Friday, November 9, 2007

Is it hard to keep believing?

Good morning! Thank you so much for reading my blog today. I am excited about our services this weekend. Sunday morning we will be honoring our Veterans with a Video, and I PLAN to preach a message entitled, "Is It Hard to Keep Believing?" However, I need your help.

I love to read different christian blogs, and was reading one today that was discussing this very question. I began to think about that, and wondered what would be the responses if I were to ask the question on my blog, so that is what I'm doing today.

2 Timothy 2:13 says, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

Because we are wrapped in this body of flesh (2 Cor 4:16-5:5), there are times that our “spirit is willing but our flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41).

I can look back at my life and realize that the Lord has brought us through many smaller battles that stretched our faith, each time using a brother or sister in Christ to remind us of His promises and to help us lift our eyes of faith once again. It is so important to come along side of a struggling Christian and share your faith with them when they have little of their own.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (MSG) All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

I have seen in counseling with people that, SOMETIMES, it’s hard to keep believing. What is important to remember is that our moments of weakness do not disqualify us from being recipients of God’s love and grace. It is JESUS that keeps us secure, and not our faith.

So my question for you personally is, "Is it HARD to keep believing?" Is it hard to continue trusting God with your life when you don't see any type of answer? Is it difficult to sometimes "Be still, and know that He is God" when you feel He is not hearing you, let alone answering you?

Please share your thoughts and battles with me. Also, to the right of this blog is a poll that I want you to respond to. With your comments posted on this blog and the results from the poll, I can more effectively share my heart and your stories Sunday morning.

I love you guys, and look forward to your comments! Blessings!


Rusty L. Blann

21 comments:

Jennifer said...

I voted for "I am trusting God, but my faith is growing weak" because that best fits where I am at this point in my life. My faith is not weak everyday but sometimes the stress and worries consume me and I allow my faith to grow weak. I know that God is Faithful and I have to constantly remind myself of ALL the victories that He has given us when the victory seemed IMPOSSIBLE! But there are days, if I am being completely honest, that I want to give up and quit because it seems like it is too much to handle. We have been under what seems like a constant attack of the enemy for the past 4 years with minimal breaks. God has been so faithful and knowing that gives you a certain amount of peace but my flesh becomes very stressed, anxious, weak, depressed and then the victories become a faint memory until a loving friend and wonderful pastor and his wife....gently remind me of just how faithful God has been to us. The enemy knows the back door to attack me and there are times that I let my guard down and leave the door wide open for him to come right him and help himself to my feelings and emotions. So, for me, there are days that it is hard to keep believing when you are praying and have other agreeing with you in prayer for the relief to come and there is nothing but what seems to be more destruction rather than deliverance. But, I can honestly say that regardless of how painful these times are and have been...my faith has been stretched, strengthened and I've grown tremendously and I wouldn't be where I am today spiritually if it had not been for these trying times. I am still learning to stay focused on my heavenly Father, His faithfulness, His resources, His power, His might, His mercy and His compassion and completely trust Him by putting it all in His hands. I am not perfect and I have fallen down so many times during all this but He is right there to pick me up, brush the dirt off and take my hand and lead me on...many times he has used my dearest friends to do that. I could have voted that in the past, I really struggled believing God for the answer I needed, but He came through...which is 100% true but because I am currently struggling again...I voted I am trusting God, but my faith is growing weak...BUT, I am trusting God and I will not stop believing God for the answer because I know He cannot lie and His Word will not return void but the enemy is the liar and he will be defeated once again. Thank you, God for your faithfulness, love, grace, mercy and compassion and thank you Pastor Rusty and Dorinda for your prayers, love and friendship.

Anonymous said...

I think anyone who is honest with themselves would answer that they have had trouble believing at some point. We are human after all. But that's why staying in the Word, coming to church, fellowshipping with other believers, and praying is so important. Just remembering that God is there, even when the answer is unclear or not forthcoming, helps through times of doubt.

Personally, I like to think of a couple of things in particular:

1) The Creator of the universe, who is all powerful, all knowing, and ever present, will have no problem with my situation, if I'll just turn it over to Him.

2) In Revelation, when no one can be found who is able to open the scroll, it is the Lamb who comes to take away their tears and open the scroll. Visualizing this scene in heaven helps me to think of Jesus not only as the sacrificial lamb, but also as the mighty One who conquered death for eternity, and if He can conquer death and reign in Heaven, then my earthly problems are nothing, and only temporary at that.

Anonymous said...

One area that I had a hard time with putting all of my faith in God was money. I didn't tithe for some time b/c I thought I needed to use that money to pay off student loans, car payments, etc. I started noticing that I wasn't using that that money to pay off bills, but for extras (like buying clothes I didn't need). I use to stay up at night wondering how the budget will work out.

