God’s Pin Number: FAITH by Maria Sultan
|Pastor Don is on vacation, so different people have been asked to teach Bible studies. Sometimes this causes fewer to show up to Bible studies, and Maria pointed out that if you come to a Bible study expecting to receive from God, you will receive, no matter who is teaching. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will even teach you something that is totally not related to what the speaker is talking about.
In the past few weeks we have seen some special people to our church going through tough circumstances – illnesses, heart attack, and even Pastor Herbie’s death. We have been asked to pray in agreement for God’s intervention in the circumstances in people’s lives. At times it can be puzzling that the responses are different from what we expect or healing isn’t immediate. Maria wanted to address that in her study.
She told us we are to pray in faith believing God. Worry, contemplating what God seems to be doing or not doing, and the time a prayer takes to be answered are not actions that are connected with faith. God will work with each person individually, doing exactly what is important for that person, and will at the same time deal with us individually. We will be working out our salvation (salvation we received as a free gift), but with our salvation will come life changes that we work out with the Holy Spirit.
We talked about Acts 9, when Saul/Paul was converted. Before his conversion he was against Christians. He was commissioned to arrest them and even was present at the stoning of Stephen. Saul was blinded by Jesus and had a revelation of the Messenger, Jesus, who confronted Saul/Paul about the persecutions he was doing. Jesus then told Saul to go to the city where he would be told what to do. Ananias was praying, and was told he was to go to Saul and lay hands on him so Saul could regain his sight. God will pick an individual to do a courageous act, an individual to be used as a vehicle of God. We can be used powerfully if we are willing to obey God.
This instruction to Ananias had to have gone against Ananias’ flesh because tales of Saul and his stance against Christians had gone around the Christian community and it would take great courage to follow Jesus’ command and heal Saul. Saul was still considered the enemy, BUT Jesus had come into Saul’s life. Ananias chose to do what God instructed him to do, in spite of the fears that must have arisen. He chose to obey God. We don’t hear anything more about Ananias in the New Testament, but his one act of obedience was very important to God.
Acts 9:20-25 NIV At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
Saul began to baffle the Jews so he was now considered an enemy, and the Jews were trying to kill him. His followers, lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. He was let down on a rope. When we pray for someone, we are like that rope, which is being held by the Master’s hand. If we praying in faith about a situation, we do not have to fear or worry, we are just the rope that is being used by God. We too are in the Master’s hand. In our lives we are being held by Him, in our prayers for others we are being held by Him, and when we are in trouble we are also being held by Him. God will plan a way of escape that is perfect for our situation. We have to remember our life on this earth is short, and there is a wonderful eternity for believers after our short time here on earth.
God has it covered, and He is not worried about the Body of Christ. God is not shaken or worried when stuff happens. It was brought up about Oral Roberts University and other pastors whose sins are being exposed by the media. It does not shake God up. God knew what was going on, and if lies are being spread, the truth will come out. If there is error in a person’s life, God will use the circumstance to clean up the life. God is perfect no matter what we humans do or don’t do.
Regarding Oral Roberts University there are Biblical errors in how the situation was handled. The accuser went straight to the media. The Bible states, if there is a situation, it should first be dealt with in the Body of Christ before being brought to the public, so there is already error. The accusations will be examined and truth will come out. God will use that circumstance for everyone’s benefit.
When God gives us a revelation, if we miss it, He will not throw us out of His house. We are to pray for these ministries and ministers that God’s perfect will is done. One thing to consider is how we respond to these situations shows a lot about where we are in our walk of faith. Are we sitting in stern judgment, are we gossiping, is doubt creeping in? We need to remember our priority is our personal relationship with God and doing His will.
Then we went into the body of the Bible study.
1 John 4:1-3 NIV Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
The Spirit of God is moving in the World. The Holy Spirit that ministers to us is the Person of the Holy Spirit, and He dwells within us. We have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our counselor, guide, and teacher. We let Him work within us, but it is not a spirit of possession for we have free will in operation when we are led by the Spirit. We have the choice to obey the Holy Spirit or miss His direction.
We are living in a world that is hostile to Christ, who does not want to be led by Him. We want to be the I AM and do things in our own strength, some people think God is an absentee God, or they try to convince themselves there is no God or there can be no revelations from God or the Holy Spirit. We want to reach those who are lost but we cannot minister in the Spirit without God. You can’t force a person to come to God. You can’t pound the Gospel into a person. For them to receive the Gospel (good news), the Holy Spirit has to prepare the person to receive the Gospel. You can’t convince them of the truth of God through philosophy, through research, or great arguments. They have to be ready to receive the Gospel.
