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The Tests of Life

Many students take tests in school and life, and many people learn and get educated in the real world, but how many of them realize that there is a God testing them through tests that they have to go through in life? James 1 says, ”
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Sometimes in life we go through physical ailments, and different problems and we’re wondering why?  Why are we going through all these trials?  James, or in the original Hebrew, Yacov, says to count it all joy when you fall into trials.  You ask how can you experience joy when you fall into trials?  It is because the testing of your faith produces patience.  God is building up fruit in your life of patience.  Waiting for your physical healing, waiting for your financial breakthrough, waiting for everything to work out.

There is a reason for suffering.  Part of that is to partake of the sufferings of Christ.  When we have been fully tested, and we can confidently say that we trust in God, then God will be able to remove the disease, or we will have a lasting crown when we get to heaven.  God is a God of justice and a God of vengeance, and He wants our faith and trust in Him, and in Him alone, but in this society we have fallen away from trusting Him alone for everything.  We have man-made solutions for everything.  We know that God cannot work without man sometimes because He does not have hands and has to use people through His Holy Spirit, but sometimes we forget the power, might, majesty of the Holy God, that we don’t realize what He can do for us.

It seems like ever since I’ve been born again, it’s always been one thing or another.  One area of testing or another, and for me it was mostly physical.  When I wasn’t suffering physically, I was backsliding, and sometimes I had grace windows.  God has done so many things for me.  I am just amazed at how many times He has saved my life on the road when driving.  I’ve had so many near hits and collisions.  I just thank God for the miracles He has done in my life.  He is doing a refining work in our lives making us be prepared to meet Him, seeing that our faith never fails us.  Sometimes, familiarity comes in, when we have seen how many times God comes through, that we don’t take reverence of what He can do in our lives.  We begin to take it for granted.

I remember when I was first born again, there were these ferocious  dogs coming toward me, and some faith leaped out from my inner man saying, “IN the name of JESUS I COMMAND YOU TO LEAVE!!!”  I said it four times to those four dogs and they left.  They went cowering in the other direction.  Everytime after that for a while it worked and I didn’t see dogs like that and I had the faith and confidence to know I had a weapon.  But as time grew by I’d say even years, when I didn’t see dogs in my neighborhood or anything like that, and I faced other trials one even life threatening, that God had to rebuild my walk of faith.  This time it was a lot more difficult especially because I had to relearn how to walk again, and I was only 26 but it changed my walk.  God kept testing me on faith and bringing me from glory to glory.  When I was first born again, I was still pretty much a carnal Christian, but I slowly started to remove the carnality from my life with the help of the Holy Spirit.  I used to not have obedience and discipline not to read the Word of God everyday, and then I finished it once in 3 years and then I started to read it daily until I finished it again in six months.  Importance hear is not in time or how much I read, but in that I was dedicated to reading my Bible and soaking in the Word of God.  I have had times when the Word of God just came to my spirit, when I didn’t even recall reading that, but the Holy Spirit brought it to my remembrance.  We can get to a dangerous place, where the name of JESUS has lost it’s power for us, and when we get to that place it can keep things from happening.  The name of JESUS is very powerful.  Every name has to bow down to the name of JESUS.

In the Old Testament, like in books like Isaiah, and Jeremiah, the people of Israel were often tested and rebuked when they didn’t pass the test.  They would bow down to idols and let them take over their lives instead of serving the One and Only Living God.  They refused to believe.  So God poured out His wrath to them, and some of it is going to happen in the future because God is like a husband who loves His wife and He doesn’t want anything to happen to keep her away from Him.  He had given the people leniency time after time, telling them through prophets that these idols have no power, no authority.  With Elijah He even told Elijah to put these idols to the test.  Elijah tested the idol worshippers if they can cause the fire, and their gods could not do anything, but Elijah put God to the test, and God was able to produce the fire.  “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.'” 1 Kings 18:20

God is often testing us to see if we will truly follow Him, or follow after idols in life.  We may or may not have statues or images of carved things in our homes and lives, but God wants us to see if we will truly seek Him.  Many times I am sitting here looking at my laptop and sometimes even my television thinking, have these things become idols for me?  I still struggle with the issue of food from time to time and I have to come to realize that these are all areas that God is testing me.

