Public figures have a great influence in the lives of people from every walk of life. Whether it's a sports star, political leader or an entertainer, the decisions they make, often affect others. How they handle the stress of living can be encouraging or disheartening. Of course the news of tragic events in the lives of these popular prominent individuals wounds the spirit of many. Just because one is in the limelight doesn't insure a carefree, happy life. Just like most of us, they also face emotional and physical problems. The only difference is, the world is emphatically watching them and the only resources they draw from is the world.
Every one faces trouble in one way or another. There is not one person, rich or poor, male or female, notable or unknown, that isn't challenged with some type of difficulty. Jesus said in, John 16:33 ".....In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]" The contrast between the world and a Christian, is faith in God. However, not every Christian knows how to exercise their faith to trust the Lord God. Many are still daily dealing with ailments, poverty, stress, addiction, depression and oppression, to only name a few.
The key to overcoming these hard times requires complete dependence upon God. Proverbs 3: 5-6 "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Yet, human nature tries to figure it all on our own and sometimes ask God for help when we are desperate! Trusting in the Lord, demands the giving of our full attention to Him in EVERY situation! Pressure conditions arise daily, questions haunt us of how to prevail over them. For some, desperation and fear set in. 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul wrote, "But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!"
Paul discovered that when he praised the Lord in the midst of his troubles, the strength and power of Christ reigned over him, thus equipping him to prevail! By realizing that we are not contending with natural forces, but spiritual forces of 'principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places', we can better equip ourself for victory! We endure by the power of the Holy Spirit through our belief in God's Word. It's knowing that whatever we face is subject to the Word of God. Declaring the Truth, with the authority in Christ, the problem must bow it's knee.
An overcomer is one who diligently, faithfully resists the power or temptations of the devil and the world. Regardless of fear they remain determined to have confidence in God and His Word despite what it looks like or what others say! We want to inspire you to be constant in your faith in God. Don't allow anything to hinder you from obtaining victory! "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith." (1 John 5:4)
Recently we got new cell phones and a new phone service. This was a long time coming for me. The phone service we had was less than adequate, and two of the phones on the service had serious working issues. So much so, that we were counting down the days, hours and minutes till we were able to update! And when that day arrived, it was a 'Hallelujah' moment! In fact we are still praising God multiple times daily for the convenience of new phones and a working service. Several times before the change took place, I almost got weary of waiting and frustrated at the situation. There were times I wanted to take my equipment and toss it in the trash, giving up. Now, I realize we're just talking about cell phones here. But have you ever felt that way about anything in your life? Have you ever dealt with something for a very long time, waiting for a change, and got to a point where you wanted to give up? Becoming exhausted or fed-up can cause one to stop believing that there will ever be a change. Whether we are trusting the Lord for finances, healing, direction or resolve, we become vulnerable to settle for defeat.
I'm reminded of Galatians 6:9 "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not loose heart."
I know you're picturing your situation, trouble is coming from every direction. Just when you think it's going to get better, a similitude of hope, something else happens to make you feel more beat down. By this time, all you want to do is roll over in your bed, and pull up the covers. Weariness tries to enter in when the trials come hard and heavy. But Paul says, 'in due season we shall reap if we do not loose heart'! The Amplified version says, "And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint."
This Word tells us that if we remain steady, hang on to the hope of the promise of God at the determined time we WILL see the manifested blessing. Just like planting a seed in the ground, there is a 'due season' for harvest! The seed below the surface is growing roots and maturing before it breaks ground for us to see any result that it's developing. Eventually the plant matures and produces the fruit ready for harvest. Before that happens, it's not time to get impatient, loose hope, and pull up the seed, calling it quits.
Hebrews 10:35-36 GWT "So don’t lose your confidence. It will bring you a great reward. You need endurance so that after you have done what God wants you to do, you can receive what he has promised." This kind of hope is confident in what God said in His Word. It counts it all joy in the midst of the trials and tribulations and is expectant that God will keep or honor His promise. Resisting all weariness or defeat, never giving up, this faith is tirelessly and determinedly standing by and never lets go for what it is hoping.
The only way to acquire this kind of stamina in faith, is to renew the mind to the Word. Renewing the mind to God's Word, takes diligence. Determining to search the scriptures for the answer to our situation. Quoting, reading, and meditating on the Word. Josh. 1:8 GWT "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." Our dedication and faithfulness in the renewing of our mind, will produce a different way of thinking and believing. We will begin to see the plan of God unfold in our life as it emerges.
