2010 - HIS GLORY REIGNS
LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES
GOD’S INVITATION LEADS TO A CRISIS OF BELIEF
Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King

I AM REVEALED
B. Childress
Apr 24 2013

Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and
rewards those who seek Him.
 (Hebrews 11:6)

A FAITH BUDGET FOR OUR CHURCH

One year when I was a pastor, the people on our church finance committee said, “Pastor, you have taught our
congregation to walk by faith in every area except in the budget.”  I asked them to explain.  They said, “Well, when we
set the budget, we establish it on the basis of what we believe we can afford to do.  It does not reflect that we expect God
to do anything.”

“Hmmm,” I reflected.  “Then how do you feel we ought to set the budget?”  They said, “First, we should determine all that
God wants to do through us.  Second, we need to estimate what the cost will be.  Finally, we need to divide the budget
goal into three categories: (1) what we plan to raise through our tithes and giving, (2) what others have promised to do
to help us, and (3) what we must depend on God to provide.”

As a church, we prayed and decided that God did want us to take this approach to budgeting, but we did not try to
dream our own dreams for God.  We had to be absolutely sure God was leading us to do the things we put in the
budget.  Then we estimated what God’s plans would cost.  We listed what we thought our people would give and what
others (denominational agencies, partnership churches, and donors) had promised to give.  The difference between
what we could reasonably expect to receive and the total needed was what we would ask God to provide.

The big question was: What is our operating budget?  Do we actively proceed on everything covered in the first two
columns and hold off on the faith column until we see the funds come in?  Or do we proceed with all God has said to do,
trusting God to provide as we go?  At this point, we reached a crisis of belief.  Did we really believe that the God who led
us to do these things would also provide the resources to bring them to pass?  By faith, we adopted the grand total as
our operating budget.

Anytime God leads you to do something that has God-sized dimensions, you’ll face a crisis of belief.  When you face a
crisis of belief, what you do next reveals what you really believe about God.  That year, based on all we sensed God
leading us to do, we established a budget that was more than twice what we would have set, given our own resources.  
God poured out His blessing and taught us a radical lesson in faith – we received more funds than even our expanded
faith budget had anticipated.

Did you notice our turning point – our crisis of belief?  It came when we decided to operate on the greater total – the
faith budget – rather than merely setting out to do what we thought we could afford and waiting to see if God
supplemented our income.  We could have settled on the lesser budget and never known anything more about God, but
people in the community watching our church would have seen only what people can do.  They would not have seen
God and what He can do.

A CRISIS OF BELIEF

This chapter focuses on a turning point necessary in your following God’s will.  When God invites you to join Him in His
work, He presents a God-sized assignment He wants to accomplish.  It will be obvious you can’t do it on your own.  If God
doesn’t help, you will fail.  This is the crisis point at which many people decide not to follow what they sense God is
leading them to do.  Then they wonder why they do not experience God’s presence, power, and activity the way some
Christians do.

The word crisis comes from a Greek word that means “decision.”  The same word is often translated “judgment.”  We
aren’t talking about a calamity in your life such as an accident or death.  This crisis is not a disaster or a bad thing.  
It is
a turning point or a fork in the road that calls for a decision.  You must decide what you believe about God
.  How you
respond when you reach this turning point will determine whether or not you proceed with God in something only He can
do or whether you continue on your own way and miss what God has purposed for your life.  This is not a one-time
experience.  How you live your life daily is a testimony of what you believe about God.

THE CRISIS OF BELIEF

These are the characteristics of every crisis of belief:

  • An encounter with God requires faith.

  • Encounters with God are God-sized.

  • What you do in response to God’s invitation reveals what you believe about God.

  • True faith requires action.

THE FAITH REQUIREMENT

All through Scripture when God revealed Himself, His purposes, and His ways, the response required faith.  Read what
God says about faith:

  • Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.  (Hebrews 11:1)

  • For we walk by faith, not by sight.  (II Corinthians 5:7)

  • [Jesus said,] “The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do.  And he will do even greater works than
    these, because I am going to the Father.”  (John 14:12)

  • “For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to
    there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

  • [Paul said,] “My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration
    of the Spirit and power, so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.” (I Corinthians
    2:4-5)

  • If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.   (Isaiah 7:9)

Faith is confidence that what God promised will come to pass.  Sight is the opposite of faith.  If you can see clearly how
something can be accomplished, faith is more than likely not required.  If our church had chosen to operate on a budget
based on what we knew we could accomplish, faith would not have been necessary.

