A Faith Must Be Tested
By David J. Stewart | October 2011 | Updated October 2017
Genesis 22:2, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
Can you imagine God asking a man to kill his own son? Talk about pushing a man to the edge of his faith and sanity! Yet that's exactly what God commanded Abraham to do in Genesis 22:2, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
The Bible teaches that God is pleased by faith (Hebrews 11:6), and the only way to test a person's faith is through hardships and tribulations. 1st Peter 1:7, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” A faith must be tested!
It is normal to pray and not see immediate results, because God works in different ways than we can perceive. The Bible teaches this in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Yet, people get angry at God and lose heart because God is not a Santa Claus Who caters to their every whim in prayer. May I say friend, God knows what is best for all of us. God knows that adversity makes men, but prosperity destroys them. Suffering is what conforms us into the image of Christ. 2nd Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” We ought to pray and then trust God, regardless of the outcome. Most people don't pray because they walk by sight and are looking for visible results. I've been saved for 37 years and have learned that God usually works behind the scenes, in ways that we cannot perceive with the five senses.
Proverbs 3:6 makes us the PROMISE that God will direct all of our PATHS, if we acknowledge Him in all of our ways. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Carefully notice that God promises to guide our “paths,” not us. Most of the time in life we won't know God's perfect will, so we'll have to make the best decisions possible based upon Scriptural principles. Psalms 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Steps are taken one at a time. God directs us through life one step at a time, not by leaps and bounds. That is important to understand. We cannot see our future. We know from the Scriptures what the future will bring, in general, but we cannot see the specifics of it all. We have no choice but to completely trust God, which is exactly what He expects us to do. Faith pleases God according to Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
God will not make the decisions for us, because He has given to mankind a freewill to choose for himself. Albeit, God promises to guide our footsteps until death. Psalm 48:14, “For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” God has given to us the inspired Scriptures to guide us throughout life. Sadly, most people today think men authored the Bible instead of a divine God. Mortal men were merely used as pens to write God's Words, but it was God's Holy Spirit who put the very Words into their mouths.
The men whom God used to pen the Bible in
many cases didn't fully understand what they were writing, because it wasn't
meant for them to do so at the time. For example: Daniel wrote much prophecy
that can only be clearly understood when interpreted in light of the Book of
Revelation, which Daniel didn't have. In II Peter 3:16-17, Peter admitted that
some of the apostle Paul's writings were hard to understand. And these were
ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPHS of the Scriptures. This evidences that God intended for
certain passages of the Holy Bible to be difficult to grasp, requiring study to
Why Does it Seem Like God Doesn't Answer Prayer?
Psalm 19:1-3 and Romans 1:20 plainly evidence that there is a God, yet oftentimes when believers pray He doesn't seem to answer. Why? It is because God works in ways that we do not understand. I want to see God do the impossible, the miraculous and the unmistakable in my life. This is exactly what God will do in the life of every believer, as He has so PROMISED in Proverb 3:5-7 and Romans 8:28, but only in GOD'S TIME. Who are we to judge God? God's thoughts and ways are very different than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).
One of the hardest things to do is to keep praying when you don't see any fruits of your prayers, but it comes down to a matter of faith. Do you believe that God exists? Do you believe that He is an intelligent being Who can communicate with us? I certainly do! God wrote the Holy Bible to all mankind to instruct, comfort, correct and guide us. If we obey the revealed will of God, then He will show us His secret will concerning all else. The most important thing is to NEVER stop praying, because Hebrews 11:6 says only by FAITH can we please God. The Bible even says that it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God without faith. Faith is to keep praying even when all hope seems lost. Praying is in itself evidence of faith. Consistent and persistent prayer requires greater faith. That's why God tests our faith by ignoring us, or so it seems.
Prayer changes things. I believe that! I believe that God works behind the scenes in ways that I cannot and do not understand, and that prayer on my part changes God's divine workings accordingly. When James was beheaded by Herod, the church prayed day and night unto God for Peter's life. God answered their prayer in Acts 12:1-15. In verse 15, the group praying called Rhoda “mad” (insane) when she said God had answered their prayers.
Acts 12:13-15, “And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad.”
This passage of Scripture ought to encourage us all to pray, for even if we
have the slightest faith, that's sufficient for God to answer. The big question
is whether or not it is God's will to answer.
Laboring for What Really Matters in Life
I think much of what people pray these days is influenced by the evil health, wealth and prosperity religious movement. Don't expect God to spoil you my friend. The Bible teaches that we should be content with just food and clothing. 1st Timothy 6:7-8, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Most people would lose their minds if that's all they had in life. Most people could not live without a television, radio, microwave, video games, cell phone, computer, internet, MP3's and so forth. We were born with nothing, and that is the way all of us will die.
