Having Confidence in the Valley


Just the sound of those words is an encouragement to me. Let us turn to a simple verse that is found in first Samuel chapter 30. In verse 6 we read. “And David was greatly distressed; for the people was talking about stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: BUT David ENCOURAGED HIMSELF in the Lord.” If there is one thing we all need now – it is encouragement. Of course the devil realizes that if he can keep us upset, frustrated, disappointed and dissatisfied, that this will cause a vexation and bondage to our spirit and inspire us to throw a pity-party in our conscience. This dark negative energy is exactly what punctures our “joy tank” which many people have not even recognized has happened that can quickly leave us spiritually dry and empty. This is a very serious condition that will continue to decline as it attempts to literally destroy our life. If this “hardness” of the heart is not corrected it can bring terrible consequences with affecting (and infecting) everything and everyone we hold dear. The pain of sadness leads to misery and can attach itself to us like an oppressive spirit and once it begins to control our thoughts it is very deceiving. Our perception of the glass being “half-empty” can become a normal way of living and this can actually change us into someone that no one wants to be around, but when we recognize what is happening within the depths of our soul, we can fall on our face and ask God to restore our fellowship with Him and He will cleanse us and flood our being with His peace that passes all understanding.

I have used this story about David in the past to illustrate about how important it is to know how to be encouraged when things are not going well and there is no one around to minister life into our soul. The “possible you” needs to learn that the Word you are absorbing today can be used to bring salvation to you tomorrow! I used the word “salvation” because when we are facing the mountains that seem impossible to conquer, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit can help us see not just the problem that is before us but the big picture of being “saved” in ANY area including from our-self. The Word of God, when it becomes a personal revelation within our mind and spirit becomes written on the tables of our heart and is a life-long companion to help us obtain (and maintain) victory in every situation. This is why it is so crucial for us to take the time to study when things are going well so that we can build our “fortress” of strength and wisdom to draw from when the trials come and we need extra faith. I have noticed in my life that when the storms come and I find myself down in the valley of despair, I can literally feel the Word of God supporting me as His truth helps to carry me through to the other side. Instead of lying in a fetal position, crying out that our life cannot be fixed or that there is no hope of carrying on, it is the power of God’s Word and the faithfulness of His presence that will flood our heart with hope, because the time we have invested in knowing Him and learning His thoughts are not in vain – in fact, they can not only save our life, but maybe help save someone else. Praise God!

The reason why David was so upset is because he had just returned to Ziklag to find that the city had been burned and many of the people had been taken captive by the Amalekites. These were the enemies of the people of Judah and had caused David much personal pain by stealing two of his wives. Have you ever felt that someone has stolen from you, hurt you very badly or maybe you feel that you were dealt a bad hand, and this fell upon you like a dark blanket of depression? I believe that all of us in our lifetime have experienced deep pain and sorrow from losing something or someone and it’s tempting to just cover up our heads and give up. However, we notice an amazing demonstration from someone who KNEW God strong enough to realize that he needed to see with his spiritual eye and rely on his faith and trust in God MORE than what he was seeing with his natural eye. If David were here he would agree with this; we have two choices; we are going to go through the valley one way or another. We can crawl on our hands and knees, spewing out negative curses and confessions while working ourselves up into a lather of anxiety and sadness – or we can realize that the little foxes are trying to spoil the vines and this is a perfect opportunity to show everyone that we still trust God with ALL of our heart! Yes, you guessed it – walking THROUGH the valley is all about staying filled with JOY!

Allow me to ask you some simple questions; do you smile like you used to? Do you love like you used to? Are you as happy as you have ever been? Do you feel the power of the Spirit like you used to? When is the last time you cried while being flooded with His presence? Do you really love and care about people like you used to? Do you enjoy life or does everything seem to disappoint you? Are you pleased with how you have lived or do you feel down inside that you have failed? There are times when we feel down and it seems that nothing is going right even when we are really trying to do the best we can. Frustration, aggravation, loneliness, regret, resentment, bitterness, heartache, unforgiveness, extreme worry and fear are all joy stealers. There needs to be a time and place where we stop and get alone with God to have a heart to heart talk while we evaluate our attitude in order to get right and get on the same page with the one who has all the answers. The longer we try to carry these burdens the more weak and sad we become and I believe this is why David was quick to repent. If you remember, when he was a young shepherd boy, he would sing and play unto the Lord while he was in the fields and sitting under the trees in the evening. The Bible says he was a man after God’s own heart and this was the result of choosing to block out the world and concentrate on the Lord of glory. He learned “how” to know God, how to worship and praise Him in spirit and in truth and this relationship became strong and beautiful. He “invested” the time with Jehovah and this spiritual intimacy helped build and develop who he was so that when he became older he could DRAW out encouragement, boldness, confidence, faith, strength and determination to rise up from the ashes and listen closely to what God was saying. You see it does not matter if we have lost EVERYTHING – God owns the entire world and can restore back to us 10 times what we had! It does not matter what the doctors say because they are only practicing what they think. GOD KNOWS you from the inside-out and He certainly does NOT need a bunch of greedy insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations conspiring with a medical team’s opinionated diagnosis. Jesus has paid for our healing in the package known as “total salvation” and it is His will to heal us the same as it is to save us! Selah. The only reason He would not want to heal someone would be a private sovereign situation between them and God that we would not know anything about. When Jesus walked the earth the only reason someone did not receive healing is because of their lack of faith. (If you read something different I would be interested in seeing it). The same is true with the doctrine that teaches how that ONLY the 12 disciples ministered under the authority of God’s power. There were certainly more than 12 followers with Christ throughout His ministry and at the time of His death and His miracle power not only did NOT pass away with the first century church, His resurrection actually opened up the windows of heaven to whosoever would believe in His covenant! Selah. It is not how much we know but rather it is understanding what we know and this transfers in our personal relationship with Jesus as to “who we know.” Selah. All of the time you have spent learning about God and telling Him how much you love Him, will have the chance to someday come back to you and support you in the time of crisis. Those that have not built their house on the “rock” will not have enough time to learn how to re-build when the storm is on the horizon. Unfortunately, many have found themselves in a hospital room facing a life-threatening emergency but have not filled their storehouse with faith to be used for their healing. Their confidence for healing is very small and their fear can easily overwhelm their faith. When doubt and anxiety floods the mind and heart, we are helpless in the realm of spiritual authority and are vulnerable to the enemy. It is true that God can reach out and give a miracle through the faith filled prayers of mature intercessors but this is left up to God’s perfect will. Most of the time it is the faith of the person going through the crisis that will make the difference between being delivered or being devoured. There is no condemnation to those who have not invested the time to be spiritually strong but this is just a reason why miracles are hindered and another example of why true Christianity is not just sitting around waiting on Jesus to come back.

