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And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. (Genesis 21:1~4)
If You Know the Law of Faith . . .
Spiritual life is something that is truly easy, fun, and blessed. It is quite easy if you know the law of spiritual life, but there is nothing as unclear, difficult, and tiring as spiritual life when you do not know the law of spiritual life. In other words, spiritual life is believing in God because it cannot be accomplished through the power of man. When doing something through faith in God, one should not calculate whether it is possible, but should think, “Can God do this, or not?” We believe in God when we cannot do something with our humanistic efforts. However, within this belief, believing when things seem possible in your calculations while not believing when things seem impossible, is not believing in God. Abraham had two sons. One was Ishmael, born of a handmaid, and the other was Isaac, born of faith in God. Abraham had no faith in God when he had Ishmael; he was old and so was his wife, and he judged that he could not have a child. However, that was his judgment. No matter how old he is, if God wants him to have a child, can he not have one? Abraham and Sarah thought in their humanistic judgment, “We cannot have a child. It saddens us to do this, but we shall have a child through the handmaid,” because they had no faith in God. The distrust that God would not give them a son worked inside their heart. Why does distrust form in your heart? It is because faith does not take place in your heart. “Is it I or God who will have me father a son?” It was not Abraham who was allowing a son to be born. “That’s right! It is God who would allow a son to be born. There is nothing God cannot do. Why would He not allow me to father a son?” This faith is all he needed, but his heart shook because he did not have this faith although God promised him a son. It seemed that he could not have a son when he thought of the circumstances. Therefore, he took a young and healthy handmaid, someone who seemed that she could deliver a child well, to give birth to a son. This son was the son borne of distrust, Ishmael. Much time had passed after the birth of Ishmael. In fact, it was 14 years afterwards that Abraham had Isaac. Abraham and Sarah were older, and it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. It seemed absolutely impossible that they would have a child. That is why Abraham and Sarah laughed when God said that they would have a son. “Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” But they did have a son. How was that so? “Surely this is impossible, but since there is nothing God cannot do, it can be done if He does it.” They were able to have a son because this faith arose in their heart. As I, too, live a life of faith, I often face circumstances like that of Abraham having a son. “This is absolute nonsense! Impossible! There is no way this can be done!” This is the judgment I often arrive at. However, after a little while, when God gives me thoughts, I say, “This is impossible, but if God does it, it can be done!” and I add a little more to what I thought before. Spiritual life truly became easy after I learned this.
My Heart and the Heart God Leads
When I entered the military and was training at the training center, I one day lost my gloves. In the army, this was a huge problem. There was no way for me to replace them. Right then, Satan continually spoke to my heart: “This is the army. Where can you get gloves? There is no way for you to get any. However, there is one way. When everyone is sleeping, steal the pair of the person next to you. Yours were stolen, so don’t think of this as stealing. This is how army life is.” These thoughts strongly entered my heart. I often felt in my spiritual life that the flow of my thoughts differed from the direction in which God leads my heart. I was then able to think, “This is how my thoughts are, but I wonder what God’s thoughts are,” and received much grace although I was, from time to time, led by my thoughts. Even though I thought of stealing the gloves, I experienced a complete change of heart: “I am now starting my military life. Suppose I do steal a colleague’s gloves and get caught. Then no matter how my army life goes over the next three years, my life of witnessing here is absolutely over!” When I arrived at this conclusion, I decided that I would rather suffer for having lost the gloves, and the heart to steal completely disappeared from me. We have our own heart, and there’s the heart led by God. Not being able to have a son was originally the heart of Abraham and Sarah. Therefore, they took her handmaid to have Ishmael. But after 14 years passed, it seemed even more impossible that they would have a son. However, God put a thought inside Abraham: “Is anything too hard for the Lord? Why did Sarah laugh? Your wife, Sarah, will surely have a son, and thou shalt call his name Isaac.” Right then the Word of God entered the heart of Abraham and Sarah, and the faith, “That’s right! It is humanly impossible but if God gives us a child, why will we not have one?” arose in them. That faith gave Sarah the strength to conceive, and ultimately, they had Isaac according to the Word of God. This Isaac became the father of many nations like the stars in the sky and the sands of the seashore.