The only things that we can take with us into eternity are the souls saved, the believer's lives changed, and the labors done for the Lord Jesus Christ, which will all be rewarded by God (1st Corinthians 3:8). That is why I labor night and day through my online ministry to influence others for Christ, I am making an eternal investment by faith. The only true measurement of my success in this earthly life, will be the people who come to greet me when I get to Heaven. Psalms 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
We're spoiled as a nation. Half the population of this world lives on less than $2 per day. If you have $25,000 annually to live on, you're in the top 10% of wealthy people in this world. If you have $50,000 annually, then you are in the top 1% of wealthy people on the planet. Obviously Americans are amongst the wealthiest people on earth; yet our streets are saturated with poor and homeless people. If you've ever seen a poor person surviving under a highway overpass, or surviving in a makeshift cardboard box for a home, it's something that you'll never forget. They are surviving, not “living.” And worst of all are the millions of people freezing on the streets of northern cities like New York, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Cleveland and Minneapolis.
We've turned God into a Santa Claus type figure in America. The goofy Charismatic cult are largely to blame for this evil. In the Bible, Lazarus was the good guy, eating from the rich man's garbage in Luke 16. James was one of Christ's very apostle, who was beheaded by Herod in Acts 12. Except John, who was exiled to the island of Patmos (where he wrote the book of Revelation), all of the apostles were martyred (murdered for their faith).
So it is important that we realize in our Christian life that receiving
answers to pray DOESN'T exempt us from persecution, hardships and even being
tortured, raped and murdered for our faith. I read a few years ago about a
Baptist missionary couple in India. The wife was gang raped while going to use
their outdoor bathroom. In Mexico, a local drug cartel murdered an elderly
missionary couple for speaking out against the illegal activities. The early
Christians were fed to the lions in Rome. History reveals that in decadent Rome,
Christians were publicly displayed as human candles, burned alive. There is no
guarantee that just because you're a Christian, that evil will not happen to
you. We live in a very dark world today, where the depths of Satan have
infiltrated many people's minds, and crime is becoming much more commonplace.
You never know what a stranger is thinking. Jesus said that out of the abundance
of the heart the mouth speaketh, so I trust a person who is always talking about
the Scriptures. Brother Hyles used to say that great minds talk about ideas,
good minds talk about things, and weak minds talk about people. That is so true!
As Believers We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight
But doesn't the Bible promise that if we ask anything according to faith, believing that we shall receive it, it shall be ours? Matthew 21:22, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” So how do we reconcile this passage of Scripture with unanswered prayers? One reason is if we ask for things we ought not have. James 4:3, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Other reasons for unanswered prayer are marital fighting, being wrong with a Christian brother, being out of fellowship with God, sowing discord, and setting one's brother at nought. One big hindrance to pray is stinking pride. James 4:6, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Grace is God's help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
I have learned that we walk by faith, not by sight. 2nd Corinthians 5:7,
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” That means we ought to pray because
God commanded it. 1st Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” That
means we ought to pray round-the-clock, as we think of things that need to be
prayed about. This is not a prayer life, but a life of prayer. Prayer is
continually dependence upon God. It matters not if we see immediate results, or
not, because we are walking BY FAITH, trusting in our great God. A man who
always looks for answers to his prayers will become miserable, because he is
walking BY SIGHT. The great God of the universes didn't just create everything
and then step back out of the way for no good reason. Romans 1:20 teaches that
the INVISIBLE THINGS of God from the creation of the world, ARE CLEARLY SEEN, by
the THINGS WHICH ARE MADE. I love that truth!
A Faith Must Be Tested
A faith must be tested. I don't care who you are, if you profess faith in God, that faith will be tested. God always tests a person's faith. The Bible says that God led the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, into a barren desert wilderness full of draught, scorpions, snakes and hunger. God did it to test them, to see what they were really made of, and they failed utterly...
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”
God hasn't changed in 3,500 years (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). Oftentimes God will allow problems to come into a believer's life to test them, to see what we're made of. The Bible says neither the Jews nor their fathers knew why hard times had befallen them, but God knew. It is the same today. Oftentimes Christians are perplexed, asking “why,” despite their obedience and faith in the Lord. Why are things going so wrong and bad? My friend, I tell you truthfully... A FAITH MUST BE TESTED!!! Unshakable faith comes from having our faith shaken!!! Without pain, we cannot grow in the Lord as we ought to. Pain is a necessary part of life. If we understand this important truth, then we should embrace our pain as a necessary ingredient of growing in grace. As Brother Lester Roloff says, “You'll never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have left!” I've been there.
