Keeping “Up” In Your Faith

Do you get discouraged by doubt? Does it bring you down or make you depressed? God gives us some great ways to keep up in our faith, ways that will change not only our attitude, but the outcome.  In this message, I’ll give you some ideas on how you can keep “up” in your faith. (Recorded January 24, 1999)

Watch The Video

Message Notes

Note in this Psalm that when Asaph was in distress, he remembered what God had done for him in the past.

Psalm 77:1-20

I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.   When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.  I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. Selah

You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.  I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;  I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit inquired:  “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?  Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time?  Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Selah

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?  You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.  With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.  The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.  Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.  Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.  You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Contrast these words with the very next Psalm and see what happened to the people who forgot what God had done for them.

Ps 78:9-11, 17-33

The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;  they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law.   They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them…

But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High.  They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.   They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the desert?   When he struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. But can he also give us food? Can he supply meat for his people?”  When the LORD heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel, for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.

Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens; he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.

He let loose the east wind from the heavens and led forth the south wind by his power.  He rained meat down on them like dust, flying birds like sand on the seashore.  He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tents.   They ate till they had more than enough, for he had given them what they craved.   But before they turned from the food they craved, even while it was still in their mouths, God’s anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.

In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.  So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror.

Outline

1. Remember what God’s done for you in the past.   (Psalm 77, Psalm 78)

2.  Remember what God’s called you to.  (Joshua 1:9, Exodus 4:2, Mark 4:35-40, Romans 8:32)

Joshua 1:1-3, 9-11

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide:  “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them– to the Israelites.  I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses…

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

So Joshua ordered the officers of the people:  “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.'”

Exodus 4:2

Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied.

Mark 4:35-40

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”  Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”   He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all– how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

3.  Remember what the future holds. (John 14:1-4, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

John 14:1-4

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.   In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”   For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Romans 8:31-32

If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all– how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Transcript

Welcome

Hi this is Eric Elder, broadcasting live from The Ranch. It is Sunday night, January 24th and my wife and I are here in our living room of our home just to bring you a special warm message and a warm greeting in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Tonight we are going to talk about what to do when you are discouraged. What to do when you are depressed. What to do when you are losing your faith, when it seems to be tapering off and you are not quite sure how to get it back. Well, I’m going to give you some tips tonight and even better than just tips, I’m going to give you God’s ways that are in the Bible. How to encourage your faith and build up your faith and really how to keep your faith when you are struggling with doubt and discouragement.

I believe even the things that I mention tonight, the scriptures that I mention and the practical steps that I give you will lift your spirits. I believe it will lift you up out of depression. I believe it will also give you things to think about during the week and to walk you through your week so that you will be able to keep up in your faith. Having faith can just enable you to move mountains. It can enable you to go forward. It can enable you to do what you need to do. Discouragement and doubt just disables you. So I hope that you will stay with me and just watch this message on keeping up in your faith.

Scriptures to Read

On your screen there are some Message Notes. If you will go back to the screen where you clicked on this image of me, if you would go back and look at those Message Notes. I am going to play a short piece on the piano here and just give you some time to read some scriptures about faith.

Tonight we are going to be talking about remembering the things that God has done for us, the things that God has called us to do and the things that God will do for us in the future. So I want you to look at Psalms 77 and Psalms 78. You will see two different groups of people. One group who was discouraged and distressed but they remembered the things that God called them to do. The other group was discouraged and they forgot what God had called them to do. You will see the difference between Psalms 77 and Psalms 78 when you take a look at it. So if you will read those passages and just ask God to open your eyes to whatever you might need to hear tonight. Take two or three minutes to just look at those passages.

1. Remember what God’s done for you in the past.

Tonight I’m going to tell you a little bit about some things that I brought with me – a grapefruit bag, a little statue, and a child’s necklace here. I just want to encourage you with these things that God is faithful. You many not know how I’m going to use these but you will find out. God can use some little things like this to encourage you too.

Let’s look at that passage in Psalms 78 and Psalms 77. The three things that I want to focus on tonight are the ways of keeping up in your faith. The three that I sensed from the Lord that He wanted to say this particular week was, 1) Remember the things that I (the Lord) have done for you. Remember the things that God has done for you in the past. 2) Remember what God has called you to. Remember what He has called you to do right now. 3) Remember what the future holds. Remember what is coming up.

