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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Answer to Faith Struggles and Doubt

Patience Produces Perfect Peace

James 1:2-8 NKJV (See also in the Interlinear with Definitions)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
"Fear sees just what man sees. Faith sees what God sees and acts upon it. Faith creates action, and people of action, like Caleb and Joshua. Instead of frustration, the joy of expectation grips us. Faith in God says 'It can be done'. Have a blessed day."
"I. The Power of Our Focus 
The first factor is the power of focus. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says it best:“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” 
The most effective Christians have come to understand the power of focus. They have learned that the thoughts or ideas that capture their attention will direct their thinking and determine their direction. A person will ultimately move in the direction of his or her dominant thoughts. 
When contrary winds blow or it looks like the storm clouds are gathering, the established believer is not concerned. Instead, he continues to live in faith that the seed he sows will create a harvest of increase in his life.
The winds of resistance that blow against us are not God’s guidance system for us. We are not to be led by the circumstances surrounding us or the opinions of people close to us. We are to be led by the Spirit of God within." 
Excerpt from an article: Don't Observe the Wind, By Dennis Burke

Terms Defined:
Before we can break down how this verse in James applies to our Christian lives we must define our terms. Critical Thinking and Debate class taught me one thing for sure, unless we are defining a term the same way, the conversation can quickly become circular, with no end or conclusion and misunderstanding is likely to cloud the result.

Patience in Dictionary and Thesaurus: Patience can also be known as endurance, staying power, tolerance, lack of complaint, persistence, fortitude, serenity, calmness, perseverance... The idea of patience, biblically, is NOT that of a living doormat or allowing people to walk all over you. It's NOT a white knuckle holding on, wishing that you make it to the end. Patience isn't weak and it doesn't bow down to adversity and say: "Ok, just hit me again... I'll just take it". Patience also isn't around waiting... "I'm waiting... I'm waiting... I'm waiting..." and not complaining. It's not a passiveness just allowing things to happen and seeing what happens next. Patience is about is active. Patience in the Greek is about being unchanging, unmovable, not distracted, stable, steadfast-constancy, endurance. It's a position of strength and not weakness. 
Patience is enduring without doubt or complaint, not diminishing in your belief but becoming stronger in it. Having done all to stand, stand( Eph 6)!

Test of Faith: The Proving, that which something is tried or proved, a test. Like the proving of a metal through tempering, or proving of a skill through use. When a sales or customer service agent learns a new skill, they can do role plays and practice with other agents, but ultimately the skill really get's proved by using the skill in live situations. This brings out the nuances of the skill, and how to use it in various situations.
Various Trials/Diverse Temptations: trials and tests which are intended to divert one from his correct path, temptations to sin, adversity, affliction, trouble; used to describe the devil's temptations of Jesus in the wilderness.
Peace: Isaiah 26:3 says that if we will keep our mind/thoughts focused on God it will develop trust in God which produces Peace. This word peace is the Hebrew Word Shalom. This word means nothing missing, nothing broken, everything whole and complete. See definitions by Jeff Benner, Wiki, Strongs #07965
Joy: Samach: to rejoice, become joyful again, to be glad. Alats: Rejoice, Exult. I would say that among the primary characteristics of someone who is joyful is laughter and smiling. Joy and Depression are anti each other. They cannot co-exist in the same person. To have joy indicates smiling and laughter. 

Scripture References:
Luke 8:50But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying , Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole .
1 John 4:8 NIV
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
Jeremiah 29:11 KJV
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Romans 10:17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of GodHebrews 11:1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for , the evidence of things not seen . 
Galatians 5:6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love
Isaiah 26:3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 
1 John 4:18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 
2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work...
Joshua 1:8
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous , and then thou shalt have good success .
It All Fits Together 
God is Love. Love is God. God is LOVE Himself. Love is a person not just a word. All true love is a description of who God is, not just what God is like. Therefore, The Word of God is the Word of Love. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Love. Doubt causes double minded instability. Doubt is derived from fear because it is derived from a lack of trust. Meditating on the Word of Love and His thoughts and plans for you produces hope, and expectation for your future. Faith, which comes by hearing the Word of Love produces the substance of those expectations.