One day I realized that no matter what, I need to pay my tithes first. At first, I tithed off the net amount. I kept feeling uneasy about it. One Sunday, when Pastor Bill was talking about tithing, he mentioned giving back our first fruits. I have to admit, I've heard this many times, but I wasn't doing it. That day, it clicked, an "awe" or "duh" moment. I knew right then I was suppose to tithe off the gross amount. This really stretched my faith. I thought how are we going to do this? I thought we can't, it will be too hard. We won't be able to pay our bills. Knowing on the inside, I was really thinking "I won't be able to buy something I want when I want to." Boy, was I selfish! I finally said, "ok, I'll tithe off the gross, but I don't see how it going to work, God. But I'll do it and see what happens." I was also thinking, "If we are late on a bill, I'll start tithing off the net amount again." Because of tithing and tithing off the gross, I am at ease and know we are doing what God wants.
We have NEVER been late on a bill. Last year, we were able to pay off my student loan. Praise the Lord! We always have enough money to buy food, gas, clothing, and for an occasional trip to a nice restarunt. Now when we go out to eat, it is special for me and Jeremy b/c it's something we do once in a while. Today I know that God will take of us with our needs. Of course, I worry sometimes. But when I start worrying, I immediatley thank God for all his blessings and his future blessings. When I start thanking God, the worry goes away. I am so amazed how God takes care of his people, when we do our part.

Have a great day!
Beth

Churchchipmunk said...

I cannot say that my faith has ever been to the place were I would describe it as being weak. I can say that my faith has been tested through the years, but that testing has always proven to deepen my faith and trust in God. He has always been faithful to me and I know that He always will. In my flesh, I can honestly say that I've questioned the Lord about a great many things and trials, but never have I waivered in my faith. For me, my walk with the Lord has always been worth walking through the fire for Him. I've always trusted that He knows best. Believing in Him and His promises is not hard...but having faith and trusting in man, that's the difficult part. Oppression, condemnation, offense...all cause pain, and enough of it can drive a one into seclusion. In the end, there is but one Hand one can hold onto...and for me, that's the one thing that keeps me going. That Unchanging Hand of Christ Jesus. This world is not my home...and the promise of the future I will have with my Saviour is what drives me to keep my faith in Him. I have to trust that wounds do heal and that there is a refreshing around the corner. If not for Trust in the Lord, what does one have?

Shannon said...

I've been studying my SS Lesson for this week in 2 Timothy and throughtout 2 Timothy Paul encourages Timothy to remember... And I think that's the key. It's so easy to forget. I have to constantly remind myself of what God has done and where He has brought me from. And I can tell when I get away from studying the scriptures. If He did it for Abraham or Moses or Paul, He'll do it for me because He loves me the same. God's Word is TRUE and if we believe that then we need to constantly remind ourselves of what He says about our situation. Whatever our situation is ... if we look to scripture and claim God's truth over that situation then we can believe He will do what He says ... no matter how long it takes. And believe me, there's some things I've been waiting for for years. And sometimes it's as simple as reminding myself that 'in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose' (Ro. 8:28) or that 'the one who calls you is faithful and He will do it' (1 Thes. 5:24).

So, to answer your question ... I think it's not hard to keep believing if I stay focused and remember. And when I begin to doubt I know my focus is not where it should be and I have to get back to the basics and remember ...

Jenny Burks said...

It is hard to keep believing ALL the time. Sometimes life is just so overwhelming and you can't "see the forest for the trees" so to speak. But, I like to rely on all the past times that God had pulled me through a situation without me even knowing about it at the time. It's the little things that matter. I love to look back over a certain time and realize that EVERYTHING that happened was ordered by God and that he was very slowly and carefully putting things into place. I like to think of it as one of those amazingly annoying puzzles with the little plastic pieces that you can only move a certain way, but if you keep at it eventually you can see the picture! That's how I see God working in my life. He moves each little piece into the perfect position at the perfect time and when it's all said and done there's an amazing picture that was unable to be seen until He was completely finished moving all those little pieces!
Jenny

Jenny said...

Ido think that it's hard to keep believing ALL the time. When I'm going through a hard time I try to rely on my past situations that God has pulled me through without me even knowing it at the time. When I look back on those times I see that EVERYTHING that happened, happened for a reason. It was God very slowly and carefully putting things into place. I like to compare it to one of those amazingly annoying puzzles with the little plastic pieces that can only be moved a certain way. If you don't get them all in the correct place you can never see the whole picture. I believe that most of the time when God is working in our lives it's like He's taking each piece and putting it in the perfect position at just the perfect time. It's not until He's completely finished that you can see the beautiful picture He's created!

Anonymous said...

