Sunday, October 25, 2015

Faith

LORD, ARE YOU OUT THERE?
ARE YOU LISTENING?
WILL YOU ANSWER?
I struggle with faith.

THERE!  I've said it.

I've heard tell that confession is good for the soul; I've done my soul a good turn.  It's out in the open. I feel better, getting it out there, saying the words, admitting the issue.

Have you struggled with faith?  With trusting God when there is little to no tangible evidence?  When your heart is hurting, your life seems a mess and there is SILENCE from heaven?

What about when you've seen evidence, there have been answers, your heart has been comforted and assured; but you still find your mind and thoughts huddled trembling around the idea of "what about THIS time?!?!"

Or how do you "have faith" when the answer to the last prayer was a "No" but here you are, again, and where else can you turn but to heaven for help?

You are not alone.  Struggling with faith and prayer has been around since Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden.

Everyone struggles with faith and prayer.

Some overcome it with what appears to be ease.  In other lives the battle is fiercer, more evident, of longer duration and even constant and ongoing.

We are always faced with choice.  Blessed or cursed, we have free will.  To believe or not is always our own decision.  The war is always fought in the physical, yet exists in the spiritual.

If you are looking for a 'one size fits all' shot of faith stabilizer - it doesn't exist.

And I for one CELEBRATE that fact!  Our infinitely creative Father made every single one of us so perfectly individual, so unique, so special, that there is always ONE ANSWER to every issue:

JESUS

but totally exclusive, one of a kind particulars to the path leading to the answer.

The bible teaches us the basic tenants of faith, but it is our life experiences and our maturity and understanding that determine the shape and flavor and aroma that faith takes in our lives.  Our personalities are engaged in the faith that we present.

Introverts have a tendency to display quiet faith
Extroverts have a tendency to display boisterous faith

The Old Testament is full of different flavors of faith displayed as examples to us.  Jacob wrestled with faith toward God (Genesis 32) which took on a physical wrestling match resulting in  both a physical and spiritual result.

Abraham struggled to believe and actually laughed at the idea of God intervening in his life (Genesis 17:17) and his wife Sarah had the same reaction! (Genesis 18:12)

The Israelites saw the mighty power of God (Exodus 14:30) displayed in full splendor, and after a moment of thanks, they sank into unbelief, lacking the faith that God would even provide the most basic necessity of food and water to them! (Exodus 15)

IN the New Testament, the original 12 disciples that spent three years under the direct teaching of Jesus, sharing meals with Him, praying with Him, witnessing first hand the most incredible miracles done by Him; yet they experienced struggles of faith.  

In the boat when the storm came up (Mark 4) and again when the multitude needed food (Matthew 14) and again when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22).  There were many incidences recounted and I'm sure many more never recorded of these men, who walked and ate and talked with the Lord daily for over 3 years, struggling with faith.

We will all struggle with faith in one way or another.

The victory comes when we don't give in and we don't give up.  We remain constant in prayer, even to asking in our own way the same thing one father asked of Jesus when he requested healing for his child. (Mark 9:20-24)

"Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!"

Sometimes when we read the Bible, the way stories are presented it is easy to get the idea that people cried out to the Lord and instantly received answers and moved seamlessly from one spiritual triumph to the next with no struggle at all.

I just re-read a book about the life of George Mueller.  If you had no understanding of human nature you would probably get the same impression about his life.  

He prayed, God answered and allelujah's went up immediately!

His own diaries put that lie to rest.  

Yes, he made a practice of seeking answers from God alone, asking no other persons for help.
Yes, he saw miraculous answers to those prayers.

He also struggled with faith.  BUT - he struggled less as he practiced faith.  

That is the ONE KEY you and I need to unlock strong faith in our own prayers lives.

PRACTICE!!

Daniel, that giant of faith whose prayer life is chronicled in the Old Testament also experienced DELAY in getting answers to his prayers.  But he didn't quit and give up.  He persevered.  He continued.  He practiced!

Every great piano player has one thing in common; practice.

Every great athlete has a common trait; they practice!

Everyone who achieves a high level of success has also achieved a high level of failure they have had to overcome by practicing until they have it right and then the success comes!

Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of the incandescent light bulb is credited with saying:

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up!"

(While he is often also credited with being an atheist, this is not the actual truth! See Article)

Our encouragement to you and to ourselves today is simply this; commit ourselves to practice faith.
Never give up.
Never give in.
Never quit.

