THE GOOD TIMES AND THE BAD TIMES
Life will always contain two aspects: good times and bad times. Through the passage of our life on earth, we will go through various seasons. We will experience good times, we will also experience bad times.
The reason I believe why people (including Christians) cannot settle down, cannot put roots down, are always searching is because they cannot accept that even a life in the Spirit contains good times and bad times.
As Christians, we may come under bondage and self-condemnation, thinking that the trials are due to sin or bad choices. Sure, we should examine our hearts when the storms come in case we have left a door open to the devil. However, apart from the above, we need to realise that bad times will come and we need to be prepared for the valley experiences of life.
If you can understand that these positive and negative aspects of life are a given, then I believe we can better equip ourselves to cope with the bad times when they come.
This teaching serves as an exhortation to every believer experiencing a season of negative circumstances and I want to encourage you by telling you that it does not matter what your situation is; you may even think this is the end of the road and that you will never be able lift your head up again. But God has not given up on you. God is not through with you. He promises in Psalm 23 v 24 "..though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.."
God makes another promise in 2 Chronicles 16 v 9
"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.."
God has not given up on you and He never wants you to give up on yourself so don't give up on yourself. Even if the situation seems hopeless, never give up on your dreams and your goals. Jesus is our hope in a hopeless situation. Yes, storms come - but He takes us through the storms of life. We will come out of adversity victorious and strong!
FAITH IS THE KEY
In order to live a victorious life in spite of negative circumstances, we must co-operate with the Word of God and the Spirit of God.
Faith brings you hope in the good times and the bad times. Remember, God wants you to appropriate your miracle by faith. Faith says "regardless of the circumstances, God is my source, God is my provider."
God wants us to appropriate His provision and His blessings by faith on a daily basis. This is regardless of whether we have our own provision or not. That is called "living by faith." We do not rely up our own abilities, or on our own strength, or our own resources - we rely totally on Him. Jesus taught us to pray like this "..give us this day our daily bread.."
We see that so often in the times we are living in. People do not need God - they have their own provision, they have their own strength and their own ability. When the bad times come, though, they fall. Why? Because they did not exercise their faith in the good times. How are they going to appropriate God's provision, by faith, in the bad times?
Remember, good times are a fact of life, bad times are a fact of life. How then should we live?
The bible tells us to live by faith. So practice living by faith in the good times so that when the bad times come you know how to be victorious
HOW NOT TO EXERCISE FAITH
I want to take you to a story in Judges chapter 6. It is the story of Israel who went through a season of intense suffering due to the attacks by the Mideanites on their crops and livestock. They suffered severe food shortages. They then called upon God to relieve them of their plight.
Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress in order to hide his activities from the enemy when the Lord appeared to him. The Lord told Gideon that God would use him as an instrument of might and power to overcome the enemy.
As you read this account, you soon realise how not to go about applying the word of the Lord. Refer to Judges 6:
- He complained (v 13)
- He asked for a sign (v17)
- He asked for second sign (v37)
- He asked for a third sign (v39)
I am so glad that God was gracious to Gideon even in his state of unbelief. However, I believe God tolerated this because of the pleas of the nation. However, I wonder how far God will go with us when we require personal victory and insult him by a faithless response?
God does not want this kind of response. He has empowered us by his Spirit to conquor, not to question.
GOD WANTS YOU TO BE A BELIEVER AND NOT A DOUBTER.
Victory comes by faith.
HOW TO EXERCISE YOUR FAITH
In the above-mentioned story, I showed you an example how not to exercise your faith. In the next story, we have a wonderful example from the life of the Apostle Paul. He shows us the correct way to exercise our faith in Jesus. Please study Acts 27 & 28.
It is another story of hopelessness. Paul was bound as a prisoner and was being sent to Rome to be tried. He, together with other prisoners were put on board a ship. The total number of persons on board was 267.
The ship encountered a life-threatening storm and for 14 days, all the occupants suffered hunger, thirst, cold and sleeplessness. There seemed to be no hope for the ship and no hope for those on board.
The Lord appeared to Paul and told him not to fear as no-one on board would lose their lives. As the ship neared shore in dire straits, the decision was made to abandon ship. The guards also wanted to kill all the prisoners to ensure that they could not escape. I am sure that you will agree with me, that Paul's life, either way, was in grave danger.
But this is how he appropriated his faith in a hopeless situation.
God told Paul that no-one would perish. He communicated this to everyone on board. So then, by virtue of Paul's faith, the other 266 persons on board were saved.
This is so typical of our faith. When we place our faith in God, then even in the bad times, we become the channel by which others are saved.
God told Paul to ensure that everyone stayed on board. Many Christians jump from the fat into the frying pan in a desperate attempt to escape their trials. Instead of leaving your job, leaving your spouse, leaving your Church, stay put. That may be the very vehicle God wants to use to bring you to safety.
Paul perceived that for each one to survive, they would have to eat. They had not eaten for 14 days.
In bad times, take nourishment. Do not neglect your spiritual intake of the Word, prayer, fellowship with other Christians and fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
- Light at the end of the tunnel
All 267 persons on board landed safely on the island of Malta where they were received warmly by the local inhabitants.
- Ministry gift released with power, sings and wonders
For three months, Paul was able to minister to the people of the island with signs and wonders following. The bad times prepare us for the power of God.
Study this passage of God's Word in light of the above account.
1 Corinthians 10 v 13
There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
God bless you.