The devil tempts you to quit, bottom line. That was all his temptations regarding Jesus and all the bad soils of Mark 4. He steals, kills, and destroys (John 10:10). He tempts you to curse God and die (Job). He has one goal in mind. To get you to stop walking in faith and trust in God. Faith and Believing go hand in hand. If he can get you to doubt (opposite of trust) than he can get you thinking God Will and God Won't all at the same time. Double minded men receive nothing from God. Essentially he caused the thorns of care to grow up around you and choke the Word of Love making it unfruitful, or unproductive in your life. In other words, he wants you to me incomplete, not whole, and lacking every good thing. God's plan is that you be fully supplied at all times, able to give to every good work.

Putting your faith to work, through real life experiences and putting it up against the devils' temptations to quit and doubt, causes your faith to develop Patience. Patience, enduring without any doubt or complaint, produces perfection (maturity) so that you may be complete, whole, lacking nothing. These are descriptions of Peace (nothing missing, nothing broken, everything whole and complete).

Count it (consider it, imagine it, make it so, as in a ledger for banking)... count it all joy when the devil comes to steal your faith with seeds of doubt. Joy: Laughter and Smiling. So laugh and smile every time you experience an occasion, temptation, situation, or thought that asks you to doubt. It doesn't say that you would FEEL like laughing and smiling. It says do it! Laugh and Smile when you experience doubt. Do it as an act of obedience. The bible says that those who sow in tears, or sow while they are not feeling like it, will reap in joy (Psalm 126:5). So smile and laugh when you experience any form of doubt, then get back on the Word of Love and meditate on it, telling that doubt where it can go!

The Answer
Meditate on the Word of Love, and His plans and thoughts for and about you. Get an image on the inside of what HE thinks about you; what HIS plans for you are. Don't spend time trying to concoct your own ideas of what it would take to put you into a wealthy place. Just get alone with the Holy Spirit and let Him reveal the plans that were drawn up for you before you were ever born. There are blueprints to your life and prosperity that existed before you did; exact blueprints, that are tailored for you alone. Meditate on the Word of Love and ALL he says in His Word is yours, until an image begins to develop on the inside of you regarding his specific plans for you. Then as those blueprints/images become clearer and clearer you can gain a Word Based expectation regarding them. Expectation of your plans, separate from His, is false expectation. So meditate His general Word regarding your prosperity, until His specific Word is revealed to you clearly. As this continues to become more and more clear faith will come for that image. Faith gives the expectation substance.

Faith as it's worked and worked produces Patience. Faith is worked by going through the motions of daily life and continuing to meditate that Word of Love day and night. As He gives you instruction to do something, do it. Don't do things that He didn't tell you to do. Don't spend time worrying or trying to come up with a plan to fix it. Roll that care over onto God, for He cares for you. Just go back to Meditating on the Word of Love until you get specific instructions. Many of your instructions will have to do with daily things that don't seem to have anything to do with your end goal, just do them. Patience, enduring without complaint or doubt, is developed as you go through life working this meditation plan. You encounter time after time that you are tempted to say that nothing is happening because you don't see anything happening, or maybe things are getting worse. Don't observe that wind. It's there to create doubt in your mind. Don't observe it. Go back to observing the Word of Love.

The Error
This is where people, especially myself, miss it most often. I can meditate on the Word of Love until I get a general idea that He wants me wealthy. I may even get a few glimpses of His specific plan. But with no real solid picture, vague impressions of an idea, I go out half cocked trying to make it happen. It doesn't work, I become discouraged and I quit. I spend months trying to make my own plan work. The next job, the next project, the next... the next... the next... something is going to work and bring me up to another level. The problem is that this is not God's plan. These are my plans. Sometimes, many times, well intentioned. I have an idea of a picture that was given to me by God, so I go out and try to make it happen, not really sure what the picture fully looked like and what I need to do to get there. This is why He doesn't often give us a full picture of the future, we would try to make it happen and then get frustrated and blame it on God.

