Remembering God's Work In Us and Through Us

Remembering God's Faithfulness Through Life's Difficult Seasons

Dan Franklin
Dec 31, 2023    49m
Have you ever felt abandoned by God in difficult times? In this sermon, hear testimonies of God's faithfulness in the lives of real people facing health crises, grief, financial struggles, and more. Be encouraged that He remains faithful through every season. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:18] Ah well, good morning, everybody. So I'm down here. If you were here at the beginning of the service and heard Phil share a little bit, what we'll do today is going to be a little bit different. If you've been around for a number of years, a lot of times we've used this Sunday that falls right between Christmas and New Years. to have an abbreviated sermon, which I'm going to share some scriptures in a minute, but in a very abbreviated way, because we're going to use most of the time that's normally dedicated to the message, to have some of you come up and share ways that you have seen God at work in your lives and through your life this last year.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:59] It's something that that I know, as I say, that or if you heard Phil say it earlier, there's probably some of you that as soon as you heard that there's going to be a chance to come up and share. You're like, when do I start? Like, get out of my way, I'm ready to go. And there's some of you that thought, fat chance you are ever getting me up there. And so here's my encouragement to you, there's a lot of evidence in the New Testament that it was very normal for people when they were attending church services in the first century, that they would show up expecting there might be something that I'm expected to bring. There might be a song or a scripture or some word from the Lord that that I'm expected to bring. And in our day and age, we talk a lot about takeaways, like, what was my takeaway from the time with the church today? And I want everybody here to have takeaways, but what if today it's more about a giveaway that God's calling you to? So I'm going to have some time, and I'm going to share some scriptures before we have the open sharing time. But I just want to plant the seed in your mind. Some of you right now you're like, I know I'm going up there. Some of you don't think you are, but you are. and God is going to convince you of it over the course of time as it unfolds, and I just want to encourage you what you have to share, what God has put on your heart to share, is probably going to be exactly what somebody in here needs to hear. So here's what you can be thinking about, that maybe you'll come up and share if during 2023, you saw God answer a prayer request that was especially meaningful to you. Either something that was sort of a sudden prayer request, something happened, you prayed, and you saw God move. Or maybe a long-term prayer request that you began to see God move in some really powerful ways. Maybe you'll share that. Maybe some of you will get up and you'll share about ways that God showed his provision this last year financially, medically, relationally. You just saw God step in and meet a need and provide for you. And then maybe some of you will get up here and you'll be sharing about some way that God brought growth this last year into an area that you just felt like was never going to get better, that this area of sin was never going to get victory, this relationship was never going to improve. Or maybe even for some of you, your prayer life has really changed this last year as we've zeroed in on that and you want to share about how God has moved in that.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:28] So just keep that in mind as I share what I'm going to share over the next few minutes, because I'm just going to share some words about remembering. So last day of 2023, we're going to be talking about remembering. And as Americans, we're not very good at this. We sort of, something happens, and we immediately move on to what's next. In fact, do you guys realize one week ago was our Christmas Eve service? I don't know, maybe some of you, it feels like a week ago, it feels like three months ago to me. I'm like, I can't believe that was a week ago, that happened, and we moved on. We're not good at pausing and remembering how God has been at work.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:08] And so I want to share just a few verses from Second Peter, which is a short book of the Bible. You could probably read it in 15 minutes later today if you wanted to. And then if you said in 2023, I want to read a whole book of the Bible in one day, you'll have accomplished that if you do that. But there are some verses about remembering, this whole book is a lot about remembering, and you can see I've got them underlined up here as I'll read them to you. But Peter writing, he says this, "So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have." He says I see it as my job to remind you of these things. And if you were to go back and read the first 11 verses of Second Peter chapter 1, you'd see that there are two items that fit into that category of these things. The first is just the things related to what God has done for us in Jesus, the Gospel, that God sent his Son, which we celebrated at Christmas time, that that son lived a perfect life and then died a sacrificial death, and then was raised from the dead. That we'd stay, we make sure we remember that the center of our story is what God has done for us in Jesus. And then the second item that he's reminding them of is what their calling is before God, to pursue growth, to live with Jesus at the center of their lives. And Peter says, I think that it's good for me to remind you. You know these things, and for many of you in here, it's not the first time you've heard the gospel or heard the idea that you're meant to grow in the grace of Jesus as you walk with him, but we need to be reminded.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:53] And then in verses 13 and 14, he says, "I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me." And verse 14, the last part that Peter says there is actually him remembering because in John 21, there's an interaction that Jesus has with Peter after Jesus has been raised from the dead and he predicts Peter's death. He says to Peter, at some point in the future, you're going to stretch out your hands and somebody's going to take you where you don't want to go. He was predicting that Peter would die by crucifixion, which he later on did die by crucifixion. So Peter is saying, I know I'm on borrowed time. I know eventually, I have eternal life in Jesus, but I know eventually my earthly life will be over. And I don't know that any of us in here have felt like God has spoken to us about the time or manner of our death, but I just want to make sure you all know you're on borrowed time also. Every breath we take is because God still has us here, but eventually, we will all die if Jesus doesn't come back before we die. And Peter says, as long as I'm here, I want to refresh your memory. And I love the active way he talks about that, that there's something to be done about your memory.