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"O You Of Little Faith!"
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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I grew up in the Methodist church, which my parents attended. My grandfather (William Harry) had been a district superintendent in the Methodist church, and my father (Ronald) was a lay preacher. Three of Ron's sisters served as missionaries to India or Africa, and the others married a Methodist minister and a nurseryman who was also a Methodist preacher. So you might think that the roots of Methodism have great influence upon me, too.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. God called me out of that church in 1965, at the tender age of 15, and now 40 years later, I am fulfilling the purpose and calling He placed upon my life.
There are some things which stick in my memory from that church background, or which were formative. One was being forced to read a passage from Matthew to the whole congregation – something that I greatly dreaded and tried to worm out of, to no avail. When the time came to read it on that fateful Sunday it wasn't as dreadful as I had dreaded! But on the days preceding it, the devil played on my fears and tried to fill me with terror. Satan does that. He makes you think things will be far worse than they actually are. By contrast, Jesus says, "Don't fear..." (Matt 10:28,31).
The passage I was roped into reading was this:
Therefore I say to you, do not worry... from Matthew 6:25 through 34, which ends similarly:
Therefore do not worry... (Matt 6:34).
I had no idea how apt it was, not just for me, but for all who may be assailed by fears. That was the only time I was ever asked to do such a thing in the Methodist church. I was about 11 at the time. Looking back, I realise that it was highly significant.
Another meaningful event I recall was something in a completely different vein. I had got into mischief and delighted in smashing bottles or whatever...
One day the target I smashed was a window in the old church hall. For that I was expelled from the scouts – rightly so! In retrospect, however, that action was as significant as reading Matthew 6:25-34. It was an allegory of what I would be called upon to do later by God's guidance – to spiritually smash a window.
It was one of those windows that you couldn't see out of properly. Nor did it let enough light in. It was high up, small, and old-fashioned. It needed to go.
It's no good merely having what the church has traditionally taught, replete with errors. We need the full light of God's truth penetrating our darkness. For it is the fulness of God's truth that sets people free (Jn 8:32) not partial truth or half measures.
This is what Jesus continually encouraged in the area of faith. If you've got little faith, that's good, that's a start, but you need to move on and get more. You need the faith Jesus had – faith with no limits on it – faith to still the storm, faith to walk on water, faith to feed the multitudes from practically nothing, faith to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons and raise the dead (Matt 10:8). Jesus wants you to have it.
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do... (Jn 14:12).
Whenever Jesus said most assuredly, He was trying to get into our thick skulls something that we humans don't believe. So, wherever He says those words, think more deeply, penetrate the mind of His Spirit, and compare what He said with what the church teaches. Generally you'll find a great disparity!
The question is, who is right? You should know.
And whatever you ask [the Father] in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (Jn 14:13). If you ask anything in My name, I will do it (Jn 14:14).
Do you believe that? Probably not. But He meant what He said. You need to raise your level of faith.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (Jn 15:7).
All things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23).
Most Christians don't believe these words, but they are the truth! O people of little faith!
Whatever you need in order to take God's truths to others, God will do it for you. Jesus promised. It's true. But few believe it, because their faith resides in their head and not in their heart.
Jesus must live in your heart by faith (Eph 3:17). That means deep down within, in your innermost being, in your spirit, your greatest longing, your deepest love, your greatest desire is for Jesus and the things of God. It's not for yourself, or for the things of this life. That's what it means to abide in Him, so that He abides in you.
When your commitment is for Him, for spiritual things and not for physical things, that's when HE comes through. That's when His power comes through. That's when you see things happen in your life that are supernatural. That's when you witness the moving of His Spirit in your life, and by extension in the lives of others whom you reach. You can take Him to others.
The trouble is, so many 'believers' have so little faith – because they have not committed themselves to let Him live in them as He wants – that they don't. They don't take Him and His truths to others. They actually deny Him.
But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven (Matt 10:33).
You don't need to deny Him. He can live in you!
Do Not Fear
The crux of the issue – the 'secret' to having Jesus guide you, give you dreams, show you the way, and work miracles for you – is to want above all else to honour Him and His truths.
When you preserve the sacred truths of His Word in your heart; when you live them and love them; He will do whatever you ask (Jn 14:13). He will!!
