Vision Without Glasses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are serious about growing your faith, then you need to read certain books designed to do that very thing.

It is important that you read the Bible, since that contains the essence, the bedrock of truth for your faith. However, understanding that book can be difficult. That's where external sources come into play.

I've selected certain books that have played an important part in the development of my faith and the faith of many thousands of others. Choose one or more of them. And realize that a portion of the proceeds of all books purchased from us go towards missions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer is an essential for the Christian who wants to grow his or her faith. Below are some choice selections for your reading that will hone your skills and motivate you to pray, and best of all, teach you how to pray effectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by


Voyle A. Glover

[If you are serious about having more faith, in growing your faith, you'll read
this entire piece slowly and take notes.  In order to grow faith, one
must begin by a careful examination of the Scriptures.
This little study will help you begin your study in
building, maintaining and growing your faith.]

Most humans have within them a desire to achieve, to succeed. Ted Turner certainly is an excellent example of someone driven to achieve, to succeed. His story is pretty incredible on the human level of achievement. He had some ideas about news broadcasting. He took those ideas, placed them at work in the marketplace and in a few short years had the most successful news organization on the face of the entire planet.

We've all seen folks who have undertaken some monumental task in life and managed, against all odds, to achieve a successful resolution or has risen from some insignificant level of impact on others to a level that impacts hundreds or thousands of lives. And when we've seen or heard these stories, we've said (to ourselves), "Wish I could do that." Or, "I could never do that...but I wish I could."

I don't know of a single person who calls him or herself a Christian who doesn't want greater faith. In a room of ten thousand Christians, I believe that if you asked every Christian there who wants to increase his or her faith to raise a hand, there would be ten thousand hands raised. Who wouldn't want greater faith?

The really sad thing is that out of those ten thousand Christians, probably not a dozen will actually see their faith grow significantly. Most will live stunted lives, faith small, works minuscule and goals lofty. I say "goals lofty" because most of us have lofty goals. We all want to be achievers. We all want to do great things. Every Christian wants to be a great man or woman of faith. But few will make it.

If you follow along, I can show you how you can build your faith, how you can become a Christian man or woman of faith. (Notice I did not say "to become a great Christian.")

It is a simple matter in one respect, but I must tell you also that it is a thing that is hid to most. Indeed, I fully recognize that many will read this and will not discern the truths given here, will not comprehend spiritually, though they may nod assent intellectually. Spiritual truths are for those who are spiritual. God opens eyes as He will and reveals to each of us as He chooses. I know that some of you reading this will "see" some truths you've not seen before. Some of you will understand what you read.

But some of you will, though you agree with every truth given, really not understand it. You will not have that sudden insight, that flicker of comprehension that comes from deep within and which grasps your mind and heart and soul suddenly and will not release you. You won't have that experience.

You won't have that experience for a variety of reasons: (1) You are not a spiritual person; and/or (2) You aren't hungry for God, for His ways and His leading. To you, I can only say this: If you would be a man or woman of faith, you must first come to know the Giver of faith.

You must come to that point in your life when you accept and believe the following: that the sacrificial blood offerings of animals for sin which was practiced by the Hebrew religion for thousands of years and which was mandated by God, culminated in a sacrificial blood offering of a man, a perfect man, a Hebrew man, offered up for the sins of all mankind, once and for all and for all time. That man, that "lamb of God," was and is Jesus, called the Messiah, the Christ. It is this Messiah to Whom you must now look for faith, for faith unto salvation. It is this Christ to Whom you must turn, from your sin and to holiness, to salvation. As it is written: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9.

If you do not cross this "river," you shall never enter the "promised land." And I assure you, this "crossing" is one of faith. It is not an intellectual venture. You do not gain the other side by wisdom, nor knowledge, nor understanding, nor status, nor riches, nor poverty, nor works of great goodness and virtue. It is by faith alone. It is no less a miraculous crossing than was the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites. It is a crossing made possible by the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. Nothing else can get you into the kingdom of heaven. Nothing else can gain you the favor of God. Nothing else can make it possible for you to escape the wrath of God, for make no mistake, God is angry every day with the wicked, and will punish those who have rejected Him and have counted as nothing His great sacrifice.

Before I move on to those of you who are professing Christians, let me finish one thing for those of you who may be reading this and who have never crossed that river of faith into the land of salvation. You have, no doubt, heard of the cross, heard of Jesus Christ, and have heard the story of the execution of Jesus Christ on that cross. But I doubt you have really heard the true story. I doubt most of you have considered it from a perspective that is somewhat unearthly. You've looked at it from a human perspective. And I cannot blame you, for many if not most Christians look on the cross and the work done there from a human perspective, never quite comprehending the magnitude of that event. The Jew has yet to begin to comprehend it.

