The Trial of your faith

Are you going through many temptations and feeling discouraged or hopeless? You are not alone and if anyone tells you to pull up your pants and bear up to your circumstances does not know the full reality that you are personally facing.

In this ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold trials. . .

1 Peter 1:6

Are you going through many temptations and feeling discouraged or hopeless? You are not alone and if anyone tells you to pull up your pants and bear up to your circumstances does not know the full reality that you are personally facing. We do not walk in each other’s shoes simply because the shoe does not always fit. Everyone has a different experience in life because they are created with different genes. It would be boring if we were all exactly alike in our DNA. I have learned and seen that in general people are gifted with different aptitude and human characteristics. I thank God for them because it gives the opportunity of helping each other out in our weaknesses. It is what a family is all about. Those within the family are the foundation that is built upon growth by the elder helping and teaching the younger within the group to become the best they can be. The family unit usually defines maturing into adulthood.

In America, we may have lost the cohesiveness of the family so many individuals must rely on other adults to help them in the process of maturing. This was true for me especially when I entered my teen years, my mother decided to leave my father. Any breakup within the family is an adjustment. Any sickness within the family is an adjustment. Any soldier that comes home from a war is an adjustment. Why? Because the adjustment means we must face change in our environment and in our emotional response. This can be the trial we face depending upon how we respond to the change. Our character is under attack, and it is not an easy thing to go through when you are right in the middle of going through it. Some call it a part of life and may just brush it off, but it is much more than that because it can define our character in who we are as a person. Any kind of suffering involves an emotional response and therefore should not be taken lightly. As Christians we are to bear one another burdens in order to fulfill the law of Christ [see Galatians 6:2]. In verse 3 of Galatians the apostle Paul said that “if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”

Let us pray that we are not deceiving ourselves by thinking we are better than the next person. It is better to humble yourself as a little child before our Lord. The apostle Peter addressed this in 1 Peter 5:5.

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:5

Being subject to one another means to work out your disagreements. Disagreements can be a temptation and it can cause a sorrow of heaviness within our heart. Don’t allow the disagreement to annul your relationship with an individual unless it deals with doing evil or harming someone. Temptations deal with doing the right thing and not being proud of whatever you are doing. Our example is Christ Jesus who “also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth,” [see 1 Peter 2:22]. Temptations can deal with devious ploys and schemes to which you should not get involved and become a part of. There should be no deception between you and the other person. There should be no deception between a husband and wife either. As a child of God, we are to live a holy life in everything we do. In fact, Peter states that “he who has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of life,” [see 1 Peter 1:15]. We must surrender to the Lord our weaknesses and ask him to intervene and guide us through our emotions and the trails we are facing.

While we go through trials and the testing of our faith in Christ Jesus, the Apostle Peter urges us to consider our salvation, the glory of our Lord’s return, and the effect of purifying our character into the image of Christ will bring the result of patience and joy. We may not be able to see the result when going through a trial, but that trial is more precious than gold stated the Apostle Peter [see 1 Peter 1:7]. It is with prayer that the trial you are experiencing may be found in praise, honor, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. We can confess and bring all our trials and troubles to God, and this is what Job did for he assured, “I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from thee,” [see Job 42:2]. Job repented from not praying for his friends and the Lord blessed him by giving back twice of what Job lost during his trial [see Job 42:10]. Remember that it is your soul and spirit that the enemy is after who is Satan. We must “abstain from all appearance of evil,” [see 1 Thessalonians 5:22]. That means to hold back, renounce, and avoid all forms of evil. Our victory is in Christ Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. This is our joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

Let us remember part of the lyrics to “What a friend we have in Jesus.”

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer

The Struggle of Two Natures

I do not know of any Christian that does not struggle between “Two Natures” that some call good or evil. We do not understand why we do what we do. We tend to do what we should not do even when we want to do good.

For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Romans 7:14

I do not know of any Christian that does not struggle between “Two Natures” that some call good or evil. We do not understand why we do what we do. We tend to do what we should not do even when we want to do good.

