faith

Walking by Faith – by Self Will?

I feel I must immediately have a real heart to heart talk with my growing family of readers and co-workers, sharing with you thoughts that came to my mind — while they are still fresh and vivid. It concerns the MOST IMPORTANT thing in life and eternity for YOU. But at the moment, I was thinking about myself. Every person — yes, even you — is his own worst enemy. All my life I have been impelled to fight my worst enemy — that troublesome inner SELF, which by nature is desperately wicked. I was not born with a mild, submissive, weakwilled inner SELF. Had I been, I probably never could have been used as God’s instrument in bearing His message to you. My mother has often mentioned I was a very strong-willed boy; and while I was still young enough to be under parental discipline, I caused her and my father no end of trouble. Since growing into the age of self-discipline, this same evil, determined inner self has caused ME no end of trouble. And I should add that since I gave that self over to God, it surely must have tried His patience! That brings us to the point. The thought that came to my mind concerned this very troublesome inner self. How, came the question, can I myself ever become finally SAVED, and inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God, with such a powerful, seemingly irresistible inner force of evil constantly pulling the other way? When God says “there shall in no wise enter into it (the Kingdom of God) anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie” (Rev. 21:27), it surely seemed impossible that I should be able to “overcome,” and “endure unto the end.” But the same instant the answer flashed to mind — GOD will save me! I can’t save myself. When I look at this troublesome, naturally evil self, so human and full of faults and weaknesses, so beset by temptations of pride and the flesh, with all its limitations and shortcomings; knowing that to be finally saved I must GROW in grace and God’s knowledge — must develop in righteous holy character — must overcome this SELF and temptations and weaknesses — and must ENDURE thru trial and test and opposition and discouragement unto the end — well, when I look at it this way, it seems utterly HOPELESS to expect ever to be saved. And I wondered, as this thought flashed thru my mind, how many of my readers and co-workers are tempted to look at it the same way — to feel a sense of futility and helplessness — perhaps to become discouraged and lose faith? Ah, that’s the key word — FAITH! Our plight isn’t hopeless at all! Of course, of ourselves it IS impossible to be saved. But with GOD IT IS CERTAIN — if we yield to Him and TRUST Him. We shall be saved, NOT by our own power to overcome and develop perfect characters, but thru FAITH IN GOD’S POWER! But right here is where 999 out of 1,000 become deceived by the fables of this time. And when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the ditch! Because we CAN’T save ourselves — we CAN’T master the evil inner self — we CAN’T always resist every temptation — we CAN’T keep God’s holy Law perfectly — and, of ourselves we would fail to overcome, to grow in spiritual character, and to endure to the end; the false teaching is going out that JESUS DID THESE THINGS FOR US — that we don’t need to do them. Millions today believe that God imputes Jesus’ righteousness to us, counting us as righteous when we are NOT! There couldn’t be a more soul-damning delusion of the devil! No, Jesus didn’t live a good life for you, in your stead! You are not excused from keeping God’s commandments, living a righteous holy life, overcoming, growing in spiritual character, and enduring in spite of all opposition, persecution, trial and test unto the end. You and I must actually DO these things in order to be saved! Here is the great mystery! Since we MUST do these things to be saved, yet are utterly UNABLE to do them, it is natural to conclude either that God sent Jesus to do it for us and excuse us from accomplishing it, or else to become discouraged and be tempted to quit trying. The true-answer is the KEY to salvation! We can’t save ourselves. GOD will save us! But how? Not by saving us IN our sins — not by deceiving Himself into counting us righteous by imputing Jesus’ righteousness to us while we remain UNrighteous — BUT BY SAVING US FROM OUR SINS, by giving us His very own Spirit — His POWER to overcome these cantankerous selves, His Love to actually fulfill His law, His PEACE to avoid strife with enemies and resentment and bitterness at their injustices, His PATIENCE to endure! We can’t save ourselves — GOD must save us! But He does it by CHANGING us, thru His indwelling divine supernatural power, from what we have been into the holy, righteous characters He wills to make of us! He does it by forgiving past sins not only, but CLEANSING us from sinning now and in the future! God does not look upon our hopeless plight — our evil natures, our weaknesses and inabilities — and say, “Poor, helpless humans! Since they are unable to master and overcome their evil natures, to keep my Law, to endure trial and test and temptation, and to grow into holy characters; I’ll be merciful and have my Son do it for them, and save them just as they are in all their sins.” Instead, God who knows our every weakness, and who Himself is RESPONSIBLE for this human nature in every one of us, sent His Son into the world to proclaim HIS MESSAGE to us that we must yield to GOD’S government over our lives — that we must REPENT and turn FROM our filth of the flesh and pride of mind and heart. He sent His Son into the world to be tempted in all points as we are — human as we are — to prove that a human CAN, with the help of the Spirit of God, live without sin — TO SET AN EXAMPLE FOR US THAT WE SHOULD FOLLOW HIS STEPS and live also without sinning! He sent His Son into the world to die for us, — not living a good life in our stead, but paying the penalty of all our past sins in our stead — that we might be reconciled to God, so that we might receive His Spirit, begetting us as His SONS, so that God thru the power of His Spirit may CHANGE us from mortal sinners into immortal holy sons of God! Some hotels and restaurants, catering to tourists who may be in old clothes and dirty from traveling, post a sign, COME AS YOU ARE! The favorite “invitation” or “altar call” hymn sung by the popular denominations in revival or evangelistic services is JUST AS I AM. But BE NOT DECEIVED — GOD WON’T RECEIVE YOU JUST AS YOU ARE! You can’t sit down at His immaculate holy table with your wrinkled, soiled clothes and dirty hands, which symbolically represent the human sinning condition. No, you must be first WASHED in the blood of the lamb Jesus Christ — and before Jesus as your Saviour and Mediator with God can wash you of the filth of your sins, YOU MUST FIRST REPENT OF TRANSGRESSING GOD’S HOLY LAW, WHICH MEANS TO BE SO SORRY THAT YOU FORSAKE YOUR WAY AND THE WORLD’S WAY, AND TURN TO A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S LAWS AND WAYS! Of course, you’ll have to come AS YOU ARE to Christ for CLEANSING from the filth of your past life — but CONFESSING your filthy, sinful condition, asking HIM to cleanse you and to wash you in His blood, because you can’t cleanse yourself — so that He may present you chaste and pure and spiritually clean to His Father, that you may then receive the indwelling POWER of God WHICH WILL ENABLE YOU TO OVERCOME, and keep God’s law, and live as His sons ought to live! Jesus showed by his life that we CAN, if we rely upon God in faith for the power to do so, live the way of God’s will as expressed in His Spiritual Law! Of Himself, even Jesus said He could not do it — “the Father that dwelleth in me,” He said, “HE doeth the works.” And again: “The works that I do shall ye do also.” And so it was that, almost the same instant the temptation to doubt the final result came to my mind as I thought of my own weaknesses, faults, and limitations, the answer flashed strong and firm: GOD WON’T LET ME FALL! “He may punish me more yet to chasten and teach me and to make me righteous, but He won’t let me fail — He will impute His very own righteousness BY IMPLANTING IT INTO MY LIFE until, thru His power energizing me, I’m really living it — ETERNALLY! And that comforting and definite ASSURANCE of the final result, based on God’s own unbreakable PROMISES, just warmed my heart and made me feel good clear thru — and so I had to come immediately to the typewriter to share this glorious assurance with all of YOU! Read Jude 24, and II Peter 1:10.


