Faith _ part 1
Priscilla Van Sutphin
www.upstreamca.org   wwwblogtalkradio.com/Upstream
goinupstream@gmail.com
2-15-02

Deut 32:20 NKJV And He said: 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faith.

Hab 2:4 NKJV "Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.

From the above we get the idea that God hides Himself from those who have no faith, and that pride is a great deterrent and stumbling block to really having faith.

Matt 8:10-13 NKJV When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour.

Here Jesus even is astounded at the faith of the centurion. Here He is with His own, and here comes a foreigner who has more understanding of the kingdom authority that Jesus has than those who are following Him. And Jesus essentially tells them that many will come down and sit in heaven ahead of those who should believe ! And he speaks healing to the servant of the Centurion, and it is a done deal. Oh speak just a word Lord, and we will be healed.

Matt 8:25-26 NKJV Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" 26 But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

This scripture compared to the below is interesting. Here it is His own followers, those close to Him who are struggling and unbelieving, and He arises and rebukes the winds and sea, and any question of Who He is put to death.

Matt 9:1-3 NKJV Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you." 3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!"

Matt 9:22 NKJV But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour.

Matt 9:27-30 NKJV And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to Him, "Yes, Lord." 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you." 30 And their eyes were opened.

Above - 3 different miracles and in each, there is great faith to engender miracles. In the last one, Jesus merely asks, " Do you have faith I am able to do this?" He doesn't ask, do you think I will, but do you think I can. All we need is the faith of a mustard seed !
Not great faith - just a little dab will do. And God does a mighty miracle. I remember a story Randy Clark told of a woman they prayed for who was unsaved, but had a brain tumor. People in her church lived near her, so a team went and prayed. She began to feel heat in her head and started screaming, not understanding what was happening, so they told her that the heat was good, a sign of the Spirit working in her - which she accepted. They prayed more. She continued to react kind of funny, but one year later she was in a line to receive food at the church, and they found out, that when she returned to the doctor there was a space now, where the tumor had been, but no tumor. The point being she didn't have much faith not even enough that she gave her heart to God right away. She did not, but eventually, God led her to the church and to His heart. So God healed her based on their faith and her willingness.

Matt 14:30-32 NKJV But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

This is from the famous story of Peter walking on water, and some of us have heard this story many times. He starts looking at the water, instead of Jesus, and he starts sinking and cries out, for Jesus ! AND IMMEDIATELY the Lord saves him out of the water and chides him for doubting. Then as they get to the boat, the wind stops. I remember years ago, the Lord telling my husband "get out of the boat!" The Lord was speaking that He wanted him to walk on water - to walk by faith in other words - get out of the comfort of security in man made ability and creation, and walk with HIM. This is so hard to do in a culture so rooted in what WE can DO.

But like all things, if we just say YES to Jesus, He will help lead us to the place of walking on water. If we will just be willing -He will lead us in the path that leads to greater, and greater faith. Fears keep us from faith. Fear of lack, fear of loss, fear of intimacy, fear of defeat, all kinds of fears and it is perfect LOVE. HIS LOVE, that drives out all fear ! So getting with HIM and letting Him minister to you in His love is key to greater faith and taking the steps in obedience, even though you don't "feel" ready. Just like jumping off a cliff with Jesus in hand is also key, and seems to be the only way we can take a leap of faith. Just do it, even though you are scared. Just do it, casting all your cares on HIM.

Matt 15:24-28 NKJV But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" 26 But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." 27 And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

I love this story of the Samaritan woman. You can imagine : rabbi's were not to be touched or approached in such a manner, yet she boldly comes before the throne of grace "please Lord !" even though the apostles are giving her dirty looks and looking down at her because she is a Samaritan. "Please Lord ! my daughter is in torment ! "
He tests her, saying "it is not good to take the children's bread and give it to the dogs" dogs represent unbelievers in the bible often, so even He is insulting.

Yet she humbles herself and basically says, "yes Lord, I know I am a dog, but even dogs feed on crumbs from the masters table" My oh my, how I admire her faith and humility here. There are few these days who would get by all the fear of man to do this. I remember Jim Goll telling a story on his tape about Brave Wild Warriors, how he was at a meeting and hungry for more of God and he was opposite to where the speaker was laying on hands, and like the Samaritan woman, found himself crying out so hungry for more of God " OVER HERE ! " OVER HERE ! " and he ended up getting the blessing. The hungry soul is definitely heard by the Lord, and He often seems to lead us into a place of hunger so that we realize how precious He is how much we need HIM.

Matt 17:19-21 NKJV Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast him out?" 20 So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."

Matt 21:20-22 NKJV And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither away so soon?" 21 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. 22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

Here we have the principle of faith of a mustard seed - mustard seeds are about 1mm width, among the smallest of seeds. Yet if we have even that much faith we can say move this mountain Lord and it will move. Yeshua said WHATEVER things you ask in prayer, believing YOU WILL RECEIVE ! I am also reminded how when He spoke of John the Baptist He said that even one of us is greater than him.[ John the Baptist]

Matt. 11:11 NKJV "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

EVEN he who is least in the kingdom is greater than he. Interesting isn't it ? John the Baptist was the Elijah to come, yet even one of us who believes, yet is least among the kingdom is greater than he ? Why is that ? I'm not sure, but John never did any miracles. He was the one who prepared the way of the Lord, but yet Jesus speaks that the least in the kingdom is greater - perhaps because not seeing we believe ? God is SO good, and His faithfulness is SO great to those who believe. In fact His faithfulness is even GREATER than our hearts it indicates in 1 John, for He says that if our hearts fail us, His heart is greater than ours.

Matt 23:23-25 NKJV Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.

Self indulgence, something all of us have succombed to many times, is opposite to FAITH and LOVE. The church these days is guilty on these counts in many ways. I remember the youth group from an Irvine church who went to Lake Tahoe for a weekend retreat, but would not help the boy who hadn't the money to go. His mother was told she could pay for it on time, and guess what they were talking about at the retreat. Yes, you guessed it - helping the poor ! Not much of an object lesson, but surely making them twice the sons of hell as their predecessors. If that seems too harsh, read the 8 woes again.  The pharisees were known for endearing themselves to widows in hopes of attaining property and goods, money - whatever they could. Today we have people in charge of estate planning so that ministries can do the same. Greed is rampant in America, not just in the public sector.

WE NEED TO REPENT, because most of us look out for number one, more than we consider anyone else, even in families. My son has friends who have suffered from this kind of dysfunctional parenting where "doing what I want" comes before the needs of the children. I remember when my son was in high school, that he was so good in calling me on my hypocrisy. I loved him so much for that, even though it was hard to admit, so I listened, and treasured his opinion. He taught me much and often is still teaching me. It is hard to see ourselves as others see us, but it is helpful if we really WANT to change.

