Have you ever had someone deliver “bad news”? I don’t mean the newspaper on your porch. In 1998, a doctor explained to me that I had extreme arterial blockage around my heart. Not exactly the news you want to hear. January of 1999, I received 7-way, heart bypass surgery. Ten years later, my wife Dianne received some “bad news” from her doctor. A large lump had been discovered in her left breast. The prognosis was upbeat but it still came with that dreaded word; cancer. She had the lump removed and went through intense radiation treatments for six weeks. Intense to say the least. Last month after her mammogram, she was still clear of the cancer and only has to return once per year instead of every six months. It took A “Right Now” Kind of FAITH” for the both of us in each instance.
Now go with me to Isaiah 38:1-3 to see how King Hezekiah of Judah had someone deliver “bad news” to him. We will also look at the steps he took after he had received the news.
Verse 1 begins with Isaiah the Prophet delivering to the king the actual “bad news”. “Set your house in order, for you shall die…” What would go through your head, if someone told you, “you’re surely going to die”? Would it be FEAR of death and how would your family take the “bad news”? Probably a lot of unanswered questions at first. Where would your FAITH be in a dire situation? What was king Hezekiah’s reaction to his “bad news”; you are going to die and not live?
Verse 2 says, “Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord.”
These are the first steps in “Keeping Your FAITH Focused!”
—We need to turn away from distractions.–we need to PRAY.
—We need to FOCUS in on God in the midst of problems; pressure and stress.
—We need to be in a “praying without ceasing” mindset.
When you can’t figure out what to do, then like Hezekiah, you need to “turn your face to the wall” and pray. I always knew as a believer over the years about asking God in prayer, for the deliverance and healing of other people. BUT for myself and my wife…what kind of prayer would be needed? Our prayers aren’t intense enough! Oh yes, we pray…kind of pray. What do I mean by “intense”? Turn to James 5:16 and see what I mean by “intense”, “earnest”, “continual”, “FERVENT”, “violent” praying. I can tell you one thing, it keeps your FAITH in focus. That is from my own personal testimony.
“…and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”
Our prayers aren’t intense enough
I Samuel 30 tells a story of David that reveals evidence of a believer, who had just come home from work and discovered a home invasion. In other words, more BAD NEWS! His home city had been burned, all the women and those who were there at the time, were kidnapped. David and those men who were with him reacted as any of us would; they “…lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.” (verse 4). There was so much pain and sorrow, they couldn’t cry anymore! I have mentioned in previous blogs how much I love a three lettered word in the Bible. The word is “BUT”. Look at verse 6:
“David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. BUT David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
When unemployment, disease, treated poorly by others, failures enter our lives, we often blame it all on something or someone. That’s what the “flesh” does. BUT as true believers, we are not of the flesh. We are of the Spirit. Keeping your faith focused can’t be willed into the moment. There isn’t a “hocus pokus” moment that entitle us to be FOCUSED. God will do His part if we do our part. It is like getting ready for a race. There not only is a physical conditioning involved before the race but a mental conditioning as well.
Matthew 11:12 says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize–a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with ardent zeal and intense exertion].”
Have you ever approached God with “ardent zeal and intense exertion”? Have I ever approached God with FERVENCY in my prayers? “You never do a thing in less you know and understand it.” I came to know and understand prayer only a few short years ago. Before that understanding, I had no idea what “fervent prayer” was… much less actually applying it.
Let me give you an example of ardent zeal and intense praying. From my own experiences, keeping my FAITH focused is imperative. Say you are in need of healing in your life; physical or mental. Don’t wait for someone else to lay hands on you or anoint you with oil. Be intent and don’t quit praying to the Lord about your condition. Stretch yourself, clear your mind of stress and get ready. Lets look again at Hezekiah’s intense, fervent prayer:
Isaiah 38:3, “…Remember [earnestly] now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I walked before You in faithfulness and in truth, with a whole heart [absolutely devoted to You]…”
“Keeping Your FAITH Focused” isn’t something that JUST HAPPENS because you are a Christian. It takes “a whole or pure heart”; “BUT the Lord said…For the Lord sees not as a man sees…the Lord looks on the heart”. (1 Samuel 16:7)
God is looking for “hearts” willing to do His will and carry out His plans. You do your part as a “heart” believer and God will do His part. I hope these last few blogs will stir your thinking into “Keeping Your Faith Focused” in ALL situations.
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.” 1 Samuel 16:13.
When you accepted Christ Jesus as your saviour, you were anointed by the Holy Spirit. Now rise up in FAITH and get going. You are in the race!