Faith

And I'm Brother Anthony, welcoming you to 'Bible Believers', where we focus on the PRESENT Truth - what Jesus is doing NOW.

People say that 'seeing' is believing. 'But faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen'. Faith is a clear understanding of the revealed Word of God. Faith is real, it's a substance, the tangible evidence of things hoped for.

Some say that faith is 'blind'. But faith is 'seeing', or knowing that you know that you know. Not psychology - but a clear understanding that can no more fail than God can fail. And faith, if it is faith, cannot change. It's the mind of God in you.

Modern man professes not to believe in demons, but they exist just the same. They're clever with diabolical cunning. Man's attitude toward the demon world, could well be likened to his attitude in the dark ages, toward bacteria.

If we could be transported back to London in the year 1666, we'd find ourselves in a nightmare world. The great Bubonic Plague's at its height. The sights and sounds of the city are like the terrible climax of a horror movie. It's generally believed that fresh air is the culprit. The College of Physicians recommend frequent firing of cannons to blow away the deadly air. Palls of black smoke hang over the city. People seal themselves into their rooms, and burn foul-smelling messes to ward off the fresh air. Chimneys are sealed, rooms are gray with smoke, and people choke in the suffocating stench. They sit in their tightly sealed chambers, grimly determined to endure the smarting smoke, convinced they're thus immune to the plague. We tell them they're wrong, that the plague is not caused by fresh air, but by germs - microscopic organisms spread by fleas, and they laugh us to scorn.

Modern man has adopted a similar attitude toward the demon world. We tell them that the world's in the grip of Satan, that he has countless hosts of invisible demons to aid him in his dark designs against mankind. We say that these unseen beings are intelligent, and that before long, and as we approach the end of the Gentile dispensation, they're to be joined by countless more of their kind, far worse than themselves, causing insanity. People look at us with pitying scorn, and suggest we peddle our theories to the publishers of science fiction. But it is true all the same. Once the Gentile dispensation is over, the world of men will be invaded by a virus, more dreadful that the Bubonic plague.

At this point, I'd like to quote portion of an article called "Can We SEE the Future?" published in 'THE Alternative' (April, 1996), a Christian newspaper from Canberra.

"What's wrong with the adage, 'If it's not broken, don't fix it'?"

In 1968 there were 42,000 fully employed Swiss watchmakers, whose artistry was so excellent, that they had 84% of the world market.

Yet, five years later, Seiko of Japan had a stranglehold on the world watch market, and 30,000 Swiss watchmakers were out of work. If this wasn't a big enough dilemma, the real twist comes when we discover that the quartz watch movement, which unseated the Swiss from their lofty position, was actually invented by the Swiss, yet rejected, because it didn't fit their formula - they simply didn't see the future, and were blinded by their own mental conditioning.

Sometimes we resist change. Not because we're in the faith, but simply because of the way it can make us feel. In other words, our standard is not a clear understanding of God's unchanging Word and the PRESENT truth. It's EMOTION, and the familiarity of traditions with which we feel comfortable. It's psychology and not a personal relationship with God. If we can realize this, it's a good step toward being more open and flexible in our relationship with God.

God is not building a fence, He's building a house. And there are many turns as He completes each wall. One wall was built by the Word God revealed to the Sardis Church Age, through Martin Luther. It's represented by the Lutheran, Anglican, and Presbyterian parts of the Body. God finished it in 1750, and revealed a further part of His Word to the Philadelphian Age saints. Wesley made a turn, and began building another wall. This was completed in 1906, and is represented by the Methodist and Baptist parts of the Body. God made another turn and built the Pentecostal part of the Body, by a further revelation of His Word, added to Luther's justification, and Wesley's sanctification.

What this demonstrates to us is that although God's Word can never change, It is constantly being fulfilled, and we must search the Scriptures to recognize OUR day and ITS Message. We must recognize OUR part of His Word, and see THAT part manifesting through US. Or we'll be IMPERSONATING the Word for a day gone by, trying to be baptized into part of the Body that's already made up.

That's what happened to the Swiss watchmakers. The Swiss knew the business but they were set in the traditions of a day gone by, and failed to recognize their day and its Message.

A special factor comes into play when we decide that if things are not broken, we will fix them. It'd be a sad day if airline maintenance was only carried out after parts broke down. Because of the stakes, the airline industry follows a standard procedure or manual, and they replace parts well before they wear out.

Christians have higher stakes. Our manual is the Bible. We must follow It's instructions, and replace those parts of His Word that have been fulfilled, with the present truth - before they become a tradition. We're to walk in the Light of the Word He's fulfilling NOW. God's ONLY making epistles of the PRESENT truth. 'Unless OUR lives are manifesting the Word He's fulfilling NOW, we are not and cannot come under the blood, or be born-again'.