Mark 2:5-7 NKJV When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." 6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

You know, pharisees don't often change, because they don't know how to forgive and in their SELF-righteousness and pride, they forget who the real JUDGE is. The Word says:

***James 4:11-12 NKJV Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

Clearly it says those who judge are not doers they are too busy judging others to see their own sins. If you walk in FAITH, you are going to run up against those who will discourage you in the same way the pharisees did to Jesus.
Jealousy is very ugly and it is alive and well on planet earth.  When one person is blessed we are supposed to rejoice with them, not be jealous. If we are jealous, we are not believing how much God loves us, and we are not trusting Him. However we are to call out as prophets for social justice and confront the sin, just as Jesus did when He tells us to !

Mark 5:24-34 NKJV Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment; 28 for she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My clothes?" 31 But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?' " 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."

Again like the Samaritan woman, this woman dares to touch the man of God. She must have been SO desperate and yet so trusting, that if she could just get close enough to the Savior, she would be rescued from this affliction. Here she immediately "feels" in her body the healing. How wonderful that is. In most cases that Jesus healed, it seemed they saw IMMEDIATE results. He is God after all. Yet many I have seen, make people feel guilty if they are not healed, as if it is their fault.  THEY must be doing something wrong. Healing is different from miracles, in that it can be more progressive, rather than immediate, so there might be some immediate relief, but not full remission of symptoms. So we must have faith, even if we don't see the immediate results to encourage others, that they will feel progressively better, and if not, to come back for more prayer.

The other thing is, that some think they are Jesus as opposed to his conduit. They feel like any lack of healing is a reflection on their character but it is God Who is sovereign. He said, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, so it lets us off the hook so to speak. HE IS THE HEALER. WE are merely His servants, His conduits. If someone doesn't get healed it is no one's fault. But there is another thing I have seen under the sun like Solomon would have said, and that is great lack of PATIENCE many times. Father McNutt says that often times we don't pray long enough, we just want a quick fix and if they don't get healed quickly, we don't persevere. Sometimes what is needed is persevering faith like persevering prayer, knocking and knocking until the Judge answers.

Luke 12:27-34 NKJV  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? 29 And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. 32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Jesus entered in at a time much like ours, where faith was low and here in the sermon on the mount, He assures us that if He provides dew and rain for the grass, that He will surely care for us who are made in the image and likeness of God. He tells us to cast off all anxiety tell the devil he is a liar ! God will take care of His own, for it is the Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom. But here at the end is a condition. SELL what you have and give alms. Do not store up treasure on earth ! Aye, There is the rub as Shakespeare would say. Jesus cautions us, for where your treasure is, there is your heart also. There is something required. For greater faith - we have to give up something. What is given up, is different for each person but always, there is a cost !

Luke 18:1-8 NKJV Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.' 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.' " 6 Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"

The point here is: if this is what an unjust judge will do. How much MORE will our God Who so loves His children ; for those who cry out ? The sad part is the final sentence, that says nevertheless when Jesus returns will He find faith on earth ? Looking around these days, one would think, precious little. So much unbelief has pervaded the church that people are surprised when a miracle does happen - Rather than expecting it and being surprised when it doesn't !

Luke 22:31-32 NKJV And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

This is so comforting that even when our faith fails, that Jesus has already prayed for us. He is our High Priest, ever interceding for the saints. We don't have to beat ourselves up when we fail but fall in His arms and He will restore us.

Acts 3:14-16 NKJV But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Luke makes it clear that even our faith comes through HIM - there is nothing we can boast in but JESUS !

Acts 6:4-8 NKJV And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. 7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 11:22-24 NKJV Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord

Stephen is the disciple of the apostles, and he also did miracles, signs and wonders !!! He is described as a man of full of faith and the HOLY SPIRIT, like Barnabus - the two things do go together ! Faith and the Holy Spirit. Where faith is, there is also multiplication. We need to walk in FAITH not doubt and unbelief that GOD would and could do miracles, signs and wonders.

Acts 13:7-8 NKJV But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.

Where there is a positive, there is always a negative. Where you speak faith, there will be those who try to steal it, but we must remember it is only the enemy speaking, for we war NOT against flesh and blood, but powers and principalities, spiritual wickedness in high places, not the person. Note he was a sorcerer, and witchcraft will keep you from FAITH. It will keep you from prayer, from worship, from reading and understanding the WORD of God.

Acts 14:9-11 NKJV This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet!" And he leaped and walked.

How did Paul SEE that he had faith ? Do you know what it looks like ? He PERCEIVED it, or maybe even he heard from the Lord or got an impression from the Lord that that man had faith !

Acts 14:21-22 NKJV And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."

Acts 14:27-28 NKJV Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

Acts 16:3-5 NKJV And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.

One of the jobs of apostles and prophets is to encourage the FAITH of the body of Christ, the five fold office is to equip the saints.

Acts 20:19-24 NKJV serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

AH, there is the key. NOR do I count my life dear to me. What does it say in revelation - we will overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony and the blood of Jesus and we will not count our lives even unto death !!!

Acts 26:17-18 NKJV I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'

Our faith in HIM sanctifies us. It is by FAITH we have been saved. We are sanctified by His glory and we go from faith to faith, glory to glory through faith in JESUS.

Rom 1:5, 8 NKJV Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Wouldn't you want to be known like that - that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. In America, much to our shame we are not known by that. We are known too much for our greed, and biting and devouring one another. I think that will change greatly, soon.

Rom 1:11-12 NKJV For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established  12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Here Paul is saying - I long to impart gifts !!! oh but the religious would say, "don't focus on the gifts" "just focus on Jesus". This sounds good, yet Paul admonishes us to desire EARNESTLY the best gifts, and here he is longing to impart them - WHY ? What's the big deal? Why would he want to do that so badly that he said he LONGED to do it ? The gifts of God are paramount to the power of God and the fruits HIS character.  And although it is true that He is more concerned with character - the gifts demonstrate HIS power - that HE IS GOD ! and the gifts change us too. They show His love for us, that He WANTS to bless us, to be with us, to speak with us, to heal us, to deliver us, and prophecy will draw you closer to intimacy with HIM. But it is true that HE MUST BE PREEMINENT and the MOST desired above all things as with HIM comes sanctification, empowerment with gifts, etc.

If we can hear the words of the Lord it changes us ! REVELATION is a gift that shows His love for us. A good father gives good gifts to his children and our heavenly FATHER is a wonderful gift giver and He gives them according to His goodness not ours, just because He loves us ! Just like a father encourages his son through speaking affirmation, so does ours. His revelation to us is a like a kiss on the cheek. His KINDNESS leads to repentance. I've gotten revelation sometimes at the very moments, I have felt the most unworthy. He just keeps loving on us till we really believe how much he loves us.

In this he is like the perfect foster parents who take in an abused child. They just keep loving and lavishing kindness on a child, till they begin to believe that they are really valuable to them.

Rom 1:16-17 NKJV For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

The power of God reveals His righteousness from faith to faith.

