When we find ourselves in the wilderness, we yearn for relief. Rather than persevere, we look for a way out. The harder something is to endure, the more we will want it to be over. We desire a change in our circumstances while God's focus is molding and shaping our character. The important thing isn't that our situation will be different, but that we will be different. Waiting has a purpose. It isn’t wasting time; it is recovering hope. We shouldn't confuse patience for passivity. Waiting as a declaration of trust serves as an act of worship. The tendency is to pull away, but we must draw near for this is where we learn to understand our value while encountering His grace. He isn’t just redeeming our circumstances or our situation; He is redeeming us.
Wilderness: Part Four
The Recovery Of Hope
May 27, 2018 • Mike Ashcraft
Wilderness: Part Three
Don't Stop "Believin" • May 20, 2018 • Mike Ashcraft
When we quit trusting God cares, provides for us and loves us unconditionally, we quit obeying. And when we quit following, we stop believing that God has a grander purpose for the struggles we face. We often forsake the very thing (FAITH) that can sustain us through our encounters with temptation. The validity of the struggle isn't the main issue, but rather what our attitude is in the midst of the battle. What we fill ourselves with after facing temptation is critical to how we recover. We need to create space for recovery. As we tend to our hearts, we learn how to respond differently when temptation rears its ugly head again. By strengthening our faith, we activate a sustaining source that we can rely on no matter what comes our way.
Wilderness: Part Two
The End Of Temptation • May 13, 2018 • Mike Ashcraft
When facing temptation, our most significant vulnerability resides in the place between our desires and God's provision. It is here where we are most prone to stop short, quit, or give in. If we're not careful, we will wander in the wilderness, in the space between God's promise and the Promised Land. Drift is the natural direction of our thoughts, attitudes, choices, and actions. Focus is required to deal with the drift. But, focus involves more than just paying attention. Focusing also entails leaning on God and displaying enduring dependence. We tend to define God’s faithfulness by how He gets us out. But, we see His faithfulness when we depend on Him to get us through. Instead of looking for Him to prove His faithfulness, we need to learn to rely upon it.
Widerness: Part One
Resistance Builds Strength • May 6, 2018 • Mike Ashcraft
Everybody encounters temptation. Yes, everyone. No one is immune, including Jesus. If He was tested, then so can we. At the core of every temptation, we come face-to-face with a question that exposes our heart: Can God be trusted? The heart of temptation is trust. Every temptation forces us to question our identity as well as His goodness by putting us in the center. It works to disintegrate the wholeness we desperately want to experience. The wilderness feels God-forsaken, but the wilderness is God ordained. It’s in these moments where we face resistance and resistance builds strength.