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HAVE FAITH IN THE LORD

Sunday 9th September 2018

[Send-Off Service for Rev. Edmond Mensah]

Bible readings
Isaiah 35:3-7
James 2:14-17
Mark 7:24-30

Hymn of meditation: PH 330
My gracious God and friend,
Fountain, from You good things flow.
All things You created,
You gave us all things needful.
Grant that my body, mind,
My spirit and my all,
Be pure, as You desire,
Your glory, I do seek.

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is with joy that I come your way once again bidding you farewell. I thank the General Assembly, the Presbytery Council and the entire Nativity Congregation for the loving friendship and fellowship. God bless you all.

Dear Christian friends, our theme for today is to have faith in the Lord. Having faith in the Lord implies

  • Learning to trust God in all aspects of life
  • Relying on God for His provision
  • Coming to the point where you can say to the Lord that “I’m surrendering everything to your care”

When faced with challenges or even when God blesses you, you should still bring yourself to the place of nothingness so you can totally focus on God and God alone. Faith is just believing and looking up to God alone. It is so important at this time, for every believer to learn to trust God. In the Hebrew language, trust is the same as faith; and all that we are being called to do today is to put our hope and trust in the Lord because He is the greatest. Without the Lord, we cannot achieve our purpose for coming into the world, so no matter what comes your way, learn to be stable in faith, steadfast and assured that everything will be well.

Our first passage from Isaiah 35 strengthens the believer. It is from a period in the life of the Israelites when all hope was gone. They always faced attacks from enemy armies anytime they had a little peace of mind. God spoke to them and assured them that there will come a time when He, the creator of the universe will not only deliver, but will strengthen and give them grace to overcome. He also said to them that though there will be weak people in their midst, they should encourage each other’s faith in Him the Lord and to know that whatever He had said will surely come to pass. So the people begun to strengthen each other, assured that challenges may come but once they had Jesus Christ by their side, victory will forever be theirs.

Even if the victory delays, learn to be firm and steadfast in the Lord that one day, surely, God will show up. Times are changing, life is difficult and what we need to do as children of God is to have faith in the Lord Jesus.

Yesterday, we had a scenario when a bride’s father, on the morning of the wedding was taken ill suddenly. Being the only one who could drive in the family, she took courage in the Lord and took the dad to the hospital and believed that all will be well. Although she was late for the wedding, she came in after it all and went ahead to get married. Before this unfortunate event, she had prayed the whole month towards the marriage event and for the entire family, yet the unforeseen happened and almost caused her joy. She said to herself that, the fact that she prayed, God would intervene at the end and God truly did.

Beloved, we need to have faith in God despite the challenges we face in the world. Do not forget God’s promise in Hebrews 13:5, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

All you must do is to trust in God. The more you study God’s word, the more your faith grows in Him through the miracles and testimonies recorded in the scriptures.

James 2:14-17
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

From today, you need to demonstrate your faith to the word. When challenged or in any difficult circumstance, let the world know that you have a God that redeems. Have faith. Do not just say it, exercise your faith. There may be times when you will be called upon to exercise it through giving in church. At the beginning of the month, take out the tenth of your earnings and give it out with prayer, believing God for a miracle. Acknowledge who the Lord is and give Him your best so He will also in turn give you His best.

Trust God and He will do it. When sick, broken or under any other predicament, put your faith in the Lord who has always proved Himself faithful. Men may disappoint you, but He will never let you down. God knows all about us and whatever challenges come our way is just to strengthen us.

Be joyful and thankful to the Lord even if the answers to your prayers do not seem to come forth, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Mark 7:24-30
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

The woman persisted in spite the shameful reply from the Lord. She never gave up and that won her the victory. We serve a God who is able to do more than we can ever imagine; let your faith be deeply rooted in Him. Learn to rely on Him, learn to surrender everything to him and come to the point where you can testify that “Lord, I have nothing but You alone and I am willing to follow You the rest of my life and I know you will never fail me”.

May the Almighty grant us the grace to have faith in Him.

Amen!

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