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Bethany Baptist Church kicked off the annual “Faith Promise” mission conference, Sunday morning with Charles and Jurldean Strong, long-term missionaries to Mexico.
Charles and Jurldean were members of this church in the early 1960’s before attending Baptist Bible College in Springfield. After graduating from college they moved to Florida where they worked in a Christian school for a time. They were approved by the mission board, and continued in the process to get to Mexico. At this point they had no money, but they learned the meaning of living by faith.
When they had raised their support, they moved to Tuxpan, a city near the Gulf of Mexico, some five hundred miles south of Brownsville, Texas. They have finished some forty years of service. They were able to start eight churches in and around the Tuxpan area. These churches are completely on their own.
Just a few years ago, they moved north to start a church in an area near the Mexican border with Texas. They have rented a house with a large living room that serves as a meeting place. This has proved to be a difficult area for various reasons. The drug wars are a threat. The cost of land is high because of the new factories that are built in that area. The people there are much more materialistic than the ones they had worked with before. They are still living by faith.
Charles Strong brought a message he called, “Living by Faith.”
If souls are to be won, they have to see something better than what they have. God wants us to have peaceful, joyful, happy lives. Peace, joy, and happiness do not come from the things and circumstances that surround us, but from our relationship with Jesus Christ. Why do people fail to show that better life? They are not living by faith. People can say a lot of things, but it is the “doing” that counts. If we want to win the world to Christianity, we have to “live it.” The Bible says the just shall live by faith.
Faith may be hard to define. Believing is part of it, but even the devils “believe.” Saving faith rests in a certainty that gives substance to the idea of a home in heaven and that Jesus has secured it for us. Faith involves having enough trust in the promises of God to step out to serve him.
In James 2:17, James challenges the believer to show his faith without works and James would show his faith “by his works.” True faith will result in an action. Faith will result in obedience to the word of the Lord. Abraham had a notable faith when he went, to sacrifice his son on a mountain. He told the servants that “I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Abraham had faith in God’s promise earlier that Isaac would be the one by whom he would be the father of many nations. He did not know just how that would be, but he believed God enough to rise up early in the morning to obey what God had commanded. God rewarded that faith. He will always reward a faith that acts.