Practice faith in all it's forms:

* Ingest daily food for your soul through READING GODS WORD every day!
* Pray regularly as a daily habit; practicing faith to improve and strengthen it in your life!
* Choose belief over unbelief.  No, I'm not advocating mindless, blind trust.  I am advocating choosing to walk by faith, as the bible encourages us (2Corinthians 5:7)

The only way to grow in skill is to practice that skill.  Practice operating by faith.  Practice prayer.

That's what we're doing here at Turn the Tide Ministries.  We haven't perfected it yet, but we haven't failed, for we will never cease to practice.

Click on COMMENT and commit along with us to practice faith in God through the daily reading of His Word and daily prayer.

God bless you with increase as you practice faith!  We are praying for you! Pray for us, too, won't you?












Saturday, October 17, 2015

Do you WANT to be made well?

Asking a question like this of someone who is suffering and has suffered for a very long time from a debilitating and dreadful disease might seem cruel and heartless.

Afterall, who doesn't want to be made well when they are sick?  Are there people who might actually prefer their pain and suffering to health and well being?

Before you get the idea I am totally heartless, let me just reveal the truth.

I didn't ask this question of anyone.

Then who did? you may wonder.

JESUS DID!

It was the question he asked a man who had suffered from some terrible infirmity for 38 years!

John 5: 1-9

After this there was a feast of the Jews and Jesus wet up to Jerusalem.  Now there was in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed waiting for the moving of the water.

for an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made well of whatever disease he had.

Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity THIRTY EIGHT YEARS! (emphasis mine) WOW!  That is a very long time to be sick!

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time He said to him, "Do You want to be made well?"

The sick man answered him " Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool ;when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming another steps down before me."

I find it interesting that this mans answer was not a resounding YES!, but instead, an excuse of why in 38 years he hasn't been made well!

What would you have answered?

Is it possible that we are so comfortable in our infirmities where little is expected of us , where much is done FOR US, where there is little to no demand made upon us, that we, too would have offered Jesus an excuse for remaining as we are rather than grabbing hold of the opportunity to heal and grow and move forward?

Is it possible that we simply don't care enough to do the deeper, harder work of lining our own thoughts, words and actions up with the Christian belief we claim?

I think we can all agree that none of us is "there yet", however, it is just as appropriate to say that there should be some kind of evidence that we are on our way to that standard the Lord puts in front of us as a challenge!  "Be ye holy as I am holy."

Verse 8: Jesus said to him, "Take up your bed and walk."

Do you hear Him giving you a similar command?  No excuses, just take charge of the words you speak!  Take control of the way you treat others!  Forgive as you have been forgiven!  Give grace as grace has been made yours!

We slip, but are we taking steps to STOP SLIPPING?  To be a christian is as simple as calling on the name of Jesus.  To LIVE Christian is to surrender to the Holy Spirit to be changed, TRANSFORMED, by the Word of God!

Honestly?  That's the hardest work of all!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Imprisoned to Set the Captives Free


Acts 16:16-34

What a wonderful story of triumph over travesty this section of scripture depicts.  Wonderful truths we can apply to our lives today live in these sentences.  A glimpse into a moment in the lives of Paul and Silas; can they forever change how we view events in our own lives?

16- Now it happened as we went to prayer that a certain slave girl, possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune telling.

Most of us today would expect that we are entitled to enjoy the favor and protection of God from any and all annoyances, especially when we are ‘about the work of the ministry’.  Certainly it is a good and godly thing to go to prayer!  Surely God would keep us from harm when we are about His business, won’t He?

So much of the feel good teaching in our western churches would leave us all with that impression.  But the truth is far from that rosy painted picture we’ve been distracted with.  The truth is that it is exactly when we are about the Fathers business that we find ourselves the target of the devil. That’s when he is trying hardest to fool, deceive and trick us into thinking we have “earned” something from God and therefore we misinterpret many evil events as being of God.  Take a look at the next verse.

17- This girl followed Paul and us and cried out saying “These men are the servants of the Most High God who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18- And this she did for many days.  But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her”  And he came out that very hour.

I am willing to step out in faith here and declare that most of us would think someone, anyone, proclaiming that we are speaking the truth of God would be a wonderful thing!  We’d probably puff out our chests a little bit and think to ourselves, “how great, even this possessed creature recognizes what great men or women of God we really are!”  Our church leaders would grin idiotically while we shared the story as a Praise Report at our next church meeting.  They might even brag a little about how proud they are that we were so publicly recognized, and did we remember to mention which church we attended and who our Pastor is?

But Paul was not fooled into trusting what his flesh experienced.  He was walking by the Spirit and not by his sight.  Paul realized and spiritually discerned that any declaration made from a platform of evil intent could not be “turned to good” but would result ultimately in something ungodly; something worldly that would have the form and appearance of godliness but would not be godly!

