Rejoice in the Midst of Challenges, Trials and Tests

The Message Version reads,

“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, 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!” Romans 5:3-5 MSG

You may ponder, why should we rejoice during life’s challenges, temptations, and tests? It is a matter of choice. We can either be overwhelmed by the challenge, trial, or test and feel defeated, or we can rely on God’s Word to see us through. We can rejoice because we are the victors.

We rejoice because as we go throughout life’s challenges, we mature in the Word. We are no longer bound by sin. We have been freed of sin. We still have a sin nature, but we choose to sin. It’s a matter of choice, of free will. Do we choose to live life in a humanistic way, walking in our flesh, or do we choose to walk in the spirit? We choose how we wish to live life. Is it a temporal choice where we have to strive for earthly riches at all cost or strive to receive our riches in heaven, meaning our actions are dictated by the Word of God? Galatians 5:1 NKJV, says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

We rejoice because we know that the challenges help us become mature Christians. If we remain present in the moment, we can use the scriptures as our weapons. We can endure the moment. We can rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us through the challenges and trials. We become stronger in the Word and quicker to respond because our spiritual arsenal becomes better equipped; we do nor run out of ammunition. When we endure the challenges and trials our character strengthens as we forge ahead. We begin to experience God’s peace in the midst of the fire. We become confident as we experience our salvation, our deliverance from sin and their consequences.

 

Salvation, as explained by Kenneth Copeland, includes the deliverance from evil, temporal and eternal. It is the deliverance from danger as well as pardon, restoration, healing, wholesomeness, and soundness in spirit, soul, and body. We have been delivered from the penalty of sin (Romans 5:9).

Salvation provides a life of freedom because we have been born again and have the power to live a holy life. This statement harkens back to Galatians 5:1.

Salvation protects us against earthy dangers such as sickness, disease, famine, earthquakes, and other calamities. Salvation promises a long satisfying life and delivers us from any kind of trouble that comes our way, though this part is conditional, Read Psalm 91.

Jesus purchased our salvation. Don’t give up. Don’t give in, persevere, learn and rely on the Word, have faith that the scriptures are activated when we pray them back to God. Call them out loud as God’s promises, because that is what they are promises to keep us and protect us from the wiles of the evil one, see Ephesians 6:10-18.

“Stand up for everything salvation has offered you. Focus on the Lord and his word. Stay in constant communication with him through prayer. Experience all that is available to you through Jesus Christ!”

Lastly, Salvation is by faith, not works. According to Charles Stanley, “Salvation is more than mental agreement with the truth. It includes an acknowledgment that Jesus is the son of God who died for our sins, as well as a recognition of our own sinfulness. We become sorrowful under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and desire a changed life. In Luke 5:32, Jesus states “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” If we do not repent, we will stop turning away from sin, we will stop growing and stay infants in Christ”, 1 Corinthians 3:1-2.

Key – Rejoicing during challenges, trials, and tests is the process of elevating our maturity as Christian Warriors.

Images – Google Images; YouVersion.Bible.com

Scriptures – BibleGateway.com, NLT, MSG, NIV

Resources and Quotes – The Way of Salvation. Charles Stanley, October 18, 2018. http://www.InTouch Ministers/blog/way to salvation, 6/11/2018

What does “Salvation” What does Salvation Really Mean? http://www.Salvation.kmc.org/real-help /salvation. 6/11/2018

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This is the Day, the Devil Must Flee

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God’s Promise – To give us wisdom, direction, and a way of escape

This morning I awoke and almost began my day without first thanking God for gifting me with the day. I quickly came to my senses, because without Him I am nothing.

So, I prayed, thanked Him for my continuous blessings, naming some of them, praised Him, and put the blood of Jesus over and around me and my family. I asked God to give me wisdom in all that I do today. I asked for help to incline my ear towards the words the Holy Spirit shares, to open my heart to other people’s needs and to be truthful about myself and my growth as a Christian, woman, wife, mother, and friend.

I verbally put on the Armor of God preparing and equipping myself to spread the Good News and defend myself against the onslaught of the evil one – through the Word, in all my interactions today. (Not my words but His words. It’s easy to cuss belittle, and denigrate, much more difficult to hold your tongue.) I prayed that I reside under the Lords’ wings and shadow throughout this day, and praised Him because He causes the devil to flee from my loved ones and me. I closed by prayer, Praise our Lord, Amen.