I know He will, because He does! He does that for us in this ministry. He does it for many others in their ministries. He will always honour those who honour Him. He loves those who love His Word. He preserves His Word, and if you are out to preserve His Word, He will preserve you.
That is a 'hidden' truth that needs revealing to more believers, so they need not fear.
Jesus warned us several times to be prepared for persecution. In this respect, "a disciple is not above his teacher" (Matt 10:24).
If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of His household! (Matt 10:25).
But Jesus said:
Do not fear them (Matt 10:26).
People say, "Well, that's easier said than done." And they throw up their hands in defeat, and give in through unbelief, just as the devil wants. But you don't have to do that. If you alter your focus, and put it on Him and on His Word above all else, and start to love Him completely instead of seeking the things the world seeks after, that commitment will over-ride your fears. They will begin to lose their grip.
Faith rises up in your heart and dispels the fear. Why? Because you have let Jesus in. His Spirit begins to be enthroned in you, dethroning fear and doubt.
Jesus told us:
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you (Jn 15:14).
And as one of Matt Redman's songs fittingly says, He is so faithful a friend! What would you not do for so faithful a friend?! Jesus asks you to lay down your life – not just for Him, for others too (Jn 14:13).
For that willingness, He gives you whatever you ask. You don't earn it, of course, because the willingness also comes from Him. But your submission creates the channel for the Spirit to flow in.
He brings courage, boldness, selflessness, love.
People fear because they are worried for themselves. But when you are less concerned about yourself and more concerned about Jesus, His Spirit takes control in your life. He does things without you asking. He makes a way where there is no way. He works wonders.
When persecution comes like a whirlwind, He enables you to overcome spiritually so that you are not defeated by it. Satan wants to crush you through it. He wants to destroy your confidence – your faith – in Jesus, in the veracity of His Word. He wants to crush your love for God, and uproot the Word of God that has already taken root in your heart. He wants to plant demons and demonic concepts there instead. But, when you make a home for Jesus, NOTHING can destroy you.
O, they may destroy you physically, but they won't be able to crush you spiritually. Jesus promised.
Therefore, do not fear them (Matt 10:26). Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul [the inner you]. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will [God permits it]. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows (Matt 10:28-31).
The persuasion or assurance Jesus gives you here is predicated upon you doing something first:
Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops (Matt 10:27).
That's quite some assignment! And you can only fulfil it when you are willing, when you love and cherish God's truths above your own life. But when you do, He comes through for you, and He will dispel your fears.
You have to face your fears before they will go. You have to begin to do the things Jesus commands, before He gives the faith and power to fulfil all else.
The problem with most people is revealed in those two words underlined above – fear Him! They don't fear Him! They love themselves.
The fear of God is not a human fear. It is not worry or anxious concern. It is a deep respect, an awesome 'thing' inside which causes you to esteem or value what He says above what you think.
That is the basis of faith. Strong faith is built on the foundations of godly fear and humility.
That's why the disciples couldn't have such faith until after Jesus had died. They needed to die – to be humbled, broken, to die to themselves.
They wanted to be something or someone special. They aspired to rule, to be lifted up, to know who would be the greatest (Matt 18:1).
All this self-seeking was based on pride. They loved themselves more than they loved God, and so their faith diminished, till it was virtually non-existent. When they tried to put out a demon that was causing epileptic fits in a boy, they couldn't do it (Matt 17:14-16).
Jesus told them that they failed because of their unbelief. Because their faith was so small, it was easily undermined through the doubt the demon could inject into them when they saw the frightening manifestations it caused in the boy.
Jesus told them they needed to abide in the Spirit more through prayer (Matt 10:21). Then they could have the faith that works wonders.
You can't do the works of the Spirit while you are walking in the flesh. You've got to want His truth, love His truth, and promote His truth. Nothing must mean more to you than Him and His truth.
Then you will see Him work!
I received a glossy full colour magazine from a ministry helping Christians in persecuted countries. It related stories of believers unfairly imprisoned, beaten, tortured, and deprived of their rights.
This organisation does sterling work in areas of the world where Christians are oppressed. But when I read their account, the Spirit spoke to me forcibly that they had lost their way. They are missing God's agenda because they are emphasising the physical instead of the spiritual.
They told how Mennonite Christians in Vietnam are suffering, and appealed to readers to support their work by 1) praying, 2) petitioning the government of that country, and 3) by giving money.