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:20] When I was a kid, sometimes my parents would tell me to do something, and I wouldn't do it. And when they asked why I didn't do it, I would say because...All right, you guys got it, it wasn't just me, I would say I forgot. And most of the time, it was genuine. I wasn't lying, I really had forgotten. And to me, that seemed like the best possible excuse you could give. I was like, I didn't try not to do this, I just forgot. And so I was mystified that I would still be in trouble, even though I'd given them the ironclad excuse, I just didn't remember. They somehow thought I was supposed to remember. And it's interesting in the Bible, because the biblical authors talk about the idea of remembering as a choice, as something that we're actively doing, not just, hey, I forgot because it exited my mind, or I remembered because I happened to remember. The idea is that we are choosing to remember, he says, I want you to refresh your memory, which is partly what we're going to do later on today when we have some people share, we're going to refresh our memories about God's goodness. And then finally, the last thing that he says in verse 15 is, "And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things." Peter says, eventually I'm going to be gone, but I don't want my absence to mean that you don't remember all that God has done for you and all that he's called you to. Today is a day where we get to spend some time actively remembering.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:59] So over the past couple of weeks, I've been just kind of for fun, for pleasure reading, I read a series of like, crime novel courtroom drama books and they were great, they were really fun books. And if you've ever read one or if you've ever watched like a courtroom movie or a courtroom TV show, you know, one of the things that goes on is what they call character witnesses. I guess if you know about court in real life, that would apply to you, I'm not really sure. I just know the movies and the books. But there are character witnesses that come up, and the character witnesses are there either to make you doubt the person in question, to doubt their reliability, or to believe their reliability. So say somebody is accused of embezzling from his company, a character witness comes up and says, yeah, he's always been kind of shady about this, and so you're supposed to believe maybe he really did it. Or somebody comes up and says, hey, I know this guy, he's full of integrity, he's always had integrity with me, you're supposed to doubt that he did it. The interesting thing about the character witnesses is they are not bearing testimony about the incident in question. None of them know about whether or not he embezzled, they're all just bearing testimony about the general character of the person, about their track record, saying, because of this track record, you should trust this person.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:25] Now, some of you right now are going through some stuff. And you're going through some stuff that if you put it in isolation, if you just didn't know anything else about God, you would look at your situation and you would say, my conclusion is that God doesn't really care that much about me because I'm going through this trial, I have this hard time, and what I wanted to have happen didn't happen. Whatever it is you're saying, if I just took this issue in isolation, I would probably conclude God doesn't care that much about me. And so what you need this morning is you need some character witnesses. You need some people to come forward and say, I don't know what God is doing in your situation. I don't have the insider knowledge to say, this is exactly what God is up to, why that prayer didn't get answered, and why you're going through that suffering. I don't know that. But here's what I do know, I do know about the character of God, and I can tell you about times in the past when he was faithful, and because of that, I think that you should trust him because he has a track record that is trustworthy.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:30] Those of you who come up here today, you're not just going to be telling the story, you're going to be serving as character witnesses. Because if you're not going through something right now that's making you doubt God's goodness at some point in 2024, you will. Something will happen and you'll say, can I really trust God? And at that point, you need to remember not only what he's done in your life but remember the character witnesses who have got up and said, here's what I've seen God do, you can trust him. So here, this is going to be kind of simple. The ground rule, I don't know if there are really ground rules for this, but we're going to talk about remembering God's work in us and through us in 2023. And so here's just a couple of things, in a minute, I'll use this microphone, and I'll invite you if you have something to share, to go ahead and come up. I'll just kind of host you up here and hand you the microphone. You can line up if you want to, you don't need to line up if you don't want to, you just can just sort of wait for an opening. Try to keep it brief enough that we can have a number of people share, so try to think of, like, maybe no more than three minutes and just tell the story of how God has been at work. And as I said, it might be outside these three categories, but think specifically about an answered prayer where God really moved and it encouraged your heart, think of a provision that he gave in some way where he met a need, or think of an area of growth that you've experienced to encourage those that God really will complete the good work that he started in us. So with that said, I'm just going to set this down and whoever feels like they want to be the first one to come up and be a character witness about God's work in 2023, you can go ahead and make your way up here and we'll begin this time of open sharing. You are first, if you want to, why don't you come on up here? Thanks, Sue.