1 John 4:4 NIV You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
We can speak words of faith, have the right behavior and the right response, but it is only IN HIM, THROUGH FAITH that the work is done. It isn’t our faith, it is the Faith of Christ that causes healings, deliverances and gave Him the strength to go to the cross. The more we operate in Faith, the more we will see manifestations of faith. When we begin to operate in Christ, in Faith we will do things differently, we will read situations differently and we will act differently.
Maria gave an example of someone who is a seasoned worker on the job being able to handle various situations that come up on the job, but a newcomer would flip out over little decisions, decisions that you have made 1000 times. When the Greater One in us (the One who knows all situations) acts through us, we can move in ways through His knowledge, that we wouldn’t have conceived with our limited minds. The Holy Spirit is with us 24/7, there are no secrets from God, He knows what we are doing, thinking, believing even when we pretend He doesn’t know these things. And the moment we call out to God, He will be with us.
Maria told us we need to acknowledge and call out to God immediately in any situation. Practice calling on Him with little things so, when the disasters strike, we have built a good relationship with Him. Everything is spiritual anyway, even when the flesh is acting. We are to be IN the world, but not OF the world. We are not forced to be the way we were before, for we are new creations IN CHRIST.
Maria gave a great example, she said some compare acting in faith is like writing a check – that what is in the heavens (bank) is accessed by writing a check in faith. We may not see the money that the check represents, but we can believe in faith that the bank contains that money. But Maria said that it is more like an ATM card and the Pin number is FAITH. We access it through the grace of God, Grace is more than unmerited favor, grace is given to us with the power to complete His will. By Grace we are saved through Faith.
Many of us have an uneven faith, we have more faith in certain areas of our life than in others. But God wants us to increase our faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God. God never will miss it. Stay on the side of God. His Word is so – what He says He will do.
Some believers, when things go wrong, get angry at God at the drop of a hat. They blame God for sickness and circumstances in their life. But God is not the author of sickness. Satan is the author of sickness, death, disease. But these occurrences of illness can be used by God for good, but He is not the author of them. When we pray against these circumstances, we need to remember we are the rope. Many times it is not for us to discern the causes of the circumstance, or to analyze it, to wonder why God is acting or not acting. Knowledge kills compassion. We need His knowledge – the people perish for lack of knowledge.
If you seek relationship with Him, if you seek out His word, He will give you revelation that you need. When we need correction He will guide us. At times in our circumstances we need to just keep walking through them in faith, or as Nemo says, “Just keep swimming.” God is with you, and He will accomplish what His perfect will is. We are to do God’s work, to be busy with things of His will.
1 John 4:4-6 NIV You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
We are His little children. The spirit of error is a spirit of delusion, of deception. Many people are in delusion. When we love God, we want to reach out to others to save them. We share our faith with others, but many who have denied God refuse to listen. Sometimes the way we will reach people is through our walk of faith. When they see us going through tough circumstances in faith they will begin to wonder what it is that gives us the strength to walk through these circumstances the way we do. Then we can explain we have the Master with us. Our lives can be a powerful testimony about God. Of course, the opposite can also be true if we are not acting in love.
1 John 4:7-9 NIV Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
We have the Savior in our lives, The Christ, The Messiah, the Greater One. By means of His love, by reason of His love, on account of His love, we know Him.
1 John 4:10 NIV This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
He took the place on the cross for us, because He loved us, loved us before we even knew about Him. He gave His life for a sure cause, a sacrifice for us. Death was not the issue for Christ, our salvation was. He held onto the greater issues, willing to face the suffering for us.
Why then do we allow the world to seduce us? Why do we choose a death in the world when we need to let our flesh be sacrificed so that we walk in His perfect path for us? We need to keep in sight the tremendous love of God and act accordingly, obeying Him because of His love for us.
1 John 4:11-12 NIV Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
We are not perfect, but we are perfected through love. When we walk in the perfection of His love, we will begin to bear fruit of love in our lives. When we fail in this walk, we need to come back to Him and get restored by asking His forgiveness and repenting of our failings. We don’t have to have insecurity about His love. We need to dwell IN Him.
1 John 4:13 NIV We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
Whatever we do, God is not afraid of our sin. He knows where we are, who we are, and what we are doing and have done. Jesus ate with the publicans, the tax collectors, and the sinners. The Pharisees and Scribes (also sinners although they thought otherwise) would question Jesus’ choice to hang out with those whom they considered to be unclean. If we blow something in our life we need to go to God with it, for He is not afraid of our sins, and will not abandon us because we have erred. It wasn’t accidental that Jesus told us to forgive 7 X 70. You would really have to do hard work to commit the same sin 490 times a day. He will help us to become less of a knucklehead. The worse it is for you, the more you need to go TO God. The more you spend time with Jesus, the less satan has a pull on your life. People leave the church because of sin, but it is when they are in sin that they need the church the most. Satan likes that we leave the church because of sin because it decreases our time of spending time with God, and then satan can have a field day in our lives. So run to God.
