The Trial of Faith

If you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you —Matthew 17:20

We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, and it may be so in the initial stages. But we do not earn anything through faith— faith brings us into the right relationship with God and gives Him His opportunity to work. Yet God frequently has to knock the bottom out of your experience as His saint to get you in direct contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings. The beginning of your life of faith was very narrow and intense, centered around a small amount of experience that had as much emotion as faith in it, and it was full of light and sweetness. Then God withdrew His conscious blessings to teach you to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). And you are worth much more to Him now than you were in your days of conscious delight with your thrilling testimony.

Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation. Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

by Oswald Chambers

God Is Good to All

Psalm 118:1-4

The world is corrupt, but God is good, and non-Christians often experience His kindness (though they may attribute it to luck or hard work). Yet we who follow Christ sometimes feel unbelievers don’t deserve benefits of prosperity or good health, particularly if we’ve been faithful but find ourselves struggling. However, no matter how great our service to God, we’re no more deserving than anyone else.

Our omniscient God takes many things into consideration when deciding what is truly good for an individual and how best to bless that person. He bases His determination on His knowledge of each heart. For instance, a $10 tithe may not seem like a huge amount to a young person, even though he earns just $100 a week. A few years later the same person, now successful and wealthy, may decide he can’t afford to give $1000, even though that figure represents the same percentage of his paycheck.

At times the Lord refrain from pouring out blessing because He knows that too much of a good thing can have a negative effect. Or He may be selective about what He bestows so we won’t be tempted to worship the gift instead of the Giver.

In fact, unless we’re wise stewards, the Lord may withdraw certain benefits. To be fully blessed, we must heed what the psalmists teach: God unleashes blessing on those who walk uprightly, take refuge in Him, and obey (Ps. 84:11; 34:8-9).

Every good thing comes from the Lord (James 1:17), and we must seek Him to better understand His plans. Our part is to walk according to His will and follow His ways.

Halloween

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)

Halloween was a corruption of “Hallowed E’en,” the evening before “All Saints Day” in which civil disobedience and sinful license were tolerated prior to the forgiveness and penance sought the next day.

Although the level of debauchery and wickedness has waxed and waned over the centuries, nothing “hallowed” has ever been associated with the practice—until more recent times among evangelical churches. Now we promote a “Harvest Festival” or a “Bible Character Dress-up Night”—much of which encourages the practice of costuming and treats as a harmless alternative.

The difficulty is not with the church activities but with the timing and the association with that which is evil. That obvious connection with a pagan holiday will undermine resolve to “come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Yes, no doubt that passage warns against an “unequal yoke” in marriage—but its primary focus is on church and individual purity! “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

As a parent, I know the pain of restricting my children from participating in the “fun” of Halloween. And as a former pastor, I know the pressure to accommodate the majority of church members who see no “harm” in such things. However, our allegiance and our responsibility are to the Lord, not men (Colossians 3:23). HMM III

Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee

Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee.—Deuteronomy 8:2.

NOT mindless of the growing years
Of care and loss and pain,
My eyes are wet with thankful tears
For blessings that remain.
J. G. WHITTIER.

THE years of available and happy life, which have been already enjoyed, ought to be the cause of thankfulness, even if “the days of darkness” were many. “The sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier things,” says Tennyson. Surely, in the sphere of Faith, at least, there is some mistake here. “For what we have received the Lord make us truly thankful.” JAMES SMETHAM.

A bright, happy soul, rejoicing in all God’s gifts, seeing cause for thankfulness and gladness in everything, counting up mercies rather than trials, looking at the bright side, even of sickness, bereavement, and death -what a very fountain of goodness and love of Christ such an one is! I remember one who, worn with sickness! and sleepless nights, answered to the question if the nights did not seem interminable: “Oh no, I lie still, and count up my blessings!” H.L. SIDNEY LEAR.

Do as you hast said

Do as thou hast said. 2 Samuel 7:25

Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations.

God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.

Exceeding great and precious promises.

Psalm 119:38,42,49,54,72,89,90. Hebrews 6:17-20. 2 Peter 1:4.

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. — Born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. — The battle is not your’s, but God’s. The LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s.

Isaiah 40:13. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29. John 3:8. John 1:13. Haggai 2:5. 2 Chronicles 20:15. 1 Samuel 17:47.