Sue Andrews: [00:13:33] My name is Sue Andrews. Excuse my voice, I've been getting over a cold. But God has worked through me this whole year, I've had a trifecta of diseases. First, at the end of March, I had my fifth heart attack and my second stent put in my heart. Then a couple of months later, I found out I had diabetes, and through diabetes, I lost weight, my medications had to be changed various times, and of course, the stent was successful, or I wouldn't be talking here. And then the third trifecta was that I got cancer on my head for the second time and lost my hair, and I have to wear a wig now. And I've fallen several times, and I've been to a physical therapist, and he knows all my charts and everything that's gone wrong with me. And he said to me, man, for all practical purposes, you should be dead by now. And I said to him, that's not God's plan. And that's how I've gotten through this whole year, I know God has a plan for me, and it's to survive all these different things. So for those of you who are sick, who have heart disease, like I have, get cancer, like I've had, struggle with diabetes, I've had that medication adjusted so many times they've put me on insulin. But it's through God's love, God's patience, God's will, my husband and I pray every night that we thank God also for LBF because we just started here three years ago, and we have more faith and a better relationship with God than we've ever had before. And I think that's really gotten me through this year. Thank you.

Kimberly Unland: [00:15:53] Good morning, my name is Kimberly Unland, and this has been a year of growth for me. I've been praying a lot, and God brought me to an amazing group of mighty women who are prayer warriors through my Celebrate Recoveries Step Studies program, and I've seen how he's using all of us for his glory, and growing us through our hurts, habits, and hang-ups. And I've seen how he's just been answering prayers. So during the summer, my middle daughter had a miscarriage, which was very, very hard and sad for us. My oldest daughter had been trying for three years to get pregnant, she and her husband just got a fertility doctor, and around summertime, the perfect timing actually, at my Celebrate Recovery group, I filled out the prayer card. God, please have both daughters get pregnant with healthy babies. And I'm up here to tell you that both daughters are pregnant, God has a sense of humor because one lives in Washington State, and one lives in Florida, and they're due within a couple of weeks of each other. But God is just so faithful, and this has been a year of growth and also just blessing. And I'm relatively new to LBG too, and it's a beautiful family, so thank you.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:17] Thank you so much.

Steve: [00:17:30] Good morning, I'm Steve, we've been here maybe 10 or 11 years, and I'm very thankful to have the family of this church. This last year, my wife and I had two very scary, health emergencies in our family. Starting with our son, one of our nine-year-olds, was fainting one morning, we took him to the E.R., and he flatlined on us. And four weeks later we had a scare with my wife, where they found what they were calling a large mass in her abdomen. Both times we called out to the Lord because we knew from the past when we were afraid and worried about the loss of life he was faithful to multiply life. So we did it again, and you know, these were 1 A and 1 B on the list of scariest things in my life, and we just called out to him with everything that we had. And again he answered, and again, both times there was healing. And he took what was unimaginably scary and overwhelmingly scary, and he made it navigatable. When you're in a storm that you think is going to overtake you, we can't demand to be totally taken out of the water, but when we're offered easy, navigable waters, that's a great blessing, and I'll take that every time. And I think, especially to the men that are heads of households in the room, I don't know what your storm will be, I don't know exactly what your answer will be. but I know that there's one thing that's immovable, that can heal, that's loving, that's unchanging. And if you are going to not hold on to that one thing, I'd encourage you all to hold fast, and I know that he'll be true and faithful and respond to your faith in a way that blesses you and gives you the same healing and confidence in the future.