Applying the same scenario of the plant, we realize the prayers we've prayed, the faith and trust in God, is working in the Spirit to maturity. It won't be long, as we stand on the promise for our circumstance, we will begin to see the manifestation of that promise.
Whatever you do, don't loose hope, or become weary and give up! Keep faith alive!
A uniformed policeman stands at the scene of a traffic accident, redirecting on coming cars. No one will disobey him, because he's the one in authority telling others what to do. In the same way an officer of the law has jurisdiction in the city, we have command over the works of darkness in our life. Jesus said in Luke 10:19, "Behold I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." And in Mark 11:23-24, "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea', and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."
So why are there so many that are still confronted and overcome with difficulty, distress, and dilemma? If you are one of these and asking yourself this question, read on.
Most Christians do not know that they can take spiritual authority over situations. I would venture to say ignorance is one of the biggest reasons. Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge..." Because we aren't taught how to stand up against the 'wiles of the devil', how to recognize the attack is FROM the devil, and what to do IN times like this, we do nothing!
Another cause is unbelief! If you were to ask, some would say: "I don't believe in the devil." or, "There's no way we can change circumstances." In Luke 17:6, Jesus said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you." But there are many who just don't believe.
Fear is also a source of not taking authority. When faced with demonic activity, a number of people are of the opinion the devil is stronger than God. So rather than DO anything, they back down and 'hide', thinking he will just go away.
Listen Children of God, He has done all He's going to do! Jesus has done all He's going to do! 1) He left us His Word (Heb. 4:12 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword...")
2) And His Spirit (Rom. 8:11 "..if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwell in you." )
3) Jesus disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the work of the cross and resurrection! (Col. 2:15)
4) He gave us the keys to the Kingdom (Matt. 16:19 "... and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”)
It is now our responsibility to activate our faith and the power of God concerning the tactics of the devil, using the tools He gave us. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37) Rise up and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! We've got to put on the armor of God and fight the good fight of faith. We need to stand, in faith believing God's Word, when we've done all we know to do. We can not afford to lose heart, but know we possess the treasure of His power within us! Be like that policeman commanding things to line up with what God says! You're wearing the badge!
1 John 4:4 "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
Let's pretend that you hired me as an executive assistant for your swiftly advancing business. Because you desire to expand the company, a decision is made for you and your family to move to Europe and establish a division there for the next year. You tell me that you will write each week and give me all the necessary directions and instructions needed to run the corporation in the states. Months pass and the letters come flowing in with expectations and guidance to manage the business.
After your year term in Europe, you return and drive to the office. As you approach you are shocked to find the grass and weeds have taken over the yard. Windows are broken out and the place looks a mess. As you enter the building you find the receptionist is sitting at her desk doing her nails, reading a magazine and snacking. Upon observation you discover the waste baskets are running over, the carpet is filthy, and not one person is interested that you, the owner has returned. You then ask for me, to which they reply by pointing to a room that's been converted to a game space. Troubled by this you continue to proceed towards that area and coincidentally come across me as I have finished a game of chess with the sales director. We then progress to your office, which has been converted into a television/movie room. Our conversation is as follows:
You, "Can you explain what's going on?"
Me, "What do you mean?"
You, "Well, take a look around. Didn't you get my letters?"
Me, "Yes, we sure did. We got all of them. Actually we began a 'letter study day', every Friday night right after you left. We designated personnel to attend small groups to discuss the contents of the letters. Many of us have literally committed to memorizing some of the sentences and even the paragraphs. Several even know by heart and entire letter. You really wrote some great things."
You, "Alright, you received my letters, you read, discussed and even memorized them, but what did you DO about them?"
In the book of Matthew chapter 24, beginning in verse 44 Jesus talks about His return saying, "You also must be ready therefore, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him. Who then is the faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household to give to the others the food and supplies at the proper time? Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is that servant whom, when his master comes, he will find so doing."
It's easy to become lackadaisical in our work with the Lord as well as our walk with Him. Consumption with our every day life gets in the way of praying, getting into the Word, serving at church or often going to church. Loosing focus can cause us to get bored, tired, cranky, and do inappropriate things unbecoming to a Christian. Listen people, the signs of the times are all around us, Jesus IS coming soon. No, I don't know the day nor the time, but I do know it's soon.
