Judgment Still Falls

“And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord God.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭15:7-8‬ ‭

The bible says that because the punishment for sin does not come quickly, it is in the heart of men to do evil. I’m other words, because people think they are getting away with it they set their heart to do it. Yet eventually judgment will fall for God is just.

However, the truth is that God does not desire judgment. The very reason that He takes so long to act in judgment is because He is allotting time for repentance in hopes that His judgement not have to come. 

“And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” – Jonah‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭

So if God does not desire judgment, then why does it come at all? Because God is just, and He is not a man that He should lie. If He has said that the wages of sin are death then one who continues to work iniquity must be paid the wage they have been promised. Once God speaks something, it becomes law and His justice requires that He honor His words for better or for worse. This is why He sent Jesus to atone for our sin with His own life, to pay the price for us, that we might be given a clean slate, a new life, and escape the curse of the law.

However. A simple truth that few seem to realize is that unless you have been atoned for by the blood of Jesus, washed clean, born again into a new life, have repented and turned away from sin, and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to walk no more there in, then you are actually still under a law and condemned by that law.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” – Romans‬ ‭8:1-4‬ ‭‬‬

The law did not pass away, it was simply atoned for, paid for, and fulfilled by a better covenant. There is no law for those who are in Christ but for those who are not, the law remains, and the judgment of that law remains. Though God may tarry in hopes of your repentance that you might escape the wrath of the law, if you do not take the atonement that He has provided, judgment will eventually find you. 

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:9-11‬ ‭

God has been more then merciful, but we are not promised tomorrow, nor is He obligated to continue turning a blind eye forever. However, He is obligated to judge the sins of the unrighteous who have refused His mercy and done despite to the Spirit of Grace. Don’t push your luck, don’t waste God’s mercy, don’t mock His grace. He took your place that you might escape. Don’t take it for granted, for eventually judgment will fall. Whether God wants it to or not, He must pay out the wages of unrepented sin, because He said He would and therefor He must, for He is just. 

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” – John‬ ‭3:18-20‬ 

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.” – Ecclesiastes‬ ‭8:11-13‬ ‭

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” -Hebrews‬ ‭10:26-31‬ ‭

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The Gospel Truth

IMG_2253-1“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” – ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭

Many people have a misconstrued interpretation of Scripture, and therefore ERROR GREATLY!!!

SALVATION:
GOD’S Plan? YES!
For HIS OWN PURPOSE? YES!
BY HIS POWER AND FOR HIS GLORY? YES!
IS IT HIS WILL THAT ALL SHALL BE SAVED? YES!!

But, does that mean that all will be saved? NO!! Why? Because Salvation, though it is the work of GOD, is not done by force. HE MADE THE WAY FOR SALVATION, but it’s up to each individual to choose to take it , or not!

“ …choose you this day whom ye will serve; … – Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬

Example: Someone is drowning and the lifeguard throws out the lifesaver… unless the person puts it on, it cannot save them!!! They can look at it, talk about it, acknowledge that it is the only way to be saved, and even believe that it will… but unless they choose to grab hold of it and put it on, they WILL drown!!!

Does GOD want anyone to die in sin and go to HELL? NO!!! But nevertheless, as JESUS says in Matthew 7, MANY WILL! But why? Because they continued to work iniquity (sin): “…depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I (HE SAYS) never knew you!” 

When people choose to remain in sin, though JESUS CHRIST died to take it away, they are foolishly CHOOSING TO ETERNALLY DIE IN HELL, though they had been given the opportunity to be saved!

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭

That being said, CAN A PERSON LOOSE THEIR SALVATION?