Rom 3:21-4:1 NKJV But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Romans is full of scriptures about faith cementing the fact there is nothing we can DO to gain salvation. It ONLY comes by faith in the Son of God and His death on the cross and Resurrection Life. We cannot rely on our deeds for anything.

We cannot make God love us more by doing something for Him. He blesses us because He loves us, as His most peculiar treasure, not because we have done all the right things. There is SO much idolatry in the church to man. We think that if someone is gifted, it is because they are so holy, or so self-sacrificing, so perfect - LOL. NO, son of man; it is because HE is so perfect. It is NOT about us.

It is GOD who merely uses the weak to confound the strong, the despised things of this earth to confound those who are wise in their own opinions. Yes we go from faith to faith; as our soul prospers, so will our body, so will our life in Christ, but more by His GRACE. We can't even come near Him without His grace. What does it say ? The Word says no one comes to Him except that HE draws them !!!! NOTHING...absolutely NOTHING is because we have kept the law better than someone else. IT is only because of His love, His mercy, His kindness, His righteousness, His LOVE that we can do anything - apart from Him we can do NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING !

Rom 4:5-23 NKJV But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin." 9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.

11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.
13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

17 (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be." 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."

We are saved ONLY by His work on the cross ! For if it is by the law then His sacrifice was for NOTHING ! So never, never, NEVER think that He is blessing you because you have finally arrived. The enemy will trick you into this the first thing he does when God uses you, is to get you to think "oh see how God is using you" so that way he can enter in with pride. Do not be amazed that He uses you, for it is NOT you doing it anyhow it is HIM through you. You are merely the conduit and how wonderful it is to be His conduit - to feel His manifest presence. What a treasure that is, but it is not because you are so holy. HE is the ONE Who makes you holy !

It is Him working His goodness into you. You can't work harder to be good that is the trouble with perfection is it makes you think if you do just one more hour of prayer, one more day of fasting, one more deed of kindness, then He will bless you with more. HE already wants to bless you ! You cannot MAKE Him do anything although we try to please Him like we would want to please our earthly parents, just because we LOVE Him, or them. When you start thinking I am finally getting more righteous able to walk in holiness. WHO did it ? Was it not by the hand of the Lord ? Apart from Him we can DO NOTHING !

Rom 5:1-5 NKJV Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Even when we are loving to our family who gets credit ? Isn't it because we first get the love from Him, then we are more able to love and handle whatever comes up. The days you don't spend as much time with Him don't they tend to come up short compared to the ones we have worshipped ?  We can't love in our own strength. I used to think of myself as compassionate. I had been in nursing for 20 years, so naturally I had some compassion, also because of my abuse but it was NOTHING compared to the supernatural compassion God gives.

I remember praying with a friend who was becoming too dependent on my prayers for her rebellious daughter who was committing adultery among other things. Her husband was a muslim and out on the oil rig days at a time. So this friend would call day after day and I wanted to help but felt she was too dependent because I hear from the Lord, thinking that my prayers would be more effective. So one day she called and asked me to pray and I said NO ! I don't have any more compassion. I've run out. (now that was true, in my flesh I had no more )

But I told her "you pray and I'll pray with you " so she started, and pretty soon I was weeping the tears of the Lord just admitting, I didn't have what it takes. God gave it to me ! Praise the Lord. That is KEY to life in the Spirit. We must be honest and understand that dependency on Him is the only way to accomplish anything in this life. HE is the Source of all we need. No more rah, rah, sis coom bah - working it up ! We just don't have enough to do all He is calling us to do !

Rom 9:30-10:1 NKJV What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

Isn't that good news we don't have to be ashamed, for when we come to Him, we are made NEW by the blood of Jesus. We no longer have anything to be ashamed of. A prostitute has the same ability to attain overcoming power, and doing things for God as someone who has come from a long line of pastors. There is no partiality with God ! Praise God ! Yet much of the church sees people who have been victims of witchcraft, or prostitution, or other perversions as disqualified from religious duty like the apostles treated Mary. But Jesus appeared to Mary first and sent HER to tell them He had risen! Jesus is the great Equalizer ! His blood paid the price!

Rom 10:4-10 NKJV For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them." 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, " 'Who will descend into the abyss?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Rom 10:10-13 NKJV For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

Rom 10:17 NKJV So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Hearing the Word of God in the Bible builds our faith, and so does the testimony of others, and so does PROPHECY. All are witnesses to His LOVE and grace, His mercy and lovingkindnesses. When you want more faith, when the enemy is tormenting you, just go to the scriptures and remind him who God is to you. Tell him the attributes of God and speak them OUTLOUD for all the demons and angels to hear ! Remind the devil of his end - go to Revelation 19-20 and speak it outloud .

Rom 11:20-23 NKJV Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

Yes, consider Ananias and Sapphira for example they were Christians, not unbelievers. It is good to have the fear of the Lord. Much better than the fear of man ! Some trust in chariots, some in horses, but we will trust in the name of the Lord !

Part 2

Rom 12:3-8 NKJV For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Do whatever you do in proportion to your faith. In other words God gives us some slack for we go from faith to faith the scriptures say so in PROPORTION walk in faith and exercise whatever gifts God has given you. Above it indicates PRIDE is a great indicator of lack of faith. If you have to do something yourself then you don't believe God can do it !

Rom 14:1-4 NKJV Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

Rom 14:20-23 NKJV It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

1 Cor 2:4-5 NKJV And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

God does not want you to idolize men or women who come because of their intellect, or abilities eventhough these things are gifts to usHe wants you to see HIM through thempower demonstrations afford that opportunity to see that it is not the person, but GOD alone who heals, who speaks through His prophetic people who does the miracles, and signs and wonders. Again 1 Cor. 1, He uses the despised people, the weak ones, the misfits if you will to demonstrate His power so that people will see it is HIM not them.

HE ALONE IS TO BE GLORIFIED ! Put your faith in HIM, not man. It is much easier to put our faith in man, but we will always be let down if we do. We must get our comfort, our encouragement looking to Him and when it comes from elsewhere that is icing but a gift from HIM. That is hard but it is like Jesus who had only the Father to count on in His trials a man acquainted with grief, acquainted with rejection, acquainted with pain and suffering, and betrayal.

1 Cor 12:8-11 NKJV for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

So faith is also a GIFT, a supernatural gift of God as well as something that comes by hearing the word of God !

1 Cor 13:2-3,13 NKJV And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothingAnd now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

There are many who take great pride that they are believers and not unbelievers and it is so sad, that we sometimes seem to not have compassion for those who don't know Him. We condemn the lost who are already condemned, when God has called us to love them into the kingdom, the way HE has loved us. I have fallen into this too often to count and it is a religious spirit a spirit of pride rising up in our flesh when it happens. We cannot steal His GLORY.