Leslie Nixon: [00:20:09] I can't do the stairs.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:11] Oh, you can stay here. We're making an exception for you.

Leslie Nixon: [00:20:15] Good morning, my name is Leslie Nixon, I am a co-chair of a life group with Elaine Edwards. And this year, Elaine, went in for just an ordinary little procedure, and it ended up causing her a life-threatening event. It was a time of great, just sorrow in our hearts because she's a healthy woman and she's on life support and the doctors aren't expecting her to live, they gave her a 1% chance of living because this device made a hole in her heart, and they could not fix it. And so she did come off life support, she was healed completely, and the doctors and the nurses have all just given glory to God. They said it's a miracle, and I'm just so thankful that I was able to witness this because it's such a faith builder when you're right there in the throes of it, praying daily for healing. But also that we know that God has a plan in this, we just don't know what it is. And so as you pray for things, be sure that you always pray in God's will because he is sovereign, he knows what's going to happen, and we just have to turn it over to him. However, we're so grateful that now Elaine is whole and feeling good. And I heard that she actually took her car out and took her husband, Sam, and they went out to lunch. So that was their first outing. Thank you.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:07] I want to thank you.

Belinda Hanson: [00:22:09] My name is Belinda Hanson. I had a scary health issue myself; I had two pneumonias. I had the first one three years ago, and I second one last January 23rd and I lost my oxygen too. Well, actually, I learned a lot from my family too because, actually, I have a hard time walking. I use a cane, I use a walker and a wheelchair, and actually, I can walk, but I have a hard time [inaudible] myself. It is scary as hell to have. So actually, I spent weeks in the hospital, I spent weeks at home, I can't go anywhere, and I fell twice, one in public and one at home like. My family came to see me at the hospital, including my sisters, and I'm glad I'm here and I feel a lot better. I can't breathe too, I'm having breathing problems, so this actually is the scariest thing I've had. I am so happy I am back here; I am happy that I am having this fun. And actually [inaudible] that my health issue myself and I want to thank you so much and Happy New Year.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:06] Leah

Lea Lee: [00:24:09] Hi, I'm Lea Lee. I came to the first service, and I chickened out, I don't like being on the microphone. So this last year, I lost both of my parents, both of my dogs, and my husband. But my thing is on provision and prayer, provision for this church family. I mean, I work at a church, you know, I see God's people in action all the time. But when they come around you and they're there for you, it's completely different. And the prayer, I don't know how else to explain it, but I feel prayer. There's no other reason why I'm standing or moving forward or doing anything without that. And, you know, we're saying a firm foundation, and that's been one of my songs these last several months. And, I mean, I have joy and chaos and peace that I don't understand, and that's just it, I don't understand. But I know it's because all of you, a lot of you are praying for me daily, and I appreciate that so much. You have no idea. So thank you all.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:25] Ken, are we going to get the other side of the story now?

Unknown: [00:25:28] Well, there was a part of the story that you didn't tell, which is she's part of the lambs, and every time they met at the end, she would pray that her husband at some point would accept Jesus Christ and start coming to church, and that person was me. I had a very bad experience when I was young, as a child, with the faith that my parents were taking me to. And it really hardened my heart, and I was a pretty strong nonbeliever, I'll call it, until I was 72 years old. I'm 76 right now, and what happened was that I said my wife's prayer came true. I was reading a book called What Are the Odds by Mike Lindell, and it talks about his experiences, as a nonbeliever, and his disastrous life, and then a woman comes into his life that brings God to him and completely turns his life around. And at the end of that book, I was just sitting there crying, and my wife says, what's wrong? And I said, there's nothing wrong, it's what's right. I said I've opened my heart to God, and he just filled me with the Holy Spirit, and it was a feeling that was so incredible. It's something I'll never, ever forget for the rest of my life. And I'm just so thankful that I've accepted God and it's changed my life so much for the better. Not in the sense of physically, but in the sense of mentally and spiritually and things like that. I want to thank this church because it was really refreshing to see a church like this, as opposed to what I was used to in the olden days. But thank you, Dan, and thank you, everybody.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:24] Thank you.