Let examine it! Once the understanding of Scripture has been rightly divided, and the truth attained by searching the WHOLE COUNSIL OF GOD by the help of the HOLY SPIRIT OF TRUTH, then we can give a correct answer to this question. “Can a person loose their Salvation?”
Once you understand that SALVATION, though it is GOD’S WILL for all to be saved, but many WILL NOT BE BY CHOICE, then we can understand more clearly, how these Scriptures unfolded together! I don’t believe that a person JUST looses their salvation, one cannot accidentally loose the most precious gift ever given to mankind. No the power of GOD IS GREAT ENOUGH TO SECURE THIS PROMISE TO US. HOWEVER, to be most accurate with words and the understanding of them, ONE CAN, AND MANY DO, CHOOSE TO RELINQUISH (willfully give up) THEIR SALVATION!!! Scripture is VERY CLEAR! Those who ENDURE TO THE END SHALL BE SAVED!

“I (Paul) therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” – ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:26-27‬ ‭

The Apostle Paul compared his own Salvation to a race, saying “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have KEPT THE FAITH…”. Remember we are saved by GOD’S GRACE (POWER) THROUGH OUR FAITH! We have a part to play in our Salvation! That’s FAITH! And FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD. Right

So what exactly is FAITH? Many people get in constant disagreements over this simple little word: is it belief or works? The answer is, neither. It’s trust, being confidently fully persuaded that what GOD HAS PROMISED HE IS ABLE ALSO TO PERFORM! FAITH IS BEING IN FULL AGREEMENT WITH THE PRESENT LIVING SPOKEN WORD AND WILL OF GOD AND ACTING IN OBEDIENCE TO IT! Simply put, FAITH IS TRUSTING AND SURRENDERING TO THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF JESUS CHRIST EVERDAY! Jesus said that no one can serve two masters, that he will hate one and cling to the other. SO NO ONE CAN BE A SERVANT OF SIN AND OF JESUS CHRIST AT THE SAME TIME.  NO, JESUS DIED TO TAKE AWAY OUR SINS, Not leave us in them. Sorry to burst your bubble, but being a willful continual sinner will destroy you in HELL!!! However, if by FAITH FULLY TRUSTING JESUS CHRIST, we obey HIS VOICE BY CHOOSING HIS WILL OVER OUR OWN, AND BY CONTINUING TO DO SO UNTIL THE END, WE SHALL BE SAVED!

So if you’re not saved (from your sins) CHOOSE TO BE!

If you are saved, then don’t relinquish (give up) your Salvation to serve yourself, for if you do, you will die in your sins and find yourself in HELL for all eternity without another single opportunity to REPENT and be saved!

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews‬ ‭10:26-31‬

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John‬ ‭1:5-9‬ ‭KJV‬‬

AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS!

The BLOOD OF CHRIST CANNOT CLEANSE WHAT IT HAS NOT BEEN APPLIED TO. It’s time to WALK in the TRUTH of HIS WORD AND HOLY SPIRIT AND ALLOW HIM TO WASH AWAY OUR SINS!

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward….And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it….Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.” – Isaiah‬ ‭1:4, 15-20, 24-28‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

THE RAIN IS COMING: ARE YOU READY?

img_6309“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:21-27‬ ‭KJV‬

Storms in life come in many ways, but understanding it’s purpose can bring comfort to such an uncomfortable situation. First thing to remember is that JESUS CHRIST IS STILL LORD OF THE STORMS! They are not just attacks from the devil… they were actually allowed by GOD, sent by GOD, and they have purpose! See the storm is the test. When it comes, it will reveal what foundation that you have built your life upon; because unless that foundation is Jesus Christ, it will surly fall!

The first thing to note is that, the dividing line is whether we actually DO the will of the Father or not. This one thing determines what foundation we are building upon. Hearing God’s voice is one thing (and very necessary), but it’s the actual DOING IT that counts.

Another interesting thought is this: GOD made us all from the dust of the earth… so as I think on this, what is revealed to me, is that the “sand” in this passage actually represents man or self. Most people are so busy going about doing works all for themselves, even many doing “Good works” are doing them for the purpose of easing their conscience to feel better about themselves. In essence, those who are building their house upon sand are building their own kingdom, for themselves, upon themselves, making even the good things they do complete vanity! In judgement all this will burn up in smoke.

