World conditions are intensifying. As we look around we see news flashes of violence, disasters, doom, gloom and despair. Others and ourselves are being bombarded with sickness, tragic family or friend loss, financial stress, and mental pressures. We feel like we are living in a battle zone that's never ending.
Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1 "But know this that in the last days perilous times will come." Listen up children of God, we are living in the final days, before Jesus returns. We are facing dangerous, unpredictable, high risk times. Some of you may be asking, how can we persevere?
Let me reassure you that there are conquering strategies for every believer. The basis to being an overcomer is found in the Bible. This is a time we can not afford to live with the notion that everything will resolve itself and settle down. The devil knows that his time is nearly ending and he's unleashing all that he has to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10) This is the moment that we, born again, spirit filled, sword wielding Christians rise up to the occasion. Fear, dread and defeat will try to overpower you. Don't let it! Ps. 138:7 says, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revived me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies. And Your right hand will save me. The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever..."
Peace, comfort and victory comes from trusting in the Lord. He IS the 'All Sufficient, El Shadday'! Experiencing His sustaining strength requires that we must run to Him first in all situations! We have to make His Word the place we go for security, assurance, and direction! Then no evil will conquer us nor any disease come near. The following scripture is one that is our anchor for safety in troubled times. It's time to realize that His deliverance will come in our time of need, when we trust, believe and rely upon Who He is! The problem with most people, is that they don't call upon the Lord in the midst of difficulty. It's much easier to try to figure it out on our own or depend on another method to alleviate our distress. Let this scripture resonate within your heart and spirit becoming the stability for faith in God's safety and deliverance!
Ps. 91 Those who live in the shelter of the Most HighThis I declare about the
In the next few weeks we will be talking about how to live, be skilled, and persevere during perilous times! It's time to arise from lethargy, put on the armor of God, engage active faith, fight the good fight of faith, lay aside fear, discouragement and defeat to become the victor in Christ you are called to be! If you need prayer of agreement, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we are here for you!
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)
Sailing a ship in stormy weather can be hazardous unless the captain has the knowledge and expertise. High winds and enormous waves can cause the ship to sink or shipwreck. Many a vessel has been lost due to treacherous seas. Like the tempest at sea, we are living in a troubled world. However, Jesus said "...in the world you will have tribulation..." (John 16:33) Paul also wrote in 2 Timothy, "...in the last days perilous times will come." (2 Tim. 3:1) Listening to the news we can see that we live in very dangerous, risky and unpredictable days. One who does not have the Lord as his Savior, is generally fearful and fretful. Jesus is our lighthouse, illuminating the path to safety. Through His direction and knowledge from His Word there is hope. (Heb. 13:20-21 "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to who be glory forever and ever. Amen") In light of the fact of circumstances we face, let's see how our Great Shepherd is characteristic of the lighthouse to us....
Psalms 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd;" Making Jesus the ruler of your life, places Him as your protector, and watcher of your life. A lighthouse is guidance to safety. Surrendering to Him, just like sheep do to a shepherd, allows Him to be a guide of security. Sheep know the shepherds voice and where He leads they follow, unlike goats that question and butt everything that comes against them. (John 10:4)
"I shall not want." Phil. 4:19 says, "He supplies all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." As your Shepherd, He's going to make sure you have provision for every necessity. His supply is satisfying if we follow Him, as a ship that follows the light from the lighthouse. The Bible also tells us, He will give us the desires of our heart as long as we are delighting in Him. (Ps. 37:4) In the place of every need is supply.
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures;" When sheep lie down it means they are satisfied and content. Because we are in His presence there is fullness of joy we can rest untroubled as well as at peace, "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Ps. 4:8 & Ps.16:11) Even in the midst of a stormy sea the beacon shines to give us confidence and peace.
"He leads me beside the still waters." We can be sure He's leading us to a place of refreshment and tranquility. When we delight in His Word, as we meditate day and night will place us by the rivers of water which provides sustenance. Therefore, keeping us refreshed and prosperous, quenching our thirst. (Ps. 1:1-3 & Jer. 17:3)
"He restores my soul;" God forgives our iniquities and heals all our diseases. (Ps. 103:3) Regardless of how much we mess up, when we repent He forgives. Because of His infinite mercy and grace we are restored. The Holy Spirit gently signals us during times of struggles to escort us to the sanctuary for redemption.
