved. He that believeth in Him shall have the life of the Rock of Ages.

    (The above material was published by The Voice in the Wilderness, Detroit, MI.)

    Christian Information Network

    Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSMS - Miscellaneous Bible Studies0 Comments

    Faith Worketh By Love

    BY KENNETH HAGIN JR.

     

    PITFALLS TO FAITH

    For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but FAI TH WHICH WORKETH BY LOVE.

    –Galatians 5:6

    Most people in the faith message today are not missing it in their confessions.

    They are not missing it in knowing what the Word of God says.

    They are not missing it in believing the Word.

    They are missing it by not knowing how to walk in love.

    The Lord gave me this teaching as I was praying and asking Him questions about faith people who are not getting answers to their prayers.

    Faith is the hand that takes the things we need from God. Everything Jesus purchased for us on Calvary can be obtained by faith.

    This includes salvation, healing, the fullness of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the fruit of the spirit, and victory over the world, the flesh, the devil, and all the powers of darkness. All of these things come to us by faith–but it must be faith that works by love. “Faith worketh by love . . . ‘

    Faith teaching has been strong for about 15 years now. We have been hearing faith, healing, prosperity, and all of these great truths preached from the Word of God.

    I realize that teachers sometimes overstate certain things to make a point, but we are in danger of becoming overbalanced in the area of faith. We are not getting some of the other basic teachings that should go along with having faith.

    Many people have the mistaken idea that just because you are walking the faith walk, you are never going to have any trials. They didn’t get that idea from my father, Kenneth E. Hagin, who is considered the modern-day father of faith.

    If you study his material carefully, you will discover that concept never came from him. Some people who are teaching his material are saying things he never said–things they cannot back up with the Word of God.

    One of the reasons why faith is not working for some of you, is because you do not have a full understanding of what the Word of God says. Faith that works by love will measure up to all of the standards set down in the Word of God.

    I, too, could take several Old Testament Scriptures, add some New Testament Scriptures, and “prove” that it is right to do just about anything. But that doesn’t make it right! I can create any doctrine I want by pulling Scriptures out of context–but I can’t prove this so-called doctrine if I take the preceding and following verses in context.

    Part of the love walk is being able to stand up and preach with a truth what God’s Word says, not some doctrine created from isolated Scriptures.

    For a while, because of this kind of wrong teaching, people got so much into “confession” that they couldn’t even make a statement in fun, and yet the Lord seems to have a good sense of humor! Certainly we need to be careful about our confessions, but we need to be even more careful about our daily lives.

    You see, we become so accustomed to doing certain things in the natural that we never realize these things are hindering us in the spiritual–things like losing our temper! To make faith work in our lives, we must protect ourselves in every area.

    Bible teachers say we must have faith to please God, but they casually pass over the teachings that faith works by love, and God is love.

    When I was a boy, there were a few more subjects I used to hear preached. One was the power in the blood. Another was this subject of love. All of these doctrines must fit together.

    If we are to live in line with God’s Word, we must not only be a faith child of a faith God, but we must be a love child of a love God.

    Bible teachers have left it for people to pick up this teaching themselves, but they have not. Too many Christians do not have any knowledge about walking in love. We need to understand all facets of it. The love of God needs to ooze out of us so much that when we walk into a room, people will know we are living in love!

    If we are going to make this faith house strong, we must make its foundation strong. It is time we began to teach the full Gospel, not just part of the Gospel. It is time we began to teach the love walk.

    Most people do not like to hear about the love message, and most preachers do not like to preach about it, because it is not “exciting.” It searches deep into the hearts of the listeners. Exciting messages and times of rejoicing are wonderful, but if we Christians are to mature, we must keep our feet on the ground.

    The kingdom of God has been damaged by people who have heard the faith message once and then have run off without knowing what they were doing or how to use what they had heard. Before long, they came crashing down and couldn’t understand why. Then some pastor had to try to show them from the Word where they went wrong–if they would listen.

    Similarly, when some people start studying the love message, they try to digest too much at once. They run off on a tangent with it and get it all out of proportion. This is the enemy’s way to thwart us from receiving God’s best: love. However, if taken in the proper dosage and tempered with the Spirit of God, a study of God’s love can show you the best way to live.

    (I realize I am presenting the other side of the faith message, but it is time somebody did. This will show some of you why things are not happening in your lives–things you have been confessing and believing for.)