Our current struggles began during the time everyone was to make their pledges for the land purchase on the new church property. We pledged what we thought God wanted us to. The very next week, Jerry lost his job. He was out of work for 4 months. Let me tell you, we were worried but we knew that we had been faithful with our tithes and we were trying to hold onto what the bible says, that God would take care of us. During the entire time we did not fail to miss a month of paying our pledge, paying our bills, or missing a meal. Looking back we don’t understand how everything worked out except by the grace and all-sufficient hand of God. I’d love to say things have been great ever since, but it has been one struggle after another. I sometimes believe we act no better than the children of Israel. God has proven over and over He is with us but we sometimes wonder when trouble is all around us “God are you really there?” You would think someone who has lived for the Lord for as long as we have would have more faith and know without any doubt that God would take care of each and every problem. So it’s not just the young Christians that deal with this. I’m ashamed of my doubt and fear but I know that God is so merciful and He forgives even someone like me.

Diane Butler

Anonymous said...

Our current struggles began during the time everyone was to make their pledges for the land purchase on the new church property. We pledged what we thought God wanted us to. The very next week, Jerry lost his job. He was out of work for 4 months. Let me tell you, we were worried but we knew that we had been faithful with our tithes and we were trying to hold onto what the bible says, that God would take care of us. During the entire time we did not fail to miss a month of paying our pledge, paying our bills, or missing a meal. Looking back we don’t understand how everything worked out except by the grace and all-sufficient hand of God. I’d love to say things have been great ever since, but it has been one struggle after another. I sometimes believe we act no better than the children of Israel. God has proven over and over He is with us but we sometimes wonder when trouble is all around us “God are you really there?” You would think someone who has lived for the Lord for as long as we have would have more faith and know without any doubt that God would take care of each and every problem. So it’s not just the young Christians that deal with this. I’m ashamed of my doubt and fear but I know that God is so merciful and He forgives even someone like me.

Diane Butler

Tina Barton said...

My faith as never been so stretched as it has been this past year. I get so weary at times because I try to handle situations on my own, instead of being patient and letting God take care of it for me. I have to stop and remind myself of God's unlimited resources, and how many times he has been there for our family. The times that I DID totally give my problem to God, and sit back and not try to "fix" it myself, he came through without fail! I'm ashamed to say I don't do this every time. I still have weak moments when the fear sets in. Why do we get so weary when he has proved himself time and time again? I think the key is to constantly stay connected to God through reading our Bible and talking to him. (I like to use the term "talk" instead of praying because I talk to him about everything!). The thing that amazes me most is despite all my horrible mistakes and failures, he still loves me enough to take care of me and my family!

Anonymous said...

I have been through alot in my life and there have been many times that I questioned God but I have never thought of giving up on him. He has been and is my best friend. My glorious and wonderful father.
Andrea

Kay D said...

I have a very strong will and so it used to be hard for me to let go and believe that God would take care of me. Sometimes I didn't and then there was a mess I would ask God to clean up.
I have learned that I don't want to handle ANYTHING by myself. I turn it all over to God. I still feel worry and anxiety try to creep in to my thoughts sometimes. When that happens I remind myself that there is no way for me to know what is going to happen but God knows and is bigger that whatever is coming my way. He will take care of me. Even if circumstances seem bad at the time He will see me through. He always has and He won't quit now even if I feel too weak to carry on. He will carry me.
The love He has for us is unbelievable. I am so unworthy. I am so thankful that in my weakness He is strong.
Just reading scriptures and writing about His love and goodness lift my doubts and fears.
I have had a hard time believing in the past. But the past is over and I believe that God is in control of my life.

Thank you so much for your blogs. I read them at work and they always encourage me and make my day better.
Kay D.

Anonymous said...

I have had a lot of trouble in
my life, but I have alway know that
God would provide and he alway has

Youth Alive Aid - Chris Blaylock said...

I marked the third choice about doubting then God totally blowing my mind because as I am so faithLESS he is completely faithFULL. Being in the position I am in ministry having to raise my own funds there have already been times where I can do nothing but depend on Him, I have not miss one payment or bill or meal. I have found that if I give my problems totally to Him and not just giving 99% of them he solves ... I always remember the chior singing "Hes never early Hes never late Hes always on time". I thank God for parents who drilled tithing into me and who also practiced it infront of me. My dad has built my faith more than he will ever know. Watching him be an amazing dad, husband to my mom, and business owner I have seen him up situations in Gods hands and never worry again he tells me why worry "everything works to the good..."
I want to say thank you to my parents for instilling tithing and showing me, not just telling me, how vital it is to have faith and "lean on that everlasting arm"

Your Youth Alive Missionay Aid
Chris Blaylock

Clayton and Laurie said...

