The Spiritual Deception of Unevaluated Faith

Today, the Holy Spirit has us continuing in the study of Spiritual Deceptions. Today we are focused on the spiritual deception of unevaluated faith. What is “unevaluated faith”? First of all, it is very personal – your faith, and my faith, that we are focused on. Second, it is a reminder that from time to time, maybe even constantly, you and I need to be examining ourselves, evaluating our faith in Jesus Christ, as we, Philippians 3:14. . . press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Mirrors were created for people to look at themselves; they are means of self-examination of one’s appearance. But we also find other means of self examination, and often self- examinations bring us suddenly into confrontations with reality, as we often find that what we thought just “ain’t what is”, sort of to coin a phrase.

I know that some people, just maybe even someone in this room, have had the experience of cruising down the highway, blithely daydreaming, or in conversation with a passenger, or on the cell phone, or just listening to music or an audio book, and suddenly seeing a radar cop at work on the edge of the road. What do you instinctively do if you are that driver, just cruising through life, suddenly confronted with the speed evaluator, the official with authority to punish speeders? Doesn’t your foot, almost invariably and uncontrollably, come off the accelerator, while your eyes rush to the speedometer? And have you ever had the school experience of turning in an exam or paper and thinking, “Man, this stuff is easy; I’ve got this made with a good grade,” and finding out from the real grade that you had actually had had no idea what was really expected of you?

These examples, as with the mirror, make clear that, often times, our perceptions of reality do not measure up to real reality. You can, and you have the power to, choose to play games in your head with pop-psychology notions that each person has his or her own reality that is in fact only the image of their perceptions. But there are some things that are real regardless of your perceptions, and especially regardless of your false perceptions, like ultimately learned by the absent- minded driver and the careless student we talked about a minute ago.

Here is the real deal: God created reality. We don’t get to create our own perception, or misperception, and call it reality. God has challenged us and called us into a real relationship, a reality relationship, with Him through Jesus Christ His Son. God has called us to eternal life with Him, with Jesus.

This whole reality is summed up in the verse which underwrote Martin Luther’s personal exodus from the Catholic monastery and his return to the real world to minister the split of believers into Catholics and Protestants, the Protestant Reformation: Ephesians 2:8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. That is the reality God created. That reality is, John 3:16, why God gave us Jesus, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Then, in John 17, Jesus, very near the end of His earthly ministry in the flesh, turned in His Job Report, His Post-Action Analysis, to His Father, Jehovah God. Study of this Report, this Analysis, reveals how Jesus understood what He accomplished and how and what the proof of that was, as manifested in the faith, and therefore in the lives, of true believers. In His Report, Jesus provided a detailed description of His affect on the people who had become true believers. Through that detailed description, we find a way to measure the true believer and the true church. It is the same measure Jesus used; what measure could be more accurate?

Thus, In His Report, Jesus gave us the evaluation tools we need to distinguish the true church from the false church (See Revelation 18:4, referring to the Great Spiritual Harlot of Revelation 17: And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you share in her plagues”.)

Because the true church is populated with true believers only, Jesus’ Report defines for us the way (not “a way” but “the way”) to know and understand, on an intensely personal level, how to go about following the mandate of Scripture (II Corinthians 13:5) that we examine ourselves to determine as to whether we are in the faith.

John 17:2as You have given Him (Jesus) authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. {there is a whole discussion available on the authority issue, that has been taught before in this body, and we will hold revisiting of that discussion for another day.}

John 17:3And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

So, these two verses sum up the game plan, they sum up God’s reality that He created. John 17: 6 contains Jesus’ Report of what He did to carry out His job assignment up to that point, on earth: I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours. You gave them to Me . . . .

We now see in the rest of John 17:6, and following, the evaluation tools by which Jesus could evaluate and say in His Report to God that these men were believers, that they had in reality chosen faith in their lives:

John 17:6 (the last phrase): . . . and they have kept Your Word. This is, purely and simply, obedience. See I John 2:3-6 (READ) – to know God and Jesus, is to obey them, and in that obedience, verse 5, “truly the love of God is perfected in (the true believer)”. See II John :6This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.

John 17:7Now they have known that all things which You have give Me are from You.

John 17:8For I have given them the words which You have given Me and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You, and they also believed that You sent Me.

John 17:13: Jesus says He is sharing this Job Report, this Post-Action Analysis, with the world . . . that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

John 17:14. . . the world has hated them (the believers) because they are not of the world . . . .

John 17:17Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. True believers are set apart, not by their works, but by the word of God, His truth.

John 17:18: True believers, no longer of this world, have nevertheless been sent into just as God sent Jesus into this world.