Source: The Plain Truth Magazine, August, 1963 – Personal from the Editor by Herbert W Armstrong]]>

DESPITE TROUBLES TODAY- PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD TOMORROW!

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DESPITE TROUBLES TODAY- PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD TOMORROW!

Personal  by Herbert W. Armstrong [The Good News Magazine, May 1982]

How did you come to be here on earth? Did you just happen, an accident of blind, unintelligent, unknowing, lifeless EVOLUTION? Or were you put here and given life by an all-knowing, all-intelligent, purposeful, living, supreme God, who designed and created the human mind and body? Let me tell you and I can prove it, and so can you if you are willing – that the great Creator brought YOU into existence on this earth FOR A GREAT AND MIGHTY PURPOSE! You were born into a world that has developed a certain type civilization. The instant you were born you knew – NOTHING! But your eyes opened, you looked about and knowledge of what you saw began registering in your memory – began putting knowledge into your mind. Your ears heard sounds, and thus additional knowledge entered through the sense of hearing. Very elementary at first, but gradually, each bit of new knowledge, entering your mind through your senses of taste, smell, feel, sight and hearing, was added to what had previously been stored there. Gradually you came to know, and take up with, the customs, ways, generally accepted ideas and beliefs of this world. You accepted them, took them for granted without question. Some of them were good – many of them were BAD. But you took them for granted without realizing they were bad. Human nature, you see, wants to BE good – that is, to believe it is good – to be considered good. It just doesn’t want to DO good. Because GOOD is the WAY of God’s invisible, inexorable, spiritual LAW. That LAW is, simply, LOVE. It is love toward God in the form of trusting and willing OBEDIENCE to God’s every command and direction, knowing it is for our highest good. It is love toward God in the form of being GOD-centered – having the mind continually (consciously or subconsciously) in contact with God, relying on God, seeking guidance from God, worshipful in the sense of gratitude, obedience, faith and complete trust. It is love toward fellowMAN – in the sense of outgoing concern, equal to love and concern for self. Now NO MAN exercises that kind of love naturally. You simply were not born with that kind of love. You DON’T HAVE IT! That is, not unless you have received it from God through His GIFT of His Holy Spirit. THAT love – God’s love – that of His Holy Spirit – travels a certain road. It is the road that leads to peace, to happiness, to confident assurance, security, well-being, ENJOYMENT without kickbacks, prosperity – every good thing the heart desires. Everyone wants that result. That is to say, everyone wants to have the RESULT of doing good. But no one, it seems, naturally wants to GO that way to DO good. That WAY – doing good – is the WAY of God’s law. This world is not FULL of happiness, peace, joy and universal prosperity. It is pretty well filled with strife in the home, in business, in politics, in war between nations. It is pretty well filled with unhappiness, frustrations, insecurity. It is pretty well filled with crime and violence, with broken homes and unhappy, quarreling homes, with sickness and disease, with frustrations, failures, tragedies. Now God is not the author of all these troubles in the world. God has, FOR A GREAT PURPOSE, made humans free moral agents, and allotted 6,000 years for mankind to make a choice – whether to accept God’s government over him, to be ruled by God’s law of LOVE, or whether to set up his own ideas of man-made government, following what comes naturally – HUMAN NATURE. That 6,000 years is about up. When it is – a very few more years, perhaps less than 10 – God Almighty is going to step in, intervene supernaturally and in divine POWER abolish governments and ways of society – rule all nations with GOD’s laws – and BRING PEACE AND HAPPINESS TO HUMANITY! HOW can that be done? It’s simple! There is A WAY of personal, group and organized living that will automatically produce that utopia. And there is A WAY that has, for 6,000 years, produced curses, war, strife and violence, frustration, failure – everything this world has. God is simply going to enforce, with divine power, HIS WAY. He is going to take over all governments, in a super WORLD GOVERNMENT ruled by the very CREATOR. It will rule by GOD’S LAWS – the WAY of love! Why do some people – even college professors and some who are intellectually inclined – become Communists? Because they see many things WRONG in this world – they want to BE right – they grasp communism as a last straw and only hope, under the delusion that THEY CAN HAVE A PART IN MAKING THIS A BETTER WORLD! They want to BE right – but they don’t want to DO right. So they grasp the straw that makes the lying and false PROMISES of producing the solution. But communism is only another IDEA OF MAN BASED ON HUMAN NATURE. It is a theoretical WAY that would destroy what little good there might