Robert: [00:27:28] Hey, everyone. I can see why Dan likes this view, it's just so fun to see everybody's faces, the smiles, and everything. My name is Robert, I started attending LBF in January of this year, so I feel like 2023 was a big year for me. And I want to just thank you, all of you, especially those of you who are serving right now. Because, back in 2020, in March, we found my dad had cancer, and a couple of months later, in May of 2020, my wife got pregnant. And so for a lot of reasons, health included, it was really hard to, you know, navigate church. And so really, the first time that I had gone to church and got to worship with my wife since 2020, the beginning of 2020, was when we came in January here to LBF. And I just want to thank all the people from LIFEkids, who serve in LIFEkids, the women who serve with Mom to Mom because it's really blessed us and helped us like reintegrate in a way that has helped us through a lot of hard things. I mean, we lost my dad to cancer, and we lost, you know, just a lot of hope, sometimes it can really steal your joy in seasons like that. And it was like being initiated into a club that you couldn't really describe it to someone who hadn't lost someone close to them, but being a young person, you were used to living like you are immortal. So it was hard to face up to that, it was hard to be there at my dad's last night and to go through all that. But, you know, I want to thank Mike Cloud too, I joined his Bible study, and I think he helped me walk through that season of life. And, you know, for those of you who are going through it, I know that I've met some of you who are dealing with cancer in the church in the year I've been here, and I just want to say, I love all of you. Thank you so much for being the church with my family and I, all of you who kind of make it possible for us to enjoy this. And yeah, happy 2023 guys, looking forward to 2024.

Unknown: [00:29:54] Hi, guys, I'm a crier, so I've been just tearing up at everyone's stories. That was my husband, so you guys heard a little bit of our story? Last year, I think it was, I can't remember, but I started coming to Mom to Mom, like, two years ago, and that has just really blessed me. In this past year, too, we were really longing for community, and we really found it here, so I just wanted to say thank you. And to any of you guys who are in the audience who needs community, who's a young mom, maybe, or not so young mom, that's okay too, check out Mom to Mom, and you'll be blessed with community, and it's just so wonderful. And another blessing that I've just felt this year, too, is that we've felt safe checking our kids into childcare, so thank you guys for everyone who volunteers and anyone who's thinking about volunteering. I really have been able to actually sit in service and soak in and just kind of be like reignited with some new passion for the Word and everything. So thank you guys for being a wonderful community.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:00] All right, it's you, Emily.

Emily: [00:31:03] Hi. My name is Emily. this past year has been a really big year of growth for me. It's been a hard couple of years, but I'm an anxious person, I deal with a lot of anxiety, and the Lord really works on me daily with that, and he still does. But especially coming towards the end of this last year, I've really felt God telling me to just rest in his love, to just feel secure in his love. And there's a couple of verses that I really, I like to visualize things, and there's a couple of verses that have really helped me. One that I just found a few days ago, but it's been great. So the first one is from Deuteronomy 33:12, “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” And I love that because I can just almost visualize myself being held like you hold a baby, like I've held my babies, you know, in between my shoulders and feeling loved by the Lord in that way. And then for anybody who deals with anxiety, these help me. Psalm 81:6, "I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket." And I love that as well, because I could just imagine all my worries and my cares and my anxieties in a basket, and I can just hand them to the Lord. And I just really am excited to go into this next year and feel the comfort of the Lord. I'm like a self-help person, I love always improving myself and sometimes the Lord just says, just rest in my love, be secure, you don't have to always be doing, always be working on yourself, always be changing, like you can trust those changes with me, and just rest in my love.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:04] Thanks.