Hear what the Apostle Paul tells the church of Corinth who were boasting in men:

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:6-23‬ ‭KJV‬‬

As Jesus speaks, so we do, this is what pleases the Father. But those who do NOT do the will of the Father will be destroyed by the storms. Therefore I can conclude that the storms come to clear the stage of all the ungodly kingdoms of man, and to rain down blessing to grow the Kingdom of GOD in the earth through faith in Christ Jesus!

“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:1-24‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Therefore let us choose obedience to the VOICE OF THE LORD GOD that the blessings may fall upon us.

Submitted by Heather Wright

Stirred Up

Today I had to clean out our swimming pool. The water looked clean, it was clear and pretty. However, there was some debris that was settled deep on the bottom where the filter didn’t reach. So I got in there with the pool vac. As I did it stirred up the water and by the time I had finished, even though I had gotten a lot of stuff out with the vac, the water was no longer clear and the whole pool actually looked worse then before. I thought, “man, I didn’t know how dirty, and in need of work this pool really was until I got it all stirred up”

You know, our soul can be a lot like that pool. We think we’re doing pretty good when things are calm. We seem pretty clean spiritually, but what happens when something “stirs you up“? What filth rises up that had been settled deep down in your heart that you didn’t even realize was there? I think that sometimes God allows the enemy to rise up against us to stir us up and show us how dirty and in need of work we really are. 

You are growing spiritually, you have allowed God to remove many big things from your life, and your feeling pretty clean. You just know that you are ready to be that refreshing pool of Holy Spirit living water to others. Then a friend betrays you, your spouse pushes you over the edge, someone comes against your kids, something happens that really stirs you up and stuff that you didn’t know was in you starts to come to the surface. It is in these moments that we need to stop and run to the thrown room. It may be the time that you feel the least worthy to be there but it is when you most need to be there, so you can humble yourself, acknowledged these formally hidden heart issues (such as offense, pride, anger, unbelief, control, unclean lips, self centeredness, vain glory, etc.) as sin before God, confess it, repent of it, and ask His grace to overcome and remove it!

Don’t become discouraged by the stirring. I would not have known how desperately the pool needed my attention had it’s issues not been brought to the surface by it getting stirred up. Likewise we would not realize how much we need to get before Jesus and let Him work on cleaning us up had our own junk not come to the surface by the things that stirred us up. The goal is to be so completely pure that, just like the pool, even when stirred up it still stays crystal clear because there is no filth left to surface. 

The fastest way to achieve this is with a different kind of stirring, by stirring up the Holy Spirit in prayer daily so that He can reveal and remove those things hidden deep within you. You see, I began to realize that the bottom of the pool had gotten so dirty because I had not been spending time in it stirring up the waters so that the pump could do its job. Likewise, if we do not spend time every day in prayer stirring up the Holy Spirit and letting him do his cleansing work in us, then the water will fall still and junk will begin to accumulate and settle in. 

So in this I see that we will face a stirring that will cause to surface that which is deep within us one way or the other. Either gently by daily time stirring the waters of the spirit in prayer, or chaotically by something stirring the emotions of the soul. Ether way, what’s in your heart will eventually come to surface. Clean it up and keep it clean by keeping it stirred up in the private place of prayer to your glory that it doesn’t get stirred up in public to your shame.

“…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” – Luke‬ ‭6:45‬ ‭

“… and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” – Genesis‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭

Breaking Camp

img_5284In every season there is purpose. Sometimes we don’t understand the purpose, or the pain. However, we know that Romans 8:28 states that all things work together for the good of those that love God. Certain situations may never make sense, we may never understand, but we are not told to understand, we are simply told to believe. God will be with you through this, He will be with you after, and He promises to make all things new.

