Welcome back to our study of Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby, we’ve just finished week seven and we’re halfway through this Bible study. I know that it’s been challenging to read the daily workbook lessons, sometimes I fall behind on the schedule just like many of you. When this happens, I recommit to spending time with the Lord. When you read daily then it requires 10 to 30 minutes. When you fall behind it requires an hour or more and that can discourage you. Please…. stick with the study. Go at your own pace, pick up the book, and resume reading where you left off.
Last week we created a list of spiritual markers and this week we studied a crisis of belief. And so I thought about how many of those markers identified times in my life when I completely depended on God. My testimony involves these markers and reveals God’s strength and ability… which far exceeds mine. With certainty, He has equipped me when I knew I would not be able to accomplish something.
Despite my accomplishments, I was convicted this week that there are some areas of my life I have not yet completely yielded to God. After reading the workbook I mapped out an action plan for unbelief that I need to acknowledge and pray over. What a blessing to make this discovery in my life! I hope you discovered your own pockets of unbelief and are working to mend them too.
I ended my week praying through Hebrews 11, except that I inserted my name into the prayer. So I would pray….”By faith, Christine created the womens online Bible study and God equipped it with His Presence.” Try this and see where the Holy Spirit leads you on your faith walk!
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
Blackaby writes, “A crisis of belief is not a calamity in your life, but a turning point where you must make a decision.” When I was 20 years old and a prodigal, my crisis of belief led me away into a season of rebellion and unbelief. As a born-again Believer, my crisis of belief led me back to God and a deeper connection, a relationship.
A crisis of belief presents itself as a DECISION point, the crossroads between faith and worldview. At this crossroad, we have the free will to ACCEPT the assignment from God, with His power. Or we decline the assignment, through unbelief, and continue to enter the testing season.
Billy Graham mentions the crisis of belief in one of his books. He writes about his coworker Charles Templeton, who reached this point of their joint ministry and walked away from God. That left Billy Graham as the sole leader of their ministry.
Sometimes, the person who seems deeply rooted in religion…can encounter a decision in the wrong direction and away from God. So we need to be anchored in a relationship with God, not religion. Perhaps, if we allow someone to pressure us to make decisions about the small stuff…. then when it comes to life-changing stuff, that same person can influence us. This is WHY we need to seek God’s will, in prayer, Bible, and circumstances.
We respond to God’s assignment and call when our heart is focused solely on His will. Friends and family might “suggest” a calling or ministry. If God has not anointed this, then the work can become a stumbling block for others. For example, there are modern churches where leaders are self-ordained and can buy a certificate online for thirty bucks and call themselves ministers for God.
According to Blackaby, “Faith is not drawing up a grandiose idea and then asking God to make it come to pass.” Before implementing your plans, be sure you have heard a word from God. This reminds me of the modern concept of “Vision Boards.” So when you create your vision board, is God part of that plan? Did He put these things in your heart? ASK.
Matthew 7:7 NKJV “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Lord, is this Your will? ASK.
Lord, is my decision one that pleases you and honors you? ASK.
Anyone called to ministry or a prayer team needs to ASK. Lord, is this your will?
Several years ago I was “called” to the perfect job, it would allow 50% tuition at my kids’ Christian school. And when I ASKED and opened my Bible, the Lord answered a clear NO. Looking back, if I took that job assignment and ministry, the Bible Cafe would not exist. God was opening another door for me…in His timing.
And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV
Back to that vision board concept? Is that a FAITH BOARD? Or a worldview mindset from “dream it and it will happen for you?”
Let us turn this around…what is the opposite of “faith that pleases GOD?” UNBELIEF pleases Satan. Did you see that? Read it again!!!!
Mark 9:24 NKJV Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Sometimes our adult kids will hit “rock bottom” where they stop depending on their parents and depend on God for their needs. It may be difficult to watch, yet the result is spiritual transformation as they find their OWN identity in Christ.
Blackaby writes, “Self-centeredness is when we assume we have to accomplish the assignment in our strength and with our current resources. When God speaks, He always reveals what He is going to do.”
We need to imagine ourselves standing on the mountain with Jesus. Not alone in our victory. Not alone to take a selfie and share on Instagram. We are on the mountain WITH Jesus and we represent Him as ambassadors of His love. Examine your posture. Are you humble, or prideful? Are you confident, or insecure?
This is where we find God’s will…as He flows through us, in Jesus’ name.