Faith can seem like a strange thing. One day you are on top of the world. You are facing huge obstacles, yet you are trusting God and you know way down deep in that place that’s hard to describe, that you are going to come through this OK.
In fact, you are quite sure that the obstacles are crumbling before you.
Then there are other days. (You know, one of “those” days).
Just getting out of bed in the morning seems like a huge feat – and one that you might not be able to pull off!
So what happened? How can that be?
One day you’re up; one day you’re down. One day you see yourself right up there with David …and Paul! The next day, you’re more like Demas, the loser.
Will you ever be consistent and not wavering? You begin to doubt your ability to walk with God in a reputable way. Can you truly be His person?
Yes, you can. You just have to understand the nature of faith and why it may seem elusive.
One way to grasp the right perspective would be to compare your spiritual strength to your natural strength.
Life is fluid. Health is fluid. Strength is fluid. Strength of any kind is not like an object which you acquire and proudly display. It is part of your living being, and as in any part of life, there are efforts which are essential to maintain it.
Consider an athlete – such as an NFL player. Can you imagine what would happen if he took his strength for granted? He wouldn’t be around very long.
Even when he looks and acts like he has arrived at the zenith of physical perfection, he continues to work out and to practice. And, if he suffers an injury and has to sit out for awhile, his training increases to a new level upon his return. The athlete knows that his strength, endurance, and physical expertise are totally dependent on practice and training. He would never expect to maintain his desired level of achievement while in a total rest mode.
We need to take a lesson from the athletes. We need to honor the precious thing we call faith – our belief in God – our trust in His Word – and our zealous appropriation of all that He has for us. We must realize that our fath is a living thing. It grows or it diminishes. And a lot of the current status of this precious faith is dependent upon our current mindset.
The Bible says that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The nutrition which feeds our faith is God’s Word, and if we aren’t nourishing our spirits with his rich food, our faith will be diminishing. Even if yesterday we considered ourselves spiritual giants, yesterday’s food will not keep us full of faith. It’s like the manna in the wilderness which became rancid on the next day. We need fresh food everyday.
Let’s go a little deeper.
“Word” in Romans 10:17 is the Greek word “rhema.” It means the spoken word. The revealed word.
As you read the Bible, verses will seem to leap off the page and “speak” to you. You will sense that God is speaking those verses to you personally, and your faith will be built up by them.
As you meditate on those words, they will become planted in your heart and your mind. They will become yours to believe and to act upon.
Then in Jude 20, we see that faith is built up by praying in the spirit. So how is your daily prayer life? Do you check in with your spiritual headquarters every day, listening for direction, heeding His nudge, and listening for His voice of encouragement and affirmation?
Do you speak His Word into the atmosphere around you, changing the fog of delusion into the clarity of His vision?
Remember, yesterday’s manna is rancid. (Exodus 16: 15-20). Every day we start with a new need for our Father and His Word. Every day we have an opportunity to build on our strength of the past, or to allow that strength to recede.
Staying the same is never an option.
As a pastor, my husband led those in our church to say often, “I believe God.”
That seems so simple, you might think, well of course we do. But as you say those simple words, you will find your spirit leaping within you. A resounding, “yes!” You do indeed believe God and not man.
All of society around us needs us to be true believers, strong in our understanding and faith.
So let me encourage you. Believe God and strengthen your faith continually.
Read His Word. Pray. Do those things which build up your faith, and those things which cause it to continue.
When you find discouragement creeping into your thoughts, run to Gods Word. Ask Him for guidance in what to read. Then read and meditate. Allow that Word to become part of you.
If you do these things, you will keep the faith!
Suellen’s Note: I want to share with you the testimony of a very special lady. The first time I met Candice, I knew that God had His hand on her in a mighty way. I could immediately see such a sweet spirit, and her desire to fulfill her purpose in God… Little did I know that her growing up years were so filled with turmoil and pain.
Guest Post by Candice Fowler…
I guess my story begins as a young child.
I was born into a family with lots of problems. From the time I was a baby, I was tossed back and forth from family member to family member.
There was a lot of abuse, drug abuse and neglect.
I never really felt safe and secure.
As I grew older, I began to walk that same path. I was heavy into drugs and lived a life full of sin and rebellion. The loneliness and hurt within me caused me to seek unhealthy relationships.
I could see my life spiraling downwards.
Yet even as an adult, I continued on that path. I only really thought of myself, and did whatever I wanted to. I was trying to cure my despair with momentary pleasures of drugs and promiscuity.