I all too often get my feelings deeply hurt, and at the time I sincerely feel like nothing will ever be right again, but one of the ways that I mend quickly and bounce back, is to remember that pain makes us better people. I remember that my name is written in Heaven (Luke 10:20), that God loves me (Romans 5:8), and watches over me as His redeemed child (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 10:29-30). I remember that God monitors my life continually (Psalms 139:1-6). I remember that God cares about me (1st Peter 5:7), and I am instructed in the Holy Bible to bring everything to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6), and then claim the peace of God which passeth all understanding in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
I need my broken heart. I need my afflictions. They make me who I am. Without the horrible suffering, painful misery, irreplaceable loss, extreme loneliness, deep depression, inexplicable pain and bad things that happen in my life, I couldn't have the depth of compassion that I do for others who are hurting. You truly cannot appreciate the sweetness of life until you've never endured true pain and suffering. The world is full of hurting people, and I can help them in the Lord, because I've been in their shoes (and am in their shoes). I know what overwhelming fear feels like. I know what rejection from fellow Christian brethren feels like. I know what Jesus felt like outside the camp, ostracized and set at nought by His own.
Perhaps you are then asking why the same horrible things happen to
believers as unbelievers? Is God also testing their faith? No, they have no faith. It is true
that the same bad things happen to everyone, but the bad things which happen to
believers are in spite of our faith, which is a test of our faith. Since
unbelievers have no faith, it is not a test of their faith. Life is a
vale of tears for everyone, some more than others! I would rather suffer in my
faith in God, then without it, wouldn't you agree? Sure you would, if you are a
Perilous Times Are Here!
Life is a constant struggle. Everywhere we go we have to cope with heathen people who are rude, inconsiderate, selfish, apathetic, unreasonable, liars, uncaring, dishonest, greedy, impatient, prideful and wicked as the day is long. I am to the point where I hate even going out my door each day, because people have become so horrible these days. People run each other off the road with their car. They scream at each other in anger. They lay on their horn in impatience. I want no part of that poor behavior. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. The world is a cesspool of iniquity! The music being targeted at today's youth is unspeakably evil. The news is so unbelievably shocking. Our faith is continually being tested, afflicted by the awful world around us. I pray regularly for God to give me understanding, patience, wisdom and to help me love the unloving, care for the uncaring and bear the unbearable! People will push us to the brink of our patience.
I've never seen people as angry as they are today. People cut in front of others in restaurants, showing no courtesy or respect. I see young women covered with ugly looking tattoos, which are marks of the ungodly world. Tattoos are worldly, you don't get them put on at church. I firmly believe that no Christian, men and women alike, should ever get a tattoo. I think it is tragic when a women grows older, 20 years later, having an ugly looking tattoo on her leg, thing, back, et cetera. Tattoos hurt when the ink is injected into the skin. They are permanent and very difficult to have removed later on. Oftentimes they cannot be removed, depending how extensive they were put on. If God wanted us to get tattoos, then He would have done so. If God wanted us to smoke, then He would have put a chimney on top of our head. God made the human body beautiful and without blemish. Tattoos are ugly. Of course, beauty is often said to be “in the eyes of the beholder,” but I think nothing is as ugly on a pretty woman than a manmade tattoo. Nothing is as beautiful as pure skin. Ladies, don't let the world mark up your body with ugliness!!! God made you beautiful.
The tattoo craze is leading into the Mark of the Beast technology and system. I became upset and walked out of a Honda car dealership today, because they asked me to login on a new computer screen. I told them that I don't like being brushed-off on technology as a customer, and that I was old school and wanted to deal with a human being, not a computer screen. When the effeminate employee (a sissy male) said it was required, I politely told him (and the woman behind the service counter) that I would never come back, and I walked out the door. I had been a regular customer for three years. Everything is being replaced with technology nowadays. I choose not to deal with it! Slowly but surely, cash is being made obsolete by many business establishments. It's just a matter of time before we go to a cashless society. Everywhere I look people today have their heads stuck in a handheld gadget, pressing buttons while texting and surfing the web. People don't have lives anymore!
I am old school, I don't have a cellphone and don't want
one! I don't have an i-pad and don't want one. I hate the thought of dealing
with a monthly account. No thanks! Everything is about contracts these days.
And if you miss one payment, usually because it got lost in the mail, the
company immediately threatens you. Granted, people need to pay their bills,
but the standard harsh and threatening way that business handle things
today, greatly deters me from doing business unless absolutely necessary. I
shirk away from all businesses these days, striving to keep things simple.
Other than my basic utilities (electric, gas, phone, water), I have no
monthly payments, and I plan to keep it that way! Our hustle-and-bustle
American society has indoctrinated people via the media, that we're all
supposed to have all the toy gadgets, vacations, services (internet, cable,
phone), big home, nice car, video games, retirement account, savings
account, et cetera. God says to be content with merely food and clothing
(1st Timothy 6:8). Folks, you cannot have it all without going under
financially, unless you're very well-to-do. I actually like to keep my
paycheck (or at least as much of it as I can). I avoid all types of monthly
services charges with few exceptions. There are two ways to become rich:
Have all you want, or want all you have! I simply want what God has given
me, no more.
