Tag Archive: trials


Surfing

Do you remember how, in school, you would listen while the teacher explained something, then you would get sent home with HOMEWORK to practice and perfect your skill?

Serving God is the same way. The Bible is full of instruction. Then, God sends trials and tribulations so that you can practice and perfect doing the things He has told you to do.

If there were no trials and tribulations, you would get no practice. Without practice, you would never make the transition from being a ‘hearer of the word’ to being a ‘doer of the word’.

No one learns to surf without waves.

Advertisements

Testing And Purging

God’s overall plan is to eliminate evil.  We all have within us the capacity to choose evil or good.  But because Adam & Eve chose evil, we actually have a seed of evil within us.  We can either choose to let evil permeate us, or we can struggle against it.  Unfortunately, even those who fight to overcome it cannot set themselves free.  But, if they choose, they can ask God to remove it from them.

There is a process involved in removing the evil within us

  • First, the soul must understand the difference between good and evil.
  • Then, one must long for righteousness.
  • When they realize they cannot overcome it on their own, they may come to God, in repentance for their sins and ask His forgiveness.  His forgiveness was paid for by the death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who died in our place.
  • Once forgiven, we are baptized in water.  This signifies our cleansing by repentance and obedience to the Word of God.  Water is the first means that God used to separate the righteous from the evil, when He washed the world with a flood, and spared the only eight righteous souls that He found.
  • Then He fills us with the Holy Spirit.  This is the seal of God and the constant indwelling of His presence.  Once within us, the Holy Spirit begins the work of purifying & refining us.  We must continue to walk in righteousness, but God allows us to be tested and tried by the forces of evil.   The testing reveals where we are vulnerable to evil, or where it remains inside us.  He works in us, to purge the evil and strengthen us in those areas.  If we stumble when we are tested, His Holy Spirit picks us up and leads us to repent.
  • This continual process of purging/refining us is the ‘baptism with fire’.  We live in the portion of time where God portrays himself as fire:  Moses and the burning bush; God leading the Children of Israel through the wilderness, His constant presence with them manifesting as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire in the darkness of night, etc.  (Our world today is dark with the presence of evil, but God’s children [Christians] are the flames that shine forth from the darkness.) Fire is also the final means that God will use to purge evil from His Creation.
  • Before He takes us to Himself, we have a final test, to make sure no remnant of sin remains in us.

This phase of God’s plan for mankind is drawing near its end.  The world is steeped in darkness.  It is now that God’s light will shine the brightest.  However, evil is approaching its peak, and the testing of God’s people will be more severe and widespread than ever before.  This will require patience and endurance from His people.  It will also require trusting Him completely.

Even the most righteous among God’s people are more stained and deceived than they realize.  There are very few who, in their hearts, desire complete holiness–and even less that pursue it as a way of life.  In many ways, today’s Christians are just a subset of society–a group that indulges in the same things as society, but to a lesser degree.  Christianity’s light has almost gone out.  Its ability to cleanse and preserve society seems almost a thing of the past.

The Holy Spirit will continue working with each of us (Christians), to bring us to perfection, as long as we will participate.  However, not everyone who says they are a Christian is–and some who are, will fall by the wayside.  Do everything you can to encourage and strengthen each other.  Help those in need.  Gently confront those who have gone astray.  Live your life as an example.

Wickedness is so pervasive, and has affected our ways of thinking and behaving so deeply,  that many of us will require a lot of work to be made pure.  Trust that He will use the hardships and trials you endure to test you, strengthen you, and perfect you.

Many things are going to slam America and American Christians.  It will be one wave of hardship after another.  The Lord has granted us several months to reflect and repent, and to ‘get our house in order’.  Those days are now drawing to a close.

Great suffering is coming to America, Israel, and the ‘Western Nations’–and to Christians.  God has been restraining powerful forces of evil, but He will soon release them, allowing them to help purify and refine His children, and to provoke the ungodly to reveal the sin that lives inside their hearts.

Along with His children (the wheat), the Lord has allowed many wicked men (tares)  to thrive.  If we had been truer to the guidelines that Paul so painstakingly laid out for the church, we would not have so many of them sitting beside us in the pews, or standing behind the pulpits.

As it is, there are many imposters among us.  They have received the same blessings as we have, from our loving Father’s hand.  However, they have corrupted our understanding of God’s Word with their doctrines of demons and men, and their lying prophecies.  A great shaking is about to occur, and many you have listened to and trusted for years are going to be revealed as ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.  Stand firm.

Their (and our) testing will come as persecution from the ungodly.  Remember, trials do not form character so much as they reveal it.  It is not from pressure and persecution that people fall into sin–trials are God’s way of revealing what is already inside.  Don’t let anyone fool you by claiming that they fell into sin as a result of this pressure.  Those who truly wish to serve God will repent when their sin is revealed–those who place blame elsewhere are deceivers.

For those who truly repent–have the grace to forgive them, but they must not serve as leaders again, until God’s work is completed in them.  If their repentance is sincere, they will be humbled.  But if they remain proud, their repentance is not complete.