This is truly the day the Lord has made. We can begin the day stepping on the floor wrought with the issues of the day or step into the day wrapped in the power of God.

Image – Free Google Images

Scripture – Holy Bible, Bible.com

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Grace, Salvation, and Self-control

God’s Promise – His grace offers salvation to all people

Let’s walk on the knowledge that, given the opportunity, God will direct our steps. What a relief for those of us who sometimes wander around in confusion set forth at the pronouncement of the day, forgetting that “this is the day the Lord has made” and instead wallow in the outcomes of the unknown.

Through the grace of God we have received salvation and in it, direction for our lives. We should awake, thank the Lord for awakening us into a new day, put on our Armor and ask for his direction through the common landmines presented throughout the day. This is not to imply that we should expect the worse. It is our statement of faith to know that our Lord shields us, carries us, and directs our paths to avoid what may come before us. Through grace, we can make the right decisions before we act.

To accomplish this, we cannot act prematurely first consult with the Holy Spirit that has taken residence in us. He will confirm whether our decision is in alignment with the Word.

Sometimes the Spirit will tell us to say ’NO,’ this is not the path, recalculate and offer alternative avenues in the group session, or the best path is not linear, a-b-c…z, but rather a-c-q-z (a PERT path). He helps guide our decision-making about all aspects of our life.

He has taught us not to anger, especially if when a car cuts us off on the freeway, or someone pushes ahead of us on the trolley/subway, or your coworker, classmate, brother, sister, friend, or associate says something hurting in the heat of the moment.

This is not a prosperity concept, life is not all rainbows. God protects us and fights our battles. But, (this is a big but) He also told us that we will suffer travails, challenges, loss and hurt. We will experience good times and bad. We will question where God is in those moments. He is saying, stand fast, wait for his quiet voice to lead each of us, stay in control during the heated moments, do not doubt, put all of your cares in his hands and know that He is God. The Holy Spirit will lead us, and we will rest in his peace.

When we face these times, we must rely on his promises and call them out to him reminding him that we are in relationship with him and rely on his Word. We must announce to the evil of the day, the wickedness brought on by Satan’s demons or our own poor judgment, ‘If God is with me, who can be against me?’ If he is with us, we know we can withstand the evil of the day, the depression of the unknowing, and the uncertainty of life. All he asks is that we put away our worldly passions and live a self-controlled life.

 

 

Images – Google Images

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Thoughts as I work on Part 3, God’s Will -God’s Promises

What does get rid of filth and evil mean? Filth and evil are those thoughts and practices that are not of God, and in most cases, the things that internally send an alert, a sense of uneasiness or a pang of guilt.

Don’t ignore them. From my experience, we live to regret them and often are placed in similar situations to revisit them in the form of a repeat challenge. This is the story of free-will.

It is the Holy Spirit in us that is convicting us of sin. John 16:8.

The Holy Spirit enters our lives when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The Spirit of God produces the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, a topic of many of my Posts.

The Fruit of the Spirit should characterize the life of Christ in us.

Questions to ask yourself before taking action:

  • Do I follow my will or God’s will for my life?
  • Do I want to experience peace in my life?
  • Am I willing to give up the ’old man,’ controlled by my ego?
  • Will I yield to the flesh and carnal life, or to the Spirit of God?
  • Will I surrender my life, receive Christ in my life, pick up the Cross, and enter the Kingdom of God?

It’s more than a matter of perspective. It is a matter of choice (free-will). It is a matter of life or death.

God’s way will save your soul, and you will experience peace in your heart. Your way leads to a life of misery and eventual (eternal) death.

“By an act of faith, you must receive Christ. You must give him the total life, your intellect, your emotional life. Your will must be bent to His will…But as many as received Him, to them who gave the right to be children of God, those who believed in his name.” John 1:12. ~Billy Graham

Image – YouVersion, Bible.com

Quote – The Fruit of the Spirit, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, October 28, 2011

Scriptures – Holy Bible

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Who Directs Your Steps?