Nothing was said about restoring God's truth, or contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), or confronting heresies. They do not contradict any of the various Christian groups' beliefs or practices. What about resisting the devil? (Jas 4:7.)
It should be clear to anyone with spiritual sense that the massive division that exists across churches is due to demonic error, heresy and deception. Not every believer in every church is a true Christian, either. There are false apostles and true; there are false prophets and true; there are false evangelists and true; there is false ideology and true.
They don't realise that the woman in Revelation 12 depicts and includes the ideology of the true Church, and that God protects that ideology and those who espouse it (Rev 12:16). God will never allow His truth to be completely wiped out, nor those who champion it and preserve it. Remember Jesus' words of promise that the gates of hell will never prevail against His true Church (Matt 16:18). The Church includes you!
Jesus emphasised that you don't need to fear torture; that Satan's instruments won't be able to break you if you want God's truth more than anything else. His emphasis time and again was on His TRUTH, not on anything physical. Yet the editorial writers of this magazine seemed not to understand, or to forget that.
"O you of little faith" Jesus says to the physically-minded. Despite all the good things they espouse, they are missing His mark. Here is why:
1) Prayer for people in trial is good – to lift them up, to stand in the gap, and uphold their spirit that they do not become discouraged. God raises up intercessors who pray in the Spirit for the ones who need it. If you pray in tongues, or pray in the Spirit in some other way, let yourself be used by the Spirit for that divine purpose. But don't pray as if God is far off, or uncaring, or needs reminding, or pleading with, to help these people. And don't be overly concerned for them physically. It's their spirit that counts. The flesh counts for very little. God knows what they have need of before you ask Him! All you are doing in prayer is making yourself available to Him so that you can be a channel of His spiritual blessing, and He will also bless you spiritually thereby.
2) As for petitioning governments. Ask the Spirit first for guidance whether that is appropriate. Remember, Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world" so it is rarely right to use human methods to try and sway governments to do what you want physically.
Sometimes we are to witness against them, not try to persuade them. And you must individually follow the lead of the Spirit in what to do, not merely follow the human instructions of a ministry leader in his rational approach to a problem. He might be wrong.
3) Fund-raising is a physical approach that is looking to people, rather than to God. It belies lack of faith that God WILL provide. It is resorting to a human solution and relying upon the arm of flesh instead of the shoulder of the Spirit.
You should pray to God for funds if necessary, not pray to people. (When you ask people for money you are effectively praying to them, petitioning them.)
The arm of God WILL save, but first you have to fully trust in it. That trust comes from God when you are willing to lay down your all for Jesus. And then the quiet assurance and help from Him also comes.
In suffering and grief He lifts you up. In pain He helps you to bear it.
I have known of believers in China, tortured and imprisoned, whom God helped in remarkable ways. One woman, who had a great sensitivity to pain, didn't feel a thing when she was prodded by an electric cattle prod. The guard thought it wasn't working so he turned it on his dog. The dog yelped in agony! The guard again used it on the woman, but still she didn't flinch or feel a thing. That filled the Chinese guard with fear. He realised he was dealing with a power far greater than his, over which he had no control.
That's how to witness for Jesus! With faith and Jesus' resultant supernatural power.
Others who suffered pain were not delivered in the same way. God deals with each of us individually. But He helps all, and does not allow any trial to be too much to bear – if you trust Him (1 Cor 10:13).
...they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake, but not a hair [spiritually] of your head shall be lost. By your patience [endurance, perseverance, willingness to suffer] possess your souls (Luke 21:16-19).
Who or What Do You Lift Up?
Sadly, the magazine article that was highlighting these Mennonites' problems related that one young woman, who had been imprisoned and very severely treated, had gone out of her mind.
Reporting is one thing; building up people's faith is entirely another.
The effect on most people reading that will be to increase their fear or dread of facing similar horrors. It's the opposite of the faith Jesus wants you to have! Their account undermined faith and would seem to completely contradict Jesus' promises of succour.
The result is not faith, but unbelief – just what the devil wants!
This is all because the main ingredient of God's Gospel agenda has been left out – upholding Truth!
Teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And [then] lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt 28:20).
"Not all men have faith", wrote Paul. And Jesus said "it's according to your faith".
Likewise, not all churches teach enough truth. Some believers only see their church, or minister, not Jesus. They have not come to know Jesus personally, and His faithfulness.