When you are beset by trials and tribulations, trust God.  He is working to strengthen and perfect you.  Many of the things that happen in the months and years ahead are going to be too shocking for some Christians to comprehend.  Everything they’ve held to be true will be upended.

If that is you, if you feel like you’re in shock from what is happening, and what you are learning–understand that we have been persuaded by false doctrines and lulled to sleep by false prophets.  We have been lied to–sometimes intentionally, often not.  Hold onto God.  Trust Him to uphold you.  Be pliable in His hands.  Be humble.  Repent where necessary.  Trust Him to finish the work He began in you.  Pray always.  Be encouraged and know that The Day of The Lord is near.

(For those of you who are still playing with sin: you must choose whether you will humble yourself before God and repent, or whether you will continue to consort with the evil that has courted and tempted you–the evil that will soon delight in your shame as it ‘outs’ you to the world!  Will you choose humility, or will you be given humiliation?)

Unconditional Salvation?

We Will Turn The World Upside Down!

The New Year’s Gift

I have always been different from everyone around me, so it should come as no surprise that I celebrate New Year’s Eve differently too.  I really don’t give much thought to celebrating it.  Sure, I may turn on the TV and look at other people celebrating, but it doesn’t really move me.

I don’t know where I got the idea, but for at least the last dozen years I have had my own tradition.  I spend New Year’s Eve alone with God, and I ponder which spiritual attribute I lack the most–the one that would give me a closer walk with God, in the year(s) ahead, if I had it.  Then, I request it of God.

The most memorable was the year that I asked Him for faith.  I had already heard that one shouldn’t ask for faith because it would bring many trials.  But, that’s what I felt led to ask for, and I’m glad I didn’t let fear stop me.

When the spring semester ended, I was surprised to learn that I would have no financial aid for the summer . . . and my lease would end at the same time!  As a single parent of three kids, this was not a good situation to have looming on the horizon!

After much prayer, I decided that camping in the woods all summer was one option.  But, that a better option would be to buy a camper shell for my pickup truck, store our things somewhere, and travel the USA for the summer.  I realized we had what might be a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’!

That summer is one that none of us has ever forgotten!  A whole summer of ‘quality time’ together really bonded us deeply.  We had a couple of destinations in mind–relatives that we could visit, but mostly we had ‘time to kill’!  (I find that almost impossible to imagine these days!)

For $100 we bought a family pass to the National Parks, and we lived on $600 a month.  Every day I got behind the wheel and asked God to guide me.  I would set a jar of canned food on the dashboard and head east, driving and praying.

By midday we had a warm ‘meal’.  We ate very simply and very rarely paid to stay at a campground or eat at a restaurant.  We trusted God to show us a safe place to park each night, and prayed we could sleep unbothered.

We soaked in the beauty of God’s creation and rested–what a blessed thing that was!  We learned that California had a nearly magical forest of giant trees;  that in Michigan, blueberries grew on the ground; and that the mosquitos in Minnesota were something to be reckoned with!!  We fell asleep in the woods at dusk, serenaded by the most beautiful birdsong I had ever heard.

That summer, I learned that God can take a bad situation and turn it completely around; that He can be trusted to watch over me, even while I’m asleep; that He is always with me, even when I have no idea where I am; that some of His best gifts are free; and that a glimpse of blue sky, the song of a bird, or a gentle breeze can help me reconnect with Him when I feel alone and afraid.

In the days ahead, as the works of man grow more depraved and ugly, and as evil increases around us–remember to look up sometimes.  Let God’s creation remind you of who is eternal and who is really in charge.  Remember that the trials and tribulations that lie ahead are only temporary.  Life on earth has never been easy.  Although things will get a lot worse–it won’t last much longer!!  Ten years from now, it may all be behind us.

We have much to look forward to.  We will have a thousand years to live on earth, in peace and equity, with Jesus Himself in authority.  How I yearn for His truth and justice to be established upon the Earth; for righteousness to be the standard, and the law to be upheld; for things to finally be fair; for a chance to rest and walk with Him; for a time when evil is put to flight and goodness can prevail.

Last year was difficult.  Not the circumstances of my life, but the evil around us grinding on me, wearing me down.  I imagine that a year from now, 2009 will seem like ‘a piece of cake’ as evil continues to increase.  I’ve become polluted by our culture, taking on bad attitudes and values, picked up from TV and movies.  Anger has taken root inside me, and hatred has started to grow, as I have seen America stolen and our rights stripped away.

Learning that it is all part of God’s judgment has helped me put it in perspective.  I have long known America was provoking His judgment.  Realizing that the destruction of America that is now taking place is God’s will–because of our sin–my anger at the people involved diminishes.

Instead I cry bitter tears of regret.  We had it all, but knew it not!  We had such a priceless gift from God, but we threw it away.  We squandered our freedom, to indulge our lusts.  Oh how foolish we were!! America is forever lost.  We can never go back.

The anger and attitudes I have adopted have hardened my heart and made me more callous towards the pain and suffering of others.  Tonight, I need to repent of my anger, and my attitudes, and move beyond them.  I think what I need to ask for this year, is compassion.  Someone’s life may depend on it.

He Sent A Rainbow Made Of Corn