be in this world’s society. It is the most false of false hopes. But YOU can have a part in actually bringing PEACE, happiness, joy and abundance to humanity. God Almighty is going to do it – whether or not you have a part in it! But He is not going to do it alone. He is going to take certain human beings, born in the very LIKENESS of God, who REPENT of their carnal human nature – who cry out to God to CHANGE that nature and give them the matchless supreme GIFT of His divine LOVE that will travel THE WAY toward peace, happiness and joy. These are they who, through real repentance of what they are as well as what they have done, through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as well as in His resurrected LIFE and POWER, are forgiven their guilty past, given contact with God, changed, converted, receiving HIS HOLY SPIRIT, being begotten as HIS CHILDREN, receiving the DIVINE nature. In other words, they REPENT of human nature – they REPENT of hostility to authority, of resentment against God’s law. They SURRENDER unconditionally to GOD, and wholeheartedly WANT Him to rule in their lives. They CHANGE (through God’s power given by His grace) from rebellion to submission – from SELF-centeredness to GOD-centeredness. They let Jesus Christ (in Spirit) come into their lives and actually live their lives for them (Gal. 2:20). They change from THE WAY that has brought all the curses upon this unhappy world to THE WAY that will bring a brilliant, joyous UTOPIA to earth in a very few years when God sends the living Jesus Christ in all power and glory to RULE ALL NATIONS and bring the happy, peaceful WORLD TOMORROW! This CHANGE is conversion. This is what it means to become a Christian. A Christian is NOT merely one who PROFESSES Christ. God’s own instruction to us – the Bible – says that if one has not received God’s Holy Spirit, he is NONE of His – he is NOT a Christian (Rom. 8:9). God gives His Holy Spirit ONLY to them who OBEY Him (Acts 5:32). This implants within the mind the divine nature – it means a CHANGED MIND! But it does not remove the HUMAN nature. The mind governs whether the converted Christian now follows the pulls, the impulses, the desires of human nature, or whether he resists them and is LED BY the newly received divine nature. “As many as are LED BY the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). But one’s human nature cries out to be satisfied – does not like to be repressed. Just receiving God’s Spirit is not enough. One must be LED by God’s Spirit. His Spirit opens the mind to UNDERSTANDING of spiritual truth, and the KNOWLEDGE of God’s law. It opens the mind to THE WAY one should follow. God’s Spirit also is the love of God – God’s own divine love – flooding into the human heart, and flowing on out in love to God and love to neighbor. One must therefore GROW in spiritual knowledge and in God’s grace (II Pet. 3:18). He must become a DOER of God’s law – actually LIVING in THE WAY of peace and happiness and joy. This means he must OVERCOME his own carnal nature, his old habits, the temptations of the world – HE MUST BE CHANGED! He must develop toward perfect spiritual and righteous CHARACTER. The real Christian is undergoing a life of TRAINING to become a RULER in God’s Kingdom – in the happy and peaceful WORLD TOMORROW. One cannot learn everything in a minute, a day or a year. One does not become perfect at one jump. It is a continuous PROCESS. No Christian becomes perfect at the very beginning. He does not overcome or root out all the sins, the wrong habits, all at once. He must do it little by little. But, “he that overcometh, and keepeth MY WORKS unto the end,” says Jesus Christ, “to him will I give power over THE NATIONS: AND HE SHALL RULE THEM” (Rev. 2:26-27). WHY do THE NATIONS of this earth need ruling by Christ and those trained under a Christian life? Because all the unhappiness – everything WRONG with this world – has come from living THE WAY of hostility to God’s law and God’s government. Because the only way this world can have PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS is to be forced to build a society based on THE WAY that produces these desired blessings. If you have started on THAT RIGHT WAY, don’t get discouraged because you have slipped and fallen down along the road a few times. Get up and KEEP GOING. Even if you have sinned and are truly sorry, you can repent and Christ is your High Priest to forgive. Read and study I John 1:7-10 and 2:1-2. This is written to converted CHRISTIANS. At the time of Christ’s coming, the dead in Christ will be resurrected and rise to meet the descending Christ in the air. At that instant those living who have been thus changed, begotten by God’s Spirit, will be changed in composition, from mortal to immortal – from matter to spirit – from human to divine. THEY are then to RULE with and under the all-powerful, living Christ, until ALL NATIONS beat their swords into plowshares and PEACE shines forth on this war-weary earth! Jesus Christ taught His followers to PRAY: “THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH” (Matt. 6:10)! How about it? Shall we pray that prayer? I DO!]]>

ARE We Back on the Track? – When We Lack Faith?

