There once was a man who went camping. Arriving, after dark, at the camp ground, he set up his tent and crawled in to get some sleep. During the night, he heard some rustling outside of his tent, and hurrying out side to take a look, he found he had pitched his tent at the edge of a cliff. Loosing his balance, he inadvertently slipped and fell down the side of the cliff. Grabbing a root that protruded from the cliff, he hung there, in the dark, for what seemed like hours. All he could think about was falling to his death. Shortly thereafter, he began to yell saying..."Help,Help....Is anyone there?". In just a few minutes, he heard a voice say, "Yes". He replied, "Who is it?". The deep resounding voice answered, "This is God". So the man responded with, "Can you help me?". To which God said, "Yes, let go of the root." The man said, "What???" Again, God replied, "Let go of the root!" The man was silent for a few minutes, then he cried out, "Is there anybody else up there?" The story goes on to say that when morning came the man discovered, he was only one foot from the ground. Just think, he really didn't have to hang there all night. He should have trusted God.
Isn't that how we respond, when we get an answer from God that we don't want to hear? Sometimes trust is a big issue, when it comes to faith in Him! There are times we've cried out for help and He instructed us to do something, so far out of our comfort zone, we want to yell back, "Is there anybody else up there?" It's because 1) Fear sets in. We begin to view the circumstance and repercussions. In our perception, it looks dangerous, out of the ordinary or not reasonable. 2) Doubt arises. It's then we question, was that God we heard, or our own thoughts? 3) We have no credibility in His Word.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amp) says, "Lean on, trust in, be confident in the Lord with all your heart mind and do not rely on your own insight understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, acknowledge Him, and He will direct make straight plain your paths." I have found, my trust is strengthened in the one who is reliable and reputable. Someone that has proven themself to always be true. Developing such a relationship with God, we must get to know Him. Spending quality time with someone develops trust. Not only do we become familiar with their voice, but we begin to see their character traits. In studying the Word of God we can see His integrity and faithfulness. Reflecting on answered prayer reveals His constant reliability. And the more we keep company with Him, the more easier it is to believe His Word.
Pro. 16:20 (Amp) says, "He who deals wisely heeds [God’s] word counsel shall find good, and whoever leans on, trusts in, is confident in the Lord—happy, blessed, fortunate is he." Don't just hang onto the root, trust God!
Roller coasters are fun to ride for many people. When we go to the California amusement park we find the line for the ride is lengthy. It seems a lot of people enjoy the thrill. However, in life we experience the roller coaster effect, and for that, we're not standing in line. We want things to be smooth and easy, sort of an even keel. But life doesn't always flow like that. There will be incidents that come to challenge our faith. And when that happens, we have a choice to make. Be fearful or stand in faith. It all depends at what we are looking.
In Matthew 15:22-33 we find one such occasion where fear was opposed to faith. In this situation, Jesus had instructed the disciples to enter a boat to cross the sea, whilst He went to pray upon the mountain. It seems when evening had come the boat, now in the middle of the sea, was being tossed by winds. At about three in the morning, Jesus joined the disciples by walking on the water to the boat. Now when they saw Him coming fear arose. This word 'fear' literally means terrified. They were so scared they began to shout, "It's a ghost!". But Jesus hearing them, calmed them by telling them, it was Him. Obviously they still weren't convinced, because Peter, one of the disciples, said, "Lord, if it's You, command me to come to You on the water". That's when Jesus said, "Come". Now this is where it gets real. So Peter hopped out of the boat and began to walk on the water towards Jesus. But he didn't keep his focus on the Lord, but began to look at how rough and windy it really was and he began to sink into the water.
Don't you know that's how it is with problems in our life. We're going along, it starts to get stormy. Maybe a paycheck gets lost, someone in our family has to be hospitalized, or perhaps we get into a big disagreement with a family member. Whatever the tempest, fear pops up to test our faith. Here's the big reveal, are we going to keep our eyes on the Word (Jesus), or are we going to look at our problem? Most generally we loose it and start acting and talking fear. We begin to 'sink' by trying to figure out how we're going to handle this situation. And the more we talk, the deeper we go.
The account of Jesus walking on the water, didn't end with Peter drowning. Peter cried out for help, saying, "Lord, save me!". It says 'Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him..". If we would liken this to our circumstance, we can cry out to Him and He will 'immediately' help us. But Jesus said to Peter, "O you of little (underdeveloped) faith, why did you doubt?"
