Grace and peace to all of you on this beautiful day that the Lord has made. Many people think that once they recognize that YESHUA (JESUS) is TRULY GOD’S MESSIAH (SAVIOR), and RECEIVE HIM into their hearts, then life will become easier, the attacks will stop, and the blessings will flow. Although it is TRUE that to be a BELIEVER in JESUS is the most wonderful BLESSING that a person can experience in life, the attacks from the enemy (satan) will only intensify, not stop. This is because the enemy’s greatest desire is to steal our FAITH in JESUS, to get us to not trust or BELIEVE in JESUS. If the enemy can steal our faith, then he can steal our souls because we are SAVED by GRACE through FAITH. (Ephesians 2:8).
1 Peter 4:12: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
Ephesians 2:8: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
God does allow some attacks for the purpose of TESTING, refinement and purification. Why does God allow His children to be tested? In both the Old and New Testament, the word “test” means to prove by trial. God allows testing to prove that our faith is real. God already knows whether or not our faith is real, but He is proving it to us so that we can KNOW that we are truly HIS CHILDREN and that NO TRIAL will overcome our faith.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus identifies the ones who fall away as those who IMMEDIATELY receive the seed of God’s Word WITH JOY, but, as soon as a time of testing comes along, they fall away because their love was shallow, with no root to to hold it FIRMLY in the ground.
Mark 4: 3 “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. 6 And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
13 And He (Jesus) *said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word (Word of God). 16 In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
James, who was Jesus’ brother, says that the testing of our faith develops perseverance, which leads to maturity in our walk with God.
James 1:2: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James goes on to say that testing is a blessing, because, when the testing is over and we have “stood the test,” we will “receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him”
James 1:12: Blessed is a man (or woman) who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Romans 8:28: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
The testing of our faith can come in many forms. It can come in small, daily irritations, issues at work, relationships at home, financial situations, etc. It can also come as a severe affliction, sickness, suffering, persecution, and major attacks from satan.
The book of Job is a perfect example of God allowing one of His saints to be tested. God considered Job to be a “Righteous man”, so Job did not fall into trouble or pain because of sin. In a single day, Job’s children and servants died in a terrible whirlwind (storm). Job lost all of his wealth, and even his health. Job’s wife cursed him, and his friends blamed him, believing all of his troubles must be due to some unconfessed sin. Although Job was dismayed at the severity of his tests, he never gave up his BELIEF in God. Job believed that God was JUST (fair), but couldn’t understand why good people suffer. He demanded an answer, and God did respond. God explained to Job that our world, in its present form, does not stop or limit suffering. God is far bigger than our limited human perspective, so we just have to TRUST that God, who sees the BIGGER PICTURE, has a very good reason for why He allows the suffering on earth.
The account of Job also reminds us that satan has to ASK PERMISSION FROM GOD for every trial that he wants to bring into our lives. God sometimes allows the tests and trials WITH LIMITATIONS; however, God SETS THE LIMITS, not satan. Satan’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy, but God’s purpose is to TEST, REFINE, and MOLD us into something that looks more like His Son Jesus. All our trials work toward God’s perfect purpose and our benefit. Job’s response to his pain and suffering was to go before God, with all of his raw emotions, in prayer, asking God WHY? Why do good people suffer? Don’t you care?? God DOES care, and He did answer Job’s questions and blessed him with wisdom. When we PRAY and SEEK GOD, and study HIS WORD, we also gain wisdom. And through this Wisdom, we can have peace in the storms. It is okay to be upset with God, to question why He allows suffering, but in the end, we need to TRUST that GOD is bigger than our suffering.
Everything that was stolen from Job was restored… and more. So it is with us. Everything that the enemy steals from us in this life will be fully restored to us in the Heavenlies. There is a reason for our suffering, as it brings us closer and closer to the goal. Those whose faith STANDS FIRM in the tests of life, will receive the CROWN OF LIFE. Obviously the crown of LIFE is a precious, ETERNAL crown, one that the enemy feels is worth making his best attempts to steal.
Psalm 66:10: For You have tried us, O God;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
The Psalmist likens testing to being refined like silver or gold. Silver must be heated so that the impurities can rise to the top and be “skimmed off”, leaving something that is pure, shiny, valuable and beautiful. So it is with God’s people. Through the firey trials and tests, our impurites rise to the top (become more visible and noticeable) so that they can then be removed by God. Like silver and gold, God’s people are refined through the firey trials of life. Through testing, God causes us to grow into strong disciples who truly live by FAITH and not by what we SEE with our eyes.
When we experience the storms of life, we should be like the tree that digs its roots ever more deeply for a greater grip in the earth. We must “dig our roots” more deeply into God’s Word and cling to His promises so we can weather whatever storms come against us. We must DRINK DEEPLY from the RIVER OF LIFE, GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT, who guides us through the storms of life.
Jeremiah 17:8: “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.