The Israelites had been at the base of the mountain for long enough. God spoke to the people to break camp. He was actually telling the people He was sending them into the land of the ammoniates, their enemies. In the natural that made no sense, but the lord was trying to set them up to be weak in Him, so He could be strong through them. While doing this He would in turn show the surrounding nations how powerful the God of Israel was. He was trying to give them another Red Sea moment and encourage them. He wanted to remind the people how Great the might of their God was. He told them not to be afraid, to courageously go forward; they had a decision to make. They could stay there, choose to go another way (both would be acts of rebellion) or choose to trust Him. That would entail going in unfamiliar territory and taking the land. They were standing at the the place of decision, one of the ways in the natural looked impassable, but nonetheless they had to trust God and go through giants, they were going to ha e to hold their ground and fight for what God had already promised them. Once the victory was achieved the Promise land would be theirs. We know the story, they wavered in their faith and their belief in Gods Sovereignty. Because of this the promise land was lost to that generation. That wasn’t Gods plan, He had a victory waiting for them.

I want encourage you to keep walking, keep trusting, and lean not on your own understanding. God is setting up supernatural deliverances, victories, and provision. Go forward, don’t look back, don’t listen to your feelings, they have the capability to mislead you. Lean on God and what He says. Rebuke doubt and fear. God has already made the provisions.

Submitted by Jessica Fudge

Purged For The Master’s Use

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭2:20-21‬ ‭

I see this passage in two lights this morning. In the first I see the reality that many times throughout scripture when God desired to use Israel He could not because of sin, rebellion, or complacency in the Kings, priest, governors, and so on. Though He wanted to move through them, He could not do so because it would endorse their actions as acceptable by Him and misrepresent His character. God is Holy, therefor can He only endorse a people that demonstrate who He is to the world and in doing so become a light in the darkness and a beacon on a hill.

So then God would have to purge his people of these impurities through the fires of affliction and trial. Through seasons of being pressed by their enemies, through wildernesses, through times of desperation, dependency, oppression, rebuke, wrath, correction, crying out, and coddling He would slowly work these weaknesses to the surface and skim them away until He had a people that were pure, holy, devoted, and faithful that He could use for His glory.

He does this even to this day in ministries that He desires to use. He cannot endorse with the power of heaven, that which does not rightly represent Heaven. Therefor does He take them through trials, battles, and wildernesses until the vessels of dishonor have been purged and the ministry is refined that He might use it to the fullest of His glory.

“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” – Malachi‬ ‭3:3‬

The second light in which I see this truth applied is in the life of the individual believer. Despite what a preacher might have told you at salvation, Jesus never promised that the journey would be easy, only that the destination would be worth whatever it cost you to get there. Not unlike the Israelites in the wilderness, the journey was full of trial but those that made it through entered the Promise pure, even though they lost some vessels of dishonor along the way. 

Likewise each of us carries some junk with us from the Spiritual Egypt (our old life that we were delivered from) and we can’t take that stuff into the Promise Land so the hardships and attacks of the wilderness come to prod us to decide what is most valuable to us that we might be willing to discard the vessels of dishonor that we are still hauling with us from Egypt. There are things that will keep us from the promise God has for us, but if you will be willing to simply purge yourself of those things, then the vessels of honor that are fit for the masters use can enter into promise and be used by Him to the fullest. 

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.” – Isaiah‬ ‭48:10-11

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” – 1 Peter‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭

“Glorification In Suffering”

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” – Romans‬ ‭8:17‬

No one that I know in the natural sense enjoys suffering. No doubt there are many days we wish it would all just “go away.” Unfortunately, (as it would seem unfortunate), the Bible is very plain regarding the topic: Suffering is and always will be a part of “this” life.

Jesus set the expectation stating:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

In our opening verse, it calls the “born again” (John 3) “children of God,” as well as equal heirs or sharers of Christ; both in inheritance and in peril. It compares the tribulations of life to that of Jesus’ encounters of His suffering, BUT it equally assures us that if we are joined to Christ in suffering, we are ALSO joined to Him in glorification!

Here’s a profound reality: Promotion is an elevation of a “lower state.” In that, we realize that whilst we are in the body, in suffering, in this cursed world, the only way from “down” is “up”

So many questions have been asked such as “Why God?” (as I’m sure we have all asked the same question before). Though we may not see God’s full picture, and the grand scale of his plan, we can rest assured that He is smarter than us, and knows exactly what He is doing.

