If you've ever run a race, climbed a mountain or achieved something you thought you could never do, that's Victory! Above all the voices of the world, over any terrible difficulty, regardless of pressures or hardships, there is a way to OVERCOME! Going through tough situations and succeeding is victory. Facing any kind of problem is hard. Often we feel alone, helpless and overwhelmed. It would be so great if life were simple or easy and we didn't have to face adversity, sickness, pain, or heartache. But Jesus said in, John 16:33b "....In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Located in the New Testament there is a story of an overcomer. A particular man named Bartimaeus was blind sat on the side of the road begging for money. Bartimaeus must have heard of the mighty works and healing power of Jesus. One specific day, as he was sitting begging by the road, word came that Jesus was coming. As the crowd neared, he began to cry with a loud voice for Jesus. Although the people around hushed him, he cried all the more louder. His faith was forceful in the fact that he wasn't going to allow anyone or anything stand in the way of receiving his healing! Jesus hearing his cry, stopped and called him forth. So Bartimaeus stood up, threw off his garment and moved towards the Lord. Jesus asked him what He could do for him, to which Bartimaeus replied, "...that I may receive my sight." Jesus said, "Go your way, your faith has made you well." And immediately he was healed! (Mark 10:46-52)
Bartimaeus didn't wait for someone else to do something for him, he took action!
1) He cried out to Jesus, the healer. Whatever your situation, your help is in the Lord. 1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us: And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." Knowing that God hears your cries assures your faith of an answer. Take time right now to ask in prayer for your help.
2) He threw off his garment and stood up. Bartimaeus had a cloak that identified him as a blind man. His action to remove it demonstrated his faith to receive healing. It was when he cast it off and rose up to walk toward Jesus that confirmed he was ready to receive. 2 Cor. 10:4-5 says, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" The nature, characteristic, and opinions of the world cloud our mind as a cloak of deception. It is necessary that we take all those reasonings, arguments, or thoughts that are contrary to the Word and throw them down. This kind of faith disarms those weapons and readies us to receive our miracle. Your promise is in the Word of God, whether it's financial, healing or a sound mind you can receive it today!
In order to over come, it takes actions of faith. We must get up even when the circumstance is raging against us; Take this opportunity, right now to lay aside pity from ourselves and from others. Begin right now to not only see yourself delivered from your problem, but SAY "I'm free from it" Make a daily practice of reading and speaking God's promises over your life. As you confirm the Word through confession, your agreement will begin to change the circumstances. It won't be long before the Victory is yours! Faith in action Overcomes!
Do you ever feel like a teapot, ready to explode because of all the pressure? Perhaps you are looking at insurmountable circumstances that are weighing heavy upon your shoulders. With the tension thats prominent in world affairs and your situation, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Generally people deal with these types of emotions differently. Everyone handles stress distinctly. Pressure reveals ones' character. Proverbs 24:10 says, "If you faint during the day of adversity, your strength is small."
During difficult times, most likely the Holy Spirit is talking to us about 'acts' of faith. Proof of our standing results in our actions taken during trials. If we're believing in faith for finances, the Holy Spirit might move upon us to give. This is an action taken to activate faith to receive financially. A great example in 1 Kings 17, is the widow woman that God called upon to supply Elijah with food during a drought. Elijah had been instructed to leave the brook, and go to Zarephath and find the widow woman. As he arrived, she was gathering firewood to cook the last cake for her and her son, and then die. However, in the midst of 'lack', the prophet instructed her to give to him first, then to themselves. When she did this, the meal and oil remained plentiful as long as she continued to give to the man of God first. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17), and "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). We can hear what the Lord is instructing us to do, yet if we choose to neglect the doing, faith dies. She could have ignored the word from God and just fed herself and her son, then she would have died. But she decided to listen and obey God acting in Faith.
It's wise to assess the problem, but even more so to manage it with Faith. People that say 'this faith stuff doesn't work', are people that didn't make it a lifestyle. The Bible says, "the just live by faith". In other words, it's a manner of living! It's more than just memorizing and quoting scriptures. Faith requires doing something in compliance with the Word. Confession helps to remind us what we should do to activate our faith. If we are living it daily, the Word within us will dictate our response, instead of the event determining how we reply.
Let me clarify, action on the Word, does not force the hand of God in any situation. That's called manipulation, which is doing something with intent. Action doesn't give you faith - "faith comes by hearing... by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Doing something releases our faith and belief in God. He then meets our faith because we believed. Some people like to limit faith to confession, because it's easy. They can stay home from church or keep from giving in the offering, thinking all it takes is saying something! Everyone has been given the measure of faith which has an appropriate action in every circumstance.
Setting in motion your faith, over your situation, could be as simple as giving praise to God before you see the result. How ever the Holy Spirit is leading you to act upon your faith, do it with boldness believing for the promise. Act upon the principles of God's Word which reveals the measure that's within you! Faith is being fully persuaded of things expected and proof of what is not yet seen.
James 1:2-4 (Amp)"Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in encounter trials of any sort fall into various temptations. Be assured understand that the trial proving of your faith bring out endurance steadfastness patience. But let endurance steadfastness patience have full play do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing."
At this very moment, people we know and even some we don't, are facing serious adversities. Family's have lost loved ones, marriages are under attack, there's financial despair for others, and some are facing job stress. Not only are there personal attacks, but our world is suffering from wars, weather related calamities, and multiple difficult issues, too numerous to list.
