OBSTINATE FAITH

“And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon a heap.” (Joshua 3:13).

Brave Levites! Who can help admiring them, to carry the Ark right into the stream; for the waters were not divided till their feet dipped in the water (ver. 15). God had not promised aught else. God honors faith. “Obstinate faith,” that the PROMISE sees and “looks to that alone.” You can fancy how the people would watch these holy men march on, and some of the bystanders would be saying, “You would not catch me running that risk! Why, man, the ark will be carried away!” Not so; “the priests stood firm on dry ground.” We must not overlook the fact that faith on our part helps God to carry out His plans. “Come up to the help of the Lord.”

The Ark had staves for the shoulders. Even the Ark did not move of itself; it was carried. When God is the architect, men are the masons and laborers. Faith assists God. It can stop the mouth of lions and quench the violence of fire. It yet honors God, and God honors it. Oh, for this faith that will go on, leaving God to fulfill His promise when He sees fit! Fellow Levites, let us shoulder our load, and do not let us look as if we were carrying God’s coffin. It is the Ark of the living God! Sing as you march towards the flood! Archbishop Dick

One of the special marks of the Holy Ghost in the Apostolic Church was the spirit of boldness. One of the most essential qualities of the faith that is to attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God, is holy audacity. Where we are dealing with a supernatural Being, and taking from Him things that are humanly impossible, it is easier to take much than little; it is easier to stand in a place of audacious trust than in a place of cautious, timid clinging to the shore.

Like wise seamen in the life of faith, let us launch out into the deep, and find that all things are possible with God, and all things are possible unto him that believeth.

Let us, today, attempt great things for God; take His faith and believe for them and His strength to accomplish them. –Days of Heaven upon Earth

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RECEIVE ALL HE HAS FOR YOU

“Look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it” (Gen. 13:14-15).

No instinct can be put in you by the Holy Ghost but He purposes to fulfill. Let your faith then rise and soar away and claim all the land you can discover. (Archbishop Simon)

All you can apprehend in the vision of faith is your own. Look as far as you can, for it is all yours. All that you long to be as a Christian, all that you long to do for God, are within the possibilities of faith. Then come, still closer, and with your Bible before you, and your soul open to all the influences of the Spirit, let your whole being receive the baptism of His presence; and as He opens your understanding to see all His fulness, believe He has it all for you. Accept for yourself all the promises of His word, all the desires He awakens within you, all the possibilities of what you may be as a follower of Jesus. All the land you see is given to you.

The actual provisions of His grace come from the inner vision. He who puts the instinct in the bosom of yonder bird to cross the continent in search of summer sunshine in the Southern clime is too good to deceive it, and just as surely as He has put the instinct in its breast, so has He also put the balmy breezes and the vernal sunshine yonder to meet it when it arrives.

He who breathes into our hearts the heavenly hope, will not deceive or fail us when we press forward to its realization. –Selected

“And they found as he had said unto them” (Luke 22:13).

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DESPERATE DAYS

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6).

The faith for desperate days.

The Bible is full of such days. Its record is made up of them, its songs are inspired by them, its prophecy is concerned with them, and its revelation has come through them.

The desperate days are the stepping-stones in the path of light. They seem to have been God’s opportunity and man’s school of wisdom.

There is a story of an Old Testament love feast in Psalm 107, and in every story of deliverance the point of desperation gave God His chance. The “wit’s end” of desperation was the beginning of God’s power. Recall the promise of seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sands of the sea, to a couple as good as dead. Read again the story of the Red Sea and its deliverance, and of Jordan with its ark standing mid-stream. Study once more the prayers of Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah, when they were sore pressed and knew not what to do. Go over the history of Nehemiah, Daniel, Hosea, and Habakkuk. Stand with awe in the darkness of Gethsemane, and linger by the grave in Joseph’s garden through those terrible days. Call the witnesses of the early Church, and ask the apostles the story of their desperate days.

Desperation is better than despair.

Faith did not make our desperate days. Its work is to sustain and solve them. The only alternative to a desperate faith is despair, and faith holds on and prevails.

There is no more heroic example of desperate faith than that of the three Hebrew children. The situation was desperate, but they answered bravely, “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. 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.” I like that, “but if not !”

I have only space to mention Gethsemane. Ponder deeply its “Nevertheless.” “If it is possible…nevertheless!” Deep darkness had settled upon the soul of our Lord. Trust meant anguish unto blood and darkness to the descent of hell–Nevertheless! Nevertheless!!

Now get your hymn book and sing your favorite hymn of desperate faith.

O love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in thee
I give thee back the life I owe
That in thine ocean depths its flow
My richer, fuller be

O light that followest all my way
I yield my flickering torch to thee
My heart restores its borrowed ray
That in thy sunshines glow its day
May brighter, fairer be

O joy you seek me through the pain
I cannot close my heart to thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
Then morn shall tearless be

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DEFINITE IN PRAYER

“And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: Deliver me, I pray thee” (Gen. 32:9, 11).

