Gravy-on-the-Table Faith

November 29, 2014

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalm 27: 13)

As we ponder the definition of faith we often hear it said that believing is seeing.  “When I see it, then I’ll believe it” is the way some put it.  In Psalm 27 David clearly writes that if we believe first, then our believing leads us to the seeing of what we believe.

Biblical faith always has an unseen object.  According to other Scriptures there will always be evidence that the unseen object of our faith exists, but when our faith is biblical faith the object of that faith will be unseen (Hebrews 11:6).  Seeing does not lead to believing because we already have the object of our faith when we see, but believing does lead to seeing according to David and other authors of the Bible.

A rural pastor told his people that when they invited him home for dinner after church he was always hoping they would have southern fried chicken.  If he had no reason to believe that would be the menu he could only hope there would be chicken for dinner.  But when he came into their home if he smelled chicken and then saw from the living room chicken gravy sitting out on the dining room table, those things were the evidence of the object he could not see.  He could now believe with certainty there was chicken in the kitchen and that he would have it for dinner.

David tells us that after the believing that leads to seeing, all we have to do is wait on the Lord until we see the object of our faith.  Are you believing God for something you cannot yet see?

Dick Woodward, 02 March 2013

Absolutes about Knowing God

March 5, 2013

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.”  (Hebrews 11: 6)

The truth is when I first came to faith and to the ministry I was struggling to know God.  Providentially I had several spiritual heavyweights who mentored me to God.  They shook things down for me into three basic and absolute propositions that made sense to me then and still do today.

Their first proposition was that God is there.  I have not struggled with that proposition.  I began by reflecting on the many, many ways God responds to the very many prayers I pray to Him there.

Their second proposition was that God is real.  I found that when I related myself to God He responded by relating Himself to me.  That inspired me to believe that He was not only there, He was very real when I related to Him and made personal contact with His divine presence.

When I found myself sharing with God the intimate dimensions of my personal, private and even secret life He responded to those prayers.  I realized that I had come to believe in a personal God.  That was the third proposition of my mentors: God is personal.

They wanted me to believe in and come to know a God who knew the numbers of hairs on my head.  By the grace and providence of God I have come to know that personal God.  I can believe Him when He tells me He has a plan for my life which when followed will make me a unique person distinct from every other living person.

Will you believe in the God who is there, real and personal?

Why Believe?

February 1, 2013

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.  He that would come to God must believe that He is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

The author of these words is telling discouraged believers why they should not throw away their faith.  He writes that they must believe because without faith we cannot come to God, we cannot please God, and we cannot experience the beautiful reality that God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

When Jesus died on the cross a great veil in the Temple that separated sinners from the divine presence of God was supernaturally torn from top to bottom.  The significance of that miracle was, and is, that we can now go directly into the presence of God.  We no longer need the intercession of a priest.  The door into a relationship with God has been wide open since our High Priest Jesus opened it for us 2,000 years ago.  How could we not come to God through that door by faith?

We must believe because we are not only saved by faith – we are to live by faith.  As we live by faith our chief purpose in life is to glorify God.  To glorify God means to please God and we cannot please God without faith.  As we live our life in this world the greatest fact of life we know is that God is, and He blesses, enables, and rewards those who come to Him by faith.

The author then gives us what we call A Hall of Faith which exhibits for all time great examples of people who did not throw away their faith.  In spite of great challenges they believed that God is, they came to Him, they pleased Him and God rewarded their faith.

A Definition of Humility

October 28, 2012

“By faith Moses… esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt… looked to the reward.”    (Hebrews 11: 23, 26)

No man has ever made a greater contribution to the work of God than Moses.  He gave the people of God their freedom when they were not free.  He gave them the one thing newly emancipated people need more than anything else: law and government.  Spiritually, he gave them the Word of God and worship.

A famous spiritual heavyweight named Dwight L. Moody summarized the life of Moses this way: “He lived 120 years in three periods of 40 years.  In the first 40 years he learned that he was nobody.  In the second 40 years he learned that he was somebody.  In the last 40 years of his life Moses and the whole world learned what God can do with somebody who has learned that he is nobody!”

Moses faced his greatest challenge when God called him to deliver God’s people from their awful slavery in Egypt. Moses had tried to do this on his own and failed, but God told him as He appeared in the burning bush: “You are not the deliverer.  I am.  You can’t deliver them but I can.” When the greatest miracle in the Old Testament happened God did not need to tell Moses: ”You didn’t do that.  I did!”

Have you ever tried to be the conduit of God’s deliverance from the slavery of addiction or sin in the life of another person?  When you do you simply must learn this definition of humility: you are not the deliverer.  God is.  You can’t deliver them but God can.  And if deliverance happens God is the Deliverer.

The Secret Things

July 26, 2012

The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that He has revealed to us that we may obey…” (Deuteronomy 29:29 NLT)

According to Moses, there are secrets God has determined to keep secret.  (Perhaps these secrets are on a need to know basis.)  However, the things God wants us to do, He has made very plain through His Word, especially the Living Word, His beloved Son.  But, if God has willed to remain silent about His secrets, it would be pompous arrogance for us to say we can answer all the “why” questions regarding our suffering.

Where did we ever get the idea that we should expect to understand everything that happens to us?  Where did we ever get the absurd notion that God owes us an explanation for everything He has done and is doing in our world and in our lives?  If God gave us an explanation for everything and the answers to all of our “why” questions, the very essence of faith and the need for faith would be eliminated.

Almighty God has willed that without faith we cannot please Him, or come to Him (Hebrews 11:6).  God is pleased when we echo these words of Job: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15 NKJV).  In my own words, God is pleased when we come to Him in our crucibles of suffering and cry, “If you heal me, that’s all right.  But, if you don’t heal me, that’s all right, too, because You are all right!”

Can you say you are all right because He is all right? Can you leave the secret things with Him?