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?












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