There are many healthy symptoms in that prayer. In some respects it may serve as a mould into which our own spirits may pour themselves, when melted in the fiery furnace of sorrow.

He began by quoting God’s promise: “Thou saidst.” He did so twice (9 and 12). Ah, he has got God in his power then! God puts Himself within our reach in His promises; and when we can say to Him, “Thou saidst,” He cannot say nay. He must do as He has said. If Herod was so particular for his oath’s sake, what will not our God be? Be sure in prayer, to get your feet well on a promise; it will give you purchase enough to force open the gates of heaven, and to take it by force.
Jesus desires that we shall be definite in our requests, and that we shall ask for some special thing. “What will ye that I shall do unto you?” is the question that He asks of every one who in affliction and trial comes to Him. Make your requests with definite earnestness if you would have definite answers. Aimlessness in prayer accounts for so many seemingly unanswered prayers. Be definite in your petition. Fill out your check for something definite, and it will be cashed at the bank of Heaven when presented in Jesus’ Name. Dare to be definite with God.

Evangelist Gloria has said: “Every year, I might almost say every day, that I live, I seem to see more clearly how all the rest and gladness and power of our Christian life hinges on one thing; and that is, taking God at His word, believing that He really means exactly what He says, and accepting the very words in which He reveals His goodness and grace, without substituting others or altering the precise modes and tenses which He has seen fit to use.”

Bring Christ’s Word–Christ’s promise, and Christ’s sacrifice–His blood, with thee, and not one of Heaven’s blessings can be denied thee.

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FULFILLING YOUR VOWS

When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. Ecclesiastes 5:4

Have you ever had a business relationship with someone who made a commitment but later said, “Well, things changed, so I cannot honor our original agreement.” Sometimes this may be the case, but often it is simply an opportunity to avoid fulfilling an agreement. God is big on fulfilling vows. God’s nature is righteousness and truth. You will always see God honor His Word. He expects the same of His people.

God says there are consequences when we do not fulfill our vows. Subsequent Scripture verses reveal the following:

It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God (Ecclesiastes 5:5-7).

God tells us that He will destroy the work of our hands for failure to fulfill vows. That’s pretty strong language. It gives us an indication of how important fulfilling vows is to God. He will not prosper our work if there are unfulfilled vows in our lives

Are there any unfulfilled vows in your life that may be hindering your projects? Vows show up in many areas of our lives-marriages, businesses, personal friendships. Unfulfilled vows in any one of these could be the reason your work may be hindered.

Ask God today if there are any unfulfilled vows in your life. If so, begin today to make them right so that you may be successful in whatever God calls you to do.

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REAL CUSTOMER SERVICE

While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. Matthew 9:32

Years ago, it was not uncommon to have your milk delivered to your home. Doctors made house calls. And when you made a call to a company to discuss a problem, you actually spoke to a human being. Those days of personal serivce are gone, and if we are not careful, we will follow the same trend in how we share the gospel.

So often we are encouraged to bring people to church. Yet, we see no examples of where Jesus brought people into the synagogue to get them saved or healed. The miracles happened more often in the marketplace because that was where Jesus could be found. Jesus had less response and found more resistance in the synagogue than in the marketplace. He took the gospel to and modeled the gospel in the marketplace. That is where the power of God was manifested. This is not to say we should not bring people to church, only that our priority should be to bring the Church into the marketplace, not bring the marketplace into the church.

Paul understood this when he said,

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power (1 Corinthians 2:4).

Paul understood that it wasn’t words that impacted people; it was the power of God manifested through him.

When is the last time someone saw something happen through your life that could not be explained other than God working in your life? When you begin to see this happen, you will be modeling ministry as Jesus modeled it. You will be bringing the Church to the people, not the people to the church. Pray that God makes you a vessel of His power, not simply a vessel of words.

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PROSPERITY IN AFFLICTIONS

The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” Genesis 41:52

When Joseph was elevated to rule over the Egyptian kingdom, he revealed some profound truths gained from the experiences of his years of adversity. He named his first son, Manasseh for, he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household” (Gen. 41:51b). His second son was named Ephraim because, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Whenever God takes us through the land of affliction, He will do two things through that affliction: 1) He will bring such healing that we will be able to forget the pain, and 2) He will make us fruitful from the painful experiences.

God does not waste our afflictions if we allow Him the freedom to complete the work in us. His desire is to create virtue that remains during the times of testing so that He can bring us into the place of fruitfulness in the very area of our testing. He has never promised to keep us from entering the valleys of testing, but He has promised to make us fruitful in them. He is the God who turns the Valley of Achor (trouble) into a door of hope (see Hos. 2:15).

If you are in the valley of affliction, now is the time to press into Him. When the time comes to bring you out of this valley, He will heal your memories and bring fruit from this very time.

