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Tougher Faith In A Tough World


Good Morning Beloved Family,

I'm so thankful for each of you joining us here today

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all you've done for us, for being someone we can come to someone who understands out pain, our struggles
You paid the ultimate price for our salvation, 
shed Your blood for us, though we are unworthy

Lord, we live in challenging times, I pray that You will grow us to be
who are willing to submit to Your Authority, Your will, Your guidance
That Your church, would become people of influence, vessels of Your Word
working together, for Your glory 

Raise up those of us who are charged with shepherding Your flock 
in this messed up, confused world in which we live, help us to become more like You, 
to faithfully feed Your sheep, and work diligently toward bringing about change, 
leading the lost from darkness to light

Lord, we acknowledge we cannot do anything with You
we are not strong enough to accomplish what is set before on our own
we desperately need Your strength, Your wisdom, Your perseverance

We worship You, lift up our praise to You Lord, You alone are worthy of our praise
In Your precious name we pray
Amen

Today's Message: Tougher Faith In A Tough World

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

Faith can accomplish a great many things...
In fact, Scripture tells us that faith can move mountains.
I believe we have all heard that many times before, and it's quite likely, we've all said it as well.
But I wonder if we really understand what that kind of faith means?

The kind of faith that allowed Noah to build an ark and preach righteousness.

The kind of faith that caused Isaac to bless his sons, that caused Jacob to bless his sons, that caused Joseph to hope in the future.

The kind of faith that enabled Daniel to stand up to Nebuchadnezzar and to survive the lion’s den.

The kind of faith that caused the woman who was desperate and wanted to be healed, she grabbed the hem of His garment

The kind of faith that caused Caleb in the land of the Canaan to say, "Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it." 

The same faith, we find in Hebrews 11, that great chapter of faith, that tells us it was faith that enabled Abel to offer a better sacrifice. 
 
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:3-9 

So how is it then, that you and I, can possess this kind of ... faith?  

Let me first say, that faith, is not a denial of reality, as some would have us believe!
Nor is faith, something that blind-sided Christians, turn to, when their life's circumstances, contrary to all the evidence, that is stacked up and heaped upon them.

Faith is believing that which is, otherwise impossible, is possible, in the hands of the Almighty God. It is, as the holy Scriptures tells us, in Hebrews 11 the "...assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible."

And therefore, you have throughout holy Scripture the testimony to the life of faith, to the power of faith! 

Beloved, the reality is, when you go through hard times you get tougher!

I believe this fact explains, that in the difficulties and stress that comes into our life
the Lord reveals Himself to us, He is in His time, on time, every time!

In our visible universe, there are approximately 100 billion stars in it.
100,000 light years across, in other words, light traveling at 186,000 miles per second,
it’s going to take 100,000 years to cross it.

And the scope of the visible universe that is only what we can see is 26 billion light years across.
Light traveling at 186,000 miles per second would take 26 billion years to cross it.
And that beloved, is just the visible universe!
There are stars larger than the orbit of Pluto around our sun.

Which is it was hallow could you put 2 billion 300 million of our suns inside of it?

Psalm 19:1 says,
"The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands."

And while is all of this knowledge, is beyond my comprehension, it is also what excited me about my faith!

That the God of the entire universe, the One Who created it and accomplishes all of this, Who sets them all and keeps it all in perfect order, is a personal friend of mine!

Therefore, He is more than capable of handling any problem, large or small, that I give Him!

That the one who could span the galaxies, and cause there to be a harmonious order in the midst of it,
is not only capable of handling my problems, but that it is His hearts desire, that I would give them to Him, allow Him to carry my burdens. And give me peace, while works things out on my behalf.

Beloved, that is just astonishing to me!

So, do you know what else is astonishing to me?
Something beyond comprehension?

That this same God, would allow some of the difficulties that He allows to come into my life and your life?

This very same One, would allow at times literal chaos to come into our lives that would allow us to be pushed to the brink of literal destruction?

In Hebrews 12, we're told, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us.."
So, what is this "great cloud", the writer of Hebrews chapter 12, is witnessing?

Hebrews 12, therefore goes on to say, "let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith."

Jesus makes one of the great statements in all of the Bible relative to faith, a summary really, that which is the testimony of the people of God, the power of faith. And for those of us, who have come to believe, through faith, also know, that God moves powerfully within our circumstances.

So, when Jesus says that faith moves mountains, that is, it makes nothing impossible.

Beginning Matthew chapter 17:14; running through chapters 18,19 and through the end of 20, in preparing for what is to come, the end of His earthly ministry. Jesus teaches the twelve about faith, about citizenship. In Matthew 18, He teaches them about humility, about forgiveness, about discipline and also about offending.

In Matthew chapter 19, He teaches them about marriage, divorce and children. He also teaches about wealth and rewards.

In Matthew chapter 20, He teaches them about position and compassion. Jesus is teaching the disciples profound lessons for living the kingdom principles. And occasionally, slipping in a word here and there concerning His death and His moving toward the cross.

So today, I want to continue speaking about what I believe it could profoundly change your life,
I want to talk about the power of faith.