    I’m going to make a statement here I want you to think about: You can be in the family of God, walk with God, and still not walk in the perfect law of love. (It is like being in the family of God and not walking in faith.)

    Many Christians, as Paul says, will make heaven, but they will not have any reward. Paul was referring to people who never grow in various areas of their Christian walk and never attain to a high degree of spirituality. All of our works will be tried by fire (I Cor. 3:13).

    Read about the Corinthians. Never was there a more carnal group of Christians! That is why we get so much of our teaching out of the epistles to the Corinthians; Paul had to deal with so much carnality among them.

    I’m sure if we began to be honest with ourselves and began to measure ourselves with God’s love, every one of us would have to mark a big “F” (for failure) on the top of our personal score sheet.

    Failed! Do you know why? Not because we are failing willfully, but because the Gospel has not been fully preached to us as it should have been.

    We can’t do anything about the past. That’s history. But we can change the future. As for me and my house, we are going to secure all the promises of God, because faith worketh by love.

    The kind of love I mean will take the Word in your mouth and your faith and will turn them into a steamroller for God! Nothing will be able to stand in your way–nothing whatsoever. You will roll right over obstacles. If the devil stands in your way, you will turn on the love and roll right over him, praising Jesus all the while! You will begin to see things happen.

    The Bible says demons believe and even tremble–but they never receive anything. Why? Because they don’t have any love. They are filled with hate and fear.

    Because we must have faith that works by love, it would be well for us to see how that kind of love gets started, and what its characteristics are.

    Proverbs 10:12 says, “love covereth all sin.” First Peter 4:8 says, “charity (or love) shall cover the multitude of sins.” Put these two Scriptures together, and they say, “Love covers all sins, even when there is a multitude of them.”

    Love must begin to work with the sin problem. Love will not work for you until you are born again and the love of God has covered your sins.

    Notice the phrase “the multitude of sins.” How many is a multitude? Don’t we usually use the word “multitude” when there are more elements to something than we can name?

    Think of it: This real, genuine love of God will cover, hide, and put out of sight more sins than we can even name. What a tremendous thought!

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son …. ” (John 3:16). For what? To cover our sins. That’s the first area of love. God’s love covers sin.

    Many people today are saying, “You need to confess every sin you’ve ever done.” They talk about “inner healing.” They say, “You need to go back and drag out all of the sins from your past and confess them.”

    No, you don’t! All you need to do is get the love of God to cover that multitude of your sins in the New Birth. Dragging up all your old sins will not do you any good; it will just bring condemnation on you–and you’ve got enough of that already with the sins you can remember at this moment.

    LIVING FIRST CORINTHIANS 13

    Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such as one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. –Galatians 6:1

    “Ye which are spiritual” means all of us because we are spiritual. We are the children of God. We have been covered with the blood. “Restore such an one in the spirit of MEEKNESS” (one of the fruit of the spirit) “considering thyself, lest thou also be TEMPTED.” In other words, unless you show love in some of these areas, you might be taken in by the same things.

    The first thing most people want to do when they hear of somebody being overtaken in a fault is to reach for the telephone! They don’t want to cover that fault with love and silence or restore the individual; they want to talk about him and his fault.

    Then, in the next breath, they say, “Oh, Lord, I want to confess that I have that money I need.” Well, it’s not going to work! They don’t have love working in their life–and faith works by love. If we do not operate in the fullness of love, then our faith will not operate in its fullest capacity.

    As we saw in First Peter, love covers a multitude of sins, including all those we can’t even name. Think of it: Love covers sin–and sin is the worst thing in our universe! Sin separates us from God. God’s love covers that sin.

    We learn something about His love from The Love Chapter, First Corinthians 13. (This chapter actually is part of the discourse of First Corinthians 12, 13, and 14. They are one. They should not have been divided into three chapters.)

    When you consider Chapter 13 in context, you will see that even the gifts of the Holy Spirit must be operated with love, or they become empty.

    In Chapter 13, “love” is translated “charity.” Verse 7 says “love beareth all things.” Another translation reads “love covers all things with silence.” Thus, God is saying that love not only hides the sins and evil of others; it refuses to speak of them.

    If we tell of the evil someone has done, or we criticize, judge, condemn, or murmur against him–no matter who he is or what he has done-we are proving we are not walking in love. Why? Because love covers with silence.