He is the One Who drew us to Himself for NO man comes to the Father except through Jesus and His grace ! Why are we so surprised when people let us down ? Why do we think we can become perfect overnight our society is SO impatient on the whole. We desperately need more of His peace that brings FORBEARANCE.

Forbearance is putting up with the inadequacies of others.

1 Cor 15:14-19 NKJV And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

1 Cor 16:13-14 NKJV Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

The dealings of God are always with LOVE and so should ours be !

2 Cor 1:24 NKJV Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.

2 Cor 4:12-15 NKJV And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

2 Cor 5:6-7 NKJV So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Walking by faith and not by sight is not easy. It takes a change of mind and heart. It takes a determination to see the word of God as truth and to hear from Him Who is truth, and take Him at His word. The problem is that when we come from backgrounds where trust was eroded by abuse and deceit - it is hard to trust again. And we apply what we know of human behavior to God unwittingly. It takes alot of LOVE to build that trust again. God knows what it takes for each person. He knows how many times of coming through for you.

He knows how many times of whispering "I love you" in your ear for you to finally believe it. That is often why I think He pours great gifts into those who have been so wounded or robbed in life.why He uses the weak to confound the strongIt is His Divine justice working in our lives. Why do some who are the most wounded walking around have the most incredible experiences with Him ?

It is because HE IS LOVE. If only, If only, the church would grasp this, but so many of us are still in denial of our own need for healing, that we end up wounding each other over and over. God will use a lot of things to bring healing. He has used movies with melike romantic ones. I remember watching Captain Corelli's mandolin. And I came out weeping and weeping , and weeping and under the power of the Lord in the car got some deliverance.

What had struck me was the love of the Father for the daughter in the movie and the return of her great love he returned and did not abandon her. A picture is often worth a thousand words. You can read all kinds of books and still be dull to the truth. God uses whatever we can relate to. Just so happened that my first love in life was a greek doctor, so that impacted me too and I got some healing from the betrayal of that relationship.

2 Cor 10:14-18 NKJV For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men's labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's sphere of accomplishment. 17 But "he who glories, let him glory in the LORD." 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

2 Cor 13:5-6 NKJV Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.

Now that is something that if we think about it daily will transform our lives and keep us in the right path Christ is IN US we have authority over serpents and scorpions through Christ in us the Hope of Glory !

Gal 2:15-18 NKJV We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!

Gal 2:20-21 NKJV I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."

Gal 3 NKJV O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain?

5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse;

for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them." 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

In the didache an early apostolic writing Jesus is referred to as the Curse. Isn't it interesting that Paul says "who has bewitched you ?"

For to turn from grace back to the law means you put yourself under the curse for if you try to keep the law, you must keep ALL of it.

I remember a man coming to inspect the apartment when I was on housing who tried to tell me that the whole key for the church to walk in authority was to keep the Sabbath on Saturday, the day meant to be the Sabbath. He was walking in the LAW. But any day can be a Sabbath resting in Him for Jesus said, " The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. " If you walk under religious teaching you will be tormented been there, done that, and I can assure you, it really is bad I have made all the mistakes and yet God loves me and has continued to be patient with me OH MY HOW HE LOVES US ! So walk in the light as He is in the light and walk in the freedom He has given you and draw away from the death that comes with religion.

Galatians 3:19-29 NKJV What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Jesus wiped away all the curse HE TOOK THE CURSE ! So Paul could say there is no longer male or female, Jew or greek. God loves all and is in all when we give our hearts to Him we are under a new government. Joel says, "I will pour out my Spirit on ALL flesh. Amy Semple MacPherson, walked in power and authority, but she was a woman. God has not made ANYONE a second class citizen, rather He said, even the LEAST in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist ! For we have not SEEN, yet we believe in Him and He has restored the fellowship we just have to accept it and expect it in our every day lives. A little child shall lead us in the days ahead and we will be astounded at the maturity God puts in the children !

Gal 5:5-6 NKJV For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Gal 6:10 NKJV Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

ALL who are of the household of FAITH are precious to Him. We really need to grasp this Paul said " Do all prophesy ?" "Do all speak in tongues?" WE need to love the church as HE loves the church - each part those who walk in more faith as precious, those who walk in evangelism more as precious, those who pray to saints are not disqualified ! If you think so, read about St. Theresa of Avila or Madame Guyon ! God wants to TEAR DOWN the walls of division. And loving JESUS Who is fully GOD is the most common denominator. Can we lay down our pride enough to let God be God and realize we are not GOD we are NOT the judges and just LOVE people into loving JESUS ?

Love is the greatest ! LOVE is as strong as death ! PUT ON LOVE and love people even when they hurt us, even when they disagree with us or make mistakes. Jesus said "LOVE your enemies, be good to those who hate you, pray for those who spitefully use you." IF you love only those who love you, how are you greater than the Pharisees ? See Luke 6. Lay down your sword against your brother for UNITY is where God commands the blessing.

God told me years ago, that it was in the ONE- anothers that revival would come. When we clean the house of a schizophrenic, like my young friend Christina, or feed and take in the homeless, and love the fatherless back into health we are sowing seeds of LOVE and kindness, that will break yokes of bondage. See Isaiah 58 !


Faith _Part  2
Priscilla Van Sutphin
www.upstreamca.org
Feb-17-2002

Eph 2:8-9 NKJV    For 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.

Eph 3:17-19 NKJV
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height19  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

This is one of my favorite scriptures to pray over people because without this revelation of the LOVE of Christ, we cannot attain the fullness of Christ it implies.  OUR FAITH also is strengthened by how we see Jesus, how we see the Father and Holy Spirit.  If our vision is scewed because we have been so hurt by our earthly parents it is hard to trust an invisible God.  We hardly trust man, and man is made in His image  God is so creative in the way He reveals this love to each person, depending on their backgrounds,  but HE knows how to get through to us and He alone knows how long it will take to break down all the distrust and abuse, abandonment and lies of the enemy.  We MUST be rooted and grounded in HIS LOVE, we must know the depths of His great love to also love others as we love ourselves.  This is like the "bottom line" in business,  in God's business,  LOVE is the bottom line. 

I don't know if it is true, but there is this story of John the  apostle coming to a church and everyday he would preach only a sentence"Love one another as I have loved you, says the Lord "  Then he would leave and finally one day a young man, irritated stood up and asked the apostle why every day he would say the same thing ? and nothing more.  And the apostle supposedly responded  "When you learn this, then, I will go on to teach more."  Note also that it is the requirement for being filled with the FULLNESS OF GOD !...WOW !  We all want that don't we ?

Eph 4:4-6 NKJV  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6   one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

This is also a bottom line related to love for if we learn love, which the whole of life is about learning love.  Then we can walk in love towards others, with varying ideas of how to apply scriptures, so long as they are not apostate.  We should be able to walk in UNITY out of our love for Him.  Not a superficial hierarchal UNITY, but to love all who are a part of the kingdom of God, in or out of the church - the church should not have walls.

