Last Saturday, in "Pharaoh's Dream, Part 1", we saw that one way to ensure our faith is strong enough to get through the times of trouble in our lives is to "store up" faith during times of spiritual "plenty" so that there will be enough for the times of spiritual "famine". In the case of the seven years of plenty to be followed by seven years of famine in Pharaoh's story, it was easy enough to build storehouses to stash away the grain; but just how does one go about "storing up" faith?

The Bible actually gives us some excellent suggestions:

1. "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:18 NLT). In other words, we need to give God credit and thanks for EVERY good thing, always recognizing that He is the One who gives us blessing. Giving thanks to Him in everything and seeing each thing as a blessing from God will help to safeguard us from growing apathetic.

2. "Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's! The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly." (Ps. 103:1-6 NLT) What David is saying here, friends is basically this: Count your blessings! It's amazing how much better we feel when we start focusing on our blessings instead of our losses.

3. "Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness..." (Deut. 8:2 NLT). We need to not only give thanks to God, but we also need to remember what He has done for us in the past. It is by reflecting on God's power, blessings and miracles of the past that our faith in the future grows.

4. "Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deut. 6:9 NLT). Though this text is written specific to remembering God's laws, it provides us with an excellent way of also remembering how God has come through for us in the past. Writing things down is a well-established strategy for augmenting functional memory, and though we might not want to literally write God's blessings on our gates and doorposts, writing them down somewhere is a good substitute. This might be in the form of a journal or a blessings jar, or even leaving little post-it notes around the house with God's blessings written on them. Then, in the midst of tough times, we can go to that journal, that blessings jar or those notes around the house as a means of building our faith for the upcoming tough times.

5. "Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders." (Deut. 6:8 NLT). Again, these instructions were written specifically for encouraging the people to remember God's laws; however, the concept also provides us with an excellent means of triggering our memories. I have a bracelet that I wear when I'm going through some of those "famine" times. I usually wear it on my right wrist; but if I catch myself starting to worry or question whether God is there, I slip it over to my left wrist where it interferes with my wrist watch, thus catching my attention and serving to remind me of God's goodness in the past.

6. "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." (Ps. 119:11 NLT). Throughout the Bible we are admonished to "store up" scripture in our hearts. When we memorize scripture, we are, in essence, putting it inside us, and in the moments when we need it the most, the Holy Spirit can bring those passages to our minds where they "feed" us in the midst of our "famine" times. I remember the time when I was facing surgery for breast cancer. I was alone in a cold room, waiting for some medical test that had to be done prior to the surgery, and I was really feeling at a "low" in my life. It was definitely a "famine" time. Someone had told me that if I was feeling this way, I should meditate upon Ps. 23. As a child, I had "stored up" Ps. 23 in my heart, and in that moment, the Holy Spirit brought those powerful words to my mind. As I meditated on them, peace and comfort filled me, and I was no longer afraid.

In summary, then, if we make the effort to "store up" God's blessings when things are going well (by giving Him thanks, counting our blessings, remembering what the Lord has done for us in the past, writing down God's blessings, and memorizing scripture), then when we go into the times of "famine", we will have the spiritual nourishment required to get us through.

But what happens if those times of "famine" drag on, seemingly forever? Will we be able to truly "store up" enough to get us through? Join us next Thursday for Pharaoh's Dream, Part 3: Wasting Away Because of the Famine.

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "Pharaoh's Dream" mini-series, please click here.)