Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On Dangerous Ground - Patiently Waiting


For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. [Heb 10:36]

I realize that this article has been delayed longer than originally intended before being published, but quality triumphs over quantity. For God's glory alone! 

Patience! Time...waiting!  Ah, how impatient we creatures can be.  I used to think I was such a patient person.  Was I ever in for a rude awakening!

I could stand in lines ever so patiently whilst a cashier and a patron would be chatting, holding up a lineup of frustrated people (most times...my record isn't perfect).  
Or I could patiently wait in a traffic jam whilst others were angrily honking their horns and expressing annoyance (I really have not been stuck in many traffic jams in my life).  
Or I could patiently wait in a doctor’s office or an emergency waiting room (there were times that I did pace). Overall, I considered myself a rather patient woman.

In fact, there were times past that I have been so bold as to say that although I had flaws and imperfections, impatience was not one of them (sigh, and yes, I have witnesses who can attest to that statement).

Well, well,well – we should be careful how we make our boast, for surely the day arrives when such a boast is tried.  Life has a way of doing that. We also serve a Sovereign God who hears and sees all, and in the ways of His infinite wisdom, He may decide to reveal to us the perils of pride (or making a boast) and test an area where we are overly-confident...for our own good, of course.

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. [Prov 16:18]

We will find out precisely how much patience we have (or do not have) when we come face to face with something that we have absolutely no control over.  When tragedy, calamity or misfortune strike suddenly and powerfully (whether in body, soul or spirit), it can seem like more than we can bear. 

If a person has struggled with a besetting sin that overtakes them at times and they cannot seem to get victory over it, they may come to the edge of a precipice and with the slightest pressure (push) take a hard fall. 

Many times people who struggle with something seek help from others, such as counselors, friends, research etc, but are too ashamed to seek God’s help. The first person we should run to is God, through prayer.

The closer to home (personal) that a sudden, dramatic event, as well as the seriousness or severity of it, will gauge the depth it affects us. Some events will completely catch us off-guard, overwhelm us and temporarily shock us.

Once we are over the initial shock, it may cause us confusion, frustration, bewilderment, great inner pain and sorrow, grief, anger and/or a restlessness, as we seek answers to help us make sense of it. Answers help us with understanding so that we can cope with the situation. 

Answers can halt confusion, restlessness, and even in placing blame wrongfully. It is when we do not understand the 'why' or the 'how' or other unanswered questions that anger, bitterness and frustration mushroom.

But what happens when no sound answers are forthcoming? What do we do when things defy logic and nothing makes sense?  Most become impatient, tirelessly seeking answers, turning over every stone, looking for someone or something to place blame upon.

Many disciples of Christ have prayed for a miraculous intervention in an urgent situation. Their constant hope is that breakthrough or answers will come speedily.  However, if the answer is delayed or appears to be slow-coming, a Christian can begin to wonder if God even heard the prayer or if He even cares. 

When we have received visions or dreams and they seem delayed for great lengths of time, sometimes even years, we may begin to doubt that the dream or vision was from God. If the fulfillment takes too long, we may become impatient and fearful that it may not happen at all. We may even try to help God speed things up (remember Abraham and Sarah?).

Why is God not moving quicker?  Why won’t He answer? Has He said no? If He has, then why did the dream or vision come in the first place? Why did He confirm it at unexpected times and in unexpected ways? Where is mercy? Unanswered questions bring confusion and doubts, which can sneak in. Before we know it, the confident person may not be so confident anymore. 
What If…?

What if everything goes wrong at the same time, one thing after another, as an onslaught or as a domino effect? What if there are no answers, no explanations, no understanding, no logic or sense to it at all?  

What if it seems like a bitter end and a hopeless situation? What if the mountain seems too high to climb or unsurpassable? What if a dark valley seems so low that a finding a way to climb up and out appears futile?

What if those close to us, friends or family, are sympathetic at first, even praying fervently for us in the beginning, but as events continue on or multiply, they quit praying, weary of the turbulence and unrest that comes with a seemingly endless battle? 

Today, endless battles with a person is called 'drama'. It is true that there are some who thrive on drama, thrive on the attention they get, but the average person does all they can to avoid hardships.

We all have our own battles to fight and events to handle. There is no getting around it. By today's standards, Jesus (Yeshua) had a very dramatic life that some would say ended in tragedy. Oh, but the victory it brought when He was resurrected from the cold grave!

What if fellow believers think we are out of God’s will or that we are hiding a secret sin and we are under judgment, somehow being punished or chastened by the Lord until we repent? I call it the JFS, the Job's Friends Syndrome.
In the silence, you almost hear, ”Why don’t you curse God and die?  (Words of Job’s wife when she was utterly consumed in her own grief, sorrow, anger and bitterness [Job 2:9]).  “Why don’t you just let it all go?” we might hear. 

‘Lord, is that You, and if so...why?’  Then, as if confusion and shock are not bad enough, what happens when things intensify and worsen? Surely, God has turned against us, we may think. 

