News Ticker

The Faith of God

July 19, 2012 Bryan Cowan 0

In Mark 11:22, Jesus tells his disciples to, …. “Have faith in God.”  Another translation of that verse says to have the God kind of faith.  In Hebrews 10:38 the Word instructs us to “…live by faith…”  Then in chapter 11 and verse 6 of that same book it says that, “… without faith it is impossible to please Him.  …”

From these three verses one can see that faith is important in the life of a believer and that it involves more than our just believing that there is a God.  Jesus said we are to have the faith of God.   In Hebrews we see we are to live by this faith and in so doing be pleasing to Him.  Then it is important to me as a believer to know three things.  One, what is the God kind of faith?  Two, how do I obtain this faith? and three, how do I use this faith so that I can live by it and be pleasing to God?  Let’s look at each one of these from the scriptures.

First, in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus went on to explain what the God kind of faith was in verses 23 and 24 of the eleventh chapter.  From the New King James version it says, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them.”  Jesus was teaching his disciples here that this kind of faith says with the mouth what is believed in the heart.  This is done both by speaking to a situation or circumstance in our lives (represented by the word mountain in this verse) or as we pray to believe that we receive from God that which we are praying for and we shall have it.  Again, it is by saying or praying what we believe in our hearts and this is the God kind of faith.  Second, the Word tells us that faith, the God kind, comes to us by hearing and hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).   Thirdly, faith is an act.  It is always released in the life of a believer by what we say and what we do.  James 2:20 reads “…that faith without works is dead.”  The word works here means corresponding action and the word dead means useless.  So faith in God is useless in my life unless I have actions that are in line with what I say I believe.  When I live in this way then I am pleasing to God and I have the Faith of God operating in my life.

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Crickets!

July 11, 2012 Don Schultheis 0

I had never bought crickets before.

I decided to take a half day off last Thursday. Ory and I headed out to Ray and Linda’s to do some fishing. On our way to the lake, Ray called and asked me to pick up some crickets to use as bait.  

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The Power of Freedom

July 5, 2012 Jacob Armstrong 0

The 4th of July is a day when we think about the power of freedom.  As Americans we experience every day the benefits of freedom, but the 4th gives us opportunity to pause and reflect upon the freedoms we enjoy. 

The 4th of July and other holidays give us the chance for much needed rest, recreation, and time with our families.  We cook out, shoot fireworks, and play in the pool on a day when we usually would be working.  I have often wondered, though, what would be the best way to thank and be thankful for those who serve to make this freedom possible?

Recently I asked some of my church members who serve in the military what they would desire for us to do on these set aside days of patriotism.  On a day when we say we want to acknowledge and thank those in the military, what would they want us to do?  One former Marine said, “take time to thank someone who is serving or has served.”  Another active Army officer said that we “should take time to thank God.”  Another I asked was the father of a soldier who died in combat.  He said, “remember that each man and woman who serves is someone’s son or daughter.”  

I am thankful for my opportunity to write regularly in this section of the Chronicle.  This week I would like to take this advice that I received from my friends and say thank you.  Thank you to the men and women who are away from their families this 4th of July so that I can enjoy the freedom of being with my family.  Thank you to the dads and moms who miss their sons and daughters while I get the opportunity to be with mine.  Thank you for the sacrifices you have made and are making so life can be better for many.  I thank God for you and your courageous decision to serve your country in an honorable way.  

We thank God for you and pray for you today.  

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Knowing or Following Jesus

June 27, 2012 Larry J. Grainger 0

One day Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee when He came upon two brothers, Peter and Andrew, who were fishermen, casting their nets into the water. He issued a call to them that if they would leave their nets and follow Him, He would teach them how to become fishers of men. Nearby, He saw James and John, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He issued the same call to them as He had Peter and Andrew. All four immediately left their nets behind (and in the case of James and John, their father as well) and began to follow Jesus.

While it might appear so upon first examination, this was not their first encounter with this amazing man. Approximately one year earlier, these gentlemen had met the Savior. When John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God, Andrew, Peter, and John followed Jesus home and spent the day with Him. We are not told how much time the brothers spent with our Lord, but it was significant enough for them to have an immediate response to His call. One would not expect a man to immediately, without warning or explanation, leave everything behind and follow someone, unless they already knew something about that someone.

I recall this story to make this point. There is a difference between knowing and following Jesus. These men had known Him for approximately a year, and yet it wasn’t until the moment Jesus issued the call by the sea that they actually began to follow Him. It is good to know Jesus…it is better to follow Him. Following the Messiah meant they would need to leave that which was familiar and comfortable to them. They had to leave behind what had worked for them in the past and what they had grown up with. We do the same thing when we choose to follow Jesus in total discipleship and give our lives to serve Him and His kingdom.

I ask you, are you following Jesus, or are you satisfied with simply knowing Him or knowing about Him? Is God an important part of your life? Then you know Him, but you are most likely not following Him. God can’t be an important part of your life – He must be all of your life. Another sign of knowing but not following is when you are satisfied with just attending church, but not being the church in the earth. Jesus identified the conditions of following Him when He said, “deny yourself and follow Me.” Give yourself totally to Him today, leave your nets behind, and your great adventure will be underway.