A key link to testing is obedience, if you are obedient with a little God will give you more.  If you are faithful with just a little God will give you more.  You’ll notice that you’ll be tested more severely in your weak areas, which are the areas where there is more potential for faith.  Some of my weak areas would be with food and discipline with what I eat, so for that sometimes I end up with things coming upon strictly from what I ate.  One time I ate from Jack in the Box, and I’m not saying anything bad about Jack in the Box, but when I had clear instructions from the Lord not to eat those things and all I had is 1/4 a burger and 1/2 a taco, but then I felt the punishment for disobedient because I learned that I have to treat the body like it is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and sometimes I have to take verses like “Do not worry about what to eat”, and “Whether you eat or drink, do everything for the glory of God”, in second place to God’s clear instruction to my spirit.  In that case the best verse would be “The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.   This is a weakness, but I have also learned that if you “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness all will be added unto you”.

Often it’s all about the waiting.  God’s timing is perfect.  When you are trusting in God’s timing then things work out in your favor.  He’s never late and if you learn to just trust in Him and wait upon Him.  The problem with the Jews was when they were studying the Scriptures when Jesus came, they read about that God’s Servant was supposed to come in a certain way, but they didn’t read the parts that followed that if they wait upon Him, then they will see Him coming.  That’s probably why Jesus hasn’t come yet because He is testing man’s patience to see how long and how far they can trust Him.  Will they be willing to wait until the eleventh hour for Him to come to the rescue or will they want Him to come immediately?  The Bible does mention the hastening of His coming.

Wouldn’t it be nice after all these testings to see that you have made it to the end without anything wavering that you have completed your destiny and your purpose, that you have obeyed the will of God?  There is a secular expression that says, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  God has plans not to harm you, but to give you a future and a hope and for this reason He is letting you go through the testings of life so that your patience may be perfected.  So the more patient you become the less you will be tested.  That process shapes actually the whole fruit of the Spirit, so that a person grows through spiritual maturity and more and more into the likeness of God knowing that the Holy Spirit given by Jesus Christ abides in the person.  The more you have been tested and the more you have overcome and not by your own power but by the Spirit of God abiding in you, the more righteous a crown you will receive in the eternal life.  So let us be conquerors in Christ knowing that He has given us victory over the evil and we will be able to stand in the last knowing that we have done the will and purpose of the Mighty God.

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Some Good Rebuking and Hard Biblical Pills to Swallow

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 4:2-4 “2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

So many preachers on television, and even in some of my postings, have been kind of soft on the people because we have given things that are pleasing to hear, but sometimes, as the saying goes, “The truth hurts.”  This kind of hurt is a good hurt, and it is like a bitter pill that when it goes down it is hard to swallow, but in the end it turns sweet.  So to fellow online bloggers, I encourage you guys along with myself to continue to not just preach things that are pleasing to the ears, but preach according to sound doctrine.  I have done that myself, where I got a rhema about a Word, and I know that God uses all things for the good for those who love Him, but time is getting shorter, and Jesus is coming sooner, and now we need to start seeing Jesus as the Judge and be ready for Him when He comes.  Even Paul emphasizes this 2 Timothy 4:8 where he talks about the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, will give to him on that Day; and not to (Paul) only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

How do we know that these are the last days?:  2 Timothy 3:1-7:  1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Some of these were like ouch for myself and I can see some of these in the world right now.  If you don’t believe this just read AOL or Yahoo News.  I always thought and described myself as always learning and thought it was a good thing, but it is not always a good thing, when you are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth.  This is because right now in the last days there are so many deceptive doctrines within the people that call themselves Christians, and many false prophets in this time.  Now I know the body of Christ each has its purpose to fulfill, and they have to be of one mind and one purpose, but unless we know what is the Truth -which is God’s Word, and we are led by the Spirit, then these things will be hard to determine and this takes the Spirit of discernment.  We can be searching for things that will ease our conscience and still be lost in a mass of confusion and confusion comes from the devil and not from God.

