Losing Faith

bad-ol-putty-tad-creditsAs I type in this title, I cringe. Why would we ever lose faith in our awesome heavenly Father? He has done so much for us. But if I speak the truth in my heart, I have to admit that I have lost faith, even this week.  We want to sugarcoat it by calling our faithlessness confusion or disappointment, but sadly, it still boils down to a loss of faith. And what does it look like? Do these examples sound familiar:

We pray for the Lord to do something. We pray A LOT and for a long time and we feel really good about it, but the prayer goes unanswered, and we lose faith.  Is God listening?  Why would He not answer our prayers?  We reason that it’s not a selfish prayer; in fact, it’s a prayer for salvation or holiness in the life of someone we love, but it goes unanswered, and we doubt God: lost faith.

We choose to be submissive in a difficult area with our husbands, knowing that our actions will improve our relationship, but instead of seeing a more understanding mate, he’s more difficult than ever, and we lose faith.  We pour ourselves into our children and they make a decision like moving to South Dakota, oops! They make a decision which is not in our plans, and we wonder: God, are You there?

Confession time: As you can see, I’m still dealing with having my children and grandchildren halfway across the country! I don’t like it, but does that mean it is not God’s will? The real problem is that my hopes and dreams died. My son was supposed to be our assistant pastor (I guess we should have told him! :)) and take over our ministry while we sailed off into the sunset!  My grandchildren were supposed to grow up serving the Lord with their cousins AND live close to grandpa and grandma—that was my plan, but it wasn’t God’s plan.

Do I see what God sees?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9

The answer is a very resounding NO!! God knows everything, sees everything, plans everything for our good and His glory… even when it hurts.

We plan, we work, we pray, but it ALL needs to rest on God’s plan, God’s power, and God’s answers.

And why does Satan fight us on the battlefield of faith?  Perhaps Matthew 25:21 will shed some light:

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

We all want to hear, “Well done,” from our Master, or we should; and it is our faith, which is the catalyst, to make that happen. So, here’s a few things that I have learned to battle faithlessness:

  1. Know your enemy: Our enemy is tenaciously devious! He will stop at nothing to stop your work for God! Doubts (another word for faithlessness) weaken our ministries, homes, and testimonies, and Satan knows that! Be on guard, and…
  2. Know your weapon: I’m so glad that James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you is in the Bible. AWESOME! Do you see what this verse is saying? We have the only weapon to fight against our enemy, and it works! That’s why your pastor, Sunday school teacher, mentor, etc. press your to memorize Bible verses. they are your arsenal against the enemy. How big IS your arsenal? Quote the Word, sing His praises, and Satan WILL flee!
  3. Know your flesh: We all have weaknesses and Satan know each one, perhaps even better than we know ourselves! That’s because we are good at NOT speaking the truth in our hearts. Right now, I’m not looking at photo albums because my heart is raw, and I know it will take me down a path that is not helpful! Be on guard and remember that we are in a battle. Take your sword, soldier, and keep the faith!  You are NOT a wimp–you became a warrior the moment Jesus Christ entered your heart!  The battle’s on: Go! Fight! WIN! In Jesus’ name!

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. Psalm 15:2

 

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“Mind” Your Master!

ID-100141782Ah, my first day of a new year – I’m only twenty-two minutes into this fifty-fourth year and God’s Spirit calls me from my lovely bed, stirring my heart and thoughts.  Now if only I can harness them and pull them all together into one communicable blog!

It started when I awoke from a dream – a bad dream, a real dream from my wicked past.  It’s as though Satan can’t stand the thought that I’ve had such a wonderful day walking with my Lord; so he tries to spoil it by reminding me of the pit where Jesus found me!  He’s so sneaky – using something as defenseless as a dream. But I have learned long ago that I’m the only one that remembers – God will not remember my sins any more (Jer. 31:34) and “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12.  Boy, Satan can’t stay around for long when I start remembering these precious promises from God.  Soon, the dream and its haunting memory are gone!  A sweet cool summer breeze floats into the window reminding me of God’s Spirit:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof,                                                                       but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth…” John 3:5

With free and wandering blasts as it wishes.” That’s how a note from the Geneva Bible aptly expresses it. Oh how wonderful to know that we have the Spirit of God and mind of Christ!

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?                                                               But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Corinthians 2:16

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”                                                                                        Philippians 2:5

Is it possible to comprehend such a truth?  I don’t think so!  But there it is in the Word of God, so I must believe it.  I have the mind of Christ – surely that will change everything about me: first, the way I think, then the way I go! My thoughts become centered on Jesus, although I am quickly reminded that this weak flesh can never fully grasp what that means.  In my whole lifetime, I will only gain a tiny thimbleful of the vast ocean of God’s understanding!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,                              saith the LORD.                                                                                                                       For as the heavens are higher than the earth,                                                                                                                     so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. “                                         Isaiah 55:8,9

But I know that as His Spirit lives in me controlling my mind, so my life is changed completely, and this world is no longer home.  I’m truly a sojourner just passing through!  As I live and work in this world, my eye (my mind!) is focused on the next.  Often we are reminded that living in the past is no way to live, for in so doing we miss all the blessings of the day.  But living in light of eternity – in the future – only keeps our minds in Christ and everything else in proper focus!  As I work down here, I think of my Lord working up there: preparing a place for me!  Isn’t that what we do when we are parted from a loved one?  Right now our youngest (my baby!) is working as a counselor at the Wilds Christian Camp.   How often my mind wanders down to North Carolina into the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to that special place, and I wonder what he’s doing at the moment.  I haven’t been to heaven but it’s the same concept as my mind goes there and my heart clings to His promises:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3

 …and I think about my Savior there fulfilling these promises and my mind is stayed on Jehovah!

Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Refrain

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Refrain

Frances Havergal (lived a short 43 years!)

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