"He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake." We can depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) He will usher us in the right direction and in safety. His Name is the Lord our Righteousness, Jehovah Tsidkenu. Ps. 32:8 God says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." Keeping our vision focused on Him assures traveling in a sheltered course.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," Life is full of tribulations and temptations. One thing for sure, is we are going to the other side of the problem. But we must remember not to set up camp in depression or sorrow. We are more than an overcomer through Him. Especially when storms are raging, there's trust in His guidance. Pro. 18:30 "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."
"I will fear no evil, for You are with me;" Paul wrote, that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7) As long as we abide in the presence of the All Mighty God, we remain in His protection and fear will not affect us. (Ps. 91) Relying on the promise of His faithfulness to never leave or forsake us brings courage and strength. (Deu. 31:6-8) Just like the light signaling lost ships gives hope.
"Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." God's Word is the instruction we need to get us through our life. In Ps. 119:105, it says, His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. That means it will point us in the right direction daily and for things to come. If we refer to the Bible everyday, it will teach, correct, and admonish us in living. (2 Ti. 3:16)
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;" God is on our side. He will contend with those who contend with us. Although there are enemies, we will not just survive, but feast in the midst of them. We come out on top of situations because of Him. Ps. 18:3 says, we can call upon the Lord, and He will deliver us from our enemies. Our trust and faith in Him, will bring peace with any adversary. (Pr. 16:17)
"You anoint my head with oil;" The anointing of oil upon the head is symbolic of blessing, protection and empowerment. We are sanctified and set apart for Him. (1 Cor. 6:11) We are chosen to proclaim the praises of God. (1 Peter 2:9)
"My cup runs over." Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, overflowing, much more than is expected or needed. This is the blessing that spills over. We are blessed!
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;" As long as we remain faithful to God's Word, we shall be in His mercy. Ps. 65:11 says, God crowns the year with His goodness, and richness overflows wherever He is. Steadfastly abiding in the Word and His presence guarantees goodness and mercy.
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever." We have guarantee of our place for eternity when Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior. This is a promise of security in eternity.
We want to encourage you to mediate on this scripture and let it become a reality in your heart. Realize that through the Word, God has given us guidance for anything we may face. He encourages us with the promises of provision, protection, healing, blessing, and His benefits. Our failure to recognize these, believe and trust Him, and receive it, puts us at risk in these insecure days. Don't shipwreck because you reject faith and a good conscience. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and sail through to the shore. You can do all things through Him, who gives you strength. (Phil. 4:13)
Thoughts are kind of funny. One can be thinking of something fantastic, then out of no where, a creepy fearful image pops in our mind. The problem is, it doesn't stop there. We have a tendency to dwell on that alarming notion, blowing it all out of proportion. And before we realize it, that thought became a fearful emotion. The feeling of FEAR causes great anxiety in our life, whether it's realistic or unrealistic. What's the difference of realistic and unrealistic fear, you ask? Realistic fright is the imagination of reasonable situations. For instance: getting a dreaded illness; someone not liking you; having an accident; and things that are believable. Unrealistic phobias are unfeasible or illogical. Such as: a building suddenly collapsing; an infestation of tarantulas in your house and other ideas that are far fetched.
Regardless of the kind of fear that sneaks into your thoughts, it can be overwhelming and destructive if we allow it to linger. Someone once said, FEAR is F-false, E-evidence, A-appearing, R-real! Let's face it, no matter the fear it's not of God! 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." Once we understand where fear comes from, it's easier to manage. So, how does one manage this type of thinking? 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "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." We must take authority over these fears ushering in God's Word to replace it.
Have you heard the saying,"A mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held it's ground."? Fear, if left alone, can grow so massive it will destroy any faith you have. Make a decision now to demolish all fears, anxieties, or worries with the Word of God. Find a scripture with which you can defeat the enemy. Below we've listed some from the Bible that will be an instrument in conquering fear. Make each verse personal by putting your name in them.
Scripture References (Amp. Version)
Ps. 119:105 "Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
Phil. 4:6,7 "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God."
