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.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Overcoming 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. The earthquakes we’ve noticed recently are more political than natural in nature. But it is inevitable that some natural disaster will strike that will get the attention of the world. And there are always residual unexpected effects of natural upheavals. There are nuclear reactors in Japan that are leaking nuclear waste radiation in unprecedented measures due to the earthquakes and tsunamis of just a few years ago. The news of this is at present being drowned out by other more geopolitical events, but you can be sure that this will steadily rise to a more prominent position to get our attention in the near future.

What do we do when a natural disaster in its various forms hits us? It can literally shake us to the foundations of our being. And if our foundation is built on something less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness by faith, well, we will crumble along with everything else. Psalm 33 is a good source of faith that helps us overcome in overwhelming times. I offer a summary of this psalm here. This Psalm 33 faith 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 natural disasters are the additional crisis ingredients of  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.

Another psalm that paves the way to the overcoming faith needed for overwhelming times is found 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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