When I sense a need to increase my faith I read J.O. Sanders Effective Faith.
(His great little book is out of print. I did copy a few chapters of his book to have a reminder of the importance of exercising our faith.)
This is a new season. Exercising our faith is imperative. Below is an excerpt from his book.
Fear and faith are spiritual incompatibles.
So much so that one can survive only at the expense of the other.
When faith in God enters the list, fear is routed. The presence of fear is unmistakable evidence of the absence of faith.
Between them, there is no such thing as peaceful coexistence.
Fear is acutely infectious.
It was craven fear that inspired the ten spies to present their adverse report on the promised land. ‘We saw the giants’ … We were as grasshoppers, and the people wept that night.’
It was robust faith which enabled Caleb and Joshua to table the challenging minority report, “Let us go up at once and possess it … we are well able to overcome … the Lord will bring us into this land … neither fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us… the Lord is with us, fear them not.’
Their faith measured the opposing forces, not by their grasshopper strength, but by the omnipotence of their God.
Faith too is infectious.
It was in faith that Amram and Jochebed hid Moses for three months, ‘and they were not afraid of the kings’ commandment.’
Their supernatural faith overcame their natural fear.
The faith of his parents was communicated to Moses by precept and example.
Small wonder that it banished his fear.
‘By faith, Moses forsook Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king.’ ( Hebrews 11″23, 27)
Moses, in-turn, endeavored to teach Israel the dominance of faith over fear.
Unfortunately, ‘The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. (Hebrews 4:2,1)
Many years ago while living in Scotland, I heard a well known pastor speak about how he developed his personal time with Jesus. He consistently worshiped and prayed. Out of his overflow he wrote several notable songs which were sung all over the world.
When he moved to pastor his new church he often walked around his big room(his church worship center area) to worship and pray. One day he sensed a dark area in one portion of the room. It was a space that just didn’t feel right nor good.
He heard the Lord whisper, “Just keep worshiping.” So he continued to go into the room and worship, one day he noticed the dark space was gone and the sense of heaviness had lifted. He asked the Lord what happened to the presence he felt? He sensed this reply, “Darkness cannot exist in the Light.”
He had not addressed the darkness or the sense heaviness directly, He just kept worshiping and one day it left.
Here’s what he discovered.
God is light, and as we worship, the God of Light enters our space and darkness flees.
He noted, “We don’t always have to address the darkness, we just need to be the worshipers the Father seeks. As we worship Light comes and darkness flees. We don’t worship with the intent of removing the darkness, we simply worship focusing upon Jesus and the Father takes care of the rest. True worship is always for God, and for God alone.”
He also shared that he believed that as we worship alone or together, we create pinpoints of light that reach up to Heaven. As we touch the Father’s heart Light / Presence appears.. He noted, “Worship can change the atmosphere in a church, or over a town, or a city as heaven touches earth. I agree.
Pattie and I are very cautious about singing songs as warfare directed toward the enemy. He wants attention. Remember, he was the worship leader. He wants attention anyway he can receive it.
We believe who we focus upon as we worship is important. As Jesus is lifted up, and as we focus upon Him to honor Him, and to glorify Him His presence fills our hearts and our space.
Simply stated…Light dispels darkness.
Have you ever experienced going into a kitchen at night and switching on the light and seen the roaches scurry away?
Sue Rinaldi is a brilliant worship leader from England. She travels around the world leading worship in churches and conferences. She once stated, “Worship is the scene of His appearing.”
We don’t worship to gain God’s favor, or so we will have power encounters with people, or to defeat our enemies. We worship Him only… simply because we want to know what it is to love God from our hearts and to receive more of His love. Our personal worship time is our time investment we are choosing to make toward Him. As a by product, we are refreshed as we receive His love and grace as we experience His presence as He leans toward us.
Over the years I have sought to go there, to sit on the stage, to walk around the chairs, to worship, pray and to receive. Being there, in the big room, reminds me of the greatness of God and reminds me of the people who come and worship with us.
Often I sing new songs directed toward His heart. Sometimes they include appeals for mercy, grace, greater healing. Usually at the end of my time I ask for His presence to be manifest in our worship space on weekends and in my heart.
City Wide Worship Brings Heaven To Earth.
What Caleb Ingram Declare and others in the Dayton area have accomplished for our community in worship has done much more than we realize. Worship has literally circled our community. Thousands of believers have worshiped together.
What Sean Feucht Let Us Worship is accomplishing much more than we realize. Heaven is touching earth. Sometimes I ask people to pray let heaven come to this earth. I ask them to put their hand on their heart and say… This earth. Worship is the scene of His appearing.
Pinpoints of Light… Worship Is!
Why not position yourself to go there to your place, wherever your place is? Go with a hunger and thirst for more, spend time in worship, and rest in His Presence. It’s what is most important.
