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Faithlife

Keeping The Faith 10th February

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Keeping The Faith            10th February

Heb 11:1-2  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

 

Heb 11:5-7  By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

 

Heb 11:8-13 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

 

Heb 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Somehow these men and women of old saw something of God that we don’t. Something of the glory of God penetrated deep into their hearts – so deep, that in whatever they did, wherever they went, or whatever the circumstances they found themselves in, they believed – in fact more than believed – they knew God – they knew the F.O.G. in such a way it drew them towards Him – and we see the same thing with the Apostle Paul – their faith was totally beyond themselves into God!!

We are all on a journey of faith – you know really not so different to Abraham or Moses or Elijah – from the moment God revealed Himself to us through Jesus we have been walking a faith journey. We have not seen God –we have not seen Jesus – and the Holy Spirit indwelling us is invisible. But we have been given grace and faith and hope – and so we begin our race. It is an individual race, at times a lonely race – but it is also corporate – we run together. A marathon.!

This H.O.P. is part of that journey for us – this is no mistake or second best – although we might not fully understand yet what God has in mind for us. – I have been reminded these last few days of just how much this is part of God’s Sovereign design – that God has a purpose in this that is not about us, about our being comfortable or recognized or even feeling good – but is about Him and His glory – and I really believe it is about His glory – something wonderfully glorious for Him!!

I want to share with you a few things God has been stirring me with this last few weeks – I am excited and more expectant than I have been for a long time – it is not a frivolous thing or a light thing, in fact there is a very real sense of the F.O.G. in my heart – and I love that – and I think Robyn and I having a holiday for a couple of weeks is somehow part of this too – you know, like God’s timing – getting us ready for another surge towards the finish line of faith.

F.O.G. – all my youth and early adulthood I lived in rebellion – total rebellion to anyone in authority. I had no respect for anyone or anything really – certainly not myself – I did what I wanted and as I got older I turned my competitive nature into a tool of zeal for self gratification. I thought little of right or wrong or illegal or legal – there was no constraint in my life.

Pr 29:18  Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.


No plan, no goal, no thought for the future – I lived day by day, and with no race to run I had no restraint. 

Then I had that encounter with God on the side of a country road. There is a God !!– and if there is a God then He has seen what I have done with my life!! I was afraid – I was overwhelmed with the thought – I wept in shame and humiliation – for hours I wept – and I knew in my heart I never wanted God to see me sin again – not for my sake, but for His. --- In those few moments I knew the F.O.G. – I didn’t have a religious language to describe it – I didn’t know about sin or conviction or even

salvation – but I KNEW there was someone ABOVE me – someone far, far superior and somehow I understood HOLINESS – that God was Holy – and it was truly frightening because I knew I was so far beneath Him and unclean and unworthy – all just in my heart – I am using the language of Christianity to describe it – but then, this was all simply internal in my heart and into my mind – and I was afraid – afraid almost to move --- and it was the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced!

It was so incredibly humbling – I was little and underneath and SUDDENLY there were boundaries, rules and consequences and KNOWING God is – then, I had to know Him, and obey Him. I think that was the greatest freedom I have ever known! I wanted to worship and bow down and submit and cry out to be forgiven – over and over again I just said I am so sorry, I am so sorry! The F.O.G. is the most glorious and wonderful thing anyone can know.

Dt 33:27  The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’


I felt such safety in knowing there are boundaries! – God was my refuge and I just wanted to leap off into those everlasting arms – to abandon myself to Him – to immerse myself in Him – I was afraid and trembling and safe in the F.O.G. –- this wasn’t because of my sin – I knew I was a sinner, it wasn’t because I was convicted, and I was, deeply remorseful – it was because I was in His Presence and in His Presence is fullness of Joy – Yes there is a penetrating piercing of the heart –

but it is in assurance of safety – I think this is God’s love manifest too!  - This was revival, personal wonderful revival! – We hear people say why pursue revival it only lasts a little while but this has lasted for over 20 years in my life, and is still the same for me today as I relate it, as it was then. OH how I long for this to become corporate and widespread because this is the F.O.G. and it is about Him – it is about His glory.!!

It was only in this place of the F.O.G. that I was able to see how grubby I really was, how unclean and broken. For the first time in my life my heart was uncovered – there was no place to hide – and yet no need to hide – in seeing His glory – in Knowing, briefly, His glorious Majesty, when God came down I had to look up -- and for the first time in my life I had a real hope – conviction of sin and the F.O.G. pointed me up! Made me look up!

