December 18, 2017
"Personal From Steve Shultz:
Faith, It's Easier Than Most Think"
"What do you mean, Steve, when you say that: FAITH IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK?"
Let's take a quick history of your faith, your doubts and unbelief, and you are convinced that faith is HARDER than you think.
OK, check this Scripture out and then let's talk about that...
Romans 4:18-21, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.' Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised."
We see this Word and we look at Abraham's life and say, "I could never do that...I could never believe like that! I have almost NO FAITH!"
Remember that two times Abraham LIES, telling the king of Egypt that his wife was his sister? (Note: she was his HALF-SISTER and HIS WIFE, but Abraham was telling the king, "Sarah is NOT my wife.")
Why? Because the king could have whoever he wanted. Sarah was beautiful, so Abraham said, "She's my sister." In this way, the king would not kill Abraham to take Sarah. Now, all the king would do is just TAKE SARAH. The king orders her to be brought to him!
What? Where's the faith of Abraham?
God rescues Sarah, rebukes the king and shockingly, God continues to bless Abraham. Seem unfair? Why does this seem unfair that God keeps blessing Abraham after that? Hint: God keeps blessing you too, right? Even after all your past mistakes...am I right?
But here's the mother of all goofs...Abraham and Sarah have received the promise of a child, even though they are now old. Enough time passes and Sarah decides to "make it happen." So, as per the custom of the day, if a couple is childless, Abraham could be allowed to sleep with Sarah's handmaiden and KEEP that child as their own. So she tells Abraham how she thinks God will keep His promise of a son.
Shockingly, Abraham offers no objection. What? Where is Abraham's faith?
"Sure, I'll sleep with your beautiful handmaiden" he might have said. From that, the birth of Ishmael happens, but it was not God's plan. And to this day, the sons of Ishmael are still fighting the sons of Isaac.
One time, John Wimber, founder of THE VINEYARD CHURCH MOVEMENT, addressed the fact that Abraham supposedly never wavered in faith. He told about Abraham sleeping with his handmaiden to produce an heir. Wimber quipped about Abraham,
"...IF THAT'S NOT DOUBT...IT'LL DO...UNTIL DOUBT COMES ALONG!"
And John Wimber would laugh! Because that's true.
Abraham was a man, a regular man, with his own set of at least short-term doubt and unbelief. In the HALL OF FAITH mentioned in Hebrews, the STAR, almost the FOUNDER of the HALL OF FAITH—is Abraham.
We read this in Hebrews 11:8-13, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead,came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore." And verse 13, "All these people [Abraham and all those others] were still living by faith when they died."
Hebrews lists all the people who lived by faith including Abraham (read the whole chapter if you can). I'm guessing many of you did not really grasp or take in fully—verse 13.
After all their mistakes that we now know about, "All these people [Abraham included] were still living by faith when they died."
Here it is again:
"ALL THESE PEOPLE WERE STILL LIVING BY FAITH WHEN THEY DIED."
Are you still alive and yet still holding onto HIM? Well done! You are being HIGHLY FAITHFUL!
Friends, God is far more interested in the grand scope and picture of your entire life and how yours ends. If you END WELL, you WILL BE part of that great Hall of Faith!
I was going through a hard time a few years back and a major modern-day prophet gave me a word. I was "trying" to hold on to faith and trust. Everything I knew to do I was doing, but I doubted that my faith and devotion to God was even remotely enough.
This prophet said to me, "The Word over your life is Revelation 3:8-9."
I grabbed my Bible. What?
"I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My Word and have not denied My name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you."
Wow! In that one Scripture, God told me that He knew I had only a LITTLE STRENGTH, but He had noticed that I had not quit. I had not stopped believing. I'd kept His Word. I'd continued to call myself a Believer, a follower of Christ. No matter how many attacks came against me and no matter how many times I had short-term doubts, God was rewarding me with the promise that I had "kept HIS WORD!"
Are you still holding on? Still believing that God is well able to keep His promises to you, even after ALL YOUR MISTAKES?
And like Romans 4:21, are you, "...fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised you?"
Then just like Abraham, you are not wavering in your faith! You're holding on to HIM.
See what I mean? Faith is easier than you had thought! You have it. You're doing it—right now!
Pray this prayer with me:
Lord, Thank You that having faith is easier than I thought. Thank You for clarifying that all I need to do is NOT QUIT. I will NOT GIVE up. I will TRUST YOU LORD, NO MATTER WHAT. Please take that as MY FAITH!
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Elijah List Publications
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321