Christians (as well as everyone else) have a natural tendency to try building a life in which faith is unnecessary.  We
establish a comfort zone where everything is in our control, but this is not pleasing to God.  God will allow things into our
lives that drive us to utter dependence upon Him.  Then we see His power and His glory.

Your faith does not rest on a concept or an idea.  Faith must be centered on a Person – God Himself.  Our generation
promotes a dangerous concept that encourages people to “have faith.”  In this abstract doctrine, faith itself is the
pursuit.  It matters little what the faith is based on – it is the act of believing that is important – but this teaching is
unbiblical.  Faith is only valid if it is focused on God and what He says He is purposing to do.  Before you call yourself,
your family, or your church to exercise faith, be sure you have heard a word from God.

Jesus said if His followers have faith in God, they will do even greater things than He has done.  Our faith in the Lord
must be based on God’s power, not on human wisdom.  Without a firm faith in the Lord, we will stumble and fall.

In his own power, Moses could never have delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh’s army, crossed the Red Sea on dry
land, provided water from a rock, or furnished bread and meat to his people.  Moses had to believe that God, who called
him, would do the things He said He would do.

Joshua could not take the Israelites across the Jordan River on dry land, bring down city walls, and defeat heavily armed
enemies.  Only God could do those things.  Joshua had to have faith in God.

On their own, the disciples could not feed the multitudes, heal the sick, or raise the dead.  But God could and did do
these very things through them.

When God lets you know what He wants to do through you, it will be something only He can do.  What you believe about
Him will determine your response.  If you have faith in the God who called you, you will obey, and He will bring to pass
what He purposes to do.  If you lack faith, you will not do what He wants, and that is disobedience.

Jesus questioned those around Him, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46).  
Jesus frequently rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith.  Their unbelief revealed that they really had not come to
know who He was.  Thus, they did not know what He could do.

OBEDIENCE SHOWS FAITH

Faith was required of Moses and the disciples.  When God calls a person to join Him in a God-sized task, faith is always
necessary.  Obedience indicates faith in God.  Disobedience reveals a lack of faith.  Without faith, a person cannot
please God (Hebrew 11:6).  Without faith, a church cannot please God.

We face the same crisis of belief the people in the Bible experienced.  When God speaks, what He asks of us requires
faith.  Our major hindrance to obedience is our self-centeredness.  We think we have to accomplish the assignment in
our own power and with our current resources.  We think, “I can’t do that.  That’s not possible.”  In other words, we lack
faith.

We forget that when God speaks, He always reveals what He is going to do – not what He wants us to do for Him.  We
join Him so He works through us.  We are not called upon to accomplish the task by our ingenuity, ability, or limited
resources.  With faith, we can proceed confidently because we know He is going to pass what He purposes.  “Looking at
them, Jesus said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God’” (Mark 10:27).

LEN KOSTER AND MISSION CHURCHES

In the Saskatoon church where I was the pastor, we sensed God wanting to use us as His instruments to reach people
for Christ throughout the many cities, towns, and villages scattered across our 588,276 square-mile province.  Since
there were numerous communities without any evangelical church, we would have to start many new churches.  To do
that, we felt God leading us to call a man named Len Koster to equip our congregation to start other churches.

Len lived in British Columbia, in a town more than one thousand miles from Saskatoon.  Over the previous fourteen
years, Len and Ruth had served in small churches.  Len, in fact, was so committed to the Lord that he worked as a
service station attendant in order to supplement his meager income.  Without a part-time pastor, these churches would
have had no pastor at all.  In that time, Len and Ruth had saved $7,000 toward the goal of buying their own home.  
When we contacted him, Len was absolutely convinced he ought to help us start churches.

I said, “Len, we have no money to move you and no money to pay you.”  To which he replied, “Henry, God has called
me.  He will provide for me.  We will use the money from our savings to move.”  And so they did.

One day, Len came to me and said, “Henry, my wife and I prayed and talked all night.  I have worked bivocationally for
fourteen years, and I have no problem with working to provide for my family.  But the need is so great, and the direction
of God is such that I feel I need to serve the Lord here full-time.  I am going to devote all my energy to starting mission
churches.  Don’t worry about our financial support.  God will show us how to live.”

