Psalm 94

How long will the wicked, O LORD, how long will the wicked be jubilant? They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting. They crush your people, O LORD; they oppress your inheritance. They slay the widow and the alien; they murder the fatherless. They say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob pays no heed.”

Take heed, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise? Does he who implanted the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches man lack knowledge?

The LORD knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile. Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law; you grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked. For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? Unless the LORD had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Can a corrupt throne be allied with you— one that brings on misery by its decrees? They band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.

But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the LORD our God will destroy them.

Your physical body is a gift from God. He created it, equipped it, set its workings in motion, and then gave it to you. Exercise it and its strength increases. Nurture it and it will heal itself of accident and illness to a remarkable degree. But if you don’t, its strength diminishes, its endurance decreases, its muscles atrophy, until it’s almost useless. Ignore it long enough and it’ll die.

Faith is the same way. God gave you enough to be saved (Ephes. 2:8-9). Then He equipped you with the Holy Spirit and set you in motion anew. Exercise your faith it and its strength increases. Follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and you’ll be carried through even the most trying circumstances. Learn the lessons from your experience and you’ll find your faith strengthened to a remarkable degree. But ignore it and it’ll die. All except that part He gave you in the beginning. The part that got you saved. That can’t die because it was a gift from Him.

The difference between the one with unshakeable faith and the one who cringes in fear at each new attack is a matter of exercise. You see, for many of us it doesn’t take much faith to get through this life. We’re pretty much self reliant, doing what we need to do to get by in our own strength. So we don’t have to exercise our faith regularly. And because of that, it’s not very strong. When the enemy strikes, we find we’re not as prepared as we should be, and wind up cowering instead of standing tall.

But for one reason or another, some decide to abandon their self-made security and “step out in faith.” My friends Vilbert and Shantha, from India, adopted four Moslem orphan children all at once so they could raise them in the ways of the Lord. They already had three of their own, and didn’t have a lot of extra money or room, but went ahead on faith. Then they decided to start a Christian Vacation Bible School to help their adopted kids learn more about the Lord.  As a result, these four and hundreds of other kids are now believers and many of their parents are too.

Daniel and Heidi brought the concept of Christian daycare to a country that’s never heard of it, in an effort to keep poor families together. They bought a building and began remodeling, learning as they went and depending on the Lord for sustenance. Today they have 60 kids enrolled, employ 13 local men and women, and are about to open a church and a medical clinic in their community.

DJ and Lynette agreed to take over a failing Mexican orphanage. They had no money, didn’t speak Spanish, and had never run an orphanage, but felt the Lord calling them. Today they have a model facility housing and educating over 100 kids who now have a future.

Each of these couples decided to exercise their faith. And they all found that as they did, it grew stronger. They now take in stride things that would have flattened them just a short time ago. (How’d you like to wake up one morning with dozens of hungry mouths to feed and find the cupboards bare?)

But you don’t have to do something that dramatic to exercise your faith. You can simply decide today to delegate one little part of your life to the Lord to manage for you. Pick a part you’re not doing very well with so there won’t be a big temptation to take it back. For example, if you know you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, try going to some places where the Lord would feel OK going with you, and let Him introduce you to some of His friends. Then watch what He does when you give Him the chance.

If you’ve been looking around you at all, you know that things are going to get a lot worse in this world before they get better. Begin now to exercise your faith more consistently. It’ll prepare you for the time coming soon when you’ll really need it.

Unless the LORD had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

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