Keep Your Faith in Jesus Christ :: By Nathele Graham 

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). 

Everybody has faith in something. We have faith that the food we eat will nourish the body, or we have faith that we will reach our destination when we set out on a drive. These are reasonable assumptions, but not always true. Much of the food we eat has been filled with additives, hormones, and preservatives and doesn’t nourish us the way God intended. Sometimes when we head to the store or a friend’s house, things can stop us from reaching our destination. A flat tire or a wreck can change our plans. Still we have faith.

What about unseen things?

Many people deny God because they cannot see Him. People put faith in many things that are unseen, but we don’t doubt their existence. Have you ever blown up a balloon? I’ve never seen the air that inflates it, but I know for a fact that when I blow into the opening, the balloon will get bigger. I’m looking out my window right now and watching the trees sway in the breeze. I can’t see the breeze, just the effect of the breeze. The one that really astounds me is the people who get into an airplane and have the faith that something unseen will hold the plane and all the people in it thousands of feet off the ground. Yet, putting faith in the God of all creation is unthinkable.

Of all the unseen things that surround us, the most important is faith in God. The effects of His existence are everywhere.

In times of trouble, our faith can be sorely tested. We either turn to God or turn from Him. Satan is waiting for those who despair, and he tries to stop us from having faith that God hasn’t forsaken us. If you’re a Christian, then Satan cannot utterly destroy you, but he certainly can destroy the witness you have. Christians need to live life in such a way that it’s a habit to trust God and live to please Him, not the world.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

The word “conversation” means your way of life. Our way of life needs to reflect Jesus. This world is ruled by Satan, but Jesus Christ overcame the world. Instead of living so that you reflect Satan, live so that your life is a reflection of Jesus Christ. No matter what we face in life, Jesus is our strength, and we need to keep our faith firmly planted in Him. Our faith may be tested, but if you don’t allow the world to confuse you, you will stand firm upon His word.

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).

That’s the perfect place to begin examining your faith. Do you believe that in the beginning there was nothing and it exploded to become everything? If that’s where your faith lies, then you have no faith in God. Genesis tells us that God created everything, and John gives us a bit more information.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

The Word is Jesus Christ, and that’s where you need to place your faith. He was in the beginning and will be with us to the end and throughout eternity.

Scripture is filled with examples of men and women who trusted and obeyed God, even when they didn’t understand His reasons. We can learn from their examples of faith. We learn that Enoch was 65 years old when he began to walk with God. He walked with Him for 300 years, but he didn’t die.

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).

Enoch was raptured prior to God’s judgment by the Flood. Enoch’s faith was passed to his children and grandchildren. That’s a wonderful legacy to pass to the next generation. Because of Enoch’s example of faith, Noah believed God when He said He was going to send a flood as a judgment on all creation. God instructed Noah to build an Ark. Because Noah had faith, he obeyed. That Ark carried him and his family safely through the Flood.

God’s judgments will soon come upon the world, but, like Enoch, Christians will be Raptured prior to God’s judgments.

Abraham was another man who learned to have faith in God. He was very happy living in the idol-worshiping society which surrounded him. Then, he heard God’s voice and his life changed. Because of his faith, we have the blessing of the Nation of Israel and the Messiah who was born from that nation. We can also look at Mary’s faith. She was a virgin, but by faith she submitted to God and gave birth to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We need to trust Him more and have faith in His truth.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Don’t put your faith in fallible man but put your faith in the infallible God of all creation. He is unseen to the non-believer’s eye, but Christians see Him everywhere.

Today there’s an unseen organism that has virtually brought the entire world to a standstill. It has stopped people from going to work, interacting with other people, attending worship services, going to school, and many more activities that we took for granted a few short weeks ago. The news media can talk of little else than the latest celebrity who has tested positive for coronavirus, or how many have died. Don’t forget, it’s not news when people survive, so that’s never reported. This virus is very much like Satan. He is unseen but a very real enemy to all of mankind. Satan thrives on fear, and his purpose is to separate people from God and destroy them. If he can compromise your faith, then he has won a battle. God won the war at the cross, but Satan won’t admit defeat.

Brothers and sisters, we need to keep our faith firmly set in Jesus.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Everyone is beset by troubles, and this coronavirus is affecting Christian and non-Christian alike. The difference is that no matter what is in our future, faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ makes an eternal difference.

Christians need have no fear of death. This pandemic didn’t take God by surprise. Most people, even those who claim to be Christians, ignore God unless there’s a great need. Stop ignoring Him and put your faith in Him. God isn’t a “fair weather friend” who is only with you in the good times. He’s with you in the good times and the bad.

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).

Don’t allow fear to rule your life. Be cautious. Wash your hands, cover your sneezes and coughs, eat healthy. Above all, keep your faith in Jesus Christ.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original scripture is “theopneustos”— God breathed.

If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.

 

Peace, Be Still :: By Nathele Graham

“The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea” (Psalm 93:4).

It’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria of today. The news media is driving a frenzy that is causing a crisis of its own. The coronavirus is something we need to take seriously, be cautious, and take steps to stay as healthy as possible. An important step we need to take is to read God’s word. Reading Scripture is the way to calm our own fears as well as help us to give answers to others who are fearful. During times of turmoil, we need to remember that God is mightier than anything that comes our way. He won’t necessarily remove the turmoil, but He will give us peace as we face the dangers.

