On the Second Row… “The Reality of Faith” and Breaking News Women’s Conference
It has been a jam packed weekend at WPT South. First was the Breaking News Women’s Conference on Saturday. I have to admit that I hadn’t been able to go to a women’s conference for a while, so I was so excited at the prospect of attending this one. And I was surely not disappointed at the speakers who talked about a variety of topics from conquering fear to living a healthy spiritual and physical life. One of my favorite speakers of the day was Pastor Dawn who spoke about “fake news.” What she said was that often the enemy plays with our emotions, filling our minds and hearts with lies about who we really are, but the truth that Jesus brings is that we can “have life and have it to the full.”
Check out these pics of some of the fun we had:
This Sunday, Pastor Derek also concluded the series that he began a couple of months ago on the word Cultivate. The message, titled “The Reality of Faith,” was so timely. Pastor Derek spoke about how the invisible world is just a real as the visible one, and in order to experience the miraculous in our lives, we need to step out in faith and believe that God can do what He says He can.
I sometimes have a hard time believing the promises of God for myself. I can pray and believe for other people much more than I can when I am faced with my own circumstances. But Pastor Derek encouraged me when he said that the reality that we are faced with every day doesn’t have to be our reality forever. Things are subject to change when we believe that God can do what He has promised. In fact, he described the definition of faith as”the ability to see provision and the Hand of God when everyone else sees nothing.” You see, faith doesn’t stop with what our minds can grasp or what our eyes can see. Faith has vision.
But what happens when our lives do not go as planned? What happens when we have believed for something only to understand that what we prayed for didn’t come to pass? We have to believe that we serve a God who sees the whole picture, who works on our behalf, and who understands our disappointment and pain. At times like these, we must ask ourselves if we are willing to follow a God that we do not always understand. Can we still rejoice and call ourselves blessed when the world seems to be crumbling?
We must remember that we serve a very creative God. Just look at the life of Abraham. Romans 4:16-21 says that Abraham believed for his promise from God even against hope. Because he did, God created a miracle for Abraham, something that was not humanly possible and in a way that Abraham hardly expected. God can do the same thing for us when we choose to have faith.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE QUALITIES OF REAL FAITH
FAITH STARTS WITH A PROMISE
Abraham received a promise from God that he would be the father of many nations, and yet he had no children. Sometimes what God promises to us seem impossible with our natural mind. But if what we believe lines up with what the Word of God says, we can be sure that God is in the process of working all things out for our good. We just cannot get impatient.
And some of the most delightful promises of God are not monetary, earthly, or tangible at all. Just look at Psalm 103:1-6! God forgives our sins, heals us, redeems us, crowns us with love and compassion, and satisfies the longings of our souls. Wow!
FAITH IS A DECISION
When God tested Abraham’s faith in Genesis 22:1-5, he trusted God so much that he didn’t have a back-up plan. He risked everything. Pastor Derek said that many times we cut ourselves off from the promises of God because we think we can figure out our situation better or faster than God can. Or sometimes we listen to our own negativity. Sometimes the words of others or the voice of the enemy tells us that God cannot or will not do what He has promised. But just remember that faith focuses on PROMISES, not EXPLANATION. All things are subject to change.
FAITH IS UNWAVERING AND BRINGS GLORY TO GOD
Abraham was so fully persuaded that God had the power to keep His promises that he risked everything he had. And God honored that faith by fulfilling the promise He had made to Abraham. We see people stepping out in faith all throughout the Bible. One of Pastor Derek’s favorite examples of this (and one of mine, too) is the story of the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace in Daniel 3. When King Nebuchadnezzar told Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to bow down to the image that he had made, they refused to do so. In fact, their reply was this: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” They gave glory back to God even if the situation did not turn out as planned.
FAITH IS A FREE GIFT
We cannot earn it or buy faith. God wants all we are, and He knows what is best for us. We just need to learn to trust that He knows what He is doing and that He has better plans for us than we can even imagine.
I hope that you were in the second row of a church somewhere this week. I hope you were on any row, actually. But if you still need a place to feel welcomed and loved, there is always a seat on the second row next to me reserved for you.
Have a great week!
February 22, 2018