My understanding of the meaning living by faith has changed over the years. As a youngster, I was told that it took faith to believe God was going to do something I wanted, such as pay my bills, give me a new car, or bring healing. My religion told me that if I did not get what I asked for, then it was because I did not have enough faith! Along with my lack of faith, I was taught that I was not good enough to deserve God's favor; after all, I was only a ‘lowly human-being’. This kind of thinking took away Grace and made me responsible for my salvation. I thank God our understanding changes, today I realize that living by faith means that I believe I am living as I am intended to live, it is not necessary to DO something, BE something, KNOW something, or FOLLOW a certain set of laws. There is one thing I CAN do, if I want peace, and that is to believe that I have been chosen by God and that He loves me just the way I am. Of course my thinking will mature as I grow into the mind of Christ, (Eph 4:13-16) and I am thankful age and maturity have taught me to expect and accept change. We are promised that the day will come when everyone’s thinking will grow and expand to fully recognize that God is All in all. (1Co 15:28)
Peace also requires us to accept the fact that every day is a new day. Holding on to grudges, old thoughts, old memories, or yesterday’s traditions constricts growth and understanding. God said, “I will do a new thing,” and I would contend that no one can know it or it would not be new any longer (Isa 43:18-19). “Look at the nations and watch, and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told” (Hab. 1:5). God, through the Bible, uses the word new many times. The people of Jesus’ day wondered about the new doctrine he brought (Mar 1:27). Jesus taught that it was not beneficial to put old patches on a new garment, likewise it is important for us to be ready to lay down our old understanding to embrace the new that Father brings. Galatians 6:15 tell us that God, in Jesus Christ, created a new creature.
The problem is that we humans like our old habits, we resist change. It is truly difficult to get out of ruts, no matter how destructive the path, and this is where faith comes into play. It takes faith to believe that I am exactly what Father wants me to be, doing what Father wants and even more; faith to know that he has the power to change me, speak to me and move on me to do differently if that is what he wants (Heb 4:12).
It takes faith to believe that God turned the law into grace. We can certainly be thankful that every man is given a measure of faith (Rom 12:23). It takes a great amount of faith to believe that I am good enough, just the way I am, but it is such a wonderful place in which to rest, trusting in our Heavenly Father’s benevolence. “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God.” (Heb 7:19) The closeness of God is where we find peace. We can rest assured that our Father’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9). By this we know that it is OK to be imperfect and weak, God loves us just the way we are! (For those who might want a little more Biblical reassurance, I can offer Rom 5:1-11).
In God's ever increasing love - Pamla
Quite a bit has happened in the last year. One: David and I have married. We eloped at the Coast of Mendocino on March 30 and we are both so happy. The two of us, with an ordained minister and a lone fisherman, sealed our fate with the State of California. I am now Pamla Wood Gebhard.
Two: my precious Mother’s body died in February. She no longer knew me, she lived in constant fear, and was released from her torment while sleeping with her husband, our Dad, of 53 years. We had a quiet memorial for her at her home consisting of 18 people. Daddy, age 82, is doing very well; he says he is so busy he doesn't’t have time to think about it. My sister, brother and I are grateful she is at rest in the Lord’s presence. Whenever I want to cry, the image comes to my mind of her smiling at her Mom and Dad and she is so happy that I cannot grieve. We are entering into a new day in the Lord, to truly know his love and his promise; John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is so real that I know my Mom did not die, she is just living in a new place, and I ask, how can I be anything but happy for her?
Three; I have taken all the classes I need to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts from Sonoma State University. It was a very long and arduous journey, but I would not give up one moment of studying. I still need to pass the exit exam, as of this writing I have failed the 2-hour exam three times. This is a real blow to my ego, having graduated with an A- grade average. I can only think that this also is something that Father wants me to experience, and I am grateful, (also a little embarrassed).
