Dear Loved One,
You may have heard the difficult news about my dear Anna. I wanted to hasten in writing to you, my treasured friend and prayer warrior, regarding the situation presently before our family.
Anna has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer that has spread to her liver. She is under the care of City of Hope Medical Center in Los Angeles, a very well respected facility known for their advancement and research in cancer treatment.
This news came as a shock to our family, but we are resting in the "peace that passes all understanding" and standing firm in the abundant provision of God's grace.
As we have been walking through this difficult season, I have been reflecting on five specific keys of enduring faith the Lord has brought alive in my heart.
I believe these keys to faith will help strengthen, settle, and establish you in whatever season you and your family are walking through.
I hope to encourage you with how the Lord, in His tender mercies, has been encouraging my family and me.
Stand in your liberty
The first key to enduring faith is to know that you don't have to prove anything to God. Just stand firm in the place He's given you and don't fear failure.
Galatians 5:1 says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."
I don't think there's anything more difficult for believers than handling the fear of falling back into the pit from which we have been liberated.
That pit may be bondage, sickness, failure, discouragement or any other number of things that have, at some point or another, trapped you in darkness. But the Bible says, " if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 6:38 NKJV)
When the Lord establishes our liberty and brings us out of captivity, He sets our feet on solid ground! Please hear me, Loved One, you can count on what God establishes. He is faithful to His work and words.
There are times we may say, "I believe He set me on solid ground and established my goings, but I don't seem to be going. What do I do when it doesn't seem like I'm moving forward?"
God did not create us to be Gospel wind-up dolls to watch us work in our human strength and run around trying to do things. Scripture tells us exactly what we are to do... to stand.
Stand firmly in the liberty that Christ has made you free from every pit of this world.
You aren't going to fall on His watch; but guard your heart to not willingly step back into any bondage from which you have been brought out.
Our finite, human strength won't get us out of any pit. It won't set our feet on solid ground. It won't heal us or bring deliverance. Our own strength didn't even bring us to this moment.
Dear friend, our strength to stand is from Jesus! And whatever place you are in, He will give you the strength to stand.
When circumstances come against you, when the lying voice of the enemy taunts you, stand firm in the liberty Jesus gave you. For we know we are not victims or captives of anything in this world.
He has made you free and brought you to a place of security. You just stand firm.
Let patience have her perfect work
"Tribulation works patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope." Romans 5:3-4(JUB)
If it weren't for stress or fiery trials, we wouldn't learn how to "bear up" under. That's what patience means, "to remain under, to stand firm under."
The value of tribulation is the experience we gain as we go through those times, standing firm in faith under the pressure of circumstances.
My life experience has taught me the circumstance will never break me. The power of God will sustain me through the circumstance, and it shall pass.
Let me say this directly to you, Loved One, the circumstance will never break you. 1 Corinthians 10:13 promises, "There's no temptation, no trouble, no trial that is overtaken you but such as is common to man. God is faithful."
The Lord knows how much you can bear. There is never any question as to whether or not you will survive the stress point you are going through.
Our job is to know how to bear up under stress and abide in faith. If we do that, we will never be broken. The circumstance will pass, and, when the dust is settled, you will be standing. That's the promise of God.
The operation of hope
When we exercise our faith, we are saying that God's Word is true no matter what we see, feel or experience going on around us. Whatever the circumstances, we are placing our belief in what God says and not what we see. That's exercising faith!
Hope is a basic response attitude that continues after faith has been exercised. Hope is the sustaining grace of God that we exercise as we await an encounter with God and the fulfillment of His promises.
Hope is knowing that the Word of God shapes our circumstances. While we wait in faith for the fulfillment of His Word, hope supports and reinforces us, until what He has promised is fulfilled.
Looking unto Jesus
This may sound so simple, but dear one, if you have your eyes on Jesus, you are going to make it.
Sometimes, I think we need to get our eyes off of faith and back on Jesus, the founder and finisher of our faith. Our faith is in Someone, our Savior, Jesus, who will never fail us, not in something. Jesus started the program of faith, and He completes the program of faith.
Faith is important, valid, powerful and needful, but it is not the end in itself. We live in faith by fixing our focus on Jesus!
When we lift our eyes to Jesus and recognize that the Word of God says, "in all these things, we are more than conquerors," then we have true abiding faith.
The true measure of triumph
As we keep our eyes on Jesus, we must also learn that the true measure of triumph is not always victory as man would see it.
Just because we don't receive the result we thought should come, does not mean we have a problem with our faith.
Now I am sure none of our faith is perfected yet, and there's at least an inch to grow in our faith's development. At the same time, we should not look at our faith as the failure when things don't work out the way we anticipated.
Victory is not just the healing report, the triumphant testimony, the miracle in front of your eyes or when the check arrives just on time.
The Body of Christ still walks in victory when sickness overwhelms, when death comes, when poverty strikes or whatever may not be our humanly-desired result.
We are still more than conquerors through Jesus, who loved us and gave Himself for us.
I think the more we come to know the Lord intimately, as Scripture said Moses did (Exodus 33:11), the more we will see the invisible. The more we will grasp the Lord's purposes in the things that really endure, and the shakable things passing around us will not trouble us. That is truly enduring faith.
The Hayford family is standing in this faith. We are assured of our powerful and all-knowing God, who was not surprised by this circumstance. We are confidently looking unto the Lord for miracle grace and sustaining peace.
Your love, prayers and support, dear friend, are always worth more to us than words can say, but especially in this time.
It is our prayer that you are encouraged, in whatever season of life you are in, to stand in liberty, let patience have her perfect work, understand the operation of hope, look unto Jesus, and finally, know the true measure of triumph.
Enduring in Faith,
P.S. For additional information about Anna's health, please CLICK HERE. Your prayers and support are precious to Anna and me. I pray these keys to enduring faith have strengthened you to stand in the liberty Christ has given you, no matter what circumstances you may be facing!
"Loved one, Scripture tells us exactly what to do... to stand. Stand firmly in the liberty that Christ has made you free from every pit of this world. And remember; our strength to stand is from Jesus! So, no matter what place you are in, He will give you the strength to stand. When circumstances come against you, when the lying voice of the enemy taunts you, you can confidently stand firm in the liberty Jesus gave you. For we know we are not victims or captives of anything in this world!"
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Faith is at the core of our relationship with God, and the instrument by which the gift of salvation is received. In this five-part series, Pastor Jack Hayford explains how faith is your powerful key to unlock the resources of heaven into your situation. Especially when the storms of life rage, you can have the assurance that through faith, "...whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them" (Mark 11:22, 24). Pastor Jack explores different expressions of faith to deepen our understanding of faith, as well as our faith itself. These messages will help you establish a firm foundation that will sustain you in the face of any circumstance. Messages include: Faith is the Substance, Saving Faith, Redeeming Faith, Triumphant Faith and Keys to Abiding Faith