And, I believe if there was ever a message that America needs to hear in this day and age, is.. FAITH.
We can see strong evidence in our culture, that the operative is emotion and frustration.
There is a very large gap between "faith as it is" and faith as it ought to be."

Hebrews 11:1, is most often cited to illustrate the faith is believing in something while not having any tangible evidence that what you are believing in will ever come to pass.

Beloved, this is, pardon my passion here, a gross misrepresentation of the Word of God!
What the Author actually says, is, "Faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not (yet) seen.
The word yet, is of course, not in the actual text, I merely inserted it here, because beloved, what I have come to believe, what Scripture is teaching us, is in faith, we will see it come to pass.

And I can certainly witness to this in my own life. Against, everyone else's opinions, against what the test results had shown, or even what doctors told me to expect, my faith, what I believed, to the astonishment of my physicians, but it is what was the end results indicated.

All praise and glory to God!
God is Great! Amen?

Faith is not blind or contrary to evidence or reason.
Evidence and reason are logical necessities for true faith.
For the believer, truth faith is prior to reason.
For the unbeliever, reason is prior to faith.
Now, understand beloved, It is not my intention to trivialize anyone’s problems here today,
But I have to say, I am pretty amazed at times with some people’s list of complaints.
They are at times absolutely minor when you put them up against other peoples situations.

But in their eyes no one in the world is going through anything as horrible as what they are going through. Their horrendous life, plagued by the flat tire on the way to the club, is far worse than that parent who is sitting at the bedside of their child, who is fighting for their life.

That just is beyond my greatest level of understanding!
Have we as a nation, a world, become that self- centered and narcissistic?

It doesn’t really seem to matter what it is…
You can have every thing right in you life, but one thing that is slightly out of sorts and it’s like the weakest link in your chain. 
That one almost insignificant thing can ruin your whole day.

And I have to say, that I believe of all the countries in the world….
This can most be said of Americans in the present day!

We have so enjoyed the privilege of a great many blessing, that we are destroyed emotionally when the blessing pauses, for even a second in our lives.

Beloved, other people in this country and around the world, who have real problems!
And we're upset and ready to march in protest because our internet service went down, and we couldn't get in Instagram for an hour or we've dropped a few calls on our cell phone, seriously?

We are upset when our electric is cut off for a few hours in a storm when other peoples homes are obliterated by fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and even war!

Stop for a moment, and contrast that if you will, to the harsh and hostile environment that we see most of the rest of the world in today.
I believe we would be amazed, no, no, we would be devastated to find out just how BAD some people have it in this country and other parts of the world.

When I was in Central America, 8 and 9 year old males and females, were prostituting to support their younger siblings. Children would rummage through the dump, searching for scraps of food.

And I read some time back, about a Catholic priest who was tortured and beaten to death but not before they pulled his toe nails out and made him walk. I am not Catholic, and I'm certain you all know exactly where I stand on doctrine, but can you imagine a human tortured like that for their religious beliefs.

And to think that we would become the least bit upset at someone because they would question our faith in God, or what biblical translation is best.
Beloved, this is just absurd.

I believe our lives would be forever changed if we could see the children in this would who give themselves to prostitution to ensure their survival. Mothers watching their children starve or die from disease. 

Whole families, were recently wiped out in Guatemala by an erupting volcano, found burned to death, holding on to each other!

I believe our eyes would at last be opened if we could see with our own eyes the famine, the disease, the hunger, the hopelessness, the despair, the suffering, the war, the destitution that fills many peoples lives every single moment of every single day!

"And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property."
Matthew 19:16-22 

Beloved, have we become like the rich young ruler? Have we become so comfortable with worldly possessions, that we have put the world ahead of the kingdom of Almighty God? Do we stand apart, or have we sort of blended in... with the wrong crowd?

In Closing....

We've become soft in our lives and I dare to say, also soft in our faith. Are we demonstrating in our lives, our interactions, what we proclaim to the world a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ is?

This world is tough! We have got to toughen up, we can't afford to be "wishy washy" in our faith.

Adversity builds toughness
We need to develop a tougher faith.
We have got to get back to our first love

We have whole generations of faithless and perverse peoples. 
We have to roll up our pant legs and sleeves and get in the trenches and share the Good News!

As believers, we know the end times are quickly upon us...
We are called, commanded by Jesus, Our Lord and Savior to take the Gospel to people, where ever we may find them. 

But before we can successfully bring others to Christ, we must take a good long look at ourselves. Are we living the best example of our faith? Especially when we are not in the "spotlight", in other words, when no one we know is watching?

Rather than to strive to become more like Jesus, how 'bout we ask ourselves, if Jesus, were living my life, with family, job etc.. How would He handle things? What would He do differently?
Well I can just about guarantee, that it would be quite differently than we have, and that goes for every single one of us!

This recalls to mind, something we used to hear a lot of, but not so much anymore..
WWJD!
We should all be asking ourselves, every day, in every situation..

So I ask each of you today..
what WOULD Jesus Do?

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.


Now and forever, in Jesus' name

Amen

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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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