"My son, attend (keep) to my Words, incline your ear (listen) to my sayings. Let my Words NOT depart from your eyes AND keep them in the midst of your heart, For my Words are LIFE unto those that find them and Health to all their flesh!" Proverbs 4:20 - 22
Do You really know what the words "Orthodox Catholic Church" really mean? Well, the word orthodox means: true or right believing, and the word catholic means: universal. The word church means: Those who gather themselves together and who are part of the "The Kingdom," that Jesus has ushered us into through the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation or Confirmation. SO if you put those words together, what you come up with is as follows: The true and right believing universal believers or followers, who are within the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is important for us to know, why? -- because the Sacraments of the Church combined with GOD'S HOLY WORD, for the basis of our very living, breathing and absolute very existence where we are. Most of us, unfortunately, know more about the Sacraments of the Church then we do about God's Word, and how to operate with it in our daily lives. And the important thing to remember is that these two go together, and in fact, you cannot separate them in your journey of Faith in this life. If you think you already know about the Sacraments of the Church, wait until you understand about Faith and God's Holy Word -- and the Sacraments also, will take on a whole new meaning for you.
Let us talk for a moment about yet another block to understanding and implementing God's Word in our lives, and making the Sacraments even more effective and affective in our lives.
We need to understand and really come to the knowledge that Satan has provided the illusion of faith or we might say "tempted" everyone within the Kingdom of God with a FALSE kind of Faith. This false faith that Satan would have us use and but into, so-to-speak, is in fact so tricky, that most people cannot tell the difference. This substitute that Satan has talked a lot of people INTO using is called "MENTAL ASSENT." Many people read God's Word and agree that it is "True," But they are agreeing ONLY WITH THEIR MINDS. And that is not what gets the job done. It is the "HEART" kind of Faith that is the real or true Faith of which Jesus speaks, teaches and refers to in the scriptures. Let us re-read in the scripture to see this fact for ourselves -- Mark 11:23 - 24
"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto his mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and SHALL NOT DOUBT IN HIS HEART (i.e. spirit) but shall believe that these things which he saith shall come to pass, HE SHALL HAVE WHATSOEVER he saith (i.e. prays for)."
So, now the question just be, how can I tell "IF" I have this "HEART kind of Faith" OR I am just "mentally agreeing?" Sell, let us look at the difference. Mental Assent says, "I know God's Word is true. I know God has promised healing, But for some reason I can't get it: I can't understand it." Real Faith in God says, "IF GOD SAYS IT IS SO, THEN IT IS SO. IT IS MINE, I HAVE IT NOW. I HAVE IT EVEN THOUGH I CAN'T SEE IT RIGHT AT THE MOMENT." Let us try and explain this thing yet another way. How many times have you heard someone say: "But the thing I have been praying for hasn't come to pass yet." Sound familiar?? IF, you already had what you had prayed for, you WOULD NOT have to believe it, for you would know it -- by having it, right? YOU HAVE TO take that step of believing in order to come to the place of knowing. To many people want to KNOW IT from the standpoint of its coming to pass in their lives, AND THEN BELIEVE IT. Folks, FAITH does not, REPEAT DOES NOT, work that way. WE MUST BELIEVE IT BECAUSE GOD'S WORD SAYS IT IS OURS. THEN IS WHEN IT MANIFEST OR APPEARS INTO OUR LIFE TO BE EXPERIENCED.
Notice in Mark 11:24 once again, that the RECEIVING of what ever it is that we have prayed for COMES AFTER the believing. "What things so ever, you desire, when you pray, BELIEVE that you receive them and you shall HAVE them." Jesus is telling us this through this scripture. You have got to believe you have it BEFORE you can receive it. FAITH, is the evidence (i.e. that thing which gives us something solid to HOLD ON TO -- God's Holy Word that never changes) of things which are as yet UNSEEN in our lives, unexperienced. This is so important folds. You, or I, or anyone, will NEVER be able to receive the answer to our prayers or for healing or any other need that we have, that we pray for to our Father in Heave, IF every time YOU do not "FEEL healed," when your body cries out to you "You don't have it," or you allow your thoughts, which trigger your feelings -- to convince you that "you do NOT have the answer to your prayers." Satan has won again. And I don't know about you, but I am SO TIRED of allowing Satan to have his way with us and in this world of ours. Let me say this once again! If YOU CHOOSE to sit around or stand around, or lay around and at the same time are busy complaining, groaning, sighing, etc. and continue to gripe to everyone UNTIL every symptom has gone and your FEELINGS correspond with what you have claimed, you will NOT succeed in this walk of Faith. That is NOT WHAT FAITH IS, OR -- HOW it is accomplished.
