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?

Tried and Transformed

Was the test for me or for God? Did I fail or was there really a divine purpose? How do I know or understand what God is really seeking within me? Was the entire mess I went through of the enemy? Am I hurting from my own mistakes? All of these questions have answers. In the quietness of our heart, there seems an evident hint that has overtures of deep spiritual significance. The answers are simple yet faint to the hearer. The answer becomes clearer and clearer once we emerge from the shadowing veil.

Inside this secret song of inspiration, you will begin to uncover the richness of a lasting transformation which has sprung a new beginning of redemptive power only God can work. This is a deeply surrendered access point, wherein you have given the Holy Spirit the liberty to search all things, yea the deep things of God within you. Such a deep surrender to the will of God gives Him ownership and the authority to transform His sacrifice. He will discover and bring to your attention that which is an isolated place, still untouched by the master’s surgical hand. Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: V.24 and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. The search turns into a test that lingers around one’s sensitive, yet toughened places. Towards the conclusion of the trial, He tenderly whelms one’s heart with deep spiritual gentleness, so lovingly that the soul weeps its way to surrender. He is transformed!

These are all thoughts that surface as we emerge out of the furnace of testings. One of the primary divine achievements that God wishes us to understand is the results of what just happened. The testings and trials I am referencing are not momentary tests of shallow experiences. These are grave valleys of sorrow and deep humiliation of soul that encompass the ways of the elect of God; those with depth of aspiration and anointing that God refines into unlimited depths of His desire. These are not reckless sinners and wanderers in soul-boasting appeals of personal ineptitude. These are the ones that hold tirelessly onto the lifeline of God’s mercy. These saints treasure the grandeur of God’s presence in holiness, but are often trounced with ultimate feelings of anguish. These are the ones who seek transformation in secret closets of despair. The ones who deeply seek immortality by dwelling in the light of God. They are a book laid open that hold nothing in the dark. These closet saints weep for a redemptive solution against their own will and wrong apprehensions.

These are they who hang onto eternal life! They know of the walk through valleys of deep spiritual refinement while being laden with feelings of severe bewilderment and loneliness. These are the withdrawal symptoms that are being purged out of one’s self-filled with selfish ambitions, so now to walk in the transformed image of Christ. This depth of Godliness does not come from mere obedience, as some would like to self-induce through stubbornness of mind. Jesus did not become obedient through intelligence; He became obedient through things He suffered and endured. The sanctified believers become partakers of Christ’s sufferings as well. We seldom realize this in the middle of suffering, because it appears too evil. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: V.13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Now let’s look at the picture of the failed test. Some things are designed to be destructive against the purpose that God has placed upon us. If God is our refuge, then He will deny us the ability to run from His sovereign love and become encased in bitter harshness. If we caused the error and refuse to acknowledge our iniquity, we will prosper further into callused animosity and find cover in hardness of heart. The sorrow-laden soul of such a condition will never find deeper revelation in Christ but remain shallow, though super-spiritual in appearance. This soul is not noticed as genuine and cannot be held in God’s trust as faithful to His will. This soul demonstrates itself with strength but is laid bare in the small matters it stumbles over. This pitiful undone slave lurches with the pretense of being super-spiritual, but boils in his frustration with explosive quietness. Jeremiah 6:30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them. This silver has kept its impurity and would not refine even in the fire.

We must allow God to test us where He desires us to go. We cannot be the commander to His will. He will not harm us nor ever leave us. He will transform us into His image just as we have asked Him to do. He leads us by our own unseen hand that we didn’t know we had. It is the hand of difficult circumstances. Our hand is a very vulnerable and tender place. Here He gets all our attentive focus. Hallelujah!

Passing the Test

As a child, I attended school to learn things useful for my future. At the end of a specific amount of learning on a subject, there was given a test to see how successful my learning really was. Throughout the year, there were numerous tests on the things I learned within the same subject. If my test score failed, I had to go back and relearn the subject till I passed the test. Only after reaching the needed scores was I allowed advancement in my lessons and entrance to a different grade level for the next year. Is the Christian life this way as well? Are trials tests?