1 John 4:14 NIV And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
He has given us His Spirit. When we are in Christ we have the revelation of Him as savior, but if we are not in Christ, that revelation will elude us.
1 John 4:15 NIV If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
If a person finds themselves in Hell, it will not be because of murder, of smoking cigarettes, of drinking, of any other action. The thing that brings them to hell is the choice they made to reject Jesus. In Heaven we will find people who did what we consider to be bad stuff on earth, but they know Jesus. His justice is not like our justice. We are all imperfect, we have all sinned and fallen short of God, but the revelation of God is perfect, and Jesus is Lord.
He is larger than we know. It isn’t about denominations. In the church right now we have a tower of Babel with various denominations spouting their doctrines. But the real Truth is Jesus died for our sins, was raised from the dead, and is now seated at the right Hand of God. It is through accepting the free gift of salvation that we are saved, not through the doctrines of a particular church.
1 John 4:16 NIV And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
The greatest thing we can do is love. The mission is love. The gifts we want operate in love.
1 John 4:17 NIV In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
We are perfect and complete in love, and it is His love that makes that so.
1 John 4:18 NIV There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
This is an important verse. THERE IS NO FEAR IN LOVE. In what is happening, we do not need to face it in fear and torment. We need to see things through the eyes of God, the eyes of Love, for love casts away what frightens you. Satan comes and tries to cause us to fear, for if we fear we are not acting in faith. Healing comes from believing in faith. God wants us to have faith, and He is not pleased when we are freaking out. We are in Him, and He in us. He can help us. We have to give in faith our troubles to Him. It is a choice we make, though. Who do we trust, God or the enemy.
Sometimes we want to try and fix things in our own understanding and power, forgetting God has to do an orchestration to cause what He wants to happen. We need to rely and trust on God. We need to trust that, no matter what our circumstances seem to be, God has it in control. That is why Paul could say he was content whether he was abased or abounded. God gives us the eyes to see. When we rebuke something, we need to rebuke it from faith, not from fear. When God is behind something it will not fall for the foundation is the Rock. If God says it is so, it is so. We need to believe God.
In the midst of healing and ministering to multitudes Jesus did individual miracles. He never said, “No.” to anyone. He will say yes. He is the Good Father, and when His answer is not what we are expecting, we know He is the Good Father that will also help us get corrected, for He does not want us staying in the dark. He wants the best for us because He cares for us. God has all situations in His perfect control.
Daniel 4:34-35 NKJV…For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?”
God is not worried about anything. He knows who He is. It is very easy to get along with other denominations if you talk the truth of who God is, who Christ is, and believe what God says is so, is so. God is ministering to us. No matter what is happening He is with us. He has a plan for everyone.
Philippians 4:6 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
When we dwell in Him, He has a plan. It is for our good, and we do not need to worry.
Some people will look at us when we are in a tough situation, not reacting to our circumstances, and think we don’t care. Just because we cast our cares on God, doesn’t mean that we don’t care. We just do not want to be run by a spirit of worry.
Pastor Don does not get upset because we are in crisis. He doesn’t always react to our perception of emergency. Neither did Jesus. He didn’t race to Lazarus’s side the moment he heard of his sickness. He was not worried, He acted the way God wanted him to act to give God the greatest glory. We can pretty much assume Martha and Mary wanted Jesus to act immediately, but that would not have given God the greatest glory. God was not worried. He knew what He was going to do.
Matthew 6:25-30 Jesus said: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
Maria told us to watch where Jesus throws in the words, “little faith.” It is an alert to us that, in these situations, we need to increase our faith – we need to use that ATM pin code FAITH. To believe He is, and He can do what He says He will do.
Matthew 6:31-33 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
We are not in a Church (although we attend church), we are in the KINGDOM OF GOD. Jesus did not preach denominations and churches, He preached the KINGDOM OF GOD.
When we realize what the Kingdom lifestyle is like, that we seek Him and the rest is provided to us. The church is only mentioned once in the Synoptic gospels, but Jesus preached the Kingdom of God. When we come to God in faith, and only concern ourselves with the matters of the day, trusting God, we have a lot less pressure on us.
Maria then took us to Matthew 6:34 AMP So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:34 KJV Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
She then brought us to a section she called, A day in the life of Jesus (perhaps these events occurred in more than a day, but probably He did all these things and more in a day for John told us that he did not write all that Jesus did for He did so many things). I will share that tomorrow.
I pray that this blesses you!