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Having Faith In Difficult Times

Hebrews 11:1-2
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

Indeed the ancients, faced with daunting problems and impossible situations are worthy of imitation in the way they handled their troublesome times. The images of:
* Noah building his ark while people around him made fun.
* Abraham setting out with his old wife.
* Abraham tying up his son for sacrifice.
* Joseph working sincerely in prison for 13 long years.
* Moses and the Israelites stuck between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea.
* Daniel and his friends in that Lions Den or blazing furnace.
* Jesus carrying the cross to Golgotha.

These images seemed foolish to people around them in those days.

But today, millions of men and women have been inspired by these images of these people who lived a life of trust and faith in God. In this lesson weíll see 3 things needed to have faith in difficult times.

1. Go to God

Daniel 6:1-11
1 It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom,
2 with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss.
3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
5 Finally these men said, "We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God."
6 So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: "O King Darius, live forever!
7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions' den.
8 Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered--in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed."
9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.
10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.

Daniel is an incredible hero in the OT inspiring people by his wisdom and amazing dependence on God. This is a very difficult time in his life when there was nobody to stand up for him. All were against him. Death was staring him in the face, if he dared to pray to God. Its amazing that he went to God boldly, asking him for help, opening the windows.

What do we do when we are down and out? Do we shut ourselves in, stop praying, start complaining, become negative and even blaming God?

Daniel 6:16
So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"

Daniel had asked God for help and he found himself in the lionís den. What must have kept him going? When situations worsen, even after fasting and praying, do you give up? What about the prospect of lions eating you alive?

Daniel 6:23
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Daniel continued to go to God and thatís what we need to do. Decide to intensify your prayer life.

2. Obey God

Hebrews 11:8
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Difficult time it was. Age had taken a toll on him. No heirs to his property. Abraham and Sarah could have settled down, crying and mourning about their sad situation. But they obeyed God. Abraham obeyed and received what was promised.

Matthew 26:36-46
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter.
41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
42 He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.
44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

We see an amazing struggle in a manís heart. Sad and filled with sorrow, Jesus prayed that he wanted to obey God, rather than his own will.

Brothers and sisters, the challenge for us is that when the results donít come and you are facing personal challenges, feeling insecure; seek Godís counsel. Seek his word and obey what he says. He will see you through.

3. Depend on God

Exodus 14:10-14, 19-22
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD.
11 They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
12 Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!"
13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

The Egyptian army was hurtling down on the Israelites. The noise of the horsesí hooves and the chariot wheels was terrifying. The Israelites stood between the Red Sea and the swords of the Egyptian army.

What do we do when we are caught in a bind, when you find obstacles wherever you turn?

Moses had an amazing attitude: The Lord God Almighty will fight for us. The circumstances were trying and a decision had to be made. Surrender was the best possibility but his dependence on God saw him through.

As a result (vv. 19-22) one of the most spectacular miracles in the Bible when God decided to display his strength and love for his people. That is how our God is. His power has no limit, nor his love. Difficult times call for us to depend on him. What is it that you face today? Is it financial problems (outstanding loans), marriage problem, ministry not growing, sins not changing, persecution at home, what else? Today we need to decide to Go, Obey and Depend on GOD.