Ps. 112:7 "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firmly fixed, trusting (leaning on and being confident) in the Lord."
Ps. 27:1 "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation-whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?"
Is. 41:10 "Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice."
Ps. 34:4 "I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."
Heb. 13:6 "So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?"
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]"
Is. 26:3 "You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both it's inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You."
Col. 3:15 "And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving always]."
Col 3:2 "And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are the earth."
Phil 4:8 "For the rest, brethren, whatever it true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]."
1 Cor. 2:16 "For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart."
Your consistent repetition of these verses will enable and empower you to gain surpassing victory over any fear that comes your way. We believe that you are more than a conqueror over fear through Christ who loves you.
Breathe, just breathe! Don't let the pressures of the holiday's get to you. Right now it's easy to look at your finances and feel the stress of it all. Wondering how you're going to buy Christmas presents, donate to those favorite charities, and pay all your bills on time. Or perhaps you're considering how much time you've got to get everything done. What ever your dilemma, take a deep breath and trust God. The devil wants to get you anxious and frustrated about things. And the more bothered you are, the less peace you have.
So how can you eliminate troubled thoughts? If you will begin to do the following you will experience the peace of God.
1) Cast all your care upon the Lord for He cares for you! (1 Peter 5:7) This means to throw, toss, or fling your worry over to the Lord. This does not mean in prayer we rehearse all the problems and woes. We must take the thought of concern in prayer to the Lord with the answer from the Word of God. For instance, if you're afraid that you're low in money, in prayer you would find a scripture that confirms God's answer to your need. Phil. 4:19 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." would be one of the scriptures you could validate for God's provision to you. Praying using this scripture not only builds faith in God, but proves His answer to your problem.
2) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." (Ps. 3:5-6) Full trust is confidence in someone. It's believing without any doubt that they will do what they said. We must arrive at the place of taking our perceptions and view them through the Word of God. That means if you are looking at your situation through the eyes of past insufficiencies, you have to cast those imaginations down, bringing your thoughts into focus with God's promise. Remember, "He is able to make all grace abound unto you that you having all sufficiency in all things, will abound to every good work." (2 Cor. 9:8) By recognizing your need for God's intervention you unlock the paths of His direction.
3) "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." (Heb. 13:15) Now it's time to exercise faith. When we believe something we act like we do! We need to give praise and thanks to God for something, even if it hasn't happened yet. This exercises our belief that we already have received it by faith. Since God operates by faith, just as He releases faith in His words, so must we. Declaring His Word over our circumstance is proving we believe and agree.
Remember the thief (the devil) comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus said He came to give life and give it more abundantly. This 'Life' comes from the Word of God - it's our source to live in victory. Using these scriptures will activate faith, reveal your submission to God, and help you resist the devil's stress. Thus JOY and peace come and you have deflated the Holiday pressures.
If you've ever gone through, or are going through, a hard time and wondered how to break free from it, this message is for you! We've known a lot of people that have experienced hardships of all kinds. We have also undergone these 'storms', but however intense the trial, with the grace of God we overcame! Praise God for Psalm 34:19 "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all." If anyone thinks he is impervious to tribulations, he is wrong. Jesus said in John 16:33 "...in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
These so called 'storms' are all a part of life, which sometimes come from our disobedience to the Lord. A good example is Jonah in the Bible. (Jonah 1-4) His disobedience caused him to undergo 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a whale. God had instructed him to go preach to the people in Nineveh. But Jonah didn't want to. Have you ever had God tell you to do something that you didn't want to do? Maybe it was because you didn't want to see God do His miracle power for someone you were upset with. It could be you were just wanting your own way. What ever the reason for disobedience, it brings a harsher intolerable condition, thus Jonah in the belly of the whale. So how do we escape from this type of 'storm'? Repentance! Asking for forgiveness and compliance with His instruction will bring you deliverance. It's the only way!
