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Dear Partner,

As Christians, one of the most difficult lessons we must learn is that we do not receive from God what we deserve. We do not receive from God what we need. We do not receive from God what we desire. We receive from God what we believe. Here are two verses spoken by Jesus Himself as He teaches this truth:

Mark 11:24   Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Mat 21:22   And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Very often people challenge me when I teach this truth by saying something like, "Well, Gary, my aunt Myrtle was the best Christian I ever knew. She always played piano at the church and would do anything for anybody. When she got sick she prayed and believed she received her healing but she died anyway. What about that?"

The proper response is, "How could you know somebody like that when, since the beginning of time, there has never been anybody like that?" You are standing there with a bold face telling me that Jesus Christ does not know what He is talking about. If your aunt Myrtle (or anybody else) prayed to be healed and died anyway, it is because she did not believe she received her healing when she prayed.

I made the decision a long time ago that I am going to base what I believe on the Word of God no matter what my eyes, my ears, or other people tell me to the contrary. I may watch a thousand people pray to be healed and all of them die telling me they believed they received when they prayed and I will still have to say that Jesus is not a liar. If they prayed to be healed and died they did not "believe they received" when they prayed. The only other conclusion is to say, "Well, Jesus is either a liar or else He is simply misinformed." If that is the case then the Word of God is not true and we have no basis for faith at all. Faith only comes one way and that is by hearing the Word of God. [Rom 10:17] How can we have faith for anything if we cannot trust the Word of God to be accurate?

Unbelief is what keeps us from receiving from God. One of the best examples is when the first group of Israelites who came out of Egypt came up to possess the Promised Land. God had promised Abraham that his descendents would possess the land. It was God's will for them to possess it. They wanted to possess it. They needed to possess it. But that first group never did possess the Promised Land. Why not? The bible does not sugar coat the reason; BECAUSE OF THEIR UNBELIEF!

Heb 3:19   So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

They looked at their circumstances (the giants in the land) and compared them with God's Word ("I have given you the land"). Which was more real to them? The giants or God's Word? What did they really believe? You can tell what they believed when they said, "We be not able to take the land." They never received the promise because they never truly believed God's Word.

How about a New Testament example? The disciples had already been trained and anointed by Jesus to go among the people to cast out devils and to heal the sick. They had successfully done so many times. Yet when a father brought his lunatic son who had extreme manifestations (it would throw him in the fire and in the water) the disciples were moved by what they saw and even though they prayed and did everything they had previously done in order to see other people healed, they could not get this young man free.

Then Jesus arrives on the scene and asks them to bring the lad to Him. In short order Jesus sets the young man free and he is totally healed. Jesus is the will of God in action. In order to know what the will of the Father is, we are to look at Jesus. We see from Jesus' actions that it was the will of the Father to heal the lad the whole time even when the disciples prayed. So why didn't the young man get healed when the disciples prayed? They asked Jesus that very question and to their astonishment He answered, "Because of your unbelief!" [Mat 17:15-21]

There it is again: UNBELIEF! Unbelief is what keeps us from receiving what we desire from God. Let us never begin changing the Word of God into some man-made, false doctrine that matches our lack of results. No, God's Word is eternal and will never change. But the good news is we CAN change! We can take God's Word and begin feeding on it and changing our unbelief into faith. Jesus also said that prayer and fasting helps us deal with unbelief. We have to make our mind up that no matter how big the giants are, no matter how massive the circumstances against us may seem, GOD'S WORD IS TRUE!

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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