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“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the work themselves”. John 14:11

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Luke 18:17

It is said that we live in an information age and I would agree with that.  Of course, as with any concept or slogan, we have to define terms.  Is it that there is more information out there?  Is it that we have more access to the information in ever increasing speedier avenues?  The short answer is yes; yes to both.  Let’s define information.  Is information, facts, statistics, opinions, perspectives, data, impressions?  Again, yes.

I’ve been reading some books that, among, other things detail the development of the internet.  One of the interesting aspects of the majority of early designers and developers of the internet was their vision for its use.  Many of those people felt that the internet would become a tool where the freer flow of ever greater amounts of information would allow a greater connectivity between users.  The end goal of the increased connectivity and greater sharing of larger amounts of information, was to enhance decision making.  The internet pioneers saw decision makers having more and better information at their disposal, allowing them to, not only see, but purposely analyze and incorporate the varied information into a vastly more accurate and positive decision outcome.  Hmmm.  I’ve also read some recent articles from some of those very same designers who have become quite discouraged about how the internet has actually being used and what passes for information being distributed.

Now understand this is not a critique of the internet or even having more information.  It is in gathering and subsequently sharing information that many advances have come to pass.  With a dear, cherished loved one now being cancer free for many years, I’m very grateful for the breakthroughs that come with greater knowledge attainment and dissemination.

No, this is a cautionary post on the peril there is when we rely on human-centered knowledge and worldly experience as the highest arbiter of truth and wisdom. You see, if we’re not careful, we start to fall into the worldly trap of only believing in or on things which we feel can be proven.  There is an ever growing societal sense that, with the enhanced and advanced tools available to us, we can gain enough information to confidently know and understand everything.  We don’t find the idea preposterous, that has been put forward, that there is a provable “theory of everything.  A theory that explains how all processes work and that we can understand it.  We declare we’ve found the “God” particle, the Higgs boson, which is what started creation.  There was an article based on a study that came out in 2016 that appeared to identify the part of the brain where lying takes place and what happens physiologically when we lie.  When the study was announced there was speculation that lying may be a chemical process, which may allow us to one day manipulate and even terminate people’s ability to lie through some sort of brain manipulation.

So a fundamental question can become, if all is knowable, everything can be eventually proven and thus understood, then should I only believe that which is proven or at least seems provable?  Conversely, is it foolish to have faith in something that seems, at the very least, bewildering, or worse yet forever incomprehensible? Do we discard as fantasy, that which baffles, instead searching for that which appears concrete?

Throughout the Old Testament, God as the Heavenly Father, and in the New Testament, God as Jesus Christ (along with the Father) is very clear about the primacy of, the virtue of and the overwhelming need for; faith.  Abraham relied on faith to leave Ur and travel to the promised land.  The people of Israel needed faith to follow Moses from Egypt.  Jesus described the power of faith in being able to move mountains.  It was imperative that the disciples believe/have faith that Jesus was the true Son of God.  He implored them to believe His words or believe He was the Son of God based on the miracles they had experienced.

Jesus was also quite clear about the sin and destruction would come from requiring a sign.  He spoke of the faithless generation that would only believe in a statement if proof could be shone. Jesus prophesized the impending destruction, both temporal as well as spiritually eternal, that would come upon the generation who would not believe in Him without human understood and agreed with, proof.

Additionally notice how Jesus often dealt with those whom He healed.  He did not ask the blind man, do you understand how I will restore your sight.  When speaking to the woman who just touched his cloak and was healed, Jesus did not ask her to explain how she had been healed.  Like the Roman Centurion whose servant Jesus saved, in all these cases, Jesus lauded the faith the people had shown in coming to Him; their steadfast belief, in the face of all evidence at that time, that Jesus could perform the miracles He did.

Ah, Doug, you say; that was back then and they were ignorant and superstitious.  There is so much we can do today.  We can, in some cases, restore sight.  We have weapons that can move mountains.  We know about genes now and will soon be able to fix and maybe even design our offspring before they are born, heal all manner of diseases and even stop the aging process.  Do I really need faith any more?  Besides, God gave us our brains; aren’t we supposed to use them? With all that we’ve learned, aren’t concepts like good and evil outdated?

For those asking those questions; I would ask you to look around.  Are we acting more civil toward each other through our greater knowledge?  Has our human wisdom allowed us to understand how to prevent wars and threats of war? Where is the theory that lays out the cure for our ever increasing rates of depression as well as increased suicides? Where is our lasting example of our human utopia? Where is the logic in our self centered, self indulgent, self destructive tendencies? Are they any less now then, years, decades, centuries past?