Let's not be blind like the medical profession of 1666, who didn't believe in germs and bacteria, because they couldn't see them. Or people in 1996 who don't believe in demons, because they can't see them. The headlines of our newspapers daily testify to the reality of evil spirits.

And let's not be satisfied that what made our grandparents or our parents Christians will give us the new birth in this day. It will not! Certainly It's the same Holy Spirit, but we can only receive Him by recognizing what He promised to do in OUR day, and see THAT part of the Word LIVING through US.

We've spoken of faith. We discovered that faith is the substance of things not seen, because faith is a clear understanding of the revealed Word of God. Faith is the mind of God in you. Now let's consider an article from TIME Magazine (June 24, 1996) which looks at healing.

"Draped in embroidered cloth, laden with candles, smelling of roses and incense, the altar at the home of Eetla Soracco seems an unlikely site for cutting-edge medical research. Yet every day for 10 weeks, Soracco spent an hour or more there, as part of a controlled study in the treatment of aids. Her assignment: to pray for five seriously ill patients in San Francisco.

Soracco, an Estonian-born "healer" who draws on Christian, Buddhist and Native American traditions, did not know the people for whom she was praying. All she had were their photographs, first names and, in some cases, T-cell counts. Picturing a patient in her mind, she'd ask for "permission to heal", and then start to explore his body in her mind: "I look at all the organs as though it's an anatomy book. I could see where things were distressed. These areas are usually dark and murky. I go in there like a white shower and wash it all out." Soracco was instructed to spend one hour a day in prayer, but the sessions often lasted twice as long. "For that time," she says, "it's as if I know the person."

God is the only healer. Jesus taught us that if Satan casts out Satan, his house is divided against itself and must fall. Clearly, this woman is not a Christian, yet it's equally clear that people who come to her are healed. Wax candles, incense, rose petals and altars have nothing to do with God, faith, or healing. Indeed they could be called anathema. The question is, "How are these people healed?"

The same question could well be asked of the native who seeks help through his witch doctor, or of the Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist who inquires of his priest, and is healed. The answer is this:-

God is gracious, and He honors faith. These people, like those in the TIME Magazine experiment who believe Eetla Soracco, believe their priest, even their witch doctor, will help them draw closer to God so they can receive their healing. Their faith is in the one true GOD. They know GOD is the healer. And He recognizes their faith - not the traditions, rituals, and chants of some charlatan.

The same applies to Christians who ask another Christian, perhaps their pastor, or someone who has the Gift of healing to agree with them in prayer. That Christian ministry enables them to raise in faith, that little bit higher, so they can receive their healing.

'The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up' (James 5:15). According to Isaiah 53:5, 'Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed'. Christ's atonement was twofold - for both salvation and healing. If God heals you of your illness - He's also forgiven you of your sins, and if you're not already baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ you're obligated to do so.

"Soracco is one of 20 faith healers recruited for the study by Dr. Elisabeth Targ, of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. In the experiment, 20 severely ill aids patients were randomly selected; half were prayed for, half were not. None were told to which group they were assigned. (So if God intervened, it was through their faith in Him).

Twenty years ago, no self-respecting American doctor would've dared to propose a double-blind, controlled study of something as intangible as prayer. Western medicine's spent the past 100 years trying to rid itself of remnants of mysticism. Targ's own field, psychiatry, couldn't be more hostile to spirituality: Sigmund Freud dismissed religious mysticism as "infantile helplessness" and "regression to primary narcissism." Today, while Targ's experiment isn't exactly mainstream, it does exemplify a shift among doctors in the U.S. toward the view that there may be more to health than blood-cell counts and ekg's, and more to healing than pills and scalpels.

"People, a growing number of them, want to examine the connection between healing and spirituality," ... "To do such research ... is no longer professional death."

But it may be Spiritual death for the researchers, because they're looking at spiritualism, superstition and demonic ignorance rather that the promises of faith in God's Word. Sadly, they have no idea what faith is. And do not give the glory to Jesus.

Some scientists are starting to look seriously at what benefits patients may derive from spirituality. To their surprise, they're finding plenty of relevant data buried in medical literature.

* A 1995 study found that one of the best predictors of survival among 232 heart-surgery patients, was the degree to which patients said they drew comfort and strength from religious faith. Those who did not had more than three times the death rate of those who did.

* A survey of 30 years of research on blood pressure, showed that churchgoers have lower blood pressure than non-churchgoers.

* Other studies have shown that men and women who attend church regularly have half the risk of dying from coronary-artery disease as those who rarely go to church.