I do not personally believe the Christian life was ever intended to be easy. There are some that teach an extreme version of spiritual authority that is taken out of context with God’s perfect plan and are convinced that we can ask for things outside of God’s timing and specific will. I believe in the Christians responsibility to speak God’s Word and the authority over Satan for God’s glory but there is a huge difference between following the voice of God and our own carnal desires. For example, if the Christian could ask God for whatever they want, it would be like winning the lottery every week and consequently would cause the Kingdom of God to collapse like the fallen Roman Empire. Christians may seem spiritual from a distance, but actually (most of us) are filled with weaknesses and problems that bleed over into our thoughts and deeds. The scriptures that speak of the believer’s authority are based on hearing God’s instructions and our strict obedience in how we approach all situations. What could be more damaging than a novice Christian waving a loaded gun of “name it and claim it” passages from the Bible without teaching responsibility and accountability? Everything in God’s plan for each individual consists of a perfect solution at the perfect time and this intricate plan requires us to learn His wisdom from our mistakes. When anyone barges in on God’s ministry, they can interrupt what God is trying to teach and actually obstruct what the Lord is already working on. Words of prophecy are a wonderful expression of God’s definite direction and confirmation but even in the boldness of faith they should always be delivered in the spirit of reverence.

When we share about the hardships and trials in this life, there are few that really understand what that means especially when we are referring to our spiritual life. This is because not many have never dared to venture out into the deeper waters of faith. We speak of the “will” so much because it is the center of our desires and if our rebellious spirit is allowed to do what we want as a lifestyle – we have not advanced past the “nursery” of knowing how to be a disciple for Jesus. We like the word Christian because it seems to include a wide scale of commitment and since many teachers explain that it does not matter what you do or how you live – “it’s all good!” The problem with this lenient theology is that we may pass all of the requirements in man’s final exam but the Lord knows every tiny detail within our being and usually is not impressed with our intelligent concepts. For those who in the past (or even now) that have ventured into the deep end of the pool so to speak, you know exactly what I mean when I speak of increased warfare activity from the enemy. We should agree that for those Christians who lay on the couch and are not involved with the Lord’s work, the enemy would not really need to waste his “arrows” because they are already doing him a great service by NOT exercising their spiritual authority over his dark kingdom. However, the individuals that trigger the “alarm system” of hell are the ones that finally realize what being a true Christian is all about! These are the remnant saints that not only read about God and His demands – they get off the couch and do them! What causes this enthusiastic determination? Their knowledge has been converted into a revelation! And, until this happens there will NOT be a change in anyone’s life and a “possible you” will most likely remain the improbable you! Selah. If anyone has ever wondered why the religious spectators hide behind the four walls of the church to avoid thinking about the idea of being a disciple, it is because they are AFRAID of the devil. OK, now we might as well be honest and lay ALL the cards on the table. They are not only afraid of losing their reputation as someone who has worldly integrity and respect – they are also afraid that God may not come through with His miracle power if they were to ever attempt to demonstrate complete faith. Say amen or mercy me! Within the knowledge about God, most Christians have not “experienced” being on the front lines of the battle and to be painfully transparent – they have no desire or intention to be. Why? We just spoke about it. They do NOT want to invest the time and sacrifice that it will take to become filled with God and strong in the faith on this level. Besides, who in their “right mind” would choose to walk around with a bulls-eye on their back? (Only the serious ones).

If you are feeling down today, remember that God has not forgotten you; He knows your exact location in the valley. I can also promise that He is trying to reach out to you MORE than you are trying to reach out to Him. Do you actually think that you can love Him MORE than he loves you? What could be more encouraging than to walk confidently with Him through the valley?

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