Eph 6:15-18 NKJV
15  and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18  praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

This tells us that the shield of faith is for quenching all the fiery darts of the evil one.  Every day he is working to bring you down. It will never stop.  We are in a war for our souls and the souls of others. And especially if you are doing anything to reach out to others, whether it is in prayer,  or actually one on one evangelism, preaching, whatever, you are a target of the enemy.  He will not relent. In a war, the enemy does not take a rest.  Everyday there are confrontations, big or small and some of the biggest are in our minds.  Will we choose to believe TODAY what God's word says about us?  ...or give in to the enemy working on our minds, or through the words of others ?  That is where the battle is most fierce.  Anything he can do to steal your joy, then he is winning and keeping you from witnessing the truth of God's love. 

Think about that a minute.  Chew on it.  Everything he does is to try to disfellowship you from the presence of the Lord, or to discourage you from telling others how wonderful HE is, and if you are crying in bed because of feelings that are crushed by the words of others,  then satan is a happy camper because he has just rendered you useless from helping yourself or anyone else !!!  If he can make you think you are useless, or too sinful to be used, then you won't DO anything for God.   Prayer and worship are to be cut off at any cost in his kingdom he especially hates them. 

He hates it when we LOVE each other and have sweet fellowship and company with each other,  because then we are built up.  So he will always try to sow division and dislike for others to keep us from unity of fellowship.  If that doesn't work,  then he'll work on your family relationships, or if it is a church that worships he will try to sow discord, or give you a preacher who will keep you in check from going all the way in worship to the presence of the throne room, so that he renders the whole fellowship from attaining entrance in the throne room of God,  where miracles and ecstatic experiences are common....because those things manifest His beauty and love and empower God's people.

Phil 1:25-26 NKJV
And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26  that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.

When there is faith,  there is JOY in the Spirit, because there is confidence in God's ability to defeat the enemy which is greater than the enemy's ability to defeat you.  Another thing it says that without faith it is impossible to please God,  and the Lord just showed me that means, you will not be able to walk in the light, to walk in His grace without faith.  In other words, without faith, how can you walk the walk ?  It is important because apart from HIM we can DO nothing.  So if we don't believe that He will help us,  we will walk in our own strength,  which makes it impossible to be pleasing to Him.  And we will only walk then, into pretense and hypocrisy, trying to do it in ourselves.  Also He is a rewarder of those who SEEK Him, but if we walk in unbelief, we will not be seeking Him.  We will not because we have not the faith to pray, to worship, to read the word etc.

Phil 1:27-30 NKJV     27  Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28  and not in, any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29  For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30  having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

THIS faith which is overcoming to any terror from the enemy is only possible when we really KNOW how much God loves us.  Because then we will understand that if we share in His suffering, we will share in His glory and God will be able to trust us with suffering because our faith will keep us through it and we will still seek Him and not give in to the torments of the enemy fully,  but cling to Him as best we can through it.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them ALL.  Before I went to Russia last year, a few nights before I was to leave, I turned into bed late and turned towards the wall and as I did, I heard a growling like a lion behind me and I knew it was the devouring one, and just cried out to the Lord  " Lord I'm so tired, YOU deal with him, I need to sleep ! "  and I must have almost instantly went asleep as I don't remember anything after that !   I am sure I am not alone here, but years ago as a new believer,  I had terrible nightmares.   God had to walk me through many years of healing, deliverance, and fearful experiences with demons to get to this point.  Fear is overcome when you do what you are afraid of anyhow,  casting all your cares on HIM knowing that HE cares FOR you.

Phil 2:17-18 NKJV  Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18  For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

Phil 3:9-11 NKJV   9   and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Paul talks in Corinthians about carrying about in our bodies the death of the Lord Jesus and the above seems to make it understandable. Only through knowing HIM, the real Him, can we cast ALL our cares on Him, not holding anything back, but taking all things to Him.  We must carry our cross daily, but mostly we don't want to carry any crosses, not in our flesh.  Our heart says YES Lord !   But our flesh says "NO WAY !"  "I don't think I can surrender that much.  Our desire for comforts rob us sometimes from the explicit wonder there is in walking IN HIM.  Our lives are NOT our own.  We are bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus.  But our flesh will try to cling to what WE want.  Ultimately, it will only slow us down from getting to the place of true RESURRECTION LIFE in dying to self and living totally for HIM.  So often we only want to give 10%  or 50%, or even 80%, but not that last 20%.  WE need to let Him into that last area of our hearts and when we do,  OUR FAITH will be made PERFECT IN HIM.

Col 1:19-24 NKJV    19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22  in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight  23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,

If we shrink back from faith He has no pleasure in us.  If we shrink back we risk great loss as we will be in that place of shrinking grace and self-striving, and never know real freedom.  Shrinking back in faith causes us to lose HOPE.   And at the end Paul says this amazing thing.  HE makes up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ for the sake of the BODY of Christ !!!!  Now a lot of people might balk here... after all it says when He died on the cross He said  " IT IS FINISHED."   ( yes, His part is finished )  But I can show you in Ruth, where it symbolically indicates in the scriptures, that the BRIDE of Christ will also surrender all for the sake of Christ and the church.

So although HE did finish the work of the cross, our part in carrying OUR crosses LIKE HIM, walking like HIM, is NOT finished. In  1 Corinthians 11 where it talks about communion, Paul says some are suffering in their bodies because they have taken communion sacreligiously, and many are sick in the body, indicating our sin also affects others.  Well so does our incarnate suffering.  It helps the church.  It sows seeds for the church of Jesus Christ if we react appropriately to it IN Him. 

The ministry of intercession is more than prayer.  If you doubt that look up the greek words for compassion and bearing one anothers burdens.  We are told to REJOICE in ALL things, not just some.   If we can thank God even for the hard things we have to endure,  it mutes the enemy !  If instead of complaining and talking so much,  we realize all things that come our way are for our perfecting... Even the battles laid before us are sometimes a test if we will fight God's way and keep the FAITH He has put in us.   If we will humble ourselves to the rest of the body with confession and prayer. And sometimes our suffering is a test to the body of Christ.  Will THEY respond as they should ?  Even the weaker members are necessary Paul said, WHY ?  Why are they necessary ?  If not for teaching us something about our own weakness, or vulnerability without Him.

I had SO much pride that God had to get my attention.  And I asked Him to crush the pride and He did and continues to do that.  He gave me the scripture"You made my strength into the drought of summer"  when everything fell apart in my life....my family, my health.  He threw me on a sickbed because I was walking in a spirit of jezebel.  I had so much pride and control on me and didn't see how terrible I was.  Now I was not walking in the seduction part....That was something HE delivered me from immediately when I came to Him,  but I still walked in so much insecurity and fear and pride,  I was a ball of pretense and misery.   But in His GRACE, He brought me low, that I might fulfill my HEART's desire to BE LIKE HIM.  He knew my heart was to be different.