ARE We Back on the Track? – When We Lack Faith?

by Herbert W. Armstrong [Good News Magazine Oct/Nov 1981]

  Is it because there is no God in the homes of our families, that we rely on “the god of Ekron”?   I am shocked — saddened — discouraged — hurt! I am writing this in flight. We just took off from Orr, Minn., flying back to Pasadena. At the SEP camp I spoke to 728, including 280 brethren from surrounding churches. I was informed that the youths in camp habitually demand a doctor for every little thing. It seems they have been taught at home to rely on doctors rather than God. When it is suggested that they may be anointed by a minister of God, in prayer for God to heal, as God PROMISES in James 5:14-15, they will consent, but seem to regard it as a perfunctory ritual of no effectuality, and still demand a doctor who can make them well. Their faith is wholly in the human doctor, not in God. Apparently their parents have no faith that God can keep His promises, and have not relied on God for healing their children. Brethren, I was shocked. It was like being stabbed in the heart. We are the generation looking for the coming of Christ and the Kingdom of God. We are the Bride of Christ. We have to be READY for His coming, or the door to eternal life and salvation will be SLAMMED IN OUR FACES (Matt. 25:10-12)! Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”! Read again these solemn scriptures:”Christ . . . loved the church, and gave himself for it . . . That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). And, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). The Church as a whole will be ready. But the passage in Matthew 25 shows those individuals in it – or who profess to be in it — and are lukewarm and lacking in faith in God’s Word will have the door slammed in their faces! Brethren, ARE YOU READY? I believe the Church as a whole is rapidly getting ready. But apparently some are not. God says, “WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM” (Heb. 11:6) Work up faith? But some will make the excuse, “I just can’t seem to work up enough faith.” What you mean is, “I don’t believe God will keep His promises — I don’t believe God’s Word, the Bible.” God says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Jesus ministered as the Son of man. He said: “Of myself I can do nothing. The father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” Jesus had, by the Spirit of God, the GIFT of healing, as mentioned in I Corinthians 12:9. Peter had it. Paul had it. Only a few had it. But to MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH, God says: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (Jas. 5:14-15). God wants us to BELIEVE Him — believe what He says — believe He is able — believe it is His WILL to do what He promises — and believe He WILL do it! Do you have to “work up faith” to believe God is able – God will keep His PROMISES? A woman who called me to anoint and pray for her healing once said, “Well, I know God is able to heal me but I don’t know whether it is His will.” I read to her, “Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities” (Ps. 103:2-3) and I stopped there. “Do you believe that? Do you believe it is His WILL to forgive all your sins?” “Oh, yes,” she replied. “But WHY do you believe it?” I asked. “Because it says so in the Bible,” she answered. “Then do you think God lied in the other half of that verse, which says, `who healeth all thy diseases’?” How about you? Do YOU who read this believe God? Do you have to struggle and try to work up faith to believe God MEANS what He says, and will DO what He says? “Yes,” some will answer, “but what about times when people called the elders of the Church, who anointed and prayed for healing, and they were not healed?” But HOW DO YOU KNOW they were not healed? Well, they reply, because the pain was still there. They could still FEEL It. They could SEE that they were not healed. But, God answers, “We walk by FAITH, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). What one sees or feels has nothing to do with it. Jesus said, “According to your FAITH be it unto you” (Matt. 9:29). A trying experience I had to learn this, personally, by a trying experience. I was visiting my parents’ home. In the evening my father was suddenly stricken. Another minister was with me. We anointed and prayed for him. He did not improve immediately so we continued to pray. We prayed without ceasing all night. I prayed in positive faith. I KNEW God would heal my father. Occasionally I opened the Bible, and each time I opened it to a scripture that seemed to imply God heard and he would be healed. My faith was actually strengthened through the night. Yet at 9:40 next morning my father died. It was a traumatic shock and blow to my faith. For a while I simply couldn’t understand it! I knew God had PROMISED. I had obeyed His command in James 5:14 in implicit FAITH. I had not doubted. I prayed for understanding. I turned to the “faith chapter” of the Bible — Hebrews 11. There I was reminded again, “Faith is the . . . evidence of things NOT SEEN”(verse 1). 