Other types of 'storms' come because we are obeying the Lord. Yes, often times the devil will cause tumultuous times because you obey God! Looking at Matthew 8:23-27 Here's a story where Jesus and His disciples got into the ship to cross the sea of Galilee. Although great (mega, intense, fierce, one scholar used hurricane proportions) winds arose and waves began overtaking the ship, Jesus fell asleep. Perhaps the 'storm' you encountered was so severe and overpowering that it caused you much fear. You may have felt that Jesus was sleeping during this drastic moment. And it seemed like there was no way out. But just like in verse 26, Jesus arose and rebuked the storm, we also need to rise up in our situation and rebuke the 'storm'. In Luke 10:19, Jesus gave us power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over ALL the power of the enemy. When we are obeying the Lord in our call, we have the right to exercise authority in Jesus Name! After that comes peace and calm.
Perhaps a 'storm' has arisen during a time you've been under the authority of a person on assignment. This could be when your at work, in school, or involved in a church. You may have tried to express a leading from the Lord regarding a matter, but they wouldn't listen. It was afterwards that all chaos broke loose, just the way the Lord showed you. Yet, now you're stuck in the mess because authority wouldn't pay attention. This same type of thing happened to Paul, the apostle, when he was on his way to Rome. Being held prisoner by authorities, he tried to tell them not to sail, because the Lord revealed to him pending disasters. (Acts 27) So how can we get out of the storm? First thing, is perseverance! We must remain steadfast in faith, in love and in the Word. Secondly, pray for all those involved, especially the leadership. God will intervene and save you and those connected.
Whatever type of 'storm' you battle, know this, there is a way of escape. Recognize that in the midst of every attack there's something to gain and victory is yours. Rom. 8:28 "We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose." Discern the storm you're facing with the Word of God and discover your way to victory to escape from the storm!
Of all the creatures on earth I believe the less stressed is the snail. Seriously, think about it, the snail, as slow as he is, still made it to the ark before the flood. He wasn't stressing about making it! The pressures of daily life, whether it be the job or family oftentimes can be overwhelming. With the need to accomplish what's been set before us or the tasks we've chosen, stress can enter in to affect us causing illness. Too often people tend to put more on their plate than they can effectively handle. Or because of the tender nature of some, responsibilities are often added to them by leadership. All this adds stress related emotions.
The work before us, isn't easily ignored, especially when it involves others, assignments or impending target dates. The tension of fulfilling the mission usually mounts as more duties are assigned and the schedule narrows. So how does one handle stress on a day to day basis?
I am reminded of 1 Peter 5:7, of which I like the Amplified version, "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." I liken casting to 'heaving, throwing, or flinging'. And of course Peter didn't say, just throw part of your care...he said the 'Whole of your care'! That's all the 'how's it going to turn out, how's it going to get done, IS it going to get done, and how am I going to do it' thoughts. Then he indicates 'once and for all'! In other words, do it once and leave it! Don't take back the worry or questions. Leave them in the Lord's lap.
Doing this is very difficult for a lot of people, because they want to be in control. I think some people believe God's not interested in the 'little' BIG stuff in our life. I call it 'little' BIG stuff, because in the scheme of it all, there are bigger and grander problems than these things we call BIG! Our nature is to make mountains out of mole hills, thinking the world will fall off of its axis if we don't complete something. If the truth be said, generally it's us that determine the degree of significance. (I'm not talking about those large events with time constraints involving hundreds of people. In those cases, we just need to activate time management or delegation. Remembering we can't do everything ourself.) Regardless of the measure of importance, we should cast the whole of our care, once and for all over on Him!
Here are some helpful points to rid yourself of stress or anxiety in your life.
1) Pray! Yes, it's come to that! Prayer IS 'Casting'. It's taking whatever's confronting you and giving the guardianship of it to God. Pro. 3:5-6NIV "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths." In more ways than not, God has the perfect way to accomplish your task at hand! You just might be surprised at the answer He has for getting it done!
2) Thank God for taking your care! Phil. 4:6-7 says, "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." Thanksgiving is where faith is activated. When we thank Him for the answer before it arrives, that means we believe He's given us the answer.
3) Renew your mind to the Word. In other words, find some scripture to meditate on. Phil. 4:8 "Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things." Instead of thinking about all the problems and all of what you cast over to God, find the good things about your situation to reflect on.
and 4) Praise the Lord. Praise is acknowledging what God has done, what He is doing and what He will do! It's important to know that Praise always precedes God's power. (Read 2 Chron. 20:21-22) Your praises to God will open the door for things to change and answers to come in behalf of your situation. God always sits upon the throne of praise we build. (Ps. 22:3)
I know that if you incorporate these points in your life, your stress will leave, peace will come and the help you need will arrive. Praise the Lord!