Key things to remember are:
1. Hope always looks to the future, it is always future tens.
2. FAITH is always NOW. Faith always says: I'll receive the answer right now.
3. It is not hoping that gets the job done, it is believing that you have already received THAT which you have prayed for, YOU TRUST in God's Word, you stand on it, remain on it, CONFESS ONLY THAT (i.e. God's Word) and do not doubt that you have already received it. ONCE YOU HAVE CLAIMED IT.
4. Once you have claimed it, give ONLY THANKS for what you have already received.
Let us not forget Romans 10:10 "For with the Heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the MOUTH confession is made unto salvation." Remember the Apostle, Thomas and what he said: "I WILL NOT BELIEVE until I can see HIM, put my own hand into His side that was pierced by the sword." Let us read about the Faith of the Apostle Thomas in John 20:24 - 29.
Why did Thomas find it so hard to believe Jesus was alive? Thomas know of the nails that had pierced Jesus' wrists and of the spear that was thrust into His side. Thomas' physical senses, his physical eyes, told him Jesus WAS DEAD. Thomas was USING his head knowledge, his MENTAL knowledge, rather than his HEART FAITH.
By way of witnessing what real FAITH of the heart is, let us look at the Faith of Abraham. We don't even need to search through the Old or FIRST Testament to read about Abraham and his faith. It can be found in Romans 4: 17 - 21, let us read this portion form our Bibles.
Notice the difference between Thomas and Abraham and their faith and how they implemented it in their lives. Thomas attempted to use a human kind of faith based on MENTAL ASSENT and witness. Abraham however, believed God's Word over, above and beyond what his eyes told him, no matter what his body felt like, or what human experience had taught him. If Abraham did not consider his own feelings or physical senses in his operation of Faith, what did he consider more important then what his eyes, his body, or others around him told him. God's WORD, that is what was more important, THAT is what he trusted in, and believed in UNTIL it came to pass in his life. Remember what it always says of Abraham, "he considered NOT his own body,": -- he considered ONLY the Word of God.
Why is this all so important? In order to find out, we have to look, where? -- yes, once again in God's Word, no in ours, or in someone else's word or bit of knowledge. but IN GOD'S WORD. Matthew 9:29 -- "According to YOUR FAITH be it done unto you."
May I say, right here and now, that this teaching of faith is NOT, repeat is NOT asking us to pretend ANYTHING. It is not asking us to deny that we have pains or other symptoms, or that they are NOT real for us. INSTEAD, we are asked by Jesus to look beyond them and to God's promises.
The real HEART (i.e. your spirit) kind of FAITH in God and His Word, says, "IF GOD SAID IT, then it is so". (i.e. It is the TRUTH, God does not lie, He does not pretend, AND he never goes BACK on HIS WORD.) WE ALL, need to stop playing mental games in our heads about what FAITH is and how it works. Once again, IF GOD SAYS SOMETHING IS SO, then it is and there are NO ifs ands or buts about it. It is just that simple and just that hard. When God says "By whose strips (meaning Jesus) you have been healed." THEN YOU ARE HEALED, but you have to claim it, stand on it, believe it, WITHOUT DOUBT, until it manifest into your life experience. When God says that "My God shall supply all your needs," HE DOES. When God says, "The Lord is the strength of my life," HE IS.
Let us review for a moment. Real faith, the FAITH OF THE HEART, is built upon God's Word to us. It is built on the understanding of ACTING ON, doing something about, what God tells us to do, believing it without a doubt and NOT just mentally agreeing with it. For instance, remember, Doctors and Nurses are not here to cure us, they are here to help TREAT us, to treat our symptoms, so that WE can claim our healing. They can often tell us what is wrong, treat our symptoms to help strengthen us -- to "CLAIM our healing in FAITH," then we need to stand on the promises that God has made to us, without doubt, believing in them (i.e. which is our EVIDENCE, our FAITH) UNTIL that healing or answer to our prayer, no matter what it is for, manifest in our life.