1 could SEE that my father was not healed. But that was not the evidence proving whether he was healed. FAITH is the evidence — the PROOF — that God’s Word is good. Then, reading on, I saw again that God had made the PROMISES on which our salvation and eternal life depend to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The only PROOF we have of eternal life is GOD’S PROMISES according to His conditions. But Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all died IN FAITH, not (yet) having received the promises. But verse 40 shows God’s promises are SURE! They SHALL receive the promises in the resurrection. There I saw the TRUTH! God opened my eyes to see. God did not tell Abraham HOW or WHEN He would fulfill His promises. He will do it HOW and WHEN He wills, not when we will. My father will have the healing I prayed for in the resurrection. That will be the next split second of his consciousness. God keeps His promises This fact — that God keeps His promises HIs WAY and in His TIME — I realize, means a great test of faith to our people today. But faith is RELYING ON GOD’S WORD! Let me repeat that: FAITH is RELYING ON GOD’S WORD! Sometimes the things God expects of us by FAITH seem IMPOSSIBLE! Look at Abraham’s case. Abraham had wanted a son. He had yielded to temptation, and sired an illegitimate son by his wife’s handmaid, Hagar. He wanted God’s promises to Abraham to be carried out through Ishmael, Hagar’s son. But God refused. God keeps His promises GOD’S way. God’s way required a miracle. When Abraham was 99 years old and his wife Sarah was 90, God caused the barren Sarah at last to have a son. All God’s promises had to be fulfilled through this son Isaac. Then God put Abraham’s FAITH in God’s word to a severe TEST. God told Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. Now most people would have used human reason. If Isaac were killed as a sacrifice, how could God keep His promises through a dead son? There was NO WAY except if God performed a MIRACLE to keep His word. But, impossible as it must have seemed to Abraham, he RELIED ON GOD’S WORD! HE OBEYED! At the very last second, God caused a ram to be caught by its horns in the bushes behind Abraham, and God told Abraham to offer the ram as a burnt offering instead of his son. WHAT A TEST OF FAITH! Believe God’s Word Yet God expects you and me today to BELIEVE HIs WORD — to RELY ON HIM to keep His promises! Jesus Christ was beaten with stripes terribly, suffering indescribable pain and agony, to pay the PENALTY of physical sin, so that you and I and our children may be HEALED. And by His stripes we are healed (I Pet. 2:24). Jesus’ suffering by being beaten with stripes was in vain unless God’s Word is good — unless we are healed! James 5:15 says the prayer of FAITH shall save the sick, and the Lord WILL HEAL. Yes, there are conditions to God’s promises. Jesus said, “According to your FAITH be it unto you.” He said to a young woman, “Thy FAITH hath made thee whole.” When you don’t believe, you do two things: 1) You nullify His promise by not performing His condition to healing and 2) you make God a liar — you don’t believe His Word! There is another condition: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22). You must be yielded to obedience to His commandments. And you must be doing what is pleasing in His sight — and that includes BELIEVING He will do what He promised. You MUST BELIEVE God will heal! You can believe another human person if he promises to do something for you. WHY can’t you believe God will do what He has promised — what Jesus suffered a terrible beating with stripes for, that you may be healed? WHY is it hard for you to believe God means what He says — that He WILL DO what He has promised? WHY can you believe a human doctor who is a sinner (for all have sinned) — and cannot believe God? WHY? Medicines can’t heal. Drugs can’t heal and always have side effects, which often are harmful. Surgeon’s knives can’t heal. A famous doctor said, “If all the medicines in the world were thrown into the ocean, it would be so much better for humanity, and so much worse for the fishes.” According to your faith But, brethren, “According to YOUR faith be it unto you.” If you can’t believe God when He speaks and promises, you simply have no hope of salvation and eternal life! These are the LAST DAYS! These are days of trying and testing. We are taking FINAL EXAMS to see whether we make it into God’s Kingdom. Must some of you FAIL? When I was in school, in the hours before final exams, I really “crammed.” I “crammed” desperately, for I had lagged somewhat during the school year. But by the last spurt of effort, I usually got close to 100 percent in final exams — and I passed after all. Fasting and prayer often will restore faith. It will bring faith from God if you never had it before. I fasted and prayed for two days once in a serious emergency when the lives of two members of my family were at stake. I spent the first hour in prayer. The second hour in Bible reading to try to see why I lacked faith. The third hour in contemplation, self-examination, trying to THINK where I was wrong and why my faith had weakened. The next hour again in prayer, then an hour in Bible study, an hour in contemplation and so on for two days, while fasting. At the end of that time, slightly less than two days, FIVE miracles happened, and a few days later a sixth I had not asked. We are all now in the time of final exams. Looking down into this very time, Jesus said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Brethren, are some of you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? King Ahaziah of Israel was severely injured and in sickness. But he sent for Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, for healing (II Kings 1:1-4). But God said through the prophet Elijah, “Isn’t it because there is not a God in Israel that you go to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?” This Baal-zebub was known as “the god of flies” — the medical god of that day. So God said the king must die because of lack of faith. Is it because there is no God whose Word is good for healing, that some of You brethren rear your children relying on Baal-zebub in the form of the doctors of our day? Which God is in YOUR home? In which do you have FAITH? Brethren, let us be READY when Christ comes. Do your cramming to learn FAITH now, for the time is short. Let’s all make it into His Kingdom!]]>

Let God Fight Your Battles!

