define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true); Pastor Ralph Diehl » faith

Posts Tagged ‘faith’

20
Mar

GOD’S LOVE IN TOUGH TIMES

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

As it is written, ‘For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter’.” (Romans 8:36).

Paul had just laid out a legal argument for our cause as God’s people (vv. 30-32). Then he negated the idea that we are still under some condemnation from God (vv. 33-34). Then Paul attempted to embrace an argument that nothing in the trials of this life can separate us from the love of Christ (v. 35).

Now Paul uses an Old Testament scripture to support what he is saying, that just seems totally out of character for what he is saying. We know Paul was a brilliant theologian and teacher, so we have to figure out what his purpose was in using Psalm 44:22 (quoted here), to make his point about God’s love in tough times.

The context of Psalm 44 is a plea for God to speedily come to Israel’s rescue in a time of great distress. David wrote this Psalm to say, all we’ve done is serve you and now the enemy is destroying us: “Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercies’ sake” (Psalm 44:26). Its when we come to the point of crying out to God that these great promises of Romans 8 come to fruition.

As long as you rely on your faith, you’re on your own. When you rely on God and what His Son did on the cross, your answer is at the threshold.

 

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2
Mar

SAVED BY HOPE

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for it” (Romans 8:24). This is an illustrative statement, not a doctrinal statement. Paul clearly said in Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God“.

So Paul is not saying here that we were saved by hope. He was saying that when we become saved by grace through faith, hope in what God did and says becomes our lifestyle.

But once you’ve received the promise, what do we need to hope for any longer? You see, there is much more to Christianity than any of us have already experienced. We’ve only received a taste of God’s goodness. When I hear or read about heaven, I know that’s yet in my future. As the singing group Mercy Me sang, “I Can Only Imagine”.

Our hope is in what we have not yet received. What are you hoping for today? What might God, the Deliverer, do for you today?

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17
Dec

FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Paul here concludes the Love Chapter, but is only midway through the teaching on spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts should not be taught without a full understanding of how Agape love works. If love is left out, spiritual gifts “puff up“, breed “envy“, and lead to “vaunting” oneself above others. (1 Cor. 13:4). I’ve seen some of the ugliest people in Pentecostal churches competing for who is the greatest in these supernatural gifts. The better question is: who succeeds in loving others into the Kingdom? Jesus said, Whoever is greatest among you should be servant of all (Mark 10:43-44).

Although spiritual gifts are only temporary, and although Jesus will one day return and answer all these mysteries and questions we have, there are three foundational principles that will always be steady: Faith, Hope, and Love. Faith is seeing God in the current picture and believing for something better. Hope is the earnest expectation that God is up to something good whether I see the big picture or not. And Love is allowing God to love sinners through us. Love is unconditional and sacrificial, and never gives up.

I heard a testimony the other day about a Christian woman living in a Muslim land. A man persecuted her by pouring hot sauce into her eyes in public. She cried out in agony, “I still pray for you, ———“. He replied that he would be back to teach her an even greater lesson. That night the Muslim man had a dream about Isah (Jesus). He couldn’t shake it from his mind, so he went to her and asked her to tell him about Isah. She did and the dream gave him the faith to accept Christ. Today he is a leader in the church in that closed Muslim nation. That’s how Love overcomes evil.

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8
Nov

GIFT OF FAITH

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

“To another faith by the same Spirit…” (1 Corinthians 12:9). The first two spiritual gifts (words of wisdom and knowledge) would fit under the classification of Revelation Gifts. But this third spiritual gift, the gift of faith, would fit under the classification of Power Gifts, as the result of faith is not passive trust, but active belief that moves mountains and obstacles.

Notice that this gift is given to “another”, not the same people. Again, working with others in the Body of Christ is crucial. I have little respect for a spiritual bigshot who wants to declare he/she has all the gifts and doesn’t need any partners. They are cheating themselves. The main theme here is that these gifts are distributed throughout the church.

Notice also that this gift is not mustered up from within oneself, but is a gift “by the same Spirit”. The Holy Spirit, like the Coach of a football team, calls the plays but let’s the players carry them out.

The gift of Faith is having a sure confidence that God is going to come through. Everyone is given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3), but this gift goes way beyond that. Its the gift of faith that says, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kings 17:1). This gift gives the confidence to say, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume you and your fifty” (2 Kings 1:10).

This gift functioned in the New Testament through people who proclaimed healing and deliverance, and saw it transpire before their very eyes. Let’s expect the gift of faith to function through God’s people today, as well.

What has been your experience regarding the spiritual gift of faith?

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9
Jul

RISKS

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Today is the final day of a two-week vacation. The excessive heat outside this past week made it impossible to do outside projects after noon, so I did get a lot done inside. One morning while working outside I was cutting down a tree in the back that was dying. I had the tree down and was trimming branches off to cut firewood when I got the bar pinched. While working to get it free I must have twisted the chain just enough that it wasn’t in alignment. When I finally got it free and revved up the engine, the chain came off the bar. There’s nothing scarier than to have the razor sharp teeth of a chain saw come flying off the bar. I had to have both the chain and bar replaced, for they were both damaged. However, I’ve spent the last couple of days thanking God that I wasn’t seriously injured by that free-flying chain.

Life is full of risks and close calls. Anyone who gets behind the wheel of an automobile and drives 70 MPH is taking a risk. Anyone who eats last year’s food processed full of preservatives is taking a risk. Anyone who falls in love and gets legally married is taking a risk. We will simply never accomplish anything without taking a risk.

Since we can’t prove God exists, and must take Him by faith, even trusting God requires a risk. But some risks are worth taking. Where would we be if we didn’t trust in God? Hopeless.

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24
May

LESSONS LEARNED

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Saturday morning I was asked to speak to Cancer survivors and their caregivers and supporters at the DeKalb County Relay for Life, which is a fund-raiser for cancer research. I was surprised they asked me, because I’ve never been involved with the Relay for Life (formerly known as Walk-for-Life). My first thought was that really didn’t fit my purpose, but then I thought about what an opportunity it was to speak to people facing a life-threatening disease about hope.

So, I shared about some lessons I learned battling prostate cancer:
1. I am Not Invincible.
A. Things Happen That Aren’t Supposed to Happen.
B. To Reevaluate What I’ve Been Taught.
C. To Deal With My Own Mortality.
2. God Will Direct Me.
A. He Arranges Coincidences.
B. Everyone Has A Home Remedy.
3. I Am An Overcomer.
A. To Make the Most of Every Day.
B. To Have Empathy With Others.
C. I Can Encourage Others.

These are things I have learned the hard way. Any lessons you could add that you’ve learned while going through the fire?

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25
Jan

WHO OWNS YOU?

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

We now have two cats, a male and a female. Both have been fixed. The male is still young and playful. The female is older and very docile. They’re still testing their territory with each other.

Both cats know they can trust us. We’re the ones who feed and water them. But, they don’t trust strangers. When a strange car drives up, they’ll both run out the back door and find a hiding place. But when they see its either Anita or I, they come out of hiding and want our attention.

They both know who owns them. They can tell by our provision. Do you know who owns you? Do you trust who owns you? Think about this today.

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