What if we are so greatly shaken that we wonder if we (or our faith) will stand, or if we will be able to cope with it all? What if negative thoughts come as an invasion and we begin to question our sanity? Where is God in all of this? When negative thoughts inundate us, we may even wonder if we are saved or have we have somehow deceived ourselves, or been deceived?

What if suddenly it seems like friends and family are all busy, the phone becomes silent, no calls or texts, not even from an inquisitive telemarketer…not even so much as a troublesome ‘wrong number’?

What if the inbox of your email account dwindles to a strange stillness?  Even those who create the annoying spam emails seem to have given up on you. What if it everyone you counted on seems to have disappeared and your world seems to have come to a sudden, jolting halt?

What if it seems like everything is collapsing around you? What if a sudden upheaval leaves no way of escape, no way out and you are forced to accept it as reality? Do you still turn to Jesus? Do you still hold fast your faith?

What if there is a vast mountain blocking your destiny, or giants (strongmen, strongholds) stand in the way, taunting you, telling you that God has deserted you? What if the giants say that you are helpless to overcome them?  Do you surrender in defeat and become their unwilling slave?  In other words, do you give up or give in?
What if a loved one departs from this earth?  What if the solid relationship between you and your beloved crumbles before your eyes and the throes of betrayal and rejection envelope you?

What if your beloved is as one who unknowingly gives into temptation and sin, quite content with the pleasure the veiled seduction brings? What if pride takes a beating and you are greatly humbled?  

What if fear and doubt knock relentlessly at the door of your heart? What if moods become unpredictable, emotions climb high at a snail’s pace and feelings plunge to great depths at lightning speed, with ups, downs, twists and turns akin to a rollercoaster ride?
What if, as a believer, you fight against the very depths of despair and sorrow? What if you seek God, crying out and your desperate prayers seem unanswered? What if God is silent too? What if someone you know has gone off to war or is at the hands of a merciless enemy and is senselessly tortured and slaughtered?

Will the heaviness of the burden overwhelm you, will you yourself contemplate suicide, or will you plead with God to end your life, as the lies of Satan bombard your mind and quench your spirit?  Will you return to Egypt and captivity, or will you seek God and pray until the peace that passes all understanding comes?

What if you have given up because you feel God has forgotten about you or has stopped loving you?  What if it has been just one too many battles, one long, continuous way, one dramatic thing after another...and you just want it to stop! 

What if it seems like witchcraft or some curse is against you, or that so much is wrong that reversal or a miraculous intervention seem impossible? 
What if Satan is allowed to sift you as wheat?  What if the fire in the furnace of affliction is turned up seven times hotter? What if the battle rages, with no sign of retreat, relief or any escape? What if your sanity seems to have left you and you wonder if in all the trials, you have become mad (insane)?

Will we trust that God still cares and is Sovereign?  Will we allow fear and doubt to lead us into unbelief that consumes us, causing us to rebel?  Will we have the patience to wait for God and to endure to the end, or will our faith fail us? Will we walk around robotically, numb about life, void of any feelings, having wept until we can weep no more?
What if God’s timing seems too long?  What if, what if, what if...?

Will we continue to practice patience and faith and wait, or will we give up? Has God slammed all doors shut? If so, why? Will He let us know if He has?
Whatever situation, whatever scenario, if you are at your wit's end or if you feel worthless and without value or hope, I urge you to please keep reading.

Before I was saved, I heard something I did not quite understand at the time, but a thing I never forgot. I have posted it several times over the past years, which is that ‘the strongest onslaught is just before the victory”. 

In other words, we can expect the greatest opposition (the fiercest fight) just before the victory. David Wilkerson once said, “The hardest part of faith is the last half hour.”  

It is when we are close to God’s answer that faith is tried the hardest. Brother Wilkerson went on to say that many Christians quit (give up) within “the last half hour” of their long fight.

Don't give up, friend! Do not! Hold on just a little longer, focusing on Jesus and not the circumstances, or negative words of well-meaning friends.

Wait patiently. Yes, just awhile longer!

Don’t Give Up
Have you ever seen an athlete begin a race strongly and confidently, only to quickly weary in the last lap?  He looks behind him and sees the competition closing the gap and coming up fast behind him.

He loses his focus. He begins to doubt, despite all his hard training and ability.  His coach is rooting him on, shouting to the athlete, ‘you can do it, but his words are drowned out by the sound of the approaching runners. The coach grows silent. The crowd watches.

Doubt and fear begin to weigh down on the runner. “I'm not gonna make it, I don’t have the strength.” “I should never have listened to my coach. How could he possibly think I was ready for this?” “I can't do this! It hurts like hell!"
The finish line begins to look much further than it actually is. The runner begins to slow down. The hounds of defeat are nipping at the heels of the runner. The finish line is only feet ahead of him. He is so close, but suddenly, he trips and stumbles and violently falls. The crowd gasps. “Get up, get up!” they shout.

You can do this! Keep going! I’m here for you. Remember your training. You know what to do if this happens. Get up!”  His coach encourages him. A team mate may even stop to see if he is alright and encourage him to keep going. 
Yet, the athlete only feels the pain of defeat, believing the lies laced with fear. Instead of rising again, he becomes ashamed and guilt-ridden, thus quitting just before the finish line, just before embracing the joy that comes with victory.  