    Jesus showed perfect love when He forgave those who were responsible for sending Him to the cross. He prayed, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). That was love personified.

    Some people think God has given them “the gift of exposing.” Human nature is that way. Even though we know God has forgiven a person, some people never can forgive him.

    I knew a young man not long ago who was doing a tremendous job for God when somebody came into his congregation and said, “Do you know what your pastor did before he was saved?” He exposed the pastor’s past.

    The man accusing the pastor was supposed to be a good Christian. (When someone does this, I question his standing with God according to the Word.)

    How often a stupid remark from some so called Christian has caused problems for people. Without realizing it, the accuser is bringing destruction on his (or her) own head, because he is not walking in love.

    We must not let our mouths talk about people. We must cover sin and evil with a love that silences our mouths. While this God-kind of love covers the sins of others with silence, it does not cover our sins and wrongdoings with silence. We must confess them to the Father.

    God says in Proverbs 28:13 that we will not prosper if we cover our sins: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

    Frequently we put God’s plan in reverse. We want to use love to cover up our own wrongdoings, but we want to expose someone else’s. We rationalize by saying, “Oh, I’m not condemning him; I’m merely making an observation.” Then we say, “I’m confessing that the Lord is going to meet all my needs.” Well, we might as well forget about that confession and find some way to meet that need ourselves, because we just cut the lifeline between God and us. We violated the law of love.

    First Corinthians 13 also tells us that love “suffereth long, and is kind.” It “envieth not . . . vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” (v. 4). From this Scripture we are told that love works by being kind even under long, continued suffering-deep suffering brought on by someone else. I don’t mean suffering or disease brought your way by the devil; I mean suffering caused by other people. I mean remarks said about you.

    Horrible remarks are made about people when they choose to serve Christ and follow in the fullness of the Word of God. Some people are even excommunicated from their churches and communities.

    Many RHEMA students suffer long because someone they know is continually telling them how stupid they are to leave their homes and come to school. After a while, this can start to hurt.

    This is where love really has to work, because you must love those people, keep your mouth shut, endure, and be kind.

    Perhaps you will encounter the very person who was responsible for getting you kicked out of your church. Walk up to that person, smile and say, “Hello. How are you? We love all you people in the church. I just want to tell you how much we love and appreciate you.”

    Of course you would like to say, “Why don’t you keep your mouth shut? You don’t know what you’re talking about.” But that is not the love way.

    You must pray, “Lord, bless them. Lord, help them. They don’t know what they are doing. Help them because they do not understand.”

    I had to learn this myself when people said nasty things against my father’s ministry–the ministry I am tied to by my very birth. They even have called it a “faith cult.”

    Now, it is difficult enough for me to say, “Lord, forgive them” when people take verbal shots at me, but when they start accusing my family, that’s another story. It is very difficult to “suffer long” when things are said against my father. I know he has done what God asked him to do through the years, and he has done without many material comforts because he would not compromise.

    I have learned that if I am to maintain any kind of faith walk, I must put down my carnal nature. The secret is letting the love of God work within my spirit.

    Yes, slanderous remarks are hurtful, and if you are not careful, you will cut off the people who said them about you. If you see them at a convention, you manage to be busy talking to somebody else. When they start walking in your direction, you conveniently have to stop in the bookstore, or you conveniently see somebody you think you know across the auditorium–and you take off between the seats to get out of the aisle they’re coming down. Love does not do that.

    One of the hardest things I ever had to do was stand in an exhibition hall and talk to a young minister who had made hurtful remarks about me.

    When I was getting started in the ministry, this young minister would hardly speak to me. Now he was inviting me to come and preach in his big church.

    It would have been so easy to have told him off, but the next week my pocketbook would have suffered. I live by faith. I am responsible for believing for the operating expenses of RHEMA Bible Training Center (I have many others believing with me, too). I know that if I start walking out of love, my faith will be hindered. It will not operate to its fullest capacity.

    I can make all the confessions I want to. I can quote the Bible day and night. I can fast and pray-and I still won’t get anything if I’m walking out of love!

    The Word of God says faith worketh by love. If we’re not walking in love, our faith won’t work!

    As we study the fruit of the spirit, we find that we cannot have any of the fruit of the spirit in operation until we have love. I think this is the reason love is listed first in Galatians 5:22. It is the foundation on which the rest of the fruit of the spirit rests.