This Is My Thought, but What Would God Say?
You always flow towards your thoughts as you live your spiritual life. It is only natural that you flow that way, but I am urging you to ask the question, “This is my thought, but what would God say?” after you arrive at your conclusions. Then, when you lay down your thoughts and the Word of God on the table and say, “Which one of these two is correct? Of course God is correct,” and select the Word of God rather than your thoughts, the works of God begin. Humanistic thoughts arise in you to lead your heart to a side opposite of the Word of God, and this is true with everyone. The important thing at this point is to hold your thoughts for a moment and then think, “This is what I think, but what does the Word of God say?” This is something I often talk about. The wedding at Cana of Galilee was short of wine. Right then, Jesus told the servants there to fill some water pots with water. When they did so, He said, “Draw out now and serve unto the governor of the feast.” The servants’ thoughts were, “This is water, not wine. We should not serve this.” However, the words of Jesus were to draw out and to serve. The servants looked to see which was right between their thoughts and the words of Jesus. They believed that the words of Jesus were right and followed them. This faith accomplished the miracle. Miraculous works are always formed in such conditions. There was a man who had an infirmity for 38 years. Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” This ill man thought, “I cannot walk. How can I take up my bed and walk when I can’t even move? But Jesus is telling me to walk. Then am I right, or is Jesus right? Of course Jesus is. Then let me follow Jesus’ words.” Then, when he moved, the works of him taking up his bed and walking arose within him. When Peter first met Jesus at the Sea of Galilee, Peter had cast his net all night long but had not caught a single fish. In the morning Jesus said to him, “Cast the net into the deep.” Peter thought about this: “Cast the net into the deep? What fish are in the deep? There are no fish there. That is what my thoughts say, but Jesus is saying that there are fish. Then let me throw my thoughts away and follow the words of Jesus.” Then Peter cast the net into the deep end and ended up catching so many fish that his net almost burst. When I meet demon possessed people from time to time I shout before the demon. “Demon! I am not going to fight against you! Why would I fight with you? I’m going to tell Jesus to fight for me. Can you beat Jesus?” I do not fight against the demon, but I pit Jesus to fight against him. Then Jesus defeats him. I cannot break my thoughts. Can you break your thoughts? I have lived by my thoughts and have always believed that my thoughts were correct. But one day, I came to believe in Jesus. When I leave my thoughts as they are, those thoughts reign, but after receiving Jesus, I pit Him against my thoughts. “My thoughts are like this, but what does the Lord say?” When I put the words of the Lord against my thoughts, the heart, “No matter how correct my thoughts seem, the words of the Lord are correct. I am wrong. The Word is right,” arose in me so that my thoughts become powerless. The words of the Lord then led me. Each time this happened, I could experience the works of the power of God arising.
When Colliding Against the Word of God
Abraham had his own thoughts: “How can I have a son? I am this old, and it has ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women . . . .” In the heart of God Abraham had a son, but in Abraham’s thoughts and in Abraham’s heart there was no son. Then whose thoughts are correct? There is no one among you who thinks that your thoughts are more correct than God’s. People think that God’s words are all correct. But the problem is you separate your thoughts from the Word of God and that is why you flow to your thoughts. You must pit the Word of God against your thoughts. Then the Word of God wins. There is no need for you to fight to defeat your thoughts. People’s hearts are bound to be led by circumstances. As I, too, grew older my memory weakened. I am sure I know a certain thing, but it does not come to mind at times. I cannot remember the names of people who I am close to. My vision has become weaker as well. A little while ago, I went to South America. After the service in Peru, the brothers and sisters wanted to take a picture together and we did. However, after a couple of flashes, I could not see. I regretfully asked them to take more pictures later. Nowadays, unless it’s absolutely necessary, I try not to take pictures that require flash. I can’t do anything about becoming older, memory loss, weakening vision, my body becoming weaker . . . . Before, I felt nothing although I drove all day long. But now I cannot do that. Abraham was 99 years old, so how do you think he felt? “Me, have a son?” It must have seemed a like joke to him. Sarah, too, was an old woman. I often say that I would be afraid that such an old woman would have a child. Even if she did become pregnant, how could she give birth? That is why people naturally think that such a woman cannot have a child. “God said that He would give us a son but we are so old. How could we have child?” These thoughts are very natural to us. But when colliding against the Word of God, these thoughts are not higher than the Word of God and thus, must be denied before the Word. In your eyes, it seemed that you could not have a son, but when God says that you will, and when your thoughts differ from the Word of God, you must select the Word of God. The problem is that you do not remember the Word of God and erase it from your hearts. When you lay your thoughts against the Word of God you can see that the Word of God is correct.