Are you as the athlete, starting strong and confident, but after a trip and hard fall, you have given up (or are ready to give up) just before the finish line, when victory is so close?  Do not give up! Rise up. 

Shake off the dirt of unbelief and defeat!  Replace fear with faith, and unbelief with trust in God! Take up your shield of faith (even if it is as small as a mustard seed). Arise! Look to Jesus and put your confidence and hope in God. Let trust spur you on to victory.

Focus on Jesus and not the circumstances. Believe that God will see you through. He created you, trained you, instructed you. Forget the shame of the fall. Do not allow unbelief to defeat you, for it will lead you into rebellion. If Jesus is your Lord, He is with you, even in the silence. He is the Great Encourager, our hope. He never fails!

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. [Heb 12:1, 2]

Fear and Unbelief – Deadly Enemies

My intent and motive for this article is that it will act as a lifesaver to those who can no longer tread the relentless waves of the raging sea of desperation. May this writing be a shining light amidst the foreboding darkness that is enveloping the discouraged and weary soul. May it open your eyes to see the hand of Jesus Christ (Yeshua) extended out toward you, to lift you up out of the turbulent waters.

This is meant as a timely reminder for those who have forgotten that God is for them and not against them.  Jesus said that all who hunger and thirst after righteousness should come to Him. He is the way, the truth and life. [Jn 14:6]

We all need reminders; we all need encouragement and we all need prayer. God is the provider of His people. His ways and thoughts are truly far beyond ours [Is 55:8, 9]; He never wearies and His understanding is unsearchable – so great is His wisdom, creativity and LOVE [Is 40:28].
Suffering comes in many ways, which may very well be combined with pain and sorrow (whether in body, soul or spirit).  When hardship comes, it is never welcome. If it persists, we want it to end…doesn’t matter how, we just want the hardship, the trial, the misery to end. 

We try every way we know to make things right, but more often than not, we find that no matter what we try, nothing works.  We feel helpless because there is nothing we can possibly do to change things and if it carries on long enough, we begin to feel like we do not have the strength to bear up.

When things are beyond our control, it frustrates and angers us. The “why” questions never receive a satisfactory answer.  Do you know why most people give up? You may not agree, but it is so.

This may be hard for you to swallow, but it is something that I have learned to be truth. The thing that causes most people to give up…is that they give into unbelief!  

Some people succumb to fear by listening to all the doubt. Do you know that quite often, certain friends, family or acquaintances that you may confide in, may actually advise you in the wrong way? 

True that there is safety in a multitude of counselors, but what if they are not godly counselors? What if they do not pray about a thing, but advise you based on their own feelings or understanding?

We are to seek godly counsel. We have been to take all things to the Lord in prayer, with thanksgiving, letting Him know our requests. Then, we wait on God.

Many become overwhelmed with frustration, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, even pride. O, pride can be ever so subtle, I have learned.

Patient waiting will turn drastically to unbelief when our focus turns inwardly (to self), looking at the impossible circumstances, not casting down (out) negative thoughts, or listening to unwise advice that ungodly counsel may bring. If we focus on self, and not upwardly to Jesus, unbelief will find strength.  
The shift in focus can be so slow and subtle that it is barely noticeable, yet even someone who is strong in faith can be shaken to the max. Will faith hold fast or will it not?

With light there is no obscured vision, such as when all is cloaked in darkness. Therefore, we must look to God. If we look away from Jesus, who is Light, and look toward any other direction, our eyes will only see the gloom of darkness.

A Very Real Adversary
Many people ignore or deny the fact that we have a very real adversary. He comes to steal, kill and destroy [Jn 10:10].  He can whisper lies so gently and convincingly that if we are not careful, we may listen. We may even think that it is God speaking.  

If you have heard from God (which never contradicts His Word or His character), and are waiting for answered prayer or a miraculous intervention, Satan will try to plant seeds of doubt…”has God said?” 

What is even worse is that he is a master ventriloquist, but we will learn the good Shepherd's voice, as all lambs do. He said His "sheep" (mature ones) know His voice and follow Him. [Jn 10:27]

Satan may even try to convince you that you are losing it, your mind has snapped and you have been deceived. Or he will push hard against the foundation of your faith, blasting it with violent winds. You may be greatly shaken but the house build upon the Rock will not fall. It will remain standing.

However, the Sovereign God may well permit the adversary to have his way, or the Lord may choose to intervene and stop Satan. People continuously parrot the words, “Satan cannot do anything that God does not allow.” 

That is a blanket statement that does not cover all. In fact, it is akin to saying, "We cannot do anything that God does not allow." Do you understand my point? We can sin and say, "God allowed it." We must be wise in our understanding. Wisdom comes from God through the Holy Spirit and through reading the Bible.
This is no game that we are involved in. We are not pawns on a chessboard being moved around by a playoff between God and Satan, as some artists would have us think when they present such images to us. 