    When “faith people” wake up and start checking all areas of their lives, they will find certain areas in which they are not really walking in Love–and these areas are hindering their faith from operating to its fullest capacity. Love envieth not…. Love does not desire position, honor, power, benefits, favor, esteem, or blessings that others have. Love is more interested in what it can do to help others get more than what it has itself.

    When you begin to operate in this realm of love, you cannot help but receive for yourself. When you are involved in helping somebody else, you automatically will be promoted, because promotion comes from God. It is just like when you come into God’s law of prosperity. According to the Word of God, it happens for you.

    The kind of love I’m talking about does not get upset when other people get good things–it gets excited. It rejoices. (I realize that when you start teaching like this, the world thinks you are crazy, but that is the kind of love we must have if our faith is to work.)

    Love is not puffed up…. Love does not think more highly of itself than it should. It doesn’t think, “Why did the pastor put him (or her) in that position? I’ve been around longer than he has. I’ve got more gifts of the Spirit in operation than he does. I don’t understand it. I’ve got better ideas than he does.”

    No, love does not think “I know more.” Love says, “I’ll get behind this person and work. Even though I know more than he does, I’ll feed him ideas and make him look good, because I know things that will help this group grow.” (The problem with human nature is that people don’t want to share their ideas because they want to get all the credit themselves.)

    The charismatic movement today has more problems in this area of love than any other. I’m talking about pure love–the love of God–not somebody’s thought-up doctrine. I’m talking about the kind of love outlined in Philippians 2:3,4, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

    I have never seen this kind of pure love work in discipleship (submission) groups, because there always are several persons who are considered better than everybody else.

    Yes, we must have leaders in the Body of Christ, but we must “submit one to another” (Eph. 5:21) in love. We must not esteem one person better than another, and we must not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. This can bring us down in a hurry. Many people have been brought low because of this.

    Some people have lost everything they had. People have said, “The Lord had to take it all away from them so He could work out something in their life.” No, that is not what happened. The reason they lost it is because they didn’t know how to love, and this opened the door for the devil. He came in and wrought havoc in their life. God didn’t have a thing to do with it. He could not keep the devil from destroying them, because they were not walking in love.

    Love seeketh not her own ….

    Romans 12:10 tells us, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another.” When we get so busy preferring everybody else and unselfishly helping them obtain blessings that we forget about ourselves, that’s when we will find honor, success, and promotion for ourself.

    Many ministers would like to preach in one of our large seminars or Campmeetings. It is worthwhile to check the histories of those who do. You will find they have been interested in helping others succeed–sometimes at the expense of their own ministry.

    Other people have gotten started because of my Dad’s ministry. They’ll even admit it. They have preached his sermons almost verbatim from his tapes. Ken Copeland did. John Osteen followed Dad around the country for six or seven months and then got up and preached his sermons. I’ve done it. (And if you’ve got any sense, you’ll do it!)

    Dad just says, “Bless God, more power to them. If they can preach it better than I can, that’s great.” In honor preferring one another ….

    Somebody once asked me what the secret of my father’s success was. I replied, “One of the secrets of Kenneth E. Hagin’s success is that he walks in perfect love.

    “He is not afraid to prefer his brother before himself. He is not afraid of another person’s ministry. And I’m not talking about a little ministry that is just getting started; I’m talking about well-known ministries.

    “He is not afraid to sit down, take the back seat, and let another minister take his own service.

    “This is the faith that works by love!”

    I have been in services where the Spirit of God started to move on someone and the scheduled speaker got nervous. He didn’t want anyone to disturb “his” service. He said, “This is MY meeting, bless God, and nobody is going to get up on that platform but ME!”

    This quenched the Spirit. The speaker’s message went over like the proverbial lead balloon. Love seeketh not her own ….

    It is all too easy to seek your own and strike out at people. It’s easy on the job sometimes to step on somebody else to get a promotion. Sometimes it’s easy to make another person look bad. It’s easy to say, “Hey, foreman, look at what I’ve done!” Love seeketh not her own ….

    It’s easy to do this with God, too. “Now, Father, you know all the things I’ve been doing for You. I drove 100 miles this week just teaching prayer groups. You know I’ve been giving so much time and money.” Without realizing it, you are saying, “It’s time You did something for me.” But love does not seek her own. Love is interested in helping.