Our job is to be about the Lord's business:
1) Being a Christian witness to friends, family and acquaintances; Phil. 2:15 "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
2) Remaining steadfast in prayer and rightly dividing the word of truth; 1 Pet. 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." and 2 Tim. 2:15 "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
3) Prevailing as an overcomer in trials and tribulations; Rom. 8:37 "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
4) Staying faithful to assemble with our brothers and sisters in the Lord for encouragement; Heb. 10:25 "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much to more, as you see the day approaching."
5) Serving Him as our part of the Body of Christ. Heb. 6:10 "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister."
Let the Lord find us busy doing His Word not just busy with our business. Luke 12:37 "Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are those servants whom the Master finds awake and alert and watching when He comes. Truly I say to you, He will gird himself and have them recline at table and will come and serve them!"
It's so easy to give up. If you have ever waited for something to happen or change and the delay was lengthy, you probably wanted to stop believing that it would occur. The desire to quit can be quite pressing, if you've longed for something a great while. Getting tired and the expectation waning makes one think there's no hope of a promised conclusion. Regardless for what you are holding on, despair almost always seems to creep in. Still as we look about we can see others that seem to get their victory, although we remain clinging to hope. We begin to question ourself, then doubt and fear enter, and we decide to throw in the towel. That's it, it's impossible, we say!
Remaining steady and intent may be difficult, but not out of the question! 1 Cor. 15:58 says, "Therefore my brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." Faith is what pleases God. Often to stay in faith we must encourage ourself. After all we are with ourself more than anyone else. The chances for others to stir us up is highly doubtful. They will probably tell us we might as well give up, because we've been waiting "forever", and if it was going to happen, it would have by now. When Paul wrote the Corinthians this letter, he was trying to stimulate their faith to have an unshakable attitude. The perspective that it doesn't matter how prolonged the situation, belief will not falter. It's like taking a glass and super gluing it to a table, so that when the table is shaken, it will not fall over. One could pick the table up and hold it upside down and the glass will not be moved! That's the type of attitude we need when believing God. Convinced to the point that whatever tries to rattle us, mentally or physically, we continue to be anchored to the Word of God and His promise.
Paul again wrote in Philippians, to "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6-7) Persistent thankful prayer to God, helps activate faith, by expressing we believe we have already received the request. Therefore bringing God's peace that exceeds anything our heart or mind can produce. Because when we believe we are in possession of faiths end, there is perfect peace.
Our desire is to encourage you to stay super glued to the promise to which you are believing! Don't give up! With all your might grab onto faith and know that you will receive if you do not quit! Resolve to hang on like you've never done before. Like Paul says, "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong." (1 Cor. 16:13)
Have you ever felt as if everyone and everything was coming against you? Your thoughts being bombarded with condemnation, telling you it's all your fault and that you're a complete mess up! And no matter how hard you try to fix it, you're not getting out of it? Let me tell you right now, you have invisible enemies! Ephesians 6:12GWT tells us, "This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world." Our opposition isn't coming from people. It's what's behind the problem - unseen forces trying to kill, steal and destroy your hopes, dreams and faith. (John 10:10)
1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." One of my favorite minister teachers said, interpreted the verse like this: "You must be constantly alert and on your guard! The devil, like an accusing lawyer, will try to charge you will all kinds of arguments and accusations. You need to know that he is like a lion on the prowl, constantly walking around, roaring, with a deafening sound, earnestly seeking the kind of person he can completely consume and slurp up!" (from Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner)
These powers from the supernatural realm are assaulting with depression, defeatist attitudes, hopelessness, worry, fear, discouragement, distress and the like. Does this sound like you? The problem is that most people don't recognize 1) it's coming from the devil and 2) there's a way of escaping this! (1 Cor. 10:13)
If you want to become free from any attack of the devil, here's what you can do!