Let God Fight Your Battles! by Herbert W. Armstrong

Personal from HWA – Published in The Good News Magazine March 1985  

The world you live in today is a very troubled world. You not only have your own personal problems, but you also suffer from the deliberate OPPOSITION and ANTAGONISM of the world around you. It is time you considered how to conquer these troubles: ◘how to be FREE from them ◘how to let GOD fight your battles instead! One lesson not yet learned   First, understand this: If the WORLD today is not happy — if world conditions are in a chaotic state, if lives are empty and purposeless, if minds are filled with fears and worries, bodies wracked with sickness and disease — THERE IS A REASON! Conditions are exactly what we make them! Mortal HUMANS, groping in the darkness of confusion, have made conditions what they are. Humanity is REAPING what it has SOWN! Only the direct and all-powerful supernatural intervention of ALMIGHTY GOD can deliver this world from all its troubles. What the world doesn’t know is that God will not cause its present ways of wrong living to bring any human utopia. Rather, GOD ALMIGHTY WILL SOON HAVE TO STEP IN AND RULE OVER THE WORLD — bringing it INTO THE WAYS of His just laws, which alone can produce this happy TOMORROW! WE, TOO, AS GOD’S PEOPLE, HAVE LESSONS TO LEARN. Even though stubborn and rebellious mankind brings upon the world even DARKER days in the immediate future, REMEMBER — it’s DARKEST just before DAWN. Take hope in the SURE knowledge that the new world of GOD’S making and RULING — is VERY near today! But in the meantime, what about You and your own private life and problems? Let us consider some of your own private, personal TROUBLES. I know that you have them! And I want to tell you something — I want to tell you GOOD news. YOU are carrying, a lot of worries and fears and troubles that you don’t need to carry! Life is simply filled with private, personal battles. We have to battle fears and worries. Some-times it seems we have to battle PEOPLE who appear to be enemies – often it’s a husband, a wife or a mother-in-law — and whether you realize it or not, You also have to battle YOURSELF! It is like having to fight a host of ENEMIES — all these TROUBLES, these CIRCUMSTANCES, these adverse CONDITIONS, these TEMPTATIONS! But there is a way you may FREE yourself from these troubles that confront you. There is a WAY OUT! YOU can be FREE from fighting all of these enemies except just ONE — your own self – and you can receive a lot of HELP and KNOWLEDGE and POWER in doing that! Here’s where that help can be found! Jesus Christ is the deliverer   The eternal Creator-RULER of the universe — the God who gives you the very air you breathe — sent His own begotten SON, Jesus Christ, into this world more than 1,900 years ago to BRING YOU THE WAY OF DELIVERANCE from all your trials, your worries, your problems. WHY, then, do some of you not LISTEN to the way He taught us? And WHY do so many people think of Him as a dead Christ hanging on a cross? GOD ALMIGHTY RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD! Jesus Christ is our LIVING Savior and High Priest, just as the Creator is a LIVING RULER OF ALL THE UNIVERSE! Do YOU REALIZE THAT JESUS CHRIST, THE LIVING, RESURRECTED CHRIST, TO WHOM IS GIVEN ALL POWER, HAS A PRESENT MISSION TO PERFORM? Do you realize that His present mission is to FIGHT YOUR BATTLES FOR YOU — to DELIVER YOU — to FREE you from all your fears, your TROUBLES and even the circumstances that beset you? Thousands of you would come to me for help in your troubles if I had time to see and talk to you — you’d come with husband-and-wife troubles, funeral troubles — every kind of trouble. Yes, you’d come to me because I’m human – one you can see — whose voice you hear. But because I’m only human, I have not the ability, the strength nor the TIME to render such a personal ministry to so many in different parts of the world. Now think this over carefully, and ANSWER THIS! WHY do you fight your own battles, when HE — the LIVING Savior — is living in ALL POWER to fight them for you? He’s REAL. He’s DIVINE. WHY do some of you go on worrying, when HE is right there in ALL THE POWER OF THE DIVINE CREATOR to FREE you from all your worries? WHY? There is one of two reasons, Either you have not fully KNOWN of this great, all-encompassing DIVINE SOURCE OF POWER that you can call on at will — you have not REALIZED what ALL-CONQUERING HELP you can have — or else you have, through lack of faith or neglect, FAILED to CALL ON that supernatural HELP in your times of need! CAN I open your eyes to see that God is a God of LOVE — that God in all His supreme power wills above all things for you to PROSPER and BE IN HEALTH and to find the way to the HAPPY, FULL, ABUNDANT LIFE? That Jesus Christ is a LIVING SAVIOR, to whom you can go AT ALL TIMES — a Savior to save you from your present everyday fears and worries, adverse circumstances, troubles, sicknesses and trials, as well as to save you from eternal DEATH at the end? Notice what Scripture commands: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). God is interested in your life now   God’s salvation is NOT something you collect only after you die. IT IS A PRACTICAL, COMMONSENSE, USEFUL salvation that starts in your everyday life RIGHT HERE AND NOW! What needless pains some have been suffering. What NEEDLESS fears and worries you may have been carrying around. What WONDERFUL TIMES — what HAPPINESS you may have cheated yourself out of, just because you have not REALIZED and taken advantage of the very PRESENT and all-powerful HELP of your LIVING Savior! Actually what is happening is that you may have found yourself faced with foes far more powerful than you. These foes may come in forms of troubles, of unforeseen circumstances, of worries, of sicknesses or even of other persons. These foes NEED not make your life unhappy. Old Testament illustration   Did you ever really think through the full meaning of I Corinthians 10:11 that the incidents in the lives of God’s people of Old Testament times were written into the Bible for OUR LEARNING AND HELP? I want now to turn to the experience of a man who lived in that time. This man found that he could RELY on the almighty GOD. This man was faced with a