Harley: [00:33:16] Hi, my name is Harley, and I'm one of the original chicken coopers here, and, and I've been away...

Dan Franklin: [00:33:26] So sorry, just a real quick pause. Some of you know what that means, but if you don't know the history of our church, way back before we had this property, this church family met at a chicken coop. So this is one of the originals, so that's a big deal.

Harley: [00:33:43] But anyway, I've seen a lot of things going on. I can hear myself better now.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:52] Yeah, we want them to hear you, though.

Harley: [00:33:54] Well, I don't know, I mean, I thought if it was in my ear, I could hear it. Anyway, I'll try my best here. But anyway, I've seen a lot of deaths this year. I mean, I've seen seven people in my family die. Not direct family, but, you know, relatives and stuff. And yet, God still has enough love to keep our family together. And usually, when you see a death, it usually ends up with people getting off fighting and fighting over everything. But the main reason I'm here is because I've seen our Christian values go down the toilet this year, and I'm sick and tired of seeing how we're being treated as Christians. We need to start standing up and doing what's best in God's eyes and start telling people you're wrong. We can't just dip in, how are you doing? You know, we’ve got to stand up and stand firm for what we believe. And if we don't, this world is going to go to hell in a handbasket in a hurry. I mean, I'm sorry I have to say this, but I've been watching a lot of Christians and all they do is I believe in God; I believe, I believe. But I really don't see them standing up in the marketplace, or standing up in the doors, standing up wherever they go, they don't. They just sit there and see something going on and they just let it happen. And that shouldn't be happening, we should stand up for what we believe, and we should stand up for God. God is my hero, and without a hero, you ain't got nothing. And I really appreciate you guys giving me this opportunity because this has been burdening me for all year this year. I've been praying that God would give me somebody to go out with two by two. I live in [inaudible] by the way. And, if you go out two by two and just stand in the park and preach. I'm not trying to brag here, but I give away Bibles. I buy Bibles and I give them away. And over the past year, I've given away over 150 Bibles. And that's not through my strength, it's through God's strength. God gave me this mission; he told me to go out and do it. I try my best to do it, but it's still grieved me that enough of us ain't doing it. We all got to stand up and start doing it. Thank you.

Jolene: [00:36:55] Hi, my name is Jolene, I'm a relatively new member. I joined LBF at the previous meet LBF, so what's that like six months ago? Something like that. I haven't been to church in 51 years. Yeah, I came out of a cult 46 years ago and met my husband there, so there are good things that happen in your life. He was the best part of that, I was 12 and he was 17, but it wasn't a cult thing, we didn't get married till I was 18, so it was all good, but sadly God took him five years ago. But the good things he's done, oh my goodness, this past year my son went into a recovery program, he's graduating at the end of January. And my grandson comes to church with me, he's not here today because he didn't feel well, but he's called now, he comes with me, and he absolutely adores this church. I have two holdouts, so if you guys could pray for my daughter and my granddaughter, it would be greatly appreciated. But I just see him working in my life so much. My son, especially, I would talk to him about God. You know, you have to have some faith. Even though I hadn't gone to church, I knew who my Savior was, I knew who God was, and I always believed I just hadn't found the right church yet. And I thank God for leading me here to this wonderful congregation, this wonderful church because I feel like I'm home now. Thank you.

Unknown: [00:38:49] Good morning. I wasn't going to share, I was one of those people that was just sitting back, and I loved hearing of all the goodness of the year, and I had to come up here and echo what my husband said about the Lord being faithful and true. And as I finished my reading plan this morning in Revelation, that's one of the ways that Jesus is described at the end of Revelation as being faithful and true. And he's been faithful and true to our family, but he can be faithful and true in your life no matter what you're facing. When your child's heart stops beating, he's faithful, he's good, and he's true. So whatever diagnosis you may have received, with whatever the state of your marriage would be, wherever you feel your faith is, I don't know if I can say I feel proud of my faith through everything because I did feel like I faltered, but he didn't falter. And so, as Dan said, there's probably something that's going to happen in 2024 that shakes you, that makes you question his goodness, and that's okay, he can be trusted with a feeble faith because he's big enough. And so I love the Word of God, so I don't think my words will bring you any encouragement the way that his will. And so we're not promised a life of ease so "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior." So if your faith is as little as a mustard seed, be encouraged that he can do big things with that. And whether he answers your prayers in the affirmative or answers it differently, he still answers your prayers, and he can be trusted with a small faith. In Exodus, he tells us that he will fight for us, so when we can't fight, he'll fight for us and he'll bring an army to fight alongside you, which is what my husband, and my family, and I experienced this year. And so "When my flesh and my heart fail, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." He is so good, he can be trusted, he is faithful with whatever you have that's on your horizon, whether you know what it is today or not, and whatever 2024 brings, he is faithful and true and he is good. Thank you.