Col 2:5-9 NKJV   5  For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6  As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

There is a very sad thing in the church under the sun and that is the robbery done when unbelief is perpetuated through traditions of man. For example,  I have always believed in supernatural healing, that God wants to heal,  and I remember moving to a place north of where I am now when I was still married, and I was astounded to find people in such a low measure of faith , not really EXPECTING God to do anything.  But I had been privileged to sit under a pastor in the beginning, that made you feel like you could do anything in Christ. He had once prayed for a baby who died , and went home after an hour of praying with the family, and the baby was raised from the dead !  It came back to life.  They had put him in another room in a crib and suddenly he was crying. They called the family back in to see a healthy ALIVE baby ! Interestingly enough his middle name was Elijah (the Pastor ). 

So I was trained that GOD WANTS to answer our prayers.  It says if any TWO or more agree as touching ANYTHING it SHALL be done...not it MIGHT be done,  but it SHALL be done !  But I found after I went through a dark night of the soul myself,  where I almost died and had been under so much attack from witches and covens of Satanists, of jezebel in the church,  that my faith had weakened. I had become tired and I needed others to lift me up, and at the time, I was not attending church.  The church had driven out the prophets and I was a marked sheep by the enemy.  HE will devour us if we don't work TOGETHER in unity and submit ourselves to each other.  Even if mistakes are made,  it is SO important to have other Christians to pray with you, to not be alone in the pastures...a mark for every wolf that comes along.  He made us interdependent.  Can the arm say to the eye, I don't need you ? Can the heart say to the  lungs, I don't need you ?  WE need each other and FAITH should be built up in sharing testimony of what the Lord is doing in each other's lives. It strengthens us to see prayers answered. 

1 Thess 3:2-10 NKJV      2  and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, 3  that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4  For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. 5  For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.

6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you7  therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. 9  For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?

Have you ever noticed that when your faith is low, so is your prayer life suffering ? Here they are praying night and day.  

God has done the most wonderful thing in giving us gifts like tongues, for in every situation in the day,  we can pray in our spirit.  So night and day we can pray.  Off and on throughout the day and at night when we are sleeping.our spirit doesn't need sleep.  Have you ever woken up singing worship songs ?  Why is that ?  It is because our spirit doesn't sleep.  Sometimes we are still effectually doing warfare in the night watches without realizing it !

1 Thess 5:7-9 NKJV    7   For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8  But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9  For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2 Thess 1:3-5 NKJV    We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5  which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;

2 Thess 1:11-12 NKJV  Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Note it says WITH POWER that HE will fulfill all the good pleasure  of His goodness towards us, and the work of faith to faith with POWER.   His gifts and manifest presence in our midst in POWER,  is evidence of His love and goodness towards us.  I remember when I was married it would seem that satan would always provoke an argument before going to church.  And we'd be standing there worshiping thinking what hypocrites we are, worshiping God when we had been so bad to each other.  And we would repent in the worship, and the presence of the Lord would be so sweet and powerful, it seemed even MORE powerful at such times, and I always wondered if the enemy got us to fight because he knew we might be blessed, or if God just  wanted to pour out in us, because He know how lousy the day had started...maybe both ! 

Have you ever noticed how those most hurt seem to be so talented ?  Some of them are wonderful artists or musicians, or actors ?  I think it is the goodness of God poured out in us, knowing how much we have been through.  He is SO LOVING a father.  Just like I long to see my son blessed and walking in all God has for him, so God the Father longs for His best for us.

2 Thess 3:1-2 NKJV
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2  and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.

1 Tim 1:3-7 NKJV    3   As I urged you when I went into Macedonia--remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4  nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. 5  Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6  from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7  desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

1 Tim 1:14 NKJV       And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

1 Tim 1:18-19 NKJV    This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19  having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,

Without FAITH we certainly are in shipwreck.  The enemy is determined to shipwreck our faith every chance he gets,  so we must learn to stand on the word of GOD.  Just a wee bit of discontentment, or discouragement will plummet us from the heights of FAITH and JOY to the depths of despair.

1 Tim 3:8-9 NKJV    Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9  holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.

1 Tim 4:1-5 NKJV     Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2  speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3  forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4   For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5  for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Just this definition alone tells us the times we are living in.  Praying in faith over our food, means that even eating poison won't harm us according to Mark 16.  I know a church in town here that is Presbyterian that was teaching the youth that all ways lead to God...Hindu, Islam, Jewish, doesn't matter.  There was a great church split when the former pastor came, who preached the real Jesus,  and he was kicked out. TheChoir director is homosexual,  and that is a paid position of $40,000 per year.  On the other side of town however is another Presbyterian church with lots of charasmatics and which withheld missions funds from the main office on the basis of their stand on homosexuality.

1 Tim 5:8-9 NKJV  But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

At the time of Jesus, the Pharisees were so selfish, they wouldn't care for their own parents.   LOVE begins at home.  If we can't love our own family, how can we reach out to others?  God convicted me with this when my husband told me he wanted a divorce, rather than working it out.  He (God) had me read Luke 6 where it says to love your enemies, be good to those who hate you, pray for those who spitefully use you.  If I cannot love my rebellious son, how can I love someone else's rebellious son ?  A lot of people kick out their teenagers when they are rebellious - put them out on the street to teach them a lesson.  That is NOT taking care of your family.  You FIGHT for those you love.  You don't cut them off. You don't treat them as disposable extras. Where is faith in doing the opposite?

Warfare is always about sowing in the opposite of what is going on. How can I say I love my neighbor if I talk evil of him ?  What if that neighbor is my husband.  Am I speaking LIFE over him or just complaining about what is wrong with him ? An old friend called me today to tell me she is going to give her 21 yr old daughter who just lost her job a 30 day notice of eviction because she isn't respecting her and is very angry.  She admitted she needed healing.   I know there are all those tough love people out there who would say I'm crazy,  but Jesus is loving to those who are undeserving.  Hasn't He loved US  when we deliberately have disobeyed him in areas of our lives ?  Doesn't He still love us when we blow it ?   Doesn't  He forgive us ? 

The intolerance and impatience in our society is at critical mass.   I told her to go in another room when her daughter gets angry at her and thank God for that, thank God she is living with her and asserting her normal 21 yr old behavior of independence.  Thank God for her rebellion, and for how HE will turn it around.  I had lived this one, so I knew what to say.  I learned it from Merlin Carothers books. Learn to praise HIM in all things,  even if you react bad at first in your flesh, go in the other room, get with God and praise Him. Speak scriptures over your children, your husband, your wife,  and watch the Lord answer. Ask for Him to give you HIS ATTITUDE toward that individual at church that bugs you. That is FAITH working in you.