What is Sin? Galatians 5:18-21:

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[c] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

One of Jesus’ most difficult statements and I think the hardest one for me to hear is this one:  21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”  Matthew 7:21-23

 

Paul Continues in Galatians when he talks about the opposite of sin:  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

This is so important that we walk in the Spirit….that we walk with Jesus and allow Him to rule our lives.  Our prayer lives are very important and sometimes we, including myself, don’t feel like praying, or we are so busy, or we have many things to do and even we don’t know how to pray, which the Bible says in Romans what we do when we do not know how to pray as we ought- we pray in the Spirit.

Now from Isaiah we get a profound contrast on what the LORD does to the daughters of Zion who turn against Him [Isaiah 3:16-26, and what He does to those who remain pure [Isaiah 4:1-6]:

16Moreover, the Lord said, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks and with undisciplined (flirtatious and alluring) eyes, tripping along with mincing and affected gait, and making a tinkling noise with [the anklets on] their feet,

17Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the heads of the daughters of Zion [making them bald], and the Lord will cause them to be [taken as captives and to suffer the indignity of being] stripped naked.

18In that day the Lord will take away the finery of their tinkling anklets, the caps of network, the crescent head ornaments,

19The pendants, the bracelets or chains, and the spangled face veils and scarfs,

20The headbands, the short ankle chains [attached from one foot to the other to insure a measured gait], the sashes, the perfume boxes, the amulets or charms [suspended from the ears or neck],

21The signet rings and nose rings,

22The festal robes, the cloaks, the stoles and shawls, and the handbags,

23The hand mirrors, the fine linen [undergarments], the turbans, and the [whole body-enveloping] veils.

24And it shall come to pass that instead of the sweet odor of spices there shall be the stench of rottenness; and instead of a girdle, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; and searing [of captives by the scorching heat] instead of beauty.

25Your men shall fall by the sword, and your mighty men in battle.

26And [Jerusalem’s] gates shall lament and mourn [as those who wail for the dead]; and she, being ruined and desolate, shall sit upon the ground.

The contrast is Isaiah 4:2-6:

2In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be excellent and lovely to those of Israel who have escaped.

3And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem and for [b]eternal life,

4After the Lord has washed away the [moral] filth of the daughters of Zion [pride, vanity, haughtiness] and has purged the bloodstains of Jerusalem from the midst of it by the spirit and blast of judgment and by the spirit and blast of burning and sifting.

5And the Lord will create over the whole site, over every dwelling place of Mount Zion and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory shall be a canopy (a defense of divine love and protection).

6And there shall be a pavilion for shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge and a shelter from storm and from rain.

Now this is talking about the Daughters of Zion, and since it is in the prophetic, I am not going to go into whether it is talking about the Church, or whether it is talking about Israel itself, because it is relevant.  All we need to know is that Jesus is coming back and He is coming back to show punishment for the wicked and protection for the righteous.

Now if you are at a point where you have accepted Christ into your heart and may be a new believer or may be in a place where you don’t know exactly who you are in Christ, then some things you need to know.  The first thing that you did when you became born again was to repent of your sins.  Then the next part, which is continuous is to seek God, in a continuous relationship with Him.  Having a relationship with God may be difficult at times because you always have someone wanting to get in the way and also since God is not tangible, you need the Holy Spirit to walk with you.  You need to be more and more in tuned with the Holy Spirit.  One thing I have learned from the book of Job, is that he had three friends – and they may be like your spiritual elders, but they were not able to make him feel any better and his scenario may not be what you are going through, but you need to know that God is there for you.  There are times when you will go through a dry spell.  In those times you need to push through and persevere through it, and just pray even though you don’t feel like it.  Talk to God.  He’ll listen.  He’s there.  Sometimes it is not about a feeling you get, but it is about a consistent walk of faith that you believe that He is there, and then it gets to the next level where you know He is there.