Man between an angel and devil

It is like the picture above which some of us have seen when we were a child on cartoons. I have seen it on Sponge Bob Square Pants as well as on the TV show “The Simpsons.” Do you ever wonder why even as a child that this struggle still carries on into adulthood. Why is it that we do not heed the warning signs? It could be that we just do not believe it is true, and need to experience it to learn the truth about it. It is like diving in to fast to eat your soup. Did you know that there is a proper etiquette to eating your bowl of soup? First of all, I do not see everyone diving into it because it may be too hot and you can burn yourself. This is why we use the spoon and scoop the edge of the bowl away from us when extracting soup towards our mouth to eat. This is so we do not splatter hot soup on us. The bible is our moral compass and if you find yourself struggling on what to do, you are not alone. Every good Christian struggles with their nature or behavior to do good or evil. The apostle Paul dealt with this subject of two natures in writing to the Roman Christians.

For that which I do I understand not; for what I would, that do I Not; but what I hate, that do I.

Romans 7:15

“I do what I hate to do,” said the apostle Paul and if he had issues with it there is no doubt that everyone has issues with not doing the right thing. So what was it that Paul found out about dealing with this issue? Paul found that there is a law present that if he did good, evil is present with him [see Romans 7:21]. In fact, he describes several laws. We have laws in place in countries in order to live a peaceful life with all mankind. For the most part civil law is supposed to be good in that it regulates concerns in private relations between members of a community. It is the principal of equality within communities. The apostle Paul who was a Roman citizen by birth received certain consideration when thrown in jail. The apostle Paul addressed six laws. The law of Moses which condemns, the law as a principle within society, the law of faith, which excludes self-righteousness, the law of the mind that tries to do good but can not do it, the law of sin within humanity, the law of the Spirit that has the power to deliver the believer from sin.

The result the apostle Paul found is in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” I hear many Christian quote up to the part in Christ Jesus, but leave off the not walking after the flesh, but after the Spirit. What Paul is saying here is that our walk in our behavior and action must match that of Christ Jesus. The end result is walking in the Spirit which means we surrender our self to Jesus who is our priesthood and our redemption. Jesus fulfilled the demands of the Mosaic law and He is the one who sends us the Holy Spirit. Paul mentions the “Spirit” sixteen times in Romans chapter 8 and therefore we should take note that this is a most pivotal conclusion to the problem of the struggle between two natures. It is the Spirit that gives us life. Listen to what Jesus said in John 6:63.

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:63

We must remember that the law is spiritual, as Paul exclaimed in chapter seven of Romans, but “I am carnal, sold under sin” [see Romans 7:14]. Our checks and balances come from the word of God and through the Holy Spirit that points to Christ. When we struggle with our old nature, we take it to Jesus and ask him to intervene and allow His Spirit to take control of our mind and actions. We ask through prayer that we put to death any feelings of hatred, getting even, anger, or anything that does not project the image of Christ. Some may have to struggle in letting it go. Remember the flesh will not profit. There are those who have gotten even, and later found that it did not bring them a lasting peace. Peace only comes through the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Reprove yourself and flee from doing evil. Remember that the Apostle Paul said to “be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,’ [see Romans 12:21].

Let us pray and ask God to help us to overcome evil by doing good. Let us walk in the Spirit of Christ knowing it is ” the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that hath made me free from the law of sin and death,” [Romans 8:2]. We must get under control our emotions and our mind by giving it to Jesus at the cross where our victory is. Sing along and ask god to renew a right spirit within you. Released in 1984 by Keith Green.

The body for the Lord

Why is the body for the Lord? Do you have control over your whole body? Those who are older may wish to be young again, and those who are younger want to be older and wiser.

Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

1 Corinthians 6:13

Why is the body for the Lord? Do you have control over your whole body? Those who are older may wish to be young again, and those who are younger want to be older and wiser. It is the catch-22 dilemma or stumbling block that each human must face. No one can escape the process of aging of our physical body. James the brother of Jesus commented that a perfect man can control their whole body [see James 3:1-3]. How many of us are perfect man or women who can control their own body? It is our mind that speaks through our mouth that pollutes our body. Whatever you put into your body is the result of its output. We are taught to take care of our bodies in what we eat and do, so we can get the best results for our physical well-being.  Science has taught us a lot and it is still investigating the theories to bring us the truth of what is happening within our bodies.  We can not ignore the importance of maintaining good health with proper nutrition.  In the Old Testament the Jews were told by God what they should eat to maintain a healthy body. 