Hope is so needed for so many today. A few years ago I was at my lowest point ever. Looking back I’m amazed I had taken so long to regain mental, social, emotional, and spiritual health.
All that happened was due to my own failure to read my gauges. The reality… I had arrived at this low point because of my poor decisions, and my fears.
Rebuilding does take time. Much more time than I had ever imagined. Recovery, I think is sometimes like that. We are complex beings.
In the process, I developed a few practices/tools to help nudge the process along.
I’m not the same person I was even a year ago.
The test provided testimony to God’s grace and His re-establishment of hope in my life.
Some thoughts on regaining hope.
We went through a season ~ two years ~ learning to rebuild our hope. I had lost hope and when you lose hope your heart becomes sick and needs healing. I discovered hope is the connector to Faith and to Love. Hope is the active power that ignites Faith and Love within a heart.
Without hope it is hard to receive or to give love, and to exercise faith.
I began to apply a few principles, leaned into friends, received some counseling, and yes, failed often. Panic attacks, miss-communications, and feelings of loss of identity all had shifted to the negative. Gratefully a few people helped me pick up the pieces.
Here’s how I began to recover.
1. I had to change my thinking.
I had a friend who encouraged me with straight speaking. “Steve you will have a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t change you will crash and burn.”
His gift, Steve Backlund’s book Victorious Mindsets, helped me begin to shift negative thinking. I began to practice positive thinking in spite of anxiety/panic attacks. Bringing thoughts under control helped me realize which thoughts were not mine. Often I’d declare that’s not my thought. Leave in Jesus’ name!
I began to guard my mind as my mindset slowly shifted.
I read the Bible a lot. I also used my journal to write passages which spoke to my heart. I understood I needed the washing of His words.
Ephesians 5:26 NASB Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.
I knew my brain is not just an organ, but part of my make up as a human. Within my body resides my mind, will, spirit, and emotions. We are body, soul, and spirit inter-connected each part assisting or influencing the other. I decided to continue to exercise, eat better, and manage my sleep.
Proverbs 23:7 Says… as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
Ephesians 4:23 NASB encourages us to berenewedin the spirit of our mind. Sometimes we need to put on a new helmet of Salvation. Acknowledging the reality of our salvation protects our minds. I was saved, I am in the process of being saved, and I will be saved. Also, Sozo means being made new spirit, soul, and body.
Romans 12:1-2 NASB Encourages…Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so thatyou may prove what the will of God is, that which isgood and acceptable and perfect.
I had to repent. Repentance means to change your mind/thinking, which—has the fruit of changed behavior going in a different direction. Walking forward in the best direction.
The night seasons were especially difficult. Psalms 23 and Psalms 27 became my nightly meditation and my confession.
“I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalms 27:13
2. I had to change my speech. I listened to worship and I worshiped more. One man once stated, “If you don’t know what to do… worship!“
I sang from my heart sometimes for hours. I believed I was receiving more than I could ever realize. This required making room in my week to intentionally position myself to worship, read, declare, and pray.
I attempted to watch what I said. Most of the time I had to guard what I said about myself. I had to make new declarations about who I was and who I was becoming. I also had to forgive myself and a few others.
3. I had to keep myself in the love of God.
I understood. Pattie, my wife, couldn’t keep me in the love of God. My friends could not keep me in the love of God. No pastor or leader could keep me in the love of God. I had to keep myself in the love of God.
Jude 1:21 NASB “keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.“
I began to read and write passages that spoke of the love of God. I lived in 1 John.
I realized people could splash love upon me, but the love of the Father has greater love, a lavished love.
I often leaned in, positioned myself to receive His love.
4. I realized hope is a person. His name is Jesus.
He is the hope of Glory. He is the anchor within the veil. He is the one who comes to bring the Fathers love and hope.
I wrote a few songs. No one has ever heard the songs except Pattie.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.I pour contempt upon all my pride, I run into You and hide.
Jesus is the Hope of the Nations. He is the One Whom I can run into and hide.
When I look to the cross I see His love and His humility. His love for everyone to see. God became man in the flesh. He was crucified. Buried and has risen. He is Jesus the risen One.
This Jesus is our restorer, our redeemer, our peace, our wisdom, our healer, our deliverer.
Spirit-led evangelism. Leaning into practicing hearing the voice of the Lord. Impressions, what we see, what we hear, noticing, being aware, open for business everyday, and a willingness to take risks are part of Spirit-led evangelism.
“Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts.” Proverbs 8:34 NASB
Simply put, “Jesus I am open to hear your voice today. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to believe. Help me to have the wisdom to respond to you as I go about my day. Lead me, guide me empower me. Help me to see what you see and to hear your voice today. Thank you!”