199: A Culture of Faith – Faith in Spite of Circumstances

A formula is a proven method to achieve something whereas an equation involves a unique set of variables. We may be facing similar situations to others, but it’s not necessarily going to be the same strategies that get us through to the other side. 

In strategising our way through, it’s important to pay attention to wise advice but even more important to SEEK GOD for the DIVINE DIRECTION that is unique to us. Especially when what we’re hoping and praying for isn’t reflected (yet!) in our circumstances.

Words for the Week

Job 23:10-12
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

Also read Malachi 3:10, about what will happen if you put all your eggs in God’s basket!

formulae

Writer’s Thoughts

What better place to write for Soulfood, than from the middle of a personal crisis. I am certainly experiencing the reality of exercising ‘faith in spite of circumstances’ at the moment. If you are in a similar position, then you will know what a roller coaster this journey is: one moment you’re full of faith for the outcome, receiving words and pictures, hearing from God… and the next you’re wondering will this ever end, do you have the stamina, did you really hear from Him or was it wishful thinking? You may question your own worth, and His goodness.

Our circumstances have a dramatic impact on our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Finding our way through the squeeze points in life can be extremely difficult but God not only has a way through, He has a plan to prosper us through it. He is for us and not against us. The inevitable challenges and dark periods, though painful, have the potential to produce incredible opportunities – for change, for growth, for freedom, for greater revelation of God’s love for us, and a refining that’s worth its weight in gold.

I’ve recently been bowled over by ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (Matthew 6:9-13) – it was as if I was hearing it for the first time and understanding afresh the depth of its impact. Within those few lines are an insight into God’s heart for us, evidence that He understands the whole of humanity, permission to access Heaven’s resources and revelation that Heaven isn’t the goal… it’s Heaven on earth.

Any time God asks us to do something, it automatically means He wants us to succeed in it, receive resources to achieve it and live in the fullness of that request. In difficult times, where we’re exercising faith over our circumstances, we need to know that His intention is that we come through it: that we reach our promised land.

We need strategy – that unique equation – to effectively navigate the challenges. We need to understand that God is with us, for us and wants us to get through – not just by the skin of our teeth, but with gold to show for it! How do we practically outwork this?

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Own it personally

Where are you on the journey?
Are you in a good place? Fantastic. Spend some time asking God for fresh revelation – build your resources – fill your storehouse with truth!

Are you in the middle of the crisis? Read the verses below to encourage you, and remind you who your Father God is. The promised land at the end of this journey is worth pursuing: don’t stop where you are, keep moving forward. Think about who can help you in your walk.

Who is flanking you?
While you’re in a squeeze, with limited time and emotional resources, it can feel lonely. In this critical time, if you need support, ask for it. Join a prayer triplet or peer mentoring group. If you’re able to provide support, give it!

Do you know that God sees ALL THINGS?
When you ask God for strategy in this time, consider again for a moment that God sees ALL things. Before a word is on your tongue, He knows it (Psalm 139). He knows everything. Every possibility, every eventuality. If He says “Do this”, it is in the fullness of all knowledge. Allow that to sink into the core of your being because His strategy for you is going to be the best, most effective, most thought-through concept you could ever come up with!

“For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see?.” Romans 8:24

Ask for strategy…
Everyone hears from God in a slightly different way – I see moving pictures – He always uses things that are pertinent to us. Ask Him to show you what to do / say, and when to do / say it. Expect Him to answer…

If nothing else, today, praise God and remember…
Despite circumstances, despite what you see and feel, the most effective way to combat the enemy and feelings of doubt and fear is to praise God and remember the times He’s been good to you (see Psalm 77). THANK HIM. Thank Him for the smallest thing. What, in this time, can you find to be thankful about – is it the kindness of a friend? Spend time in this place.

Speak it Out – Pray and Prophesy

If you are in the middle…
Lord, you know what I’m going through at the moment. You know that I can’t see the end but don’t let me be dictated to by my current circumstances – show me how I can turn my situation into an opportunity: grow faith in me by your Holy Spirit – faith that you are good, faith that you know the plans you have for me, and faith that you intend to bring me out of this like gold!

I proclaim that you are sovereign over everything Lord, and therefore I will trust you. I ask you for wisdom: give me strategy every day, and reveal to me again the prayer that Jesus taught us: let it soak deep into my heart. Please put wise counsellors around me – give me a boost of discernment to distinguish the lies of the enemy from your encouraging, loving voice. Despite my circumstances, despite what I feel, I know that you are GOOD.

Thank you Lord!

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

If you are walking with a friend through a crisis…
Lord give me words and pictures to encourage and support [enter name here]. Please prompt me when to call and when to reach out so that I am completely effective. I place your cross between me and [friend’s name], and I ask you to cover, bless and protect [enter family names here] as I stand with them. I proclaim that you are sovereign! You are mighty, holy and wonderful!

Thank you Lord that your plan is to bring [friend’s name] through this time as gold: show me how to encourage [friend’s name], and I rebuke every scheme of the enemy to discourage and lie to [friend’s name].

Your name is higher than any other. Amen.

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