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“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” Philippians 1:12 The trials of the Apostle Paul was sent to destroy him on the part of the enemy, but allowed to prove him on the part of God. Faith is not a mere idea of the mind, but a disposition of the heart. It is able to withstand the onslaught of challenges that would otherwise wear one down. When we are tried and pass the test, on the other side of that victory is a special grace useful in the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can then all the more identify with the price He paid by enduring much more than we could ever face in this life. There is a message preached by some who are void of experience that may stir the emotions and impress its hearers. But there is another message deeply rooted in experiences aligned with the sufferings of Christ. That message is able to make a deep impact upon its hearers because they not only hear it but see it. We live our message much louder than we…

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:6-7 Faith is placed on trial when you are given a seemingly legitimate reason to rebel against God as the result of current circumstances and the decisions of others. Logically the thing to do would be to disobey God and partake of the forbidden, or curse God for relief that does not seem to be on the horizon or even a part of the plan. One is for self-gratification and the other is to remedy the effect of constant misery. Faith rises in the midst of trials as being more precious than whatever the outcome would have been if you had relented in the midst of your greatest and most fierce battles. It is precious because in the end, God will prove Himself to be faithful. He will reward those who do not cave in under pressure, and will avenge them from…

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10 The progression that takes place in the life of a Christ-follower begins with the call. He calls us to Himself. Then we can be conformed to the image of His Son. It is only when we answer the initial call will we qualify to experience what is produced in us as the result of being drawn close to Him. His eternal glory is the finished product of His grace. God looks at the end from the beginning. But the path requires suffering even though it is only for a little while in contrast to the glory that shall be revealed in us. We are matured to see things from His perspective, thus established in the faith not wavering because of various trials. Each challenge provides strength for future challenges as we develop a greater resistance to the evil one. Finally we are settled as not to be moved by whatever may come our way. A steadfast faith remains constant and undisturbed in a fixed position in relation to…

“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:15 The rush towards the promise, without patience to endure the interval trials, is giving expression to doubt and unbelief. Those careless movements are usually met with disappointments with self as well as with God. Misunderstandings arise concerning God’s character of love and concern when one caves in while engaged in the battle. This happens when Christ is not being seen and known throughout all of the circumstances of life. Faith requires one to believe in God and what He has promised even before the evidence is present. His desire is to reveal Himself through His Word that is able to withstand every crisis met along the way. His Word is truth and can outlive the lies of Satan. The bump in the road was not a roadblock but a stepping –stone leading towards the life that lies ahead. There are times when there is nothing left but His promises and pressures. The pressures may try to shroud the promise but the promises are true regardless of the amount of pressure. Perhaps this could be the path of authentic faith being developed within one’s life. Many need to…

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:4 The trials that we face have a far greater purpose than the aggravation and pain that we often suffer. Isolated from God’s intent, some would think that we had been abandoned to face the giants of perplexities alone. It is when nothing is left but God’s promises that faith is called into action. What we received during those moments when could clearly see Him and experience His blessings must keep us when we enter into the fog. Faith to endure is the patience that must further develop us. We learn to wait on the Lord and not attempt to rush the process. God has more to teach is in these dry cold winter seasons than we could ever learn in the springtime of life. This is when our faith is tested as to its authenticity. How would we ever know whether we love God for who He is or merely love Him for what He gives? On the other side of the test is a faith that endures. We can then see Him for who He really is and not just image…

Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ Judges 6:13 God called Gideon before there was any evidence of might and valor within him. God did not wait on the evidence in order to affirm the fact that he was called. His call provided the evidence necessary to face the challenges that awaited him. We have been called to greatness! His call is initially a call to Himself.  It is His might and valor working through us when given permission, that will launch us into new challenges and trials leading to victories beyond measure. The question on Gideon’s heart was, “if the Lord is with us, why then has all these things happened to us?” Things happen that cause questions to be raised. Sometimes we may feel abandoned and all alone. These are times when God provides evidence that will take is beyond the level of our own strength. He was a mighty man of valor incognito. God does not merely choose those who have the external qualities…

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.”Romans 5:3-4 (KJV) A price tag cannot be placed upon the lessons learned in and through troubled times.  We often know how we should feel and respond, but to be honest, the character of that response may not been developed within us yet. Many call this faith while it is actually dishonesty. David, the Psalmist gave expression to his heart, having various trials, set-backs and disappointments, but asked God to work the right response within him. Our mere words alone will not deliver us, but what we are becoming as result of God s; working on us and in us is the aim. “Tribulation worketh patience and patience worketh experience or character. Eugene Peterson in the Message paraphrase puts it this way; “and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary — we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! It is through our…

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30 God searches hearts in His pursuit of a man that carries His passion. He looks beyond the surface responses and reactions of those who make a good showing before others and will often find one who appears to have nothing going his way. This diligent soul appears to be benched and not actively recruited to participate on the world’s scene because the world does not see his qualities but God is fully aware of them all. This is the man that will build a wall between what God loves and what He loathes. He will also restore the wall of protection for inhabitants of the land that is now defenseless against the enemies of their souls. He stands before God in order to God as an intercessor, appealing to Him in order to avert the judgment that would come against all who rebel against God. But who is this man? He is a nobody in the sight of others, but to God he…

“He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart” Psalm 15:1 The benefit of abiding with Christ is the motivation to act is governed by the Holy Spirit rather than merely our own minds. The thoughts generate from God and are transferred to the heart so that the will is to do His will rather than what previously occupied our time and attention. It is not a matter of consciously manipulating the mind to think right. There is a continual flow from the heart to the mind maintaining an awareness of God’s Presence at all times. Then it is not as much of a strain to make the right decisions in relation to our walk. Though temptations may come and trials may test our faith, we know that He is with us and we know that He working in us. Now when we speak, we speak from a changed heart. His Word is hidden in our hearts and no other language is our own other than what is being translated into life within us. What marvelous position to occupy when God is able to convey His truth boldly through an earthen vessel that has been transformed…

“You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples.” Psalm 77:14 God is at work among the peoples of the earth. He has ordered the whole of creation to bow at His feet. Nothing is able to remain standing in defiance of Him. He rules in power and in might. The raging of heathens who align themselves as armies will utterly fall. The conspiracies among the rulers of this age will be confounded. God is not troubled by the circumstances that appear to overtake those who have placed their trust in Him. All will ultimately see that God is their strength and their present help in the time of trouble. He will bring down those who exalt themselves, and lift up all that humble themselves before Him. It will be a marvelous sight to see when God arises among those who belong to Him. They would have appeared to be the laughing stock of the world. They have suffered the loss of friends, fame, and fortune. But God, who has placed His Word within their hearts, will speak through them words of deliverance directed towards those who would be saved.  A clear voice will be…