The truth of the matter is the fact that God is indeed Sovereign! The souls of mankind are so important to God that He sent Jesus Christ to make a way to be forgiven of sins and reconciled back to Him. 
Our eternal future is a serious matter to God. He does not play with our minds, souls or bodies. He created us; He loves us. Most people make the statement about Satan not being able to do anything God does not allow based on the Bible story of Job.

Satan had appeared before God to ask Him to remove the "hedge of protection" surrounding Job, so that Satan could put Job to the test and bring destruction. People tend to believe that we automatically have a hedge of protection around us as soon as we come to Christ, but do we? [More on this later]

The above is only one instance where Satan asked permission to bring evil upon a person, yet I would caution each disciple of Christ Jesus to understand fully what they are saying before they speak and to carefully consider their words before establishing them as fact.  

Some people blame Satan for everything, when in reality it is the our own sins or the sins of others that bring about its own evil. Lucifer's rebellion caused his fall. He was cast down from heaven, along with a third of now-unholy angels.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  [1 Jn 2:16]

Idolatry, covetousness, fornication, adultery, rape, murder, homosexuality, greed, pride, arrogance, drunkenness, all forms of abuse, witchcraft, unforgiveness, and every other sin most often comes under one or more of the categories mentioned in 1 John, revealed in the above scripture. 

Would you dare to say that sin is God’s will? Yet the same people who say that God is Sovereign and that Satan must ask permission to do anything to people are often the same people that state that we are not robots or puppets. 

That is paradoxical. Others are often unknowingly negligent in remembering that we are free to make choices and that those choices can cause us to sin, and to reap the consequences of those sins.

We can give into temptation freely (choice) and thereby sin. Jesus Himself was tempted, but He did not give into sin. He countered every temptation with the Word of God because He IS the Word of God who comes in the flesh.

To say that Satan asks God’s permission before he attacks or brings evil upon people is a generalization that indirectly and ignorantly dumps all manner of evil and sins at God’s feet, thereby paving a way to blame God whenever things go wrong and we can find no one else to blame. 

Since we are in a bloody war, Satan does not play fair. He does not approach God for every attack and every evil intent he plans. Remember, we are talking about a fallen angel, a once-holy angel that rebelled against a holy God and persuaded one-third of the angels to join him in his prideful rebellion.
Do you really think this same angel, now unholy and fallen from God's grace, who defied God and led a heavenly rebellion is suddenly going to humble himself and ask God's permission for every attack and move he makes against God's creation?  No, he is filled with pride and arrogance, so much so that he has deceived himself about his own power. 

He does not ask permission every time he makes a move, but God keeps a watchful eye. We may not always understand why God allows what He allows, but we know that He will work things out.  

He can turn things for our good when we trust in Him. Whether or not something is a test, or a way of maturing and molding us to prepare us for eternity, we may not always find out here, but we can and must trust God.

Remember when Paul wanted to return to Thessalonica to be with the persecuted there, he could not make it. He wrote a letter stating that Satan "hindered us" from going at that time. [Thess 2:18]

Consider also Daniel who had been fasting and praying. He was seeking God in prayer for the interpretation of his vision. What happened? Gabriel was sent with a message for Daniel, but he was stopped by Satan and his minions. The battle was of such greatness that Michael had to go to Gabriel's aid. 
Precisely how long the battle ensued is not stated, but it is written that Daniel was fasting and praying three weeks, asking for and awaiting an answer. It must have seemed to him that God was silent, but Daniel kept on seeking God.

If Satan had approached God to ask permission to interfere, there would have been no need for God to send Michael forth to battle alongside Gabriel so that he could deliver God's message to Daniel. 

Yet Satan presented a battle so intense that Michael was sent in as reinforcement to end the conflict. Daniel would indeed receive his answer to prayer, but he had to wait patiently, even though he had no idea why God's answer was so long in coming.
Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand, and to chasten yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I am come for your words.

But the prince of the kingdom of Perisa (the spiritual entity [principality] that was controlling the earthly prince and kings of Persia) withstood me one and twenty days: but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. [Dan 10:12, 13]

Humble yourself. Fall to your knees if necessary, as the apostles did. There is a way out of discouragement, hopelessness and delays in answers to prayer and to avoid falling into the trap of fear and unbelief, which lead to rebellion. 

Fervent Prayer of Righteous Avails Much
Do you remember the time when someone told Jesus that the apostles could not cast out a demon, and Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief?  Did Jesus give up on the apostles right then and there because they fell into unbelief? Obviously not!  The apostles learned and went on to do mighty works and miracles in the name of Jesus the Messiah.  

At one point in time, they did give up on Jesus. They ran from the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas betrayed Him and Jesus (Yeshua) was arrested. They hid and could not be found. Peter denied Jesus three times. Yes, he repented, but did Jesus not forewarn him that Satan had desired to sift Peter as wheat?  

Yet Jesus prophesied that Peter’s faith would not fail him, for He had prayed to the Father for Peter. He had interceded on Peter’s behalf. Jesus did not forsake His chosen apostles, even when fear and unbelief overcame them. 