Dear Sisters and Brothers, it is not that God in the forms of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are playing some capricious game of holding back the good/complete information from us to keep in some type of servitude.  As Their creations, They know we are not capable of understanding the Mind of God in Its entirety.  We don’t have a common enough experience/frame work with which to pass information across effectively.  But God loves us and is not willing that we should perish in our willful ignorance.  God has sacrificed everything, in the form of Jesus Christ coming to earth and dying for us so that we might be redeemed and have an eternal loving existence with Him.

Do I understand it; can we understand it fully? I don’t believe we can but our lack of understanding is both irrelevant as well as it does not negate the truth of God’s lovingly perfect plan for our life here and eternally with Him. To have that life starts with one thing; FAITH!

Let us be humble, not resting on our understanding, but kneeling in faith before our Father.  In faith let us call upon the promise of Jesus Christ and receive the peace from God that yes, surpasses all understanding.  By faith let us be open to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who will bring about the limited understanding we need to live into God’s perfect plan.  Use prayer and reading of scripture to have an informed faith; not looking for or relying on proof, but being open to the faithful hope that will reveal all things needed in time.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father we freely admit that Your Ways are above all our ways and Your Mind is as inscrutable as defining the beauty of a rose or baby’s laugh. Yet we also confess that we are all too often willing to rely on our own ways and own understanding instead of putting our faith in You.  Forgive us most merciful Heavenly Father and guide us back to a faithfully fulfilling relationship in and with You. Strengthen us to withstand the logic of the world and the demand for a proof or sign.  Fill us with the Holy Spirit who will give us what we can take in revelation of You.  Let us seek through prayer with You and study of Your Word a humble spirit of faithful obedience.  That in living out our faith in You, Heavenly Father, we would spread Your Love, Forgiveness and Mercy that will bring glory and praise to Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen. 


“And we know that all things work together for go to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was in Jerusalem…..and they were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria….” Acts 8:1

“Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.”  Acts 8:4

Romans 8:28 is a very powerful and comforting statement.  It states the omnipotent aspect of Our Heavenly Father.  To be comforting, it is often used when a person or people are going through difficult times or facing a particularly challenging trial.  Sadly though, it can lose some of its impact and feel like just some “feel good” platitude without connecting it to a real example.  Thankfully there are many examples in the bible and I want to discuss just one.

So put yourself in the place of a new believer in Jerusalem just after Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.  You’ve come to believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptized.  You happen to be following the apostles and watch one miracle healing after another.  You hear that some of the apostles are arrested but they are miraculously freed from prison and have boldly gone back to the temple to preach the Name of Jesus.  Your spirit has been so enlightened that you look for any in need and you sell your things and watch joyously as the poor and widows are made whole.  You can’t stop praising Almighty God and can’t wait to see what the next day is going to bring.  There is no other place you’d rather be.  In fact, although it has been said that the gospel needs to be preached to all lands, you can’t imagine being anywhere else but right there in Jerusalem; right there with the apostles.

But the elders and temple leadership keep trying to squash the message.  They keep trying to arrest and sometimes beat those who are preaching Jesus Name.  All the sudden, one of the leaders, one of the newly elected is arrested for blasphemy.  His name is Stephen and he gives an angelic, powerful and spirit filled defense of the gospel.  This time though, he doesn’t escape.  No, Stephen is stoned to death by a crowd whipped into a frenzy by the Jewish leadership.  All the sudden the enemy is emboldened.  One of their leaders; Saul, is going house to house arresting anyone who confesses Jesus is the Christ, the Savior Son of God.  What is one to do?  You flee!  You are forced from the wonderful side of the apostles.  Your world is turned upside down.  Why is this happening?  Why to me? Why now?

Again, you can imagine that those who were scattered were feeling pretty frightened, maybe lost.  But noticed what happened.  I’m sure people were asking them about why they had come?  What was the matter?  Who was after them and why?  How did those who were scattered respond?  They preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  They spread the Good News of the coming of the Kingdom of God and forgiveness through the life, death and resurrection of God’s Only Son, Jesus.  Remember the great commission?  Remember about making disciples and the Gospel being preached to the ends of the earth?  Scripture tells us, that during the initial persecution and scattering of believers in Jerusalem, the apostles stayed in the city.  Someone had to spread the word.  Later the apostles traveled as well.