John 17:20-23a: True believers are called into such unity together and with God and Jesus, that all are one in each other.

John 17:23b: That the lives, the living testimonies, of true believers, consisting of such oneness in the faith, is such a completion, a maturity, a perfection in oneness (See Ephesians 4:11-16, READ.) that even the world will know that God has sent Jesus, and that God, Himself, loves the true believers just as He loves Jesus.

Conclusion: it is time to do some evaluation of your faith on a regular basis. You need to determine if you are really in the faith, if you are really walking in the faith, in knowledge, love and obedience, each day. Recently, I attended a seminar that addressed multi-tasking, something we all do to some degree or another. The problem with multi-tasking is that we often don’t finish everything, or we don’t do any individual task as well as we might if we were just working on one thing at a time. The seminar instructor encouraged each of us to develop tools of self-evaluation, that we might use daily, to evaluate our Job and Life satisfaction, not just our effectiveness and efficiency. You know, we can evangelize, but the Holy Spirit does the convicting. So, the measure of our satisfaction needs to be our love and obedience in speaking the truth of God and Jesus, and the measure is not our effectiveness or our efficiency.

Don’t fall into the snare of not evaluating your faith; don’t be presumptive, complacent, absent-mindedly cruising through life and not paying attention to your conduct on the highway of life. Don’t be careless as a student of life and don’t ignore the mirror of your John 17 criteria, which turn mostly on your beliefs and your resulting conduct.

God bless you and amen.

Hope and Change

We live in a season of history in which many people have been captivated by the hope of change. These are universal aspects of life, at least nominally appealing to all men living, for none of us have attained a state of perfection in our flesh from which we would want no change again, ever, and all men hope for such perfection, although all men will tell you that they are willing to settle for something a little less than perfection in this life. The politicians and media of today are no different from all others in this respect: they appeal to everyone’s hope for some changes in their lives. That kind of political advertising plays on those universal hopes for change. But of course not everyone wants – hopes for — the same changes to affect their lives. That is why all advertising – commercial and political — plays on the same ideas of hope and change: “I sure would like that shiny new car, one day; change me and my life by diet, clothes, education, opportunity, relationships, money, status, beauty, power, etc.” So, advertisers try to appeal to their market audiences, and the fringes of their market audiences (the “swing vote” if you will) to promise change to fulfill hopes. An advertising campaign is successful when it connects the hope and the proposed change so effectively that people will invest in the change because they have faith – they expect – that the proposed change will do for them what they are hoping for. But, these human marketing attempts are just that – human. Hence, from Proverbs Chapters 12, 14 and 16, “There is a way that seems right to a man . . . .” But, despite man – actually, for man, God has a plan, Jesus Christ, and because, Romans 5: 5, He has poured out His love (Jesus Christ) in us through the Holy Spirit, His plan does not disappoint!

The Holy Spirit in a recent dream explained it to me like this: All men hope for change, BUT, all men mostly hope in their own plans for change. No man hopes for “no change”. There are other names for change: growth, education, maturity, self-fulfillment, accomplishment, etc. To accomplish such change, most men seek to use and apply their God-given talents and opportunities, unfortunately without much even acknowledging God and His giving of those talents. There is an angst, a hunger, a dissatisfaction that stirs men’s souls when those plans, executed, do not produce the desired results. One way of saying this is “Money won’t buy you love.” Or, “stuff really don’t make you happy.” Underneath all the focus men have on hoping for change in the material aspects of their lives, to produce satisfaction (i.e., such satisfaction that they would not want any more change), even if achieved, just does not, in fact, accomplish changes in the non- material areas of our lives – areas of peace, joy, love, relationships. Such changes do not enable us, as Paul said, to be “content in all circumstances” (Philippians 4: 11). Paul was telling us something there, Paul was explaining and identifying what all people want, which is contentment, being satisfied in being and not just in doing. Paul was reminding us that “being”, which is who we are, is what defines us, not “doing”, which is a measure of our sense of discontent with who we think we are. We need to attain this perspective and keep in balance that loving God and our neighbors is an active life of “doing” – we are not to have idle hands, or be lazy – but the doing part is not to define us. Rather, the being part should define us, and the doing part should flow out of that, for changes in our lives and others’ lives.

