Recovering Our Faith

Recovering Faith

Recovering our Faith: When all seems lost, God is Able!

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Crisis can lead to loss of faith or growth of faith, or sometimes both. Have you suffered a loss that brought about a crisis of faith?

What do we do when faith seems to have let us down… God hasn’t answered our prayers like we wanted … and the pain is immense?

One thing I do know is that we are not alone if we are having a crisis of faith. 

*Hagar – (Genesis 21:17) “God has heard…”

*Elijah - (1 Kings 19:4, 9-10)

*Peter – denied Christ and then went back to an old way of life for a season.

When all seems lost, can God really restore our faith?

1. What I Learned About Faith from Revelation

The Devil is At Work  (Revelation 2:9-11)

I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death.- Revelation 2:9-11 

God affirms that there will be some severe troubles ahead for the Christians. Satan has his work that afflicts and imprisons us. When hurt we tend to blame. Don’t blame God for what Satan is doing! Satan hates us and works against us at every opportunity.  God promises the faithful…

*You will be tested -Be faithful until death

*Receive the crown of life

*Conquerers escape the second death

God Knows Your Affliction (Revelation 2:2-14)

And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword: “I know where you are living, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you are holding fast to my name, and you did not deny your faith in me even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan lives. – Revelation 2:12-14

God knows what you are going through. The purpose of support groups – being around others who know.  Your tears have not escaped him. He knows your efforts to cling on to His promises. He knows you can make it.

God Helps Us Conquer Evil

Through Justice. Revelation 13:9-11 Let anyone who has an ear listen: If you are to be taken captive, into captivity you go; if you kill with the sword,with the sword you must be killed. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Through Promises. Revelation 14:12-13  Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”

Jesus is Still King (Revelation 1:4-6)

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. ~Revelation 1:4-6 

2. How Can I Recover My Faith After Crisis?

I don’t know everything, but God does.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time. — Oswald Chambers

Pray often & Think Right.

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. …and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:6-9

God Walks through Dark Valleys. A favorite Psalm says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly. –Madeleine L’Engle

Believing Jesus brings peace. John 14:1 reminds us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”

Oh, how great peace and quietness would he possess who should cut off all vain anxiety and place all his confidence in God. –Thomas A. Kempis

Following Jesus brings healing. Isaiah 53:5 tells us of the Suffering Servant, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.” Whatever healing we need, Jesus is the one who can supply it.

We are empowered to Stand in Faith.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. – Ephesians 6:10-18

We wait 2 Peter 3:13 reminds us, “But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.”

We Embrace New Life.  

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. -Romans 6:3-5

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the window which hope has opened” — Charles Spurgeon

I’m praying that your recovery time will be spent leaning on God until your faith grows strong and hope is restored.

Tulsa Reflections

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Attending Tulsa Workshop over the past thirty years has been an exceptionally wonderful experience. I’ve often wished I could get our whole church to attend because of the amazing amount of inspiration and information that takes place there. As a young minister attending the workshop I always thought that it would be a high point to be asked to participate in the presentations. Having been asked several times now, it really is one of the great blessings I have enjoyed.

There are so many thoughts as I consider the great experience at Tulsa this week that I’m sure I cannot name them all. But here are a few brief reflections.

Marvin Phillips was unable to be present because of health. It was the 40th Tulsa Workshop and I know he would have liked to have been there. Marvin Phillips and Terry Rush are the iconic figures associated with the workshop. My prayers are with Marvin and his family as his health struggles grow.

Meeting several people who I only knew via Facebook. Since Facebook took over our lives I have ‘met’ so many ‘friends’ and in print they seem to be such delightful people. It was a joy to connect with them in person and realize that you feel you already know one another. The ‘family reunion‘ ambiance of the workshop is such an inviting factor. There are some friends I only see once a year. I just wouldn’t miss it if I could help it!

Reuniting with Katrina Heroes. Among those I get to visit with are people who came to our rescue after Katrina. This year that was especially memorable as I visited with Canadian friends Charlie and Linda Whitfield. They came in a camper and spent several weeks helping out … and as we noted, it was ten years ago this month. Our conversation took right up where it left off. Chatting with Seth Simmons and others who came to help us was just a joy.

The speakers were top shelf, both challenging and informative. The classes and presentations I attended were excellent. It would be hard to say which one was best – because they all captured my attention and drew me to the Word. I’m glad they record these so I can listen later and gain even more from the lessons given.

These are my people. I know there are other great conferences out there with lots of blue lights, smoke machines, loud bands and well known evangelical speakers. Fair enough. But these are my people. When I hear them speak, I understand their framework. Even if I disagree with a point, I know they love the Church of Christ. When someone from outside our ‘tribe’ is invited to speak they have done so with great respect and I appreciated hearing a different perspective. I sometimes attend conferences outside of our fellowship, but when I do I realize that our folks do not come in second when it comes to presenting message and content.

There is one thing I do not like about Tulsa Workshop. Each year the crowd appears to grow a little smaller. The advent of the internet has given us the capability to hear these speakers on a weekly basis if we choose. There might be a thousand varied reasons why people do not come to Tulsa in the numbers that they used to, but it still makes me sad. There is no experience like sitting in the pavilion and lifting your voice with thousands of others in praise to God. The atmosphere is electric. It really energizes the spirit! If you have not been to Tulsa… or it’s been a while … I invite you to put it on your calendar.

For four decades now Tulsa Workshop has provided the talking points for our brotherhood. The workshop has made people mad and made people celebrate. I’ve probably felt both over the years! But one thing the workshop has taught me is that my brothers and sisters might not all think exactly alike on every issue, but they all love King Jesus and will join together to worship Him! I hope you’ll plan to attend next year’s Tulsa Workshop, March 23-26. The Theme is From Darkness to Light: Stones Rolled Away. Can’t wait!

Order your CDs and DVDs and MP3s HERE.

For more about Tulsa Workshop from it’s participants, check out (and ‘like’) the Facebook Page and Twitter Feed.

Note: The Tulsa Workshop faced a significant deficit this year. God will provide … and perhaps He will move you to help? If so, go to Tulsa Workshop website (HERE) and click DONATE. Thanks for joining me in helping keep Tulsa Workshop a great experience for generations to come.  JD