Some Christians serve and worship church ritual or tradition, not Jesus. I can't speak for all Mennonites, but some we have met are ritualists, devoid of the Spirit, following a set of human commands. If you don't have Jesus as your basis of worship, you don't have what you need in times of trouble.
The editor of the magazine should have explained this to his readers, otherwise their faith is undermined. Or perhaps he himself didn't understand?
One Mennonite leader was not overcome by the trial. He said: "Don't worry about me. Being in prison for God is only a small thing." He told his wife not to worry about him, but to pray for him, so that he would be bold and strong spiritually. She said, "he is praying a lot for the church, so they can be bold and strong."
That man is moved by the Holy Spirit. He is enduring because his faith is not in himself, nor in his church, nor in church doctrine. It is in God. He sees beyond the physical. He sees the spiritual. So he has the faith of God.
We walk by faith not by sight. Neither will we survive by sight, only by faith.
Why one person overcomes but another succumbs is all bound up in faith. It's in what is in your innermost being – what makes you 'tick' spiritually – how much you love God, and why you live.
If you live for Him and lift up His truth above all else (even if you have some misunderstandings), you will overcome. It's all a question of motive, and the love of your heart.
So, to come back to where the magazine failed. They failed because they have lost sight of God's agenda. And the fulcrum of that agenda is God's truth. It's not a matter of preserving human lives. Nothing is more important to God at this time than the restoration of His truth to His people.
The Church is divided because it doesn't have enough truth. There are so many misunderstandings and misrepresentations of God's truth. People have the Bible, but they don't all have the understanding that is needed to explain it and live it. That needs restoring!
As you lift it up to restore it, He lifts you up.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand (Is 41:10).
It's for the cause of His righteousness. You can depend on Him if that holy purpose is in your heart.
For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.' (Is 41:13.) For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed.... (Is 54:10). O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold I will lay your stones with colourful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires (Is 54:11). In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror for it shall not come near you (Is 54:14).
The human mind will think that this is ridiculous. No way is that true of those incarcerated in communist prisons, where they are tortured for believing in Jesus. No, it's not true in the physical, but it IS true in the spirit and it's something that you cannot explain physically. God doesn't need to physically protect every child of His. He knows how to protect each one to save the spirit. He knows how to help you and protect your spirit but you have got to humbly care for the things of His Spirit, not merely seek an easy time of it in the flesh.
Then His Word is fulfilled in your life, and:
No weapon formed against you shall prosper... This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord (Is 54:17).
The Psalms are full of God's promise to protect those whose hearts are entwined with God's:
For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks (Ps 18:27).
He is a shield to all who trust in Him (Ps 18:30).
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies (Ps 18:3).
The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you (Ps 9:9,10).
The whole point about these promises – which are immutable – is that they are SPIRITUAL promises. When believers read them with a physical hope, they miss the truth. God is concerned about your spirit, and only insofar as He needs to salvage your flesh to save your spirit will He do so. But if you don't love Him and the things of His Spirit, you won't see His promises of deliverance fulfilled in your life.
False believers, ritualists, legalists, the stubborn, rebellious, or flagrantly disobedient will not see God fulfil these promises, which are to the righteous – those who accept HIS righteousness, which is a heart-based thing.
The magazine, unfortunately, made no distinction between false Christians and true, nor between those who uphold God's truth and those who uphold their church or leadership ABOVE Jesus.
Jesus cannot save one who is not looking to Him but who, instead, is looking to a substitute. Do you see the point?
God's promises are true. God is faithful and just. He never lets His people down. He never forsakes us. But we must exercise true faith in Him, and love Him with all our heart as Jesus commanded and showed, otherwise we do not make the channel for Him to come in. Like Laodicea, we shut Him outside the door of our hearts, where He cannot help us. It grieves Him deeply!
Are You Hurting God?
At this time God is grieving very deeply over the state of His Church. I was recently sent a prophecy, with some dreams and visions from Nila Yeo in America . The prophetic word was long and God bared His heart. It also pointed out what I am trying to relate to you here, about God's protection, and about why many will NOT be protected in the terrible times of trouble that are looming (Prov 1:24-32).
For those who are anxious, Jesus says to you what He has said before: "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good will to help you. Trust Him. But do not fear those who hurt and maim and kill the body. They can't destroy your soul if you sell out to Me."