Four & Five: My sister is in a financial quagmire. Her total income from the state for her disability is under $900.00 per month. The cost of her mobile home space is around $500.00. This leaves a whopping $400 per month to pay her insurance, medicines, gasoline, auto upkeep and all other utilities, (not to mention food). Father has provided enough to make the bills for the last 3 years, but things are getting tight. She has recently gone though surgery to remove the metal in her back that the doctor installed in February, 3 weeks before Mom died. She has been put through the wringer but her faith is unwavering. She would appreciate prayer that she finds a job working from home that fits her disability, (feel free to send me an email if anything come to mind). My brother has pancreatic cancer, which has spread, to his liver. He had been in extreme pain for months before doctors finally did tests and discovered the problem. The doctors cannot believe how well his attitude is while going through Chemo. He has put on weight, his faith in God’s touch and healing is unwavering and he gives God the glory at each opportunity. Our faith that is being tested, but once we get though all this, we know we will all be stronger for the testing.
Stacy and my children are doing very well. Jana and Jeff are divorced but happy. I am proud of my grand daughters, Jana's oldest, Leandra is on her own and works full time, Karissa is in Florida looking for work. (I may need to put her in touch with some of the body down there.) StacyIII could use prayer, he is diabetic and having a difficult time with it, but he and Amy are a blessing to me. The twins, Kayla and Amber have just graduated high school and are entering college. Little Stacy is very bright and entering high school, Christopher is working and a wonderful brother to his siblings, we are so proud of him. Cody is doing wonderful at being a single Dad, he and the baby live with his parents. (This has helped with the empty nest syndrome not being quite so severe for Stacy and Amy, who now only have little Stacy at home.) Carter, who I have not yet met, is now a year old and I am blessed that Cody has made me a great-grandma. Stacy, Amy and most of their children made a trip out here to California to meet Dave and put their seal of approval on our marriage. I am so grateful and proud of my children.
Truly, God is doing an awesome new thing in this hour. Though we walk though the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil. We have no doubt that he is with us, and we are comforted knowing that his rod protects us and with his staff he draws us near to him. (Psa 23) Note: this is not something we do of ourselves, HE does it all!
What is providence? Is it fate? Is it God’s plan? Or is it a combination of entropy and our own ambition. Only God knows, but we can affect our own fate and that of others in our orbit, by our own efforts. We can influence, be catalysts for those who might be in a bad place with just our smiles and encouragement. Positive actions might be the clue as to why people are upbeat and proactive. Society needs pro-activity, whether it is volunteerism or just friendly smiles; this engenders a better environment for everyone. Is this worthwhile? Is this something we should prioritize? I think this is tantamount to a ministry as anything, to remind a society that is forgetting about God, that he is always with us. That he is everywhere and that he is within all of us. Many psychological maladies are the result of feelings of abandonment and loneliness. Knowing that God is within us always, watching over and supporting us might mean a lot toward making a society saner.
The key to me is the knowledge that God is a loving God, not one of fire and brimstone, but a forgiving God who understands that humans are going to make mistakes and err often. We need to learn about ourselves, and learn to love ourselves, before we can love others. Many of us come from dysfunctional families, ones that do not create children who slip straight into the mold of a nuclear Christian family. We must grow and learn throughout life, adapting to changes in our lives and society, while keeping a positive attitude. Civilization has progressed in the industrial nations, some more than others, but doubt and uncertainty have also progressed regarding God and his purpose. We know that God has us traveling forward into an eternal future at his feet, or at his side; if that even relates in Heaven. The important thing is that the Bible tells us that where he is we will be also.
Please let me reintroduce myself, I am Pamla Wood Gebhard, a minister in the work of God, ordained by the Independent Assembly of God International, I continue in the footsteps of Stacy Robert Wood, Jr with Promised Seed Ministries. I am not, nor can ever be, the equal of my late husband, in ministry, but I will endeavor to counsel and assist in understanding our Heavenly Father’s love and acceptance. Drop me a line or email when you get a free minute, as it is important for brethren to communicate and I need fellowship, I want to be a part of what is going on in your life. (All correspondence can now be addressed to either Pam Wood or Pam Gebhard; it will get to me either way and Dave is not one whit jealous or insecure).