This week I was pondering these questions; “What are we going to do?” What if we are not seeing what is described in scripture? What if the naysayers are right? What if we are not seeing 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” So what are we going to do? The answer is easy; we ignore the naysayers and wait for God to turn His face and shine on us once again and do not waver from it. Nothing changes in God’s word whether we see it or not. God has promised, so we wait on that promise. This question has to do with persevering in God’s word and holding fast no matter what, as there is no other option because holding fast is disobedience. It is very easy to let go and turn from it, if we are not careful. That has been the enemies plan from the beginning and very successful at it. The opposition will try to get you to give up hope. The enemy will be out in full force to deceive you. This is why we are warned not to be deceived and hold fast to the word of God. This deception is not something that happens in the future, it’s already happening. Paul makes it very clear to us what we are to do in the meantime. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “So then, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” Not the teachings of whatever tradition you belong to. Revelation 3:2 “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent.” This means to hold on to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” That is a promise from God. Exodus 14:13 “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
                I think you get the picture –hold fast and do not let go of the promises of God. This commitment to waiting has to do with our faith and persevering in it. The opposition will oppose your faith in God’s word, remembering this is satan at work. Faith is believing in the good times and in bad. Look at Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is believing even though we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.” For example you may not understand how the universe was created but you must believe that God created it. Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” The creation is the foundation of our belief. If you don’t believe in the beginning God, you will not have faith in Him. And yes it was seven days, not a big bang or a God particle. Then Hebrews goes on to list faith. One of those was Abraham. Romans 4:18 “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”
                Persevering in faith means no matter what lies before us or what happens to us, what happens to those we love, whether we live or die, what we are called to, we must remain steadfast and continue to believe that God has the power to do what he had promised. The problem is, so many live by what they can see. They say I have never seen what Jesus did. So therefore they decide it is not possible to do as he did. They have gone against the word of God by accepting other powerless gospels and have surrendered their lives to doctrines of demons all because they refuse to accept God’s word and believe. Since they do not accept God’s word, this means they do not accept Jesus Christ because the word became flesh. They have rejected their savior all because they have not seen God’s word fulfilled. They nullify God’s word based on what they can see, their traditions, experience and reasoning. So instead they create things they can see and worship them. Then you end up propagating 2 Timothy 3:5 “a form of godliness and deny its power.” This promotion of a powerless gospel is not at all what we are supposed to be doing. We read earlier from Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.” 19 They spoke against God; they said, “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?” They even question Psalm 23! “for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance. They did not remember his power— the day he redeemed them from the oppressor.” Now after listening to this we should be teaching from generation to generation God’s power but instead we have been handed a form of godliness yet deny his power and this is done blatantly from the pulpit, from seminaries from all forms of teaching while others accept the powerlessness as if normal Christianity and do not seek the power to return. You see we are not supposed to stop but continue in the teaching as Paul said. The word of God does not change therefore we have great hope.
                When it comes to God’s word we have two choices; choose life or death, there is no in-between. Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” The bible is very clear that we must obey and follow. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life; there is no other way to the father. We have made a decision to follow God’s word and set aside man’s word about God’s word and commit wholeheartedly to the way, the truth and the life. Yes there will be great opposition by the enemy and those who refuse to repent of their ways. When you read the bible it is obvious that we are not seeing all that God promised, so instead of holding fast to God’s word, his word has been added to and subtracted from. So we have a choice and we have to ask what are we going to do. Will we follow no matter what? In order to follow God’s word we must decide to do so. That means we have decided to give up man’s teachings, doctrines and theology. This is where great discernment is needed. Most people who teach these are convinced that their words are words of life, truth and provide the way to the kingdom but they are not. They are an empty powerless way. Many of these teachings came along because they were not seeing the church as laid out in scripture and the church thought God needed help with his church so man took over and created a powerless church and love it this way. Millions of people have been deceived and have embraced these doctrines and have labeled themselves with it. Many of these doctrines of demons, like dispensationalism, have infiltrated the thinking of other groups who would not necessarily write on paper that title. They have become confused and many of these demonic teachings have blended into their theology, hence deception. Then people stand on these false gospels thinking it to be God’s word and hold fast to satan’s doctrines and spend their lives following another gospel. Paul said 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” He also said Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Remember we have been warned do not be deceived. We cannot veer from God’s word. This journey is definitely not about pleasing people.