1 Tim 6:9-12 NKJV    For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

This is hard to say, and I am not proud of it.  But this year I found myself falling into this sin of selfishness and greed. I had lived many years poor, and a couple years on faith, and then suddenly comfort.  And what happened is that I lived out what I had judged others for.  I had been harsh in my judgments of those who do nothing to help others.  It seems always that those who are down and out, help those who are  down and out.  That those who have had hard times have compassion.  Yet here I was seeing in myself, something I had also hated in my mother, and foster mom.  I was distressed to see it in myself and have had a rough year filled with conviction, and more healing and deliverance, by the GRACE of God !  I lived in faith much better when I was poor, I must say.  There were of course generational roots to this.  A spirit of poverty will make you greedy, if you didn't know that.  It hurt SO badly to see myself in the light of the Lord. I was SO grieved in my spirit at my own foolishness and pride.  BUT GOD IS GRACIOUS. GOD IS SO GOOD.  GOD GIVES SECOND CHANCES. And it is His mercy to convict us before it overwhelms our soul.  Apart from God's grace I can do nothing.

1 Tim 6:20-21 NKJV    O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babble and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen

Knowledge puffs up the word says and we can go down this path to the point of loss of faith too. If we trust in our revelations even as being perfect, or our knowledge and understanding over HIS understanding and knowledge, or think our knowledge is so much more than someone else's we are in trouble indeed for pride comes before a fall it says. Doing things based on your knowledge is not faith.  FAITH depends on GOD. For example when I was first Christian, and still in a clinical nurse specialist, it would have been easy with my knowledge and background to pray for someone for healing of emotions.  I knew how to recognize a lot of things,  but my faith should not be in what I know, but what GOD WANTS. So I had to be careful of presumption.  Only God knows what HE wants to heal.  Only God knows each individual perfectly so we need to rely on HIM in FAITH doing only as He speaks to do, not ever assuming. Faith does not trust on what I know but what GOD knows.  He knows past, present and future.

2 Tim 1:5-7 NKJV    when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6  Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Tim 2:22-24 NKJV   Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23  But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24  And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,

When you need to stir up faith, don't hang around people who don't have any.  Also faith is often learned and it was so with Timothy. And below it says from his childhood he knew the scriptures so he had a lot going for him in the way of building of faith.  What a treasure that must be to be taught as a child by your parents the scriptures and see it modeled in your relatives !

2 Tim 3:14-16 NKJV  and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Tim 4:6-8 NKJV   I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Paul had his eyes on the Lord, and not on this earth, but the heavenly city which is our true home.  It enabled him to run the good race as he puts it.  He fought the good fight of faith. Faith is definitely a fight.  WE must stand on the word of GOD and not on the words of man or demons speaking through them, or to us.

Titus 1:13-14 NKJV    This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14  not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.

Walking in faith is impossible with traditions of men because then you are relying on rules and man made regulations instead of the Spirit of God.  Religion destroys faith and quenches the Holy Spirit. It robs us of faith.  See what Galatians said...."Who has bewitched you ? "

Philem 4-7 NKJV    I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6  that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7   For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.

Now that is interesting - sharing of our faith becomes effective when we acknowledge that anything good in us is from CHRIST JESUS !  AMEN to that...it is not from my innate goodness that is for sure, as our flesh is very stinky.

Heb 4:1-3 NKJV   For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3  For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,"

When you preach to those who have no faith to mix with the word...it's like it falls on hard, rocky ground.  It is not received.  So you just sow your seeds and don't get too upset by those who don't receive it.  Your responsibility is to sow....the Spirit's is to water them,  and if they don't receive it, it isn't your fault.  It doesn't mean you aren't effective.  Same with prophecy.  If someone has a word for me
but I don't have the faith or don't MIX it with FAITH,  then it won't do me much good.  With faith, I will proclaim it, and pray for it to come to pass.  Without faith it can be delayed or fall to the ground.

Heb 6:1-8 NKJV    of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5  and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6  if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. 7  For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8  but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed,

We have all seen backsliders come back to the Lord and seen them renewed in faith so what does he mean by this.  Well I will try to give this a shot because I have seen those who completely forsake God IN THEIR HEARTS, after getting saved and yet, those who were immature in their training and understanding of the scriptures, and fall back, out of ignorance,  I think God is able to restore. So often, someone will slide back out of a lack of healing and deliverance. Notice that it says those who were a) once enlightened b) received the Holy Spirit  c) know the word d) and have tasted the powers of the age to come. Those are the parameters, that if you have them and then fall away it is impossible to be restored.  So he is not talking about your average immature believer.  He is speaking of those like Judas, who spent years with Jesus, participated in the Holy Spirit, healings, and deliverances, etc....saw the miracles...a taste of the age to come....and then turn away.  Now Peter, John and James actually saw a taste of the age to come in the apparition of Jesus with Moses and Elijah on the mountain. They had certainly tasted of the age to come.  We have  here an enigma, as there are so few in this age who have tasted that compared to the time of the apostles.  So many in our age, even if they have the Holy Spirit, walk so much in the flesh, because of lack of healing.  And the point here I think is that it is extremely rare if not impossible for someone to turn away when they have seen all this.  I am sure there is more here but that is all I know.

Heb 6:12  NKJV  that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Again, if you want more faith, and to walk in overcoming power learn from those who already do.  Study them, ask them what they do.  Read of people who have gone before us, like Finney, Wesley, Madame Guyon, David Brainerd or a Maria Woodworth Etter,  H.A. Baker, or "Praying" John Hyde.

Heb 10:22-23 AMP  ****   let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Drawing near to God must be in faith. If we go in our own sin and grief over it we would surely not go.  It must be IN FAITH that we draw near to Him, trusting in His infinite LOVE and mercy towards us.

Heb 10:38-39 NKJV     Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him."  39  But  we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

Faith sustains our walk in Him.  If we lack faith, we can ask for more. Faith is also a gift.  Trust is a gift as well as something that is built.  God always knows where we are at anyhow,   so how else can we come, except in the faith of the Cross and what HE did.  If we lose that faith in His love and lose sight of HIM we will end up into perdition.  Proverbs says, my people perish for lack of vision. If we have a vision for our life, then we have hope and can stand in FAITH in what God has told us or shown us.  The enemy is always trying to sow doubt.  He started it in the garden and hasn't stopped or changed his techniques any since then. He is always trying to undermine our faith so that we will draw back into sin and be discouraged, and defeated in our attitudes, hoping that will give way to suicide and another soul in hell for him  another soul LIKE HIM, separated from GOD.
The idea satan has is to doubt God's LOVE for us...and that is infinitely more than we can think or ask or understand...As we grow in the knowledge of His love...our faith is strengthened as well.

Heb 11:1-12:1 NKJV
11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3  By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
4  By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5  By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 7  By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8  By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10  for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11  By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12  Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude--innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18  of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called,"  19  concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. 20  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21  By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22  By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command. 24  By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26  esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
27  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28  By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29  By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
30  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 32  And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33  who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34  quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35   Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36  Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings,  yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented38  of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39  And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40  God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

Heb 12:1-2 NKJV
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, 2   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.

