Since today is my birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to review some things. You see, I have had the joy and delight of walking with my Lord since 1979. Yes, I have seen my ups and my downs. My times of joy and delight—and my times of frustration, filled with questions. I think Brennan Manning describe this best in his book, Abba’s Child (a book I still highly encourage you to read—and if you have already read it, to re-read it):
“The road I have traveled these last thirty-eight years is pockmarked by disastrous victories and magnificent defeats, soul-diminishing successes and life-enhancing failures. Seasons of fidelity and betrayal, periods of consolation and desolation, zeal and apathy are not unknown to me. And there have been times . . .When the felt presence of God was more real to me than the chair I am sitting on;
when the Word ricocheted like broken-backed lightning in every corner of my soul;
when a storm of desire carried me to places I had never visited.
And there have been other times . . .
when I identified with the words of Mae West: ‘I used to Snow White—but I drifted.’;
when the Word was as stale as old ice cream and as bland as tame sausage;
when the fire in my belly flickered and died;
when I mistook dried up enthusiasm for gray-haired wisdom,
when I dismissed youthful idealism as mere naiveté
when I preferred cheap slivers of glass to the pearl of great price..
“Finally, my old and now retired spiritual director, Larry Hein, who wrote the blessing: ‘May all your expectations be frustrated, may all your plans be thwarted, may all your desires be withered into nothingness, that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God who is Father, Son, and Spirit has come up with another one:
“Today on planet Earth, may you experience the wonder and beauty of yourself as Abba’s Child and temple of the Holy Spirit through Jesus our Lord.”
I do thank and worship my Father with all that is in me for revealing to me the harm and ruin caused by unbelief. Those of us who profess to be believers, have taken this issue of unbelief too dismissively, too lightly, thinking that our Lord will overlook the doubting of those facing great affliction and hard times.
Oh, I better explain what I mean, because that might offend or upset some of you. You see, before, I thought the Lord should cut some slack to those facing seemingly hopeless situations. I mean, the Scripture tells us that He is full of compassion and knows our weaknesses . . . Well, yes he does, but there was a time when His disciples and been with Him for some time. They had witnessed many wonderful and miraculous things. But one time they were in a ship that was being tossed around by the wind and, well, frankly, was sinking.
A furious storm of wind of hurricane proportions arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.
But He was in the stern of the boat, asleep; and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, don't You care that we are perishing?
He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still! And the wind ceased and there was immediately a great calm.
He chastised them [His disciples] and said, ““Why are you so frightened? What has happened to your faith?”
Now please understand me here, there is indeed a time to weep—when Jesus whispers lovingly, “Go ahead, cry; I bottle every tear.” There are times for grieving; there are times when we are simply overwhelmed and cry, “Where are you in this, Lord?” We serve a loving Father who is touched by our feelings. Every one of us will admit that there areeclipses of faith when fears overwhelm us. Our Lord does understand that . . . however, we dare not linger on those fears and passing doubts. We must rise up and “trust in the shadow of his wings.” Our Father has no pity for unbelief—and when you examine the whole of Scripture, you will see that they bare that out. I realize it may sound harsh to some of you, but he will not accept any excuses. He grants no other option but faith. Several years ago when I was teaching and told them that if they ever whine, "I can't help it. I'm just human . . ." I would slap them . . . (I was such a hard Pastor, back then).
Israel had ten opportunities to trust YHWH in dire circumstances. Every one of those crises was of the Lord’s doing. The consequence of their unbelief was forty years of hopelessness, confusion and grief. They missed YHWH’s blessing, and he said they could not enter into a life of rest, peace and the great goodness of God because of their unbelief. YHWH called their unbelief, get ready . . . evil. Yikes!! That's right, He called unbelief--our lack of trusing Him to resolve our situations: evil. Hebrews 3:12 says, “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”
To help you on this, you need to know that your unbelief is mostly caused by neglect of God’s Word. Faith is impossible without a constant input of Scripture and a clinging to the promises.
I cannot answer for you, but I choose to trust Him. I do not want “my carcass to die in a wilderness” like the Israelites. Several years ago, the Spirit of God told me to “gird up your loins . . . cast all your cares on me . . . stop looking at circumstances . . . do not ask why anymore. Daily feed on my Word . . . memorize the promises I show. Pray with confidence . . . believe with all your heart that Abba loves you . . . he will never forsake you. Weeping may for a night . . . but joy will come in the morning.” I took those directives from my Lord and, to this day, I always rely on Him (and he has alwaysbeen faithful with his response).
That was a significant word from the Lord for me, but I am telling you now, as you read this message, listen to His voice, because that Word is for you, as well. Whatever you are going through, right now, even if you are walking through the valley and shadow of death, your Father promises to be with you. Today, I encourage you to take a stand and start trusting Him. Your unbelief changes nothing—oh, but your faith opens the door to deliverance! Begin to allow Him to work a spirit of courage and expectation in your heart. Begin to feast on His Word and see the wonders He will work in your life.
“Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You, goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men!
In the secret place of Your presence You hide them from the plots of men; You keep them secretly in Your pavilion from the strife of tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20).
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty Whose power no foe can withstand (Psalm 91:1)
(I send out messages like each morning. If you are interested, let me know. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)