Friday, June 13, 2008

Faith that endures or faith that doubts which do you have?

ARE YOU READY? Ready? Ready for what?

Here in Florida we have now entered into the “hurricane season.” What that means to most people is to start planning ahead and making preparations should we get hit by a hurricane. It means preparing an inventory list, taking stock of what we have on hand and what we don’t in case of an emergency. We might stock up on food, water, batteries, flashlights, candles, matches, and paper products. We want to be prepared to the best of our ability should we get hit by a catastrophic hurricane.

As we look around us, read the headlines, watch the news we can see the world around us is in turmoil. We are living in perilous times. Rising gas cost, loss of jobs, Christian marriages being attacked more and more, church divisions, false teachers and preachers are on the rise, economic worries, the housing slump. Will things ever get better?

Are we as Christians prepared for a time such as this? Can we have a faith that will endure the test of time?

Many preachers today are preaching on what Christians need to do to be prepared for living life in these days. Many have suggested to have at least three months of savings readily available, to be debt free, to be diligent and wise stewards of your money, and to have extra food on hand. And I do believe that is wise counsel.

But my question is this? Are you prepared spiritually? Is your faith a faith that will endure and persevere that even in the midst of an economic crisis or some other storm or trial that comes your way; you’ll be prepared to handle it? I’m afraid many Christians are not. It’s easy to prepare for those things physical but when it’s spiritual preparation that’s needed we find ourselves unprepared for the storm and its damage. We don’t know what to do when we can’t see a way out or when there are no answers coming. All hope is gone and we find ourselves at wit’s end with no relief coming.

The first thing to remember is that our God loves us….He loves me...He loves you. These circumstances are not because of our Lord looking down on you and decides one day He’ll bring calamity upon you. No! God is still on throne even when life is spinning out of control and Satan is whispering lies in your ear that you deserve all this. God said in Jeremiah 3:13 - "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Not only does He love you but it's a love that is everlasting. It's a love that is eternal, never-ending, undying, and ceaseless. Many times we read that God loves us....that He first loved us...oh...but this verse tells us it is with an everlasting love. A love that is undying....a love that is eternal and ceaseless. We may question as the hard times are upon us how can God love me and allow this to happen to me? You call this love? Keep in mind that though our times are hard and rough, each circumstance in our lives will have an affect on someone else. While God is working in your life and mine, He is also at work in the lives of others as well. And that my dear sisters we cannot always see or even know about. Trust Him and rest in the fact that your Heavenly Father loves you and adores you even if it seems as though He does not. He is at work in your life and in the lives of others bringing about His purpose while refining you as well.

Another way to be prepared is to be a woman of the Word. Know what God’s Word says. Seek it out daily, meditate on it, seek guidance and wisdom from it. We know that in Ephesians 6 Paul tells us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of the Holy Spirit” and “to put on the full armor of God.” Ladies, put it on daily….just as we get dressed daily, the full armor of God must be put on daily. We can’t expect to put it on one day and then go out “naked” the next day and be victorious. We must be fully dressed and ready to do battle. There is no other way. Heed Paul’s instruction, be strong in the Lord and in the power of the Holy Spirit and be dressed in the full armor of God.

Be a woman of prayer. So many of our battles our won in prayer but also lost by not praying. Many of us have been in that place of torment or desperation where there are no words, there is no way you can pray, you don’t even know what to pray for so we just don’t pray. It is then you must trust the power of the Holy Spirit who is living inside of you to pray for you. He groans and intercedes on your behalf when you just don’t have the strength to do it on your own. All you have to do is start calling on the name of Jesus, just say the name Jesus if nothing else will come out. He’ll do the rest.

Prayer is a mighty weapon against the wiles of hell. When you find yourself unable to pray then find some prayer warriors who will do battle for you, who will cry out in the very throne room of God on your behalf. Don’t allow yourself to be isolated. It is there in the isolation where Satan can and will wreak havoc in your mind. That is why it is extremely important to call upon your sisters when you are at wit’s end, when you can’t utter a single word in prayer, when all your hope is gone. Don’t be shy about calling upon your sisters when there is a need “JUST DO IT!” And watch God work through those prayers.

Again, the question is, “Is your faith a faith that will endure?” When the intense trials come, when the damage is devastating, when your prayers are not answered, when all hope is gone, will your faith endure? Or will you fall into unbelief? Will you doubt God’s love for you and think that He is not faithful? Beware my dear sisters because Satan loves to feed those doubts and trust me, he will continue to feed those doubts. He’ll say things like…”oh there’s no way out of this, you’re in way too deep.” Or, you deserve this, God is tired of you and you’re secret sin.” Or how about this one, well now my little pretty, how are you going to get out of this crisis? He will bring you to a place where you’ll begin to doubt God and your heart will become so hardened that instead of worshiping the God who calls you by name, you’ll be doubting Him.

I don’t know of one person who has not suffered some kind of deep hurt in their life. Jesus never said that life would be easy or pain free. He tells us in John 16:33 – “In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Not easy to do yet that is what we are instructed to do “be of good cheer.” It is an enduring faith that will take each crisis, each devastating situation, each trial and storm, and hand them over to the One who is still on the Throne and say Lord, I give them to you. I leave them at the foot of Your throne. I am casting down every fear, every doubt and I am trusting you to work this out. I trust You to strengthen me, to lead me and guide me along the path that You have for me. I am casting everything on You. I am surrendering to Your will and what You want to do in me and through me.

It is then we will be able to rise up and face the devil head on. And it is then we’ll be ready for battle. It is then we’ll be ready to go in and assess the damage and allow the clean up process to begin. It is then we’ll be ready to say good-bye to any doubt and unbelief. It is then we’ll be able to worship our Lord with a pure heart knowing that yes, He is still on Throne and the victory is already won. So no matter what may come at us from this life here on earth we serve a God who is Sovereign and who is in total control. And YES…He loves you. AMEN!