I am going to go back to 2 Timothy 3 and talk about some of the common lifestyles that we are facing in today’s society and even the Church:

The Bible says that people will be lovers of themselves – does that mean that we don’t follow love God, love your neighbor as yourself?  No, what it means is that people love themselves more than God or other people.

The Bible says that people will be lovers of money – we see that so much today even in the churches, and yes I understand that people need to make money to live and even to support a church, and pretty much to survive, but satan is going to take advantage of the people’s love for money when people won’t be able to buy or sell without receiving the Mark of The Beast, or the infamous number, which is not worth posting.  Look at the credit card systems, and the major focus in all the world today…It’s by God’s grace alone that any of us have any money to do anything because as much as we have worked for something it could go away in a second, and we see that happen.  The Israelites were in slavery because they were doing hard work and they were not getting paid, and they cried out to God to deliver them from this torment they were going through, and He did because He heard their cry, but we as a society have taken God for granted in so many ways and in so many things that we have done.

Boasters, proud, haughty people the Bible warns are going to be in the last day.  There are so many people in these days that are boasters, proud, and haughty people… and there is a such a thing is false humility where people are even proud to be called humble.

Many people blaspheme God all the time – we see it in the world and all over America.

Today’s teenagers are being disobedient to parents.  I’ll leave that issue alone.

Unthankful – enough said.

Now this is a real eye-opener – unholy – how many people in today’s society are unholy.  That’s why in Isaiah it says only a remnant will be saved.  Jesus says that only a few will enter through the Narrow Gate.  He says it will be difficult.   He says those that endure to the end, will be saved.   How many of us can live holy?  None without the Holy Spirit.

The Bible also warns of unloving people – Do you really love God with all your heart?  Do you really love your neighbor as yourself?  If you do it will show by your actions.  Do you find yourself walking around like a zombie?  Or is your heart filled with passion and compassion?  If it is like the former then ask God to fill your heart with a fire for Him.

I have done several messages on the issue of forgiveness…it is an area that needs to be worked on us all.

I have also talked about slanderers and gossipers and this is not just confined to news reporters and papparazzi, but it is also talks about each one of us in our Christian walks.

This is the one that gets me – self-control – this is a fruit of the Spirit, but it is also a discipline that needs to be developed.  We all have our areas of self-control when it comes to temptation and lusts, so we need to control ourselves in these areas.  I am not just talking about physical lust, but there is all kinds of addictions out there.

There are brutal and despisers of good.  Enough said.

Traitors, and headstrong  or stubborn people  – Ouch!!!  Let us all not be so stubborn.

Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God..Do we seek after pleasure?

The last one I may discuss at another time.

With all these things that are going on in the last days, how do the people of God, and the Church keep itself prepared?  We have to keep our oil alive and we have to keep the fire burning and the passion alive…how do we do that?  The easiest way I know how is to worship or praise God and give thanks.   Sometimes as Christians we experience burnout.  We may be doing all these things, but then when it comes to intimate times we may so overdrawn, that we have forgotten the rest and the intimacy, and the peace, and the worry free life that Jesus has promised us.  Sometimes your faith is tried, and you are tested, but you have to keep on going on.   Even when you feel dead inside, realize that there is a fire inside you that comes from the Holy Spirit, that keeps you alive and that keeps you burning for Him.

I have come to realize that I don’t know everything, and that I probably will not know everything and have all my questions answered until I get to heaven, but I trust God….and I know that He is faithful despite what I feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trusting God when you don’t understand by Joyce Meyer

Trusting God when you don’t understand pt. 1 Joyce Meyer

Trusting God when you don’t understand pt. 2 Joyce Meyer

 

These sermons for anyone that has questions about why stuff has happened in their lives….I was really touched by these sermons.  Also these sermons are only available for a limited amount of time.