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RECEIVING ONLY FROM GOD

I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me-to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share. Genesis 14:24

Abraham’s nephew was a man named Lot. Lot was part of Abraham’s household until the land on which they fed their flocks could no longer support their growing families and herds. Abraham allowed Lot to choose the land where he wanted to live. Lot chose the land of Sodom.

Afterwards, Sodom was invaded by four kings, and Lot’s family and goods were taken into captivity. When Abraham learned of this, he immediately gathered his best fighting men and pursued the armies to free Lot and his family. He was successful in freeing Lot’s family and the families of Sodom. The king of Sodom was grateful to Abraham for what he did and wanted him to keep the goods he recovered. Abraham had made a decision before the battle that he would only keep what he recovered for his nephew Lot, and goods as payment for the men who fought.

Abraham understood the principle of receiving from God. He was a man with great integrity in God. He did not want to be known as someone who became wealthy because of the kindness of a wicked king. He wanted others to know that whatever prosperity he gained was a result of the blessing from God’s hand alone. Abraham understood an important principle of receiving from God.

Jesus also modeled this principle by receiving only what His Father wanted Him to receive. God’s will for Jesus was to receive based on a carpenter’s wage even though He was the God of the universe who had access to all things. Imagine the discipline Jesus had to have, knowing what He could have had. He upheld His own financial integrity in God.

Each of us must discern what comes from the hand of God rather than the hand of man. As business people, there are situations that allow us to manipulate, sweat, and toil our way to profit. There is also profit as a result of hard work done in obedience to our calling to the marketplace. Knowing the difference in these two concepts is a sign of integrity before God. Only God receives glory when we receive what God wants us to receive. Are you receiving the fruit of your labor in God? Ask God to show you the difference of these two concepts for your own life.

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HOW GOD MAKES FISHERMAN

“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Our calling has three distinct stages, which we can see in the lives of many called before us, to become mature fishers of men who greatly impact God’s Kingdom. First, there is the gestation period. This is the development stage of our lives. It may involve years of normal work experiences. You may be a Christian during this time, or you may be following after worldly success as a non-Christian. Paul spent years in religious and political training, persecuting believers most of his early life. Moses spent years in the court of Pharaoh and 40 years tending flocks in the desert. Jesus spent 33 years living at home and working in His father’s carpentry business. However, all these years were part of their preparation.

Next is the crisis stage. Sooner or later, God calls you into relationship with Him. For many, like Paul, it comes through dramatic encounters like being knocked off a horse, blinded and spoken to personally by God. Some people are more difficult than others to reach and so require this level of crisis. This is a time when major changes are required by God so that you follow Him fully. It can be a time in which God harnesses years of experience for a new life purpose. Paul’s earthly experiences would be used in his calling to the religious and political leaders of his day. For Moses, the burning bush experience would begin his journey in which he would discover his ultimate calling after years of preparation. For Peter, it was his denial of Jesus three times that allowed him to face his shallow commitment to Christ. For Jesus, it was the cross. These were the benchmark turning points for men who made an impact on their world.

Last is the fruit-bearing stage. In it, God’s power is manifested in your life like never before. God takes all your experiences and uses them to build His Kingdom in and through your life. Your obedience to this final call results in fruitfulness you could never imagine without the long preparation process. For Abraham, it resulted in becoming the father of many nations. For Paul, it resulted in bringing the gospel to the Gentiles. And for Peter, it meant becoming the rock the Church was built on. For Jesus, it was salvation for the entire world.

What does God want to achieve through your life? God has a plan that is so incredible you cannot comprehend it. It requires only that you love Him and follow Him. Then you will become fishers of men like the world has never known.

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PROVEN GROUND FOR FAITH

He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience. Judges 3:2

God brought the nation of Israel into the Promised Land of Canaan through Joshua. After Joshua, there came an entire generation who had very little experience in fighting battles like the ones fought by Joshua. Training and testing God’s people is one of God’s important strategies that enable His children to succeed in spiritual warfare. This is why we do not live a life free of trials. These trials are sent specifically to see if our faith is real or simply empty words.

“They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which He had given their forefathers through Moses” (Judg. 3:4). God allows circumstances to develop around your life to give your faith opportunity to be proven. It is only when we are tested in battle that we become skilled warriors. You can be confident God will allow trials to come your way through situations like an unreasonable boss, a vendor who refuses to pay, a false assault on your character, or a difficult relationship that requires unconditional love. These battles are sent your way to test what you know in the mind in order that they might become part of your heart.

You will discover if you have passed the tests or if you need more battles that will give you the opportunity to learn the art of spiritual warfare. Do not fear these battles that are before you. God has already given you the victory if you choose complete dependence and obedience to Him. Then you will become one of God’s greatest warriors, skilled in spiritual warfare.

Co-Founder of The Mystical Order
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