Regarding the COVID-19 vaccines they are kosher and do not contain pork products in the form of gelatin. Kosher food refers to foods that meet Jewish dietary standards. There are many people that follow the Jewish dietary standards. Many Jewish doctors in the UK have addressed the rumors about the vaccines. The Jewish News comments that “We live in a time where misinformation is increasingly common. Rumors spread quickly, and social media has played a significant contribution in this.” It is important to be careful what you post on social media as to not become a part of the problem of spreading rumors, but to pray and seek out the truth for the questions you have. We all must have patience when seeking answers to our questions.  Plain common sense is the key to being more aware and reflecting on situations is wise before you make any decisions on what you are going to do. 

I remember in the 1980’s the Firm Believer fitness program by Bobbie Wolgemuth and Judy Moser became popular to meet the needs of those who wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. Many Christians endorsed the program, and some churches opened their doors to having a weekly exercise program.  I also remember watching the Jack LaLanne show and the Richard Simmons show that had exercise routines to help keep our bodies fit for living every day. How many of us ask God in prayer to help us to stop those crash diets, those habits of eating too many sweets, or feelings of tiredness, fatigue, and exhaustion that hamper us from doing what we should be doing to stay physically and spiritually fit. Do we really care about what we eat and what type of physical activity we do every day? No matter what age you are, taking care of your own body is a daily routine. Disease is growing at a rapid rate according to the world health organization and following that is the global pandemics. As Christians we should be aware and concerned about how to keep our body as belonging to the Lord and not for self-indulgence.

How can we present our bodies to the Lord as a living sacrifice as Paul tells us in Romans 12:1. Let us not forget that the apostle Paul stated that our “body is not for fornication but for the Lord, [1 Corinthians 6:13]?  Paul also asked the question in 1 Corinthians 6:15, “know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?” How does this apply to our physical body? It is not only our mind, will, and emotion that belongs to the Lord, but our physical body as well. That is why Jesus went about healing everyone who was sick or had disease. Salvation and healing are found in the cross of Christ because he bought us with a price. The body is to be holy because it is washed and justified through the blood of Christ.

For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s

1 Corinthians 6:20

Our body is not to be used in selfish indulgences such as overeating or sexual immorality. Paul states to flee fornication because it is a sin against your own body [see 1 Corinthians 6:18]. Run away from sexual immorality and keep your own body pure and holy. Our body is part of the sanctification process through Christ and now it belongs to the Lord. That is why Paul exclaims that “all things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any [1 Corinthians 6:12]. We should not be brought under the power of anything that would degrade our body towards death rather than towards life. We are not to be conformed to the worldly ways of practicing selfish indulgences but to cease from them and be transformed by the renewing of our minds to what is good for us physically and spiritually. God is concerned for our whole being and not just a part of it.

If thy whole body, therefore, be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp doth give thee light.

Luke 11:36

The whole body is to be full of light having no part of darkness within it. Pray and ask the Lord to help heal your body and to get your appetites, desires, or whims under control. Ask to receive a new desire that is righteous and holy in the image of Christ. Ask to take steps in building up your own physical body by changing your diet to one that will support a healthy immune system. Ask the Lord to help you maintain your health through exercising on a weekly basis. Take practical steps such as washing hands, disinfecting counter tops, and wearing a mask when conditions are worsening in a specific area that you live in or are visiting. Ask the Lord to guide you and your doctor to consider natural alternatives to building and maintaining a healthy body. Ask the Lord to give understanding within those around you to support you in maintaining that healthy body. Remember He cares for you and your body, for you are presenting your body to the Lord as a living sacrifice [see Romans 12:1].

Let us labor to enter His rest

How does one labor to enter His rest? No one wants to fall short of entering His rest, yet it happens to many Christians. Why? Because of unbelief.

Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:11

How does one labor to enter His rest? No one wants to fall short of entering His rest, yet it happens to many Christians. Why? Because of unbelief. Unbelief is the number one problem and the reason why many Christians do not enter His rest.  This means we have fallen or departed from the living God. Listen to the warning sings in Hebrews chapter 3.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing form the living God.

