"According to your faith, it will be done unto you."
You ever feel like God sent your pastor a sermon that was meant just for you? Well, Dr. Randy was given such a sermon last Sunday: The six phases of faith.
Phase One: DREAM
Ephesians 3:20: "God is able to do far more than we would dare to ask or even dream of, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes."
God will impress upon our hearts a desire. Some will be big dreams, and some will be small hopes. Most people are content with just having a dream, but it is important for us to get to the next phase.
Phase Two: DECISION
James 1:6-8: "You must believe and not doubt because a double-minded man is unstable in all that he does."
We have to DECIDE to go after our dreams... and when you do, you must invest yourself - your time, talent, and treaure. Take a risk! Be "all in" or not at all. This was a big slap in the face for me. I have wanted to do something for many years and have made many half-hearted attempts, but I have yet to really give it a try. With children and a full time job and social obligations, it seems impossible to take anything else on... but I know I'll always want it in the back of my mind.
Phase Three: DELAY
Habakkuk 2:3: "These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled."
There is always a waiting period. God may seem slow, but he is never late. Abraham, Moses, Noah, David, all great men of the bible had to wait. Waiting teaches us to trust. There is a difference in the words "no" and "not yet." Delay ISN'T denial. How we handle the waiting rooms of life reveals our faith.
Phase Four: DIFFICULTY
1 Peter 1:6-7: "At present you may be temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials. This is no accident. It happens to prove your faith which is infinitely more valuable than gold."
Problems will arise during the delay. Trials are no accident - they prove your faith. Cheesy as it may sound, you have to endure rain to see the rainbow.
Phase Five: DEAD END
II Corinthians 1:8-9: "At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we now believe that we had this sense of impending disaster so that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead!"
Difficulty turns into impossibility. At that point, we are at his mercy. We have tried everything we know how and want to give up. Here is where trust is most important. If God can resurrect a dead body, he can revive a dead marriage or a struggling church. Some people prefer bondage over risk; they'd rather be safe than sorry. When you are asking "why me?" or "I don't understand," it means God is up to something.
Phase Six: DELIVERANCE
II Corinthians 1:10: "He has delivered... and he will deliver us again!"
Psalm 27:13: "I am expecting the Lord to rescue me again, so that once again I will see his goodness to me."
God provides a solution or performs a miracle just in time. He loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections. The first five phases are his way of making us stronger.
Today marks the beginning of the Lenten Season, and I have decided to give up all social media. It is going to be difficult for me to "fast" from Instagram especially, but I have challenged myself to spend more time with God each time I reach for my phone. I hope to become closer to Him over the next six weeks, and who knows... he might even reveal a new dream or pave a way to make the existing one happen.