LOSING YOUR HOPE
Many have started out with divine hope, and after a setback started losing the image the Lord put in their spirit. They start to focus on the wrong things which sometimes will allow them to completely lose all hope.
The natural eye does not see by itself. All the eye does is take a picture of the things around it and then transfers that picture to the brain. The brain then determines what has been seen and next sends a message to the part of the body that will react to the signal. When something is amusing, the message may be sent to the facial muscles to cause a smile to appear.
The story is told of a scientist who wanted to run some tests. He made a pair of glasses for himself that would make him see everything upside down. It took him about two weeks for his brain to reverse the signal it was receiving to the way it should be. When he stopped wearing his special glasses, he now had great difficulty because the brain was continuing to reverse the images the eyes were sending. He could only see everything normally if he put the glasses back on. It took about two weeks for his brain to get back to normal.
There have been houses that have been constructed to produce optical illusions. A board that was standing straight appeared to be placed on a sharp angle. Water coming out of a pipe appeared to be running upwards instead of downwards. Satan has caused a spiritual illusion to take place in the lives of many Christians. He leaves them with the idea that there is no answer to their prayers. You must remember that he is a deceiver and his business is to trick you into believing there is no answer.
You see more with your spirit than with the natural eye. Suppose two mothers are in a room with their children. One mother looks through the window and sees a bill collector coming to the door. She may become fearful because she has no money to pay him and her children see the fear on her face and go hide. The eyes of the children only see the face of the mother, but this image of fear is transmitted to their minds.
The second mother, looking out of the same window, sees nothing to be fearful about, so she will not be affected by the words of the man. Both sets of eyes saw the same thing, but the brain of each reacted in a different way.
Many Christians have prayed for the answer for their need, but donít seem to receive the answer. Itís easy to think that God does not care. They need to realize that these thoughts are coming from the tempter who wants to stop them from believing. When you resist the tempter and tell him to take the thoughts of doubt, fear and unbelief with him, you will find that he will have to leave.
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Sometimes the reason why the answers to your prayers do not come is because the enemy has caused you to lose your divine hope. You are now wishing that God would supply the need, instead of expecting Him to honor His Word.
Zacharias and Elizabeth had lost their divine hope. They had prayed many times for a child, but had not seen the answer. Zacharias would not even believe the angel who spoke to him.
Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John." 14. "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 18. And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." 19. And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. 37. "For with God NOTHING will be impossible."
Zacharias only believed the angel after he was struck dumb. The Lord was merciful to him by giving him the sign. There have been other people who were told by the Lord that their prayers would be answered, but they still would not believe. They had lost their divine hope and refused to believe God.
On one occasion a lady who was paralyzed was in a wheel-chair to be prayed for by an evangelist. The Lord told the evangelist that He wanted to heal the lady, so he prayed for her, then told her to stand up. The Lord raised her about six inches above the wheelchair, with the idea that she was to make the next move. Since she had completely lost all hope of ever being healed, even though she was now above the chair, she said I canít stand up. Because she refused to obey the Lord by standing up when she had just been healed, the evangelist told her that in that case she was going to die in her wheelchair, and this took place later on.
YOU CAN DELAY THE ANSWER
John 11:23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24. Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."
Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Martha, his sister, told Jesus that had He been there, Lazarus would not have died. When Jesus told her that her brother would rise again, the image in her mind was looking to the future. She fully expected Lazarus to be raised at the time of the resurrection, but this was a long time in the future. She did have divine hope, but she was placing a limit as to when the fulfillment would take place.
Many Christians have the same problem as Martha. They are firmly convinced that God will meet their needs in the future, but are not convinced that He is willing to meet them today. This idea of having a hope that will produce the answer in the distant future does not come from the Bible, because the person is being deceived by Satan. After that they are deceived into thinking that God wants them to learn a lesson from the problem. Since Satanís job is to kill, to steal and destroy, he is never interested in teaching you any lessons that come from the Lord.
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Jesus had to get Martha to change her focus of divine hope from the future and refocus on the present. Lazarus would be raised from the dead that day, instead of many centuries later. The enemy wants you to continue to believe the promises of the Bible with the condition that you do not expect the answer to come today.
1. Your focus must be on the Word of God
2. You must ask the Lord what His will is concerning the answer
3. It is also necessary to find out the time frame. Once you know it is the will of the Lord, you must believe that God will answer in His own timing.
There are some Christians who are delaying the answers because of a root of bitterness. They had a problem in the past, but donít want to forget it, or possibly donít want to forgive the person who may have caused the problem. Jesus tells you in Matthew 6:14-15, that if you do not forgive the person who offended you, God will not forgive you.
Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
RENEWING YOUR MIND
The minds of many Christians are like the man who made those special glasses. It took the man almost two weeks for his mind to adjust to the idea of not having the glasses on. The eye of hope sends a message to your spirit, which in turn transfers it to the mind causing you to take action. Your mind will reverse the message of hope that came from the spirit. The new message the brain sends is that the body will not receive an answer for the problem.
You receive what you believe. People who only believe for salvation will receive exactly what they believe. God will only honor the promises you believe. Other Christians will see more of Godís promises stating that: "If God promised it, then I will believe it." They open the door to receive the answers to the promises He has in His Word."