His prayers were effective. After His ascension, Jesus' words returned to the hearts and minds of the apostles and they rose up again, becoming examples for us to follow. Jesus will not forsake us either. He intercedes on our behalf. 

We must rise again and go forth. We must seek God, who will help us to persevere, when we pray in the Spirit [Eph 6:18] Perseverance is found only once in the Holy Scriptures, which is Ephesians 6, verse 18. 

Do you not find it interesting that the word “perseverance” is nestled into the section that exhorts us to put on our armour and warns us about what enemies we wrestle against?  

Read chapter six, paying particular attention to verses 11-18; the latter verse being the one which speaks of perseverance.  It is no misplaced word. It is linked with ''watching'' and with instructions to always pray (not only for ourselves), but for all saints.

We are one Body (in and of Christ) and need each other’s prayers. If Jesus was led to pray for his apostles and all disciples (both then and those yet to come), then how much more should we pray one for another.  Jesus prayed for His apostles, as well as for all future believers (disciples).

Neither pray I for these alone (His apostles), but for them also which believe on Me through their word (present and future believers); That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that You have sent Me. [Jn 17:20, 21]

Rise and Rise Again

How many are in situations or circumstances that require waiting on God’s timing? People waiting for salvation (for others, particularly loved ones), healing and/or deliverance (either for themselves or for loved ones); a miracle, a divine intervention, answers to prayers – multitudes of believers wait patiently for God’s timing.  This is not a new thing…

How many are weary of waiting? How many are struggling with a stronghold (mountains) or strongmen (giants) and feel that they will never get the victory?  How many are listening to the whispers of Satan and are going in a direction that God has not ordained, but they think it must be God’s will? 

Always pray about everything. Try (test) EVERY spirit to see if it is of God.  The warning is written about the false prophets who have gone out into the world Beware the counterfeiter; he is the father of lies.

A rising concern is that the majority of believers have grown weary (tired and impatient) and are either on the verge of giving up, or sadly, have given up.  If you are tempted to give up, feeling hopeless, useless and perhaps even wondering why God is not moving on your behalf or why He has not answered urgent prayers (some even with fasting), I urge you, “Rise up!”
If you have fallen and are listening to the voice (lies) of defeat, I urge you, “Trust God. Believe Jesus and rise again. Get back in the race.”  If God has instructed you, then hold fast to faith. Fight the good fight, for our God is the LORD of the battle. 

His arm is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is He unable to hear our prayers. We must pray to Him, confessing any sin. Ask Him for help if you are struggling, pray repentance. Do not let pride hinder you from confessing sin.

Do not listen to Satan, who constantly whispers lies. No good works will save us. Only the precious blood of the Lamb, poured out and sprinkled upon the cross, will save those who believe and receive His mercy and forgiveness. It is a gift to mankind. Cry out for justice and plead for truth. God is faithful. [Is 59:1-4]

Do not focus on the giant(s) before you. Do not listen to the negative reports (words). The Jordan can be crossed.  There is no need to die in the wilderness.  God gives the victory before the battle! 

[] Thus says the Lord unto you, Be not afraid or dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.  [2 Chron 20:15]

Do not be afraid of the giants and give into fear, doubts and discouragement, no matter what things look like; no matter how fierce the battle rages and no matter how many times you fall. When you have confessed any sin, receive God’s forgiveness with thanksgiving.

What comes after chapter 59 of Isaiah, after the Word rebukes sin and the people prayed?  They had the fear of the Lord and knew their God.  The Lord said that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

The promise of a Redeemer and a new covenant is prophesied. Through Christ Jesus, we have the victory. I exhort you; I urge you.  Do not take on shame and guilt. Seek God, confess your sins and repent of any unbelief, doubt or fear.  Then, rise and rise again! The Lord is with you.

After chapter 59, which encompasses that which is written above, chapter 60 begins with encouraging words and a promise. 
ARISE, shine, for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon you, and HIS GLORY shall be seen upon you.  [Is 60:1, 2]

When All Seems Lost – Hope Deferred

Trust God in all things, no matter how difficult. Cast down all vain imaginings, all lies, all doubts and fear, all thoughts that would lead you to unbelief.  If we focus on our circumstances instead of on Christ Jesus, our hope will indeed be dashed and we will feel sick deep within. Fear God and stand on His Word.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the holy One is understanding. [Prov 9:10]

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. [Prov 1:7]

Teach me your way, o Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.  [Ps 86:11]

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.  [Eccl 12:13]

There are plenty of scriptures that speak of the fear of the Lord, as well as of those who have no fear of God, but the above verses give some insight into what it means to fear God. 

It is linked with wisdom, discipline, an undivided heart and obedience, for starters.  Other scriptures lean toward ‘awe’ of God’s divine majesty, fear of punishment for sins and God’s power and might.  

I was watching a documentary one time about two volcanologists (someone who studies volcanoes, in hopes of predicting eruptions and to save lives).  They were filming an erupting volcano from a safe distance, with a zoom lens on their camera.
As the lava spit forth and cascaded down the mountainside, one volcanologist said, “I cannot see how anyone can doubt that there is a God and remain an atheist once they witness the destructive, fiery power of a volcanic eruption, the release of megatons of thermal energy and the plumes of steam and ash that spew forth.  To witness it makes one realize how small and powerless we humans really are.”  