Imagine this, you're moving along in life, going to work, living happily with your family. Everything seems real fine! You've got your bills paid, and a little money put away for a rainy day. You and your family are healthy. You live in a nice house, drive a cool car and can afford to have a few luxuries. It seems life is treating you real good. Then 'wham' right out of no where, a problem hits. You've always considered yourself to be a person of faith, praying regularly, attending church when you can and even quoting Bible scriptures. But now there's a serious issue that's staring you right in your face. It's so severe that you don't know who to turn to for help or how to confront it. It seems over whelming and unsolvable. What are you going to do?
Regardless of any type of difficulty there's always one solution, God. Yes, I know a lot of you are saying, "Really?? Are you for real? Of course you'd say God, your a preacher. But what about us normal people?" Ps. 56:3 says, "What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You (God)." Let's face it, is there anyone that can fully dispel fear, anxiety, frustration or give a sense of calm in the midst of turmoil? No! All the friends and family around can only sympathize, empathize, and express their opinions. Not one individual can completely ensure peace in the heart of a situation. Generally most people want to try to solve the dilemma on their own and really think they have the answer. Yet, when in the middle of adversity, no matter what we try to do, there's still the feeling of despair and questions of resolve.
The Psalmist wrote, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Ps. 27:1 What that verse is really saying is, the Lord God is our deliverance. He will deliver us out of the situation. Personally, years ago we were faced with a serious lawsuit. A man who willfully injured himself while working for us, sued us for millions of dollars. We sought out legal counsel and help, but there was not one attorney in that town who would help. It seems the judge that normally handled these types of cases, always sided with the injured worker. In the words of the attorneys, we were doomed right from the start. But not heeding their counsel, we decided to take the problem to the 'Higher Court'. Our Almighty God. We prayed and asked the Lord God to intervene on our behalf. On court day, we showed up without an attorney prayerfully and in faith believing for the 'deliverance' by our God! Much to the courts surprise the judge that entered the room was not the original one scheduled. A different judge took this court because the other judge was unable to attend. And yes, you guessed it, she ruled in our favor! God mediated!
The second half of Ps. 27:1 says, "...the Lord is the strength of my life...." That word strength is defense. He will come to your defense. Just like in our court case, beyond any of our control,God turned the problem around protecting and defending us. Despite all difficulty He by the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams.] (Eph. 3:20Amp) God IS the answer to any problem, situation, disaster, trouble or dilemma you may be facing. We urge you to seek Him out. Pray for His intervention. He will come to your aid and defense! Of whom shall you be afraid?
In our house we have an alarm system. To activate or deactivate that alarm, one must have right code. The proper numbers must be entered in proper sequence or the system won't work. Surprisingly there is a code to faith and the operation of it is just like working an alarm system. Unless you're willing to use the code the alarm is good but you'll never activate it. Most people would say, they have not yet found out how to operate their faith consistently and have trouble setting it in motion.
The Bible says, Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Rom. 10:17) However, faith does not operate by just hearing or just knowing. As in our previous blog (Fully Persuaded Faith 8/13/13), you have learned that just knowing something does not make it so in your life. The key to a successful and prosperous life is what we do with the Word! Look here at Joshua 1:8,9, "This Book of the Law shall not depart (cease) from your mouth, but you shall meditate (mutter) in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success." Notice a favorable outcome is determined by us! Saying the Word, and doing it is an activation of our faith! One can tell what one believes by what is said and done. Because people say what's in their heart and act out what they truly believe.
Everywhere individuals are confronted with problems that they wish would change. And generally instead of putting Godly faith on that situation, they just talk about it, complain about it, and think about it. In essence, you could say they put negative faith on it, believing it will be that way always. Emotions, such as anger, fear, sorrow, grief, or the like, will not activate faith. There's a 'code' to activating faith in your life and that's the only way to have a move of God in your situation.
Let's look at Mark 11:23,24 Amp. where Jesus says, "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)."
So what's the code of faith? Just like in Joshua 1:8,9 we must:
1) Find out what the Word says about our situation and for what we are believing. Write those scriptures down. It's important to know what's the basis of our faith, how it lines up with God's Word.