Many times you disqualify or nullify your faith because you look at your past, instead of looking at the way God sees you. You are expecting God to hold your past actions against you, which keep you from receiving many of the promises of God. Expect God to honor His promises to meet the need, instead of hoping that "Thereís a good chance that your prayers will be answered this time."
1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Donít look at yourself the way you think others see you; instead, look at yourself as God sees you. Every time Jesus returned to Nazareth the Jews of that village saw Him as the "little boy" who grew up in that town. They had no intention of ever seeing Him as the One God had sent to heal and redeem mankind. Their unbelief stopped Jesus from doing very much in their village, see Matthew 13:54 - 58.
Matthew 13:58 And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Gideon was an extremely fearful person with a poor vision of himself, who was thrashing wheat in a wine press. He and his neighbors were afraid that the Midianites, the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. The invaders would come to destroy the produce as well as the animals.
Judges 6:12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!"
God wanted Gideon to change his vision of hopelessness to one of divine hope, so that he could see himself as God was going to make him become. God has a plan for each of our lives. You may have had many failures in the past, but with the new vision He has for you, you will be able to see great victories. You must make a determination to overcome the picture of hopelessness you may have in your spirit.
The spirit of hopelessness in your spirit will be removed in direct proportion to the amount of time you spend studying your Bible and spending time in prayer. It is going to be necessary to have a strong image of the fulfillment of Scripture in your spirit. The key to the fulfillment of Godís promises in His Word is complete dependancy on the Lord. Mary the mother of Jesus, had learned this principal early in life. At the wedding feast in Cana they ran out of wine, so she told the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it," John 2:5. God wants to greatly bless people today, but many are not totally willing to do whatever He tells them to do.
DEVELOPING A RIGHTEOUS CONSCIOUSNESS
Righteousness is the key to standing before a holy God, not condemnation. Your righteousness must come from God, if you are going to see the power of God work in your life. The believer must develop righteousness consciousness instead of sin consciousness.
Isaiah 54:14 In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
The message to the Church is that you are to be established in the righteousness of God. When this takes place, you will see holiness in your life. This will be possible when you become a doer of the Word, instead of only a hearer. The person who is a doer of the Word is likened to the man who built his home on a rock, see Matthew 7:24-27, whereas the second built his house on the sand. The storm affected both houses and the storms of life will affect both types of Christians. God loves both of them but the one acts on the promises of God and the other does not. The person who is studying the Bible and acting on it will not be controlled by the problem. The person who only listens to the Word will be devastated by the problems.
You must see yourself as having the righteousness of God, instead of what people think of you or of what you have done in the past. You must come to Him in faith so that He can come to you in grace, which is the favor of God. The favor of God is available to all who believe and it will produce soundness of mind, body and spirit.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2. through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
You now have access to grace which is the divine favor of God, because you have been justified by Jesus. Many people reject this truth because they were taught wrongly. They are following the traditions of man which can make the power of God ineffective. They have no access to the truth of God because they are not studying the Bible with an open mind. They continue to stay bound by the traditions or "persuasions" to the denominations to which they belong. You must know that the promises were written for you, and not just have the idea that they were generally written for mankind. Believing the Word, which includes the promises of God will open the door to the grace or favor of God.
Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, ĎWho will ascend into heaven?í" (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7. or, "ĎWho will descend into the abyss?í" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8. But what does it say? "The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach).
Faith in the heart as well as in the mouth, which is connected with the hope of God, is needed to change any situation you face. Expect God to honor His Word.
Often when people donít receive answers to their prayers they may feel its because it was not the will of God. They fail to understand that you are in spiritual warfare and frequently the satanic forces stop the answers from coming. These same forces try to leave you with the impression that there is no hope to solve the problem.
CLEANSED BY THE WORD
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser. 2. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3. You are already CLEAN BECAUSE OF THE WORD which I have spoken to you. 4. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
There will be times when a person makes a mistake after he receives salvation. The true believer does not deliberately make mistakes. Sometimes his actions turn out to be a mistake. Forgiveness will come as soon as you ask for it. You are cleansed by the Word, John 15:3. You maintain this cleansing as long as you continue to be a doer of what the Bible teaches. The more you study the Word, the more you will see this take place in your life. It also becomes necessary for you to depend on the gift of righteousness which God has given you.
Romans 5:17 For if by the one manís offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace (divine favor) and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18. Therefore, as through one manís offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Manís righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
Many Christians confuse righteousness with holiness. Righteousness is what God sees in you, because you depend on the righteousness of Jesus. Isaiah 64:6 shows you that all of your righteous acts are as filthy rags. Jesus must now exchange His righteousness for your unrighteousness. Holiness is not righteousness, it is a result of how you control your carnal nature and demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in your life. (The opposite of the fruit of the Spirit is seen in Galatians 5:17-21.)
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24. And those who are Christís have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, (no restraint in morality or sex activities), 20. idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, (bad temper), selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21. envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 26. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Your mind must be renewed to believe what God thinks of you, and then you will dare to come boldly to the throne of grace.
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. 26. Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.
God removes your transgressions for His sake, not because of any goodness you may have. You must get rid of the idea that you must come begging to the throne of grace. God wants you to EXPECT to receive from Him, instead of wishing to receive.
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