Here is just a sliver of a different perspective for you.

Consider this story. A man, a good man who had a family, came to another country. Once there, he settled in and began to work. Among other things he did, this man made repairs to some of the many dikes in the land. You see, this was a land surrounded by water and which required much upkeep and maintenance of those dikes. This good man worked doing the repairs for some years and one day, he noticed a particular dike in which the foundation was crumbling. He immediately brought it to the attention some of the others in the dike repair business. It was his considered opinion that unless another dike were built behind this one, that one day the present dike would completely collapse and many would perish. He also noted that the location of the dike was built upon a shale ledge that was eroding. It should have been built further inland on more stable ground.

Soon, his story came to the attention of leaders of the maintenance of the dikes. They looked at it and discussed it amongst themselves. But they could not agree. Some said the good man might be right, others were not sure. They discussed the costs. And then they discussed the fact that the people would be greatly upset if they were taxed for such a large undertaking when there had been, for many long years now, such a lauding of the current dike and its workmanship. Indeed, some of the builders and architects of the current dike were now leaders.

Soon they decided that this man's talk had to be stopped. They could not afford to admit that they'd been wrong in building the current dike in the wrong place. So they began a campaign against him, to destroy his credibility. Soon whispers began about the man. They spoke in quiet tones of bad things he did on the job. Stories were circulated around that his work was shoddy. They told other stories about him and his family. One story was told about how he cheated on his wife. Another story told of his having to leave this other country because he murdered a man. None of these stories were true. And then a story came out that was too devastating, too venomous, too heinous to simply ignore. A woman came forward and said that this man had attacked her child in a brutal fashion and had slain the child, hiding the child in a large repair near one of the dikes where the good man had worked previously, though he said he'd never made any repairs in that region and others who'd oft worked with him, agreed he had not worked there. But by now, no one was willing to listen for the truth. There were not interested in the truth.

A group of folk came to the repair and began digging. Soon, they uncovered bones and some clothing. They dug out the remains of what appeared to be a child.

The man was found guilty and sentenced to die. After the trial, the man's wife came to him and spat in his face, telling him many terrible things that broke his heart. The man's father came to him and in a ritual peculiar to his heritage, slapped his son across the face twice, spoke loudly the word: "Disowned!" turned his back on the son and marched off, ignoring the son's pleas and tearful cries.

The man was hanged in a public square.

And in the third year, the dike burst and the entire valley was submerged in deep, dark waters and virtually everyone perished, save those who'd believed the story of the good man and had moved from the valley.

Think just a moment with me. The man endured criticism. He endured loss of reputation. He was falsely accused of doing things that were beyond his character, beyond his nature. The heartache was certainly great. But this was nothing compared to his own wife deserting him. And then, the disowning of his father was a blow that one can only imagine. His own father believed the lies about him. His own father believed he was all those things. How could this be? Do you not think that this man went to the gallows with a heart broken, and with his mind careening with pain and anguish? Death was surely welcomed by this man.

This is the story of Jesus.

You see, when man rebelled and ignored the commands of God, because of that sin, the righteousness of God demanded a sacrifice, a blood sacrifice, for sin. It was decreed from the beginning, from the days of Adam, that a blood sacrifice was required for sin. But the blood of goats and calves was not sufficient. These sacrifices were but a prelude, a teacher to educate mankind, particularly the Jew, of the need for a blood sacrifice. And every Jew knew that God demanded always, from them, their best. God wanted a lamb without blemish, not the spotted ones, not the ones with disease, not the halt or the lame. God wanted a perfect lamb. He was establishing a pattern for the sacrifice to come. His message to the Jew was: In order to satisfy my perfect demand for justice, you must offer me perfection.

And so it was, that God had to come Himself, down to earth, to be that perfect Lamb, to be that perfect sacrifice. God became human. Jesus became that lamb of God without spot or blemish.

But wait. Do you understand that when Jesus hung on the cross, Jesus became, in the eyes of God, guilty of every sin of every man, and that these sins were laid on Jesus Christ, by God. He became the blood offering. He became sin, as it is written:"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." - 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Can you imagine the pain, the anguish, the torment and the terror that must have entered into the heart and mind of Jesus at this? He comprehended it, for in the prelude prior to the cross, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed the following, strange, but poignant words: "And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." -Matt. 26:39. And then again, for the second time, Jesus, in great anguish of soul, prays once more: "He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." -Matt 26:42

Do you think that Jesus was shrinking from the physical agony he was about to face? Hardly. Oh, that is not to say he was not apprehensive about it. The flesh would naturally shrink from being tortured. But many, many men and women have approached death as bad and even worse than the physical death confronting Jesus and walked to it unafraid, bold, their head held high. One need only read of the saints in Foxe's Book of Christian Martyrs to know this. So Jesus was not shrinking from the physical pain and suffering. He was shrinking from the agony of becoming sin in the eyes of His Father.