When Len left my office, I fell on my face and wept before the Lord.  I said, “Father, I don’t understand why such a
faithful couple should have to make this kind of a sacrifice.”  I saw in Len and Ruth – the parents of five children – a
great faith demonstrated by their actions.

Two days later, I received a brief letter from a Presbyterian layman in Kamloops, British Columbia.  It said simply, “I
understand a man by the name of Len Koster has come to work with you.  God has laid it on my heart that I am to help
support his ministry.  Enclosed find a check for $7,000 to be used for his support.”  When I opened that letter, I went
back on my knees and wept before the Father.  This time, I asked Him to forgive me for not trusting Him.

I called Len and said, “Len, you placed your life savings on the altar of sacrifice, but God had something else in the
bushes.  The God who says, ‘I am your Provider’ has just provided!”  Then I told him what had happened.

Do you know what that did in Len’s life?  Do you know what it did for our church’s faith?  We all grew to believe God to a
greater degree than we had before.  After that, we stepped out in faith to obey God time and time again.  We watched
God accomplish astounding things through our ordinary congregation.  We never could have experienced God that way
if Len and his family had not responded in faith to God’s call.  Len has now gone to be with the Lord, but his legacy of
faith remains in the dozens of churches he helped start.  Len’s youngest son is currently in seminary.

GOD-SIZED ASSIGNMENTS

God wants the world to know Him.  That way, people will come to understand what God is like when they see Him at
work.  They will know His nature when they see it expressed in His activity.

Some people believe God will never ask them to undertake anything that seems impossible.  They believe God will never
lead a church to attempt something they cannot afford, ask someone to do something outside their giftedness, or lead
someone to do something they are afraid of doing.  Yet if people are going to see God at work, they must witness more
than just sincere Christians doing the best they can.  People must see God at work in Christians’ lives.

At times, people ask if they will experience a crisis every time God asks them to do something.  God will often tell His
people to do mundane things.  Hold a church potluck dinner, for example, is not miraculous.  Yet when God is involved in
an activity, traces of God’s character are always evident.  At times, we do things with the love of Christ such as forgiving
someone who has wronged us, and when we do things God’s way, we always exalt Christ.

Scripture indicates that God will ask us to attempt things that are impossible apart from divine intervention.  While some
church leaders believe this is irresponsible, the fact is that when we accomplish things that can only be explained by
God, we provide a powerful witness to God’s presence and guidance.  The God-sized assignments in the Bible are how
He demonstrated His nature, strength, provision, and love to His people – and to a watching world.  Those who
witnessed God powerfully at work through His people saw what God is truly like.

Consider a few of these God-sized assignments.  God told Abraham to father a nation when Abraham had no son, and
Sarah was long past the age to bear children.  He told Moses to deliver the children of Israel, to cross the Red Sea, and
to provide water from a rock.  He told Gideon to defeat a Midianite army of a hundred and twenty thousand with three
hundred men.  God told a virgin that she would give birth to the Messiah.  Jesus told the disciples to feed the multitudes
and to make disciples of all the nations.  Not one of these things was humanly possible.  But when God’s people and the
world see something happen that only God can do, they come to know God.

PEOPLE COME TO KNOW GOD

Moses

God directed Moses to lead the Israelites to camp beside the Red Sea.  From a military perspective, this encampment
was utterly foolish because it allowed no escape route from the pursuing Egyptian army.  But God knew He was going to
deliver them by dividing the sea and letting them cross on dry ground.  God said, “I will receive glory by means of
Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD” (Exodus 14:4).  What was the result?  “When
Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and believed in Him
and in His servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31).

Joshua

God commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River at flood stage.  Why?  “This is so that all the
people of the earth may know that the LORD’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the LORD your God”
(Joshua 4:24).

King Jehoshaphat

A vast army came to war against Israel.  King Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and led the people to seek God’s counsel.  
He prayed, “Our God…we are powerless before this vast multitude that comes to fight against us.  We do not know what
to do, but we look to You” (II Chronicles 20:12).  God responded, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast
multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s…You do not have to fight in this battle.  Position yourselves, stand still,
and see the salvation of the LORD.  He is with you” (II Chronicles 20:15, 17).  Jehoshaphat sent a choir in front of the
army, singing praise to God for His enduring love.  Again, as a military strategy this would have appeared suicidal.  But
God destroyed the invading army before Jehoshaphat and Israel even arrived at the battlefield.  Then, “The terror of
God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel” (II
Chronicles 20:29).