The Fix
It's so simple that we fail to see it, over and over and over... Meditate on the Word of Love. Start by meditating on the general principles of His plan for you found throughout His Word. Then as you do that you start to see a picture. DON'T STOP THERE! Allow the picture to get clearer and clearer... Listen for His instruction. Jesus only did what he saw His Father do and said what He heard His Father say (John 5:19) Likewise we must STOP our activity and meditate on the Word of Love until we get clear instructions. Do this... Don't do that... Only by obeying His lead will we see prosperity. Until we get that clarity of obedience we will continue to be stuck in lack.

The Grace
The beautiful thing about it all, is that none of it really depends on our works, but rather our lack of works. You don't need to do, do, do... You don't make it all happen. There are really only two things involved in receiving from God. 
  1. Believe
  2. Follow
Jesus said to Jairus, Fear Not, Believe Only! That was the only qualification, stop the fear and believe. One could also say here, Doubt Not, Believe Only! Since Jesus clearly says here that fear is opposite of believe, we can assume that fear and doubt are synonymous. Jairus did have one other thing he had to do besides believe, he had to follow Jesus. Jesus didn't tell him to stay put and he'd go bring his daughter to him, he told him to come along. He followed Jesus. So we also must follow His lead. He isn't hear to physically lead us today, he is physically in heaven. In fact, he assigned us as his body on the earth, so we are acting in His stead here. So who do we follow? 

John 16:12-14 When He, the Spirit Of Truth, comes He will guide you into all truth... The Holy Spirit is our guide today. He takes the plans Jesus laid out before the foundation of the world for you and I and reveals them to us, one step at a time. (Ephesians 1:4, Jeremiah 1:5) Everything else is up to God. His Plans. His Word. His Power. His Ways. His Responsibility to bring it to pass. We are required to do two things. Believe and Follow. So often we follow our own lead, follow His. 

If you are feeling anxious about the future, worried about what you will eat, drink, wear...etc... you must stop what you are doing and seek first HIS Kingdom (God's system of operation) and HIS Righteousness (Your Status in God/His thoughts and plans toward you). Worry is a sin, because all that does not proceed from faith is sin. So how do we stop worrying? Understand that God's system is greater than the worlds system. And Your status in Him isn't dependent on anything you do but on who He is and what He's done! 

Isaiah 26:3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Psalm 46:10Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Luke 8:50But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying , Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole .
1 John 4:18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Go back to step one: Meditate on the Word of Love and His thoughts and plans for you! Meditate means to murmur, repeat, speak aloud, contemplate, think about, imagine... do all of these things with each scripture you are given by the Holy Spirit. You do these things until the image on the inside of you is so strong that you cannot be moved, until it's nearly exploding from the inside of you, until you feel fully 9 months pregnant spiritually and you just HAVE to give birth to this thing soon... it's a joyful expectation, not a sad one! SMILE and LAUGH when doubt tries to worry you... thoughts are overcome by words. Smile, Laugh, and through the Word of Love at that doubt!

Here below are some things to meditate. Have a BLESSED day; and be empowered 2 prosper, into good success! Darrell G. Wolfe


Genesis 1:28 NKJV Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Genesis 12:3 NKJV I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Genesis 30:27 NKJV And Laban said to him, "Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake."

Deuteronomy 28:3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

Job 36:11 NKJV If they obey and serve Him, They shall spend their days in prosperity, And their years in pleasures.

Psalm 35:27 NKJV Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, "Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant."

Psalm 68:6 NKJV God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

Psalm 118:25 NKJV Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.

Deuteronomy 8:18
And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Jeremiah 29
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

Psalm 5:11 NKJV But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.

Psalm 16:11 NKJV You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 126:5 NKJV Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.


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