Proverbs 11: 7 tells us an adage of wisdom: “When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of the unjust perishes.” The reverse is true also: “When a righteous man dies, his expectation willl not perish, and the hope of the righteous man will not perish.” Why is this so? It is because of the Gospel of Christ, the good news for mankind! As believers in the Gospel of Christ we live in the expectation, the assurance by God Himself,Titus 1: 2, “in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.” You see God is something really special for us, because His “hope’ produces real, and really valuable, priceless, change in our lives. He is the very “God of hope”, Romans 15: 13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” And, as believers, we do so with enthusiasm and eagerness, Galations 5: 5, “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

So, if we become, or have become, repentant and humble believers in, and followers of, Jesus Christ, then where are we? The answer is in I Peter 3: 18-21, “. . .knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

God is very interested in how we, as believers, understand and commit our lives to the issue of hope in Christ, and the process of change. He wants to see our faith in action! What does that mean? Well, Hebrews 11: 1-2, it means that we will take action on the basis of what we hope for when we have no evidence in physical or legal terms to support the risk of taking that action. This passage reads, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

So how do we obtain a good testimony, like the elders in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11? Well, we have to run the good race, like Jesus, and we must look to Him and consider Him and His testimony, what He did and, Revelations 19:10, “the spirit of prophecy”, of what, prophetically, we may expect in our race. We run the good race in the choices we make in faith. Those are our steps, choices. Which choices we make, and when and how we make them, determine whether we have run a good race in our life, whether the testimony we have obtained in our lives is good, like the elders of the Hall of Faith, or not. What will yours be and how will you obtain it.

In Luke 6: 31-38, Jesus, in speaking to His disciples (verse 20) tells us how, as believers, to obtain that good testimony that comes only from living risk-taking lives of faith: “And just as you want me to do to you, you do likewise (the “Golden Rule”). But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to receive as much back. (Especially beginning here at verse 35.) But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosim. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” This is how, also, we comply with the Great Commandment, to love God with everything and to love our neighbor as ourselves!. Translation not really necessary, but this is saying, “Don’t make your love a commercial venture, expecting something in return; be as merciful and forgiving to people as God is; keep no attitude of grudge, of judgment, or of condemnation; and give, give and give!”


So, run the good race, II Timothy 4: 7 and Hebrews 12: 1-6, with endurance, looking always unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, and therefore do not become weary or discouraged in your souls, resist sin unto bloodshed (yours), and always be encouraged by the Lord’s corrections and rebukes as He coaches you in your race of life. In this race of your life – and you only get one shot at it, which we call Your Life – Hebrews 3: 6, “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end”; Hebrews 6: 11, and “show the same diligence (of ministry – verse 10) to the full assurance of hope until the end; verses 18-19, maintaining a strong consolation in the refuge of God, and lay hold of – and don’t turn loose of, the hope in Christ, as an anchor of your soul, knowing that Jesus is our forerunner and intercessor.

Listen to the Holy Spirit, obey the commands of God and Jesus, and let God’s love be poured out in you and through you, back to God, and to people around you, even your enemies, as following your forerunner, Christ, you, too, establish a testimony of prophecy. Let God’s plan, not yours or some advertiser or political campaign, be the instrumentality of change in your life – change in and for you, and change in and for others. Let your risk- taking faith in Jesus be the substance of the hope in your life, and nothing else. God’s plan for you guides you on the narrow and straight path to forgiveness and eternal life through Christ, with God, and your resurrection body! Man’s plan, the plan of the advertisers and political campaigners leads you, Proverbs 12: 15, to the opposite, the real death! Connect the dots of the Golden Rule, the Great Commandment, and the Love Chapter of Corinthians, I Corinthians 13 – Faith, Hope and Love – and follow only Jesus in the race of your life. Then the change you most deeply hope for will be real and your covetous neighbors cannot take it away from you, but you will have plenty enough to share with them, in God’s grace and provision and timing.

God bless you and amen+

Christian Character Part 11

Faith: a Tale of Three Rivers

Continuing in our series on Christian Character, we look back to the last message, on Jesus Christ, where we saw Him as the creator and exemplar of Christian Character, so demonstrated in His last earthly Passover, at the Garden of Gethsemane and his unwavering, though faltering, walk to the Cross at Golgotha. But Jesus is also the author and finisher of our faith.

Today, our focus is drawn to the issue of our faith, because it is only by faith, and in our faith, that, once saved by the Blood of Christ, we are empowered and called by God to walk out our faith, all the days of our lives, in how we live, in what we do, from minute to minute, from year to year.

So, how is this a Tale of Three Rivers? The most important of these Three Rivers is the River of Life (Revelation 22:1), which irrigates the Tree of Life (Revelation 22:2), which brings forth Fruit (Revelation 22:2) and whose leaves heal the nations (Revelation 22:2). We want to live in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) in which the River of Life which runs in the middle of the street (Revelation 22:2). But to get there, we have to cross two rivers, if you will, and they are, in Biblical History, the Red Sea, and the Jordan River, but we have supernatural help.

