Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Faith in Jesus is seen by how we live.

When you're feeling down and discouraged, where is your focus? When I feel that way, I'm usually focused on me--my problems, my worries, my pain--and I really can't see anything else (did you know this is idol worship?)--including God. But as long as we stay self-focused, we can't receive any help. Help comes only when we set our eyes, our hearts and our hope on our Heavenly Father and not on ourselves, others or things.

In Psalm 42, the psalmist speaks to his troubled heart:
"Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?"
Then he offers a solution:
"Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God" (42:5-6, English Standard Version, ESV).
Why does he "hope" in God? Because he has the sure and certain confidence that God is faithful.
When we're down and discouraged, we need to get our focus back on God where it belongs. That's the perfect time to look to Him for our hope and to trust Him to deliver and take care of us. The rest of Psalm 42:6 says,
"My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you" (ESV).
It's time to remember God who is faithful, good, compassionate, powerful--all the things you need when you're down.
There's a second step included. The first is to look to God and remember who He is and what He can do, but Psalm 42:5 also encourages praise. You see Him as your hope; then you praise Him for that. You remember His faithfulness; then praise Him for that too.
Psalm 20:5 tells us to celebrate:
"May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!" (ESV).
Raise the flags; hang up the banners or set off fireworks; show everybody that you belong to the God who is your salvation. That's what setting up banners is all about. It's how you tell others about God's faithfulness and draw them in to celebrate with you.
Of course, before you can celebrate it, it helps to be familiar with God's faithfulness and the hope He offers. Jot down what you learn about God's faithfulness from these verses:New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Deuteronomy 7:9

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

Psalm 86:15

15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Lamentations 3:22-23
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

Hebrews 10:23

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
The fact of God's faithfulness is awesome, but you can also find a reason to celebrate when you see examples of when or how He is faithful. How do you see that in these verses?
Psalm 91:1-6
Psalm 143:1-2
1 Corinthians 10:13
2 Thessalonians 3:2-3
1 John 1:9
Lamentations 3:20-24 is an excellent way to adjust your focus. Put it in your own words or memorize it for future need.
What are some examples of God's faithfulness you've seen in your life? When you've found your hope in Him? Put those in writing as a concrete reminder for days when you're feeling low and discouraged. I use a thankful journal to remind me of the things my Lord and Savior has done for me and those in my life. Reread it often as well as His word which more than anything reminds us of His love for us.
Then follow the example of Psalm 20:5 and "raise a banner." Be specific as you tell your spouse, your children or grandchildren how God has been faithful to you. Drop it into an email or a letter. If your family is around, turn dinnertime into a mini-party and give each member an opportunity to share. You can create a poster or maybe an actual banner that reminds you of God's faithfulness and how you find your hope in Him. Use your imagination to find a way to remember and celebrate today. It's a great cure for those times of self-focused discouragement.
*Most of the above was from Back to the Bible. Why reinvent the wheel when Pastor David has done so much hard work putting in verses. I did think of adding them in full yet felt it might be too much for many to want to read through so please if you do not have a way of reading them place a comment or email me and I will place them or send them to you from the Bible.

My Comments (and I welcome yours as well): Today I was thinking of some of my family who are saved. They have asked the Lord Jesus to accept them as His and He has washed them clean in the blood of the Lamb. My heart felt they needed some word of encouragement as we all do from time to time. I sent them a text of Philippians 4:6/7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer, supplication and thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ( ESV)
One has walked with the Lord Jesus for a number of years another is pregnant with my another Grandchild while the other has just come to the Lord and accepted Him as his Savior and Lord (and two more Grands have accepted Jesus a their Lord and Savior, praise the Living God). As you can imagine these words have special meaning for me as well.
Having had so many of my loved ones go on ahead to our home with our King, and God there are times still when I need to think about what my faith means and check to make sure the defenses are strong. These last eight months since my husband (originally written in 2013) was taken home have given me special challenges and strengthened me in ways the Lord knew I needed. I bless Him for loving me so much that He has allowed me to have them and gone through them with me.
Sunday at church (a Calvary Chapel Church in my area where the Bible is taught straight through verse by verse) one of the Elders taught on faith. How appropriate. God knew it was something we needed to hear about and something I could share with others.
I would like to share some of the verses for you to look up and maybe comment back on how God uses them in your life. Using the book of Hebrews chapter 11:11-40 he taught of faith. I hope these strengthen your faith as you come to realize what God has placed in His word to help us in our walk and to strengthen us in our faith.
Romans 5:1/2
Matthews 21:21/22
Matthew 8:26
John 3:6
Isiah 7:9
Matthew 9:22, 27-30
Romans 1:16
Hebrew 10:25
Romans 12:3
1 John 5:1-5, 9-12
John 14:6 ( on belief which is faith)
2 Corinthians 4:8-15
Philippians 4:19
I am sure in your studies of the word of God you will find many more verses you can hold in your arsenal which will strengthen you in the days when hurtful things happen, challenges arise and people question your beliefs and faith in God and when you witness for Jesus the Christ so none will be without the chance to know Jesus and be a part of the Family of God. After all it was the Almighty who sent His only begotten Son to earth to take upon Himself our sins so we may be forgiven and saved so why would we withhold that from others? What an awesome God we serve who fills us with His Holy Spirit and makes us His adopted children and friends of the King. When we are His we have a duty, obligation and privilege to share Him with others.

Abba Father, thank You for loving us that You would send Your Son to be born in a lowly stable, to live in a human body. That He would suffer and die that we might live. May our faith daily grow in knowledge and understanding and may we be filled with Your understanding through Your Holy Spirit that we will shine Your light through us on a darkened and hurting world. Increase our faith through Your word, guide us as we walk through this world of snares. Fill us with Your hope and trust that our lives will be a light lighting the way to our Lord Jesus in a dark and fallen world. In Jesus Holy Name in union with the Holy Spirit I pray, Amen, Amen

No comments:

Post a Comment