Strengthened in Faith

Sunday, September 14, 2014, 9:00 p.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Refresh My Spirit, Lord.” This was followed by “Lord, Move Me.” Both songs have a similar theme.

Refresh My Spirit, Lord / An Original Work / August 8, 2011
Based off of Psalm 51 & Matthew 11:28-30

Refresh my spirit, Lord. Revive my heart today.
Move me to serve You, Lord in all I do and say.
Be my heart’s one desire; my spirit set on fire
In pure devotion, Lord, to love you and obey.

Create within me, Lord, a pure heart, this I pray,
So I can worship You and yield to You always.
May all Your love and pow’r be lived in me, I pray,
So I might love as You; be Your witness today.

Jesus says, “Come to me all you with heavy hearts,
And find in me your peace, and give to me your all.
My yoke is light to bear, ‘cause I paid for your sin,
So you might be set free, and purified within.”

I have been really dragging for a couple of days. Part of it is emotional, I am sure, as multiple things are on my mind, and I am praying over several situations going on in my life right now. Part of it is physical and hormonal, too. Those types of things come and go, or are cyclical, so they are a fact of life which must be recognized so that I (we) don’t let these times weigh me (us) down. All these things affect me spiritually, so it is during these times that I need to be refreshed in my spirit, revived in my heart, moved to follow my Lord in obedience, and reminded of God’s absolute faithfulness in my every part of my life.

I am presently reading in Romans for my quiet times with the Lord each day. So, after reading the lyrics to these two songs, I prayed, “Speak, Lord, your words to my heart.” Then, I read Romans 3-5. When I got to Ro. 4:18, I knew this was where I was to read.

Against Hope

In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. ~ Ro. 4:18-25 NASB​

I must admit that sometimes there are situations in my life which appear hopeless on the surface. It is hard to wait, at times, for things promised, because of things present which give the indication of the opposite of what is hoped for. And, so I need to be encouraged to keep pressing on, believing God, even when I can’t see what lies ahead. I need to keep believing even when the evidence is not physically present with me. I must believe God even when all looks as though there is no way. So, I find much encouragement in this story of Abraham’s faith, and in how he believed God even when, from all physical evidence, it looked absolutely hopeless. I was immediately strengthened in my faith as the Spirit spoke his words of encouragement to my heart through this story.

Sometimes we read the word, and we intellectually take it into our minds, but it has no real power or effect, for whatever reason. Other times we are affected by it, and we learn from it, and we grow from it, but we don’t sense the Spirit putting his finger on any particular area of our lives. Then other times we read the word and the Spirit of God quickens our minds and hearts and deals specifically with situations in our lives. Then what we read immediately convicts our hearts, gives us direction, instills hope, and/or it refreshes our hearts, encourages our spirits, and it strengthens us in our faith. This was one of those times when I knew that God had a personal message for me through this story.

The Lord Jesus immediately lifted my spirits when I read how Abraham believed God, against hope, and how he did not waver in unbelief. His faith did not weaken, but he grew strong in his faith, and he gave glory to God, even when he had not yet realized the fulfillment of the promise. As well, he was fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised, and that he would fulfill that promise. Amen! Lord, I believe!

No Pain, No Gain

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Ro. 5:1-5 NASB​

You have probably heard the old saying, “No pain, no gain.” Apparently it has to do with physical exercise, toning of body muscles, and losing weight. Getting in physical shape takes discipline, hard work, and muscle soreness in order to gain the end goal of toned muscles, healthier bodies and weight loss.

Well, a similar situation occurs as we get in shape spiritually, i.e. as we grow in faith and in our walks with the Lord. Certainly we do so in the power and strength of the Spirit within us, yet the Spirit takes us through situations in our lives to help with that process. In other words, these difficult situations in our lives, which I mentioned earlier, which can try our faith, also serve God’s purposes in our lives. As we go through these difficulties, and we learn to turn to him, and to draw on his strength, we grow in faith, and he develops his (godly) character within us.

Difficult times teach us perseverance, i.e. the waiting I spoke of previously, and the steadfastness in continued faith, even when all looks hopeless. When we persevere, even in the face of much difficulty and/or persecution, his character is proven in our lives in how we respond to those troublesome circumstances. The more we become like Jesus in all that we think, do and say, the greater our faith will be so that will be more hopeful by trusting in our Lord and in his many promises to us, and we will not waver in unbelief. Our God is absolutely faithful in all that he does, and he will do all that he has said he will do, and that is why true hope will never disappoint, because we hope for what God has promised.

Lord, Move Me / An Original Work / October 16, 2011

Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.

Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.

Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.