Jesus Christ became sin in the eyes of God. Listen to the words of Jesus when God, who cannot look upon sin, turned His back on His Son. Hear the cry of Jesus on this event: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" -Matt 27:46

This was the great pain, the great anguish. It is the cry of an innocent man who has been accused of the most horrible crimes imaginable and the accusations were taken as true by his own father. God the Father accepted Jesus as becoming guilty of all those crimes, of all those sins. God the Father accepted the Lamb without blemish. And in that instant of time, several monumental events occurred. First of all, God the Father turned away from Jesus, called the Christ. And Jesus cried out in agony because of it. But, it was necessary for a blood sacrifice, a perfect "lamb" be offered.

The Jewish Bible predicted this event with stunning accuracy. Listen and realize this was written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus:

(Book of Isaiah 53) "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? {2} For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. {3} He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. {4} Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. {5} But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. {6} All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. {7} He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. {8} He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. {9} And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. {10} Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. {11} He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. {12} Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

Listen to what the scriptures say in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 9 & 10:

7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

CHAPTER 10

1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
--Hebrews 9:7-28 & 10:1-14

So I say to you who read this missive and who are without faith:

This is the first step to growing faith.

For some of you it will be a stumbling block, as it is written: "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." --1 Peter 2:6-8.

But, if you do not take the first step, if you don't accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, then you cannot grow your faith.

You've stumbled.

GROWING FAITH FOR THE CHRISTIAN

REALIZE THAT IT IS A PROCESS

Faith for the Christian is a process. There are no "magic bullets" wherein suddenly you become this giant of faith. As a tender plant grows in the ground and matures, and eventually bears fruit, even so the Christian begins his or her new life with a measure of faith that may, at times, be extraordinary, nevertheless, it is not a mature, steady and resolute faith. Such faith does not come in a night.

Moses had the faith of a giant. But, not in the beginning. At the first, even though he saw the evidence of God in the burning bush, even though Moses heard the voice of God, and even though Moses saw miracles at the hand of God, Moses did not trust that God could be with his mouth.

He wanted someone else to do the talking. As he said to God: "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. {11} And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? {12} Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. {13} And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. {14} And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. {15} And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do." Exodus 4:10-15.

Moses didn't comprehend at that time, that God was ALL powerful, even able to overcome his slowness of tongue. Moses did not understand that all of his accomplishments depended upon God, not Moses, nor Moses' ability to speak well. Moses didn't have enough faith that God was able to overcome his weakness.

And some of us are the same. We don't have faith enough in God to believe He can overcome our weakness and use us in spite of ourselves, in spite of our weaknesses.

FAITH GROWING IS A SPIRITUAL PROCESS

The Bible says faith "cometh by hearing and hearing, by the Word of God." -Romans 10:17.

This means that one must be able to "hear" before they can have faith. Hear what? The Word of God. It is the Word of God that enables one to "hear" spiritually, and it is the hearing of the Word of God that brings faith. Thus, a new Christian is a fool if he or she does not immerse him or herself in the Bible. The Bible is food for the Christian. It is food that will cause one to grow in grace, in faith and will cause one to understand the things of God. You see, the more you learn about God and about how He operates, the more you learn of the principles of God, then the greater will be your faith. So, the Word of God is an absolute starting point.

Look at it logically for a moment: (1) One must first be able to "hear" before one gets faith; and (2) One cannot "hear" except by the Word of God; and (3) only after one "hears" the Word of God, does one get faith; and (4) in conclusion, if one does not listen to the Word of God, does not read it, does not receive it, one will not have faith, because that one has not "heard" the Word of God. It's that simple.

FAITH GROWN BY EXPERIENCING ADVERSITY

But faith, once begun, can be grown in a number of ways. Faith can come with adversity. Peter talked about a "trial of faith" wherein one is made stronger by the test, the trial of one's faith. The Bible teaches that we must endure tribulations and troubles with patience, and that our faith must remain sure and strong. One of my favorite stories is about the three Hebrew children who faced a white hot fire that was so terribly hot that the heat it radiated killed the guards who threw them into the furnace. But, I love what they told the king just before they were thrown into the furnace. " Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." --Daniel 3:16-18

You see, these three young men knew they were in the hands of THE KING and not the king. They knew who had the REAL power. And, they were not confident that God would deliver them from death in the furnace. Instead, they were confident that God would do whatever God wanted to do, and the furnace was no big deal to God. In other words, their faith went something like this: We belong to God. We are his children. He has all power. He knows about our plight. He hears prayer. He has heard our prayers. We cannot betray God. If we must exit this life, then that is the will of God, and that is a good thing. We are therefore happy to surrender to the will of God in this matter.