At some point, undeniably-Biblically, “Joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5)

Brining balance to the reality of trials of life, it is necessary to point out the imperativeness that we should not be enduring tribulation or affliction as a result of sin. Though the Bible tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), it also tells us that we should not be suffering as a consequence of willful sin.

“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” – 1 Peter 4:15-16

Each & everyday (as I would recommend very early in the morning as according to Psalm 63:1), we should seek God for His strength for the upcoming day that His grace would sustain us to resist the devil that he would flee from us, as well as for the endurance of this present suffering as glory in the name of Jesus Christ! You might say it like this: “Bad days don’t have to be “bad” when God is good because the truth is life is always good when God is your life, because God is good!

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18.

Leave Behind Your Pain (misfortune), & Put On Your Praise!

img_6162It seems to be an all too familiar narrative in our day to day lives. There is always something that we look to complain, whine, or be upset about. Misfortune in some way, shape, or form will soon come to us all. No one is immune from it and it can takes many different forms.

In the books of the bible, we also see many different forms of pain, misfortune, or difficult circumstances coming against those whose only hope is by clinging onto their faith and praising God.

There are so many different examples in the bible that I am unable to list them all in this one message. However, in this manna we will look at two well known stories from the bible and look at how they did not let their pain –or misfortune- cause them to stop believing, worshipping, and praising God.

The first that we will look at is the story of Joseph, the favored son of Jacob (Israel) in the book of Genesis. As you recall Joseph’s brothers were no doubt very jealous of Joseph. He was not only their father’s favorite son, who he made a coat of many colors for, (Gen. 37:3) but he also was shown favor by God with the gift of dreams. This just made his brothers not only more angry and jealous, but also fear him because of the nature of his dreams that he may rule and reign over them. (Gen 37:5-8)

So in an attempt to be rid of him, they sold him into slavery after a discussion of whether or not to kill him. They first stripped him of his clothes, through him into a pit with no water, and then sold him into slavery for 20 pieces of silver. (Gen. 37:28)

Can you imagine the pain that had to be from Joseph’s point of view? Here Joseph is in the company of his brothers, family, that one would think that you are safest with family members. The thought that kind of betrayal would make most people harbor an anger that most of us could only imagine.

Joseph was then taken by the slavers down into Egypt where he was sold again in to the service of the Captain of the guard of Pharaoh. But it states in the bible that the Lord was with Joseph, in his most dire situation, he saw favor. Joseph was made the overseer of the Captain’s house and all that he had. (Gen 39:4-5)

So even in the midst’s of being betrayed by his own brothers he did not lose his faith, or blame God. He was taken from an unfavorable place and was then elevated in his situation. Joseph then saw more trails and tribulation when the wife of the captain desired and wanted to lay with Joseph. Joseph refused her many advances and even ran away from her in what one could only imagine to be a desperate attempt to escape a bad situation. (Gen 39:7)

He remained virtuous and righteous, and was then punished for something he did not do. The wife lied to her husband and other servants and Joseph was promptly placed in jail for a lie where he would be for over 2 years.(Gen. 39:20)

Joseph still did not lose his faith or favor in the Lord after yet another terrible thing befell him. But the Lord was still with Joseph, and he was shown favor by the keeper of the prison. He went from favored son, to slave, to overseer of a household, to prisoner, and now the prison keeper’s assistant. He never once stopped believing or lost his faith in God, or let his situation (surroundings) cause him to stumble and fall. Joseph in his faith was still receiving the gifts of the Lord by being able to interpret dreams. He proved himself in prison to two fellow prisoners and then to Pharaoh himself. (Gen. 41:25)

Joseph is then rewarded again with Pharaoh promoting him to 2nd in all the land only lower than Pharaoh himself.
Even after everything Joseph had been through; hated by his brothers, put into a pit, sold into slavery, and being put into prison. He never faltered with his belief and praise of God. And when it could have been so easy too at that. And yet he saw time and time again being restored and even elevated in every situation. It’s far too easy in today’s society/world to look to lay blame at or on someone, or complain about why this and that is going on. We must always understand what it is that we are facing on a daily basis.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