Mike: [00:42:27] In my 20 years of being a pastor here, I've been with countless people in the last days and even moments of their lives, and I've learned faith from them. I've learned faith because they're in a transition, they're going from here to the Lord. And what's that like? I've never gone on that journey, I've only watched, and then the lights went out. Are you trying to tell us something? Okay, okay, here we go. One person who meant so much to me, and I've learned so much, her name is Theresa. And a long journey of cancer, and she kept saying, she used this journey to teach all of us. All these people who were praying for her, she used this to tell us God's got this. God's got this, I'm in God's hands, he's taking me from here to him, but his hands are on me each step of the way. So that's a transition, isn't it? It's a huge transition. Well, this past year was a transition for me too, going from what was my normal to a change. And I've found that really the only one that likes change is a baby, right? So struggling as I did, Teresa's words kept coming back to me, God's got this. So each step of the way, every time I got grouchy, God's got this. So I just want to say that God has had me in his hands each step of the way, blessing me beyond belief and loving me. So church family on three, God's got this. Ready, one, two, three. God's got this. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:45:20] Thanks, Mike.

Jody: [00:45:27] Hi, I'm Jody. If any of you know me, I don't public speak, so. But we've been to this church for 15 years, and you have become just our family. And I know there are so many of you who have prayed for our family for the past, you know, few years. A couple of years ago, we went to Kenya, and we just, we knew God called us there. There were so many, it's a long story, lots of answers to prayer. Our life group we've been with for the past 14 years, and God just provided us to go there, and what we went there for was not what we ended up doing, and we felt so far from friends and family, our life was completely just upside down. But it was a calm in the storm, and God gave us a peace that truly surpasses all understanding. And he's done that ever since. people will fail us, finances will fail us, this world will fail us, health will fail us, and we can do nothing in our own strength, we need the Lord, we need him so bad. And I just thank the Lord so much for his faithfulness, he's been so faithful. Since we've moved back, we were not able to go into our house for six months, and it was just, you know, trials, and still calm in the storm, God's given us a peace. And then my husband lost his job in September, and there were a couple of weeks of just deep anxiety, but lots of prayers. And I know that some of you have been still faithfully praying for us, and I thank you for that, because God's promises, those prayers, it's like God just speaks. And, you know, I've just continued to have a calm in this storm, I'm just so thankful for the Lord and the friends at this church that are so faithfully praying. And I just pray that God blesses you in the same ways he's blessed me this last year.

Dan Franklin: [00:47:33] Awesome. Thank you, Jody. All right, well, we heard from some character witnesses, didn't we? Thank you so much to those of you who shared, God is good, God is faithful. We do go through storms, we don't know what's ahead, but we know the one who's made his promises to us. And so here's what I want to do in just closing our time. First of all, as we're doing this, if you're part of the prayer ministry team, you can go ahead and come up front just so that you can be available at the end. There might be some of you that have a burden, that have a praise, that have a hope for 2024 that you want prayed for. And so afterward, don't rush out of here because the prayer ministry team will be here to join you in prayer.

Dan Franklin: [00:48:24] But I'm just going to ask you to go ahead and stand. I'm going to read a word of benediction for us as our going out, or as we're going into a new year, but there are some things that don't change, and one of those things that doesn't change is God's love for us. And so I want to read Jude 20 and 21 as our hope and our prayer for this next year, "But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." Let's make 2024 a year where we keep ourselves in that wonderful love of God and walk in step with him. Amen? Amen. God bless you. Thank you so much for being here.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848