Friday, July 17, 2009

Faith "Difficulty" and "Dead End"

A combined post from the last two day's devotionals from Rick Warren on increasing faith when we hit the "difficulties" "Dead End"

"In order to build your faith, God will give you a dream, then He'll urge you to make a decision, but then He'll allow a delay, because in the delay He matures you and prepares you for what is to come. The truth is you'll have difficulties while God delays." Lord, I am having difficulties with my "reality." This week I have almost had a panic attack twice thinking about the future and what is may/may not hold for Parker. "This isn't because He doesn't care about you or that He's forgotten your circumstances; rather, it's one of the ways He pushes you toward the deep end of faith." Deep end of faith, I hate the deep end of anything, feels like I'm drowning. "As God delays, you'll face two types of difficulties: circumstances and critics. This is a natural part of life. God designed it this way because He knows we grow stronger when facing adversity and opposition.When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt into the desert toward the Promised Land, he had one problem after another. First there was no water. Then there was no food. Then there were a bunch of complainers." Complainers? Sounds familiar.. "Then there were poisonous snakes. Moses was doing what God wanted him to do, but he still had problems.David was anointed king, and then for the next several years he was hunted down by Saul. Joseph had a dream of becoming a ruler, yet he was sold into slavery and thrown into prison on a false charge where he languished, forgotten. Imagine the difficulties Noah had building a floating zoo!The Bible says that when Moses died, Joshua was appointed the new leader. Moses led the people across the desert and then Joshua led them into the Promised Land. Did he get the easy part? The Bible says that when the Israelites entered the Promised Land there were giants in the land. Even in the Promised Land there were problems!God does this because He is building our faith and character.

When we finally come to a place where the difficulties become so bad, where we've reached our limit, where we've tried everything and exhausted all our options, it is then that God begins a mighty work through us: "I know, even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident—it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold" (1 Peter 1:6-7 PH). I've reached my limit; I'm ready for your mighty work.

"When the pursuit of your dream deteriorates from difficult to impossible; when the situation looks hopeless, congratulations! You’re in good company." Gee, I don't want to be in good company..I want things to be "normal" again...

"Even Paul went through dead ends: “At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we believe now that we had this experience of coming to the end of our tether that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9 PH).

If God can raise people physically, He can raise people who are dead emotionally. He can raise a dead marriage. He can resurrect a dead career. He can resurrect you from a health problem. If God can raise the dead, He can do anything. In Abraham’s situation, God said, “I want you to become the father of a nation,” but then Abraham had to wait until he was 99 years old before he had his first child. The Bible shows Abraham’s situation going from difficult to impossible. He looks at his body and says, “No way!” Then he looks at his wife and says, “Double no way!”But Sarah got pregnant and they laughed about it. When the baby was born, they named him Isaac, which means laughter. God often lets problems become impossibilities. The disciples planned to follow Jesus. They thought He was the Messiah, but then the next thing they know Jesus is hanging on the cross, dying. Was this a dead end for the disciples? For three days it seemed that way, but then Jesus walked out of the tomb.

When you face a dead end, you may start asking, “What’s going on, God? Did I miss Your will? Your plan? Have I missed Your vision?” Keep in mind that dead ends are part of God’s plan for you.What’s the best response to a dead end? “He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us; we have placed our hope in Him that He will deliver us again” (2 Corinthians 1:10 HCSB)."

Thank you Lord for letting problems become impossibilities and the reminders of impossible situations that you answered. We know you can do the impossible!

We have a weekend of swimming in Magnolia with the kids and two Dr visits next week. One with the Pediatrician to get shots and then another Cardio visit. Please be praying for continued weight gain for Parker and no medications. We'll update next week. Be blessed!

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