                So the question is what are we going to do when we sit with Job or hide with David or face the fire like Shadrack or the lions like Daniel. What will you do when all those around you tell you the opposite of what you read in God’s word? What will you do when they mock and taunt you? What will you do when the enemy advances and has you surrounded? Will you remain steadfast or turn and follow your own way like Saul did. What will you do when the enemy takes your family, will you turn to the Lord like David? What will you do when you are the only one standing for truth, will you stand even though the fire rages and you don’t know whether you will live or die. What will you do when God tests you like Abraham? When sickness enters will you hold fast, when troubles come your way will you persevere? Will you stand even though the promises of God have not been fulfilled? Will you keep going even though you do not see the great power of God or his miracles or signs and wonders? I ask these questions because you have to decide if you believe God’s word enough to stake your life on it. And then whether you will or not? That is what we have been called to do. Philippians 1:20 “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” Paul said about the Thessalonians
    1 Thessalonians 1:6 “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
                What are you going to do? Live or die for Christ or turn from Him, there is no lukewarm. Psalm 119:89 “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” Isaiah 55:10 “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” To live or die means you do not turn away no matter what. You do not reject his word. You do not ignore his word. You do not find something more palatable to replace his word. You do not add or subtract. You do not do it yourself. It simply means you have decided to wait upon the Lord. If he says seek me and find Him, we will find Him. If he says do the things he did; we will do the things he did. If we read the bible and the New Testament looks nothing like the church today, we go back to the beginning, we do not change the word of God to make what we are doing look right. People have said to me have you ever seen this. The answer is no but I have read it in the word of God so I go with the word of God not by what my eyes see. We do not follow the empty and powerless ways handed down to us by our fathers. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.  So this question about not seeing is from the faithless, from those who do not believe God’s word to be God’s word. This is not who we are. 2 Timothy 3:14 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Peter reminds us 2 Peter 1:12 “even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
                This is not some book we are reading, this is the word of God and God’s word John 1:14 “became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” We read in Malachi that  “I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:7 “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Proverbs 1:20 “Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: 22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.” 2 Chronicles 6:37 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; 38 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; 39 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you. Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 3:2  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
                So we have to decide whether we believe God enough to wait on Him to act or just go ahead and do it ourselves. He said he would but do we believe he would. Do we believe the word of God? Do we believe he will answer if we turn to Him? We also must believe that the church is in desolation because if not then it won’t make sense to repent from that perspective. That is really why most will not repent and turn from their wicked ways because they do not think their way is wicked. But it is so obvious, it is if you read scripture and compare the two. So many times like Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”  So many times there is a refusal to repent from our wicked ways. That is a guarantee that we won’t find him. Hosea 11:5 “Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? 6 A sword will flash in their cities; it will devour their false prophets and put an end to their plans. 7 My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them.” 2 kings 17:40 “They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.”
                Just because we are not seeing these promises does not mean we won’t. That does not mean the bible is wrong. This is the temptation to turn away from God. You will never be shamed by following God’s word. Psalm 25:1 “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. 2 I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” When you have faith in God’s word you remain steadfast. Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”
    So because the word of God says so, we believe even though we do not see and we wait in expectation because God has given us a promise. Not seeing does not mean wrong, as so many people believe. We must believe as God makes us strong. David said during while in distress. Remember he was being hunted by is mimesis. Saul. Psalm 77:1 “I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. 3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. 4 You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. 5 I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; 6 I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?  Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” 10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” We are not supposed to forget the miracles because we do not see them. Like Gideon we have been raised without them but few ask where they have gone while they continue to worship their idols. We are supposed to remember and not let go. We hold on until they happen again. Psalm 71:14 “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. 15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long— though I know not how to relate them all. 16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. 17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”
                We are to be telling the next generation whether we see it or not. 2 Kings 22:13 “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” Those who have gone before us turned away and did not remember instead they came up with something new and are stiff-necked and unrepentant before God. We see God’s power in the Old Testament and in the new; it should continue in the church. Psalm 106:13 “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. 14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test.” Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
                Do we believe this or not, that is the question. So whether you are suffering and mocked like Job or hunted like David or persecuted like Paul do not turn away. Joshua said that everything that was promised to him was fulfilled. So until the day it is fulfilled do not turn away. This is what we are supposed to do. We must persevere. Deuteronomy 11:16 “Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.” We have been warned. God is a God of power. He does not change so wait until you are clothed with power then go to the ends of the earth. Even though Joseph was shown God’s plan he had to persevere. Psalm 105:16 “He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; 17 and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave. 18 They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, 19 till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true. 20 The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free. 21 He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed, 22 to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom.  God’s word will prove you true you don’t have to. The word proves you true while being tested in perseverance. God’s word will prevail.” Yes Joseph suffered but in the end God’s word proved true. We must persevere until God’s word proves true.  Hebrews 12:1 “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”