Given up on God?

Are you trusting God, praying in hope, expecting that He will be your Peace and Provider today?  Our faith can get battered by life. We can become pressed by problems, disillusioned in disappointment. There is no sin in admitting that the flame of faith has become just a glowing ember in your heart.

Many Christians are struggling to make sense of life. The world has gone sideways. Much of what we thought unshakeable has been revealed to be without substance.  Death has touched too many families; a half million lost to COVID according to government statistics. Regardless of our brave words, many wonder if the virus will find a way to come their way.

So, let me ask again, In these challenging times, is faith alive in you?
I remind you today that faith is NOT passive. Yes, it is a gift of God.
Our faith is also a choice.
Our daily decisions play a part in keeping our faith healthy.

What should we do?

God invites us to worship Him daily.  We turn our thoughts, our heart, our full attention to Him. This simple act can be incredibly difficult in the middle of phone notifications, kid’s problems, work pressure, and multiple distractions that are so much of life.  Making an appointment with God that is a first-line priority, a time in which we close out the rest of the world, even if to sit in silence, is an act of declaring His worth.

God gives us His Word. IF we will open the Scripture, feeding our souls on the Truth there, faith grows. Many tell me that understanding the Bible is difficult. It can be, but there are plenty of passages in the Psalms, the Gospels, the letters of Paul that are quite accessible to any one with an open heart. And there are a hundred ‘helps’ that will bring make the holy Word meaningful. The foundation of faith is the truth of the Word.  

God gives us the Church, the gathering of Believers, to nurture our faith.  When we find a local congregation that reverences His Presence, that loves His Word, faith is fed by the fellowship. Do find solid encouragement among Believers?  It is part of keeping faith strong.

God asks us personally to walk it out, to choose to trust when life is dark. Psalm 37 is one of my favorite ‘songs.’  The leading words are active ones that ask a response in me. “Trust, delight, commit, be still, wait patiently.”  That is sometimes difficult when we want to scream, “Enough, already, Lord!”  Will we keep on, steady in those choices? “The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.” (Psalm 37:39, NIV)

My reading today took me to a story from a time of hardship in Israel. Assyrian invaders had surrounded the city, cutting off food, causing extreme famine. The story includes awful atrocities. God’s man, that preacher Elisha, full of the Holy Spirit, told the king’s messengers of pending relief.  “Elisha said, “Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a (quart) of flour will sell for a shekel and two (quarts) of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” “You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!” (2 Kings 7:1-3, NIV)  In the skepticism of that officer, I see a failure of faith that is all too common today.

Many Christians only see what is ‘obvious,’ a world in flames. God speaks, declaring His purposes, with promise of His Presence. Will our faith receive His Word or will we join the ranks of skeptics, convinced that even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens no revival is possible for us, for this world.  God asks us to live in hope.  Will we?  Will we worship, feed our mind with His Truth, gather with others of faith, and choose to trust?

The word from the Word comes from Matthew 21, one of Jesus’ kingdom principles. May we receive it with the open heart of faith, prepared to see the acts of God.  “But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.”” (Matthew 21:21-22, The Message)  Amen.

________________

Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah

Guide me O Thou great Jehovah
Pilgrim through this barren land
I am weak but Thou art mighty
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand
Bread of heaven Bread of heaven
Feed me now and ever more
Feed me now and ever more

Open Thou the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow
Let the fiery cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through
Strong Deliverer strong Deliverer
Be Thou still my strength and shield
Be Thou still my strength and shield

When I tread the verge of Jordan
Bid my anxious fears subside
Death of death and hell’s destruction
Land me safe on Canaan’s side
Songs of praises songs of praises
I will ever give to Thee
I will ever give to Thee

John Hughes | Peter Williams | William Williams © Words: Public Domain

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