We let people talk us out of our faith all the time. We can be believing for a healing and hear Auntie Doom&Gloom tell how her sister's cousin's friend 'died' with a similar ailment. Right then and there our faith is now hindered, because we heard unbelief and doubt. It's at that very moment that we decide we're going to listen and believe who we think is the greater...God or the devil.
But I'm here to tell you friends...."Greater is He that's IN you than he that's in the world!" When we got born again, we invited Jesus to live IN us. When we got spirit filled, we welcomed the Holy Ghost, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, to abide within us. And IF He is IN us, then He is stronger and more powerful than any thing the devil can bring against us.
The Bible says, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" and the Word is Jesus. It also says, "For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." This means God's Word is dominant. It's the beginning and the end. It's above and not beneath! When it's spoken, it is effective and brings about a change. (Is. 55:11)
But often, instead of being grounded in the Word, believing and trusting God's promise, we listen to the 'lies' of the devil. He tells us we're going to get worse, we might even die. He deceives us into thinking this 'thing' we're dealing with will never change and it's hopeless. His trickery is to get us to believe the worst of our problem. If he convinces us, then we have been duped, and he has stolen our faith. We fall into a trap, a mental stronghold, filled with torment, treachery, and distress.
But don't succumb to his scam! He's a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44) There is NO truth in him or his words. The real Truth is in the Word of God. "...there is nothing too hard for God." (Jer. 32:27) He loves you and nothing can separate you from His love. (Rom. 8:31-39) Don't listen to people that that speak contrary to the promises of God. Tell Auntie Doom&Gloom thanks but no thanks. Let her know you are standing on the guarantee of your covenant with God. And He said, In all these things you are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you. (Rom 8:37)
Then my friends, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might - keep on the armor of God, so that you can resist the strategy of the devils schemes. Remain steady and committed to prayer and renewing your mind to the Word. "....Meditate day and night on the Word, so that you may observe to do all that is written in it.....then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success." (Josh. 1:8) Keep the faith!
When I was in elementary, the big thing was learning the 'times table'. My parents, in an effort to motivate me, said if I learned the tables, I would get a new watch as a reward. I studied real diligently and after much time, memorized my 'times' and passed the test at school. Thus - I got my watch! Hallelujah!
Do you recall being in school? The study time, preparing for a test and then taking the examination were exhausting! Perhaps you are in school right now, faced with these exact circumstances, you know what I'm saying! Taking a test can be strenuous.
Being a Christian adult, I am now faced with different kinds of tests. Spiritual tests, we call trials. You know the kind...where you've prayed and asked the Lord to help you 'love' someone that's not very nice. Then it appears as if they just get worse and continually get on your nerves. That's the test! Can you 'love' them even when they are annoying? Is it possible to reach deep down within and find that 'agape' love for that person? Or the financial test...praying for a specific amount necessary for a need. Then waiting for the Lord God to send the money, staying in faith and resisting fear. And what about the forgiving test? A great offense came from someone really close. With hurt feelings and humility we have to approach God forgiving the offender. I call these kinds of trials 'character building'.
Romans 5:3-4 says, "...knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." Tests help us to develop areas in our life that make us more like Christ. It's learning to apply the Word of God to our thoughts and our behavior conforming them to the will of God.
2 Cor. 10:5 "casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ," and Rom. 12:1-2 "...you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
The character trials will equip us for life challenges. We will encounter many more along the way. It's imperative that we pass these 'tests', otherwise, we find ourself retaking them over and over again, until we succeed. So the next time you're faced with the feeling of frustration, anxiety, or the like, stop, recognize the test and pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you pass the trial. James 1:3-4 said, "Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing." Pass the Test!
We are moved by compassion towards those that have recently been affected by the Oregon shootings. Our prayers are for all those impacted in the horrific incident. So in light of the recent event we are compelled to write to encourage and inspire your walk with the Lord.
Paul wrote Timothy in, 2 Timothy 3:1 "But know this that in the last days perilous times will come." It is obvious that as the day of our Lord's return draws closer, we can see we're in extremely dangerous, somewhat unpredictable, and very high risk times. It's really easy to become fearful about what is happening in our country and around the world. Everyone has their own opinion on how to rectify the problems. But the truth of the matter remains that Jesus told us, "For nation (ethnic) will rise against nation (ethnic) and kingdom against kingdom....and because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold." (Mat. 24) My friends this is what we are seeing today. Our country can make and enforce laws, but because God has been rooted out, crime is abundant! Does that mean we shouldn't make laws? Of course not! What it does mean, is that we need God! Individually and as a nation it's crucial that we turn back to Him.
Yet no matter how disturbing or bleak things appear, there is always hope. Hope in our God, for peace and safety. The Psalmist wrote: "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling." Ps. 46:1-3 Our trust and belief in Him is our only security. Many people have said, 'those people were professing Christians and they died'. Throughout the Bible many people were Christians and yet suffered persecution and death. But without faith, faith in God, there is only fear. And fear brings terror and torment. (1 John 4:8) Only the Lord can give peace.
It's time to fully trust in the Lord. In this moment we need to live the holy, righteous life. It's time to put aside all fleshly desires and repent of sin. Ps. 34:19 "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all." The Expanded Bible of Ps. 91 says it best:
"Those who go to God Most High for safety [dwell/sit in the shelter of God Most High] will be protected by [lodge in the shade/shadow of] the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety [refuge] and protection [fortress]. You are my God and I trust [have confidence in] you.”
God will save [protect] you from hidden traps [the snare of the fowler] and from deadly diseases [pestilence].
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you can hide [will find refuge; Deut. 32:11; Is. 31:5; Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34]. His truth [faithfulness] will be your shield and protection [buckler; a small shield].
You will not fear any danger by [terror at] night or an arrow that flies during the day.
You will not be afraid of diseases […or the pestilence] that come [walks; stalks] in the dark or sickness [stings] that strikes [devastates; overpowers] at noon.
At your side one thousand people may die [fall], or even ten thousand right beside you [at your right hand], but you will not be hurt [ it will not touch you].
You will only watch [look with your eyes] and see the wicked punished [recompensed].
The Lord is your protection [For you, Lord, are my refuge]; you have made God Most High your place of safety [dwelling place].
Nothing bad [evil; harmful] will happen to [befall] you; no disaster [blow; or plague] will come to [approach] your home [ tent].
He has put his angels in charge of [commanded his angels/messengers concerning] you to watch over [keep; guard] you wherever you go [all your ways].
They will catch you [lift you up] in their hands so that you will not hit your foot on a rock [Matt. 4:6; Luke 4:10-11].
You will walk [tread] on lions and cobras; you will step on [trample] strong lions and snakes.
The Lord says, “Whoever loves [desires] me, I will save [rescue]. I will protect [lift to safety] those who know me [my name].
They will call to me, and I will answer them. I will be with them in trouble [distress]; I will rescue them and honor [glorify] them.
I will give them a long, full life [satisfy them with length of days], and they will see how I can save [show them my salvation/victory].”
Our prayer for you and your family today is: Lord we ask that You empower the reader of this blog, with wisdom, and instruction. May their hearts be rendered tender and teachable. We pray they are inspired and enlightened to know You more, living righteously. May the Word of God renew their mind to be a living testimony of Your goodness and mercy. Thank you for pouring out Your grace upon them. In Jesus Name. Amen
Ps. 61:2 "Hear my cry ,O God; Attend to my prayer; From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I"
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."