Isn't that what's really happening in our life? We've become doubtful because we are lax in our faith. On the one hand we want to believe, but fear elevated makes us doubt. Rom. 10:17 says, "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." How faithful are we to attending church to hear the man or woman of God, that He sat into the church, preach the anointed Word? (Eph. 4:11-12) Or how regularly do we study the Bible for our self? (2 Tim. 2:15) Instead we continue to be moved by our circumstance. Up one day and down the next, just like riding the roller coaster. Sometimes, we're barely hanging on. Don't allow the fear to overtake you! Keep your eyes on Him and His Word. Phil. 4:6-7 (ERV) "Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds.."
I've been praying for something for a long while. And if I were to look at the situation, it would seem nothing has changed or was relatively close to being different. So during my prayer today, I distinctly heard the Spirit of the Lord speak to me. He said, "Do you want to see a change?" I thought, YES, I want to see a change! Is there something you've been praying about expecting a transformation? Often it seems we pray earnestly, in our understanding and in the Spirit, thanking the Lord for the answer, yet we're still waiting.
After the Holy Spirit's question, He then spoke to me and said, "Since faith pleases God, and He releases faith in His Words, then you must do the same." He revealed to me that my conversation didn't line up with my prayers. On the one hand I had been petitioning the Father, thanking Him, and then when speaking about the situation, I was saying what I saw. Therefore, my speech nullified my prayers. Someone once said, that we send forth the Angels by extending our faith and confession of God's Word, and call them back with our doubt and unbelief. I suppose, in a way, that's what I was doing. No wonder things were still in a quandary.
Learning from the Father of faith, Abraham, who "did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. (Abraham did not meditate on the problem, nor did he talk about it) Neither did he waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God." (Rom. 4:17,19,20) Here's a man who had been praying and believing for a son. God sent an angel to tell them they would have a son! For many years, he continued to 'give glory to God' and praise Him for the promise!
The promise for which we are believing, is still very much ours. But we need to quit reflecting on the problem. Take all those thoughts that don't line up with God's Word and bathe them with it. Begin to practice Josh. 1:8 (ERV) "Never stop reciting these teachings. You must think about them night and day so that you will faithfully do everything written in them. Only then will you prosper and succeed." Repeat them daily or every time your mind goes to the negative area. Pretty soon, you will begin to believe the Word over and above the problem. The confession of the Word of God is our practical expression of our confidence in God. That's faith! "... Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks!" (Luke 6:45)
Not only will the confession of the Word began to renew our mind (Rom. 12:2) but it will actively begin to change the circumstance! Is. 55:11 says, "So shall my word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" That's faith! Our faith in Him and His Word, can change things! Let's start today to lay down doubt and unbelief, extend our faith by thinking about what God has said and then declare it! (Job 22:28)
This is the year of the overcomer! Have faith in God! Confess you believe it and your receive it! Mat. 9:29 "According to your faith, let it be to you."
Happy 2015! How amazing! We've dashed through the holidays! I just imagine many are glad it's over and can get on with a new year. I really enjoy this time of year and am sorry it flew by. How delightful it would be if, in those wonderful, special moments, we could make time stand still.
Beginning a new year can be somewhat disconcerting. Taking into thought all the failed plans, incomplete goals, not to mention the blunders. I, for one, when making a mistake, while writing on a piece of paper, will wad it up and throw it away and begin afresh. If only life were that easy! Just throw away our blunders and start fresh! In a sense, becoming born again was just like that! The moment we accepted Jesus as our Lord, repenting for our sins, He made us brand new! 2 Cor. 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man in Christ, a new creature: old are passed away; behold, are become new." Hallelujah, our slates are clean and He does not remember the sin! Is.43:25 "I, even I, am He Who blots out cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins." And, Heb. 8:12 "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” When we go before the Father, repent (express our heartfelt remorse and turn away from the sin), He forgives us and remembers it no more! The key to real repentance is never doing the sin again! 2 Cor. 7:10 (ERV) The kind of sorrow God wants makes people decide to change their lives. This leads them to salvation, and we cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has will bring death. 1 John 1:9 is our guarantee of His forgiveness.
So in one sense, this brand new year, is just like a clean sheet of paper. All the blunders and any goof ups are now in the past. Wad it up and discard it! They are behind us. Let's make a conscience decision to choose to lay the past down and press on towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-15) I realize this takes determined effort on our part. When receiving His forgiveness, we also must forgive ourself. Perhaps for some, this might be difficult. But look at it this way, any pondering over previous events will not change them. However, our laying them down only to push aside, and to explore God's plan for us will bring forth freedom and victory. He has such great plans for you. There awaits many wonderful things for you this year! The only way to get there, is to 'forget the past and press on'! 1 John 1:7 says, "But if we [really] are living walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations]." Today is a new piece of paper! We can do all things through Christ, Who gives us strength! Happy New Year 2015!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."