CRIME: --  We are all aware of the rapidly descending social climate of our nation. The enemy has certainly come in like a flood and it is of little value sometimes trying to define the causes – you know the reality it speaks to us everyday – the evidence of the chaos of a boundary-less world – the graffiti the poetry of young men without fathers and family – without reason and hope – purposeless and visionless and just as unrestrained as I was in my youth – only now it is the norm.!!

The government and every social agency are trying to come up with answers with how we can address this huge problem of gangs and almost daily murder – of suicide rates the highest in the developed world among young men – of teenage pregnancy and young women at the age of 20 with 3 children to 3 different fathers – of sexual abuse and child abuse escalating at an unbelievable rate. I have always been horrified reading of the various atrocities of the wars we

have been party to in our lifetimes – like Rwanda and Bosnia and Sudan and countless others    

Where the children and women have been raped and slaughtered – sort of like the trophies of war – and yet we are seeing the same things right here in NZ – We must not allow ourselves to slip into a place of thinking we are not part of this war – this battle in our nation – because it is actually our fight! This battle is squarely in the hands of Christianity. How dangerous it is for us right now to look at the solutions the government and opposition are proposing and thinking yes that’s it!

Boot camps and discipline and curfews and military style training – longer prison sentences and harsher parole conditions – all of these things have merit – but they will not, and cannot, and do not change and heal the damaged and broken hearts of a fatherless generation.

Mal 4:5-6  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.


I wonder if this is not the curse of our own rebellion against God – my generation began this abandonment of their families – the great epidemic of divorce and the quest for some sort of satisfaction, the elusive search to “feel needed” and worthy and significant because our parents had abandoned God and church for the new wealth and success syndrome and we blindly followed. But to find happiness and significance outside of God is a deception –

there is no such thing. When God is most glorified man is most satisfied and we ran away from God in ignorance to search for our own place. We left our children and they grew up with that as a primary influence in the way they perceived, and so they never committed and began to produce children without responsibility and here we are 2 generations on and it is reaping this chaos – but you know it is God who can bring order into chaos and only God.!

But the hearts of the fathers have to be turned to the children and the children to the fathers and that is going to take a miracle – but our God is the God of miracles and He said He would send Elijah the prophet before He comes again to judge us – and maybe that shows us our place a little too –

Jas 5:17-18 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.


Elijah was a man just like we are – yet he was used of God to bring revival and to perform great and mighty miracles – Elijah was a man of earnest prayer – he prayed and he cried out and he sought to know the heart of God for a wayward, idolatrous and dysfunctional nation – he interceded and waited and pressed in until God used him – Before Elijah performed on behalf of God he had to know the heart of God.

I think that is one place we can start right now – before the hearts of the children can be turned to the fathers – or even the fathers hearts turned to the children – the fathers hearts have to be turned to God’s own heart. – --- Yesterday as I was praying I was interceding for those seriously ill among us – Margaret Costar and Pat Subritzky and Fiona and Graeme Tulloch and others  – it was one of those times when I felt especially close to God –

intimate as though this was very personal between God and me – I was reminding Him of the price Jesus had paid for us – by His stripes Father we are healed – there were 3 people I was praying for that medical science cannot heal – there is nothing, and if they are to recover it can only be a Divine Healing – I was talking to Father about this and I began to realize the truth of that scripture Jesus quoted ---

Mt 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!


House of Prayer how we must learn to come into that place of the intimacy a child has with his father – we have to go there for them, for the fatherless because how can they go to whom they don’t know and in a way they have never experienced. You know God is looking for Elijahs – men and women with the spirit of Elijah – you know when Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijahs spirit and then received it – and then he did twice the miracles of Elijah ---

But you know he would have prayed twice as much as well – he would have been constrained to prayer! I think he really understood the father heart of God – because he cared for the orphans and widows and fatherless.

I am excited and not a little fearful because I think God is calling us to be an Elijah company – H.O.P. a people who will believe even more for revival - -a revival that will affect the whole community – not just a church growth thing – but the glory of God coming down – Oh if I could impart a hunger into your hearts for revival – for the F.O.G. – I long to tremble in His Presence – tremble at His Word – fall on my face before Him in repentance and conviction – not because of my sin --  

But because of His glory – His Majesty.

1 Sa 22:2  And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.

1 Ch 12:1-2 Now these were the men who came to David at Ziklag while he was still a fugitive from Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the mighty men, helpers in the war, armed with bows, using both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows with the bow. They were of Benjamin, Saul’s brethren.

 

Heb 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Can you keep the faith – will you keep the faith and believe only believe.





  

   



  

 

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