The devil is a liar. He looks to steal, kill, destroy any and everything and everyone that he can. (John 10:10) We must remember that sometimes the very things that seem like they will destroy or ruin you can be used by God to put you into a position and place that is beyond your own understanding. Do you think that Joseph could have understood that had it not been for him being sold into slavery and placed in prison over a lie, that he would have not been able to provide his family with food when the 7 years of famine came upon the land?

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

Another story to consider is Job. Job had everything possible going well and great for him. He had everything anyone could possibly want at that time. 7 son, 3 daughters, he had a great wealth of possessions, great household, it was even said in scripture Job1:3 (KJV) “so that this man was the greatest of all men of the east.”

Job seemed to have everything going for him, this must have truly angered Satan. As it is written in Job 1:8-11, the Lord used Job as an example to Satan, “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”

Satan then tried to state that the only reason that this was so, was because the Lord had blessed and protected all that Job had. Stop or remove your protection and he will surely curse you the devil claims. The devil thought that he “got one over on the Lord” by trying to goat him into allowing this righteous man to suffer to try and prove a point. But the devil could not see what God was doing, he is not a creator and so he cannot see down the road how and what the Lord was planning to do for Job. Satan then proceeds to destroy and kill all that Job has and owns, he even then attacks Job physically. And what and how does Job do? Job drops everything and worshipped the Lord. How amazing! In the face of losing it all, that he instead of asking “why me God?” or being angry with or blaming God, he worshipped him.

Job 1:20-22 (KJV) Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down up the ground, and worshipped. And said, Naked came I out of mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Job 2:10 (KJV)

After everything Job went through, all that he lost, all those that died, all he suffered, and everything he endured he could not see nor understand what God was doing. We as a people tend to look more to the here and now of right in front of us. We cannot see all the things that the Lord see’s, knows, understands, and all that is planned. Did Job become discouraged? Yes, but that was due partly to the people he had who were speaking things in his ears.

We have to watch who and what we allow to speak not only things to us, but over us as well. They attempted to try and convince him of the fault of all that had befallen him, was a fault to do with him. In all this Job began to question God and that’s when the Lord comes to Job in the form of a whirlwind. God was putting Job “back in his place” so to speak. If Job had only known what all God would do and restore to him and more! God rewards Job for his faith from all his ordeals and even elevates him to where he ends up with double and far better off than when it all began. The bible records, he had 7 sons and 3 daughters again, in fact in all the land where there no women as beautiful as his daughters.

There is a power and peace that can be found when there is nothing else that you can do other than to just stop and pray. When you feel like there is so much coming against you that you don’t even know what direction is up, down, left, or right and you have no idea what or where to go and do next there is only one thing left to do. Stop, pray, give thanks, and worship to God.

Stop. Stop worrying about the things of this world and the perceptions that so much of us in today’s society worry about. Do I have this? Do I have that? Do I have the right look? Do I have the right clothes, vehicle, shoes, etc? You fill in the blank.
Pray. Pray to God for Him to come to you in your time of need. Pray to God for wisdom, for knowledge, for understanding, for peace, for comfort, for a connection to Him so that you may feel Him and know Him better. So that you may hear his voice and communicate with Him like we have a friend that we are speaking with face to face.

Give thanks. Thank the Lord for everything that He has given you in your life. Thank him for the times that God was there with you even when you didn’t know it. Thank Him for his grace, His mercy, His love, His son’s sacrifice, for His gifts, for everything in your life.

Worship. Worship the Lord so that you may be able to remove yourself from whatever trouble is going on in your life at that moment and connect with Him. Lift up your voice of praise and worship to Him that even in the moment of great trail, tribulation, or heartache that we know that He is Lord of all. And in Him we place our trust, faith, and understanding. For His is greater than any of us can fathom.

