Many years ago, I knelt by my bedside to pray.  I had just closed my Bible after reading Matthew, Chapter 24.  As I prayed, I envisioned Christ returning in the clouds.  I recalled words He had spoken:  "When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?"  The thought haunted me: Will there be faith on earth when He returns?  “Let there be faith in me!"  I cried. 

        Let faith be found in all who profess to believe God.  Each of us should ask himself, “Have I believed the teachings of men, or the words of God?  Do I know His truth, or only the ideas of men?  How can I know the truth?"  There is a way, not by our intellect alone, but by the Spirit of the living God. 

        After years of writing, the thrust of my message is that we must exercise the same faith that changed us to continue believing the unseen God.  We did not understand how Christ took our sins away--yet we believed what we could not comprehend, and He gave us new life by His Spirit.  Now it's time to receive the meat of the Word, the strait truth--the more difficult part to digest.  It comes by the same faith we had as babes in Christ when we first repented and believed.                    Perhaps it's time to repent again, but this time, we must repent of our unbelief.  We have shunned the scriptures we've refused to embrace because they are unpleasant, which is what "strait" means: "Strait is the gate...." (Mat. 7:13-14)  Instead of taking up the cross that deals death to our flesh, we have welcomed teachings that give us pleasure, just as the scriptures foretold we would in the last days:  "proclaim the Word!  Be ready when it is convenient or inconvenient.  Confront, rebuke, encourage--with complete patience and instruction.  For the time will come when they will not put up with sound instruction, but they will pile up for themselves teachers in keeping with their own desires, to have their ears tickled.  And they will turn away from hearing the truth and wander off to myths."  (2 Tim. 4:2-4 TLV)

         What if the Word of God describes our God differently than the God we 

learned He is ?  Can we know the truth?  If we have the Holy Spirit and read the Holy Bible, we should know it,  but wolves have been with us for centuries. The serpent has deceived most of us who have the right to become the sons of God. 

       Christ set us free to choose the Spirit or the flesh.  Many of us have believed the enemy's lies, which appeal to our carnal nature. We may have spread the deceptions ourselves, being sure our teachers were right.  The worst part is, these things began in the early centuries and have continued with time.  Yet even now, the light of Christ shines in us whose hearts are surrendered  to His Spirit. 

        We can know the truth by daring to believe God only.  The Holy Spirit is our Teacher who alone empowers us to overcome our trials.  When we take in every word of God on any issue, we take in Jesus-Yeshua, Christ, the Messiah.  But if we misinterpret or skew His words, then we deny Him by our unbelief.  God hasn't changed from the beginning when the Word was in His bosom, proceeding from His heart to speak creation into being.  When we correctly divide His words, we understand them without distortions--not by our great intelligence, but by our faith, the Holy Spirit enlightens us.  He is the Teacher.
        Now the end of all things is here, and the false church has not yet received the judgments due her.  The false gospel, the false Jesus, and the false religion were man-made by false teachers, false prophets, and false apostles--even in the days of Paul.  He warned us, a little leaven figuratively leavens the whole lump; i.e. the teachings of men puff up our carnal brains.  Nothing false is approved by our Holy Father, but  He will enable us to stand before Him on that Great Day if we humble ourselves, repenting as often as we need to repent.
        Men will face Jesus Christ for their rejection of the truth and their preference for darkness rather than light.  If we start out on the right foot but end up on the wrong side of God, we will suffer eternal loss for our refusal to believe His words.  The question is, "Have we believed God or men?" 

              Let's be like Paul who unlearned what he'd been taught by tearing down the strongholds, the words of leaders that disagreed with the difficult words of God.  The Word of the Lord refuted the deceiver in the wilderness, and Paul received his true education in the wilderness, apart from men, by the Holy Spirit.  Where have we learned what we think we know?  If what we learn is clearly Scriptural, we should keep it; however, if we can't reconcile what the Bible says with what we've been told it says, we should not be afraid to tear down the strongholds and believe God rather than men.  Let God be true and every man a liar, every opinion an imagination, and every vain thought a feather in the wind.

        The Scriptures are relevant, from Genesis through Revelation, written with both grace and truth, for God is both merciful and stern:  "consider the goodness and severity of God." (Rom. 11:22)  He gave us His Word to find it out by first believing it.  Receiving the truth is the difference between life or death.  (Rom. 6)

        We're on a journey.  As we travel through these pages, receiving the truth in our minds by believing it in our hearts, we might consider how far we've come from where we first started.  Be encouraged.  He sees our hearts, and as we seek His truth, we discover God as He truly is.  More than ever before, we appreciate His great desire: that we race for His righteousness, truth, and love--at all times, love.

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Joan H Richardson

The Journey