The battle of faith really begins in our minds. That is where the doubts come in. That is where our faith takes its biggest hits. Because once Satan gets a hold of your mind he’s got the rest of you. All the rest follows from whatever our mind is thinking, from what is in our hearts. From what is inside us and then our actions follow. Satan can knock us out right there in our minds and if he knocks us out at the level of our faith then he has got us. But we CAN STAND UP TO him by the ways suggested in Psalms 77.

Let’s take a look at the first way, remembering the things that God has done in the past. As you looked at Psalms 77, this was a Psalms by a man named Asaph. Now Asaph here he was in a desperate place it says in verse 1

“I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; “

So he was definitely struggling. He says he mused in his heart and his spirit (down a little further) he said

“Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? “

He goes on and on and says has God forgotten about me, is this ever going to happen? And then look at what he does, Asaph,

“Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”

Asaph goes on through to remember the great things that He did, performing miracles, displaying power to Jacob and to Joseph. Talking about how the water was in the heavens was convulsed and how the skies resounded. How they led Moses and Aaron and the Israelites through the water. As he remembered these things, you can just see everything in Asaph changing. He is remembering that yes, God is faithful. God has done these things in the past and God will continue to do them.

You probably have things in your life as well that you can remember that God has done. Maybe it has been a few years ago or last year or a few months ago. But you can remember things if you look back and see what God has done for you. As you recall those to your mind it will encourage you that God can be faithful again. Maybe you wonder, “Well, He did it then, but I don’t know if He can do it again.” Well, that is the trouble with Psalms 78.

If you will contrast with what we just talked about with what happened to the men of Ephraim, this is a group of the Israelites. It says that

“On the day of battle they turned their back … They had forgotten what God had done and the wonders that He had showed them.”

So instead of remembering what God had done they had forgotten them and when the day of battle came they turned their back and ran. It says they spoke in the desert against God,

“They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the desert? When he struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. “

So here in the desert they watched God bring forth streams of abundant water in a dry desert. But the people said,

“But can he also give us food? Can he supply meat for his people?”

So it was like they were saying, “Well, yea, He did that but can He do this, and can He do this?” Every time God answers, it says

“When the LORD heard them, he was very angry”

But He did sent meat; He sent them birds to eat from heaven. He sent them the bread of angels. In spite of all this it goes on to say that,

“In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror.”

God literally wiped them out because they continued to in their disbelief, they continued to forget what God had done for them and not believe that God could take them to the next step.

Practical Steps

On the practical level there are a couple of things that you can do to bring these things back to your mind. One is simply to write them down. If you have never journalized before or if you have done it before but have passed that off as something in the past maybe it is time to rekindle that. Bring that back up and write down some of the things that God has done for you. Recall them to mind. If you have old journals of things that God has done or other things that you could dig through, pictures or times of when God was really working in your life. If you will go take a look at those, go back and look and see how God has worked, see what God has brought you through in the past. Those memories will trigger some faith in your mind and you will say, “Yes, God can do this. I do believe He can do what I am facing now.”

Also, if you want to share those stories with others I would be glad for you to send them to me and I will publish them on The Ranch. We have a special section called The Hall of Faith where people can share the stories of how God has been faithful to them. It actually brings encouragement to other people around the world. We had at one time 800 people a month coming in to read these stories. That just continues to grow as God continues to use stories like this to encourage others.

If you don’t have a story of how God has been faithful to you there are plenty in here (the Bible). People like Moses, Paul, and Peter have written down stories of how God has been worked in their lives. The apostle John said, “If all the stories that Jesus did in people’s lives was written down the entire world could not hold all the books that would be written.” God is working in so many people’s lives everyday that John at that time, 2,000 years ago, said; “We couldn’t even contain all the books that would be written.” God is so much at work and yet the day to day struggles gets us down. So the first thing we want to do is to remember the past, to remember what God has done for us.

If you need to write it down, if you want to send it into me by email we can encourage you while you encourage someone else at the same time.