Submitted by Cole Peers

The Promise Comes By Faith

girl-dancing-rain“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” (Gal 4:28)

This is quite possibly one of my favorite passages in the Bible. As God’s covenant with Abraham was fulfilled by his faith -which God credited as righteousness -so are we saved by faith through grace. With the principals of holiness in the law (old covenant) now written on the hearts of believers (new covenant).

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt 5:17-18)

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:24-29)

So what does that mean for Christian’s today? It means that we are able to come boldly before the throne of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That the same God who loved and nurtured the generations of Abraham, will in turn accept us. Such is His promise because we are heirs and joint-heirs with Jesus. And this is accomplished through grace and by faith.

Scripture teaches that even a small amount of faith can do great things. Faith as great as Abraham’s can move mountains. And it did, for God often refers to the nation of Israel as a mountain.

“Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.” (Zechariah 8:3)

In Genesis, Noah’s ark, the embodiment of the promise God made for salvation from the flood (built through great faith, for until the time that the floods came, no one had ever seen rain!) came to rest a top a mountain.

God leaves nothing to chance.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isaiah 2:2)

There are other biblical references to mountains as well. In the book of Jeremiah, the Lord calls Babylon a destroying mountain.

“Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.” (Jeremiah 51:25)

Jesus spoke to his disciples on more than one occasion about the faith needed to move mountains. Not because it was impossible, but because it was possible and even required!

The book of Matthew records a child under demonic possession being brought for deliverance, but the disciples fail in their attempt to heal him. The parent of the child comes to Jesus boldly declaring the failure. Jesus then rebukes them all in not so gentle terms.

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matt. 17:15-21)

KJV uses the word structure “Because of your unbelief…” which is softer framing of the words used in other manuscripts saying…”Because of your little faith…”.
Lack of faith? Measure of faith? Faith the size of a mustard seed? How then, can faith be measured?

Most certainly the disciples had some measure of faith, for they had made a diligent effort to heal the child, however unsuccessful. I think any person of faith who has attempted to perform a miracle of any kind in Jesus’s name understands the frustration of this moment. We do receive a clue to the problem when Jesus addresses the man who comes to Him to report the failure of his disciples. (Matt 17:15-16)

In this passage, Jesus calls the assembly faithless, and perverse. By faithless, Jesus meant unbelief or too little faith. So that having too little faith can have the same effect as unbelief.

By perverse, He means showing a desire to remain obstinate. The multitude that followed Him during His miracle working missions failed to comprehend He was more than a prophet. That He was THE PROMISE. That the kingdom of heaven was present among them. And only for a short time. (Matt.17:17)

Because Jesus addresses, not just the disciples alone in this matter, but the generation as a whole, we can see how that applies to the assembly as well. Those present had come to see a man work miracles, but lacked the faith to accept that the kingdom of God was at hand and nothing was impossible for them that believed.

When the disciples ask Him why they were not able to cast the demon out, Jesus makes a brief explanation that this kind [of evil] can only be cast out by prayer and fasting. (Matt 17:21)

In short, Jesus’s rebuke was out of His frustration with their little faith and deliberate stubbornness to accept that all power in heaven and earth was being prepared to be given them.

If you believed that the Son of God was walking beside you in the streets to redeem the lost and cast out devils, would you not prepare for that great task? The disciples had not. And Jesus knew His time remaining on this earth to teach them was running short.

Abraham had the correct measure of faith. For when God told him of His promise with him, Abraham went straightway to carry out his part of the covenant. Even though he knew His promise would be with his generations, he wasted no time in preparing the way for that promise. He took action that very day. (Gen. 17:23-27)

After this failed attempt by the disciples to exorcise the child, Jesus comes to a barren fig tree. Because he hungered and found the tree barren, he spoke unto it that it should wither away. To contrast the matter of faith Jesus had just spoke to them concerning the child, Jesus then tells them also, “Have faith in God…

“Truly I tell you that if anyone says to this mountain Be lifted up and thrown into the sea, and has no doubt in his heart but believes that it will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you HAVE received it, and it will be yours…” (Mark 11:23)

