Thursday, July 18, 2013
PRESSURE COOKER FAITH
Often times God wants to shut us up in faith. We feel as if we are in a pressure cooker and about to explode or break down in tears. We get into situations where we are left with no choice, to sink or to swim. The nation of Israel felt this way, most probably, at the Red Sea. There were mountains on every side and the Red Sea in front of them. The Egyptians were descending on them from behind and God was saying GO FORWARD! Go where? FORWARD ... if it weren't for the pressure of the Egyptians forcing them forward, would they have gone on? Would they have witnessed one of God's miraculous deliverances? Sometimes God allows us to be placed in the pressure cooker to build up our faith.
One of God's most difficult tasks is to teach us to trust Him and His Word says that without faith it is impossible to please Him. He also promises to never leave us, yet we doubt His presence when we go through hard times. Are you there God? We who walk the faith walk will most likely find ourselves in the pressure cooker of faith at some point in our lives.
James 1:2-4 tells us to count it all joy when you meet various kinds of trials because your testing of faith will produce steadfastness and when it's had it's full effect you will be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. God is telling us here to let the pressures of testing do it's work in our lives.
I heard a preacher say that not all things can go in a pressure cooker (porridge, mac-n-cheese), only things with bone and stamina can withstand the pressures of a pressure cooker. Using the example of Job, God knew He could put Job in that pressure cooker and Job was going to come out tender, not burnt. The preacher went on to say that if you are in the pressure cooker it is because God knows you can handle it. Are we left to handle it on our own? No! He is right there with us, walking with us in the flames like Daniel's three friends.
Lock yourself into God, dear one, like a lid on a pressure cooker. Lean into Him, relying on His promises. And when the pressure builds and things do not look like they are going the way that they should and things look very wrong from our own perspective, know, by FAITH, that He is in control and only interested in our well being. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans like James tells us to bring us to a point of completeness.
Does that mean we won't suffer loss or other great pains in our life? No. I have known too many people who have gone through HARD things, things my human mind can't wrap itself around and they carry deep pains with them that they will carry for the rest of their lives until they meet The Father face to face, but they continue to hold onto their faith in the midst of the pain.
You see the enemy wants us to give up, to get in the pressure cooker and burn up. He wants us to explode and spew our contents on everyone and everything around us, so he turns up the heat a little more ... But God (one of my favorite phrases), But God, when we cling to Him and hold on TIGHT to our FAITH, lock ourselves into Him, in things not yet seen, He tenderizes our souls and uses the pressure cooker experiences so we can in turn feed others spiritually.
II Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness ..." All the pressure cooker stories of Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Job, Daniel and his friends, Elijah through the New Testament stories are there to build our faith and strengthen us and feed us. And now our lives have their own stories too that can feed others today.
What pressure cooker faith stories do you have to share for His glory and the edification of the saints? In my own short life I can speak to divorce, miscarriages, financial pressures, an unbelieving spouse and many other personal pressure cooker situations that have stretched me and tenderized my own life. Things that could have burned me up and left me lifeless and useless, but things The Father walked with me through and allowed me to grow my FAITH into a bigger faith and move FORWARD and not drown.
Romans 8:38-39 says, "38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
No amount of pressure of loss, death, famine, divorce, or anything else can EVER separate us from God's love. Do not ever doubt that WHATEVER pressures come your way that He does not love you. He loves you to death and beyond! Whatever situations you are facing today, whatever pressures are pressing in on you, hold on dear one, hold on with FAITH to a loving God who is not going to leave you alone in your situation. Even when things are not clear know, by FAITH, that HE IS ABLE. If God is for you, who can be against you?
God writes the scripts, He is the author, but also the FINISHER of our FAITH story ... we may not be able to see that end yet, but keep looking toward Him, like Paul keeping his eyes on the finish line, keep on believing. Lock yourself into God, hang on in there, let off some steam in prayer and spending time in the WORD and above all lean into our FAITHFUL FATHER ... for HE CARES FOR YOU!
From the pressure cooker,