2) Meditate on that Word. Get it down in our heart to the point that the Word comes out instead of the complaint. Mutter it to ourself - remember faith comes by hearing.
3) Confess or say what we're believing, instead of what we're seeing. This will encourage our faith. How long do we say it? As long as it takes for it to manifest.
4) As in Mark 11:23-24 Believe we receive it as we say or pray for it, before it materializes. Faith without works is dead. Putting belief to our confession activates faith!
and 5) Praise and rejoice! True faith that believes the answer has shown up, rejoices and Praises the Lord before it actually arrives. (Read about Paul and Silas who were praying and praising before their answer came. Acts. 16:25-26)
These steps will help activate faith in your life if you exercise them regularly and consistently. Remember faith works by love, faith without works is dead and faith opens the door giving access to God's power.
We've had people ask, why is it necessary to attend church? Can't we just watch a television evangelist, watch an internet minister or listen to a cd and get the same results? However good or educational these may be, there's just something about attending a corporate church service. Heb. 10:24 amp. "Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together (as believers) as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging and encouraging) one another and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching."
The church is a place where we learn and receive faith. (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The Word here is preached Word) Being built up in faith ensures that when challenges arise, faith meets them rather than fear. Being separated and alone gives place to fearful thoughts and discouraging attitudes. Seeing other believers that are confronted with the same kinds of situations as yourself, and learning of their triumphs and victories builds faith! You can't get that from t.v., the internet or a c.d.
There are some who say: 'I'm not ready to go to church, I need to get myself together first before I go.' The local church will accept you just the way you are. But, if it's a faith filled, spirit filled, bible teaching church it will not leave you the same way you came. Your faithful attendance to listen to the message of the Word and apply it to you life daily, will cause you to change. (Rom. 10:14 "How can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?") You must come to hear and hear to believe.
One might say: 'I used to be in a church and worked so much I got burned out.' Let me say first, people who feel overworked are generally unorganized. Pressure comes because of the lack of organization, not because one has a role in serving in the local church. We can get 'burnt out' doing sports, hobbies, and the like, and quit as a result. Secondly, burn out comes because an ember is too far away from a flame. Our flame gets extinguished because we're doing 'works' without a relationship with Christ. The lack of organization gets us to working so much we neglect to spend quality time praising and praying. Plus when we're not scheduled to work, we stay away from service rather than come and get energized from the preached Word and fellowship, using the excuse 'I'm burned out.'
I've heard some say: 'There are just hypocrites in the church. They come to church but don't really act like they should.' My question to you would be, are you going to allow a 'hypocrite' come between you and your relationship with God? Because if you refrain from attending church, worshipping the Lord, or serving Him, then he just got between you and Christ and he's closer to Christ than you are. Besides what better place for a hypocrite than church? Just perhaps he'll hear the Word at one point and get his life changed. We should pray for them, not allow them to control what we do.
People have even said: 'I've gone but I just don't get it. I don't understand what's being taught.' If you're not 'getting it'. Then you need to put into operation Mark 4:14-20. Work on your (dirt) heart. What determines what your dirt is like is you. Cast your cares over on the Lord, walk in forgiveness, or put your sight on things above not on the earth. Become a spiritual man, because a 'natural man' can't receive spiritual things. (1 Cor 2:14-15) A change of heart will help you better comprehend the Word of God.
The case in point with not attending church, regardless of the reason you're being robbed of a blessing Christ intended for you to have. Eph. 4:11 Christ gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to the church for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ. He purposes that our minds be renewed by the Word. He desires that we may better understand and know what promises are already ours so we can live victoriously. And the only way to do that is in the local church. Pray to make sure you attend the church of God's choice for you. Be certain the church you attend preaches/teaches and believes the uncompromised Word of God, not just what you want to hear. (Truth sometimes is uncomfortable.) Then be faithful, because faithful attenders understand and learn more swiftly than the non attenders. If you don't believe that, then only send your child to school one day a month.
Let me just end with this, it' easy to be thrilled with something, it's just difficult to stay thrilled. It takes diligence to remain excited about church. It's an attitude we must choose. Choose to be inspired at your local church!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."