Sunday, April 16, 2023

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Sustained by Faith

In our lives, we all face trials and troubles that shake us all the way down to the foundations of our faith. These troubles are not minor at all and oftentimes we begin to question our faith and, in the worst of times, we even question God and His plans for our lives.

One such story of faith being challenged and agitated is the story of Lazarus as told in John 11. This story teaches us about the power of faith and the glory of God. We see in this story that even when all seems lost, God has the power to bring new life and hope.

Jesus and his disciples are called to the town of Bethany, where Lazarus has fallen gravely ill. Jesus is deeply moved by the news of his friend's illness and wept at the sight of the grief of Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha. However, he reminds them that this illness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.

Even though Jesus knew that Lazarus would die, he waited for two more days before he set out for Bethany. By the time he arrived, Lazarus had already been dead for four days, and the sisters were grieving deeply. But Jesus had a plan, and he was about to reveal his glory to them.

When he arrived at the tomb, he commanded the stone to be removed, and he called out to Lazarus, "Lazarus, come out!" To the amazement of everyone present, Lazarus came out of the tomb, alive and well. This miracle proved that Jesus had power over death itself, and that those who put their faith in him would have eternal life.

The story of Lazarus reminds us that even in the darkest moments of our lives, God is with us. He hears our prayers, and he has the power to bring new life and hope. When we put our faith in him, we can be sure that he will always be there to guide us and to lift us up.

I want to share a story with you that illustrates this point. A few years ago, a young woman named Sarah was diagnosed with cancer. She was terrified and overwhelmed, and she felt like her world was falling apart. But she never lost faith in God, and she continued to pray for healing and strength.

Despite undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy and other treatments, Sarah's condition continued to worsen. Her family and friends prayed for a miracle, but they were starting to lose hope.

Then one day, Sarah received a call from her doctor. He told her that her latest scans had shown that her cancer was completely gone. It was a miracle, and Sarah knew that it was God who had healed her.

Today, Sarah is healthy and strong, and she is a testament to the power of faith and the glory of God. She knows that no matter what challenges she may face in the future, God will always be there to guide her and to lift her up. Like Sarah, we all face situations that will test our faith and make us want to give up. All of us have faced those situations at one time or another.

In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul writes, "That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So, we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."

Paul reminds us that even when we face difficulties and suffering, our faith in Christ can sustain us. Our present troubles are temporary, and they produce a greater glory that lasts forever.

Having faith that gets us through the worst of times and keeps us focused on the Father is the foundation of our hope. I am reminded of the story of a young man who remained faithful and was given a wonderful gift.

Kurt Warner is a former NFL quarterback who is widely regarded as one of the greatest undrafted players in NFL history. He played college football at the University of Northern Iowa and went undrafted in the 1994 NFL Draft. After a few years of playing in the Arena Football League and NFL Europe, he signed with the St. Louis Rams in 1998.

In 1999, Warner became the starting quarterback for the Rams and had a breakout season, leading the team to a Super Bowl victory and earning the Super Bowl MVP award. He went on to have a successful career, playing for the Rams, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals. He was a two-time NFL MVP, a four-time Pro Bowler, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Throughout his career, Warner was known for his strong Christian faith and his belief in the power of prayer. He has spoken publicly about how his faith helped him to persevere through setbacks and injuries, and how it gave him the strength to overcome adversity both on and off the field. 

One of Warner's most well-known quotes about his faith is: "My faith is the most important thing in my life. It's the thing that gives me hope and guidance for my life, and it's the thing that allows me to be at peace no matter what happens."

He has also talked about how his faith helped him to persevere through the many challenges he faced in his football career. In an interview with The Christian Post, Warner said: "My faith has been the thing that has sustained me throughout all of the ups and downs of my career. When things were going well, it kept me grounded and humble. And when things were tough, it gave me hope and the strength to keep going."

The stories of Lazarus and Kurt Warner teach us that even in the darkest moments of our lives, we can put our faith in God and trust that He will bring new life and hope. Let us remember that God is always with us, and that He has the power to do remarkable things in our lives. When we have a faith that cannot be shaken, we can stand firm in His grace and weather the storms that we face.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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