Four Controversies Entry
There are a lot of people who claim to have faith. Do they have faith? What is faith anyway?
Before discussing what faith is to me personally, I believe it would be prudent to define faith in the terms the word of God uses. Hebrews 11: 1 defines faith as "The evidence of things hoped for, the substance of things not seen>"
Now there are a lot of different ways one could take the subject of faith, but I want to describe how faith applies in my own life. You see I am very fortunate. I have been blessed by the Holy Spirit so many times that I cannot even begin to count them. One small blessing was back during the summer. I had attended a job interview and it required me to walk a small distance from the office to a bus stop. It was clouding up to storm and seemed the rain was imminent. There was no place to go to escape it and I had no umbrella with me. A few drops of rain fell and I knew I was about to get drenched. I continued walking to the bus stop and waited on the corner for the bus. I had decided that if God was going to let me get wet then I would simply get wet. Thunder cracked and lightning flashed but there was no rain. The bus arrived and I got on. I was paying my fare when the sky cut lose with a gully washer that was like a flash flood. It was raining so hard the bus could not pull out! I had missed the downpour by only seconds. Now some people would say that was coincidence or luck. I know by faith that it was another small blessing that the Holy Spirit bestowed upon me.
I will give you an example of the way faith works for me. I see faith as an action word. It is a verb. I am a soldier in the Salvation Army Huntington West Virginia corps. Last spring the corps set out to renovate a building and start a program called Pathways of Hope, which will be a community center offering social services. My specialty in life is people. I am a peer support specialist who works with addicted populations and homeless. When Pathways of Hope was still in the planning stages I prayed and asked God to help me obtain a position there. Then I set out to put my faith into action. One of the ways I did was assuming that the position was as good as mine.As a soldier in the Salvation Army I wear a uniform to church and when engaged in any Salvation Army activities. I wanted to work with Pathways of Hope and that would mean weraing my uniform several times per week. I only had one uniform to begin with and I knew that it would get dirty after one use. To make sure I had the uniforms I needed I bought five additional uniforms. Someone asked me if I was so involved that I needed five uniforms when I only wore my uniform one day each week. I told them "I am not that involved yet, but I will be when Pathways of Hope opens up."
The Salvation Army is structured just like an army. Everything you do has to be approved by a chain of command. The chain of command had not told me that I would be working in Pathways of Hope. I stepped out on faith and bought the uniforms because I felt it was where God was leading me to work. I never told anybody at church that I was buying uniforms to work in. I finally got around to telling my commanding officer about it today. She smiled at me and replied "I'm glad you bought them because you are going to need them. I want you to work as a peer support specialist with Pathways of Hope just as soon as we finish the renovations and have our grand opening."
The position I am taking will start out as a part time position due to the fact that I am also a college student at Marshall University. I will likely only work with Pathways of Hope one or two days per week until December of 2019. I graduate in December and then the position will become permanent full time until I apply for graduate school and begin it.
I also stepped out on faith in buying the uniforms because I wanted the commander to commission me as a local officer in our corps. The best way to explain being commissioned as a local officer is to say it is the equivalent of accepting a non-commissioned officer position in the military. I will be doing the work of a sergeant though my official rank will be soldier. The positions we need filled are Community Care Coordinator, Adult Sunday School Teacher, and Corps Welcome Sergeant.
The Community Care Coordinator is the person responsible for nursing home ministries, prison ministries, and other community outreach. I am an ordainded minister and serve as the chaplain of the West Virginia Veterans Home in Barboursville WV where I also live. As a chaplain I am required to have a home church that supervises my duties. Since I am also a soldier in the Salvation Army it seemed only logical to have my corps be my supervising or "sending" church. The West Virginia Veterans Home is an assisted living facility so I have basically been doing the duties of Community Care Coordinator ever since I became the chaplain here. I wanted to extend that ministry however and begin doing prison ministry as well. The Western Regional Jail, which in West Virginia serves as the local county jail is only a mile from my home. Tomorrow morning I will be going to jail long enough to pick up the necessary paperwork to become a prison minister. This position will be incorporated into my duties with the Salvation Army and I will be the liaison between the Salvation Army and the jail. I had prayed about this previously and knew that again I would need clean uniforms. While I still had not coordinated the paperwork to become commissioned nor had I completed the paperwork to go to the jail, I knew by faith that I would be doing so.
Another reason I need the uniforms is because I am my corps official liaison to Marshall University. I will be graduating from Marshall in December with a regents bachelor of arts degree emphasizing psychology. While I am at Marshall it is my responsibility to let everybody know the Salvation Army is present. To do so I must begin wearing my uniforms to school. The college has a dinner every week called "lunch for a buck" coordinated by the Campus Christian Center. I will be working closely with them to bring lunch in from the Salvation Army. I will also serve as a Salvation Army chaplain while on campus. So the Lord knew what He was doing when He put it on my heart to buy extra uniforms. I am going to be needing them!
I have found that the best way to please God is not to sit around and pray that He will remove the mountains in one's life, but rather to pray that He will remove the mountains and then grab a shovel and start digging at the base of the mountain! God likes for us to put wings on our prayers. In other words don't just say you have faith, but rather put your faith into action by acting as if what you are praying for has happened! The Holy Spirit loves faith. As the Apostle James put it "Faith without works is dead".James 2: 19
Dead faith expects God to act like a genie and give the one rubbing the lamp their three wishes. It does not work that way. Faith requires me to take action. I thank God for faith and for every blessing I receive. I do not believe in luck. I am not lucky. I'm blessed.
I believe I can look back on my life and pull out all kinds of examples of situations where I was blessed. For example, I have been blessed to read hundreds of books. A lot of people don't read much, but I read on a wide variety of topics. This gave me
the edge where knowledge is concerned. I am an expert in nothing except perhaps religion and psychology, but I know a little bit about everything. I think it is important to be widely read, particularly for an author. We need the knowledge.
Blessings are not to be taken for granted. I thank God every day for my blessings. I know faith plays an important role. Without faith there would be no blessing.
Faith is the key to blessings. If we want to be blessed we have to k=live as if we are blessed. We put legs and wings on our prayers. We take action as if the answers had already come. This is called stepping out on faith. I did it with my uniforms and it paid off. I am going to work soon. God answers prayer if we act as if we know He is going to do so.