I have always loved this scripture.  It is always amazing to read that He saw it as JOY to die for us !  I sure don't always see death to self as joy.  I want to be like HIM.  The only way for that is to look to Him.  To keep my eyes on Him is the only way I can make It through anything.  Everytime I get my eyes off Him,  my faith sinks,  just like Peter when he tried to walk on water.  But Jesus lifted him up, even when he sank, His love is so great and He will keep taking you through the tests until you pass, like a good teacher that He is.

Heb 13:8-9 NKJV  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9  Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

It is not in the doing of things that our hearts are established and certainly not by the LAW, but by the GRACE of God who loves us and died for us. The Holy Spirit sheds His love abroad in our hearts. It is His presence that helps us to walk straight and to take the narrow path.  If we listen to people who say well if you pray 15 minutes of every hour, then you will attain righteousness, NO.  It is by the blood of JESUS, that we have any righteousness at all and the working of His Spirit in us.  Not by anything we have done. It is by HIS POWER, not our own, that no man can boast .

James 1:3-4 NKJV  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Some people say "don't pray for patience" but avoiding what is necessary is no solution.  We are a very impatient society.  We pray for the other fruits of the Spirit like love and goodness,  so why not patience ?  Because those who say that don't want it tested.  If I pray for love God will give me opportunity to love others.  It is impossible for me to do that without HIS love in me.  I can't get His love without hanging out with Him.

James 1:5-8 NKJV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Anything we need, God is our resource, wisdom, faith, love.  But if we ask, it says ask in FAITH  for if we doubt, then we are being double-minded.  Now this kind of faith doesn't come overnight most of the time.  In some  it may come easier, but in the wounded it comes by much trial and testing....Much reinforcement of His love. When love has been betrayed, it takes a rebuilding of trust to believe you are loved again.  God knows this and is gracious enough to continue to pour out affirmations, and experiences to those who need to have it rebuilt. Oftentimes He uses other people to help. Double-mindedness is like having one foot on solid ground and the other on a banana peel.  It is NOT surety of faith.

James 2:1 NKJV   My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.

James admonishes us to not be prejudiced. Prejudice is more than just an ethnic or race thing.  Some people are prejudiced against fat people or ugly people.  Yeah, I said that right.  I heard a discourse on this from a black woman I met.  Her theory is that what people really react to is when people act ugly, or look ugly.  We all have different notions about what is attractive or not and often we base judgments on that, rather than on what GOD says about a person. I notice God doesn't care much if you are tall or skinny, short or fat.  He loves everyone.

In fact, I think He gets a kick out of using people who other people think are misfits just to test our hearts. It seems to say that in 1 Corinthians 1.  He uses even the despised things of this earth. And not only the despised , but the BASE things.  Now base is as low as you can go...it is those we consider unfit  in society.   I used to have a friend who said all the time, that God would rather take a drunk and sober him up and use him, than a prideful Christian.  I believe she is right.  To me it is very ugly when we reject people because of their looks.  One renewal church I once attended had a man in charge of conferences and when we asked if this homeless lady could come, he quipped "just make sure she is cleaned up !"

Also they couldn't come unless they worked the parking lot or something.  When will the church learn to just give without getting in return like JESUS does ?  Another church that helped me with the food program, for which I am really grateful would not help after a while, because they weren't getting any new members from it.  Yet none of them wanted to come out and minister to the Mexican Americans here in the neighborhood.  So unless they got tithers out of it , I guess they just didn't want to make the effort.  It is only my opinion but it LOOKS that way from what I saw.  I think this makes God NAUSEOUS.  That is not giving in faith.  Nor did they help pay for the food.  And finally took away my ability to do it, so another church took over helping.  We need to learn as a church what it really means to love people like Jesus does.

James 2:5 NKJV  Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

Truer words were never spoken. The poor HAVE to live by faith. They are amazing !  I look at my brothers and sisters in India, Russia and Belize, where I have been, and their faith is remarkable.  They must trust God.  There are no rich church members in India in the villages.  They have to live on faith in the Son of God not the sons of God.   We drove out to the villages in Russia in a car that broke down every 10 minutes or so, needing water...it was an interesting trip....but we were in FAITH doing everything.  And amazingly we made it each time to the next water pond where the driver could find water to put in the engine.   In the village church there, there was no electricity so we had service by candlelight.  They are meeting there in trust that God will provide more in time.  Many other places in the world, people are dying for their faith, or being jailed for their faith.  And we complain if the seats are not comfortable. In India, most places they sit on the floor.  We'd be complaining about getting our dresses messy.or getting germs from having to take off our shoes.

James 2:14-26 NKJV   What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16  and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18  But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19  You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! 20  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22  Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?   23  And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. 24  You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25   Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?  26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Here is the real meat of the Word, also reiterated by his brother Jesus.  Jesus said, if you give a piece of bread to one of these little ones, you are giving it to me.  REAL FAITH is not afraid of losing anything, because you know that God will supply all our needs through His riches in glory. I have seen this lack of faith and fear of loss in so many churches when it comes to helping the poor.  I have seen it in me.  GOD is not enamored with our selfishness and holding on to things of this world.  THIS IS NOT OUR HOME !  So when a neighbor comes to the door or you see someone on the street and the Lord whispers give them $ or food, or whatever,  you just do it.  WE seem to expect in America that it will cost us nothing personally to expand the kingdom of God. 

In other countries, the hospitality which is "love of STRANGERS" so outshines Americans it is grievous.  In India I have to fight to keep them from feeding me...it is unbelievable. Yet here we are so stingy about so many things....so unwilling to share...so full of apathy and complacency about those who lack, and even hatred... "why don't you get a job ?"  Grant it there are those who take advantage,  but the Holy Spirit once told me when I was afraid of losing things, that HE could replace anything I lost.  There is also the issue of following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. There  are some on the streets who are under judgment. Others are there out of hard times...there is a difference and we need discernment and to do things led by the Spirit.  God knows the hearts of people so He can show us.  All I know is loving on people is HIS WAY. Remember the Good Samaritan parable !

I will let you read the rest of the scriptures without comment

James 5:13-16 NKJV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

1 Peter 1:3-8 NKJV
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4  to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5  who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6   In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8  whom having not seen you love.

1 Peter 5:6-10 NKJV
6  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

2 Peter 1:5-8 NKJV
5  But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6  to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7  to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 5:4 NKJV  For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.

Jude 3 NKJV  Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Jude 20-23 NKJV
20   But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21  keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22  And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23  but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Rev 2:12-13  NKJV      "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

Rev 2:18-21 NKJV   "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, 'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 "I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

Rev 13:10 NKJV  He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

Rev 14:6-12
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people7  saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water." 8  And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
9  Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11  And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." 12  Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.