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This month's teaching : Repentance

God Answers A Hurting Man

The despair of the righteous in difficult times is often so profound that hope appears as a foolish notion one dares not discuss, not even with God. There are professing Christians who are shallow, having very little depth in their walk with the Lord, and with sloppy reverence they try to be Christians. There are those with a sincere and yearning heart to follow after God with what they know. Then there are those who are truly followers of Christ, who walk in greater depth of faithfulness and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit through faith deeply established by years of loyalty. In all the different categories of our spiritual experience as Christians, we at times become bewildered and deeply grieved by disappointments that occur amidst our time of peaceful serenity in Christ. This can happen when something, or even someone, creates an unanticipated situation designed to displace our loyal service to Christ. I am not referencing light afflictions, but the extremely difficult situations with effects that linger to disrupt our purity and holiness—established in the presence of God.

These disappointments can bring us into grave situations of utter despair and anguish for a season. At times, even trust seems to fail; we may even question our faith in God. Sometimes there are tragic circumstances that encounter us and are designed to destroy the tender love and faith we have in our relationship with Christ. When we get into these situations, we’re often encumbered with utter despair. In these places of anguish, we tend to look at everything in a way that takes us even deeper into misery. We find ourselves in a place where we become distraught and troubled on every side. There seems to be nowhere to look for refuge; any ray of hope is only a façade leading to further dismay. At times, every move we make thrusts us into deeper cycles of dejection and inconceivable feelings of isolation. These advanced stages of testing can even bring a vibrant prayer-life to a sudden halt. We begin to process thoughts of questioning, sifting through ideas of what could cause this torrent of despair. Is it something I did wrong? Are we in the crosshairs of Satan’s conflict against our very soul? What went wrong?

Often, I refrain from speaking much about this, because there are many who will associate their troubles with spiritual trials, when in truth, it is only that their sinful life is being exposed. I am writing about the many afflictions of the righteous, not the unrighteous. We must never misunderstand this in any sort of way. The issues that encumbered Job did not result from sin he had fallen into. It was simply that he was a righteous man, with loyalty even observed from heaven when his name was brought up at a meeting amidst the sons of God.

Job was a man that was perfect and upright, he feared God and hated sin. Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He had 7000 sheep 3000 camels 500 yoke oxen 500 asses.

He was the greatest amongst the men of the East. Job sanctified his family continually unto the Lord, in case they fell into hidden sin. His integrity and loyalty before the Lord was so solid, that Satan remarked on God’s blessing and protection over him. Satan said, ‘If you take that away from him, he will curse you to your face’. God told him he could take all from Job, except for his life. Satan did it all in one day. This calamity was to an extreme degree that few people in all of history have ever experienced. It is estimated that Job’s assets were around 20 million approximately 3,600 years ago, far richer than anyone in our day. It appears that all was lost in a day and nothing was left for him. His health was taken, and his friends became ill-advisers, turning out to be enemies.

So, in a short conclusion, Job was extremely troubled—he lost everything, and had every reason to be the most down-cast man on all the earth. God gave him to Satan to be nearly destroyed in order to prove to him that Job would not sin with his lips, but would only fear God. He lost all his wealth and his children, and his friends greatly misunderstood him, basically accusing him of sin. We would think if ever a man needed tender care and understanding, and the love of God in a way that brings hope, it was Job in this moment!

This is what he got from God: Job 40:6 Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said V.7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Job 40:10 Deck you now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. V.12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. V.13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. V.14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

‘Get up and stop crying, clothe yourself with excellence and beauty and cast away the rage of your wrath: look at the one that is proud, and humiliate him.’ And Job was fully restored and given more than he ever had before, including sons and daughters. What was his victory?

Pessimistic Distortions

The twelve spies that were sent out to view Canaan, The Promised Land, brought back two vastly different reports. Ten of them saw the giants of Anak, and two saw what God described as rich land filled with grapes, honey, and milk. The ten recognized that there were rich fields filled with plenty, but they considered the great enemy they saw to be more significant. They all beheld the same things, yet arrived at two different points of view. The least of them saw what God promised; the majority saw the impossibility caused by these tall men. How could the conclusion of representatives from the twelve tribes of Israel show such contrasting opinions? Was it something within, or something without? It must have been something within because they saw the same thing without. So, what is within a person that can cause his surroundings to appear dramatically different? Faith in what God said was the whole difference.

I meet with so many situations in the lives of people that seem to be clueless as to why they have become what they are. Some have a natural tendency to be controlled by a negative view of life; they seem to possess a pessimistic point of view of almost everything. These people feel a sense of guilt in embracing something positive. This problem is one that brings an adverse effect to one’s surroundings. It’s like the dead flies in the ointment of the apothecary in Ecclesiasties 10. This character does not understand why no one enjoys being in their company. They seem to have a fear of the night in the middle of the day. They like to weep with those who weep, but find it uncomfortable to rejoice with those who rejoice; they cannot be filled with joyfulness for they find the cross of joy to be too great because of the suspicion they foster. They find a fictional and repulsive security to hold onto. This is a disruptive, unhealthy characteristic of the soul-power of man. These people fear the clouds of tomorrow and allow it to mess up the sunshine of today. These effects are not characteristic of the beautiful life to be lived by the children of God.