Today, the news media doesn’t seem to have enough time to keep up with all of the reports of this coronavirus spreading, and because of this, there are many empty shelves in stores as people rush to stock up on items needed, just in case we are all quarantined. We need to take care to wash our hands and cover our sneezes and coughs, but the panic and fear need to be soothed.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah” (Psalm 46:1-3).

This psalm goes on to remind us to look to God. He is with us whatever may befall. In the midst of war, earthquakes, famine, and pestilence, every Christian needs to understand that God will never leave us, and we can always find His peace.

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (Psalm 46:10-11).

If we allow His peace to rule in us, we can share that peace with others. In times like these, the door for sharing the Gospel is wide open. We need to be ready with answers.

Fear can cause a person to act irrationally. Over the last week or so, I have heard some stories about how people are reacting to this crisis, and it is ridiculous how fear is causing people to react in unreasonable ways. Unless we truly know that Jesus is with us and “…is mightier than the noise of many waters…,” we will be just like the world and allow fear to control us.

The disciples were men who faced fears; and when troubles came along, they would sometimes forget that Jesus was with them. Maybe they didn’t truly know exactly who Jesus was (God Almighty) or understand His power and, like us, they sometimes lacked faith. Once when they were all in a boat at sea, a storm hit. Many of the disciples were fishermen and understood about storms at sea and knew how to handle a ship. In spite of that, they allowed the storm to confound them. Jesus was sleeping peacefully at the time, and the disciples thought He didn’t care if the storm sank the ship and they all drowned. Wrong. Even when we feel as if God has forgotten us, or is sleeping on the job, He’s right there with us. The disciples awakened Him in panic, and He took care of the situation.

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:39-40).

Those are two questions we all need to ask ourselves. Why are we so fearful? Where is our faith? Instead of running to Him in panic and fear, turn to Him in faith. Jesus spoke the same words found in the Psalms, “Peace, be still.” This command was to the storm. In calming the storm, Jesus calmed His disciples. We need to turn to Scripture for words of comfort because it is God’s word.

Satan uses fear as a means of drawing Christians away from our Lord. How many of us are keeping our eyes glued on TV, waiting for more news about where the virus is and how many people have died? They never tell us how many have lived. Shouldn’t we be more tuned in to God?

People are dying, and that fact is heartbreaking. Actually, people are dying because of many things, such as car accidents, heart failure (often caused by poor eating habits), war (people want what others have), AIDS (because most people won’t turn from their sin), murder (men’s hearts are cold), abortion (men’s hearts are cold), lung disease (people smoke), and many more causes. Part of the panic caused by the coronavirus is the fact that most of the world is afraid of death. That’s normal. Death is final and there’s no reversing it. An advantage Christians have and need to cling to is the fact that Jesus Christ conquered death. Everyone who is born into this world will, at some point, face eternity. Heaven is real, but so is Hell.

Only faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus will allow you to spend eternity in Heaven. We need to tell people about Jesus and give them hope. We are all born once, but then there needs to be a second birth, a spiritual birth. Jesus said so.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

Our first birth isn’t a choice on our part. It’s the second birth that is a choice.

It’s been said that God has no grandchildren. Nobody can make that choice for another person, not a parent for a child or husband for a wife. Christians need to share the Gospel with those around us who are so afraid of death right now and tell the lost about life in Christ.

I’ve heard people say that there will be a lot of friends in Hell to socialize with, so it will be like a party. Oh, how wrong that statement is. At the end of days, there will be a final judgment before the White Throne of God.

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:11-12).

This is not the judgment that Christians will face. Our sins have been forgiven at the moment we accepted the blood sacrifice of Jesus for salvation. The White Throne judgment will be where those who have rejected Christ will stand, having their works judged. Sadly, there will be a lot of “good people” there…ones who have been kind and gentle, but have never put their faith in Jesus. Works cannot earn you a place in Heaven, and human kindness cannot come close to God’s standards.

If you haven’t asked Jesus into your life, then after the White Throne judgment you will face your second death.

“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged everyman according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:13-15).

That doesn’t say anything about an eternal party, but it shows eternal suffering. God loves you and doesn’t want anybody to face this second death. You have the choice. Accept His free gift of salvation and you will be born again and won’t face eternity in the lake of fire. Nobody can make the decision for you.

There is a healthy fear. That is the fear of the Lord. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

When you fear the Lord, that means you will respect Him. You will desire to live to please Him instead of saying a few words at an altar, then stepping right back into your sin. Instead of fearing the coronavirus, turn to God. Respect Him and gain knowledge of Him. The way to do that is to talk to Him daily and study your Bible. The more you learn about Him, the less fear will control you.

God’s love is perfect love, and He is mightier than all fear. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

We are made perfect in God’s perfect love. That perfect love was manifest in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Turn to Him for peace in these troubling times and share your faith and hope with others.

Though the world is in turmoil and chaos, remember that God isn’t sleeping. “Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4).

Not only does He keep Israel, but He keeps all who trust Him. He knows what’s happening all around us, but His love never fails. Though storms rage around us and the world is in panic, find peace in Him. Remember, even the storms are under His authority. Remember the words that Jesus used to rebuke the storm. “Peace, be still.” Don’t allow the turmoil to overwhelm you.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.

If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.