Hebrews 6:18-19 “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”
While the world runs in fear, those who live by faith have an anchor that holds. An anchor is used by ships in order to keep them from drifting. During times of difficulty we tend to allow fear to help us make decisions. There are many areas of our life that do not provide stability and security. Our jobs, careers, finances, relationships, achievements, and awards are places we normally try to anchor our lives. These offer no stability and no eternal promises. It is only in the promises of a God that cannot lie that we find stability. Rather than anchor our lives in things that offer no hope we must anchor our lives in the Jesus Christ.
I sit here at my table this morning trying to make sense of this hysteria that is taking place in the world around us. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone has a theory. The media is causing massive amounts of fear in the hearts of people. Businesses are closing, our economy is slowly bleeding out, and I sense an extreme amount of unrest among everyone. Honestly, mathematically this pandemic makes very little sense. Medically, I understand the concerns and why they are making such suggestions to the public. The balance is hard to find. I guess that is why I find this verse so comforting. My stability is not in the opinions of others or the conspiracy theories. When fear arises, and I assure you it does, I flee for my refuge. When confusion rears its head, and it does, I flee for my refuge. He is my anchor. Jesus is my stability, security, and my assurance. Jesus is my anchor. I hope He is yours!
Romans 5:1-5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
The very mention of the word patience makes me cringe. I do not cringe because I dislike the attribute, I cringe because the process of gaining this attribute is grueling. Patience is sandwiched between tribulation and hope. The process of experiencing hope comes through patience, and in order to have patience we must experience tribulation.
The word “tribulation” means pressure, trouble, persecution, anguish, or burdened. It through the experience of these things patience is developed. Hope is the goal. In order to have hope it means we have to walk down the road of trouble, pressure, persecution, anguish, and burdens. It is amazing how we want things but we do not want to do what it takes to have what we want.
I want to be a patient person. In order to be that person, I must be a selfless person. The only way to remove me from the equation is to put me through tribulation. It is simple but it is just hard. I believe it is hard because we are looking at the beginning and not the end. Look at this perspective:
- The pressure you are experiencing is creating hope.
- The trouble you are experiencing is creating hope.
- The persecution you are experiencing is creating hope.
- The anguish you are experiencing is creating hope.
- The burdens you are carrying is creating hope.
Just remember, the process is hard the outcome is awesome.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
The simplicity of this verse is one of the most challenging to live out. It is within our nature to desire to operate within the tangible. We are a see to believe kind of people rather than a believe to see. It seems so simple, but it is definitely hard.
God desires us to live out our lives by faith and faith alone. We cannot operate by what we see but rather by what we believe. The simplicity is that we believe God, the hard part is not knowing the outcome. We have to place everything in His control. It is such a simple thing to completely trust the Lord. Walking by faith requires giving God complete control regardless of the outcome.
When you hear the word “cancer”…walk by faith
When the verses did not even work …walk by faith
When your divorce is finalized…walk by faith
When death comes at an earlier time than anticipated…walk by faith
When you do not understand…walk by faith
When you do not even know how…walk by faith
It is so simple, yet so hard. It is time we do hard things.
1 Peter 1:6-7 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
One of the greatest blessings and biggest burdens we face as Christians is the seasons of life we experience. The Christian life has its seasons. Each season comes with a lesson.
- Seasons are not permanent. Everyone needs to realize that seasons are like weather. Seasons last for a period of time and then it is on to the next season. If you do not like the season you are experiencing right now, then I suggest to hang in there, it will be over eventually.
- All seasons carry some level of difficulty. During the winter and spring we complain about the amount of rain we are having. During the summer we complain about the drought we are experiencing. One season carries cold and the other carries heat. Some like summer better than winter. Some like winter better than summer. Each season has its difficulty. Lesson? Just because you are miserable in the season you are experiencing right now does not mean that the next season will not have some level of difficulty.
- The next season may be harder than the one you just left. I think God is teaching me to be content with the current season I am experiencing. Personally, I am struggling with this lesson. I want to be done with this season of my life, but I am beginning to realize the next one may offer more challenges than the one I am currently experiencing. Therefore, learn to rejoice in the trial you are currently experiencing.
- Every season has a divine purpose. Instead of asking why God is doing this in our lives, maybe we need to be asking what God is doing in our lives. What are the lessons He wants us to learn? What is it about Himself that He is currently trying to teach me? What is it about myself that He really wants to remove from my life?
Bottom line we need to learn to rejoice in who we are in Christ and what we have in Christ. We are kept by His power. We have an inheritance that is undefiled, incorruptible, and never fades away. We have a living hope that is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Remember, it is only seasonal.
- Looking at Jewish Feast:
- The Feast of Passover:
- OT: Commemorated the Exodus – Israel was set free from Egypt
- NT: Speaks of the Calvary (Crucifixion) – The world is offered freedom from their sin.
