Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our Savior Indeed...

Dear Raya,

The Lord recently delivered a message through me to my widows' ministry ladies. I hope this encourages you in your time of need. To God be the glory! Know this, the Lord is with you! Be blessed, Sweet Sister.

With All of My Love,


“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, Your Savior…” Isaiah 43:1b-3a

Every one of us knows what it is to experience fiery trials and overwhelming pain and suffering. Each one of us can read through this passage and understand what it means to pass through the waters, rivers, fire and flames. How many of us, after hearing this scripture, are calculating the number in our heads of the trials we are currently going through right this minute? It’s so easy to breeze through this scripture and only see the trials and hardship.
But when you read this scripture more closely, Isaiah is telling us that we have been summoned, or called by the Lord to experience these things…but He didn’t just call us to it to see how we would react. He didn’t just throw us into the abyss to see if we could claw our way out of it. We are called into trials for many reasons but here are a few key reasons:
  • So you will know that you are identified with Christ. God loves us so much that He calls us BY NAME, and then states very clearly that WE ARE HIS! Psalm 139 says, “How precious are your thoughts towards me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them they would outnumber the sand!”
  • So He can walk through it with us to prove to us that we will not experience this alone. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Isaiah 43:1 and Deuteronomy 31:8 are only TWO of the 365 verses in the bible that exhort us to not be fearful. The Lord is faithful to His promises that He will walk us THROUGH our circumstances. God is the ALPHA AND THE OMEGA; the First and the Last. He goes before us, taking us by hand and leading the way through our circumstances…then He walks side-by-side with us…and then He gently places His hand at the small of our backs to guide us to the end of the trial where HIS are the last of the footprints on the path. Max Lucado said in his message yesterday appropriately titled You Will Get Through This, “One of the Lord’s favorite words is ‘THROUGH’.” The word “through” by definition means, “From the beginning to the end of.” God will not stop half way through your trial and leave you to fend for yourself. He is faithful to see His work through to completion.
  • Another reason the Lord allows us to experience trials is that He wants to use us in our circumstances to bring GLORY to Himself. Others will see us bravely walking through our trials and coming out on the other side having fully experienced God’s grace and mercy so that when it is their turn they will know that with their faith in Christ the same triumphant outcome can take place in their own circumstances. And for those who do not know the Lord as we do, they will see that there is something different about us, and prayerfully that will give them a desire to know the Almighty God that carries us in our time of need!
In 2 Corinthians 4 (taken from verses 7-18) we read, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For this momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Everything we do has eternal implications. Everything in this life is being used by God to draw others to Himself. This widows’ ministry is a work of the Lord; created by Him to bring glory to Himself for what He has brought Susan and I through in our lives. All of the goodness that He has brought about in this ministry of sweet fellowship and sisterhood; HE receives the VICTORY through each of our testimonies! (Susan is my co-coordinator of the ministry for any readers who do not know.)
Evangelist, Alan Redpath said in his book, Faith for the Times, “If you and I are soldiers in His army, we do not win the victory without a conflict. If we are ordained to wear a crown, we are ordained to carry a cross, for the grace of God does not mean luxury, nor does it carry us to skies on flowery beds of ease. If we would reign, then we must fight. If we would be glorified with Him, then we must suffer first.”

Ladies, we must recognize that we have an active part to play in our faith. We must first TRUST the Lord for the path He has called us to walk upon. Believe and trust that the Lord will use our suffering to serve His purposes and bring glory to His name. Trust that nothing of our suffering will ever be wasted. And we must be OBEDIENT to take the first step in His calling on our lives. He shines just enough of His light on that first step of the path in the beginning of our trials because if we could actually see the entire path there is NO WAY that we would even place a toe on it! If the Lord had shown you the entire path…all the way to the very end where you knew you would lose your husband…would you have walked towards that end? I know that I couldn’t be obedient in that! I would never have been able to see God’s gain from my loss.
Alan Redpath also said, “Your losses and your crosses you will find are places where you realize the presence of Jesus as you never could have done without them.” It is in our times of deepest sorry and hurt that we really come to understand our absolute need for Jesus. If we did not have suffering at all, where would our dependence be? On ourselves! But it is through our experiences of tragedy and fiery trials that we come to know the TANGIBLE existence of God.

In this life, we are CALLED by God to be set apart as His example; that through our circumstances the greatness of God and His power in us to overcome our trials is on display for ALL to witness.
In this life, we are JUSTIFIED by God through Jesus Christ our Savior; ordinary sinners like us have the ability and authority to say to the “mountains” in our lives, “MOVE!” And they shall be moved!

And we are GLORIFIED by God alone that by our faith, trust and obedience to walk through our trials He receives the VICTORY!