2. Remember what God has called you to.

The second point tonight is to remember what God has called you to. You may be walking in a situation where it is very desperate and you are just not sure that God is going to pull you through it. I would say, “Has God called you to do it?” It could be one of two things. 1) God has not called you to do it and you are going the wrong way and God wants you to get on a new track. The other, 2) if God has called you to do it, God will see it through to completion. I believe that and God believes that. It will not be without opposition.

Michael Jordan didn’t get paid what he got paid when he was playing in the NBA to go and make baskets at the other in with no opponents coming at him. He got paid to do what he did so that he could dribble around, move through, pass and jump, shoot and dunk that ball while all these other people were putting their hands in his face. That is what makes it so exciting to watch him play and what makes him such a great player. But in the face of all that opposition he is able to move forward with what he was called to do, what he was paid to do.

God calls us to do things. There may be great opposition that will come against us. In fact, there was against everyone who was called to do anything in the Bible. But we can press through that by keeping our faith up and walking in trust and obedience to God’s word.

My Personal Visual Reminders

Now, God has called me to do this particular ministry on the Internet fulltime. I will just share a couple of little things about how I have had to keep my faith up as over a couple of years we have continued to try to do this and bring this forth to people. As we are now in a new phase of doing the live broadcasts I was at one time worried about the funding and how we were going to pay for such a ministry.

One night I had a dream. In this dream God spoke to me, similar to the way He spoke to Moses, the way He spoke to Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father) and the way He spoke to Abraham in dreams. In this dream I was praying about what God exactly wanted me to do. This is what I saw in this dream. It was a letter, wrapped in what looked to me like grapefruit netting (the bag on a grapefruit). I opened the letter in the dream and in it was some money. This place had written and said, “I don’t know why you sent this money in. We are sending you your money back. Why are you paying to do what other people would gladly pay you to do?”

I woke up and somehow in my spirit I immediately knew what it was. The netting represented the net, the Internet, and the envelope and the money was that coming back in the form that we could use to go and spread the gospel. God was releasing me from my current job so that I could do this fulltime. He was saying that, “I will provide for you.” So that may be a strange dream to you but to me it spoke volumes. It answered some questions that were at the very core of what I was called to do.

As we started the ministry and as we were praying for the funds to come in and not really knowing where to go for them or who was going to provide them or how God was going to lead. We continued to pray. Every two weeks I would pay the bills here at the house. I have a draw where I put the bills in. I take those bills out and I take the checks out and I make the deposits and pay the bills. We continue to have to trust week to week, day to day that God is going to provide. Just like many of you have to do – exactly the same thing even if you are on a salary. You just never know what the next day will bring.

So I share this with you, this is what I had to do. At one point I was getting very discouraged and wondering, “Wow, God are You going to make it this time? Is this week going to be different? We are getting very close to the wire here.” I would struggle in my faith with whether He was going to provide. So I took out a real grapefruit bag and I put it in my bill draw. Every time I open the bill draw and looked and saw lots of bills and no checks to pay them I would open that and lift this up (the grapefruit bag). I would say, “God spoke to me and He said that He called me to do this and that He was going to fund it.” So I would look at this (the grapefruit bag) and there was no special magic in this. This (the grapefruit bag) is not a lucky charm or a rabbit’s foot or something. It was simple a visual reminder to me that God had spoken. I would have a peace that came over me and I would put it back in the bill draw and say, “I will wait until the two weeks is up.”

For a year this went on, last year. By the end of the year God had provided. Every two weeks we had received exactly what we needed and sometimes more so and sometimes right to the wire. We continued to meet the bills of what we needed to do what God had called us to do. God said He was going to do it and the struggle that I had was just in my faith. Whether He was really going to be true to His word and whether I had heard correctly. This (the grapefruit bag) gave me a visual reminder.

In a similar way there are times when I struggle with technical difficulties with putting out a broadcast. Or I get frustrated when I go out to show someone what is going on and I have to spend two hours taking down equipment and two hours setting it up somewhere else – it gets tiring and time consuming.