Proverbs 16_9

One of my favorite Books of the Bible is Proverbs, written by King Solomon in the height of his reign. It is one of my favorites because it tells us how to order our values and establish our character. Proverbs 16:9 speaks of wisdom and the direction we should follow, juxtaposing wickedness and obedience (following the Word of God).

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Who directs your steps? Are you led by God’s sovereignty, or do you take responsibility for your own affairs as acts of free will? This scripture describes the actions of two types of people, the wicked, self-determined person, and the good, righteous person. A wicked person directs his own steps, and is in lockstep with the world, coming to his own ends. He does not look for guidance or direction from the Lord. The end justifies the means. The wicked continually sow discord which seems to be common practice in today’s society.

“with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭6:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Hawaii-rocks

While is true that we are not all wicked, we are all sinners. Many of us are saved by grace, but even those of us who have received salvation tend to walk a worldly path. We aspire to greatness in our careers and our relationships. We are comfortable cutting corners, aligning ourselves with questionable associates and engage in company practices that in our hearts know are wrong. We direct our own steps, we listen to the evil one that paves our road with gold overlay. We reenact the days of Rome in our daily lives. And, to many, the question becomes, if we have free will, why would we want God to direct our steps when we have the freedom to discover and conquer at will? The wicked man, the sinner, charts his own path and when disaster strikes, calls upon the Lord. How many find that our own actions, intentions, and plans cannot stand the test of time and eventually cry to the Lord for help, promising to change our wicked ways only to head down our own path once He has placed us on solid ground?

“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost.”
Proverbs‬ ‭20:24-25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Hawaii-road

The second half of the scripture focuses on the godly person. The saved person who seeks after the Lord, the person who applies the Fruit of the Spirit in their daily lives. The good person who is a righteous person. The person who is influenced by the Spirit and grace of God to think and act in a Christ-like manner. He does not order his own steps, the Lord directs his steps, he does not veer to the right or the left but walks safely through difficulties, challenges and day-to-day activities, all the while listening to the voice behind him directing his steps and avoiding the landmines of life.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.””
‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Hawaii-ocean

PONDER THIS – Who do you listen to? Who directs your steps? To quote Shakespeare’s Word in Hamlet, “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-new them how we will.” Septuagint, “Let the heart of man consider what is just, that his steps may be by God’s directed might.” (Pulpit Commentary)

I am providing a summary of the Book of Proverbs to provide the scope of this discussion and offer a blueprint to acquire wisdom, direction, and obedience to the Word.

Nelsons’ Quick Reference, Proverbs 16 Summary

A prepared heart(1-3, 23) is a heart that receives God’s truth and submits to God’s will. Since the mouth speaks what the heart has treasured up, the Lord can guide your words when your heart is prepared (Matt. 10:19-20).

A proud heart (5, 18-19). Pride is one sin that God especially hates. It leads to all kinds of trouble and robs you of the blessings of the Lord.

A purposeful heart (7, 9, 25). If your heart is not devoted to God’s purposes, then it will lead you astray. Take time to think and pray, meditate on the Word, and make your plans; and then trust the Lord to guide you.

A prudent heart(20-24). When wisdom is your food and drink, then you will be able to make prudent decisions. A prudent heart is revealed by lips that speak sweet words of wisdom.

A perverse heart (27-30). What is in the heart eventually comes out in the life, and the life described here is anything but beautiful or useful. No wonder Proverbs 4:23 is in God’s Word! Are you heeding it?

Supporting Scriptures

“O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.”
Jeremiah‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.”
Proverbs‬ ‭16:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Resources

BibleHub.com. Commentary Proverbs 16:9, Benson Commentary, Gill’s Expositions, Pulpit Commentary
Hayford’s Bible Handbook. Proverbs.
Wiersbe. Nelson’s Quick Reference. Proverbs 16

Scriptures – Bible.com

Images – Google Images. LAB’s photo collection

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

The Peace of God

Phil 4_7 beach

As Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I feel it is important to share our experiences with the Lord. This is my testimony.

