Karen and I were at the commissary (a type of supermarket where only people associated with the military can go) a few weeks ago and we over heard a lady say, “we have to hold on believing” and the Holy Spirit quickened in my spirit, “hold on to what?” I answered my thoughts, “hold to what God said.” Now the word faith and believing are interchangeable,  anytime we read the word faith we will be correct saying believing, so too is the spiritual principle of directing our faith or belief into something particular.  Many denominations teach stand on the promises of God’s word. I cannot begin to tell you, when growing up, how many times I heard, “brother stand on God’s word and believe the promise.”  In the 70s you could buy a promise box, small cards with all of the promises in the Bible in a box and each day you were to pull a card out and claim the promise on the card, well my friend that is not how God operates.  The word “claim” is not in the KJV of the Bible, any promise we received from God will be given to us because we have met the condition.  For the promise box to be complete the back side of the card needed to have the condition written on it so that we would know what we would have to do to be able to receive the promise from God.  Every promise of God has a condition we must meet.  Even salvation is not condition free.  Did you know salvation will not be for everyone?  John tells us what we must do to be saved, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16)  Salvation is for only those who believe in Jesus, not for those who believe. Salvation is extended to “whosoever may come,” but those who receive salvation will be only for those who believe in Jesus, all others will be lost. How arrogant and selfish we are to think we can claim something that belongs to God or just believe something will be ours and God will give it to us.  No wonder many Christians give up and fall out of God. Their entire foundation of their salvation and thinking has been laid wrong and when they make an approach to God with their faulty foundation they will never reach His heart. Now please listen to me real good, I do not care how long you have been believing for something or what you are standing on, if God did not speak it to you (personally) then it will not happen.  Healing someone is so easy if God says so, if not you and the people expecting to be healed will be confused and frustrated when you pray and pray and nothing happens.  Now do not believe the old stand-by lie that you do not have enough faith to be healed. This is a lie from the heart of those who would want to manipulate and deceive people for gain. I have seen and heard this all around the world. We have no faith my friend until we are at a place of need and weakness in our lives where we can hear God speak it into our lives.  In the Book of Romans we see Paul correcting this wrong thinking at the Church of Rome. “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (Romans 10:16-21) Please notice how Paul handles their presumption and wrong thinking.  First, Paul lays a couple questions at their feet to point their spirit toward soul searching and introspection. But I say, Have they not heard?” And then answers his own question. “Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”  Next Paul asks another question, But I say, Did not Israel know?” And then answers this question with, “First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.”  Sadly the word of God went forth “unto the ends of the world” and inspite of hearing the word of God preached time and time again they never came to the knowledge of the truth so God declared, “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” Sadly today in the church there is not much difference.  Why did God say they were “disobedient and gainsaying people?” Because they did not hear the word of God?  Oh no my friend, because their hearing was not founded in what God has said.  In verse 10:17, we find the key to understanding these verses. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Please let me say that again, “faith cometh by hearing.” Now we already know it is not about just hearing God’s word (we have learned that in verses 18 and 19) as some denominations and churches teach and preach, but is about hearing what God said.  In the early 90s many of my friend and our pastor would ride around in their car playing the Bible on tape expecting to get faith, believing just hearing the Bible being read will give them faith, well if that be true then every Sunday in America when the masses head for their favorite restaurant they would leave church filled with faith.  Oh no my friends God does not operate like that, Romans 10:17 in the Greek Bible says this, “So then faith cometh by hearing a word from God.” (Romans 10:17 (Greek) Do you see the difference?  It is not just believing or having faith, but being able to hear what God is saying in any given situation and if we can hear what God is saying then we will be able to sink the faith God gave us into whatever God said. How easy is that? Do you see the difference?  If you cannot see the difference then you will never be able to hear and receive faith the way God has purposed us to receive it and worse we will continue to deceive ourselves in just believing.  My friend it is much more than just believing we must hear, believe, and receive what God has said, for in the hearing and the receiving is every skill, ability, anointing, and knowing, every bit of power we will ever need to do that which God has asked us to do.

On my first ministry trip to Ansbach, Germany I learned the importance of really hearing what is being said.  In my case not hearing could have cost me my life. Our church, Christliche Gemeinde Stuttgart, started out from a military chapel service on Robinson Barracks.  Before I arrived there was a black American fellow who considered himself the Pastor of the chapel service in Stuttgart and of 6 other military chapel services in Germany as well as a church in England, Norway, Romania, Germany, and a few in Africa. He had real sweet deal receiving tithes from all of these churches and chapel services, but as time when on God made me responsible and accountable, according to the 6th ASG, US Army Chaplains Office, for the building and the people. God gave me the key to the front door and with it came the spiritual authority.  Anyway, I was asked to travel up to Ansbach, Germany about seven hours by train and share at another chapel service.  Now I have never rode the trains in Germany, so my good friend and later Associate Pastor Joseph Ojatabu (a Nigerian) said he would go and show me how to ride the trains. So we met at the Haufbahnhauf (main train station) in Stuttgart.  We got on the train and departed.  On our trip we had to make a connection in Frankfurt.  When we arrived to Frankfurt we got down from the train and leisurely walked over to the next Gleis (train track).  As we were riding up from Stuttgart I was telling Joseph there were many commercials on American TV where Americans where running for a train  jumping over barrels, dodging fruit stands, all of the typical stuff you would imagine, well Joseph said we do not have to worry this will not happen to us.  Well as we waited for the train to arrive Joseph noticed we were at the wrong Gleis so we quickly walked to the main board and discovered our train was at the other end of the Haufbahnhauf in Frankfurt which was four times the size of Stuttgart’s.  So like a cheetah Joseph was off and running dodging in and out of people and I like a turtle was not so close behind him. I would see him occasionally as he zigzagged through the crowd for my bearings.  We had seconds to make the train.  Joseph made the train with time to spare, but I was not so fortunate. As I was running through the crowd I thought this is just like it was on the TV, running for a train in Germany. As I reached the train it began to back out, Joseph and others were standing in the doorway yelling run faster, so I grabbed the hand rail by the door and began to run faster.  The faster the train backed out the faster I ran until I noticed the end of the platform coming quickly. So I had to make a decision, either jump (which could cost me my life) or let go and miss the train. As I was running I was thinking hey this is like on the TV commercials running for a train in Germany.  So I ran as fast as one could in a pair of penny loafers, swung my book bag up and in the open doorway, and jumped with all I had within me.  Now this was blind faith (it could have cost me my life), suddenly out of the doorway came hands grabbing me (from my shoulder to my feet) lifting me up and on the train and as I was floating onto the train I thought hey, this is like on the commercials on TV back in the States.  Now here is my point to this story if I would not have heard the people telling me to jump I would have missed the train.  Yes, I know running beside a high speed train may not be the wisest thing to do, but I did not want to miss the train and what God had planned for us. Hearing was receiving.  So too in our lives without hearing what God has spoken to us we will not be able to receive from God.  No hearing no receiving from God.

As we can see our walk with the Lord is much more than just believing.  I do not know about you, but the longer I go with God the more I realize trying to serve God in Spirit and truth is the toughest thing we will ever do in our lives.  It is almost impossible except for the faith God speaks to us. Even our salvation begins with God speaking a measure of faith to us, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  (Romans 12:3)  How do we receive this measure of faith?  We hear God speak it to us. What do we use this faith for?  To believe on Him and be saved and out from this initial faith there is faith to faith, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17) We receive this measure of faith when we open our heart to God out from a broken and contrite spirit.  Until then we have no strength to draw near to God.  You see it is more than just believing.