To cross both the Red Sea and the Jordan River requires us to act in Faith, because in the Biblical context, both involved danger and thus provoked fleshly fears. The crossing of the Red Sea was stimulated first by obedience to God’s command, to leave Egypt, and then by fear of Pharaoh’s armies sent to bring the Israelites back into bondage. The crossing of the Jordan River was stimulated by hopeful obedience to reach God’s promises in the Promised Land, although it was accompanied by danger and fleshly fears, and the fear – the great fear – of the unknown on the other side of the Jordan River in the Promised Land, and that crossing, after 40 years of wandering in a small desert area, came at a time when the people were undoubtedly weary and discouraged from 40 years of homelessness.

Our frears, weariness and discouragement, our temptations to sin, all – none — are never new “news” to God. He knows, He knew, He understands, He understood, all of them.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him, who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Jesus has authored in us that sufficient “Measure of Faith”, Romans 12:3. And by His Grace, Hebrews 12:1, we can “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus”: He is the “finisher” of our faith, and as we look unto Him for inspiration and encouragement and wisdom in the Holy Spirit, He will help us finish that race, no matter how much endurance it requires to overcome our fears, no matter how much hostility from our fellow sinners we are called to endure, no matter how weary or discouraged we are in our soul realms. Jesus, Himself, ran the race set before Him, all the way to the Cross at Golgotha. He is on the other side of the finish line, encouraging those who follow to run the race with endurance, and to finish it in obedience.

Like running a race, or maybe as part of running the race, the Israelites had to cross these two rivers, the Red Sea and the Jordan River. To cross them, like in running, they had to keep moving, they had to put one foot in front of the other, even when it made no sense in the natural.

The Red Sea history is in Exodus 14. In verses 13-14, with the Israelites’ backs against the Sea and the Egyptian Army, Moses, the Leader, encouraged the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.” You see here their fears, and the call of encouragement to endure while God finished their faith. I notice here that “hold” is an active verb, not a passive verb, “hold your peace”. There is always a struggle, as Satan seeks to pull your peace from us, and as we struggle to pull it back and hold on to it. That is active, not passive, in life.

Then, in verses 15-16, God instructs Moses, the Leader, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward (that is running the race!). But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go over on dry land through the midst of the sea.” Then, in verses 19-20, the Angel of God, and the pillar of cloud were supernaturally placed between the Egyptians and the Israelites, to protect the Israelites.

Imagine the scene, of these great, high, splashing walls of water, restrained by no visible barrier, but “only” restrained by the will of God. The confidence of the people in God’s miracles in Egypt, and the spoiling of the people with wealth in their leaving – all God’s miracles for His chosen people — had already been forgotten (in verse 12, the people were asking Moses to leave them alone, that they might go back and serve as slaves to the Egyptians again rather than die in the wilderness). In this context, God instructed Moses in yet another set of miracles, and Moses obeyed and called on the people to obey, and you can only imagine in that context their reluctance to take another risk and to walk out onto the bed of the Red Sea. Yet they did! And Hallelujah for their obedience, for their overcoming of fears, weariness and discomfort enough to act in obedience, to run the race, one foot in front of another. Yet they did!

And then at the Jordan. After 40 years of going in circles, you know they were apprehensive, and they were tired and they were discouraged. Scholars tell us that at the season of this crossing, the Jordan would most likely have been at flood stage, outside of its banks, with swift currents, deep waters, and very wide, even miles wide [see Joshua 3:15, “(for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest”)].

Here is how God told them to do it, to cross the Jordan, by His instruction to Joshua, in Joshua 3, in verse 8, “You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.'” And Joshua, understood that the people were to follow the priests and the ark of the covenant into the Jordan, and here is what Joshua told the people, in verses 9-13.

So Joshua said to the children of Israel, ‘Come here, and hear the words of the Lord your God . . . . By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Periizites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jubusites: Behold the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan. Now therefore, take for yourselves, twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from every tribe. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand in a heap.”

Joshua 3:9-13

And then in magnificent understatement, Scripture next says, “So it was. . . .”

Verses 14-17 give us the rest of that history: All obeyed; the priests carried the ark of the covenant into the Jordan River; nature obeyed its Creator (can you believe that?!), and the upstream waters stood in a heap, causing dry land, over which the millions of Israelites crossed into the Promised Land.

Now, many of these people had not seen the parting and crossing of the Red Sea, but they had heard about it. And they were called to be obedient again to something that made no sense in the natural world of their experiences. But to exercise their faith, they had to be obedient, and God provided supernaturally for them, yet again.

