Building Faith in the face of fear part 1 by Heather Marsten

Monday, July 09, 2007

Building Faith in the Face of Fear Part 1 by Heather

On Sunday, July 1, I got to teach the Bible study at church. God has been dealing with me about heroes of faith and focusing on God regardless of circumstances, so this Bible study helped me to focus on those topics.

I have been looking at people in the Bible who I consider to be great heroes of faith. I’ve been convicted by the integrity of Daniel, impressed by Paul’s staying the course even though he knew that it would lead to death and Jesus, in human form, always doing what God tells Him to do. Recently I have been studying the life of David. He had a heart for God that I desire to have in my worship of God. I am encouraged that, despite the major mistakes he made in his walk with God, God kept reaching out to him and David kept worshipping God. I am convinced what makes all the Heroes of Faith heroes is worship. I am not just talking about praise and worship in church, but a heartfelt worship that encompasses all their waking hours. Daniel without ceasing during all the years in captivity (from the age of about 18 until he died at 83) prayed three times a day to God, refused to eat the rich foods of Babylon, and even at the threat of death for petitioning God instead of Darius, prayed in front of an open window where all could see. Paul went where God told him to go and preached the good news. Paul continued teaching and preaching even in the face of death.

But David is such an inspiration to me. If you want to learn worship, study his Psalms. They are so encouraging. He takes all to God. He may start out in a Psalm in great distress complaining about his enemy, but ends up worshipping God. I don’t think David’s Psalms were written in a few moments, I think they are the summation of long periods of trials and tribulation. One of my favorite studies was to link the Psalms to the various experiences that David had.

What touches my heart is how David navigated the highs and lows, the peaks and valleys of his life and stayed focused on God and his love for God. We all know David had a heart for worship, but that does not mean that his life went smoothly. For this reason he is a good person to study. We all have our highs and lows in our walks through life.

I don’t like to admit this, but sometimes it is the valley experiences that draw me closer to God. Sometimes, when I am on the mountaintop I can get distracted with the view, and not come to God as much as I do in the valley. I am improving in this though. God tends to move us from glory to glory, from one mountain top to a higher mountain top. But to do that, we have to leave one mountain, go through the valley and then climb the next mountain. We usually do not jump from mountain top to mountain top.

What impresses me the most about David is no matter where he was, he kept his focus on God.  It is too easy to get caught up in the minute by minute details of circumstances and go off course. Pastor Don keeps teaching us, when we find we have gone off course, to go back to where we missed it and continue on. To come to God, seek godly counsel and ask the Holy Spirit what our next step is. If we try to find our way on our own we will only get more lost. Psalm 23 tells us we will go THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death, we are not to camp there. When we face our valley experiences we have to, as Pastor Don said, stand and stay the course. God has a plan and a purpose for our lives and to fulfill those we have to keep moving forward.

Too often, when we hit that valley, we panic and face the valley with fear. What we need to realize is that FEAR AND FAITH ARE EXACTLY THE SAME ENERGY RUNNING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS.

FAITH SAYS, “I BELIEVE GOD.”

FEAR SAYS, “I BELIEVE THE ENEMY, SATAN.”

God produces faith through His Word and His Promises. Satan produces faith through fear and terror and worry.  If satan can get us to have fear and worry about our circumstances that allows him to step into our realm and cause more reasons to have fear and worry.

Let’s see how David went from one mountain top experience to the next.

Initially David had a rapid rise to the top of his mountain.

1. As a shepherd boy he was brought before Samuel and anointed to be king. He handled that very well, going back in the field to continue shepherding. He did not take the anointing to be king to mean that he had to immediately go and unseat King Saul. He just kept doing what he was doing and God did the promoting.

2. King Saul lost the anointing of the Holy Spirit because of his disobedience to God. When the Holy Spirit anointing left him, demonic activity rushed in to fill the void. Saul’s servants thought that worshipful music might ease the demonic activity, and David was brought before King Saul to play music. David did not play for King Saul, he played and worshipped directly to God, and the worship towards God causes demons to flee.

3. Then we find David being a messenger, taking bread and cheese to his brothers in the field. He hears about the giant Goliath, challenges Goliath and with God’s help defeats him with a slingshot.  1 Samuel 18:7 the women sing, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

4. David is invited to marry the King’s daughter, Michal. With that David is fully in the palace as a member of the royal family, and he becomes a victorious leader in the army. Saul stirred up trouble and David and Jonathan (Saul’s son) would put the enemy down.

David and Jonathan became good friends, and it would have placed David in the number three position for the kingdom, for if Saul died, Jonathan would have ascended the throne. But that was not God’s plan. God wanted David to be king, David was anointed to be king. God would permit circumstances to change this situation. The plans of man will not unseat God’s plans.

David’s time in the palace was not wasted. Smart as he was, I am certain that David learned leadership by watching King Saul – good and not so good leadership. He built connections and knew what was going on in the kingdom. To his credit, David stayed humble, serving the king and the kingdom. I am certain he figured God would handle things and he had a healthy respect for those God anointed, even when the anointing passed.

As we will see in a moment, David was not ready for leadership. God had traits he had to develop in David before he could ascend to the throne, and these traits David would learn in the valley, when he faced his fears. While the valley experiences were not pleasant, when he came out of them, David was ready to be king.

It took only a few steps for David to descend from the heights to the depths of despair.

Saul was stirred by jealousy over David and sought to kill him with a javelin. As a warrior, Saul was skilled with weapons but each time the javelin was thrown at David, God deflected the point and David escaped unscathed. David ran for his life. I have debated this, and am not certain what he should have done. God would not want us to stay in a situation that is dangerous for our lives, but at the same time, the running David did in fear left the way open for satan to cause havoc. We need discernment to know when to stand, when to hide, when to run, and when to act. I suspect David just ran, not consulting God as to the best plan of action. David REACTED instead of ACTED. It took just four steps to bring him from the heights to the depths of despair.

1) He runs to his home, and his wife urges him to get out of the house. 2) David runs from there and goes to Nob, to the home of the priests and asks for a weapon and food. He leaves with the sword of Goliath and the showbread. But one of Saul’s servants saw this, reported it to Saul and all the priests in Nob were killed for assisting David. That panic reaction of David caused the life of those around him. 3) Next David, in unclear thinking goes to the King of Gath – a Philistine, and comes there with the sword of their slain warrior – Goliath. What was David thinking? In order to get out of that situation, David fakes insanity (although his actions are not all that sane, for when we run we make stupid mistakes).4) He escapes there and ends up hiding in the Cave of Adullam where everyone who was in distress and discontented gathered to him. 1 Samuel 22:2. Four hundred men gathered to David in the cave, but they were undisciplined, and far from being the mighty men they would become.

How did David Get himself out of that pit of depression, I will share tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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