Faith in the Desert Places

A compilation

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At some point in our lives, each of us goes through times of major tests and trials as we cross our particular “Jordan.” Some of you have kept going even when you felt you had no more strength, no more faith; yet you kept going, trusting that Jesus would carry you through. It’s the decisions that you make in those times of testing, when you feel you have been pushed to the edge and feel like giving up, that show what you’re made of.

When you find yourself in the desert place of hardship, of discouragement, of affliction—any desert place—that’s the time when the Lord sees just what you can take, just what your faith is made of, just how much you believe and hang on to His Word, His promises.

—Maria Fontaine

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Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.” In the morning Joshua said to the priests, “Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river.” And so they started out and went ahead of the people. … So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the Lord your God says. Today you will know that the living God is among you. …Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River! Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.”

So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho.

—Joshua 3:5–16 NLT

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Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
—Isaiah 64:8 NIV

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Consider My great men who have walked the face of the earth, and the amazing things that they have done. You look at their greatness and the way they were so mightily used of Me. They wrought miracles and wonders, they delivered messages and they accomplished My will. Why could they do these things? Because they were faithful in that which was least. (Luke 16:10) They were tested and tried and proved, and they came through as faithful men, as obedient men, as yielded men.

Consider the breakings that these went through to become the men that I wanted them to be. You read of their exploits and glories, but there was not space in My book to write of all that they went through. The things you read about them were the peaks, the highlights. They experienced these because day by day, they obeyed Me, they followed Me, they served Me. They learned through the little things so that they would, in turn, be faithful in the big things.

Consider Moses, who grew up in the palace of the pharaoh 40 years, and then spent another 40 years in a palace of sand in the desert where he learned humility and the ways of the true King.

Consider Samuel, who as a young child served in the temple and grew up with My Word, but was not fully used by Me until he was of age.

Consider My servant Paul, who was called by My hand and My voice and healed, and who after his conversion was a powerful witness and experienced exciting adventures. Yet he too spent much time in the desert, the spiritual desert, learning, growing in faith, and being fed of Me, being tested. And having proven himself true and faithful, he was able to be greatly used.

Even when I walked upon the earth, I had many things to learn and wisdom to gain before I came into the fullness of My ministry. (See Hebrews 5:8) So have patience and have faith, for all that you go through—the testings, the trials—these are the things that help to turn you into the vessel that I would have you to be. Do not be discouraged or dismayed. Be patient.

Do not judge your usefulness by your job, ministry, or position, for I do not judge this way. Desire My will for your life and seek this: Seek to learn and to grow in My Spirit. Seek to draw nigh to Me. If you pass through a desert place, pray that you will come out as a man or woman of understanding, as a man or woman of depth, as a man or woman anointed of My Spirit. For I too spent time alone in the desert places, and I too went through testings and trials. (See Matthew 4:1–11)

When you find yourself in the desert place, do not fear, do not give up, for it is there that the decisions are made that will guide your future. It is often there that you come to better know Me, to trust Me, and to love Me. So in the times of despair and deep discouragement and the times when you look about you and say, “What is happening? How could this be?”—When you feel like saying, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”—Know that in those times I am there with you. It is in those times that you make the decision of how greatly I can use all that you have received.

Trust Me in the desert places. Just trust Me. Just hang on. Just lay down your own ways, your own desires, and say, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Trust that the blessings, the anointing, and the power of My Spirit will be with you in the days to come. So be patient, and know that I am He that forms you. I am the potter, you are the vessel. Allow Me to work with the moldable clay of your life so that you may become a useful vessel, according to your will and My will.

—Jesus, speaking in prophecy

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Only One Life

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes, only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in “that day” my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
Living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me, Lord, with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me, Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true whate’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh, let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes, only one,
Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “’twas worth it all”;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

—C. T. Studd

 

 

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Author: Frederick Olson

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.

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