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New Things

June 20, 2012 Terry Carver 0

The average American likes new things.  If it says new on it then it greatly interests us.  Sometimes we feel that certain new things will be the answer to problems we are experiencing in our lives or will give us the good feelings for which we are desperately searching.  We are even willing to go into tremendous debt to have new things.  Someone has said that when we buy a new home in the suburbs, by the time we pay it off, it is not a home in the suburbs any longer.

How many people do not want a new car, a new house, a new and better job, or better yet, how about stacks and stacks of new money!?

One of the catch-phrases that has become part of our culture and catches our attention is:  “New and improved”.  I have never understood this phrase.  If it is “new” then it could not have been improved.  If it is “improved” then it could not be new.  Yet we continue to use it.

God likes new things.  He doesn’t just improve them.  He makes them brand new!  Here is what He has promised us for the future. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.”  (Revelation 5:1,5)

But new things from God are not just for the future.  He makes things new now!  Most importantly, He makes people new!  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  

A person who trusts Jesus is not the same person refreshed or renovated, but he is a new creation with a new family, new future, new values, new possessions, new passion, and a new way of life that arises from the transforming Spirit of God now living in him!

New things can be costly.  These are new things that could not be bought with any amount of new money, but could only be purchased with the blood of Christ.  “For you were bought at a price . . .” (1 Corinthians 6:20a) He paid a price we could not pay for things we need but could not have – except through Him.

You can experience new life in Christ today!  Trust Him to make all things new!

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Religion or relationship

June 13, 2012 Larry J. Grainger 0

Someone has defined religion as man’s attempt to reach God. This is exampled in the story of the Tower of Babel. The endeavor by mankind to build a tower to reach into the heavens was met with resistance by God. Our attempts to use some physical means to reach or satisfy God are also met with resistance and leave us empty and unfulfilled.

Contrasted with this, the good news about Jesus Christ is that God became a human being and came to live among us so we could eventually live where He lives. He did this by reuniting mankind and Himself through His Son, Jesus. There may be numerous “religions” available to us, but there is only one Jesus the Son of God. And as we approach the Easter season, it is incumbent to observe that Jesus is the only leader of a “religion” who actually walked out of His grave, having come back to life after being certified as dead. Therefore we have a living hope.

The question we have to ask ourselves is, are we practicing religion or are we seeking a relationship with the living God in the form of Jesus the Son? It is an easy thing for us to get so involved in the things and works of God, that we lose sight of the God of the things and works. Jesus seeks a relationship with each and every one of us. He used the metaphor of a vine to describe to His disciples that true life comes when we reside in a communicating, personal relationship with the True Vine. And of course, He said, “I am the Vine and you are the branches.”

It is possible to get consumed with doing religious things and participating in religious activities as an attempt to legitimize ourselves to God. This was the issue with the older brother in the story Jesus told of the prodigal son. He was so occupied with trying to please his father with all the good things he was doing, he lost sight of the fact he had an inheritance from his father simply because of his relationship with him. As Johnny Lee sang many years ago, we might just be “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

So I ask you, are you hiding in the midst of your religious works, or do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Himself? Obviously, if we have a true relationship with Jesus, good works will follow. Remember we are not Christians because we do good works; we do good works because we are Christians.

Religion or relationship? Choose relationship with Jesus!

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Not so small things

June 6, 2012 Don Schultheis 0

I absolutely love my ‘66 Chevy Pick Up.  It sure is “purdy!”

Not only is it “purdy”, but it purrs like a kitten.  However, as I advance in my state of mechanical know how, I have come to realize that even though my truck is huge, the smallest little issue can cause problems.  For example, brakes are really a small part of my truck, but without them, my truck does not want to stop.  Another small thing on my truck is the windshield wipers.  They seem so small, but without them, my truck does not want to drive straight – especially when it is raining outside.  

As of late, this small lid has been causing me issues.  

A lid covers the air filter, but it has a tendency to pop off because the small nut and the small metal rod — that holds it on — are missing.  When the lid pops off, the engine makes such loud and painful noises.  The other morning, as I was taking my son Ory to school, the small lid once again popped off and fell to the ground, and a line of cars behind me ran over it again, and again, and again.  

I almost felt sorry for it.  This small lid was once arched, but now it was as flat as a pancake.

It is amazing how small things can make such a huge difference.  Prayer and fasting are sure not small things, but at times, God’s people treat them as if they are.  

Is it any wonder why the enemy wants us distracted by petty things?

John Knox was the founder of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland. Queen Mary, the Queen of Scotland during that time period, once said that she feared the prayers of John Knox more than an army of ten thousand men.

The devil is in that same boat! 

He fears your prayers! He does not fear your pony or your new pajamas, but he fears your prayers!  He fears our prayers!

Celebrate with me today these very famous words found in 2nd Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

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Our Love For God

May 30, 2012 Don Schultheis 0

Bryan Cowan Associate Pastor, Faith is the Victory Church

What does it mean to love God or to say I have love for God? 1 John 5:3 from the King James Version reads “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” One translation reads from the first part of this verse, “For this is loving God…” When we look closely at scripture and the life of Jesus, this is exactly what we see.

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