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego obeyed God rather than the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar.  Before being thrown into
a blazing furnace for their alleged insolence, they proclaimed, “If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from
the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king” (Daniel 3:17).  Although nearby
soldiers were killed by the fierce blaze, God delivered these three faithful men.

King Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!  He sent His angel and rescued
His servants who trusted in Him.  Therefore I issue a decree that anyone of any people, nation, or language who says
anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn limb from limb and his house
made a garbage dump.  For there is no other god who is able to deliver like this” (Daniel 3:28-29).  The king then
announced to the whole nation, “I am pleased to tell you about the miracles and wonders the Most High God has done
for me.  How great are His miracles, and how mighty His wonders!” (Daniel 4:2-3).

THE EARLY CHURCH

Christians in the early church followed the directions of the Holy Spirit, and here is the testimony of the impact God had
on their world:

  • The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in foreign languages they had not learned.  Peter preached
    and “those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.”  
    (Acts 2:41)

  • Peter and John healed a crippled beggar in the name of Jesus.  They preached, and “many of those who heard
    the message believed, and the number of men came to about 5,000.” (Acts 4:4)

  • God used Peter to raise Dorcas from the dead.  “This became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in
    the Lord.” (Acts 9:42)

What our world often sees are devoted, committed Christians serving God to the best of their ability.  But they are not
seeing God.  They comment, “Well, there’s a dedicated, faithful group of people.”  But they don’t witness anything
happening that can only be explained in terms of God’s activity.  Why?  Because we aren’t attempting anything that only
God can do!

THE WORLD COMES TO KNOW GOD

Our world is not attracted to Christ because we don’t allow them to see Him at work.  They don’t hesitate to attack the
Christian position on morality because they have no fear of the God we serve.  They see us doing good things for God
and say, “that’s fine, but that’s not my thing.”  The world passes us by, not wanting to become involved because they are
merely seeing
people at work, not God.

Let the world see God at work, and He will attract them.  Let Christ be lifted up – not in words, but in life.  Let them see
the difference the living Christ makes in a life, a family, or a church, and this will affect how they respond.  When the
world sees things happening through God’s people that cannot be explained except that God Himself has done them,
then people will be drawn to God.  Let world leaders see the miraculous signs of an all-powerful God, and they, like
Nebuchadnezzar, will declare that He is the one true God.

The world comes to know God when they see God’s nature expressed through His activity.  When God starts to work, He
accomplishes something only He can do, and both God’s people and the world come to experience Him in ways they
have never known Him before.  
That is why God gives God-sized assignments to His people.

A DANGEROUS CHURCH FIELD

I know of a church that was established in a country where the official religion is Islam.  At times, there were violent riots
against Christians, and the government regularly passed laws that discriminated against Christians, making it difficult for
churches to own property.

A small group of believers were meeting as a church and praying for God to use this little congregation to impact their
large city.  They eventually studied
Experiencing God and were reminded that God is working all around them.  They
decided to see where God was at work and join Him.

This congregation began to witness God doing amazing things in their midst.  A Christian professional in their city felt
God lead him to resign his lucrative career and become the pastor of this flock.  People noticed the dynamic faith and
love of these people, and their numbers grew.  When they needed a larger facility, a business man sold them space in a
major office building, even though this was frowned upon by local government and religious officials.  When my son
Richard visited this church, it was teeming with enthusiastic worshipers and ministering to other communities in the name
of Christ.

As long as this congregation remained intimidated by the forces opposing them and as long as they focused on their
small size and lack of resources, not much happened and not many people were drawn to them.  But when they allowed
God to work through them to do what could only be explained by His presence, suddenly the church overflowed with
excited, exuberant Christians impacting their nation for Christ.

The reason much of the world is not attracted to Christ and His church is that God’s people lack the faith to attempt
things only God can do.  If you or your church are not responding to God and pursuing things only He can accomplish,
then you are not exercising faith.  “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).  If people in your
community are not responding to the gospel as they did in New Testament times, one possible reason is that they do not
see God in what you are doing as a church.