    Love is not easily provoked …. That means love does not get angry easily. Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” The words “offend” and “provoke” are interchangeable.

    Love is not easily provoked even when people say, “The reason Hagin is going to work for his Daddy is because he hasn’t got any other place to go.” Is not easily provoked!

    Love responds, “Lord, help them. They don’t understand what they’re doing. Forgive them, because they are putting themselves in jeopardy.”

    When I was active in high school sports, our coaches quickly found out just what to say to motivate each fellow on the team.

    They knew they could easily provoke me by telling me I was a fair player, but I could not surpass my opponents. They would say, “Now, Hagin, you are going to have to do the best you can. Try to hold your own. There is no way you can overtake them.”

    When I was running, the track coach used to do that all the time, and when I was playing wide receiver, the football coach used to tell me I could not beat some of the defensive backs. I would be so provoked that when I got to the game, I guarantee you, I was going to show them all!

    The devil, too, knows how to get us provoked. We even think we’re being spiritual. We say, “Bless God, I’m going out there and I’m going to do such-and-such.” That is not the spirit of meekness or gentleness. How are you going to have meekness or gentleness if you don’t have love?

    Love thinketh no evil …. Love covers evil with silence and will not speak of it. It refuses to think about it. Sometimes you can’t help what you overhear–but you can refuse to repeat it or think about it. Cast it out of your mind. Love thinks on the truth, the good, the lovely.

    My father-in-law tells a story about a man who never said anything bad about anybody in his whole life. He just wouldn’t.

    Then the worst man in the community died.

    There wasn’t anything good about him at all. He was mean, and he had lived the worst life of anybody.

    Everybody was standing around the casket waiting for this first man to come by. What would he say about the deceased?

    Finally he came. He stood and stood and looked and looked.

    The others couldn’t stand it any longer. “Well, what do you think?” they asked anxiously.

    He gazed into the casket. Finally he looked up and said, “Well, he had pretty teeth, didn’t he?”

    He had found something good to talk about! If you have to stand there until you can find something good to say about somebody, do it. Even if it’s nothing more than, “They have a nice part in their hair,” or “Their glasses are very becoming.” Say something good.

    Paul talks about this in Philippians.

    PHILIPPIANS 4:8

    8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest. Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    Do not entertain bad thoughts about anybody. It will hinder your love, and this will hinder your faith–and this will keep you from receiving what you need from God.

    Love endureth all things…. What does “endure” mean in this case? It means to go through all kinds of trying, hurtful, evil, slanderous experiences calmly, sweetly, silently, lovingly, uncomplainingly, as if they weren’t happening.

    “Endureth all things” means putting up with just about anything. Did you ever realize how much a pastor has to endure? He has to put up with all of you who sit in the congregation–and all of you have your own little idiosyncrasies.

    Some of the worst things that have ever happened to a person have not been to be shot with a gun, hit with a fist, or cut with a knife. They have been the result of the long tongue of other Christians!

    The same individuals who take their tongue and cut somebody to ribbons will come to church the next night, get up, and testify about how much they love God. Then they will quote the Word of God and say, “My God shall supply all my needs. By His stripes I am healed.”

    They will make all the right confessions and wonder why no money comes in and why sickness stays with them.

    It’s very simple. They are not walking in love. And when you are not walking in love, the law of faith is not going to work for you.

    Do you want perfect faith? Learn to walk in love. When you begin to walk the love walk, your faith will be perfected.

    Do you want guaranteed answers to your prayers? Learn to walk in love.

    God is love. He has imparted His love to us. If we learn how to operate in the law of love, the law of faith will work in us, because faith worketh by love. (The law of faith will not work in us until we operate in the law of love.)

    My faith works because I have love. I do not have love because I have faith–it’s the other way around. I have faith because I have love. This is the kind of faith God has. This is the kind of faith that will avail.

    Yes, making confessions of faith is good we’ve got to do that–but if you stop and find out where you can love more, you will begin to see your faith work more.

    Find a place to start showing love. That means more than just giving someone a hug. It may mean helping some bum in the gutter. That’s the way love is. Instead of trying to get love all the time, love gives.

    I look around to see how I can help someone obtain something they need. Faith works by love, and as I make my love work, my faith will bring me more and more.

