May Letter 2018

May Letter 2018

Dear Faith Partner:

 

Faith is a spiritual force that is needed for the long haul. We will never get to a place as believers when we do not need the “Faith of God” operating in our lives. This past Saturday, Janice and I were talking about our travels throughout our military career. We have traveled overseas and throughout the United States; we have seen and been through so much that has challenged our decisions.  However, Janice and I decided early on that we are in it for the long haul.

When I think about this walk with Christ, it occurs to me that you must have “Faith for the Long Haul”. The life you are called to live is not a sprint, but a lifetime journey that, one day, will usher you into the physical presence of Jesus. However, you must decide now that you are in this for the long haul. I want you to agree with me right now, up front, that you are in it for the long haul. To give life to that decision one thing you must have is faith in God.  There is absolutely nothing more reassuring then walking by faith and not by sight.

 

Some of us live on the surface when it comes to faith in God, but it is time we become deeply rooted in who He is our life. Listen to what the Apostle Paul told the Church in Colossae. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.  So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:5-7 (NIV)

 

We are living in a time when people expect instant gratification, not wanting to walk the process out by faith. One thing I am convinced of, it is by faith and patience that we obtain the promises of God in our lives. Hebrews 6:12 makes that clear “but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

 

A lot of what God does in your life comes through time, not overnight, that is why you must discipline yourself for the journey enjoying the ride and scenery. Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NIV) says “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift  or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”

 

Faith for the long haul requires spiritual discipline throughout the process of waiting. It does not include giving in, quitting, or compromising your integrity regardless of the challenges you face. What did Paul tell us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)? “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Faith for the long haul says I embrace the end from the beginning – believing God through the process.

 

Your faith is to be long term because it is a key element that gives you the ability to outlast all test and trials. Your faith is designed to cause your life to be stronger and steady. Your strength determines your length or how far you go. Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!” Hebrews 10:32-35 (NLT) Remember, in Christ there is never a waste of time, because God is always working internally within you and externally within situations.

 

Let me share three things faith for the long haul accomplishes.

 

First, it causes you to “focus on the promise rather than the present.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV) The eyes of faith see past what the natural eyes see. The eyes of the natural will see disappointment, discouragement, lack, problems, letdown, or see situations as setbacks, getting worse, or not progressing: while the eyes of faith will always see things God’s way; excitement, expectation, and hope, knowing God is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV) How many know “hope” is essential to your faith? What does Hebrews 11:1 say “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…” Faith sees into the unseen reality and takes a look at it NOW! You have to be hoping for “something” in order for faith to take hold of that “something”, and become the reality of it. Faith must always have an object, and that object is always the Word of God, how do I know that? Read Romans 10:17 (NKJV) and James 1:5-8.

 

Faith, when you look to the promise instead of the present, will produce obedience. You must walk it out with God in partnership. He knows the time and the season to produce. Keeping the promise in mind when looking at the present will help get your life back on course or in other words govern your life. It will prevent your immediate needs from shouting louder than our long-term goals. You must stay focused on the promises; this will help you make right choices and decisions for the future.

 

Secondly, faith for the long haul “digs deep in a time of drought.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV) and Psalm 1:3 Our hope in the LORD; is a confidence that what He said is coming our way soon. As well, it is what will cause us to dig deep when the “soon” takes longer than we expected. What is beneath the surface is what counts. What you do with God privately will hold you steadily in the public. Every one of us ought to be digging deeper if we are to live this life of faith for the long haul.

 

Thirdly, faith for the long haul “outlasts and overcomes all obstacles.” There are going to be obstacles and things that will try to stop you along the way. We are today, because we outlasted the problems of yesterday. Look at 1 John 5:4 (NKJV), For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” We have overcoming faith for the long haul!!!

 

In closing I ask you to spend some time studying Isaiah 40:31. If you are feeling weary from the journey, God wants to give you strength to stay in faith for the long haul. No quitting – work to keep the faith switch turned on.

 

Janice and I have been Pastors for more than 30 years, and in that time we have learned much about living this life God has given. One thing we are sure of, there is no turning back! We are confident in God’s faithfulness and we trust in Him and His Word; we have faith for the long haul. We encourage you, do not quit, focus on the promise, dig in deep, and outlast the obstacles. You too have faith for the long haul.

God Bless you!

Dr Richard Peoples Sr.

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