“The trial of your faith” is a phrase found in 1 Peter, chapter one, which simply means just that. The Greek meaning for the word trial here means testing. The original meaning gives this phrase, “testing of trustworthiness”. Tests are important and even more so in the spiritual life. My experience in walking with God for close to 50 years is that testings are for a purpose. There are a lot of people who have not experienced such testings, and the results are obvious; their lives are shallow and not very effective for the kingdom. But the greater and deeper the spiritual tests one endures, the greater the divine relevance. Christians who have not endured many testings are shallow and filled with noticeable bareness. 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

There are three great and noble virtues that form within a much-tested vessel for God. One is patience and the second is spiritual refinement known as gold tried in the fire. The third one is divine enablement by purity and holiness before God. God will not advance someone into deeper effectiveness without testing their trustworthiness by His fire. I have observed the triviality of many well-meaning Christians, having never accomplished much for God, and there is a notable difference in the solemn spiritual categories of testing in their own lives. These tests are entirely spiritual and do not come as correction to weak attributes. Spiritual testings are not corrections to mistakes; they are refinements in areas of spiritual credibility.

Why do some escape God’s complex virtue of testing? It is mostly lack of surrender of certain principles, these being held against the request of God to place upon His altar. When we are surrendered entirely, we are tested entirely. I find that if all is surrendered, then all is tested and all becomes useful. I understand that many say they have surrendered all, but that which is still esteemed important by them speaks of the lack of spiritual depth under which they have restrained themselves. These are they which are always in need but not aware of their own plight. These well-meaning people are not poor in spirit as might be portrayed in innocence. They understand very little about true heavenly kingdom living but never lack easy answers. Their resources, lying close at the fingertips, are of better ideas and predigested information, but lack deeper flowing rivers from one’s own belly.

Testing is important even if it seems to lack noticeable objective. Our thoughts are not His thoughts, and our ways are not His ways by common nature. This is how He changes us into His own image. The spiritual sequence is seemingly like this: He manifests His will, then requires obedience and tests the relevance. If the tested has passed through the refiner’s purging table of fire, then the gold becomes purer, the intrinsic value is significantly increased, and God will be greatly glorified in due time on the earth. What seemed to us as unfair victimization, now becomes enablement to exercise the Holy Spirit’s power and spiritual authority in ways that most do not comprehend. Passing God’s tests can be very hard and extremely perplexing. I find that His potter’s work is in seasons. I have clearly perceived by experience that He brings me through these seasons about every ten years. Sometimes these seasons last for several years. It has been God’s way of dealing deeper within my life. It might not be this way for others but I do clearly acknowledge that God works in seasons of testings, all for His glory, to refine the power that works within us. Endure, yield, and wait it out. Once you come out of it changed and transformed, you have passed this noble test. Hallelujah!

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: V.13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. V.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Contusions in the Sanctuary (3)

While Satan desires to make us feel like continual failures, the truth remains secreted within the sanctified ones. It is the quiet voice of the shepherd that acknowledges the treasure in our earthen vessel. There are simply no devices nor contrivances which Heaven has designed to devastate that which He fills the saints with. These are purified ones, having their vestures dipped in the blood of Jesus for constant redemption. These saints of God don’t worship upon other altars. Their cry is deeper than a shallow soul can perceive. They are the neediest of spiritual humanity. They have forsaken the criticism of constant disapproval from the treacherous souls of men and devils. These sanctuaries of God could be focused entirely on pain, hurts, and the utter rejection which has been inflicted upon them, leaving contusions as evidence of their woundings. Instead, their heart speaks of healing, blessing, and overcoming victory. This is their victory cry, and their mission. It is what flows out of them because it is what is within them. The true saint often faces trouble on every side of life because there is so much life within him. The fullness of the flow of life within him comes from having overcome so many obstacles and clever traps that were set up for his demise. He is hated by opposing forces that seek to destroy his inner life.