So a couple of things for us; dear brothers and sisters.  First, being persecuted, being threatened with arrest, being scattered away from home was no easy thing.  Some perhaps many may have been praising God in these circumstances, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t experiencing real, significant hardship.  They very well might not have felt like disciples.  They were just believers talking to other potential believers; they were nothing special.  Being caught up in the stress of the moment, they may not have seen the “good” in the circumstance they were going through.  Second, it is easy for us to see that this was part of God’s Plan.  The Gospel needed to be spread.  The eleven remaining apostles were not going to be sufficient to preach the Word to all who needed to hear it.  Finally though, whether they understood or not; they believed.  They believed in the message of Jesus Christ and they were chosen by God the Father Almighty to carry that message.  They needed a reason to leave the sanctuary of Jerusalem, the comfort of daily fellowship with the apostles.  They needed to be scattered.  God accomplished that.

So for You and I; we believe.  We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Savior who lived, died and was raised on the third day.  We are also called.  There is His Plan and we have a part in its completion.  So because we believe and we are called; good will come.  It can be very hard to see but good will come.  It is His Promise.  He has shown over and over again how He keeps every promise.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank You that You have seen fit to call upon us who believe to help implement Your Plan.  We also acknowledge that carrying out that calling may involve difficulty.  So we call upon You to pour out Your Spirit upon us that we will feel Your Peace, Comfort and Strength knowing that good will always be the outcome of Your calling.

“Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”  John 14:11

Everywhere you look these days there is some type of test that we can take that will give us information about ourselves.  There is the DISC and the MBTI that attempt to give us our personality types.  There are tests that give us information about how we best learn, how we see and use emotions, how we select partners and on and on.  Of course the underlying theme to all these tests is the concept that we are different.  Not only that, but if there is going to be a successful relationship between ourselves and the world around us (be it work, family, church, volunteer groups etc.) those differences need to be taken into account.

Jesus is meeting with His disciples the last time before He is taken away to His death.  Judas has already left so here then is the core of His believers who are going take His message forward.  Yet even here, at this point with their walk with Him, they don’t fully understand.  When Jesus says He is going somewhere they can’t follow, Peter claims that he will follow Jesus anywhere, even to death.  That’s when Jesus predicts Peter’s denial.  Jesus tells them that they will now know The Father because they know Jesus.  Philip asks Jesus to show him The Father.

A basic theme throughout Jesus’ ministry has been to bring light to the nature of The Father; what His Kingdom is like, the Love He has for us.  The people respond often about asking for proof.  Now here is where we get into the different types of people.  There are some people who need proof in terms of historical context.  Jesus often quotes scripture pointing to who the Messiah was going to be and how He was going to act.  Jesus then points out that He is acting just as scripture predicted.  Some need material proof in the now.  They need to see to believe.  Jesus provides them with miracle after miracle to show His messianic power.  Some need to feel the truth emotionally.  Jesus spends so much of His ministry speaking on love; first the Father’s love for us and thus the love we should have for one another.  For those who like logical arguments, Jesus lays out how the He is doing the Will of the Father, glorifying the Father and then how The Father will glorify Jesus in return.  Near the end, in an almost desperate plea to Philip, Jesus says: Believe.  Believe because of what I’ve said (which I’ve also outlined about what was predicted about me) or if you can’t go there believe because of what you have seen; the amazing miracles you’ve experience.  Only for your sake (not God sake) believe.

I believe His same plea is laid out in front of the world, including you and I today.  In a way He is asking:  “What is going to take for you to believe?”  Jesus knows that we are different, that we approach things, make decisions based on different things.  Jesus is telling us:  I have given you everything you need to believe.  There are words and there are actions and they are all consistent.  And as if that were not enough, I, the Only Son of God, I, who have been there from the very beginning.  I, who have all power, all knowledge, perfect wisdom, perfect judgement.  I, your Savior, your King, will have given my very life asking only in return that you believe.  I don’t know how much more He can do.

Brothers and sisters, know that we have been shown and are shown The Father through Jesus Christ.  If we are analytical, there is a logic to Jesus Christ’s message.  If we are emotional, there is no greater love to Jesus Christ’s message.  He is reaching out to each of us and to the world:  Only Believe.  May it be that our response is to truly and completely believe in Him who has given and done whatever it takes.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we humbly admit that we can be a stubborn people.  Forgive us when we ask for proof and ask for it in a way that we can connect to.  We are so thankful Most Generous Father that You have seen fit to show us Yourself in so many ways; in Word as well as Deed.  Help us to strengthen our belief in You that in so doing our eyes will be opened and our lives changed through the Truth that is Your Love for us and that we will respond with lives that bring praise to Your Most Holy Name.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen


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