I have this little statue that my Mom had given me years ago when I used to love walking on my hands. This little boy was excited about life, full of the joy of living. This reminds me of what it feels like to be free in what you have been called to do. As a child you are called to play and just enjoy life. In this ministry God has called me to do what I am doing. I actually take this statue with me sometimes and I set it up. You will see it here sometimes. I will set this up so that when I get frustrated with various aspects of this and get discouraged and down – I can just look at it and say, “God has called me to do this. He has ordained me to do this from the beginning of time. I am going to sense the joy of the Lord and take the joy of the Lord and press on through. God is not going to let technical difficulties get in the way. He is not going to let discouragement and tiredness get in the way. He is going to do what He has promised He will do.” Again, this isn’t some statue that you would worship. This is simply a reminder to bring back to mind that God has called you to do this.

Other Visual Reminders

It is very biblical. People would set up standing stones. They would set up large markers when God did something memorable for them. Joshua set up a pile of stones to remember that God was faithful. Whenever anyone would look at it and ask, “What is that statue about?” They would say, “These are the markers that God is faithful. He has brought us through the river. In fact, these stones came from the center of the river, right there, when it was dry and we walked across it.” In other ways, when the priests would wear special garments. They had twelve jewels on it for the twelve tribes of Israel to remind them that they were a special chosen people. Twelve groups of people that were one nation called Israel. Every time they went before God, they went with that particular outfit that would remind them and remind God of the covenant that was made God and the people of Israel.

These are simple reminders to us that we can use. You can use anything from a grapefruit bag, to a statue, to a piano to whatever God has put in your life that might remind you that He is going to do something. Some people just use their wedding ring to keep them faithful to their spouse. I heard a man that said that he would never be able to have an affair as long as his wedding ring was on. If he ever had an affair he would have to take his wedding ring off. He would never have an affair because he would never be able to take his wedding ring off. That would be to deliberately break a covenant he had made with his wife. To deliberately go against the covenant he had said before the Lord. So he would look at that ring as a reminder that he needed to be faithful to wife and to stay with his wife and to never be unfaithful to her.

The Cross is a Visual Reminder

There are various reminders that you might have. Maybe you don’t have any particular reminder come to mind right now. But I know one reminder that all of us can relate to and we see it all over the place. It is the reminder of the cross. Here even on a child’s necklace on a string in a bright lime green is a plastic cross. Crosses are everywhere. People where them around their necks, they wear them on their shoes, they wear them on the shirts, they put them on their churches, they put them up at their office and at their home. The cross is a visual reminder of the great thing that God has done for us. If you can’t recall to mind one good thing that God has done for you – YOU CAN ALWAYS LOOK AT THE CROSS. Jesus Christ, when He died for you and when He died for me, did the GREATEST thing anyone could ever do for us. In fact there is no greater thing a person could do than to lay down their life for another person, to shed their own blood. That is what Jesus said,

“Greater love has no one than this, than he lay down his life for his friends.”

That is what God has done for you and me. Whenever we look at the cross we can see a VISUAL reminder of what Jesus Christ has done for us, what God’s love has done in the world. To destroy death forever so that we can rise again with Jesus Christ one day and be with Him forever. It is a great reminder that God is with us.

This week we were at a mental floor of a hospital in the psyche ward and a woman who had been plagued with mental problems for maybe ten years (was it Lana?) nineteen years she had. She came in and saw Lana with her Bible and she said, “That’s great to have that Bible. I am so glad you have that Bible. I read that Bible every day. Those are the words of life.” She said that she had this problem for nineteen years.” She said, “Where is my cross? Where is my cross? I need my cross right now.” Now, I don’t know what she was going to do with the cross, as far as I don’t think she worshipped the cross. But she knew even in her deluded mental condition that the cross held power for her. People know that there is power in the cross. There is power in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the power to overcome death; the power to overcome any sickness and God has that power available to all of us.

Jump down with me to Romans 8:32. This is a great passage if you think that God can’t do what you are currently facing. You say, “Maybe He did something a few years ago but can He do this.” It says here in Romans 8:32,

“He (meaning God) who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all. How will He not also along with Him graciously give us all things.”

