Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Joy in the eye of the storm

“God used to feel so close, but now my prayers seem dry as if He’s not listening anymore.” Everyone goes through dry lonely stretches in their walk with God. But what you do during those times determines how soon, and how strong you come out of them. God wants to know, is our faith based on warm fuzzy feelings, or on the rock-solid truth of His word? God is light, goodness, joy, peace, and all the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit listed throughout the Bible. It’s not wrong for us to want to feel those godly emotions, in fact it’s good to develop a heightened sense of His presence.

But there is no comparison to the deep eternal joy of the Holy Spirit, and moods that come and go with changing circumstances. God wants us to experience deep supernatural joy and peace in the midst of dry times, in the midst of trials and demonic attacks. That’s the only way we can know that we’re truly bearing the fruit of the Spirit, when fleshly emotions fail us and we let God’s heavenly qualities motivate everything we do.  

Do you want to feel God closer and see Him clearer? Then get excited about dry times! Don’t be afraid of demonic attacks. That’s the perfect climate for the rich and abundant fruit of the Holy Spirit to be borne in you. It’s the last thing you may want, but in the middle of a storm, standing firm in your determination that His Word is true, is when miracles and answered prayer manifest. The eye of the storm is where you can be filled with a greater joy and sense of victory than comfortably hiding from problems in your home, clutching whatever worldly security you have. When you defy your storm by faith, the roar dies to a whimper. God shows Himself strong in supernatural ways, and you will never be the same again. 

When Jesus left the earth and gave the Great Commission to His disciples, His final promise was that He’d be with them until the very end. It’s no coincidence that the promise came just as Jesus finished telling His followers to go out and get busy spreading the gospel to every nation, to all the world, making disciples, fully knowing that many would be tortured and killed for their faith. While risking life and limb to obey the Great Commission, they could be sure His presence would never leave them. It doesn’t mean that He’s not with those who stay at home, and it doesn’t mean that we have to be thrown to the lions to prove our faith, but it does mean that we can be sure to see His presence alive and shining when we’re willing to take risks to put His Kingdom above all else.  

A lot of people misunderstand why our church encourages people to make sacrifices to God. Some even find an excuse to disappear from church during that sacrificial season, and mysteriously reappear when it’s all over to avoid the discomfort of hearing those messages. A sacrifice that honors God has to be given out of the freewill of the giver, and not by compulsion or guilt trips, otherwise there’s no spiritual benefit and it just causes bitterness and resentment. But if that challenge is taken up with the right spirit, prayerfully and in sync with God’s prompting, it creates that “perfect storm” where you’ve chosen to put God above everything else in order to advance the cause of His Kingdom. Not everyone is called to leave their homes and families to preach the gospel around the world, but all of us are called to be a part of that Great Commission. Getting busy doing God’s will, places us in the eye of the storm. We witness miracles that otherwise would not have been possible, our testimonies save lives, and best of all, we see Him more clearly and experience profound joy.  

The tougher the struggles, the deeper our experiences with God, as long we remain faithful. Being battered by life because you abandoned your faith doesn’t count, but the moment you turn back to Him, the growing season begins again. Don’t shirk from opportunities to grow, or be resentful of challenges. Wherever He leads, He’s present, and in His presence is fullness of joy

You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  Psalm 16:11 MEV

Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.   Matthew 28:18-20 MEV

1 comment:

  1. Good day

    It is indeed the last thing anybody ever wants but the lessons are life changing. I have even come to a point where I say challenges are great, this is where the breaking and molding takes place but this only if one remains faithful, loyal and obedient to Gods instructions, right down to the detail. Even though the feeling of being close to God is nice, nothing beats the moment when it's as though you cannot hear Gods voice but willingly choose to remain faithful to His word even if all seems lost, the only truth you know is His word and even though I don't feel like it, I jump(sacrifice)anyway, you get to experience the grain that dies and the pruning performed by God.

    I cannot say I want to wake up in the morning and find myself in a storm, I do however know, even if the clouds starts to gather; I know I will see the sun again and my view would have changed for the better.

    Thank you for sharing the message.