Abraham believed the covenant would be received and acted as though he had already received it. The prophets of old had done more with less. Here God was walking among them, and they failed to muster the faith needed to relieve a child of his affliction. Faith isn’t abstract. For even the devils believe in God. (James 2:19) But Jesus does expect us to have faith like Abraham had faith. Faith that can move mountains. Faith that is obedient and not obstinate. Faith that is measurable (even the size of a mustard seed). For faith is the result of an absolute alignment of one’s heart, mind and soul with the word of God. He wants us to put our faith in the truth he has revealed. In the righteousness of his covenants.
What Jesus wanted them -and us- to know, is how to use faith to move mountains. How take ground from the enemy and how to uproot strongholds.
Mountain moving faith-measurable faith -is faith rooted in God’s promises.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17

Submitted by Christy Peers

Faith In Your Friend

“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” – John‬ ‭12:9-11‬ ‭

Lazarus, having had the life giving resurrection power of God displayed through him began to share his testimony. Now only by faith in Jesus could these people be saved, yet it was because of Lazarus’s testimony and from witnessing him walking in this newness of life that their faith was stirred and they began to believe on Jesus.

This miraculous work of God in Lazarus’s life demonstrating the very real and present power of heaven not only drew the attention of many people as they turned their ears toward him and their faith toward Jesus, but it also drew the attention of the enemy. The Pharisee’s, the religious insurgence of the devil, those same people who Jesus called “vipers” and “children of hell”, those ministers of Satan masquerading as ministers of light, actually began plotting to kill Lazarus, whom God had just raised.

Think on that for a minute. God himself raised this man to life, and the priest are trying to kill him again to hide the power of God. Because you see, by God demonstrating His power in someone else it showed that these priest didn’t have it themselves because they could not do what God had done through these men. Oh how the pious leaders of many a church seek to spiritually kill those who God has demonstrated the real and present power of the kingdom through because it shows their own lack of relationship with God.

Remember that Lazarus had this testimony because that he was “a friend of Jesus.” He was very close to Christ, He supped with him and his family, he visited with them, he ministered with them, he laughed with them, and in their time of deep trial and pain He wept with them. They were friends of Christ. In these times of visitation they had listened to Jesus, believed Him, followed Him, ministered with Him, sacrifice for Him, and suffered beside Him. The Pharisee’s on the other hand, had resisted Him, rejected Him, distanced themselves and their congregations from Him. Even to the point of forbidding and shunning them from seeking after, or listening to, this miracle working man of God, Jesus.

Yet, though not just his comfort but his very life hang in the balance, still did Lazarus boldly proclaim that which God had said and done! How could he so fearlessly do this? First of all he was fully persuaded that heaven, hell, and the resurrection were real and that this was the Christ, the only way to attain it! When you KNOW of whom you speak, you can faithfully and unwaveringly say, “to live is only to serve Christ and to die is still yet gain”! Secondly, he was able to stand in the presence of all the onslaughts of hell and fear no evil because the LORD was with him. He had faith in the love, power, protection, and plan of this man who had become both his savior and friend. When we come to know Jesus in that same way, then we will be driven to do that same thing.

When God opens up heaven and pours His life giving resurrection power upon your life in miraculous ways, it demonstrates the reality of our real and present Christ! However, only when you boldly tell others about it does it then stir their faith and turn many people to Jesus. Yes the more you turn others toward the real present living Messiah in all of His Glory that they may have a personal relationship with Him also, the more the enemy will rise against you. (Usually by those who claim to represent Him but don’t actually know Him because that when He came to them, they resisted him.) 

Yet if you will but simply trust in your faithful friend Jesus and stand for Him, professing what He has done and spoken, then He will stand with you and nothing outside of His plan will overtake you. In this unshakable faith is the enemy overcome and eternity gained, not just for you, but for many who witness you being a witness of Him.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation‬ ‭12:11‬

“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” – John‬ ‭12:9-11‬ ‭