If God didn’t spare His own Son for us, God was willing to let His own Son die for us. What else would He withhold from us? What more could there be that He would not graciously give us if it wasn’t in our best interest? If you are pleading out to God for something, I can guarantee you He will give you that thing or He will give you something better. If He doesn’t give you what you are asking for the reason is He has something better in mind for you. I believe that with my whole heart and I have seen that work out time and time again in my life. As I see prayer sometimes not answered in the way that I had expected them to be. Then I see later that God has an answer that is above and beyond all that I could have expected or imagined.

It will be the very same way in your life with what you are going through right now. It doesn’t matter if it is something in your marriage; I have seen it work. Something with your children, I have seen it work. With your parents, with your friends, with your coworkers, we have seen it work in case after case. With finances, with problems, with sickness, with problems of frustration, with depression, God can solve all of those problems. He can and will work through those things.

I want to encourage you in your faith to remind yourself of what He has called you to do – what He has put you here for. If you don’t know that I would encourage you to get in your Bible and start reading. I would encourage you to spend some time everyday with the Lord. Just some quiet time and ask Him questions and then wait for a response. Say, “God, what do you want me to do today? God what do you want me to do this week? God what is the purpose for my life?”

Sit and listen and say, “OK, God,” and wait until an answer comes. You may be waiting a few seconds or you may be waiting fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes. Or you may be waiting two hours. But it is so worth the wait. It is worth getting up early in the morning just to go and spend some time with God and say, “OK, God,” and as things come to your mind. Maybe it will remind you of a scripture. If things aren’t coming to your mind, open up the Bible, you can really open it anywhere and you will see God’s love poured out to you. You will be able to see how people went through similar situations and you will be encouraged that He will speak to you as well.

So that is point number two. Point number three is a shorter point but nonetheless very important.

3. Remember what the future holds.

Remember what the future holds. What has God have planned for all of us in the end? Those of us who believe in Jesus Christ believe that He will come back again. That He will come back and take the believers into heaven with Him forever to be with Him forever. In Heaven there is no discouragement, no doubt, no despair, no crying, no darkness, none of that. Heaven is light, heaven is life, heaven is joy. It is not a boring place it is a very exciting place to be. It is going to be a great place. We always have heaven to look forward to. We always have the future that Jesus Christ has promised us to look forward to.

Take a look at a couple of passages where Jesus has promised us this. John 14:1-4 says,

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

If you don’t know the way to that place I will tell you in just a minute but let us look at one more passage and that is in 1Corinthians and that is about what Jesus Christ will do in the future. Every time we take communion Jesus says we are remembering something. I want to show you exactly what we are remembering. In one sense we are remembering His death on the cross, but look at this in 1Corinthians 11:24

“… This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me… This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

When we take communion we are not only looking back to the past and what Jesus Christ did for us – we are looking to the future of what Jesus will do for us. He will come again. He has promised that He will come again. He will take us to be where He is. He has promised through the remembrance of communion that we can be assured that one-day He will come back for us.

We won’t see all the answers to our prayers in this lifetime I know that as a fact as well. But we will see our prayers answered. God will not let your tears go unanswered. He will not let those cries be unheard. He will answer them and He will bring them about. He is faithful to do what He has promised He will do.

Now if you don’t know Jesus Christ some of this won’t make sense and you won’t have anything to stand on whatsoever. You won’t be able to remember what God has done, you won’t be able to remember what He has called you to and you won’t have any assurance that He is going to take you anywhere. But you can be assured of that right today as you watch this. It is a simple thing. Just repent of your sins, and say, “God you are right. I am sorry for the thing that I have done wrong. I realize that there is a penalty and a price that must be paid.” As I mentioned last week in the broadcast, there is a simple way to understand it.

There are books being written in heaven about our lives. In those books everything that we have ever said, thought or done is recorded. God doesn’t like some of the things in your book, in my book, in Lana’s book – and He must punish those things. But He loves you (imagine my hand is you) but He hates the things in this book (book on top of hand). How does He punish what is in the book without harming you? He sent Jesus (represented by other hand) into the world so that when He died on the cross He took your sins and mine (book transferred to other hand – Jesus). So that now we could come free to God (hand representing you is not holding book, but free to come to God). All we need to do is to believe in Jesus and He will take us to be with Him where He is.