Have Faith in the Inspired King James Bible
Granted, all of our situations have unique differences, but the depth of sorrow, grief, hurt and feeling of wanting life to end is always the same. For years I wanted to die. I wasn't suicidal (but I was for a short time), I just didn't want to face tomorrow. I wanted my pain to end. My waking life was worse than my sleeping nightmares. I used my prescriptions drugs to escape life. I became a recluse, had no friends, and when I went to a Baptist church, they rejected me, and I lived with no friends or life for several years. It was a horrible time in my life (I was surviving not living) worse than death...
2nd 1:8-10, “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.”
If it weren't for my Christian faith, I would have commit suicide back yonder, but as the apostle Paul knew... GOD RAISETH THE DEAD!!! The world is a cold, uncaring and uncompassionate place. People by nature are sinful, selfish and isolated (looking only to their own ways). So when another person is hurting, even dying, the ungodly world leaves them to rot and die in their suffering. That's why the homeless suffer and die. That's why the prisoners go unvisited. That's why the hurting go unloved and unvisited by fellow believers (who are immature and backslidden). That's why the starving continue to starve. JESUS CHRIST MAKES THE DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!
Sadly, even professed Christians are some of the worst offenders, leaving hurting sisters and brothers to fall by the wayside. I've never seen such phoniness, lack of compassion and hypocrisy in the churches, as I do today, where pastors who've been warned about the Devil's counterfeit Bible PERversions simply don't care. And fellow believers are like mindless lemmings, going along to get along with apostasy in church leadership. These are perilous times, when professed Christians are as ravening wolves rending one of their own who gets wounded in the pact. Dr. Jack Hyles is so right, “The Christian army is the only army in the world that slays its wounded!!!” I've never seen such a lack of brotherly compassion, lack of gratitude and lack of zeal for truth, as I do today in the graduates and affiliated pastors of Bob Jones University.
But as Paul said, I WOULD NOT HAVE YOU IGNORANT OF MY TROUBLE (2nd Corinthians 1:8). Someone needs to call out BJU for their apostasy, and I am doing it by God's grace! It would be a wonderful thing if 99% of today's Bible colleges and university would permanently close their doors, because they have all betrayed the inspiration of God's Word. None of them believes in a perfect Holy Bible today. When they say that the King James Bible is the “best” or “preferred” English version, they don't mean perfect and inspired by the Holy Spirit. They also support, or remain silent as cowards, about the dangers of the Alexandrian PERversions. The truth is that they are COWARDS, straddling BOTH sides of the Bible issue, which makes God vomit from their LUKEWARMNESS (Revelation 3:15-16). The biggest evil in the churches today is INDIFFERENCE!!! They just don't care one way or the other!
Your faith must and will be tested my dear friend. Your attitude toward the Bible issue debate is a test of your faith. Most believers have utterly failed the test, embracing corruptible seed. Luke 8:11 teaches that the “seed” is the Word of God. Corruptible seed cannot bring forth good fruit. We've got a bunch of spiritual miscarriages in our churches today, who have never truly been born-again by the uncorruptible Word of God. God pity the lame pastors, little devils, who relentlessly attempt to justify usage of the Alexandrian Bible perversions. If you we're saved from an Alexandrian Bible, it was only because someone understood the accurate King James Bible and relied upon the good ole incorruptible King James to get your saved.
The corrupt Alexandrian Bible perversions teach in Mark 1:15 that you have to CHANGE YOUR LIFE to be saved. Only a pastor inspired by demons would support such ungodly filth!!! A FAITH MUST BE TESTED, but if you place your faith in corrupt seed, you'll go straight to Hell when you die. That is the whole reason why Satan has given the world hundreds of English Bible versions, to confuse everybody, and to replace a literal translation (which the King James Bible is) with hundreds of non-literal paraphrases!!! Tragically, the average foolish Baptist pastor is tolerant of everything accept absolute truth!!! GET RIGHT WITH GOD!!!!!!!
“Repentance don't save you! Calling on the Lord don't save you!
You know what saves you? Receiving
what Christ done for you on the cross!” —Pastor Danny Castle, a quote from the needful MP3 sermon, “WHY THERE'S A HELL.”
“If you take everything
and put it in God's hands, you'll
soon see God's hands on everything that you put in His hands!”?
—Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold, a helpful quote from the excellent MP3 sermon, “The War On Worry.”
“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,
Ye Must Be Born Again! | How to Be Saved
You Need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!