Thought for the Week - 24th September

Pastor Gareth Watkins
1 Timothy 4: 1-5

Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times
some will turn away from the true faith;
they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.
These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.
They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods.
But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks
by faithful people who know the truth.
Since everything God created is good,
we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.
For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.

Last week I wrote about faith (Hebrews 11:6). God exists and rewards those who seek Him diligently. Beyond any intellect and theology, God exists. That’s the starting point of it all – He exists! We need to come to Him because He exists. We must believe that He rewards those who seek Him sincerely. That is the foundation of living. We are part of this relationship with God.

We all need increasing measures of faith.

In the above verses we read examples of faith, and faith for living. In the last times, the Holy Spirit clearly tells us that people will turn away from the true faith, they will follow deceptive teachings and will say it is wrong to be married and eat certain food.

Do we need faith for being married? Yes! Many people find their marriage contested, and in those situations we need faith. We read in these verses that some will say that it is wrong to be married. How many people do we see married today? Less and less! People seem to find it very easy to get divorced and remarried these days, while others don’t even bother at all. We need faith to be married and to hold onto the truth of marriage.

The Holy Spirit tells us it’s true to be married, and conversely that many will turn away from that truth; that the deceptive spirits will try to convince people that it’s not true. We need faith to hold onto God! We need faith in God Himself to be married. He will see us through the times we feel low, where we can’t see the end of things, and when we can’t control things – He gives us a requirement for faith in Him that it will all work out. The glory goes to God because He keeps it all together!

We need faith just to be married. One man, one woman, equally yoked. We need faith for that marriage to be blessed under God. God exists and He rewards those who seek Him diligently. Those rewards then come into that marriage from God.

We also read above that we need faith for our food. These verses tell us that food is good! However, things come in that tell us that food is bad. Things can creep in that affect our relationship with food. The demons are in this subject. We need faith over the simple things, like the food that we have. God provides our food and God has made it right. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without its consequences – we read that in the end times many will turn away from the truth. They will be affected by the hypocrites, liars and deceptive spirits. We don’t think of this world being affected by the demoniac, but we read it here. The outworking can surround our food, how we are with it and how we interact with it. Things can grip people and ruin their life.

We need faith – God gives us our marriages, God gives us our food. Everything that God has created is good, and we should receive it with thanks. But not just with thanks, for we read “For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer” – we need to be praying about these things and things such as these!

We need to be praying. It’s not just a case of going to church on a Sunday and then going home. We are to take responsibility for the problems and circumstances that surround our families; marriages are one. That produces a fruitfulness; out of that fruitfulness comes children, and in there we need to be praying. The family unit continues onwards, regardless of age, and in there we’re meant to be praying for these things. Prayer continues for our family, fruitfulness and marriage unto the end of our days – our responsibility for our family does not end.

In ourselves we cannot do these things, but in God, He can accomplish these things because He rewards those who seek Him diligently. We need to be seeking Him diligently for these things.

We need faith. Faith to overcome these spirits, demons and false teachings; faith over the hypocrites and the liars. The schools and the newspapers are full of them!

We also need faith for living.

Psalm 104: 10-15
You make springs pour water into the ravines,
so streams gush down from the mountains.
They provide water for all the animals,
and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds nest beside the streams
and sing among the branches of the trees.
You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,
and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
You cause grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth –
wine to make them glad,
olive oil to soothe their skin,
and bread to give them strength.
Our basic provision comes from God, not from the government or our work! We need faith for it to happen more and more. Because we get it we think we deserve it; and because we get it and think we deserve it, we think we don’t need to speak to the One who provides it. If we take a step back and read this scripture as it stands, we need faith that God will continue to give us our basic sustenance. That basic sustenance comes from Him alone. Our job that supplies the money to by our food and pays for our water, comes from God! God gives us the water, the food and the sustenance. He gives us the ability to go out and earn those things. Our faith and our strength needs to be in God for these things, not ourselves.

We need to have faith that God gives us these things, and pray for “our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Pray that He gives us our daily sustenance – to make sure our family is okay and can eat, that bills can be paid so that bread can be put on the table, that we can go to our jobs day by day. We can lose a sense of God’s provision.

David says in the same Psalm (Psalm 104: 24):

O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your creatures.
What an incredible variety of things God has given us! God doesn’t keep us in a dull place! God gives us the provision.

In Psalm 3: 4-6 we read:

I cried out to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude
I lay down and slept,
yet I woke up in safety,
for the Lord was watching over me.
I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
who surround me on every side.
God gives us rest! People desperately need the rest of God. David had 10,000 enemies on either side, but was able to lay down and sleep! David doesn’t specify the enemies, but we know from personal experience that our enemies can take many forms. Yet, in Him we can rest. That rest doesn’t come from us, it comes from God Himself. In all the circumstances of our lives – whether it’s our education, our jobs or our futures – we can rest in the faith that He is watching over us. The basis of David’s rest is not of himself or his riches, but of God!

Are you going to God with the troubles of life? Is God the sustainer of you in this world? Are you crushed by your own desires? We can bring these things to God and find rest. The enemies will continue to exist, but we need not be fearful and we need not be restless. We need to come to God and ask Him to deal with our enemies. He is watching over us! We need faith. Take it to God in faith. Let others see the victory!

If we read through Hebrews, God gives us tips for faithful living. In Hebrews 3: 8 He tells us “don’t harden your hearts”. In the same passage, He says not to go down the path of unbelief, and to be careful about how we live (Hebrews 3: 12). In Hebrews 3: 15 we read the word “today” – it starts now! If we are going to live in faith, live by faith and walk by faith.

If you are trying to live by faith surrounded by enemies, restless, needing more faith, then take these words for yourself. See the potential that God has for you to overcome all your situations and problems. Have that place of rest. We need faith for our families, our marriages, all our circumstances that God has put before us. He wants us to go to Him – He is our Heavenly Father! He helps us.

These same situations that prevented the children of Israel will prevent us getting into our promise land. These circumstances caused unbelief and careless living in the children of Israel, and will do the same to us. As they didn’t profit from their lack of faith and careless living, neither will we.

Be encouraged in your faith. Be encouraged for more faith. Faith upon faith! He alone will bring us into this place – it’s His provisions, His life and His rewards that get us to this place for those who seek Him diligently.

Don’t leave it until tomorrow – do it today. Rise up in faith!

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