Today, there are fewer Christians that truly fear God. It goes beyond reverence, awe, respect and honour, although that is normally the explanation given. Some Christians do not care to know the Hebrew or Greek meaning of a word, stating that it is not their language and they do not speak it, so why bother? 

Since the scrolls were first written in Hebrew and Greek, learning the meanings of words does help to put things into context and proper perspective.

“Fear” as in the ‘fear of the Lord’ comes from the Hebrew word “l’yirah” – feminine of “yare’”.  Strong’s definition: fear (also used as infinitive), morally reverence, dreadful, exceedingly, fear (fullness), terror

To think that the Creator of all has the power to speak things into existence and with just one word could take our next breath away. He also has the power to send people to the lake of fire, known as the second death.  [Rev 20:14]

We are to have a healthy and productive fear of the Lord.  We should not see Him as a harsh disciplinarian or taskmaster, but as a loving Creator with great power and might.  So great is His love for us that He sent Christ Jesus, His Son as a way to have everlasting life, by believing in Him.

Should we fear man or this world because of its evil more than we fear a good Creator, who allowed His precious Son to die a cruel death upon a rugged cross, but had the power to raise Him up from the dead after three days in the tomb? 

To put things in proper perspective, remember this:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword?  As it is written, For Your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep to the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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. [Rom 8:35-38]

In summarization, it is healthy to fear the Lord, whilst keeping in mind His great love for us and all that Jesus the Christ accomplished on the cross, so that we can be cleansed, forgiven and reconciled back to our holy Creator.

So why do we reach the brink of despair and hopelessness when trials and tribulation come?  Why do we faint or grow weary when we must wait patiently for God’s timing to bring answers to prayer, or to move on our behalf?  Could it be that when we become weary and grow weak, we lose our focus, which should be Jesus and instead begin to focus on self and our circumstances?

Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. [Prov 13:12]

Did Peter not take his eyes off of Jesus and look at the raging waves of the sea?  He felt the wind whip his clothing against his body. As the power and energy of the wind mingled with the water, Peter's dampened hair was blown about and mercilessly stung his face and hindered his vision. 

He fought to keep his wind-tossed hair away from his eyes, so he could clearly see everything that was happening. He observed and felt the reality of his circumstances and fear gripped his heart. He began to sink. “Lord, save me!”  He cried out!
Jesus was right there with him, yet Peter began to doubt. Doubt led to fear, which overtook his faith, then unbelief consumed him and he began to sink deeper into the midst of his situation. 

What happened when he asked Jesus to save him?  Jesus reached out and grabbed him, but rebuked him for doubting. Then, the moment that Jesus and Peter entered the ship, the wind ceased, the raging storm stopped. 

And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt [Mat 14:31]

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength (faith) is small.  [Prov 24:10]

Peter was so close to victory. He was so close to being and standing in the same place where Jesus stood upon the water, but he listened to the whispers of doubt (Satan's lying voice of defeat).  

Is this not what happens with us?  Do we hear Satan's voice of defeat, as he whispers his lies to us?  Do we forget that when the lies are spoken, Jesus is right there with us, watching, waiting for us to trust and to come to Him. Do we begin to doubt?

Do we focus on the tempestuous circumstances and the tumultuous emotions it brings, having been catapulted by a fury of thoughts (fiery arrows)?  Do we entertain doubts, thus unknowingly surrendering to fear and unbelief? 

Do we begin to question all the good that we believed God brought our way? Do we begin to think we have been deceived or that God betrayed us? Do we begin to sink into the swirling, confused churning of the situation and circumstances that we find ourselves thrown into? 

Do we believe we will drown in the relentless turmoil and merciless upheaval of our surroundings? Do we wonder why we were ever born, or if we are even saved? Is our faith shaken as the winds of adversity beat against us and heavy burdens are likened to a torrential downpour? 

Satan wants us to doubt the love and faithfulness of God, of Jesus (Yeshua).  When God is silent, Satan will suggest that He is angry with us, that God is finished with us, that He is no longer cares and that He is not listening to our prayers. 
Satan will press us to give up as the hopelessness that he brings, along with the thoughts (fiery darts) that he injects into our minds, begins to envelopes us. That is the very hour, the very moment that we must raise faith as a shield.

Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. [Eph 6:16]

The wicked one is our adversary (Satan), who will use every weapon in his arsenal to keep us from our destiny, to rob us of hope, to kill our love for God and to destroy our faith. He wants us to let go of what God has ordained for us and to lead us in a completely different direction (a broad road with many pleasure that satisfy the eyes, the flesh and pride), a road leading away from Jesus and into some temptation that he has selected especially for us. 

He will suggest that we have been deceived and that what we have believed for is not of God, accusing of of believing nothing but false hope and illusion.  He does not yell his lies at us, but instead whispers quietly to us. He is a expert ventriloquist, who imitates the voice of the Shepherd. 