FAR more terrifying trouble than has ever beset you. He found the HAPPY SOLUTION. His experience will show you what you can do, this very day! Once you UNDERSTAND, you will have to learn to TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD — TO CALL UPON GOD IN PRAYER — you will have to ASK GOD for what you need — and you may have to learn how to PRAY. GOD ALMIGHTY will actually intervene in your life and help you and fight YOUR battles for you. Remember, God is no respecter of persons. He will not do more for one than another. He will do as much for you as for any person who ever lived. He will do as much for you — if you obey Him and rely on Him — as for any ancient king of Israel or Judah! You may have a problem that completely overwhelms you. You may be at your wit’s end — you may not know where to turn or what to do! It may be a family problem, a personal problem, a financial problem, a problem of sickness or disease. But let me tell you now as Jesus Christ’s apostle of a man who came upon a situation probably far more terrifying than yours — one that would throw fright and terror into the stoutest heart. The solution this man used will solve YOUR problems — put an END to your troubles. The same God who heard and delivered him will hear and deliver you — IF you will obey Him and trust Him. The fact that this man was an ancient king makes no difference. God is no respecter of persons — He will do as much for you. God is the SAME today and tomorrow as He was yesterday. This man was King Hezekiah of the ancient kingdom of JUDAH. He was an ordinary human mortal, the same as YOU today. God intervenes for a man   The vast armies of Assyria were marching westward and southward to invade Judah. The Jews were greatly outnumbered. They had no army or power to stand up against such a powerful foe. They were HELPLESS. They faced certain defeat — just as You may feel HELPLESS in the face of your troubles today. If some of you try to solve your problem or overcome your bad habits or resist sin in nothing more than your OWN power and strength, you, too, will find yourself outnumbered, overpowered and doomed to defeat! You must learn, as this ancient king did, that GOD stands ready and willing to fight your battles for you. Read his experience in II Chronicles 32, from the Moffatt translation: “It was after this, after all this loyal service, that Sancherib king of Assyria invaded Judah, besieging the fortified towns and meaning to seize them. When Hezekiah saw that Sancherib had come determined to attack Jerusalem, he and his nobles and his chiefs agreed to stop the water of the fountains outside the town… . “Then, appointing officers over the citizens, he gathered them in the open space at the gate of the city, and encouraged them. ‘Be firm,’ he said, ‘be brave, be not daunted nor dismayed for the king of Assyria or for all his host; we have with us One greater than all he has; he has a mortal force, but we have with us the Eternal our God, to help us and to fight our battles’ ” (verses 1-3, 6-8). Continuing: “His officers said even worse things against God the Eternal and his servant Hezekiah. (Sancherib also wrote letters, insulting the Eternal the God of Israel and attacking him thus: ‘As the gods of the nations elsewhere in the world have failed to save their folk from me, so shall Hezekiah’s God fail to save his folk.’) The officers shouted aloud in Hebrew to the citizens of Jerusalem on the walls, to terrify them and scare them, that they might capture the city. They talked about the God of Jerusalem as one of the gods of the nations on earth, mere handmade idols” (verses 16-19). Now notice what the king of Judah did: “King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz PRAYED over this and cried to heaven” (verse 20). They PRAYED for help. They did not know exactly HOW God would intervene. But they knew God would ACT! Here’s what happened: “Then the Eternal sent an angel who swept off all the gallant fighters, the leaders, and captains, in the camp of the king of Assyria, till he had to go home in disgrace. He [later] went into the temple of his god, and there his own offspring murdered him with their swords. So the Eternal rescued Hezekiah and the citizens of Jerusalem from Sancherib the king of Assyria as well as from all other foes, protecting them on every side”(verses 21-22). That experience was written into the very WORD OF GOD for your learning and to SHOW YOU THE WAY TODAY! Perhaps You are faced with a foe more powerful than you. It may be some TEMPTATION. It may be some circumstance or condition or trouble. Some serious WORRY. Then let me ask you, WHAT ARE YOU RELYING ON to withstand the siege of this trouble — to deliver you from it? Rely on God and His power What do some of you do when some fear, worry, trouble comes up against you? Do you not first FEAR AND WORRY, and then either try to RUN FROM this trouble or else try to meet it in your own power and strength — with your own thinking and planning and doing? Do YOU ever search your own heart and life to see if it is YOUR fault? In almost every in-law or marital trouble, for example, both are at fault. Did you never realize that the very CREATOR who caused you to be born — who gives you the life you have — who called you into His truth — is able and anxious to fight all these battles for you just as He did Hezekiah’s — if you will only turn to Him and ask Him for wisdom and guidance, RELY on Him and TRUST Him with the result? Two examples   I know of a lady who, when in her middle 20s, had a problem that was MOST SERIOUS in her life. Three times this girl had been disappointed in love. She had at last been tempted to marry a man she had no right to marry. She brought her problem to me, as God’s representative. I found she was looking ONLY AT PHYSICAL APPEARANCES. She reasoned that, so far as she could see, if she obeyed God and refused to marry this man, she might never be married. I counseled her to OBEY GOD — to stop looking at the material circumstances and using human reason to disobey God. I counseled her to do, first of all, WHAT GOD INSTRUCTS IN THE BIBLE, and then to TRUST HIM for the outcome. But that girl did not RELY ON GOD — she relied on her human reason. She obeyed impulse and temptation and married