* A 1996 study of 4,000 elderly, living at home in North Carolina found that those who attend religious services are less depressed, and holistically healthier than those who don't attend, or who worship at home.

* In a study of 30 female patients recovering from hip fractures, those who regarded god as a source of strength and comfort and who attended religious services, were able to walk farther upon discharge and had lower rates of depression than those who had little faith.

* Numerous studies have found lower rates of depression and anxiety-related illness among the religiously committed. Non- churchgoers have been found to have a suicide rate four times higher than church regulars.

In his latest book, "Timeless Healing," Harvard's Herbert Benson ventures to say humans are actually engineered for religious faith. "Our genetic blueprint has made believing in an 'Infinite Absolute' part of our nature," writes Benson.

Though Benson devotes much of his book to documenting the power of the placebo effect, he's come to believe the benefits of religious faith are even greater. "Faith in the medical treatment," he writes, "is wonderfully therapeutic; successful in treating 60% to 90% of the most common medical problems. But if you believe, faith in an invincible and infallible Force, carries even more healing power ... It's a supremely potent belief."

A handful of scientists have attempted to study the possibility that praying works through some supernatural factor. One of the most cited examples is a 1988 study by cardiologist Randolph Byrd at San Francisco General Hospital. Byrd took 393 patients in the coronary-care unit and randomly assigned half to be prayed for by born-again Christians. (Is there any other kind of Christian?) To eliminate the placebo effect, the patients were not told of the experiment. Remarkably, Byrd found that the control group was five times as likely to need antibiotics, and three times as likely to develop complications as those who were prayed for. A more recent study of intercessory prayer with alcoholics found no benefit.

According to a TIME/CNN telephone poll of 1,004 adult Americans in June this year, 82% believe in the healing power of personal prayer; 73% believe praying for someone else can help cure their illness; and 77% believe God sometimes intervenes to cure people who have a serious illness."

Here's another article from 'THE Alternative'. This is by Peter Stork, and it's called 'Straight Shooting'.

Headlines change before the ink is dry. Thankfully our memories are not yet so conditioned.

I still remember the unspeakable horror I felt over the Dunblane school massacre recently, where 16 pre-school children and their teacher died, under the hand of spree-killer, Thomas Hamilton. The memory of this premeditated act of brutality against the innocent is still with me. Many of you, like me, would have shared in the parents' grief. Yet we dismiss such an event as just another news item at our own peril. We have a moral duty to work deeply and honestly through the issues it raised, or be guilty of apathy.

To be sure, the murder of these five-year-olds provoked genuine outrage. But let me ask, what would've been the impact if you'd heard that somewhere in Asia during the SAME week many more children had been deliberately maimed for sale as cripples to beggar syndicates? Too far-fetched? Let me get even closer to the comfort zone.

Advances in medicine have made it possible to diagnose and treat disorders in the fetus before birth. Today this field is the largest branch of prenatal medicine. We look at the fetus's shape through ultrasound and examine its chromosomes for birth defects.

However, parents and medicos don't always use their knowledge in the best interest of the pre-born child. According to one authority these efforts have become increasingly "search and destroy missions".

How would it have affected us, if we'd heard, that during the same week, thousands of children had expired on porcelain tables in legally sanctioned abortion clinics? Would we've experienced the same disgust, the same spine-chilling horror? If not, why not? Do we call one a murderer only because he used a gun instead of approved antiseptic procedure? We recoil from the notion of shedding innocent blood and so we should. God's law forbids it. But to address the cause of senseless infanticide, we must go deeper than declaring a spree-killer "sick" and inquiring into the efficacy of gun laws.

We must start to acknowledge that it is our anti-God society which begets a murderous culture where violence is sold as entertainment, annihilation as a computer game, in-utero killing as a social service and the destruction of preborn children as therapy.

Is it not the radical secular idea that there is no God and everything should serve our "rights", meaning our selfish interest, which has poisoned the very fabric of society? And its message bombards us daily in movies, books, music and television. Under its impact even violence itself seems to change.

Robert Vernon, Assistant Police Chief of Los Angeles, notes that historically there's been a relationship between a murderer and his victim - a jealous husband, an angry employee or a betrayed business partner." Today, Vernon says, we're witnessing more and more murders that occur for the sheer thrill of killing itself. The wanton disregard for human life would appear to be on the increase."

The Bible condemns murder in any form, particularly the murder of the helpless and the innocents. But there's another class of murder, More heinous than the former and more deserving of judgment and that is murder by official (legal) sanction. Can we as a nation expect to escape God's judgment if we don't raise the alarm when our culture morally and spiritually degenerates to the point where we twist God's laws into nightmares for the innocents?

Media chiefs, law makers, educators and marketeers beware! radio050.html

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