28 January 2024
Walking by Faith
The way in which the Lord is moving us right now is exhilarating. And a bit scary at times (to be honest). And confusing, insofar as the way forward is often fogbound. If our transition to Florida seems slow to onlookers (and to us!), it’s because we’re walking.
Have you ever noticed how Isaiah 40:31 is backwards from how a human being would have written it?
But they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
If this verse had been a well-meant devotional thought, instead of a divine revelation, the author would probably have listed the order as walk → run → fly (mount up), with the motion gaining speed, momentum, altitude, and excitement.
Not so the word of the Lord! If you read this famous verse carefully, you’ll see that God’s seemingly inverse order is first fly (mount up) → then run → and finally walk. What a letdown! What a slowdown!
Or is it?
No, God’s order shows God’s wisdom. When we first encounter Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit we’re so thrilled that we feel like we’re flying. Our lives and perspectives have changed so much! Then God reveals the course for our lives and ministries, revealing something of His goal for us, and we begin running towards it. As we move forward, age, and mature, and realize just how long God’s course for us is, we understand the wisdom of God and why He finishes this prophetic verse with walking.
Jesus never ran, that we know of. God’s command to Abram was “Walk before Me, and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1). David’s prayer was, “Make me walk in the way of Your commandments” (Psalm 119:35). The Apostle John urges us to “walk in the light as He Himself is in the Light” (1 John 1:6). Walk makes a fascinating subject for a Bible-wide word study.
Anyway, we are walking as we “wait upon the Lord.” Walking takes time, but the One whom the hymn declares to be “the Lord of Years, the Potentate of Time” always has enough time to accomplish what He directs us to do.
Meanwhile, we are also learning yet another level of living by faith. I hesitate to use that phrase, since it means such different things to different Christians. Some who claim to be “living by faith” always seem to have their hands out, asking for donations. To others, “living by faith” is a George Müller affair, where needs are never mentioned to anyone except God.
“It’s a highway to heaven….”3
I reckon we’re now somewhere in-between. We’re transitioning. We have been a teaching ministry based on a home-church ministry in which I have also had the primary pastoral role; and there has been some basis of financial stability for us in that local fellowship. But now we’re being led to surrender Finest of the Wheat Teaching Fellowship’s meeting-as-a-church element so that our non-profit ministry can better serve more churches. But that’s just where the living-by-faith challenge increases — we also surrender the steady, partial support of a loving, tight-knit congregation. Nevertheless, it’s our opportunity to grow more in faith; so we will wait on the Lord for His means of supply; we’ll walk and not faint.
A Special Publication
And talking about “walking by faith,” we’ve published an “old to us” but probably “new to you” article which should really encourage everybody’s walk in faith in the Lord!
I was reminded by the Holy Spirit of a powerful Percy Gutteridge message, and felt that it had to be finished and published immediately. That’s been our editing focus for much of the last five weeks. (Transforming an oral message into a solid written article is a labor of love!) Now it’s available on our website to refresh and encourage God’s people.
In the realms of spiritual life and warfare, God operates by a great principle — “Action, Reaction, Counteraction!” (the title of the message). Once you see this principle in the Scripture and in your spiritual life’s history, you can’t un-see it, and it provides great comfort, faith, and staying power in times of adversity.
After Pastor Gutteridge establishes the principle in various scripture passages, he exemplifies and highlights it in the story of Peter’s imprisonment and deliverance in Acts 12. Knowing this principle has been a very great blessing to Denise and me for the last 45 years, giving us direction, comfort, and encouragement in times of spiritual challenge (like right now!). Since all of us (yes, you, too!) have to “live by faith,” it’s good to know, see, and rely on God’s glorious principle of Action, Reaction, Counteraction!
Of course, we’ve been working on other articles and book chapters, too; but Action, Reaction, Counteraction! is important enough that we’ll let it be the sole focus of our publications report for the month.
For those of you who give — regularly or occasionally — we are deeply thankful, especially to those who responded to our year-end appeal. What you supplied will allow us to pay for the needed professional help (legal assistance with Florida incorporation and setting up new bookkeeping), easing the transition of the existing IRS 501c3 non-profit into its new Florida home.
unspeakably grateful to our treasurer — Phyllis Lowry, a woman of God and a mother in Israel. But we’re a bit sad, too, because after 17 years of serving our ministry, she is retiring from that key position as we transition to another state. Having been the CEO (and CFO) of a small satellite communications business which she owned with her husband, Rick, Phyllis brought decades of expertise in financial savvy and accounting, as well as business wisdom, and made it available to our small fellowship. She will be hard to replace.
Happily for us, we know that she will continue in her even more important role as one of our chief intercessors. Many thanks to you, dear sister!
Following Up on the Memorial
Last newsletter (Giving Thanks for a Life) we shared about the way Ray Rempt’s life impacted our lives and ministry. The Lord used that story to bring about some blessed interaction with Ray’s wife, Pam.
For those of you who knew and loved Ray (here’s looking at the likes of Steve, Tracy, Noël, Larry, Joan, Jane, Ed, Judi, Mark, John, Gail, Wayne, and Robin, for starters), Pam is planning a memorial service for Ray on Saturday, May 4th (noon to 5pm PDT) this year. For those who can’t attend in person, the service will be streamed live. This is an early heads-up. If you have some interest in attending either way, please get in touch with us, so we can give Pam some early feedback, and you can spread the word to others.
Prayer & Praise!
- Prayer: Jesus promised that “the gates of Hades” would not prevail against us (Matthew 16:18). However, I note the ironic humor that while protection against gates is covered, security against fences is not! For our house sale, we’ve been waiting for months for our neighbor to receive all the “okays” needed to repair our shared southside backyard fence. Then, less than two days before we returned from Florida this month, five days before the southside fence was finally fixed, a freak, violent windstorm blew down the northside fence of our back yard! Let that fence problem represent all the projects and tasks which need completion for us to put our house on the market and get moved to Florida.
- PRAISE! Denise and I are celebrating our 52nd wedding anniversary this week. Never was Proverbs 18:22 more true!
- Prayer: For my upcoming teaching responsibilities, including teaching in Honduras and Guatemala, preparing to teach a New Testament Greek course at North Florida Theological Seminary, and various other speaking engagements in Florida.
- PRAISE! It’s two months late, but we were finally able to secure a follow-up TEE (Trans-Esophageal Echocardiogram) appointment for me, so the doctors can see how well my new “heart plug” is working.
- Prayer: For wisdom to know how to balance and ration our energy and focus between ministry (like continued teaching, and writing progress in The John the Baptist Experience), and the multitude of tasks required to sell our home, pack, move, and move forward into a new life.
And one more item of praise: We thank God for you all!
Much love in Jesus,
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