Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Has your faith ever been shaken? When we look around us at a world reeling in turmoil, it is easy to feel like God is somehow not there. We remember the past year and the pain it brought our world: earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wars, persecutions,   Yes, life is tough and bad things sometimes happen to good people.  Sometimes we make bad choices and follow through on them with devastating results.  We have planted our seeds, and sometimes they fall into rocky ground. We read the Word of God and discover a beautiful promise, then we go with it and base our tomorrows on that promise. Sometimes that promise never materializes and we find ourselves in circumstances that shake our faith. Yet in the middle of it all, I am continually reminded of the heroes of faith found in Hebrews 11. Every single one lived lives of incredible faith. Yet we are reminded that they never lived to see the promises fulfilled. Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. Hebrews 11:13 (TMB) How did they accomplish this? The bible tells us they looked ahead by faith, realizing that life is more than the here and now. It is eternal for those who believe in God. They recognized that the plan of God is bigger than human sight, human life spans, all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth. (Amp).
     How were those heroes of the faith different from you and me? They never ever allowed their faith to be shaken or moved. They believed God. They never came to the point where we often seem to find ourselves thinking or saying, “ How can I go on, I tried this faith stuff, and it is not working for me. It’s a waste of time and energy.” Too many today find themselves moved away from faith rather than towards God in faith.  They want faith to be a simple formula that always gives us what we want and makes life simple and easy. We expect God to be our ‘sugar-daddy’ who gives us everything we want and need in life. We don’t expect God to allow tough times,  health concerns, natural disasters, and for our lives to be shaken through it all.
When we look through the Bible, we see story after story of the people of God going through tough times. Moses started out with a life of ease and comfort growing up in the palace of pharaoh, but that was not the end of life for him. God wanted to teach Him about the harsh realities of life. So God took Moses on a journey, where he spend 40 years herding sheep in the desert, before he would be ready to lead God’s people for the next 40 years in the wilderness. It meant times of hunger, thirst, complaints, insurrection, rebellion, and all the while, because of the lessons Moses had learned, he looked forward by faith to the ‘land of milk and honey’...a land in which he would never dwell. [Motivated] by faith he left Egypt behind him, being unawed and undismayed by the wrath of the king; for he never flinched but held staunchly to his purpose and endured steadfastly as one who gazed on Him Who is invisible. Heb 11:27 AMP What motivates you and your faith in God? Do you allow fleeting circumstances to shake your faith? What do you do when life does not meet up with your human expectations?

If you want to be a hero of the faith, it means you will have to learn to look at life through God’s eyes. If you live to be one hundred years old, though your body fail you and your family turn on you, will you continue to love and serve God by faith, believing that His plan is longer that your lifespan? We must live our lives with any eye on eternity. We must see that the full plan of God includes the timelessness of eternity. We have a hope and a future that is much longer that life here and now. We must keep looking forward, by faith, anticipating the words of the Lord...‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:21 NKJV)
Battling the Enemy
Sometimes we fail to recognize the source of the attacks in our lives. We forget that Satan is the one who is the aggressor, trying to undermine the lessons God is trying to teach us. Satan tries to get us to look at the circumstances, at ourselves, and then when we do, he takes full advantage of our moment of weakness. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV) Those heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11 had the same adversary, yet they remained strong. They had a different focus. They knew their God! They trusted their God! James 4:7-8 tells us how to overcome the seduction of Satan. 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Notice it begins by our submission to God. When we put ourselves in God’s care, we are in the best place we can possibly be. If we resist God, we are asking for trouble. But when we resist Satan, there is an automatic response—he will flee! But we must first submit to God. For every step we make towards God, God moves towards us in equal measure. As we get closer and closer to God, we will suddenly be more and more aware of the sin in our hearts and minds. We must choose to be clean. If we think we want God, but we continue to dwell in sin, we are truly ‘double minded’. We are trying to run things in our own strength and power and at the same time give God His place...who is the One who really wants to run our lives. We cannot serve two masters. We must choose to follow God—all the way! We must put Satan in his place...send him on the run. The devil will do everything in his power to keep us from God, from intimacy, from obedience, from submission to God. The sooner we recognize Satan’s attack, the sooner we can draw near to God.

Shaken Faith
When I think of the energy it takes to make an earthquake, to cause the crust of the earth to tremble so much that everything on it is moved, I also tend to think of how God sometimes allows ‘quakes’ in our spiritual world to move us close to Himself. After every physical earthquake, there are often many ‘after shocks’ as well. They too, shake the world. They remind us of the potential for more earthquakes, and they cause us to think cautiously. They keep us ‘on the edge’ of readiness, and we learn to do things a little differently. Spiritually, an ‘after shock’ should serve to remind us of the potential attacks of the enemy, so we keep our guard high, and our spiritual man seeking after God.  I sometimes think of Jonah who ran from God, was swallowed by a great fish, then after repentance, was tossed on the beach, and he then chose to obey. He preach just what God told him to do and the people listened and repented. But Jonah felt like a fool. He had been through unimaginable trauma, a tiring march to Nineveh, a time of preaching and calling for repentance. He found himself sitting on a hillside waiting for God to pour out His anger on the city. He probably suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome. God had other plans for Nineveh. God forgave them. Meanwhile, Jonah had a valuable lesson to learn. God is the One who is in charge. He does what He wants and we are to learn from each experience. What is God trying to teach you today? Is He allowing your world to be shaken? Is your faith also being shaken?  Remember the bigger picture that is in the mind of God. I like the words of Job 23:10... But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.  So much of our world is wood, hay and stubble. God wants to bring out the best in you...increase your faith, cause you to grow stronger.  I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. 1 Peter 1:6,7 TMB

J. Johnson

Praise reports and prayer requests…..

Pray for revival!  Pray for those who are struggling with forgiveness,  anger and doubt.

Pray for the Johnsons as they seek a new place of full time ministry...a church that needs strong leadership. Pray for grieving families who have lost loved ones....(Bob Schallow family) Evangelists, Missionaries, and Teachers. Pray for  US Army Chaplain Steve Maglio.
Pray for those needing a healing touch in their bodies:  Jeanne Deike (cancer)  Dave Barth (cancer), L. Gardner (cancer). J. Johnson (chronic cough and possible IBS) Pray for those dealing with chaos, anger, abuse, temptations and carnal sinful habits.  Pray for the nation, for the President, for our service men and women, for Israel, for Christians in Muslim countries, for the unsaved,  and don’t forget to Praise and thank  the Lord!

Dear friends,
Please continue to pray for us as we seek God’s placement of our ministry.  We have completed our time of ministry in Tomah as their new pastor will arrive soon. So we now look forward to whatever God has for us to do for Him. Praise the Lord! We are so thankful and so appreciate each of you who take the time to pray and write. Your financial gifts are so important and needed. God bless you all! God is faithful and we anticipate great things in the future… …Serving the Master    
Dave & Joyce
Please address all donations and correspondence to this  address :

Word of the Lord Ministries
Rev. David & Joyce Johnson
PO Box 655, Waupaca WI 54981
Thank your for your donations
Your prayers and gifts are deeply

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