You see, I have to wonder if we REALLY know what the "Real Presence" of Jesus within the Holy Eucharist, Holy Communion REALLY MEANS. And that wondering has to do with our understanding of what FAITH really is, isn't it???
Remember? If GOD SAID IT, it is so. God does not play at words trying to deceive us or confuse us! That is why our Lord and Savior and God, Jesus Christ said: "Take eat, This IS my Body" and he also said: "Take drink Ye all of this for this is my Blood, which is given for you." Hebrews 11: 1 is just applicable here as it is to every other part of our Faith walk and life experience here. Mark 11: 23 - 24 is just as right in this case, as it is in every other part of our prayer life. You see, I wonder if Christians really realize this Faith process. The real meaning is this, isn't it? That is really doesn't matter if the host (i.e. the bread) used in the Holy Eucharist still looks like bread after it is consecrated, or that the Wine used in the Holy Eucharist still looks like wine after it is consecrated into the Blood of our Lord and Savior and God, Jesus Christ, does it? It doesn't matter if the mountain we are praying to move is 20,000 feet high, or that there is a Cancer in our bodies or what ever else is going on in our bodies.
What matters is, WHAT GOD TOLD US, not whether we think we can believe, without a doubt or do it. Whether we choose to believe and practice Faith, OR WE DO NOT, -- does not change God's Word in any way. What does change in our own lives is that those aspects of our daily lives that have NOT been going well, our health, etc. IS CHANGED, healed, when we START operating in God's Heart kind of Faith. Learning to give UP our worldly kind of faith, the false kind of faith that Satan would have us follow -- called MENTAL ASSENT, the saying believe, but can't seem to understand it or make it work, leads us to the kind of success that Satan wants us to have -- NONE, no success, no healing, no improvement or happiness in our life, hopelessness, depression, victimhood, you name it, Satan and his following are always eager to help us attain that kind of FALSE faith. A false faith that is based on what your eyes tell you, what the world tells you, and NOT WHAT GOD tells you.
Dear Bothers and Sisters, in our Lord, to believe with our Hearts, to practice our Faith with, and in, our Hearts is the path we need to follow through all this darkness of confusion, anger, threats of violence, whether mental or physical. When God/Jesus said, "this is my Body and this is my Blood," we now know that we are to implement this Word of God, like all the other Words of God, and that is to use the Faith of our Heart. Please understand, that when we say the Faith of Our/your Heart, the scripture is NOT talking about the physical organ that pumps blood all over our bodies. TO believe that, we might as well say to have the faith of our finger, or our hand. No, to have the Faith of our/your Heart means that we need to once again look into the scriptures, God's Word.
Remember, when we say for instance that we need to go to the heart of some situation, or we speak the Heart of Tree, or the Heart of the artichoke which is something that we eat. We are really saying, let us get to the CORE, the CENTER of this subject, the main part of it, around which the rest of it revolves or surrounds it. When God talks about our heart, He therefore is speaking of the main part of us, the real part of us, that never dies, that will live forever, the very CENTER of our BEING, which is the spirit within us. MAN and WOMAN -- IS -- A spirit. Let us take a look at 1 Thessalonians 5: 23
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God, that your whole spirit and SOUL and BODY be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
We need to know and understand that when God or our Lord Jesus Christ speaks of the Heart of Man, that He is really speaking of: "The spirit of man." And that they are used inter-changeably throughout the Bible. We know that men and women are SPIRIT because God made us in His image and likeness, AND Jesus taught us that: "God is a Spirit." (John 4:24)
We need to know and remember ALWAYS, that it is NOT our physical bodies that are LIKE GOD, for the Bible says that God is not a man or a woman. We need to remember THAT there is an outward man/woman and an inward man AND woman -- and that MAN/WOMAN is a spirit, who has a SOUL, AND LIVES IN A BODY.
+Perry (Joseph Benedict) Sills, S.T.D.
The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America
San Jose, California
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