Hearing the voice of God lead you and direct you is the most rewarding experience in life. It is greater than giving birth or anything else that is satisfying in your life. It elevates you and takes you to a place of peace that is greater than our understanding. You experience serenity and the reverence of God. I can’t even image the ‘peace’ we will experience in heaven. NKJV, Philippians 4:6,7 is clear and succinct.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Every believer has the ability through prayer to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding because at this point we have entered into God’s heavenly space.

lake eliz

‭‭This peace exceeds anything we can understand, and when you find yourself there, your relationship with the Lord becomes so much more fulfilling. You long for the indescribable experience and desire to continually live in it. The indescribable peace guards our hearts and minds, we are in the presence of Jesus. The resistance you once felt to obey the Word falls away. Suddenly you no longer doubt, question, stray from, or desire the world as you did before. Having entered this space, I can say, the world no longer draws me as it did before. You see the war, the strategies the evil one uses to lure you into an immoral life has been exposed. You no longer want to conform to this world, your mind has been renewed and your sole purpose in life is to prove what is good and acceptable and perfect in the will of God. Your behavior changes. You no longer hold precious the things of the world. You simply long for our Lord and Savior and an ever-growing relationship with him. When you experience God’s peace, the scriptures make sense. They are no longer intellectual jargon, but become ‘The Truth’, without question or premise. The world becomes less inviting, it loses its hold on you. You enter into God’s will. It is more than good, it is perfect and pleasing to your being.

Romans_12-2 earth

This experience brings meaning to ‘humble yourselves’. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, Humble means to make low, to be abased; lowliness of mind. Abase, to bring to a humble condition. You are brought to a humble condition when you lavish in this peace. You can’t be anything else but humbled because you know your righteousness is Gods and not our own. Our salvation is bright and unyielding. It is clear we are filthy rags but loved none the less. Grace and mercy become living words and the peace becomes real.

Praise the Lord for this experience. He is my strength, my refuge, my rock, my Savior and my Heavenly Father.

Images – Google Images, LAB’s Collection
Scriptures-Biblegateway.com

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Second Guessing God – Self Deception

As humans, we have fallen short, made mistakes, said something we shouldn’t have, compromised our integrity, committed a crime, Second Guessing Godhave addictions, and failed. Generally, in these circumstances, we hear ourselves saying, ‘I blew it, God will not have anything else to do with me’. People are self-righteous, and self-condemning thinking we know how God will respond to our failings. We feel God is far from us and our mistakes have created a gulf between our Savior and us. We often second guess God, however, – the Lord clearly expresses that He thinking is not like ours,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

As humans, we stumble and fall, and as Donnie McClurkin sings, ‘we fall down, and we get back up’. It did not say we get back up on our own. The truth is we are helped up by the hand of God. God does not run from us when we fall, he runs to us. If we run away, he runs after us. He has always been with us. Jesus parable stated that the sheepherder went after the one stray sheep and left the ninety-nine alone to recover the one. He did so because he wanted to save the stray, he wanted to restore it to the flock  (Matthew 18:12; Luke 15:4). God works in the same way, He wants to retrieve lost, misguided people and He accomplishes this through (his earthly disciples) people. He may send someone to give you a word of knowledge, to sure you up at your lowest moment, to encourage you, to dust you off and help you recover.

God created us and knew what we would go through before we were a twinkle in our mother’s eyes before our parents were born and before the earth came to be. He knows when we will succeed and walk in our destiny, and he knows when we will fail. He knows when we are a spiritual mess. He knows when we will and will not be obedient to the Word or depend on Him. He knows we will experience hardship and wrongdoings, some brought on by ourselves and others external from our control.

God does not exempt us from hardships and tragedy. He will work with us through theseDependence3 times to allow us to learn to trust in Him. He allows adversity to mold and shape us. Like a child learning to walk, we must let them try to stand and walk on their own. They will stumble and fall, we will pick them up and steady them, and then let them go. We are there with our children and God is here with us.

Once we get this in our spirit. We can forge ahead, stay in prayer, and know ‘God’s Got Us’, no matter how bad we think we are or what we have done. We’re never alone in our trials and tribulations. It is through adversity that God gets our attention, delivers us from our pride, reveals our weaknesses and strengths, increases our hatred for sin, shows His faithfulness, strengthens our faith, removes pride and self-centeredness, prepares us for future service and enables us to comfort others facing adversity.