Prayer

I want to pray with you tonight if you want to repent and believe in Jesus Christ today so that you can have that assurance. You can also have that assurance that you will be with Him forever.

I want to just sing a song first. “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” and then I want to pray with anyone who needs prayer. In fact, let me just pray right now and then we can all worship together because I want you to sing this song with me and I want you to sing it with all your heart. So let’s just lift some burdens off of you first and then we will sing.

Lord, I just pray for anyone who is struggling with discouragement, struggling with doubt, struggling with even suicidal thoughts, with depression to a magnitude of that only You, God, could understand.

God, I just pray for those who are just facing the normal trials of life and who are just frustrated this week. I pray for those people who are discouraged in their faith and wondering if You are going to show up.

I pray right now that You would bring to mind things that You have done for them in the past. Tonight, tomorrow and this week I pray that You would bring those back vividly to their memory, through pictures or words, or them writing it down. Through whatever means You want to use to get their attention to remind them of how faithful You have been in the past and You will be faithful in the future and You will be faithful to them this week. I pray that You would bring those things to mind so that they could remember them.

For people who are struggling with what You have them to do. God, you haven’t called us to a lifetime of one thing but you have called us to a daily walk of obedience. If we are faithful to You in the daily things it will add up to a lifetime.

God, for people who are struggling with what they are doing today, this very day, I pray that You would encourage them to ask You, “God, is this what You have called me to do? God, do You want me to do this today? God, what exactly do You want me to do this day?” I pray God that when they do that very thing that they would take great satisfaction in knowing that they have been obedient to what You have called them to do.

God, bring them reminders, visual cues. If it is grapefruit bags or pianos Lord, statue or crosses – God nothing to worship – but something to remind them on a regular basis that You are faithful. That will bring them through until they have accomplished the things that You have called them to do. I pray that You would bring those visual cues to them as well.

God, for Your future. For those people who don’t have the assurance that You are going to come back for them or they are afraid that maybe they are going to miss out. You are going to come and take the believers and they won’t be counted among them – I pray tonight that they would repent of their sins. Lord, that they would receive You into their heart and invite You to take over their lives and be Lord of their life – to let You call the shots for once in their life. That they would believe and have that assurance, just like You say in John, “Those who believe in the name of the Son of God will have eternal life.” I pray that they would have that assurance that John talked about. That they would be assured in their heart of hearts Lord that You are their Savior. That You are their Lord. That You are going to come back for them again because God this life has its ups and downs, but we aren’t home yet. When we get home with You in heaven we will all rejoice.

I pray Lord that there are people this very week, there are people who are watching this broadcast, later on Lord, even months or years later that have stumbled onto this broadcast and that You would not let these words go out void but that You would call people. Quicken their hearts and they say, “Yes, I want to believe in Jesus.” And that they would DO IT THIS VERY INSTANT! No greater decision could they make Lord for no greater love could You have shown then to send Your Son and allow Him to pay the price for their sins. In Jesus Name I pray this – AMEN.

I know that some of you love to worship and I want you to just worship with me to this song “Blessed be the Name of the Lord”. The words are on your screen if you don’t know them. I’m going to sing out with all my heart and if you don’t like the way I sing then I encourage you to sing out with all your heart and to sing even louder than I. Then you and I and all of us can enjoy it. If you want to play this back later and play along with your guitar or whatever you do, it’s in the key of F. I hope that you will just have fun worshipping the Lord with me.

Well, I hope that gets you going. I hope that pumps your blood that the Lord is glorious, the Lord is Holy, He is worthy to be praised. He assures you, He can keep your faith “UP”. I pray that God will encourage you with that.

How to Get in Touch with Us

If you need more encouragement you can join us in The Chat Room after this live broadcast. Or you can find me later on at The Ranch under ICQ or you can email me anytime at pokey@theranch.org . To find The Chat Room just go to any page on The Ranch and click on Talk to Someone and then you will be able to click on The Chat Room and come and join us there.

Goodnight

I hope that you will come back next week to hear more about the glory of the Lord and hear more about how God can work in your life. For tonight this is Eric Elder and Lana Elder, my great cameraman and blessed wife. I just pray that God will bless you. Goodnight.

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