Isaiah 61:3: To provide for those who grieve in Zion–to give them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise in place of a spirit of despair. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
When we are overwhelmed with suffering, what should we do? We can ask God to take away the trial; however, we must be also be WILLING to increase our trust and reliance on God, knowing that He will be with us no matter what happens. This is really hard, and goes against our human nature. God does not promise us that everything will be easy, but that He will give us the grace to endure, with hope and joy, the trials that He sends us to perfect us. These trials definitely will be too big for us to handle without Him. Trials are opportunities to grow in our faith, hope, and love of God, putting the focus on Him and off of ourselves. If we follow God’s prompting, we can say like Paul: “When I am weak, then I am strong. When Jesus called Peter out of the boat to walk to him on top of the water, Peter was able to walk on water UNTIL he took his eyes off of Jesus. As soon as Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and began to focus on the storm, fear welled up within him, and Peter sank. The key is to take our eyes off of the storm, and put them on Jesus. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s what we must do if we want to walk on water. We can ask Jesus to help us. Remember, we do not serve a God who is sitting in an ivory tower unwilling to “get his hands dirty”. We serve THE TRUE GOD who put on the likeness of human flesh and then went through HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE SUFFERING, ROMAN SCOURGING, BETRAYAL, and one of the most painful, SUFFOCATING DEATHS IMAGINABLE, ROMAN CRUCIFIXION, to SAVE US. Jesus not only talks the talk, HE WALKED THE WALK. Now He wants us to FOLLOW HIM. He paved the way for us and is preparing a place for us so that where He went, we may be also! Trials make us dependant on Jesus, which is exactly where we need to be. We need to keep an ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE, focusing PRIMARILY on our ETERNAL HOME and remembering that our lives on this earth are only TEMPORARY. We are also reminded of Jesus’ teaching that we can do ALL things through CHRIST who gives us strength, but we can do NOTHING on our own. This is true now, during our temporary sojourn on this earth, AND its ALSO TRUE when we someday arrive at our FOREVER HOME in Heaven.
Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Acts 14:22: strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
John 15:5: I AM the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 16:33: These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation (suffering), but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
”His grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). “That is why,” Paul said, “for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Because we never really know for sure if a particular trial is God’s Will, or not, it’s perfectly fine to ask for healing, comfort, and deliverance. We definitely do not want to endure a trial if it is unnecessary. Prayer can lessen trials or even move the heart of God to remove a trial, if it is HIS WILL. This is the key. We must be willing to submit to God’s Will, no matter what. IF it is His Will for us to go through the fire, He will walk us through it, and we will not be burned. We can pray like Jesus did in the Garden…
Luke 22:42: saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
Ultimately, all of these trials and tests that we undergo everyday are leading us somewhere AWESOME. We are being SHAPED and MOLDED by the POTTER into a beautiful vessel that will one day be a RESIDENT of the KINGDOM OF GOD! Actually, if you believe in Jesus Christ than you are ALREADY a citizen of Heaven. How does this work? I’m not sure. Unlike earth, Heaven is outside of space and time. Is it POSSIBLE for us to exist in 2 places at once? Heaven and earth? Only God knows. These are MYSTERIES!
Philippians 3: 20: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
Sometimes it’s easy to become so overburdoned in our daily lives that we forget God is working out HIS GRAND PLAN, not only for our individual lives, but for the entire earth! Jesus came 2000 years ago to SET the Captives FREE! All of God’s people, once ENSLAVED by the sin nature that is in our flesh, have been SET FREE through the shed blood of Jesus Christ at the CROSS of CALVARY. The sin nature is no longer MASTER over us, Hallelujah! Jesus buried our sins FOREVER, separating them FROM US as far as the EAST is from the WEST. The INDWELLING of the HOLY SPIRIT helps us CONQUER our sin nature. As Jesus was RESURRECTED 3 days after his crucifixion, we too can look forward to our RESURRECTION, the REDEMPTION of our BODIES!
Jesus is coming again, SOON! Last night, the Lord gave me a dream that I found very encouraging. I don’t often share dreams; however, we know that in the last days, God PROPHESIED that He would pour out HIS HOLY SPIRIT on ALL FLESH, and God’s male and maid servants would DREAM DREAMS and SEE VISIONS, and PROPHESY.
“Joel 2:28-29: It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
29 “Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
Acts 2: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; 18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy.
MY DREAM LAST NIGHT….
In the dream, I was standing in the road talking to my neighbor “Jen”. It was a VERY BRIGHT sunny day! The sun was so bright, it was hard to SEE. The sun was so bright, it hurt my eyes. I noticed the shadows on the ground, how there was such a stark contrast between the dark shadows and the bright sunshine. While speaking with my neighbor, and noticing the contrast between the dark shadows and the BRIGHT LIGHT, I moved into a shadow thinking that perhaps I could see better. However, just a split second after I did this, the shadows overtook all of the sunshine, and in a moment, it was dark.
It was at this point that I looked UP because I recognized that this was not normal. This was not a situation where the sun had merely dipped behind a cloud. The sky was now dark with a thick darkness that looked like either smoke, ash, or something like a dust storm. A strong wind had also “kicked up”. I heard the words “And day turned into night“…and that’s when I realized I needed to get home to warn my family. The wind was carrying me home anyway, so powerful was the wind. But I looked back and saw “Jen” looking bewildered and confused. Not picked up by the wind, she was still standing in the road about a football field away. She was standing there, looking bewildered, her hair was blowing in the wind as I shouted to her…
“JESUS IS COMING SOON”…..
Acts 2: ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above
And signs on the earth below,
Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’