    Sometimes we get so excited about faith that we act in presumption instead of real faith. Faith that is not founded on a good foundation always will act in presumption. Faith founded on the Word of God always will act in line with God’s Word and will not do anything foolish.

     

    DREAM FAITH DREAMS!

    The God-kind of faith–the “possibility faith” I describe in my book by this title–is tempered by love.

    You can’t do anything without love. The gifts of the Spirit will not operate properly if you don’t have love. You will not have faith enough to combat Satan if you don’t have love.

    But when you get this kind of love, you will not be content to be mediocre, stay in a corner, and barely make it to heaven. You will be a success even when you are not trying to be!

    Think of all the marvelous, blessed things God has prepared for us! We could sit and dream and dream and dream of them.

    Dream faith dreams! When you put the love of God to work with your faith and your confession, you will watch those dreams turn into spiritual realities!

    Can you afford not to walk the love walk? Can you afford to hold one bit of malice? Can you afford not to love your neighbor as yourself? Can you afford not to have self-love?

    Did you know that you cannot love other people until you love yourself? God said you must love your neighbor as yourself. People protest, “Oh, I don’t want to be arrogant. We’re supposed to be humble!” There is a difference between being arrogant and loving yourself–a great deal of difference. You can be arrogant and still not think much of yourself.

    You should know who you are in Christ, what you are in Christ, and what you have because of Christ. If you know these things, then you know that believers are kings who sit in heavenly places with Christ. That will give you a good self-image!

    Do you know what is wrong with many marriages? Two people who can’t even love themselves are trying to love one another. How can they love their mate if they can’t love themselves?

    Jesus showed ultimate love when He took a piece of bread at the Last Supper, dipped it into the common dish, and fed it to Judas with His very fingers (John 13:26)–knowing all the while that this man was betraying Him! That is love. According to the custom of their day, the highest act of love one could perform was to feed bread like this with your own fingers to a friend.

    Another demonstration of Jesus’ love is seen in Matthew 23:37, when He wept over Jerusalem, the city that had persecuted Him more than any other–the city He loved more than any other.

    Notice how Jesus honored Peter, who had lost his nerve and denied knowing Jesus. Jesus distinguished Peter from the other disciples in the message the angel delivered (Mark 16:7): “Go your way, tell his disciples AND PETER …. ” That is love.

    We as Christians are called to love the unlovely. Most of us, however, want the unlovely to straighten up first. THEN we are willing to help them. But it isn’t going to work that way.

    This God-kind of love will spill over into your job, your school, and every other aspect of your life. Not only will you reap spiritual benefits; you will reap natural benefits you’ve never thought possible. Your fellow employees will think you are one of the most wonderful people in the world, and they will see to it that you get the benefits and promotions you deserve.

    Yes, when you get your life and your actions lined up with the Word of God and you place a strong guard on your tongue, you soon will find the love walk becoming automatic.

    When someone provokes you and you feel that old nature start to rise up inside of you, you will find yourself saying, “Praise the Lord. I love you.” You will find yourself growing spiritually.

    You will wake up one morning and find that good things are happening to you. Promotions are coming. The money you need is coming. Everything you need is coming to you.

    Then it will dawn on you that while you are walking the love walk, you are not having to make all these good things happen–they are happening automatically as you walk in love.

    Your faith is strong, and faith worketh by love–God’s love–that love that covers everything.

    This is the way to perfection in Jesus Christ.

     

    About the Author

    Kenneth Hagin Jr., Executive Vice-President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries and Pastor of RHEMA Bible Church, writes from a rich and diversified background of more than thirty years in the ministry.

    Rev. Hagin attended Southwestern Assemblies of God College and Oral Roberts University, graduating with a degree in religious education.

    After serving as an associate pastor, Rev. Hagin traveled as an evangelist throughout the United States and abroad and was responsible for organizing RHEMA Bible Training Center, a school which equips men and women for the ministry.

    In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities at RHEMA, Rev. Hagin is senior pastor of RHEMA Bible Church, a large and thriving congregation on the RHEMA campus. He is also International Director of RHEMA Ministerial Association International and has a weekly radio program, “RHEMA Radio Church,” which is heard on stations throughout the United States.

     

    THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY KENNETH HAGIN MINISTRIES, INC. 1979, PAGES 1-32. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

    Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSLV - Love Of God0 Comments

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