This is also true with you receiving the forgiveness of sins. Jesus was crucified for your sins and He bore your sins. But you sin every day. “I am a sinner. I sinned yesterday, and I am a sinner who sins even today. Jesus was crucified, but I am a sinner who cannot live without sinning.” “I have committed filthy, dirty, deceitful sins. I have many sins that are shameful to speak of. I have lived hiding those sins. That’s the kind of person I am and how can I say that I have no sins? I am a sinner.” Those are your own thoughts. If this is true, what does the Word of God say? Whatever the Word of God says is correct. There is no way how you judge could ever be correct. One day, I was reading 1 Corinthians chapter 6 and was completely shocked. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:10) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of out God. (1 Corinthians 6:11) The Bible says, “. . . and such were some of you.” You committed the sins of stealing, being covetous, being drunk, and being extortionists. However, afterwards it says, “. . . but ye are washed, ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” You had clearly sinned, but the Bible says that you have been cleansed, you have been sanctified, and you have been justified. Here, let us not believe only in our thoughts, but pit them against the Word of God. I am a dirty sinner in my thoughts, but the Word of God says, “You did commit those sins. But you are washed, sanctified, and justified inside the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit of God.” Now, will you believe in your thoughts or the Word of God? After receiving salvation, it seemed that all the other brothers and sisters changed when I heard their testimonies, but it seemed that I had not changed at all. It seemed there was no answer to my prayers, there was no one receiving salvation even though I witnessed, and there were no works of God. Those were my thoughts. What does the Bible say about this? Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) All things have become new and you have become a new person. How God sees and how I see differs. Is my view correct, or is God’s? “In my eyes nothing has changed, but God says that I am changed. Then I am changed.” That is what I believed. You often hold only to your thoughts. You do not pit them against the Word of God, and thus, your own thoughts take hold of you. However, when those thoughts collide against the Word of God, the Word of God crumbles your thoughts and they are all destroyed.
Search the Word of God
Abraham thought that he could not have a son until he faced the Word of God. God said, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? Your wife, Sarah, will surely bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac.” When these words came upon Abraham and he no longer stubbornly exerted his thoughts: “God said that He would give me a son. I do not think I can have a son. Then whose thoughts are correct? Of course God’s words are right. Then let me believe in God.” Abraham threw his thoughts away and believed the Word of God. From time to time, you have your thoughts, but let not your thoughts be the end. “This is what I think, but what does the Bible say?” When you pit your thoughts against the Word of God, the Word of God will prevail and your thoughts are broken. When your thoughts break and the Word of God is alive in you, the works of God begin from then on. This is called the, “Works of faith.” Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed . . . . (Hebrews 11:11) Sarah gained the strength to conceive when she believed. Faith does not come from nothing. Faith arises when the Word enters you. Loving folks, do you want to have the faith of forgiveness of sins? Do you want assurance? Do you want to become born again? Do not search within your thoughts but search inside the Word of God. In your thoughts, you are a sinner who has sinned, but see what the Word of God has recorded. Then no matter how you think, believe that your sins are washed away if the Word of God says they are because the Word of God is higher than your thoughts. All people such as these are people of faith. When the Word of God reigns in you, the works of the power of God arise in your lives. I hope that through faith in the Word, all of you will gain the assurance of the forgiveness of sins.