Doug Morse - Believe - Milltown, Washington Convention - 2010

On Friday afternoon while I was sitting alone in our tent between meetings, I saw the sun shine on one of the tent poles and create a shadow that looked just like a ship with masts and sails. It reminded me that our ministry is a Christian Fellowship, as in a fellow-"ship." Today as our convention ends, our ship will be pulling into harbor. We will "disembark" from this year's convention. It has made me wonder if we've changed during convention. Have we seen an increase in our faith? If we came to convention with some disbelief, are we leaving with less?

In John 19:35 ... one of Jesus' disciples wrote, "And He who has seen has testified, and His testimony is true. And He knows that He is telling the truth, so that you may believe." The treasure house of Heaven is open to everyone. In John 10 ... Jesus told his disciples, "Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there ... that you may believe. 'Nevertheless, let us go to him." Jesus went and raised Lazarus from the dead. But Christ said, "That you may believe." That is what Jesus yearned that people would do ... have faith. Unbelief is a negative thing. It's destructive. The world sows discord. Flesh sows doubt. The enemy sows unbelief and undermines faith. The world breeds cynicism. By nature, people are pessimistic.

In Luke 24, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary (the mother of James) went to the tomb of Jesus, only to discover that He is risen. The women rushed to tell the good news to the apostles. But the disciples had disbelief. Verse 11, "And their words seemed to them like idle tales. And they did not believe them." Here was the very news that the disciples wanted to hear ... news that they needed to hear. Yet, they wouldn't believe it. It was too good to be true.

In Acts 12, Peter was in prison while the church prayed for him without ceasing. At one point, an angel of the Lord freed Peter, who immediately went to Mary's house, where church members had gathered to continue their prayers for him. Peter knocked on the front door. A servant girl named Rhoda went to answer the door. Peter spoke. Rhoda recognized his voice. Without opening the door, Rhoda ran to the others and said excitedly, "Peter is at the door." The church members thought Rhoda was out of her mind. "How could it be Peter," they said. "Peter is in prison." But Peter continued knocking on the front door. When the church members finally opened the door, they were astonished. The church members should have been astonished at their lack of belief, astonished for not believing what they had been praying for. Not believing that God could be answering their prayers. Christians should never be praying without believing. If I don't pray believing, then I am wasting God's time.

Sometimes in life, we see things that appear to be too good to be true but the promises of God are true. They will not disappoint us. We need to put our complete trust in God. During His ministry, Jesus was an eternal optimist. Jesus was realistic. Before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that bad things were about to happen. But Jesus also assured them that only good would come out of it. Here on earth, human beings have a tendency to look back on things with optimism. But Jesus looked ahead with optimism. As with any storm, Jesus basically said there's going to be a rainbow ahead, there's going to be hope.

Following the resurrection, the disciples told Thomas that they had seen Jesus. Yet Thomas said he didn't believe them. If you were to ask Thomas, "What would you want more than anything else, if you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?" Obviously, Thomas would say he would want Jesus back ... if only that could be. Thomas was not believing in what he had been praying for. Unbelief is a robber. Thomas, why are you robbing yourself of this prayer that is being answered? There are infallible proofs of the work of God. We are hundreds of proofs in this tent right here who are attending convention. If you want to be a pessimist, the best time is when the devil comes for you. You need to say to Satan, "What you promise is too good to be true. I'm not interested. "

God says what He means and means what He says. In Luke 8, we are told about Mary Magdalene whose life had been touched by Jesus when He delivered her from seven demons. She paddled upstream - against unbelief and found forgiveness.