The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Overcomng Faith for Overwhelming Times

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. - 1 John 5:4

God, in His word, promises to provide the means to overcome the overwhelming times of this world. That means is faith.

There are different kinds of faith. There is a faith that demons have in the existence of God (James 2:19). There is a weak faith like that of the disciples. Jesus referred to this kind of faith as “little faith,” faith that was easily overcome with the things of this world (Mat. 6:30; Luke 12:28), faith that faltered in the storms of life (Mat. 8:26), faith that fell because it didn’t keep its eyes on Him (Mat. 14:31), and faith that was dull of understanding (Mat. 16:8).
But there is also a faith that victoriously overcomes even in overwhelming times. That is the faith I will speak about today.

There is an overcoming faith that victoriously gets us through overwhelming times of natural disaster. There is a comet approaching our planet. It is called Elenin. As it approaches the earth it is being connected with the occurrence of earthquakes of earth shaking proportions. It was first noticed and named in December of 2010. But as it has approached earth it has been connected with ever-increasingly seismic quakes:

February 20 2008 Indonesia 7.4
February 25 2008 Indonesia 7.2
September 09 2009 Sunola Islands 8.1
February 26 2010 Japan 7.0
February 27 2010 Chile 8.8 [Earth knocked off axis]
May 9, 2010 Indonesia 7.2
September 3, 2010 New Zealand 7.0
March 11 2011 Japan 9.0 [Earth knocked off axis]

This last major earthquake that we saw in Japan lasted an incredible five minutes! These earthquakes are often accompanied by tsunamis that add to the devastation. The earth shaking beneath you and a wall of water as high as an office building not only shakes the earth, but it shakes people’s faith. At the end of September early October, perhaps even early November, Elenin will cross earth’s orbit between the earth and the sun. There are very possibly going to be seismic natural effects on the earth. Such natural disaster proves the genuineness of our faith; whether it will stand the test of trials (e.g. 1 Peter 1:6-9). Do you have an overcoming faith that could sustain you and bring you through victoriously in such overwhelming times?

The faith that helps us overcome even in overwhelming times is described in Psalm 33. This is a faith that praises God (33:1-2), Worships God in song (33:3), and is rooted in God’s word of truth (33:4). The overcoming faith described in Psalm 33 is a faith that trusts in God as Creator (33:5-9), trusts in God as sovereign over the nations of the earth (33:10-12), but also trusts in God to care and show His concern for the particulars of individuals throughout the earth (33:13-15). This overcoming faith knows that if we trust in the Lord, in the end we will come through victoriously rejoicing in Him (33:16-22).

There is an overcoming faith that victoriously gets us through times of man-made overwhelming dilemmas. Coinciding with the pending arrival of the comet Elenin is the world economic crisis, the political and social upheaval in the Middle East, the introduction of nuclear arms capability in terrorist supporting nations like Iran, the moral breakdown of society (e.g. rise of homosexuality and legalizing of same-sex marriage), to name a few man-made destructive dilemmas. These situations are cause for much grief for those concerned with righteousness.

There is one particular development that has the potential to ignite the entire powder keg of man-made trouble into a world threatening crisis. In September Palestinians are planning on seeking to establish legitimacy and the creation of their state based on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capitol. This will draw supporting nations along with the Palestinians against Israel who will never accept such indefensible borders and has stated its stern and firm resolute refusal to give up Jerusalem as its own historical and Biblical capitol. This will pit the world against Israel just as the Bible says would happen (e.g. Zech. 12; 14). Whether or not we see the culmination of Bible prophecy in connection with this development is not yet clear. What is clear is that to overcome this man-made overwhelming situation you will need overcoming faith. That faith is described in Psalm 37.

Overcoming faith for man-made overwhelming times, according to Psalm 37, is a faith that does “not fret because of evildoers” (37:1-2). It is a faith that trusts in the LORD, does good, and feeds on God’s faithfulness (37:3). It is a faith that delights itself in the LORD, commits itself to the LORD, and doesn’t get angry but rests in the LORD (37:4-8). This is a faith that realizes evildoers will be cut off and dealt with in due time by the LORD; they know God will watch over the righteous (37:9-22). This faith trusts that though a righteous person may fall, God will always raise them up (37:23-26). And so this overcoming faith focuses on doing good and waiting on the LORD, trusting that God will save, strengthen and deliver the righteous in the end (37:27-40).

But there is one more aspect to this overcoming faith and it is the most critically important part of it. Overcoming faith that overcomes natural and man-made disaster is faith in Jesus and the rock of His word. In the Apostle John’s first epistle he is inspired to write:

1 John 5:4-5 - For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

It is faith in Jesus that leads to overcoming the world. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:24-27 - 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

What kind of faith do you have? Do you have a faith that will overcome in the times of testing; the times of natural and man-made disaster? Is your faith in faith? Is it demonic? Is your faith weak, faltering, dull of understanding? Or is your faith an overcoming faith that trusts in Jesus and is built on the rock of His word? There are overwhelming times ahead. Will you overcome such times with God’s overcoming faith? Or will you sink and be shaken in the tsunamis of life? I pray we all receive God’s overcoming faith.

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