I know people that could verbalize Paul's words from 2 Cor. 4. "We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way]........ we suffer embarrassments are perplexed unable to find a way out......; We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven).......; we are struck down to the ground...;" The only difference is, Paul had a response to the problems, "We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped crushed; we suffer embarrassments are perplexed unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out destroyed;" He realized that the Greater One lived IN him. Paul was assured that the Lord was standing with him and was giving him strength. (2 Tim. 4:17) This gave him the ability to press on through.
In 2 Timothy in chapter 3, Paul said, "But know this, in the last days perilous times will come:" Yes we will face risky, harmful, dangerous periods of time. This is just a fact! So how does one handle these events in their life? What can we do to be victorious overcomers? How can we endure through all the hardships? We need the strength of God to get past the circumstances with which we face. Trying to do it in our own flesh causes fatigue, depressions, oppression, fear, and stress. Here are some spiritual exercises you can do that will strengthen your faith and encourage you to remain steadfast IN faith!
1) James 1:2-3 "My brethren, count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." A great example of counting it all joy, is when Paul and Silas were imprisoned in the deepest darkest dungeon. Although they were chained and in pain from their beating, they expressed joy by singing praises to God! What did they have to be joyful about, you ask? They saw past their situation in the Spirit, knowing they served a big God, who would deliver them. The facts didn't define their attitude, but their attitude established different facts...deliverance! Their praises opened their shackles and set them free. It's time we praised the Lord to loose us from the chains of despair! Put on a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness.
2) Proverbs 2:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways (course of life) acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Putting down our feelings about our problem is hard, because emotions are prominent. Taking time in the middle of the adversity to pray and focus on the promise of God's Word, will give direction and peace. In Joshua we read, that keeping the Word of God in our heart, in our mind and upon our lips, assists us in being a doer. Therefore, we will be successful and make wise decisions. Take any fear, worry or doubt cast it down, and be persuaded that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above anything you could ask or imagine!
3) Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat it's fruit." Most of us are guilty of declaring our problems, complaining and stating defeat. We condemn ourselves before God can work in our behalf. On the one hand we send forth faith in a prayer, and negate it by confessing doom and gloom. To experience the presence of His power over our circumstance, we must first believe! Test what you believe by gauging what's coming out of your mouth. Because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Repent for not submitting to God and resisting the devil. Then, make a conscience effort to practice agreeing with His Word verbally! Your confession will remind you of the action of faith necessary for affirming your faith!
Remember, that no matter the dilemma we're facing, the Word of God and prayer opens the door for God to work, and Praise will keep the door open. Don't measure what you believe by what you're experiencing. Heb. 10:35-36 "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise."
On one specific occasion, I was at an important meeting, when I realized I left a much needed item at my home. Since I was close to my house, I decided I had enough time to get there and back before the meeting began. As I drove, I felt the urging of the Holy Spirit telling me to take an alternate route other than the one I was on. Instead of 'acting' upon His instructions, I thought my way was better and quicker. Nonetheless, He kept urging me, and I continued resisting. It was when I reached a certain street, only minutes from my house, that I realized WHY the Spirit was imploring me to go a different way. Right in front of me firetrucks were blocking the road, and I was completely halted. Now what? If only I had acted upon His prompting, I would not have been in this predicament.
We spoke last week of being led by the Holy Spirit. Part of being led, is being obedient. Let's face it, if I would have yielded to His instruction, I could have eliminated stress, delay, and frustration. Learning to follow the Spirit's leading involves taking actions of faith! The Bible says, "...the just live by faith." (Heb. 10:38) Faith is being bold enough to step out and DO what He's telling us to do! In my situation, I thought I had the better way. Isn't that the real problem, we think we know it all, like we've got all the answers, right? But, John 16:13 says, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." Many times, He is trying to help us stay out of danger and direct us for purposes unknown. What good is hearing the voice of the Spirit and not obeying? If we ignore Him too long, we desensitize our knowing His voice.
Complying to the leading of the Holy Spirit always involves faith. It's trusting Him with all our heart and not leaning to our own understanding. A person in faith, does something to demonstrate his faith. Abraham, the father of faith, is a great example. He trusted God when he was told to sacrifice his son. Doing all that God told him to do, even to the point of raising his knife to slay him. He knew that no matter the outcome, God was going to do something miraculous. And because he obeyed, his faith was validated! (Gen. 22)
It's not enough to know the principles of faith or entirely quote the Word. These things, although important, are not the result of faith. They teach us what and how to exercise faith, but it's in the doing! "..Faith without works is dead", James 2:14-26. Truthfully, we must live a lifestyle of faith! People that say, 'I tried faith, it doesn't work', haven't made it a life style. They believed they were in faith by listening to someone preach about it, mimic someones actions that acted in faith, and quote the scripture ever so often. But they forgot one thing, to be a doer.
Hearing the Word brings faith which then governs our response. Acting upon the Word, according to your measure of faith, will produce the results for which you're believing God. (Matt. 9:29 "...according to your faith let it be to you". The Holy Spirit's leading, quoting scriptures, and hearing the preached Word are the course to actions of faith!
We challenge you when exercising your faith to completion, by doing something that substantiates it. If you're believing for finances, when you quote "My God supplies all my need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." listen and obey the Holy Spirit to act upon your faith. He may tell you to give a certain amount in the offering. Perhaps you're believing for a healing, quoting, "By His stripes I am healed". The act of faith at the Holy Spirit's direction could be getting up out of bed. What ever the measure of your faith, there is an action that is suitable for it. The Spirit of God will lead you, just obey.
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."