We all "Believe" in something. It all comes down to what we choose. To me having faith is having life. What we put our faith in is the breath we breathe (our living). Believing in God and in His powerful awesome ways is what keeps me breathing. Without faith in God there is no reason for living. When you inhale you will need to exhale. What you breathe in (Gods love, Gods peace, Gods grace, Gods promises, Gods provision... GOD!)will in turn be what is exhaled in your thoughts, your actions, your beliefs....FAITH WILL BE EXHALED.
My faith in God has only been strengthened as I have gone thru difficult times. God has never been late or has He ever let me down. I would not want to take one breath without Him.

Laurie

Anonymous said...

Our "believing" never stops. It is a perpetual process within humanity. Therefore, the question is not so much "when"; rather, it is "who" or "what". We find this all throughout the Old Testament. (See the children of Israel and their changing focus from God to a golden calf). To stop believing in something or someone does not mean termination, but substitution.

For those who have cultivated a relationship with God Himself, it would seem logical to have a constantly growing faith in Him IF we endeavor to know Him as a person as opposed to what He is capable of doing. When we purpose ourselves to know Him for who He is, rather than what He does, our faith can become more concrete. What God does flows from who He is.

Thank you for generating this blog. Interesting discussion. Keep it up.

tanya said...

Before I say anything, I just have to say that whenever I am going thru something specific it is either mentioned here or is preached on. Those times alone remind me that God does love me and He is a faithful God. The comment towards the end of your blog is sorta a struggle for me. "Remember that our moment of weakness does not disqualify us from being recipients of God's love & grace", when I grow weary, in this seemingly never ending battle, satan tries really hard to make me think that my prayers will not be answered because the situation is just too big, God doesn't do miracles anymore, just give up you've gotten to weak now to fight, come on give in and give up. I promise, I WAS getting very depressed because I was starting to think that way. The struggles we are in right now have definately caused me to grow closer to Christ, no doubt about that, but it seems that the closer I get to Him the more bigger the problems get. Yes I know from being brought up in church "what" to do, the face to put on and all that so no one will really see me but I was seriously dying inside. No, my faith in what He can do never waivered but my hope that He will do something miraculous for me was just about gone until Sunday. I wanted my joy, my smile, my heart's song back and it was just gone from my inside....dead pretty much but I kept pressing on, seeking Him, praising Him no matter what. Whatever the Holy Spirit says do, I do & the enemy had me questioning if it was really Him since I was so weak. I was just a total mess to be honest but I tried really hard to cover it so that no one would see "me". Well this past Sunday night, I was renewed, the BUT GOD was real again to me. HE met me right where I was & put that song back in my heart, gave me my smile back (that geniune one, not those fake ones), a leap in my step & strengthed me spirit. It feels fabulous. No, the situation hasn't changed but I have, I'm back satan!! So my answer to your questions are, YES it is hard to keep believing, YES it is hard to keep trusting when life doesn't change, YES it is hard to be still and know that HE is God and leave things alone. I have to die daily to my flesh or I want to control everything. I have to prepare myself daily for battle so that is why you may see me driving and I never see you. God is so awesome & worthy of our praise and if we just keep our praise on, we can keep pressing on.

tanya said...

When the sun begins to rise
We see the morning dew
Watching flowers open their buds
Petals lifting in honor of you

All of creation
In the palms of your hands
So loving and caring
Much gentler than mans

How marvelous is
Your love for me
Neverending mercy
How can that be

What makes you choose
Someone filthy as I
You even sent your Son
To prove there's no lies

How were you able
To hear your Son's cry
Upon that rugged tree
And not change your mind

I can not imagine
Either of my sons
Dying for ungrateful people
Just that 1 could be won

The human trait, selfishness
Is not in your vocabulary
My mind can not contain
The wonders of your caring

Our names are in
The palm of your hands
Our hairs are numbered
My Lord, how grand

Although I can't fathom
Your vastness in my mind
I look forward to the day
When I can see you shine

Anonymous said...

I believe that for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows.

Anonymous said...

I can't say that I have really ever doubted my faith, but because of some preachers at a church I attended in the past I did doubt my salvation. I was saved at a young age and later in life I re-dedicated my life to the Lord. The preachers would always say "Are you sure you have been saved? There are many people who thought that they were saved and they were not!" A friend said that I am not to doubt my salvation, that will make me weak and that is what satan wants.
I have been asked in the past "What makes your God right and other beliefs (Muslum, Budist,
Wicken) wrong?" I just tell them that I have to stand strong in my faith of God.

Anonymous said...

I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and for each day that God wakes me up and gives me another day to serve him. I am thankful for my family, good health, my home, car, job, and the finances to pay my tithes and offerings and to be able to help others. I am also thankful for my church family who are always there when I need them.

Diane Lumpkin