1) James 4:7 "Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you." Submitting to God means, prayer and reading or studying the Word. We must know about the authority God and Jesus has given us and how to operate in it. (Luke 10:19) Just sitting in your room and thinking God's going to zap the devil, isn't going to change anything. He is not in control. If He was, He would have control over the evil. God has done all He's going to do through the power of the cross and Jesus' resurrection. Resisting something takes determination and a firm stand. A great example would be a dieter that is refusing to eat cake. Closing his eyes and pretending the cake will go away won't work. He must strongly fight against the urges to eat the dessert. To combat the tactics of satan's attacks, it requires a purposeful persistent opposition. The decision to cast down all imaginations that don't line up with the Word and a commitment to remain dedicated to confessing the scriptures. With this type of perseverance you can win every time!
2) Walk in the Spirit! Galatians 5:16 says, "...walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." By saying walk, we are implying that we need to live our life, make it our behavior or habit to be in the Spirit. One who 'walks in the Spirit', is asking the Holy Spirit for direction, listening and heeding His instruction! Saying what God's Word says, rather than talking about the problem. Walking in the Spirit means we're not participating with things that are contrary to the Word of God! It's control over the flesh!
3) And when we've done all to stand, stand! (Eph. 6:13-18) In other words, after doing everything in the Spirit we know to do, taken our authority, prayed in the Holy Ghost, and resisted the devil, we stand convinced that things have already changed. Why? Because we've acted in faith. And faith is the things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is calling those things that be not as though they were, running the course with endurance, and never let go strength. It keeps it's eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of faith. Praise and Worship is in our mouth because we believe we have already obtained victory. And when the invisible enemies come, we are already convinced that we are more than conquerors through Christ!
We encourage you to fight the good fight of faith, stay true to your course, never give up, know that you're an overcomer through the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony above the invisible enemies!
Many years ago while in Arkansas ministering, we visited a secluded farm. The sole purpose of going there was to get some blackberries. Fresh picked fruit is the best. We each sought out a bush and began to pick. Pastor Michael found an extremely large one that had the biggest berries, we'd ever seen. He began to choose the choicest ones and his small container filled fast. While gathering, he noticed deep within the giant bush there were even bigger berries. As he carefully tried to move the vines to avoid the thorns in order to reach in, an unsuspecting branch swung over and hit the hand holding the container. Just then all the berries, he had so thoughtfully gathered spilled to the ground, in the middle of the bush. Now all the huge fruit, he so cautiously harvested was scattered and his receptacle was empty. What had taken him twenty minutes to collect was gone in seconds. So disappointed in the loss, he looked around and found an abandoned fence post. He took that post and began to beat the bush, until he made a hole wide enough for him to crawl into. He picked up his little can and on his hands and knees, he wriggled into the bush to begin picking up all his lost fruit. He began to say, "I picked these berries, they are mine, and I'm going to have them!" All of a sudden an audible voice, that only he heard spoke to him and said, "When you seek Me like you're seeking these berries, you'll go straight to the top." When he heard this, he paused, but within a second later was back in picking and saying "I picked these berries, they are mine, and I'm going to have them!" Again the voice spoke a little bit louder to him, "When you seek Me like you're seeking these berries, you'll go straight to the top." Once more he paused and listened, but quickly began pressing in to get all that fruit he so much longed for. Then the third and final time the voice spoke, "When you seek Me like you're seeking these berries, you'll go straight to the top." Just at that moment he realized he had heard the voice of God. It wasn't until much later that evening that he became aware of thorns that had pierced him in his ears, legs and arms that he hadn't noticed during his berry quest. If one desires something, a focused determination will bring it about, although there are 'thorns' trying to hinder.
Some learning aspects of this experience, would be:
1) "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." (Mat. 6:33) Just like in this illustration, what a man seeks is the direction that will be leading him. Becoming so ingrained in something, can be positive if seeking the right thing. God first! If one is on the hunt for their own desires, success, fame or fortune, they can get off course and self driven, which leads to trouble. And when God speaks, it's often difficult to hear Him because the attention is based on our own passions. Grasping the attitude of Kingdom business and righteousness first, means all the things that God has for us will fall in line. Our needs and wants will be fulfilled if we give Him and His desires priority.
2) Being extremely committed and focused, to the direction God has for you, will desensitize distractions. Heb. 12:1-2 says, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." Pastor Michael was zeroing in on his task at hand: "Pick the berries". His intention was to get the biggest and best at any cost. It didn't matter that the bush had thorns or that they were piercing his flesh. With tenacity and purpose he pressed in despite any obstacle. We should be that persistent when it comes to our faith! Regardless of what comes against us, others conversation, deceptive speculations, or discouragement, our resolve to keep on keeping on should prevail.
