WHERE IS YOUR FAITH ROOTED...

ROOTED

WHERE IS YOUR FAITH ROOTED...
During times of great trial I often find comfort reading through the Psalms. Many of them of course are written by David in times of great distress, great victory, and everywhere in between. As I read I can’t help but notice that no matter what David is facing, there is a steadfast trust and faith in the Lord weaved throughout his words. It’s this deeply rooted trust and faith in God and His promises that keep him grounded in extremely tough times. Oh, certainly there are lapses in faith, words of desperation, and times where David feels as though God had completely forgotten him. This is what makes his words so real and relatable to us; inevitably he always comes back to God’s sovereignty and complete control over his situation.
 
Consider the emotional roller coaster that the Psalms take us through and you will find really quickly that your life often looks the same way. One moment we are celebrating a great victory and the next we are in complete despair. This is where making sure your faith is rooted in the right place comes into play. You see David faced the same temptation that you and I do, and that’s to root his faith in what he could physically see and feel instead of the Lord. The mindset goes a lot like this: Everything looks like its falling apart; everything feels like its falling apart; therefore everything must be falling apart and I’m doomed! We are all guilty of falling into this trap. The problem with coming to this type of conclusion is that we have misplaced where our faith should be rooted. Our circumstances and feelings are always changing; therefore if we are rooting our faith on what we can physically see and feel, our faith will change and fluctuate leaving us frustrated and full of anxiety.
 
Hebrews 13:8 says that, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He never changes, is always good, and is always in complete control. In Him, is where you want to drive your roots deep. Circumstances change; He doesn’t. Feelings change; He doesn’t. So we keep our faith rooted in Christ and His promises to us. The waves of life can beat against us and the winds can blow hard, but our roots are driven into the immovable One; therefore you too become immovable. In Acts 20 the apostle Paul was headed to Jerusalem and the Lord warned him that he was going to be arrested and face tremendous hardship when he got there. Paul confidently replied in verse 24, “but none of these things move me.” Then he pressed forward and walked through the trial. How could Paul so confidently continue forward knowing full well he was walking into a storm? His faith was rooted in the unchangeable One! He knew that no matter what lies ahead though very difficult, everything was going to be ok. That type of confidence can only come from a deep faith and trust in who God is, and in what He reveals to us about Himself.
 
It’s interesting that a deep rooted healthy oak tree actually gets stronger in a storm. The harder the wind, the thicker the roots become. The tougher the elements and rain, the stronger the rugged fibers of the tree grow. When you are rooted in Christ the storms will actually make you stronger and even more immovable. Our community has been hit by the 3rd biggest hurricane in recorded U.S. history. Category 5 Hurricane Michael ravaged our area and many are still trying to recover more than a year later. From now on every time you drive by trees that remain standing in the midst of hundreds of other trees completely destroyed, let them be a reminder to you to keep your faith rooted deeply in Christ so you too become immovable! Remember what Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 4:8-9 concerning the person in Christ, “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” So stay rooted in Jesus and His word of truth to you; like Paul walk into your future with confidence that everything is going to be ok!
 
So consider today where your faith is rooted. If its anywhere but Christ, that emotional roller coaster is going to take you for a crazy ride! Everything in life changes except for Him and His truth. So when things get hard, don’t replace what you do know with what you don’t know. It’s a major trap of the enemy to get us caught up and side tracked with all the unknowns; before we know it despair has overtaken us. Listen Christian, always stand firm on what you know when things don’t make sense. No matter how hard things get you are loved unconditionally; you are forgiven completely; He is with you and will never leave or forsake you; He is good; His plans and timing are always perfect; He has a great hope and future for you; He is strong, He is able; and He is in complete control of your situation. That never changes!
 
Pastor Anthony


NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION 2020

As we have kicked off the New Year I’m sure many of us have made resolutions, set new goals, and have new and fresh vision for what’s to come. These things are amazing and I say go for it, but only if the Lord is calling you to make those changes. This article is by no means meant to discourage us from setting new goals and making changes. We should have vision and make changes as the Lord would guide and give us the grace to do so. If there is some sin in our life, that’s a different topic and it needs to change and be repented of immediately. I always encourage change and seeking to grow in our faith. This article is however meant to challenge us not to underestimate the power of staying put, and remaining faithful to what and where God has us right now. For some of us maybe it needs to be our New Year’s resolution to just keep doing what you are doing and remain faithful.
There is always so much pressure from inside and outside the church as we head into a New Year to make changes and seek out some new thing. Usually to the point where we feel guilty if we don’t do anything new or different. Inevitably somebody is going to ask us, “so what’s your new year’s resolution?” It would seem kinda embarrassing to say, “well actually I’m not making any changes and just staying put with what I’m doing right now.” But is that really such a bad thing? I want to challenge us as Christians that just staying faithful and staying put is actually sometimes a lot bigger accomplishment than making some big change.
In 2nd Samuel we are introduced to one of David’s mighty men named Shammah. He was one of David’s top warriors. In one particular instance Shammah and the Israelite army were ordered to guard a field of lentils. When the Philistines came up to attack the Isrealites and take the field of beans, we are told that the whole Isrealite army left and fled except for one man named Shammah. You see Shammah had orders, and his orders were to stay put and guard the bean field. When things got really hard and scary everybody except Shammah thought we need to make a change, it just didn’t make sense and seemed silly to risk your life for some beans. Shammah on the other hand was faithful. He knew the last thing I was ordered to do is to guard these beans, and until I get new orders I am going to stay put! God blessed that faithfulness and used Shammah to defeat the Philistine army single handedly. 2nd Samuel 23:12 says “But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory.” If Shammah would have made a change because that’s what seemed best to him in that moment, he would of missed out on a great victory and blessing from the Lord.
You see sometimes it’s a lot harder to just hold your course and remain faithful for no other reason than, that was the last thing God told me to do. Many times in life we will be in positions where God calls us to something, and while you are there everything seems to fall apart and it makes no sense whatsoever to stay. Maybe it’s a difficult marriage, a difficult season of life, a ministry that seems fruitless, a challenging job. There are a myriad of examples but the question we have to ask ourselves no matter what the situation is, “what was the last thing that God told me to do?” If you haven’t received new orders from the Lord, then it’s best to just hold your course and stay put. God will see that faithfulness, and there is a great victory and blessing from Him right around the corner. Don’t run and make a change before the victory comes even if it seems slow in coming. Remember God sees the beginning and the end and His timing is perfect!
We often feel stressed that we have to strive and work hard to seek and try to figure out what God’s will is, and what He wants us to do next. We waste a lot of energy in these endeavors. I am guilty as charged of this trap. Remember what Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” In other words quit trying to figure it all out, trust Him and remain faithful even when it doesn’t make sense. Put Him first in all you do and if He wants you to make a change, it will be clear and He will direct you to do so. In the meantime hold your course and remain faithful.
Remember if God is calling you to make changes with fresh vision for the New Year and His grace is supplied to do it, then by all means I cheer you on to step out in faith. On the other hand I commend you greatly if your goal for the New Year is just to stay put and hold your course when it doesn’t make sense to do so, because that was the last thing God told you to do. Either way I pray for God’s blessings upon you and that you will always know He loves you unconditionally and is with you endlessly. Also I pray that you will have the faith to hold your course and trust Him when it doesn’t make sense to do so.
Happy New Year!
Pastor Anthony


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