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October 2022 From the Desk of Dave

Last month, we looked at Hebrews 11:1 which says, “Now faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence [proof, conviction] of things not seen.”

Am I a fool or a nut for following this God Who is not seen with the naked eye? Or are others fools for abandoning the obvious Lord of creation, Who is “seen” everywhere? Is Faith based upon hopes, dreams, and fairy tales, or is it based upon the facts, truth, and reality of the living God? Those who don’t believe, or “see”, assume that we must have the same experience, that we must not be able to see also. For those who believe, or “see”, God is so evident and real that we find it difficult to believe they don’t see the obvious, right before their eyes. The Lord says they are the ones deceived!

Romans 1:18-22 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God [THEY DID KNOW HIM], they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” (Bold, [brackets] and underlining added).

It seems mighty clear: this passage of Scripture says that He has shown all of us who He is! But we are wise enough to become fools! Have you ever noticed that our morality tends to dictate our theology? God requires us to face and repent of our sin and, if we don’t want to do that, we tend to want to prove God doesn’t exist, or that He is a fraud. I’ve tried a lot of that myself. Sometimes I want to transform God into my desires! We did know, we can know. It takes repentance to “see” beyond sight, to see God; so if we are not seeing God, the problem lies with us. Do we really believe that we see everything and if we don’t see God, He must not exist?

I was at a luncheon with my parents and their neighbor, Howard. In our conversation, I asked Howard if he believed in God. He politely responded, and said, “As you know Dave, I am a scientist and I’ve learned to only believe what I have seen and confirmed in my research. He was in his nineties and had experienced a lot of seeing and confirming, so I asked him if he had ever believed something to be true, and later in his research found that he was indeed wrong in his previous conclusions, which prompted him to change his beliefs in the matter? He replied, yes, that that had happened often over the years. I shared with him that my experiences were the same. So there are things that Howard had believed to be true, but upon seeing contrary to his original beliefs, he changed his beliefs. It is the same with the Lord: if we don’t see Him today, that does not mean He doesn’t exist. The problem in not seeing Him, lies with us, not Him!

When people question me about what I believe, I take my turn and question them about their beliefs. When they get to playing defense, they can look pretty bad. Talk about fairy tales! When you dig in, and get down to the details of their beliefs, they’ve got them! If you think this through, the question is not, “WHAT do they believe?” It’s too easy to get sucked into their “interesting” beliefs. The question really is, “WHY do they believe what they believe?” This question leads to the real issue in their heart, the key issue that needs to be faced. It’s the same question I try to get to the bottom of in my counseling at the shelter, “Why are they holding back from the Lord?”. Almost without fail, the “Why they don’t believe” is because they don’t want to surrender their sin to Christ, or are bitter toward God for allowing hurt or tragedy in their life.

Let’s be honest. The question isn’t, “Is He there?” The passage above says we ALL know He is. The question is, “Are you willing to surrender and submit to Him?” OUCH! Years ago a friend asked me if I wanted to hear from God. I was not a believer, but I was interested so I said, “Yes!” He told me to pray in earnest and to not give up. I did, and a few months later the Lord spoke to me. He said, “You crucified My Son.” I was mortified, and responded, “The Jews and Romans crucified Your Son.” He said, “He died for your sins.” I was crushed. Ugh, my sin put Him on the cross! When He personalized it, showing me the truth of my sin, I got on my face, sought His forgiveness, and gave Him my heart. God blessed me with the faith to turn to him 35 years ago, but my faith is far different now. It’s stronger, but I’d love to have it stronger yet. I know Him so much better now. I trust Him more, because I see how amazingly pure, truthful, faithful, and loving He is, and has been to me. God cannot be seen, but He can be “seen”; I see Him every day.

I would like to strengthen your faith. Faith is like a discipline that needs to be learned, and exercised, and strengthened to grow. George Muller, an amazing man of faith, said that Faith is a slow growth, and it must be exercised to grow.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence [proof, conviction] of things not seen [with the natural eye].

We can have assurance, and we do have the evidence and proof. The question is, are we willing to acknowledge Him and surrender our lives and will to Him? Our God is very clearly here. The question is, are we willing to acknowledge that He is here? Because we must meet Him on His turf. And our acknowledging is not just done with our mouth, but with our very lives. His love toward us is pure and perfect- we just need to express our love to Him, even in our sinful state. Pursue Him, and pursue Him more; never stop pursuing Him and, even though you can’t “see” Him with your eyes, you’ll see Him more and more in your world, and in your life. That’s who He is. Amen? Amen!

Next month we will look at the ways that we clearly see God, if we’re willing to be honest.

Blessings, Dave

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