Trouble often slaps us in the face.  It is not every day that we walk an easy path.  Some days, we must climb through windows or breakthrough ceilings.  Then there is the avalanche of death itself, that conspires against us.  On those days, our only hope is to hang on.  We may not be able to fight or dig our way out by ourselves.  God, however, has put an amazing power in us; he taught us to survive.  Today, multitudes of Christians face horrendous storms, and by God’s grace, they make it through. They are survivors.

Recently we donned tuxedos and ballroom gowns to attend a prestigious event. Local dignitaries gathered to celebrate the lives of those who had conquered death. More than 500 cheered as 70 individuals walked, in turn, down a fashion runway. They were dressed in gorgeous clothes, but each had fought an ugly killer. Some were elderly;

others were just wee children. They all had something in common; they had won a battle against cancer. A brief write up of each victory was read over the loud speaker as family and friends stood to their feet in praise of survival. Their loved ones were still alive. They were survivors and most gave credit to God.

Clarice and Ronnie Holden organized the event and raised $130,000.00 to fight cancer. At the end of the program, our daughter Elizabeth and her husband Jesse sang a song, while those in the darkened ballroom held lit candles. All around the room, people were weeping because at one point they thought they could lose the one they loved. Each took a bold stand as if to say, “Survivors, we are so glad that you are still with us.”    

If a loved one dies, the one left behind is a survivor as well. Wounds do not come from disease alone. Tragedies strike, leaving people in pain. Many wounds come from our own sin or from relational hurts. Sometimes, people are wounded by spouses, relatives, or acquaintances. Even brothers and sisters in the church may betray an individual and leave them bleeding. Many

Christians have been beaten and left to dangle in despair and defeat. After what seems to be, a long and arduous battle, they realize they are still alive. They have joined the multitude; they are survivors.

Regardless of the reason, everyone faces pain. It is unexpected and unfair. God, however, has put fight in the human spirit. There are so many who still hang on. So many, that the national cup is spilling over. There are multitudes of survivors among us.

Some, unfortunately, have not found the survivor’s treasure. So they become numb or worse, they are bitter. Many are just existing: continuing their responsibilities, but empty of vision, enthusiasm and destiny. Ultimately, many blame God for not protecting them or their loved one. Unless they find the treasure, all of their suffering is wasted. The survivor’s hidden treasure is faith. Even many unbelievers find a change of heart when they survive a life-threatening trauma. They begin to believe in God. He is the only one who could possibly bring them through, especially when all the odds have been stacked against them.

Survival is only the first step on the staircase of a tested life. The next step is called “over-comer” and the one following is “more than conqueror.”

No one can find those next steps without first finding the survivor’s hidden treasure.

You are a survivor, because God brought you through. Amazing – you are still here. Can you find the hidden faith? As frail as it is – it is your treasure. Do not let it fizzle-out in self-pity, anger or retreat. Losing faith is horrible, but a new seed has been planted because of your survival. It is time to grow again.    Forgive; leave the wound with God and let your faith come alive once more.

The curve in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn. It is time for survivors to mount the horse of destiny again. Regardless of circumstances, regardless of feelings, the Lord never left you and he is waiting to increase your faith and bless you – just as he did for Job.

Here are 7 ways that the Holy Spirit will increase your faith.

1. Faith comes by hearing

Rom. 10:17, Mk. 4:24   Ask, the Lord to let you hear again. Cultivate the disciple’s ear by seeking the voice of God. When you seek him – you find him.

2. Faith comes by God’s word.

Rom. 10:17  The word of God is found in the Bible. It also is the voice of God that speaks in your heart. When you receive his word your faith will increase.

3. Faith comes through impartation.

2Tim. 1:5  God will increase your faith through other anointed men and women. Even if you have been hurt in church, go and receive a from those you recognize as having power and authority with God. Impartation is most often received when they lay hands on you and pray over you.

4. Faith comes through the testimony of others.

Jn. 4:39   When we hear of the miracles, signs and wonders that others have experienced, our faith increases. That is why we should not forsake the gathering of God’s people. We need to hear what good things are happening in the lives of others. Books that tell the stories of great Christians are also a good source of testimony.

5. Faith comes when we receive a fresh revelation of Christ.  Heb. 11:27   This often happens during a time of intense worship or prayer – for the Spirit of prophecy is released at those times. Whenever we have a deeper revelation of Christ our faith will always increase.

6. Faith comes through the experiences of life.

Heb.11:11  If you keep your eyes on the Lord you will discover that he never forsakes you. He promises that all things will work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. If you continue to walk with the Lord through good and evil times, you will look back and discover that your faith has continued growing – for the Lord has been faithful.

7. Faith comes through acts of obedience.

 Js. 2:14-26   Faith without works is dead, but when you act on what God has said, you experience new blessings. Taking risky steps of faith causes your faith to grow. For every mountain you climb, you gain faith to climb a higher mountain. David, the shepherd boy, killed a lion and a bear and God increased his faith so that he could defeat the giant Goliath.

Survivors everywhere are being called back to the fight.  Come and take your place. The harvest is great and we need you. We want you by our side. As a survivor, find your hidden treasure. Lay claim to your faith.

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