Around 2008, God started getting my attention. I knew that there was a better way and I felt drawn to God and His love for me. It was a hard road and It took me a couple years to completely straighten up my life, but God was still faithful and patiently waited.
I began to go to church and serve in the church, but something was lacking, and that was a relationship with him.
In 2016, I fully gave my life to God. I received Jesus, I learned what surrender was and I laid it all down. Totally surrendering my life to Him. It truly takes giving Him control of it all, allowing Him to change you.
On a daily basis, I pray and ask God to create a clean heart within me. For Him to search me and find any wrong way within me, and burn it up.
I can’t imagine living a day without him. He truly is my Rock, my Redeemer, my Fortress, my Strong Tower. Those are not just words to me, that is who my God is!
He takes us out of the pit of destruction and places us on firm foundation.
I look back at my life and I can see that I have a great purpose. There were several times when I could have ended up dead, but he protected me through it all.
He has completely changed my life.
I know without a doubt there is a God. I never thought in a million years I would be the person I am today, but GOD!!
My husband loves to photograph Eagles.
We have spent many days packing gear into our car and driving off to unfamiliar territory in order to catch glimpses of these magnificent birds. We join the quiet, respectful group of photographers who have congregated close to the nests. Then patiently we wait to spot the tiny eaglets as their heads pop up.
My favorite part of this excursion is to watch the adult birds. They launch from the nest in pursuit of food. And they soar.
High, higher, higher…
These beautiful, majestic birds spread their wings to their full extent and they soar. The wind currents carry them and they disappear from sight as they head toward the nearest water or higher hills.
Then you watch them dip and swirl as they allow the wind streams to create the lift they desire.
It’s beautiful to watch.
This scenario reminds me of our lives as Christians.
God has plans for us. Our special purpose to further His Kingdom. Our unique part in His big plan.
You may think of yourself as too small or too insignificant to matter very much to God.
If so, you are wrong. You are precious and extremely important to your Father.
Do you consider yourself a “simple person?” Well I have tremendous news for you! That’s who God is looking for.
God isn’t looking for self-sufficient ones. He is looking for those who rely on Him and His Spirit to live their lives and accomplish His will.
To put it another way, the old adage is true: the way up is down. Down on our knees and down in our own eyes.
Then He will lift you up.
When we insist on doing things in our own strength, we mix our own efforts – even our best efforts – with pride, fear, worry, confusion, and every negative emotion.
Our Father wants our lives to be above all of that negativity. He has many things for us to accomplish, but He wants us to accomplish them with joy. And he desires to work with us to fulfill our part.
So when we start with prayer, reading the Word, and listening for our Father’s direction, something beautiful occurs. We get direction as to what to do. We gain confidence that only comes from time with Him.
And He empowers us to accomplish His task.
Even youths shall faint and grow weary.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings as eagles.
They shall run and not be weary.
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31)
A couple of weeks ago, the Holy Spirit woke me up at 3 am and spoke these words into my spirit. “Stir up the gift which is within you.” (II Tim 1:6)
I knew exactly what He was saying.
You see, our church had been holding a campmeeting with Ted Shuttlesworth and his son, Ted, Jr. The building was packed out with visitors praising and worshiping God, clearly eager to receive the divinely inspired messages. And they were not disappointed. The rafters shook with the booming praise, clapping, dancing, and rejoicing over our God and what He is doing in the earth. Healings were dramatic and often. Throngs were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time.
As the night proceeded, I felt the gifts were being stirred in me – and others. In that atmosphere there is always an awareness of heaven’s touch – and the reality of the Kingdom of God.
It reminded me of earlier days…maybe because it was like earlier days. It reminded me of the days when there was rejoicing in the city by the many people who were turning to the Lord, getting saved, baptized in the Holy Spirit and shouting their newfound truth to the rooftops. (more…)
I can remember, as a child at my piano recital, waiting for my performance to come up on the program. I would sit, supposedly listening to the others, but totally distracted from music being presented. I was waiting for “my time” to come. That’s what I was there for. And when our group went back stage as “our time” got closer, it would have taken the National Guard to keep us from running and playing as we waited. We were waiting for “our time.”
I’m sure that many who played sports would have similar recollections. We were there to do our part. Of course, we pulled for the team, but we wanted our part.
As children we longed to be in the game… but what happened to us? Maybe put-downs or discouragements, maybe setting goals so high only supermen could have accomplished them, but for some reason, as adults we are different. (more…)