JOINING GOD REQUIRES FAITH AND ACTION

Our growing Saskatoon church needed more space.  We sensed God leading us to start a building program, even
though we had only $749 in our building fund.  The building was going to cost $220,000, and we didn’t have the foggiest
notion how to pay for it.  Our congregation consisted primarily of college students, along with several families of modest
income.  God also had brought a number of people to our congregation with physical, mental, and emotional needs.  We
certainly did not have the resources within our membership to fund a building project.

Although we did much of the work ourselves to save on labor costs, halfway through that project we were still $100,000
short.  Those dear, faithful people looked to their pastor to see if I believed God would do what He had called us to do.  
God put a confidence in my heart that the God who was leading us would show us how to do it.

God began providing the necessary funds.  Near the end of the project, we were about $60,000 short.  We had been
expecting some money from a Texas foundation, but delay after delay came along that we could not understand.  Then
one day, for two hours, the currency exchange rate for the Canadian dollar hit one of the lowest points in its history – at
exactly the time the Texas foundation wired the money to Canada.  You know what that did?  It gave us $60,000
more
than we would have received otherwise.

God’s timing, as always, had been perfect.  When that happened, I magnified what the Lord had done in the eyes of the
people and made sure we gave the credit to Him.  God revealed Himself to us, and we came to know Him in a new way
through that experience.

GOD LEADS INTO POLITICS

Several years ago, I was speaking at a conference in Arkansas while Mike Huckabee was governor.  He extended an
invitation for me to come to the governor’s mansion for dinner one evening and, during the meal, Governor Huckabee
explained why he had invited me.  He said that while he was the pastor of the church, the Lord had begun to impress on
him that He wanted to use Mike in new ways.  Huckabee had trained to be a church minister, and that is what he had
been doing.  But as he and his wife began to study
Experiencing God, it became clear that God was leading him to
resign from the great church he was leading and to run for governor of his state.

Huckabee served well and returned integrity to the governor’s office.  After completing the maximum terms of service,
Huckabee felt led by God to run for president of the United States.  As a result, he has had many opportunities to
represent his faith on national television and has become a prominent national figure.  Mike Huckabee could never have
imagined what his life would become.  But God knew and has been guiding him to accomplish things far beyond what
would have seemed possible to this Arkansas pastor.

DAVID’S FAITH DEMONSTRATED

First Samuel 16:12-13 tells us God chose David – and had Samuel anoint him – to become the next king over Israel.  
Then God brought David into the middle of His activity.  David did not gain the throne immediately, however.  Saul was
still king and the Israelites were at war with the Philistines.  Though still a young man, David was sent by his father to visit
his older brothers in the army.  He arrived while Goliath, a huge soldier nine feet tall, was taunting the Israelites and
challenging them to send a man to fight him.  The losing nation would become the slaves of the winner.  Israel’s army
was terrified, yet David asked in amazement, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the
living God?” (I Samuel 17:26).  David faced a crisis of belief.  He had to recognize that God had brought him to the
battlefield and had prepared him for this assignment.

David offered to fight the giant.  He stated his belief, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the
paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (I Samuel  17:37).  David refused to take the normal
weapons of war.  Instead he took a sling and five smooth stones.  He said to Goliath, “You come against me with a
dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel’s armies – you
have defied Him.  Today, the LORD will hand you over to me…then all the world will know that Israel has a God, and this
whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the LORD saves, for the battle is the LORD’s.  He will
hand you over to us” (I Samuel 17:45-47).  David killed Goliath, and Israel won a victory.

David’s bold statements indicate his belief that God was his deliverer.  He acknowledged God is almighty and that He
would defend Israel’s armies.  But it was David’s actions that confirmed his belief.  Many thought David was a foolish
young boy, and even Goliath scoffed at him.  But God gave a mighty victory through David so the world would know
Israel’s God was powerful and able to deliver His people from whatever they faced.

SARAI’S LACK OF FAITH

God promised to make Abram’s offspring as numerous as the stars.  Abram questioned God about this promise since he
remained childless into his old age, but God reaffirmed, “One who will come from your own body will be your
heir…Abraham believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:4, 6)

Abram wife, Sari, was in her mid-seventies when God promised her a son.  She knew she was past childbearing years,
so she decided she would have to build a family in a different way.  She gave her maid to Abram as a wife and asked for
a child through her.  Abraham consented, and Ishmael was born to Hagar a year later.  Sarai’s actions indicated what
she believed about God.  In this experience, Abraham joined Sarai in trying to achieve God’s purpose in human ways.