The sheep know the voice of their Shepherd, but if they are sick, weak, downtrodden, in a frightful place or impatient, they may be temporarily fooled because their focus is misdirected and their vision blurred. The serpent is the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning.
When battles are long or the waiting upon the Lord for His timing seems endless, then hope may be deferred and the heart grows sick. Satan's hate and wrath, particularly against believers, are very real.  He will endeavour to make us doubt God's love, mercy and grace. 

If Satan can infiltrate our thoughts, he will present all kinds of imaginations. If we entertain the thoughts he brings, we are in danger of embracing his lies. If we embrace his lies, we water the seeds of doubt he planted. We will then harvest unbelief and eat the fruit thereof (rebellion). 

If we love God, we will obey Him. Obedient trust will wait upon His timing. If the wait is long, we must trust His timing and allow our faith to undergird our patience.

Unbelief is the opposite of trusting God and it will hinder us from obeying. If we see that we have fallen into this trap (by allowing circumstances to overtake us), then we must repent fear and unbelief and choose to stand in faith and trust God.

Without faith, it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. [Heb 11:6] 

That verse is found in what I call the "faith chapter" because it speaks of all the forerunners who "by faith" obey God, waited on His timing and received their promises and victories. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, David and Samuel, as well as others, are all named in chapter eleven of Hebrews as examples of those who walked by faith.

If God is silent after we have earnestly prayed, Satan will take advantage of it. Just because the Lord may be quiet for a season does not mean that He does not care or has not heard us, nor does it mean that He is not working in the invisible realm, doing things that we cannot see.

The silence may cause us to quit praying, to avoid reading the Word of God. We may become discouraged and impatient and begin to falter. We must set our face as flint, especially when we cannot see or understand what is happening or what God is doing. Then we grow impatient; we will not wait upon the Lord.  We will either give up or go off on a broad path that Satan has put before us.

If we are not careful, pride and selfishness can overtake us.  If God delays, will you throw in the towel, give up on what He has promised you, or will you listen to the whispered lies of the devil?  If you listen to Satan, you will grow discontented and impatient.

Seducing Spirits
He will bring in every distraction, every hindrance, every seduction, according to our weaknesses and fleshly desires/lusts. The joy and happiness Satan brings is temporal. Sin is pleasant only for a season. We will reap what we have sown.

I urge the reader (and remind myself also), do not let your vision become clouded by your present circumstances and situations.  Do not doubt God's promises to you. Do not put "self" on the throne. Allow Jesus the King to rule.

No matter what negative report you hear, and no matter what things look like, do not embrace it hastily.  Do not abort your prayers, especially when they seem to be unanswered (God is silent). Do not let Satan rob you of your destiny or your victory in Christ Jesus.

When doubt, fear and unbelief threaten to overtake us, it is the very time that we must search our hearts. Will we ask the Lord to search our hearts to reveal anything that is not of Him, anything that may be hindering His answer? 

Will we humble ourselves, confessing our weakness in patience and waiting, as well as confessing any sin that may be hindering us from overcoming? Will we surrender all to Him? When we humble ourselves, the Lord will lift us up. [Jam 4:10]

Will we lay down our lives for Jesus and be rid of any idol (anything that takes His place upon the throne of our hearts)? Did you know that "self" can be an idol? Why do you think we are instructed to pick up our cross daily and die to self? Do we obey our flesh, doing whatever it bids us do, or do we obey God?

Will we repent and will we ask God to help us if we are too weak to overcome any besetting sin or any lustful weakness that we struggle with?

We are in a bloody and tiresome spiritual battle.  Whether we want to accept that reality or not, it will not change the fact that we are. We not only war (wrestle/struggle) against our flesh and its desires and appetites, we wrestle against principalities and powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places.

If you are in a prison of grief and pain, shame or guilt where there seems to be no escape or any end, I counsel you to take time to read Psalm 28, Psalm 39 and Psalm 13 to strengthen your spirit man. 

If friends cannot be found in your dark hour, encourage yourself in the Lord as Joshua and David did. Despite the grievous situations they were in, they hoped in the Lord. They trusted in Him and He did not disappoint them.

Be Strengthened and Encouraged

I will end the first part of this article with a word from the Lord that was posted in times past. May it strengthen the weary and encouraged the discouraged.

Forever o Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven. [Ps 119:89]

Stand fast! Yes, stand fast and wait upon Me [the Lord]. I know you have been shaken strongly, even sifted as wheat. I know you feel weak spiritually (exhausted). Perhaps you feel spiritually disoriented.