Whoever listens to Me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil (Prov 1:33).
But the Church is not listening to God. She has moved away from Him. Here is what Nila received:
God is tired of the Church playing Church, instead of being the Church!!
The church has left Me, their First Love. You compromise and conform with the things of this world, rather than conforming to Me. And I will not compromise!! But how can the world come to know Me through you, when you are no different from them?
There is a day of trouble coming and it is upon you even now, and there are those in the body of Christ that will not be able to stand when the fire of this day comes...
I mentioned the Vietnamese lady who went mad in prison because of the trauma she was put through. Demons took over her mind. God will have mercy, but He doesn't snatch you out of troubles that you must face, no matter how terrible they are. He gives you the strength to cope, IF you place your trust in Him. I have already explained that it's a matter of wanting Him more than anything else. When you have that motive, you will overcome because He lives in you.
Those who have other motives – who compromise, who have put something else in His place, breaking the First Commandment – will face this:
...You will look for Me and seek after Me, but you will not be able to find Me, for you will be in a dry place that is afar off from Me.
My word says: "If My people, which are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land." [From 2 Chronicles 7:14.]
Humble yourselves before Me now, My people, and seek Me now, so that when this day of trouble comes, you will be able to go through the fire and find Me, for many will not be able to stand.
Those ones who will fall will be many. A great falling away is prophesied (2 Thes 2:3; 2 Pet 2:2). They will fail to stand because they have been merely playing church – not listening to and following Jesus.
There are many dry 'churches of God', where the people are following men – their church leaders – not following Christ. They think they are following Jesus by being in their church, but they are not. They have not yet come to depend upon Him and flow in His Spirit. They are depending upon a physical substitute – either their church, their church leaders, their church's teachings, or a combination of all three.
As crazy as this may sound, churches actually keep people away from a full union with Jesus in the Spirit. There is an unspoken, unseen agenda in organised churchianity, where the men who run the set-up want to keep people enclosed in their set-up, so they have financial support and all that is necessary to physically operate the church organisation.
It is a rare church leader who teaches people to depend entirely upon Jesus; to leave his church when they are mature enough, so they can disciple others; to raise up home fellowships where people are able to individually hear from Jesus and demonstrate a full panoply of spiritual gifts; and who teaches the whole counsel (truth or ideology) of God.
Paul did not shrink back from this responsibility:
"For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).
Churches do not teach enough truth. They shy away from giving you all that is available, because they don't want to lose you. They want to hold you in. Half truths are always more appealing than uncompromised truth. Itching ears always get scratched. There are plenty of pastors willing to pander to what you want for the sake of financial gain or full pews.
You need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, to know Him. But if you want merely the appealing diet of desserts that your kindly pastor dishes out, ignoring the words of God's prophets, how will you stand? How can God hear your prayers and respond in your time of trouble? God says:
How can I hear your prayers, when you call yourself My people, and you yourselves don't even know who I am? With your lips you say you know Me, when you really don't. You'd rather believe the words of man, than believe the words that I have spoken to you...
Humble obedience is faith’s foundation – not seeking for oneself, but desiring the things of God.
Abraham obeyed God implicitly. He didn’t waver. His complete, unswerving loyalty to do whatever God asked, no matter what the cost to himself, demonstrated what fear of God truly is. That humble heart, committed to honouring every breath and every word of the Almighty, placed him close to God’s heart. So he had the faith of God.
If you are willing to have the same commitment and love, you can have that faith too.
One final word. Fear is the opposite of faith. The way to counter fear is to take a stand against it. Whatever you fear, confront it by doing the thing you fear. God will help you when you do. His Spirit will lift you up. That's how to exercise faith and to make faith work:
In all our affliction and distress we [are] comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord (1 Thes 3:7,8). Malcolm B Heap
(First published in MM Newsletter 30, March 2005)
Faith: Raising Our Level of Expectation (F)
Why Have Faith? (WHF)
Why Trials? (WT)
Faith and Healing (FH)
Are You Living In Him?
Our Sabbath Rest (S)
The Controversy Concerning Law and Grace (LG)
The Faith Once Delivered To The Saints (FOD)
Sunday Versus Sabbath: The Final World Crisis (SS)
Revelations From God About The Judgement Of Britain (Jud)
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