Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Give Me Faith

I'm easily discouraged. I'm in ministry so this is a horrible trait to have, but I am.  You can say something to me off the cuff - not thinking anything of it but I am so easily discouraged that it has the power to take me out of the game for a good while.

I don't want to be that person.  I've been praying about it for a long time now-asking God:
  • How did Daniel have the faith that would take him into the Lions Den. Knowing that you had the power to deliver him, but even if You didn't he was going to follow You.
  • How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abindego have the faith to follow you into the furnace?
  • How did the Apostles continue Your work while faced with so much discouragement?
    • I've been reading their story, seeing their faith and also seeing the times that I would take a huge hit of discouragment, many that would possess the power to take me completely out of the game.
Ok Follow: On the day of Pentecost while all of the apostles were together there came a sound of a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2) and the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they began speaking in different languages.  Others in the town heard the wind and they all came out to see what had happened. People from all over the region, who spoke in many different languages and when they heard the disciples speak they noticed that they could all clearly understand what they were saying.  Some were amazed yet others were mocking them claiming they were drunk. (vs. 12-13)

-See I would think Wow, God's doing something huge - but then I would have easily been discouraged by the drunk comments. I would have probably stalled out crying and praying because I have this stupid need for EVERYONE - not just some, but everyone to like me. (don't judge me, I know it's dumb, I'm working on it.)  (; 
But Peter stood his ground. (vs14-47) and thousands were saved.

- Acts 3, they healed a lame beggar, many continued to be saved Acts 4 - Now the government is upset with them and they're thrown in Jail - see discouragement. Jail would discourage me, but not them and many more were saved.

See, the apostles did amazing things for God, yet they also faced discouragment, however they did not allow it to side track them....  I've been praying, "LORD, how do I follow you consistently without giving in to the constant discouragement you face in ministry.  How do I continue to run this race without stalling out?
  • You can't be bold without facing rejection. 
  • You can't follow God without losing friends.
  • You can't run this race and please others.
  • It's choose GOD or choose the world and I desperately want to choose God with every fiber of my being!
Lord, give me Faith to Trust YOU and Your Word over the opinions or views of others.  I'm so far from being there, "How do I get there?"

And like a light bulb today - it clicked.

The apostles didn't always have that faith.  Over and over again in the gospels you see Jesus calling them out saying, "You of little Faith, how long until you believe me." Every time they hit a storm at sea, they ran low on food, someone died - you see them stalling out, discouraged, questioning Jesus.  The Apostles didn't get great faith over night.  It came by having a consistant, intimate relationship with the Almighty God. It came from the years they walked closely with Jesus. 

I even get discouraged because sometimes I still tell God No'.  I sense Him wanting me to speak to someone and I'm too scared or I sense Him asking me to do something outside of my comfort zone and I say No', whether it's by my questioning if it was really Him or for whatever reason, I still struggle with saying No'.

Peter, despite His Great Love for Christ still denied Him 3 times!!!  Christ asked the discples to stay up and pray the night before He was taken to the cross. Something that simple but they didn't have the faith to see that little step of obedience as important.

No, I do not yet have the Faith of a Mustard Seed. (Matt. 17:20-21) But I'm not going to quit pursuing Him until I do.

Give me Faith!

HIS clay~

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

3 Weeks

I think it all hit me Monday. This whole process has been such a new experience to me. I mean, we've had to walk by faith before but not through circumstances where we knew this little.  I've had to come to a place where I "do" trust God and I fear Him more than I fear my lack of control over my own, and even my family's, security.  When I'm spending time with the Lord - it all makes perfect sense, and it's as if we have no other option but to follow.  When I have not been able to spend time with God-is when I get scared, and the thoughts race.  The one prevailing thought is, "Have you lost your mind?"

On Monday I had a sick baby girl and I wasn't feeling too hot myself. I was looking through the house over things I needed to get rid of and beginning to pack and it all fell on me like a ton of bricks - I had 3 weeks. 3 Weeks!!! That was it. In 3 weeks everything I knew, everything I had grown accustomed to, all of the friendships I had made here, our home etc., security, even our independence was going to be turned upside down.

This is not me complaining, please do not take it that way. I am super excited about what's about to happen next and I know I cannot allow myself to focus on the uncertainties - they are not mine to worry with, the Lord will provide.  However, it does not matter how much I "Know that", when you've committed to walk by faith and not by sight; sometimes your eyes get to feeling a little neglected and there are moments that the fear sets in.

I have often joked about being a Bible Chaser. Being a stay at home mommy of 2 little ones leaves me chasing after moments where I can sit and dive into God's word. Even if I get up at the magical hour of 5:30am somehow my children sense that mommy is up and they're ready for breakfast. Seriously - Every Time! (:  As soon as I sit it's an open invitation for, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy", and even if they don't run in asking questions or needing this and that I still have the mommy twitch where I can't focus because I am just waiting to be interrupted, which is wonderful and I LOVE it, however, it does leave me chasing after free moments.

Through all of this I've realized it takes me 2 days. 2 Days, thats it!!!  2 days of not being able to spend adequate time with God in His word before my faith is running on fumes and I am surrounded by a cloud of fear. I can't tell you what all the fear is, it isn't one particular thing, it's a buffet of everything.  Even though I don't really appreciate it at the time, Trey has begun calling me out on it recognizing when I haven't spent time with God. 

I can come up with excuses, truthfully, it is intensely hard somedays to find adequate time with the Lord, but there is no substitute. We have been called to run the race however we cannot run the race if we are directionless when it comes to finding the track. We have each individually been invited to have a deep, love relationship with the God of our creation-there is NO substitute for that.  Once you've experienced that nothing else that you try to pour your life into, trying to fill that need, can substitute for it. And anything that has the power to interfere with it is seen as a threat, not a temptation.  It's not hard core, it's as essential as breathing, and if a man goes 2 days without breathing - He's a dead man.

Why do you think it is so hard to find time, or to make time to be with the Lord? Because Satan knows as long as he can keep you in captivity, he can keep you from realizing that "You're not breathing". You will believe his lies, and you will be incapable of experiencing God, let alone, be able to be used by God. 

If he can keep you from experiencing the joy of your salvation, his job at discouraging you is rendered DONE.

My faith has no authority if my relationship with Christ is "Piggy Backing" off someone else's.  You can be encouraged through your pastor, friend, spouse etc. but hearing it from them is no substitute for your relationship with Christ. 
If, as your next door neighbor, I am "Piggy Backing" off your Wi-Fi it would be a lie for me to tell someone I have my own Wi-Fi.  It's not yours its someone else's.  God calls His children to have a deep love relationship with Him that is real and personal.   You cannot walk by faith until you start walking, not "Piggy Back Riding."  (:

If you're dealing with fear, I'm sharing the following message because it ROCKS!



HIS clay~
Melissa Bradley