As we dig a bit deeper into their lives, we find patterns that are not healthy. One of the chief issues they unknowingly possess is that they have the answer to most any problem, but their own they cannot fix. One obvious trait of this personality is that they counter things with a question. By constantly being in a condition of questioning, they produce an environment of suspicion. They use repugnant questions to construct a defense of gloom around themselves, loving the security of worry and embracing negativity. It empowers them in the strongholds in which they barricade themselves.
Another problem that this tendency creates is the inability to see clearly or factually because of fear-based perception and imaginations. Eve knew clearly that she was not to touch the Tree of Knowledge nor eat the fruit of it. She knew without any doubt what God had said. When Satan asks her one question, the question became hers – “Has God said?”. At that moment, the terrible tree completely changed into a pleasant fancy. Now the tree was pleasing to the eyes and good for food and desirable to make one wise. When Eve was brought into question, she discovered something that changed her: an inflamed and distorted imagination! Her imagination took an evil tree and instead made it appear pleasing, good, and wise. Now she was convinced because it made total sense. The tree never changed! Her imagination changed her perception of the evil and turned its discernment into a compelling good. The imagination will also take good and make it into evil.

What is the answer to this problem labeled in our society as anxiety? I have learned that, unmistakably, the biggest problems that create anxiety are – out of control imaginations, and the people who possess them cannot be trusted in the relaying of a story. In counseling people with this framework of distortion, nothing is accurate. This imaginary problem is so intense, that it is like an evil compulsion that poisons the whole body. It is actually devilish in every sense. This is often where evil spirits attach themselves like a monkey on someone’s back. These complex mannerisms are hard to bring to a stop. It is like the two sisters that birthed their own problem. Ezekiel 23:4 And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister; and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah. These were sisters that fought like Samaria and Jerusalem and produced children that became their own enemies.

The overcoming power is repentance towards truth. We cannot continue to fester in captivity to something we’ve only imagined. Imaginings are not truth. God never imagines, He knows. We imagine only when we do not know. It is a stronghold-tool designed by Satan to destroy. We cast it down in a moment! These are high exalted things that are anti-Christ in nature. We refuse the right to trust in it. We cannot be under Christ’s obedience when we allow our imagination to control us. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Imaginations are designed to stand tall, and control. We cast all of them down to inexistence, now is the time to do so!

The Heart of a Man

Every one of us in the human race has been created to be different from one another. God has ordained it to be this way for His glory. While we have different appearances, we all have certain similar abilities that separate us from all other creatures. We are given a soul. This soul has three specific functions. These functions are perfunctory compartments within us which produce a state of usefulness far beyond any other creature. These elements are distinctive, God-created wonders known as our mind, emotion, and will. Man lives in a realm of constantly being influenced as well as emanating his own influence. This atmospheric potpourri results in our soul’s common nature. Natural thinking says, what we learn we become. God says, what we speak is who we become or already are. Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. So, we see that the immediate source of our words, is that which is in our heart. Let us take some time to understand this phenomenon.

The words of man come from the heart and they defile, tarnish, and contaminate the whole man. How can words defile the heart from which they are spoken, defiling that which seems to be defiled already? Matthew 12:34 out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Can I have evil in my heart and speak good things? Do good and evil live within one’s heart at the same time? Most definitely we are vulnerable to both because of what the heart really is capable of. We read in James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing, but also is given a warning that this is not what it should be like. Jeremiah says the heart is deceitful more than anything and desperately wicked, who will know this? This understanding came from one of the great prophets of God. It is of great importance to acknowledge this truth and remain aware of its defiling rudiments constantly. Once we become honest about our fallible heart, the Holy Spirit will help us overcome our reckless tongue by imputing divine influence upon it. I describe the heart of man as a chamber, filled with suggestions that can be inflamed in a second by impulse, or pre-existing conditions. It can be calm as a silent night, and explosive as a burst of vicious force.

Jesus says it is from the heart that evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies come. If all these sinful tendencies come from the heart of man, how can we overcome them? Trying harder? There must be something in salvation that can over-shadow these heart-filling tendencies, else we would be committing these sins all the time. Is it simply self-denial? Denying the self can squelch many wrong desires until it bursts forth in a desire for life. That is the story of most of man’s failure. There must be something to tone the heart that is higher than human nature and greater in power or we would be in the constant trouble of prospering sin and its destruction.

Actually, our spirit houses the defined results of who we are and that which relates to us and comes out of us. This is why it is of such great importance to house things that are clean, spiritually free, and holy. Within this God-created storehouse is the temple faculty where the Holy Spirit dwells. There is only one thing given to man that has enabling power to govern the heart of evil sources. It is the Spirit of God. We need the Holy Spirit and to be constantly filled and overflowing with Him. We are rescued by His holy presence of heavenly strength and power. He changes the atmosphere around the heart and within the heart. He is the heavenly oil that lights the lamp in our life. He must be welcomed and given all priority to do what He is designed to do! He is the burning candle in Revelation. He is the only one sent by Christ after His resurrection from death! He gifts the Bride of Christ with power and victories not possible any other way! He is among us as power for the saint and deliverance for the faint! He turns our eyes toward heaven and over-rides our weakness with strength! He inflames our soul with Himself and changes who we naturally are! Hallelujah!