While surely God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28) God does not allow evil to stand in order to bring about good!

Next, Paul and Silas are rewarded by men for their good deed of heading off to prayer and taking the time to deliver a young girl from devil spirit possession.  THEY ARE THROWN IN JAIL!

A quick read of the rest of the story shows the stark contrast between living by the flesh; our thoughts, feelings and desires as opposed to living by the Spirit.  Paul and Silas sing hymns and praise God, in spite of the dark circumstances of having been beaten and then being chained and sitting in muck in a dungeon.

Then it appears God initiates their freedom from this unrighteous bondage!  An earthquake, and the prison doors are wrenched open and miraculously, the chains are loosed from every prisoner!  They can all run free!  That “miracle” must be Gods will, right?

Wrong.

If the prisoners had all fled, it would have cost the jailer and his whole family their lives.  When God initiates action, there is positive profit to the lives of all involved.

Thank God Paul and Silas had the spiritual discernment to understand what was happening.  They restrained all the prisoners from escaping, and then saved the life of the jailer.

27- And the keeper of the prison, awakening from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.

Paul calls out and lets him know that all the prisoners, not just he and Silas, but all the prisoners, are still there and accounted for.  In the face of such a truly Godly miracle, men willing to be obedient to the Lord even at their own peril and seemingly in the face of Gods provision for their escape, the jailer falls down trembling and asks “What must I do to be saved?”

God truly does work all things together for good for those who LOVE HIM and are called according to His purpose.  Gods purpose has been mis-taught and misinterpreted for far too long!  Gods purpose is not our creature comforts and to bless us with all worldly increase.  Gods purpose is to accomplish the salvation of all men!  (ITimothy2:4) His purpose is for each of us to bear fruit to His glory!  (Matthew 3:8-10; Luke 3:8, John 15:2)

32- 34 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes.  And immediately he and all his family were baptized.  Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

As a result of Paul and Silas walking by the Spirit and NOT by the flesh, this man and maybe another dozen or so souls were saved!  Fruit was borne that truly glorifies the Father and accomplished His will which is that ALL MEN SHOULD BE SAVED AND COME UNTO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH!

God loves His people; so much so that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to DIE as a substitute and final sacrifice to set His people free from SIN.  So we would once again have the privilege of Eternal Life with Him, a privilege lost when SIN caused Adam and Eve to fall from grace.  A privilege the Father went to great lengths to restore because of His great love. 


The grace of God extends so much further than material stuff and physical comforts.  The grace of God cost such a high price; what it bought is of far greater worth than momentary worldly conveniences.  

What it bought and paid for is your eternal life and mine!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A timely Word from the Lord

“Cry out loud without reservation – lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Tell My people; who sit idly in the pews while claiming they are My children-
That the transgressions and sins are against my Truth
They read My word, determined to find Me
They rejoice in my strength and miracles
But they love the rewards of My power working in and through them
And not Me for Myself!
You wonder why requests go unheard,
Why your Fastings have no Yield.
You do these things for your own pleasures and your own show, not as I require
My strength and power yields true harvest, honest fruit
To turn those hurrying to darkness to My Light-
Not by burdening them in bondage; but FREEDOM
Not with wicked oppressions.
It pleases Me when you feed the hungry, clothe the naked and disciple the poor
So they see Me and My love and My Glory
That they will cry out My Name and find hope in Me!

You hide behind false righteousness,
behind pretty walls and stained glass windows
Building your own kingdom of rules and laws!
No more! 
Stop herding lost souls into emptiness!
Stop showering with false love full of conditions!
Give generously; acceptance and not rejecting!
Then you will walk by My Light and be led by My Spirit
Then in a dry land; you will not thirst
In times of weakness; you will be strengthened
When the True Light shines and not your false light
Then you will lead the lost of the generations to springs of Living Water
And Honor Me when you delight not in what I do but in
Who I Am"

Monday, October 5, 2015

12 Things to AVOID for Strong Spiritual Health



  1. Self Righteousness
  2. Personal Truth
  3. Lies of every kind and type
  4. Jealousy
  5. Greed
  6. Self Deception
  7. Trusting the false strengths of this world
  8. Foolish jesting
  9. Sexual Promiscuity
  10. False idea of "cleaning up" before coming to Christ
  11. Rejecting the Grace of God and holding unto guilt
  12. Rules of man, particularly in church settings, that bind & condemn in the flesh

Saturday, October 3, 2015

#IAmAChristian

#IAmAChristian


Are there really Walking Dead among us?