the man. He left her to commit adultery with another woman on their very wedding night. Her life became miserable, terribly unhappy. Then at another time, another similar case was brought to me. THIS young woman rejected the temptation — she obeyed God and RELIED ON THE ETERNAL to work out circumstances — she trusted HIM with the result. Her faith was tried and tested. God did not answer AT ONCE — but in due time, just the RIGHT man came into her life, they fell in love, they were married and GOD HAS BLESSED THEIR MARRIAGE WITH SUPREME HAPPINESS. The experience of King Jehoshaphat   Now I want to bring you one more case history — a REMARKABLE experience that will show you the way out of all your difficulties and troubles. If you will let GOD have HIS way in your life, then you will have begun to learn how to let Him fight your battles, solve your problems and deliver you from so many troubles you are suffering. Now, notice the experience written for OUR learning and help today: “It was after this that the Moabites and Ammonites, with some of the Meunim, made war on Jehoshaphat. Word came to Jehoshaphat that a huge host was moving against him from Edom, over the Dead Sea, and that they were already at Hazazon-tamar (or Engedi). Jehoshaphat was afraid” (II Chronicles 20:1-3, Moffatt). Is fear your usual reaction, too? But observe what the king of Judah did. “He resolved to have recourse to the Eternal, and proclaimed a fast all over Judah. So Judah assembled to seek help from the Eternal; people came from every town in Judah to worship the Eternal” (verses 3-4). Jehoshaphat did exactly what God wants you to do today when faced with any temptation or trouble — HE TOOK IT TO GOD IN PRAYER AND FASTING! And as he continued to ask God for help, he said (verses 6-10): “O Eternal, the God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven, and ruler of all realms on earth? Such power and might is thine that no one can resist thee. O our God, didst not thou evict the natives of this land before thy people Israel, giving the land to the offspring of Abraham thy friend, for all time? And they settled in it, they have built a sanctuary in it to thine honour, thinking that if evil befell them, the sword in judgment, or pestilence, or famine, they would stand in front of this temple and before thee (for in this temple is thy presence) and cry to thee in their distress, till thou didst hear and save them. “Now here are the Ammonites and Moabites and folk from mount Seir, whom thou didst not allow Israel to invade, when Israel came out of the land of Egypt — no, Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them!” There was no reason for these neighbors to be enemies. Sometimes your own neighbors become your enemies, too, don’t they? But notice what the king said to God: “Look how they reward us, coming to eject us from thy very own country which thou given us to be ours. O our God wilt thou not deal with them? We are helpless against this mighty host that is attacking us; we know not what to do, but we look to thee” (verses 11-12). God answers prayer   Now I want you to notice! Jehoshaphat cried out for God to come to their aid. Here is God’s answer (verses 14-17): “Jehaziel . . . was inspired by the spirit of the Eternal in the midst of the gathering to cry ‘Listen, all ye men of Judah, ye citizens of Jerusalem, and you, O king Jehoshaphat; the Eternal’s message to you is this: “FEAR NOT, falter not before this vast army; it is for God, not for you to fight them. March down against them to-morrow; they coming up by the ascent of Haziz,and you will come upon them at the end of the ravine in front of the desert of Jeruel. You will not need to do any fighting; take your position, stand still, and watch the victory of the Eternal,who is on your side, O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not, falter not. Move out against them tomorrow, for the Eternal is on your side.” ‘ And notice that Jehoshaphat obeyed after God instructed him. Verses 20-23 declare: “Next morning they rose and moved into the open country round Tekoa. As they advanced, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen, men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! Take hold of the Eternal your God and you will keep hold of life; hold by his prophets, and you will prosper.’ “After this counsel to the nation, he appointed the Eternal’s singers to praise him in sacred vestments, marching in front of the army and chanting, Give thanks to the Eternal, for his kindness never fails. “As they began to sing and praise him, the Eternal set men in ambush against the Ammonites, the Moabites, and the folk from mount Seir, who had attacked Judah, and they were routed. The Ammonites and the Moabites turned on the natives of mount Seir, determined to wipe them out.” They turned against one another! That is how God answered Jehoshaphat. “And then, after destroying the natives of Seir, they all helped to kill one another. So when the men of Judah reached their post of attack looking over the open country, they saw the host were so many corpses stretched upon the ground; not a man had escaped” (verses 23-24). Jehoshaphat did not merely leave this trouble with God and then do nothing about it himself. First, he prayed and asked for wisdom, guidance and HELP. Then he DID WHAT GOD SAID. He had to do HIS PART but the BATTLE WAS GOD’S, and Jehoshaphat did not try to fight God’s battle. He merely did his own part. But he BELIEVED God, and RELIED on God. The point I want you to REMEMBER is that YOUR battles are not really yours, but GOD’S. If you look to Him, He makes them His battles, and HE fights them for you. How FUTILE for you to try to fight God’s battles for HIM. God says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). In the New Testament we read, “By GRACE are ye saved through FAITH” (Ephesians 2:8, Authorized Version). Yes, but the FAITH that saves us is a living faith that is practical — it WORKS — it really RELIES on God! So PUT IT TO PRACTICE! God does not promise us an EASY time during this life in this world. But He DOES promise to fight our battles for us to deliver us from EVERY trouble and affliction. WILL YOU LET HIM DO IT, AND LEARN HOW HAPPY YOUR LIFE MAY BECOME? GOD HELP YOU TO UNDERSTAND!]]>