There are messages aplenty here for us. If we make all the decisions of our lives based only on natural wisdom, understanding, knowledge and discernment, it is impossible for us ever to be fully obedient to God! To live in obedient faithfulness, we must extend ourselves beyond the natural into God’s supernatural realms of provision, of healing, of blessings, of favor. That always involves stepping into places where our soul realm screams , “NO, NO, NO!!!” Why, because it does not make sense, in the natural. Our natural fears well up at every such occasion. No wonder, then, why God kept telling Joshua, the Leader, and the children of Israel, “Be Strong and Courageous” (Joshua 1:6, 9, 18).

The core of the faith to disregard the natural warnings and to obey the supernatural instruction is hope. And the core and foundation of hope is truth. Example: confrontation with a poisonous snake – the truth is that if you slap it with your hand you will almost certainly be bitten. But if you back away, the truth is you will almost certainly not be bitten. Yet, if a mosquito lands on your hand, the truth is that if you slap the mosquito you will most likely kill it without harm to yourself. So you take action in each case based on the hope of the outcome, and you measure your degree of hope by the truth you know. When we are called to supernatural obedience, we are called to act in hope based on truth we cannot prove naturally or scientifically or mathematically, indeed, based on a truth we must “know” even without seeing it. So in our lives, it is real important to know where our hope is, where our truth is, because that determines who we will serve, and particularly, whether, how, and to what extent we will serve God, because he will not leave us to serve Him only in the areas of natural truth; He will call us to serve him in reliance on supernatural truth.

Now, no man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). That is why the issue of choice has ever been before mankind, as it was before the children of Israel in the days of Moses and the days of Joshua, was before the people of the world when Jesus spoke those words of Matthew 6, and is certainly before us today.

The series of last year, on God, Man and Society, showed us that God intended that we live in Godly society, in obedience to Him in everything, including in the government of Society. The foundation of such a Godly society is Godly men. As a result we have been studying for some time Christian Character, which is the definition of Godly men. Without men (and women) of Christian Character, we cannot have and maintain a Godly Society. So, these two series are intimately and causally (not casually) related.

When the people of a society break covenant with God, He will respond. In Deuteronomy 31:16-17, God told Moses it was time for his death, and He said this to Moses, prophetically seeing into the future.

Behold, you will rest with your fathers, and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then, My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’

Deuteronomy 31:16-17

As we are in a season of great change in our society, we must hope for a profound and pervasive return to God, that our people – grafted into the Blood of Abraham by the Blood of Jesus Christ – will realize that many evils and troubles have befallen us and threaten us , and that we are in trouble because “our God is not among us.” If we reject God, He is still available to our repentance, but we cannot, individually or as a society, a nation, play the harlot in idolatry, and expect God’s supernatural deliverance from our fears, our weariness and our discouragement.

Brothers and Sisters, as Psalm 46:4-5, encourage us, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.” That River is the River of Life; those waters are living waters. In Revelation 7, there is discussion of those who came out of the great tribulation, and it says, in verse 17, that the Lamb is in the midst of the throne, and will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters! Hallelujah!

Today, II Corinthians 6: 16, “(we) are the temple of the living God”. And through the Person of the Holy Spirit, He will shepherd us and lead us to living fountains of water.

How many know that we need those living fountains for salvation, yes, but also to live in obedience to God, to sustain us in His Lordship, if we will so submit, of our lives? We do need those living fountains of water. But we have to cross our own Red Seas, and our own Jordan Rivers, to live out the purposes and plans for which God created us, in the first place, and to which He has eternally called us. To make those crossings we have to put our feet in places that make no sense in the natural world, we have to take natural risks in reliance on God’s supernatural plan and salvation and Lordship. That is the essence of the faith in which Jesus chose to act, for the Joy set before Him, in His walk to the Cross at Golgotha. Only in that reliance on God and His supernatural provision can we run with endurance the race set out before us, only in that reliance can we overcome the hostility of our fellow sinners, and the weariness and discouragement of our own souls. Only in that reliance, in that shepherding and leading, will we cross our rivers of difficulty and faith-testing, and rest in the New Jerusalem at the River of Life. But, here is what we all overlook: We have the River of Life now, supernaturally, and it is to sustain us in our travels and travails, as we trust God to heap up, and hold back, the mighty earthly waters of adversity and forces against us, so we may step out to obey His call, and to put our feet where He wills that we should. When you are living like that, you are living well in Christian Character. Examine yourself and figure out where you are in your Christian Character, and choose to trust God more and more, that in all things, “Not my will, but Thine”, especially when we come to those river crossings in life where God is calling us to hope in his supernatural truth, or what we really call faith. That, brothers and sisters, is the tale of three rivers.

God bless you+