I don't know how else to put this but to say what I believe is the truth. We have an enemy and anyone who is trying to faithfully stand on God's Word has, is or will shortly be in his crosshairs. By this I am referring to times of intense tribulation, affliction or persecution. All these things are not only to be expected by those trying to live their lives "in Christ Jesus", but more or less guaranteed to happen.
Many of us were granted a season of great peace and prosperity last week, month, year or decade. Whenever that season was, I can assure you that the seasons have changed. As has been documented time and again through various blogs on this great site; the Bible is full of evidence verifying that God's people will go through periods of great joy and abundance as well as periods of pain and poverty.
I was reading today about a French Priest who has devoted his life to researching the systematic extermination of the Jews in the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia in the early 1940's. My heart ached as I read the article thinking of what innocent people had to go through only because they were "Jewish". It really put my stupid problems in their proper perspective. For anyone interested, here is the link to the article:
I received a card from someone yesterday (the first one of any kind in ages), and I wanted to share something this person said, for it really had an impact on me.
"Your faith cannot be manifested until it is tested. God does not send a test to destroy you, but to PROVE you-to PROVE YOUR FAITH IN HIM."
For some reason these wonderful words of encouragement jumped off the page and smacked me between the eyes. How can we know how much faith we have in Him until there is a test of our faith? We can "say" we have faith all day long, but we never know how deep our faith is until situations come along which prove our faith in Him.
As many of you know, the relentless pressure of the enemy has slowly but surely zapped much of the life out of me. I am not complaining for as long as I draw breath I will rejoice in my God and seek to bring Him glory. But, the facts concerning my physical situation are such that I do not believe I have ever undergone such a rigorous testing in my life. I am absolutely aware that these are the proving hours of my earthly life. Either my faith is as strong as I believe it is, or it is not.
I am not the first person to deal with the set of circumstances I am currently enduring and I am sure I will not be the last. In fact, I believe many of us here on this site are in different ways engaged in the fight of our lives. Negatives from all directions and of all types are relentlessly trying to drag us down and cause us to doubt God's Word of promise. Pressures, tribulations and afflictions seemingly abound on all sides every day.
The person who sent me the card I quoted from above is the same person who spent two hours talking on the phone to me Sunday night. This is a person I have never met and probably never will. This is a person God saw fit to place in my life at this time to help me "keep the faith". I believe, for this has happened numerous other times in my life, that God will do this for His children. He will send someone to you whose sole purpose is to encourage, exhort, comfort and edify YOU. Once done, the person may very well fade away never to be heard from again.
God knew long ago what was coming in my physical life. He knew the genetic flaws within me and the problems I would encounter as I got older. God, in His mercy and grace saw fit to direct my steps to where I needed to be at this time in life to not only receive the support and strength I need to endure, but also to GIVE. As you may or may not have noticed, I am writing more and more often. Since I cannot get out and physically do the things I used to do helping others, I am left with two avenues of giving-prayer and writing. It is to those two things I am fully devoted.
This morning, as I try to do every morning, I spent time praying for various people and situations. I imagine I prayed for at least 25-30 of YOU this morning, as I do many mornings. I certainly pray for those who God allowed me to bless with Premiere memberships, but I also pray for many of you who have genuinely blessed my life with comments made and messages sent. I cannot begin to tell you how much your genuine and sincere support has enabled me to not succumb to the temptation to give into the physical and financial problems surrounding me.
God knew this and that is why in His infinite wisdom He directed me here many months ago. He brought me here to find the family I needed to help me get through this extreme period of testing. He led me here so I would be blessed with loving and faithful friends whose prayers would cushion me from the direct blows handed to me by the enemy. Our God is so good.
Thank you for allowing me to wax sentimental here and share these things which burn in my heart. You know, when you get a case of Godly heartburn, it is NOT a good thing to run for the Tums. To the contrary, it is good to run to the computer and let your fingers do some talking. Thank you for listening.
The late Keith Green penned a song who's words I've held in my heart for through the years. The song is called Trials Turn To Gold. During difficult times, I've tried to remember this portion of the song in particular:
[quote]He's brought me low, so I could know
The way to reach the heights
To forsake my dreams, my self esteem
And give up all my rights
With each one that I lay down
A jewel's placed in my crown
Cause His love, the things above
Is all we'll ever need
He's brought me here, where things are clear
And trials turn to gold [/quote]
Do not stop writing even though it can become very hard and may even produce some painful backlashes at times! We need to hear what God is doing so that it may also strengthen us and increase our faith as well (ripple effect).
[quote]God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
May God give you more and more grace and peace.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,
and we have a priceless inheritance-an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:2-9 (NLT) [/quote]
Its a funny thing about faith, its not always there when we need it. The best thing about faith is once it is there when we need it, then it is always there. A pastor once called these trying seasons you describe as a pruning of some sort. I always loved that description. It took away a burden of some sort. I also found it comforting that faith was what the elderlys, the ones before Jesus, draws us into salvation with. I know that you are aware of Abraham's faith, it was tested as much as any. Of course we know in Hebrews where our Lord's word makes the statment "need I say more, I do not have the time..." So many have passed this test throughout time. I also found comfort in John the Baptist lack of faith when he had to question Jesus that one time when he sent his disciples to ask, "are you the one or are we to expect another?" We know that John saw the spirit descend upon Jesus. After anwersing John's question Jesus then turns and tells those around Him that there has never been a more worthy man that has been born from a women than John the Baptist, John had our Lord's word that he was the greatest man every born. This statement was made right after John had doubted faith. Truth is we all doubt at some point, but we eventually are given into faith in the end. I can only imagine how i would feel if i had to face sure death. Yet we all know that the night before Peter was to be put to death He sleep so soundly that the angel had to shack him before he awoke. His faith had finally overcome the doubt, he appearnetly was not concerned about death. Of course we have all been tested that are to come to Him, we all have to enter that one gate into the pen. Yet others are tested to all out maximum limit. I understand that your faith is going through that less than magical moment now. I draw you to an understanding through Hebrews Chapter 10;
35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
37 For in just a very little while,
"He who is coming will come and will not delay.
38 But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
I mention this only as to strengthen your resolve with the understanding our Lord does come.
What an awesome brother you are. You who spends countless hours and days loving people that our Lord sends you to bring them to a level of faithfulness only He can expect them to achieve. My prayer is not only for you my brother but it is for all those who in the future will need God's love through the gifts that our Lord only gave you. You stand up strong my friend and recognize that it is the Lord that is with you, and through Him all things are possible.
Praise God and Go with Peace,
Your brother in light, bubba
Amen brother . . . we are all tested and we all go through little trials and tribulation which are for our good because in the end they build our faith. It seems when we believe our faith is unshakable the big one comes. It normally comes from a place you would least expect it. I know a little over ten years ago it did with me. Turned my life upside down and nearly broke me spiritually. God is faithful and all things did work together for good and today I am much stronger because of it.
I don't pretend to know why good people have to suffer however God has used you to bless many people, especially me. I do believe those who face many trials and tribulations and remain faithful to the end will have a greater reward. My brother you are giving much in this lifetime and you reward will be eternal to the glory of God.
Keep doing what you are doing . . . many eyes and hearts are opened through your ministry.
your blogs! 2 Tim 1:7 "God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind". I thank God for your wisdom and your willingness to share it with us. I pray He will uphold you with his power and through this time of trial that he will give you revelations of himself that will be a mighty blessing to you.kbird