Do you see how Sarai’s actions reveal what she really believed about God?  She lacked the faith to believe God could
do the impossible.  Her faith in God was limited by her human reasoning, and this act of unbelief was extremely costly.  
Ishmael caused Abram and Sarai much grief in their old age.  What’s more, Ishmael and his Arab descendants have
lived in hostility toward Isaac and his descendants from that time until today.

ACTIONS SPEAK

When God invites you to join Him and you face a crisis of belief, what you do next reveals what you believe about God.  
When two blind men demonstrated that they believed Jesus was merciful and that He was the Messiah, Jesus healed
them according to their faith (see Matthew 9:27-31).  A woman who had been hemorrhaging for years believed that just
a touch of Jesus’ garment would allow His healing power to flow to her.  She risked public ridicule in order to experience
Jesus’ healing power.  She acted in faith, and Jesus healed her (see Matthew 9:20-22)

The disciples were caught in a storm at sea.  Jesus rebuked them, not for their human tendency to fear but for their
failure to recognize His presence, protection, and power (Matthew 8:23-27).  Their actions revealed their unbelief rather
than their faith.  When the storms of life overtake us, we often respond as if God does not exist or does not care.

When a centurion sought Jesus’ help to heal his servant, he said, “Only say the word, and my servant will be cured”
(Matthew 8:8).  Jesus commended the centurion’s faith in His authority and power, and He healed the servant because
of the faith of his master (see Matthew 8:5-13).

In each of these biblical examples, what people did indicated to Jesus their faith – or lack of it.  What you do – not what
you
say you believe – reveals what you really believe about God.  “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also
faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

TRUE FAITH REQUIRES ACTION

Hebrews 11 is sometimes referred to as “the roll call of faith.”  The individuals listed there took action that demonstrated
faith.  While studying Hebrews 11, however, you may notice that a faithful life does not always bring rewards in human
terms.  While verses 33-35a describe the victory and deliverance some people of faith experienced, verses 35b-38
describe the torture, mockery, and death other faithful people endured.  Were some of them more faithful than the
others?  No.  They all “obtained a good testimony through faith” (Hebrews 11:39).  Verse 40 explains that God has
planned something far better for people of faith than the world has to offer, and the next chapter encourages us to follow
in their footsteps:

    Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and
    the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance that race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on
    Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the
    shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.  For consider Him who endured such hostility from
    sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.  (Hebrews 12:1-3)

A LEPER PAYS THE PRICE

I heard the remarkable story of an Indonesian pastor on the east coast of Java.  He knew English and had studied
Experiencing God.  His life was changed dramatically by the truths he encountered, and he wanted all of his people who
didn’t know English to be able to read the material for themselves.  So he began the arduous task of translating the
course into his native language.  Missionaries saw him sitting at his manual typewriter every day for three or four hours,
translating – even though this man had leprosy.  His hands were severely marred by the disease, and sitting still for very
long caused him great discomfort.  Nevertheless, he kept at this ancient typewriter every day until his people finally had
the material for themselves.

When I heard this, I wept and asked the missionary who told me the story if she could get a picture of the man at his
typewriter, showing his hands.  She said he was very humble and might not let her.  Several years later at a large
meeting in Salt Lake City, I saw the missionary running toward me holding a picture.  
I’ve got the picture for you!”  I have it hanging in my prayer room at home, where I pray for this dear pastor and his
people and am reminded how costly it is for some of God’s precious people to join His activity.

The outward appearance of success does not always represent faith, and the outward appearance of failure does not
always indicate that faith is lacking.  A faithful servant is one who does what the Master says, no matter what the
outcome.  As our model, we need only to consider Jesus who endured the cross but who is now seated at the Father’s
side.  What a reward for His faithfulness!  Do not grow weary – a great reward awaits faithful servants.

I pray you are trying to please God by earnestly seeking Him (see Jeremiah 29:11-13).  In the next chapters, we’ll look
more carefully at the adjustments required to follow God’s will.  Obeying the Lord will require adjustments that are costly
to you and to those around you.





Source:

EXPERIENCING GOD, by Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King, Copyright 2008, B&H Publishing Group.