Listen people of God, life has many distractions and lots of daunting events. There's going to be 'thorns' along the way. It's what we do in the midst of them that determines what kind of person we're going to be. We can notice every little "owie" or chose to keep our vision centered on God and His Word. One thing we do, is believe what God said above any circumstance, despite how we feel or what we see. We purpose to live daily in agreement with God, which means saying what He says and thinking what He thinks. Is it easy? NO! But if you resolve to be consistent and tenacious, you will not only grow up in Christ, but not even notice the "Thorns".
The Bible says, to not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we don't lose heart. (Gal. 6:9) I know you would probably agree with me, that waiting for something is often difficult. Especially if it takes a long amount of time. For some people two weeks is a long time. Yet, I'm reminded of Abraham, who waited 25 years for the promise of his son, Isaac. 25 Years?! Wow! Most of us would give up long before that. We'd say to ourself, "Well, I must not have heard God. It was probably my imagination." And that would be that! Because faith extended means we must make a demand within ourself. It's casting down fear, pushing aside doubts and pressing in closer to God and His Word. Remaining in faith for something, puts a demand on us spiritually. Generally it brings challenges against our flesh requiring us to discard imaginations and conversations from friends or family. It is essential during the 'wait' that we remain consistent in believing and keeping our confessions in alignment with the Word. (Mark 11:23-24 "Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you and you will [get it].") Being constant in resisting worry and confusion is a must as well. (Rom. 4:19-20, "And not being weak in faith, he (Abraham) did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,")
Straining our faith is pushing ourself to trust God, to believe in Someone we can't visually see or touch. It means we are convinced, without any doubt that He will come through for us, no matter what we see, feel or think, regardless of how long we must wait. Faith of that nature is that place where we conduct ourself as if we already have what we are believing. We are in such peace and joy that nothing can move us to presume otherwise.
That type of faith is:
1) Oblivious to surroundings. (2 Cor. 4:18, "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.")
2) Does not get discouraged. (Heb. 12:1 NIV "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,")
3) Keeps all natural circumstances subject to God's Word. (Heb. 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him."), and
4) Committed no matter what comes against it. (1 Pet. 1:6,7 "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.")
Receiving any promises from the Lord, requires that kind of faith! Heb. 6:12 Amp. says, "In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in his power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises." Without patience, faith will quit, and lack of diligence will steal our faith for the promise.
Need does NOT move God, FAITH moves God. Or just knowing and believing what belongs to you won't activate faith. We must read and study our Bible and pray in the Holy Ghost to build our faith. (Rom. 10:17 "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." & Jude 20 "Building yourself up on your most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit") Besides this, we know that faith without works is dead! It's also important to be a doer of the Word we've studied. When we do these things we can't go wrong in our faith. We will see results! Stay steady, Activate your faith, Don't give up!
She was almost four years old. Her desire and prayer to God was for a swing set. Each day she would go to the sliding glass door and gaze into the back yard and say, "See it? It's red, there are two swings, a teeter totter and a slide on 'that' side", as she pointed. She would insist that everyone come to look, although there was nothing there. But it was her prayer, her desire and she saw it. Every night as she was tucked into bed she would begin her prayer, "Thank you for my swing set". One particular night as her dad was putting her to bed, when she prayed, he said, "Honey, daddy can't get you a swing set just yet". But she was quick to respond, "Daddy, I'm not praying to you". Time went on and every day it was the same, she 'saw' by faith that swing set and she declared it! Time came for the family to take a short trip, and when they returned home, as usual, she ran into the house, to the back door and again proclaimed, "See, my swing set". She hastened to get her daddy to show him the swing set. All though he was busy unloading and unpacking, he took a minute to go look. But this time the view had changed, there it was! The swing set was in the back yard! Just as if it had been there all along! Her faith, her belief in God's provision had brought it to pass! (A true story)
Mark 11:22-24 "And Jesus, replying, said to them, Having faith in God [constantly]. Truly I tell you whoever says to this mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the sea and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]."