It is not a fatalistic view of life. It is an acknowledgment of Who is really in charge of one's life. If God is in charge, then we can rest comfortably that God will do with our lives as He will. Our bodies belong to God. As it is written: "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's". --1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

FAITH GROWS BY KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING

There once was a farmer who lived in a valley and who came upon a little book. In that book, he discovered a very interesting piece of information. The writing said: "When you hear the scream of the wind coming through the split rocks in the pass reach a level where you can hear the sound even with your door shut, then know that terrible hail will soon follow. You must put your lifestock in shelter and your goods and your family."

Soon after, he heard the winds and did as the little book had instructed. In the valley, most of the animals perished on the other farms. This farmer has saved his animals and managed to save some of his crops by erecting huge sheets propped up to deflect the hail. All were amazed that he'd been able to do this. He told them of the little book. Thereafter, all in the valley paid heed to the instructions that had been written a hundred years before by someone who had learned the secret of the screaming wind.

If you come to understand certain things about God, and the way He works, and of some of His attributes, then your faith will grow. For example, if you come to understand about the faithfulness of God, you will begin to rely on that faithfulness. Your faith has grown by knowledge of one of God's attributes: faithfulness.

If you understand that God cannot lie, this also will be a piece of knowledge that will grow your faith because you will read the Word of God differently. You will read His promises with the knowledge that God is not just faithful, but if He made a promise, He is unable to break that promise. He cannot lie.

There are many, many other important pieces of knowledge that can only be found in the Bible. This is why it is vital to your spiritual growth of faith to read the Word of God. If a Christian does not regularly read and study the Bible, he or she will not grow very much in their faith.

YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN BUT BOUGHT WITH A PRICE

This is such a foundational piece of knowledge for the Christian. So many Christians do not understand its implications.

Suppose you owned a diamond worth ten millions dollars. What would you do with it? Would you leave it unattended? Would you permit it to be stolen? Would you guard it? Would you take steps to insure that it remained in your possession?

Of course you would.

Why then do we think God would do any different?

Listen to these words again: "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? {20} For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

So what was that price? What was the payment? "Oh, that was the death of Jesus," you say.

Well, simply put, yes, but it was far more than that. Far more.

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; {19} But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:" 1 Peter 1:18-19.

Think about it. A perfect, sinless man, in whom there was no blame, was placed on an altar of wood formed into a cross and there offered before the Jews and before God. And God accepted that offering made by Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God; and thus this perfect being was made to be sin in the eyes of God. Jesus became guilty of the vilest of sins done on the face of the earth. It was this moment from which Jesus shrank when he was in the Garden praying and asked the Father if it were possible, for Him to take this cup from him. Jesus did not want to become sin. It was a thought too extraordinarily heinous to contemplate, to know that in the eyes of God the Father, he would be guilty of sins which he did not commit.

But Jesus knew it had to be so.

And so, Jesus prayed that not his will be done, but the will of The Father be done.

And, while on the cross, Jesus, being in great agony of mind and body and spirit, the hour he dreaded came upon him: the hour in which the Father turned away from Jesus because God could not look upon sin."And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Mark 15:34.

Tell me, Christian, are you precious in God's sight?

How precious?

You cannot calculate the value.

If you are so precious then, I return to my earlier query: Would you lose a precious diamond? Would God ever lose one so precious as you? Would you guard a precious diamond? Would God guard someone as valuable as you? Would you take steps and measures to insure that your precious diamond was safe from being stolen? Would God take steps and measures to insure that you are not stolen?

Absolutely.  "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29)My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. (30) I and my Father are one." John 10:28-30.

So, who or what do you think is more powerful than God? Who is able to take you from God's hand? Jesus paid an incalculable price for your soul. You are precious in His sight. You are so valuable, God has not entrusted your salvation, your soul, to anyone but Himself. He doesn't even trust you to keep it!

FAITH GROWS BY EXPERIENCE

I used to spend hours at the pool diving when I was a youngster. Eventually, I got to where I was pretty good. My experience in the pool and on the board had grown my confidence in my abilities to do certain things. I knew what I could do. I knew by experience, I could do certain things.