Are there really Walking Dead among us right now, today?  Zombies out to eat our flesh?  Would you ever have guessed that there are many scriptures references to those who “eat flesh” in a manner of speaking?  Take a look at just a couple of scripture references:

Psalm 27:2  When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh.  My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.

Psalm 14:4
Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the LORD.

Psalm 124:6
Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.

Micah 3:2-3
…"You who hate good and love evil, who tear off their skin from them and their flesh from their bones,  who eat the flesh of my people, strip off their skin from them, break their bones and chop them up as for the pot and as meat in a kettle."

The fascination with zombie's isn’t that surprising, it's just another worldly twist on biblical and spiritual truth that the world has fashioned into it's own kind of terror in the flesh!

        Just recently we started to watch the AMC series 'The Walking Dead'.  Perhaps you are aware of it or have even been a fan, watching each show as it airs.  We had stayed away from watching it because, as Christians, we thought, why would we watch a show about zombies?  But curiosity got the best of us to see what all the craze was about.  After watching the pilot we learned that it wasn't a mindless plot but that the show is actually quite engaging. 
        Although we’ve caught a couple of flaws in the zombie abilities and 'rules of engagement' the overall story line is exciting and keeps the viewer coming back to see what's going to happen next.
        The most important thing that has happened is that it has sparked some great conversations about how we would handle such an event.  It occurred to us that in reality, we as Christians, are walking among the spiritually dead every single day.

Ephesians 2: 1-2
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

        Until someone seeks to be forgiven of their sins by coming to Christ and inviting Him into their lives- thereby getting 'born-again'- they are among those who roam about this physical life as a spiritual zombie- dead in their trespasses and sins.  
        Not only that, but have you ever noticed how those who have chosen to reject their Maker and Savior create justification for their sinful behavior and lash out vehemently against anyone who threatens what they have claimed is their right and privilege?
        It's like they have no choice but to mindlessly "feed" on the Born-Again simply because they are there.  Like the Walking Dead, the living must be devoured though there is no real rhyme or reason to it.  The Walking Dead are just that - DEAD - so they do not have a living need to "eat"!
        The scriptures explain this "destructive" need in the "dead":

1 Corinthians 2:14 
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Galatians 5: 16-17 
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other...

        In the show there is no reasoning with the zombies, one simply must protect themselves from being devoured.  So it is with Christians, though we don't "kill" the spiritually walking dead among us.  Instead, we protect ourselves by guarding our minds while sharing the Gospel message of Gods love and salvation with others!  (Interestingly enough, the only way to "kill" the zombies in the show is to destroy their brains!)

Philipians 4:7
And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.


        In the show there is no 'cure' for those turned into zombies but, thanks be to God, there is a cure for those in spiritual darkness! As it is Gods perfect will that all men should be SAVED and COME UNTO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, we have a mandate to reach out to those stumbling in the darkness and help guide them to the light of Christ. 
        As we read in Ephesians, we are not fighting against flesh, but against spiritual wickedness.

Ephesians 6:11-13
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day.

         In the show, if you are bitten or scratched by a zombie, your fate is sealed and you have no hope!  Thankfully, God does not leave us with no hope or choice!

Deuteronomy 30:19:
"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"


        This is a crazy world, and it would certainly be easier to fight the enemy if it were as obvious as the zombies on the show.  No one would argue that there isn't "something out there" that's trying to kill and destroy all human beings! But because the spiritual realm isn't seen with the physical eye, explaining the horror of and existence of EVIL SPIRITS is difficult.

        But not impossible!  God has provided a way!  

ROMANS 10:13-14
FOR WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED!
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe on Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without someone to TELL THEM?

That's our function as Christians.  We have to tell the others how to avoid being zombies!!

Part of our "job" as Christians, is not to hide in our churches or our homes and not to avoid contact with the world - but instead, we are to engage the world and show them the light of Christ.  We can do that, even through the TV shows that seem to be the furthest thing from truth you could ever find!

Now, are you ready to engage your friends and neighbors in the eternal discussion that leads to LIFE?

Let us know, we'd like to pray specifically for you and those you share truth with!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Word of Encouragement for Today

Isaiah 59: 16-21, 60:1


He (God) saw that there was no man, 
And wondered that there was no Intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And his own righteousness, it sustained Him.
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
According to their deeds accordingly He will repay
Fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay.

SO SHALL THEY FEAR THE NAME OF THE LORD FROM THE WEST,
AND HIS GLORY FROM THE RISING SUN;

When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
“The Redeemer will come to Zion and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob”, says the Lord

As for Me,” says the Lord “this is my covenant with them:
My Spirit who is upon you and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”

ARISE! SHINE! For your Light has come and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon you!