I’ve been thinking this week about my personal journey of faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
Without faith we cannot please God. Without faith there is no agreement with heaven. Without faith we can’t be saved. Without faith we can’t receive answers to prayer and the blessings of God in our lives. Without faith there is no activation of God’s power (Mk. 5:30, 34).We are called to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). We cannot walk in the Spirit without walking in faith.
The sum whole of our lives is faith. It’s so easy to forget that and live our lives purely on a natural level. It reminded me of the simple faith I began to walk in early in my Christian life.
Shortly after I was born again I had a strong desire to learn the Bible. Knowing of my desire, the precious brother who led me to the Lord wrote me a letter informing me of a place he called a “Heaven-Studded School” – one he thought would be a great place for me to receive training. When he wrote the words of the school in big capital letters – RHEMA BIBLE TRAINING CENTER my heart leapt within me. I knew that is where I was to go.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma? Besides a trip to Canada the only other part of North America I had been to and lived was New England. I had no clue about Broken Arrow. To my ears it sounded like a wild western town with dirt roads, cow pastures, and tepees where the Indians lived, but it sounded so cool and exciting to me.
THE BEGINNING OF A LIFE OF GREAT ADVENTURE
I was still single and ready for an adventure in the Lord so I started making plans to move. I didn’t know one soul in Oklahoma, much less Broken Arrow. I didn’t have a reliable car that could drive me that far. So I did the next best thing and purchased a bus ticket from Providence R.I. to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I packed up all my belongings, which consisted of mainly clothes and some miscellaneous items in 5 suitcases, and off I went.
I remember it like it was yesterday. My parents and brother who were all devoutly Catholic at the time, and wondered whether I was following a cult, went to see me off at the bus station. I remember how sullen and downcast my parents’ countenances were. They were very concerned about me and just didn’t understand. I smiled and waved good-bye to them from the bus window, but as soon as I was out of sight I began to weep almost uncontrollably for their spiritual condition and lack of understanding.
After about 40 hours of bus travel the bus pulled into Tulsa. It was a very hot early August morning and I had no idea where or what I was going to do upon arrival. I had no wheels, knew not a soul, and had no contacts or a place to go. Not even a referral. But I did have some cash I saved up from working two jobs, so I thought it would be in my best interests to try and find an adequate car to buy.
I walked to two or three dealerships in Tulsa and shopped around until I found a car I could afford. It was a big bright red 1970 Catalina with a dented side door and a cracked windshield. But it ran pretty good (smile).
From that dealership I drove off to find Broken Arrow and Rhema Bible Training Center. It was still the afternoon on a weekday, so I thought there might be activity on the campus. When I finally saw the campus that I had only seen in their ministry magazine I was so thrilled and excited. I knew there would be someone who could direct me and perhaps help me find a place to stay.
Healing school was just getting out and I met a young man in the parking lot who led me to his apartment complex. There was an opening for a roommate there. Very shortly thereafter my new roommate got me a job working in the same fast food restaurant he worked at, and the rest is history. The Lord ordered my steps and my faith found a new home.
ARE YOU REALLY LIVING IN VIBRANT FAITH?
When I reflected on those early days of my Christian life I realized the simple but vibrant faith I was walking in. Some people would say that moving halfway across the country without any prior arrangements being made for a car, housing, and a job is illogical and foolish, but there was a force called faith working in a young man’s heart. God honored it and blessed me.
Those two years at Rhema were two of the best years of my life. I was grounded in the living Word of God and was launched into my calling and ministry of now nearly 40 years. If I had never acted on simple faith my life would be much different today.
Check up on your life. Are you walking strictly by what the natural circumstances are dictating to you? Are you walking only by what you see and feel? What are you believing God for? What has He told you to do? Do the words of your mouth line up with what you are believing for? What areas of your life have you stopped applying your faith?
God is faithful. There is something about the Lord that responds to faith. He will overlook a million people to get to the one who is truly standing and walking in faith. When you start moving in faith it sets God’s plan in motion in your life and activates His power and blessing.
(the picture below is the humble little apartment God provided in Broken Arrow while attending Bible school)