How simple does that seem? Pretty simple to a child. But as an adult we have come to over analyze things. Trying to figure out how we can make it happen, unlike this four year old, who truly believed God would manifest her request! She was taught at home and at her church that faith pleases God and He answers prayer. There was NO doubt, NO concern, or NO unbelief! She was unquestionably convinced she had a swing set. What she saw in the natural, didn't redefine what she knew in her heart or what she saw in the spirit. Then her confession daily, reconfirmed her faith, thus pleasing God and eventually bringing forth her desire.
Being one that has had multiple experiences of answered prayer and miracles, I can testify that my faith increased through attending a faith filled, spirit filled, Bible teaching church. Week after week of instruction helped to instill the foundation of belief in God's ability, provision, and promises. But it didn't just stop there, when I went home, I had to put into action the lessons I was receiving. The need for finances of an unexpected expense, required that I apply my faith, by praying, believing, and confessing, "God supplies all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." ( Phil. 4:19) Now, I know some of you would ask, did it come that day? And I would have to truthfully answer, No, not always. But I did get the need met, because I never laid down my faith in God. Regardless of what my bank balance looked like, or what my unbelieving family said, or any fears that came, the answer remained the same. GOD SUPPLIES! And just like for the little four year old, God did it!
The scriptures tell us to 'renew our mind to the Word'. (Rom. 12:2) You see, a renewed mind knows what God knows. It knows that satan is defeated! (Col. 2:15) It knows that the victory is already present and we overcome! (Rom. 8:27) And in spite of everything going on, it knows the answer is the same, God is able to make all grace abound toward 'me' that 'I', always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8) That's why when we believe we therefore speak. (2 Cor. 4:13), because our heart, head and mouth are in agreement.
It's time we had 'swing set faith'! Mark 11:22-24 "And Jesus, replying, said to them, Having faith in God [constantly]. Truly I tell you whoever says to this mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the sea and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]." Believe it, receive it, and say it!
Are there times you feel defeated, hurt, or perhaps angry over situations that have happened to you? There may have been people that said hurtful things or family members that treated you unfairly. Perhaps some of you had an abusive childhood. All these types of 'life incidents' can develop certain attitudes within us. This type of perspective can influence the way we think about ourself, about others, our values, our priorities, and even how we treat people. It's time we stop allowing these feelings to continue within us and govern our life. I know we can't change what happened to us, but we CAN decide what we will allow to affect us through life's journey. John 10:10 (spoken by Jesus) "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly."
In this world there are two forces at work, destruction and restoration. Of course we recognize that the devil wants to steal any joy or peace that we have, thus bringing up the past and it's hurtful experiences. But notice Jesus said in John 10:10, "....I have come that they may have life and they may have it more abundantly." That's restoration! He wants to restore what the enemy has stolen from you. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live free of anger, resentment, or grief? I know you're asking, "How can I do that? The circumstances are dreadful. I really feel hurt from what happened."
First we must realize we can choose to quite blaming the people or the circumstance on why our life is the way it is today. God said in his Word, "...I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life..." (Read Deu. 30) We hold the key to our future. Know this, what others have done TO you is not a reflection of who YOU are! It is an expression of who THEY are! Although we can't change what happened, we can decide right now not to take ownership of the heartache! Let's not allow any bad feeling cling to us. We need to enable the Word of God to bond to us and the bad feelings to roll off. Eph. 2:10 (AMP) says, "For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]." Agreeing with the Word instead of the pain begins the restoration process. That's when we will be able to see there's a good life in store for us.
Secondly, we must decide to forget. Phil 3:13 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,". Forgetting can be difficult, but we must understand what forgetting really means. Forgetting is NOT, denial, amnesia, concealing the facts, or even ignoring. A certain minister once said, "Forgetting is a process whereby the former events loose their power to control your present or dominate your future. Forgetting doesn't erase the history, but eliminates the past from being the predominate factor in your life." You know there's always going to be tribulations. There will always be people against us. And there will be situations that cause hurt. But we must remember God is always for us! Rom. 8:31(b) "...If God be for us, who can be against us?" His intervention of love and grace will allow healing to transpire and thus lead us into an extraordinary life.
Letting the Word of God become more influential than the pain and hurt will free us from the hold of the wounding experience. It's time we take the necessary steps towards living a life of victory, not influenced by anything other than God's Word. Why don't you make a decision today to focus on the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It will set you free from the law of sin and death! Be the master of your attitude not the victim!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."