“Adversity helps us build our faith in Him. Adversity molds us into Christian Gods mercy3Warriors. God does not see us as we see ourselves. He sees a saint sometimes struggling, sometimes falling, but justified, redeemed, forgiven, and reconciled to Him. He sees a saint full of His unconditional love, indwelt by His presence, sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He sees someone in whom adversity can never take up permanent residence”. (John Gill)

God can and does take our tragedies and turn them into a blessing. He knew Jacob was imperfect, he stole his brother’s birthright, swindled others, lied, and cheated, yet when Jacob repented, he changed his name to Israel (which means new beginnings). He takes his imperfect people; the single sheep straying away from the flock and restores us. He blesses us through our newly found obedience and dependency upon him as our Father, our Lord, and our Savior.

God does not want us wallowing in our sins, our mistakes, our poor decisions, and offenses. He knew we would commit them just as he knew Peter would commit the worse offense possible, denying Him three times and setting the crucifixion in motion.

When we fall, God doesn’t run away, He runs to us. When we make a mistake, He pursues us. God chose Peter even though he denied him three times. No matter what we have done, He calls us His children, just as many of our parents have called us, and just as we call our children. He helps us and protects us not because we are perfect and proved ourselves, He does so because of our relationship with Him. It is the relationship he gifted us through the crucifixion of his Son, Jesus Christ, who bore our sins.

When you feel unworthy, remember, He changed Jacobs name to Israel. He sought out the Woman at the well, a Samaritan, who had five husbands and was living with another man. She was the first person He told that He was the Messiah. All He wanted of her was for her to Call upon Him. He chose Thomas (the disciple that said he needed to feel the holesDoubting God Thomas in Jesus’ hand before he believed he was speaking to Jesus; he was nicknamed Doubting Thomas because of disbelief) to disciple 3,000 people in India after the death of Christ. All were sinners and sought after by Christ because He wants everyone to find salvation through Him. The Bible is replete with sinners that have found their way to Christ. Our God is a God of second chances. His mercy is bigger than any mistake we have made. All he asks is that we have a heart for Him. He wants us to love Him as He loves us. He wants us to depend on Him and be obedient to His Word.

We can call on the Lord, and He will save us in times of great need and in moments of silence. The only thing God asks of us is that we must receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and repent of our sins. As a child, I always thought of repentance as acts of fire and brimstone and thought ‘to fear the Lord’ was to be afraid of an angry God, which cannot be further from the truth. It made our Lord appear as distant and retaliatory. I only wish parents would explain that He is loving and forgiving. Not as words but through His actions towards us. Repentance must never be thought of as something we must do before we can come back to God. To repent means to change directions. Repentance describes what coming to God entails, that we turn away from our sins and embrace Him. We can’t turn towards God without turning from the things He is against. In this sense, to repent implies hope. We don’t have to continue the way we’ve been going, we can turn to God.

God does not judge us the way people judge us. He doesn’t label us as defective, as the masses labeled Thomas, a.k.a. Doubting Thomas. He does not set us aside. He runs after us. He finds the sheep that lost their way. He is a God of second chances. He is faithful. His mercies are new every morning. We are justified by His grace. He is our Lord and Savior who loves us and is our salvation.

Jesus died to pay our sin debt. We cannot pay a debt that does not exist. It is not only paid off, it was finished through the resurrection of Christ.

‘It is finished.’ 
John 19:30 NKJV

We cannot second-guess God. God does not label us. God does not judge us as people do. God does not alienate us when we do wrong. God is not a fire and brimstone God. God does not leave us in our sin.

God wants everyone to receive salvation. God is a God of second chances. God pursues us. God stands with us during times of adversity. God saves us. God loves us. God is our Lord and Savior.

 

Sources

Gill, John. Exposition, Acts 2:21. http://www.biblestudytools.com
Guzik, David. Study Guide for Acts:21. http://www.blueletterbible.org
Osteen, Joel. Tape #537, God Loves Imperfect People
Stanley, Stanley. Life Principle Bible. 1 Samuel, 27-30

Images-Google Images
Scriptures-BibleStudytools.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.