These sanctuaries of God do have faults at times, especially in the eyes of the carnal man. Faults are simply interpretive, that is why they are not really classified as sin. I do not believe God classifies mere faults as sin. James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. Here it never suggests that faults need forgiveness from God. Faults cause personal hurts and pain at times. The tender conscience that has developed within the saint receives extreme crushings and buffetings from Satan at times. This is usually accomplished through persons in whom the saint has placed their trust. Peter did this very thing to Jesus when he suggested that the death of the cross was nonsense. These darts are designed to wreak heavy destruction upon the heart. But the one who surrenders to the cross does not go into distress easily. He often becomes bewildered by perplexities, but his trust in the Lord will not let him fall into hopeless despair for he knows the cross well. While persecution is a close companion of his, he does not forsake nor is he forsaken. This spiritual man is often cast to the ground but not by his own sin; these sanctuaries suffer for righteousness’ sake, not for evil doings. He survives, and with some time and patience will overcome the intended destruction. Yes, he may suffer and tangle with difficulty for extended periods of time, but will prevail because of His master shepherd who already knows how to overcome.

2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; V.9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; V.10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. V.11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. V.12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

Paul’s experience was identical as he writes to the Corinthians. What is often so difficult for the saint is to have understanding and spiritual comprehension as to why he is going through these valleys with shadows of death all around. Sometimes we must die to our need of understanding. Can we rest in the fact that we might never know nor understand? Maybe that is in itself the trial we are to endure. Is it the fact that the Holy Spirit wants to walk with us to deepen our dependence with Him? One thing is clear: the Holy Spirit is our comforter and glorious strength through joy. The Holy Spirit will never, never, leave the saint alone because within him is His sanctuary. One of the supernatural attributes of the Holy Spirit is that He can be fully at rest and in complete power within His sanctuary; in His silence, He can seem completely hidden, yet the next moment He is gushing forth in power, purity, and the heavenly overflow from His fountain of love and excellence. A human that is wrapped around the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit is like the wind, not knowing for sure what’s next. The wind is blowing and you hear many sounds, but you don’t know for sure where it’s coming from or where it will end up going.

Contusion of the soul or complete healing, however it may be at this moment with you, there is one thing you must fully know: The Holy Spirit is always completely present within His sanctuary when He is welcome to set free His power to fulfill all the promises of God for His glory. John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.    

Hallelujah!

Discerning Tribulation

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. We will all go through tribulation, but let us never neglect to understand the purpose. Could it be that it is because God is jealous over His possession? Can tribulation be punishment, or a way to draw us back to Him?

Does God have a right to be jealous? After all, everything has been made by Him and for Him. He created it all and has the absolute legal documents: “The Word”, for total ownership to everything that is. When God sees a nation or people walk away from Him he does not close His eyes with blindness. He has a plan for redemption that might come into view as a detour to man at times. We must not forget His jealousy for His people and for everything that is intended for Him. Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Within that jealousy there is a fount of love that consumes and a desire so deep that He was willing to see His dearest Son, martyred; providing a way to get back a creation that had gone off completely into a fallen kingdom of destructive evil, right from the presence of God.

At times, God offers ways to bring back those who abandon faith and faithfulness that seem so difficult. At other times, it seems God just lets them go. A backslidden child of God goes through much deeper things than that which meets the eye of the saint. He goes through a long period where he feels so rejected by God. He strengthens himself with blame and imaginations to justify his own failure. Things get gloomy within the heart, so dreadfully that there is almost no sense of God anywhere. Sin now becomes a way of life. Guilt and sorrow are covered over with new desires to satisfy the abandoned presence of God. Some throw themselves deeper into work and things to entertain their troubled heart.

Many seek for hope everywhere except turning back to God because Satan has caused them to believe there is no hope of returning. This form of tribulation is a torment that blinds spiritual trust found only in Christ. This loneliness of false hope found in things other than Christ sustains nothing but difficulty in the midst of deteriorating adversity. Backslidden mankind must at once be honest and declare an end to this destructive path. This path is filled with sorrow and abandonment from God’s presence. We must wake from our sleep and take responsibility for what is happening. Blame cannot rule our life nor can hurts be nurtured any longer.

There are two kinds of tribulation. One “worketh patience” as well as endurance and will draw you closer to God, enriching your faith – though it is also very difficult. This kind will never drive you from God. Oh yes, it will cause you many questions and deep despair at times. My observation for many years is that Christians don’t care much to have an understanding of why they go through tribulation. It is extremely important to recognize which one is being experienced. There is a world of difference between the two. The one is an endearment to Christ; the other tribulation is a form of punishment that is not chastening from the Lord.

