Without faith it is impossible to please Him

Without faith it is impossible to please Him . . . —Hebrews 11:6

Faith in active opposition to common sense is mistaken enthusiasm and narrow-mindedness, and common sense in opposition to faith demonstrates a mistaken reliance on reason as the basis for truth. The life of faith brings the two of these into the proper relationship. Common sense and faith are as different from each other as the natural life is from the spiritual, and as impulsiveness is from inspiration. Nothing that Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, but is revelation sense, and is complete, whereas common sense falls short. Yet faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life. “We know that all things work together for good . . .” (Romans 8:28) so that no matter what happens, the transforming power of God’s providence transforms perfect faith into reality. Faith always works in a personal way, because the purpose of God is to see that perfect faith is made real in His children.

For every detail of common sense in life, there is a truth God has revealed by which we can prove in our practical experience what we believe God to be. Faith is a tremendously active principle that always puts Jesus Christ first. The life of faith says, “Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I’m going to step out boldly, trusting in Your Word” (for example, see Matthew 6:33). Turning intellectual faith into our personal possession is always a fight, not just sometimes. God brings us into particular circumstances to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make the object of our faith very real to us. Until we know Jesus, God is merely a concept, and we can’t have faith in Him. But once we hear Jesus say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) we immediately have something that is real, and our faith is limitless. Faith is the entire person in the right relationship with God through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

by Oswald Chambers

Knowing and Trusting the Lord

Psalm 9:7-10

How much do you trust God? Before you answer, think about these scenarios: Do you really trust the Lord when everything seems out of control and He appears absent? When He has called you to move in a certain direction that seems illogical and risky? When painful circumstances continue, making you wonder if the Lord really cares?

We all have times of doubt when our expectations of God are dashed by the reality of our situation. Many of us want to trust Him more but aren’t sure how.

David reveals that the key lies in knowing the Lord (v. 10). Distance in our relationship with Him results in a lack of faith, but those who are intimately acquainted with Christ find it easier to trust Him wholeheartedly.

Whenever you are tempted to doubt, remember these essential truths about the Lord:

• He is totally sovereign (Ps. 103:19). God has everything in His control even when we can’t perceive it.

• He is infinitely wise (Rom. 11:33-36). God knows every side of the situation (inside and out) and every event (past, present, and future).

• He loves perfectly (Ex. 34:6). Without exception, He always chooses what is best for us, even if it’s not easy.

We grow in faith, not by trying harder to believe but, rather, by pursuing the Lord. This involves doing all we can to get to know Him—in particular, spending time in His Word and talking with Him in prayer. Then our trust in Him will grow as we learn that He never forsakes those who seek Him.

Power of the Holy Spirit

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” (Acts 1:8)

This promise of our Lord signaled the beginning of the immense change from the old covenant to the new. Prior to the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16) on the day of Pentecost, the saints of God were empowered both selectively and infrequently.

We, however, upon whom the “better thing” has come (Hebrews 11:40), are all temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Since we have been “quickened” (made alive) by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18), we surely should then “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). What, then, is the dunamis (power) that the Holy Spirit provides to us?

Obviously, the power comes from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit Himself (Ephesians 3:16-20). Our flesh has “no good thing” (Romans 7:18) to provide for an empowered, Spirit-filled life. Apart from the dwelling of God’s Spirit in us (Ephesians 1:14), we would be unable to live righteously (John 15:5).

But thanks to the omnipotent and omniscient Creator, the Holy Spirit gives us gifts to use in Christ’s assembly to mature and to encourage each other (Ephesians 4:7-16). The Holy Spirit also grants us the ability to develop His “fruit” in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Then, with the encouragement and maturity we gain through our churches, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit being obvious in our daily lives, the great privilege of sharing the gospel with the lost becomes a delightful exercise of “power” (Romans 1:16) that is clear, not only in careful words of testimony, but in and through a life empowered by the Holy Spirit (1Thessalonians 1:5). HMM III

In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength

In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.—Isaiah 30:15

BE still, my soul—for just as thou art still,
Can God reveal Himself to thee, until
Through thee His love, and light, and life can freely flow.
In stillness God can work through thee and reach
The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach
His lessons—and His power in weakness show.
BESSIE PORTER.

WE are always wanting to be doing, to be giving, to be planning for the future, to be mapping out all our life; instead of resting and receiving day by day, leaving the morrow to our God, and rejoicing in Jesus Christ amidst all our falls and failures. Instead of going on rejoicing in Jesus, we are tempted to despond, and to go on desponding, after every failure, negligence, and sin. GEORGE H. WILKINSON.

We seek God afar off, in projects perhaps altogether unattainable, and we do not consider that we possess Him now in the midst of confusion, by the exercise of simple faith, provided we bear humbly and bravely the annoyances which come from others, and our own imperfections. FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FÉNELON.

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Songs 2:15

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. — Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. — Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ. — The tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. —Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt.

Psalm 19:12. Hebrews 12:15. Galatians 5:7. Philippians 1:6,27. James 3:5,6. Colossians 4:6.

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26

Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? — I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.

Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. — Wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee. — Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD.

Let us not be weary in well doing: … in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. — Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Psalm 77:9. Psalm 31:22. Luke 18:7,8. Proverbs 20:22. Psalm 37:7. 2 Chronicles 20:17. Galatians 6:9. James 5:7.