- The Feast of First Fruits:
- OT: Commemorated the crossing of the Red Sea
- NT: The Resurrection of Christ
- The Feast of Pentecost
- OT: Commemorated Moses receiving the Law
- NT: The Coming of the Spirit on Pentecost
- What was experienced on this day?
- The Sound
- Gathered together in one accord in one place and they heard a sound from heaven as a mighty rushing wind.
- Amplifed version: When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.
- The Symbolism – Wind is a picture or type of the Holy Spirit.
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
- He Fills the World
- He Moves at Will
- The Significance – it was based on what they heard.
Romans 10:17 “Faith cometh by hearing…”
- The Sight
– There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as fire.
- What did cloven tongues look like? Fire
- Fire Spreads
- Fire Purges
- Fire Illuminates
- What did it do? Sat on them (Settled)
- The Speech
- Notice they began to see the promise of Acts 1:8 fulfilled.
- When filled with the spirit they became witnesses
- One of the outcomes of being filled will be you start sharing the gospel
- They Spoke in Everyone’s own Language
Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.“
Sometimes we just need to be reminded of who the Lord is and who we are in the Lord. While the world and those without Christ may be walking around without peace, we are reminded of the fact that nothing can separate us from the love of our Lord. In days of uncertainty we are certain that nothing shall separate us from the love of God.
Here are some logical concepts to consider: the love of God is in Christ and Christ is in us wherever we are. Because Christ lives in each of us the love of God lives in us. We are never separated from Christ, and therefore we are never separated from the love of God. No wonder we have the ability to operate as “more than conquerors.”
Today we must find joy in the love that is always present. I guess the question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are “fully persuaded” of this fact? I pray today that each one of us will realize the love of God that is present within us.
Just a simple reminder we are “so” loved!
1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.“
I didn’t see this coming. I did not expect a global pandemic. However; none of us should consider the trying of our faith a strange thing. We need to realize that fiery trials are to be expected. We want to be shocked and surprised when we lose the comforts we so often take for granted as a country. It is important to realize that fiery trials should not be considered a strange thing. The more Godly we begin to live, the more difficulty we should expect. The more spirit-filled we become, the more adversity we can expect to endure.
I truly believe that experiences such as this are avenues used by God to allow us to have a deeper relationship with the Lord. The scripture suggests that we need not act surprised but rejoice. Rejoice in the fact that we are partakers of Christ sufferings. What did you expect God to do with a country and church that is so distracted and lukewarm? We have told God through our actions that we do not need him. We have chosen to stay at home when we could have attended Bible studies. We have given priority to that of recreational sports, travel ball, and Sunday tournaments rather than giving God our attention. We have been more concerned about our financial stability than our faith in Christ alone. So I reiterate, don’t act so surprised when God places us in a fiery trial in order to test our faith. We have seen God remove the distractions, but will we heed to his warnings and respond to the extreme amount of mercy he is demonstrating on us at this time? Are we going to run around like this is so shocking or will we respond to the warning and tender mercies of the Lord? This opportunity is ours. What are we going to do about it?
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
During difficult moments we tend to ask the wrong questions. Most of the time we ask God “why”. I think it is better to ask God “what”. What is God doing during these moments of our lives. I still believe we are being tested. Our faith is being tried. Faith that is not exercised becomes weak. When our faith is tested it gives us an idea of where we stand with God. A test is simply an assessment. It is a way of measuring how well we can apply what we have already been taught. I made the statement that America has so much Bible knowledge but very little obedience. When our faith is “tried” (or tested) we are given an opportunity to apply what we know. This is why the testing process should bring us joy. We are getting an opportunity to show exactly what we truly believe. The trying of our faith places our beliefs on a platform for the world to see. The true trying of our faith allows lost people to see us display our faith rather than talk about our faith.
Faith gives us a platform, but it also works patience. Let’s all be very honest; none of us have patience. We operate in an “on-demand” world. During this season of our lives, we are being forced into a place where we have to be content in who we are “in Christ”. The trying of our faith brings us to a place where we are “wanting nothing.” Why? I think it is because our faith gets stretched to a place where we are truly content with Christ and Christ alone.
Personally, I have felt like the past 18 months of my life has been one trial after another. Now, this pandemic has done nothing but bring more challenges, hard decisions, and difficult moments. I wish I could say I have handled all this in a Christ-like manner. What I have learned is that God is not testing me for His sake, but He is testing me for my sake. He is showing me that I still have too much pride, a short fused temper, and a lack of gentleness. The cool thing about testing is that as long as the teacher does not say “time’s up”, then I can still go back and correct some wrong answers.
The test is still in front of us. Correct the wrong answers. The Holy Spirit is with us giving us the wisdom as to how we are to answer the difficult questions. Remember, exercised faith becomes stronger faith. It brings us to a place of contentment, and we learn to find joy in our identity.