As a Christian, you will know by experience, certain things. You will learn God's deliverance at times. You will by experience come to know God's mercy and God's tenderness. God will also teach you, by experience, His discipline upon you. Thus, your faith will grow as you experience chastening from the Lord.

David spoke of this rather eloquently. Listen to the story when he is explaining to King Saul why he can defeat the giant, Goliath: "And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. {33} And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. {34} And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: {35} And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. {36} Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. {37} David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee." 1 Samuel 17:32-37.

Now, if you got nothing else from that little story, you should have gotten the idea that David had confidence in God. But why? Clearly, from his experiences with God. David knew what it was like to be delivered by God and to be strengthened by God and to be made fearless by God. David saw that God could be trusted. He was made more confident in his faith by his experiences with God.

And so will you...provided you step out in faith. He that comes to God must come in faith. You can't come with a double mind. You can't come with a faithless heart.

FAITH COMES WITH PRAYER

"Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. {3} Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." James 4:2-3.

If you don't ask, you won't get. And why do you want more faith? Is it to be a "great Christian?" Not likely a prayer God will answer. That's prideful. Is it to do great works for God?  Is it to have a reputation? Is it to be known as a great warrior for God? Again, you ask amiss.

Ask to glorify God. Ask that Jesus will be lifted up. Ask that God's purposes in your life shall be accomplished. Ask to be enabled to walk with God and glorify Him with your life.

"Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established." Proverbs 16:3.

Are you having trouble thinking about how to ask or what to ask? Commit thy works unto the Lord. In other words, commit, commit, commit yourself, your life, your mind, your body, your soul, all that you are, commit to the Lord. As it is written:"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1-2.

MORE FAITH IS SOMETHING YOU CAN ASK FOR

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13.

Be strong how? Physically? Hardly. That verse is talking about faith. Strong faith.

Listen to what Paul said about weakness.

"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. {8} For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. {9} And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. {10} Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

Do you comprehend the significance of those verses? Do you understand that Paul is here talking about something in his flesh that actually weakened him? It made him, in his mind, less effective for God. He did not comprehend that God had to weaken his flesh [so the flesh would not get in the way, nor claim the glory]. Once he understood, he became elated that he was weakened. He gloried in it, for he understood that it was because of that weakness that the power of God was upon him and he understood that so long as he was weak, he would be strong {in faith} and in the power of God.

You see, when we can do it ourselves, we are not likely to depend on God. You doubt? Ok, let me ask those of you who have a full refrigerator and a healthy bank account, whether you opened the fridge today and said: "Oh God, please give me something to eat! Oh God, please supply my needs for today. Give me bread today, Lord!" Pray that prayer, did you? No?

I didn't think so.

We are too self sufficient. We have abundance. We don't need God to supply our daily bread so we don't pray that prayer. My point is the same one God made to Paul: Our weakness causes us to be strong, brings us to God in faith, crying out for strength and help from above.

IF STRONGER FAITH IS GOD'S WILL, WHAT PREVENTS US FROM HAVING IT?

The answer is simple: no confidence in God. Or, if we have confidence in God, we lack confidence in ourselves. And that is a bizarre position to take. But, too many Christians take it. They fail to realize that there is only one way they can get to God, and it does not depend upon their righteousness nor their good deeds. One verse in the entire Bible lays the perfect foundation to your entry, your qualification for coming before God.

Listen: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus," Hebrews 10:19.

Did you get it? You can enter into the holy of holies, right into the presence of God, "by the blood of Jesus." That's it. No other way. Nothing else qualifies. God does not hear you because you're a good man or woman. God does not hear you because of your good deeds. He hears you because God always hears the prayer of the righteous. And you are righteous. Why are you righteous?

"For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. {4} For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Romans 10:3-4.

You are made righteous by faith in Christ, in His finished work. You are a work of righteousness. And thus, God hears your prayer for it is the blood of Christ that was sprinkled on the altar which cleanseth your soul and makes you acceptable and justified and perfect before God.

So then, if you can come to God, and you can, why should you come?

Well, of course as has already been mentioned, if you don't ask, you don't get. But you should come because you are commanded to come to God:

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16.

So what's your need?

More faith? Stronger faith?

Well, hear this:

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: {15} And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." 1 John 5:14-15.

Is it God's will you have a stronger faith? Does God want your faith to grow?

Of course it is God's will that your faith grow!

Then ask for it. And ask believing.

God cannot lie.

***

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Facts of Interest - Writing a paper and need some good quotes? Here's a growing collection of direct quotes and factual summaries from a variety of popular books, and some books that haven't been read by many...but should.


 

copyright Voyle Glover 1997