Thursday, April 18, 2013

Persevereing in Faith and Recalling Answered Prayers

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I hope this day finds you with a spirit of peace in your guarantee of eternal life.  You may know these things for certain when you are in Christ.  May you find yourself daily in a walk with God, rather than a walk with fleshly desire.  May you find yourself growing as a Christian! 

We all have a common goal here.  And we're all citizens of Earth, becoming citizens of heaven. 

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. -Philippians 3:20 NLT

This world is full of distractions, but as you proceed forward in a growing well of faith and trust in the Father you will find yourself less and less affected by these distractions.  They appeal to our flesh, but in Christ our fleshly desires lose their power. 

Please remember that any problem you have, that you can't seem to defeat on your own power is a problem that needs to be laid before the Father.  If something won't seem to get out of your head... if something won't go away... if the emotions of something happening are too powerful, please go for before your heavenly Father.  Declare your dependence on his love and support.  Declare your powerlessness over whats troubling you, and ask him to remove, repair or replace the trouble.  Our God is a loving God, and he will listen!

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. - 1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV

Remember we're in a struggle of life and death on this Earth.  We can expect suffering and trials.  We know that we can expect the things that happened to Jesus to happen to us, just as they happened to the disciples after Jesus rose from the cross.  

Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, b if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. - 1 John 3:14-18

The world will hate us because we expose the truth and make it plain.  The wicked don't like the light shined on their deeds because all their evil is revealed.  Remember that!  

We may be assured of our eternal life when we begin to see our love for others increasing.  This was Jesus command to us.  We are to love each other as ourselves, and as he loves us.  

We are told to lay down our lives for fellow man.  We are told to share our material possessions with those in need.  

Most of us know these things, but are we practicing these things?  Does our faith stop at words or does it follow us in our daily lives?  

It's really not as complicated as we make it out to be.  There are ways to make it complicated, but it's fairly simple.  We place our trust, and we extend trust to our heavenly Father.  

I don't see the Father.  -- But I can offer my trust up that he is there, and everywhere
I don't feel his love -- But I can offer my trust to the Father, that he does in fact love me
I don't see the end of this trial -- But I can offer my trust to the Father, that it's end is close.
I don't see eternal life -- But I can offer my faith that I have it and it is coming.

These are not easy things to do.  But let's think about it.  I tend to have faith that my mother loves me.  But how do I know that?  Can I see that love?  No... I just accept that she loves me.  I trust that she loves me.  Will monday come again?  Well... I don't see monday.  But it's there, and I accept and trust that its coming soon.  And boom, it's Monday, and I'm not surprised by it.

How do we go about offering trust and faith in our lives? 

We tend to give it freely based on promises or assurances.  A lot of the time we don't know for sure if that faith and trust will be corrected placed.  Many times in romantic relationships this faith and trust can end up turning into hurt and resentments.  

But our Father is not human.  Our Father cannot lie.  We see great truth in the Bible, and great promises of love and eternal life.  Further on, as we mature as Christians we start to see little glimmers of God's presence.  Sometimes in a sunset, or the stars, or the perfectly timed words from a friend or song.  We start to remember the prayers we've made in the past, and then we look and see how they were answered in a perfect way and in perfect timing.

That can be places and ways that build that trust in God.  We know that God measures our righteousness not on our works, but on the level that we trust and wait on him.  So if we can find ways to build up that faith, until it's a total trust, then we'll be well on the way as Christians.

Let me encourage you to start to take notice of those little things God does for you throughout the day.  Start to look back over your prayers in the past years and recall how God has answered them.  Make a gratitude list.  Write down a list of ways God has been worthy of your trust in the past.  This process of faith is a long journey.  So let's persevere together!