Fear not, be strong in Me. Rest in Me. Quickly you shall be strengthened if you wait on Me. I am with you in this - yea, I am in all that concerns you. There are more battles fast approaching. War is coming.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [Eph 6:12]

You have done well in all the tests (gold is tested and purified), and in the trials (silver is refined), and in tribulations (times of preparation). Akita mani yo, mi'kola. [Observe everything as you walk the path (in life), my friend]

Yea, I call you friend. You are My child, who has proven to serve Me with loyalty despite the attempts of the enemy to have you, 'Curse God and die.', (Job's wife to Job) or even in, 'Has God said?' (serpent to Eve)

Then said his wife unto him, Do you still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die [the adversary wants you to give up] [Job2:9]

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, has God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [the adversary plants doubt to birth unbelief] [Gen3:1]

Yea, rest in Me, waiting upon Me and I shall give you rest. I shall quickly strengthen you, for the hour is late. As spoken to Joshua, Gideon and David the king, so I say to you, "I give you victory." 

You shall overcome the adversary and all the enemies of the cross, when you do as I command and go where and when I direct you (obey).

For they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life unto death. [Rev 12:11]

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Yours; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head [Christ]above all 
[1Chro 29:11]

But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ [1Cor 15:57]

And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. [ the cross] [Col 2:15]

Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint [Deu 8:15]

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. [Lk 10:19]

You have stood fast and true, even in moments when you could not bring yourself to speak to Me due to emotions, but your heart kept repentant, as did king David's. This is not the time to give up with unbelief.

You certainly believe that I can do all things and repeatedly, at given opportunities, you testify to My power. With Me, nothing is impossible [Mat 19:36] nor is My arm shortened that it cannot save. [Is 59:] Yes, you do believe I can do all things, so would you allow unbelief to come forward to command you now?

Warrior, through My Son Jesus and Him alone; you have all authority. Prepare for another battle. It shall not be a long one. FEAR NOT, for lo, I AM with you. You shall walk by faith and not by sight. Come near to Me for already you feel a stirring deep within your spirit. I AM preparing and have prepared you, teaching you all along, even in times of silence.

Continue to trust Me as you rest in Me, waiting for Me. Strength comes. Unbelief dies as trust triumphs! Fear dies as faith lives. Let all things of the past go now, for it is dead and gone.  Trust in Me, and as you rest, I shall strengthen you.

Now is not the time to give up in frustration, anger, doubt or unbelief. Now is not the time to toss away what I have ordained or quit in hopelessness. 

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. [Ps 27:14]

When you are strengthened, go and encourage the brethren and do not tire of speaking to those who are lost and to those held captive. Do not be concerned with the look upon the faces. My love in you must reach out to those in danger of damnation. The mercy I have shown towards you will grant you patience,

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you  [Acts 3:19,20]

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.  [Is 40:31]

Rise Up with Faith

I have repeatedly assured you that you have not been deceived, for I am not man that I should lie nor have I allowed flesh or demon to deceive you, for I heard your earnest prayer to be protected from deception. Be confident in Me and trust Me. This trial is not forever.

My timing is perfect. Do that which I ask you to do and I shall keep my personal covenant with you; your vision shall manifest. It does not tarry, though it tarry (seems to tarry), it will be on time.
Rise up with faith.

Believe me for the things I say to you. I AM still the same yesterday, today and forever. I have given you scriptures; I have spoken to you and given you signs. I have saved you from death; I have answered your prayers in the past. Do not fall into the wickedness of unbelief.

Every time I test you, you wonder where I am. Every time, you have cried out to me and I carried you through each time. How many times shall I test you before you will remain steadfast and confident? Do you not see how far you have come and the times you have risen back up, or do you see only the times you fell?

Now rise up again in confidence…or stay in unbelief. Set aside lusts (lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life). Ask Me to keep you from deception. How do I keep you from deception? I protect you as you obey Me. I promised I would lead you if you trust me with all your heart (in all things) and lean NOT to your own understanding.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.

Do not die in your sin. Do not die in unforgiveness; release any bitterness. Do not die in unbelief. Fear and unbelief lead to rebellion. Instead, pick up your cross and die to self. Stand strong. So many want to be part of the remnant, but they faint in the time of testing, right at the end of the trial. Believe Me in all circumstances, even when you do not understand.

The time has come to make a decision – no matter what happens, nothing can shake you enough to fall way IF you trust Me. If you are ready to commit and DO – to cross the Jordan, leaving the old behind (Egypt) and cross over into the promises given. There is a cost; it is obedience – laying all of the old down.

Do not murmur or complain; wringing your hands and crying out, “Why, why, why?" Rather determine that no matter what, you will trust in Me. No more doubts, no more fears.
Be warriors of endurance, not casualties of despair. Faith produces obedience to Me and My revealed word. I will direct your steps as you trust in Me, but direction requires obedience (following direction)

Feelings will betray you; but obedience brings victory. Trust Me. when I tell you a thing. Do not say, Lord God, I believe help my unbelief; but rather: “Lord, I believe your word. I hear it in my heart; I read it in your word, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Fear the Lord for it is the beginning of wisdom. Testing is not My wrath; it is my goodness to refine you. Commit to Me and I will guide you. Honour My word. Trust Me. It is time to rise up in faith and trust My timing. Wait patiently awhile longer.

for His glory alone

Bonita                      dovesofthevalleys4@gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. Everyone loves it whenever people come together and share views.
    Great site, stick with it!


Comment or email at: dovesofthevalleys4@gmail.com