“Patiently Endure Testing”

12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. — James 1:12 NLT

James 1:12-16 NLT

Why do Christians have to endure trials and persecutions? I suppose people have been asking this question since the first century. The disciples never quite understood why Jesus had to suffer and die until after the Resurrection. God does not allow us to go through suffering so that He will know where we are on our journey, He allows it so that we will know. He allows it so that our “I can” will turn into “No, I can’t but God can”. “No pain, no gain” applies to spiritual growth as well as physical. Would understanding the “why” really make the pain any less real or painful?  I am sure that since Jesus was in on the plan of redemption, He understood the why, but that didn’t keep Him from asking His Father if there might not be another way. As he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”Matt. 26:42 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 11-02-2019

Stay Ready, Pop Quizzes Are Coming!

4 But the Lord is in his holy Temple;  the Lord still rules from heaven.  He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. — Psalm 11:4 NLT

Psalm 11 NLT

In Psalms 10-13, David seems to be more focused on those who are bent on doing evil than what God has done for him.  He questions God about why those people seem to be more successful than the righteous.  It is a question that many, if not all, of us have asked at sometime or other.  Why are bad things happening to good people while the bad people seem to be receiving blessings?   God doesn’t seem to answer David directly, but rather allows David to arrive at his own conclusion.  David never gives up on God, even though he questions why God allows such things and why they continue for so long. He also questions whether God can hear his prayers or not.  When we are going through those rough patches, it is encouraging to know that we are not the only ones to wonder where God is and what He is up to.  Because David is a man “after God’s own heart”, he arrives at the right conclusion.  God is exactly where He is supposed to be doing exactly what He should be doing. He always has been, He is and He always will be there watching over us and doing what is best for us even though at times, it doesn’t “feel” like it.  Those  are the times we have to ignore “feelings” and stand firm on the knowledge that God is always with us and we are never alone.  Those are the times that God allows so that we know whether or not our head knowledge has become heart knowledge.  If what we know in our heads has taken root in our hearts, then we will pass the test when God examines us.  Should we fail, God has no qualms about having us take the test again and again until we pass it.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-11-2019

“Times of Testing, Times of Restings”

17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!  Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.  — Job 5:12 NLT

Job 5: 17-27 NLT

Eliphaz was wrong in assuming that Job was being punished for some hidden sin that Job had not confessed. God was allowing satan to test Job’s love and loyalty to Himself.  But those of us who have sinned and are being disciplined can receive great encouragement from these words of Eliphaz. God not only allows us to be tested and disciplined, but when that time of testing and/or disciplining is over, He heals us.  Eliphaz lists several ways that God takes care of us and protects us and our families from dangers.  He blesses us in times of distress and provides everything we need to live Godly lives {2 Peter 1:3,4).  We are disciplined so that we can share in His divine nature and become more like Him.  And James tells us that “we should count it all joy ( James 1:2-5 ).  Some say “Life is a marathon”.  I prefer to think of it as a series of short sprints with some refreshing stops in between. Testing-joy-testing-joy, you get the idea.  Whether we consider it a marathon or a sprint, the point is there are hills and valleys, there are times of testing and there are times of refreshing.  Those times are means to an end.  That end is to arrive at our heavenly home after we have run the race.  Some of us will run all the time and some of us will need to rest more often.  Either way, press on to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”.

“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-18-2019

“Testing Produces Endurance”

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because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. – James 1:3 ISV
 
We love reading those verses that make us feel good, like Romans 8:28, Phil 4:13, John 10:10 and John 3:16.  Those are great verses that encourage us by letting us know that God is good and everything is going to be okay. But those verses can seem pretty hollow when we feel like God has deserted us and we are all alone in this evil world.  It is hard for us to understand how God, who is love, can allow bad things to happen to His children. When these times come, we need to remember that all we can see is “now”, but God sees and knows all about the future. He allows testing so that we can know where we are on our journey.  He already knows but we need to know so that we do not become puffed up and prideful.  Jesus warned us that in this world we would be offended and tested, so, it should come as no surprise when we are. Our Lord and Savior was tested and tempted in every way possible. He understands our pain better than we do.  We should never deny that we are in pain or that we are sick and hurting.  We need to admit our weaknesses and ask God to bring us through this time of testing. We need to persevere so that we can become mature and complete, fulfilled in Christ Jesus. We don’t want to hear “count it all joy” while we are in the process, but after the test is concluded, we can look back on the experience and see that Jesus carried us through the whole process.  The joy comes from knowing who we serve and that He loves us so much that He will allow nothing in our lives that He doesn’t give us strength to overcome. We are to “count it all joy”, not because of the situation, but in spite of the situation. We can’t be overcomers and conquerors if we never face situations that require us to overcome or conquer.  

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delightin weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Cor. 12:9, 10 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-25-2018

Choose Carefully Who Speaks Into Your Spiritual Life

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18 Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. ​- Galatians 1:18 NLT

Just as God had set Paul apart to be the apostle to the Gentiles, He has a plan for each of us. That plan has been in place since before the earth was created. Besides Ananias, Paul did not consult with other Christians until he had spent time in the Arabian desert. How long he stayed in the desert is unknown, but he returned to Damascus and preached there for three years. Then he went to Jerusalem to spend time with Peter (Cephas). Besides what God had imparted to Paul through the Holy Spirit, he was able to talk about Jesus with Peter. That would be a conversation worth listening to. It is also a good example for us to follow. We need to spend time alone with God and then we need a mature Christian to mentor us. We need both to become what God wants us to be. We need to choose carefully and not let just anyone speak into our spiritual lives. After making a careful choice of who that person or persons will be, we still need to verify every word by the WORD.
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.–1 John 4:1 (NASB)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-21-2017

Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing!

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This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. – 1 John 4:2 NLT
 

As we all know not everyone that speaks to us has the Spirit of God abiding in them. There are those sent from satan who masquerade as “angels of light” but are actually false prophets.

13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.–2 Cor. 11:13-15 (NLT)


We must always test the spirit and see if it acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The devil knows that God exists and he knows the Scriptures better than we do. The Spirit that dwells in us will witness to us if a person has a kindred Spirit to ours. But if you are in doubt, you can always ask if they believe that Jesus shed His blood on Calvary for our sins. If they acknowledge that this is true and they acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus, then we have assurance that it is not a false spirit.

3 So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.—1 Cor. 12:3 (NLT)


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 07-13-2017

So, Let It Grow!

3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.​ — James 1:3 NLT


Although James addresses this letter to the “twelve tribes”, the Holy Spirit included it in the Bible for our benefit as well. We are brothers and sisters of the Christian Jews, James and Jesus Christ. It emphasizes the statement that Jesus made when He said “in this world, you will be offended”. Troubles will come our way, of that we can be sure. There is a reason God allows trials and temptations to come into our lives. God knows our maturity level and what decisions we will make in those trying times. He allows those times so we will know where we are spiritually. Most of the time, if not all the time, we find that we have a long way to go to get to where God wants us to be. When the trials come, do we whine and complain or do we accept the situation realizing that God has put us here so we learn to depend on Him? There is nothing more sobering than when we realize that we have done what Peter did when he said he didn’t know Jesus. Oh, I am sure that we would never verbalize that, but what do our actions tell those around us? Like Paul, we should always realize that we are not there yet, but we should be focused on getting there.
 
Philippians 3:12-14 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 05-21-2017