One of the ways to gain understanding as to which one we are experiencing is to recognize its origin. Was it after a spiritual breakthrough or great move of God where this all began?  Was there a violation committed of any principle in the Bible? I have observed many times that people do not discern what God is saying while going through tribulation. Some battle and strive to conquer while it continues to fall apart all around them. These are people in disobedience that have caused their own demise, insisting on their own folly. This is a brutal condition and it will take the form of a brazen gloomy cast of helplessness and darkness over the person. This type of tribulation is often the result of us causing trouble against God’s people.

In the following verses, we read about the two different kinds of tribulation. 2 Thessalonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: V.5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: V.6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;   

The holy and spiritual kind is designed to bring patience and faith, and is mostly accompanied by persecution for right doing. It is one thing to suffer for righteousness sake and completely another thing to suffer for wrong doing. As we go through so many difficult things in our lives, let us always seek to be clear on why we face tribulation. Is it because of obedience or disobedience?

What is Pain?

What is pain?

Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. v.22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

In these latter days, the enemy has poured upon the earth the concept of pain that thrives on personal rights and freedom without cost. This concept has been adopted by the church and has taken the focus away from God’s spiritual intention for the believer. Almighty God’s intention is for the believer to be delivered from shame and corrupt bondages into the glorious liberty in Christ, and the process is not to be misunderstood. In this earthly life there are plenty of struggles and tribulations.

There are 5 things we must be aware of:

1. We must not be surprised by the struggles and difficulties.
2. The word tribulation means pressure.
3. We must comprehend that the threat to all life is death.
4. To the believer, Paul calls it the fight of faith.
5. Much tribulation/pressure is a kingdom doorway and it will not separate me from Christ. (Romans 5:3.)

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must go through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

The confirmation of discipleship is found in hard displeasures and difficulties that we face, that are intended to be overcome by faith.

There are very few options in relating to the forces about us. It must be understood plainly, that the forces include my flesh, Satan the enemy, and the world. And the force to withstand is found in the power of Jesus. It is indeed a battlefield!

I know undoubtedly, that man by himself, has no power as great as Jesus or Satan. This makes me extremely vulnerable.

If I want to overcome death or pain I must yield myself completely to life. Jesus is the life. If I yield myself to defeat and discouragement I embrace death.

Defining the reality of this in a few words looks like this. Man’s appointment is death and judgment. Satan is death. Jesus is resurrection from death. The One who wins is the One we rest our faith in.

Discouragement comes from unanticipated situations. We, as vessels of clay, often encounter things that are difficult. How else could it be living in a difficult world.

I have found that discouragement often comes from conflict from external sources wanting a meeting with personal conflict within.

If I hang on to my own conflict or have hidden unresolved issues within, I should never attempt to confront conflict without. This is where patience becomes a tool of value.

Correct the problems within and let redemption through Christ release, forgive and restore you. Now your heart is clear (internal) and you are better prepared for the issues you have encountered around you (external).

Let us not be weary in well doing. Sometimes these things will take weeks or even months until we can rest with resolve. As long as you don’t give up, God won’t either.

So many do not understand the cross and end up becoming enemies to it. The conclusion of the cross is not pain, it is death, which is the final resolve that only supernatural resurrection can burst forth.

One of the biggest things plaguing God’s children is the personal suffering of self. This is not meant to be. Self has only one right, crucified daily on the cross of Jesus. The complete resolve to pain, hurt and self has to surrender with no further argument.

Can we say, I am crucified with Christ today by giving up all that is within me never to pick it up again? Tomorrow, I do the same until Jesus returns. If not, we must conclude that we are resisting the cross and considering it an enemy to our soul.

There is no pain in death, and neither is there pain in resurrection. The pain is in the process before death, while we hold on to that which is intended to die. When I hold onto my own rights, God can never make me right in His sight. I don’t know of another answer to what is called pain in our latter day. I hope this sheds some light on what I am seeing about the subject of pain in our modern day. May He see His glory in our lives!

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.