Hebrew 3:12

In the time of Moses, Israel did not enter the promised land of Canaan because of unbelief. They had a hard time of believing in God to meet all their needs. When they did not receive what they needed, they rebelled. Their hearts were hardened, and they did not heed the word of God. They could not even wait for Moses to come down from the mountain before they went their own way. Moses had to plead to God to pardon them and the Lord said to Moses, “how long will it be before they believe me, for all the signs which I have sown among them,” [see Numbers 14:11]. The promise land of milk and honey was a land where there was lots of vegetation and bees to sustain their living. It is interesting to note that rest here means to cease from exertion. Many of us may find ourselves laboring to enter that rest.

We may believe in God for our salvation, but we may not believe in God for our healing, or as our provider to sustain us in life. We may have hidden hinderance that prevent us from fully believing in God in these areas, yet God is telling us to fully believe in him for all things in our life. We therefore labor, struggle, work at having faith in God because of a lack of teaching or knowledge in the word of God, or simply not being able to fully trust in the Lord. We wrestle through prayer also to enter that rest. It is why in chapter four of Hebrews verse 16 it states for us to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Every day we have personal needs that must be fulfilled. We need added strength to carry out our daily living. If rest means sabbath, then who is lord of that sabbath?

For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Matthew 12:8

Jesus is Lord of the sabbath and the first thing he does is to heal on the Sabbath. Wow! To me that is exciting to read about the healing of the man whose hand was paralyzed.   Jesus healed them all who needed healing. There is nothing that our God does not know when it comes to our personal needs.  All things that pertain to man is before the Lord’s eye. That is why the apostle Peter exclaimed, “grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,” [see 2 Peter 1:2]. The apostle Peter goes on to say that through His divine power, He has given us all things that pertain to life. All things, not just Salvation.  We are to be partakers of that divine nature of God since we have escaped the corruption of this world through Christ. We are to add to our faith virtue, righteousness, and knowledge. If we lack anything, He will supply. Just remember that self-control and patience are also added to our faith because we trust in God to fulfill His promises.

We can stir ourselves up by reading the word and speaking about it to each other. This will make our calling in Christ a sure thing. This will build our faith up knowing that it is on a sure foundation because Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Therefore, we hold fast our profession, for Jesus, the Son of God is our high priest, and He also intercedes on our behalf [see Romans 8:34]. Nothing should keep us from fully believing in God for all our needs.   Let us fully enter His rest even if we must work and wrestle through prayer in getting there.  Remember that He loves you and cares for you.

Believe not every spirit

“Beloved, believe not every spirit,” exclaimed Apostle John. There are spirits in the world today that are contrary to the word of God. These spirits bring a false witness in the body of Christ.

 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

1 John 4:3

“Beloved, believe not every spirit,” exclaimed the Apostle John. There are spirits in the world today that are contrary to the word of God. These spirits bring a false witness into the body of Christ. As Christians we are not to be so gullible and believe every spirit we meet. In fact, the Apostle John mentions Christians as little children. John knew that as little children it is easy to go astray.  Children need help, guidance, and instruction to help them grow and the Apostle John is warning Christians to be aware of lying and deceitful spirits.    Christians are to try [test or prove] the spirits to see whether they are of God. Not all spirits are of God. I remember Smith Wigglesworth talking about voices that some Christians hear in their head thinking it is from God, but this is not always true. Not all voices or spirits are from God.

We must test the spirit to see if it is from God. The Apostle John gives us instruction on how to test the spirit by asking if Jesus Christ came in the flesh [see verse 2 of 1 John 4]. If they do not believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh or took on human form, they are not of God, but rather they are of the spirit of the antichrist.   The spirit of the antichrist is a spirit that is against Christ deity as the Son of God that came in human form, died on the cross and arose.  Christ death and resurrection defeated the power of death who is the devil [see Hebrews 2:14].   It is rarely preached about in the pulpit today, but it is a warning to all Christians to not to believe every spirit you hear. All speech needs to be tested and prove to see if it aligns with the word of God. This is because of the many false prophets and teachers that would arise in the latter days in the world. 

For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

Mark 13:22

To think that even the elect [a person who holds a specific public office] such as a pastor, deacon, or elder can be seduced by a false prophet is very serious especially for the Pentecostal denominations where signs and wonders can become commonplace.  These spirits come in and change doctrine that is contrary to the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All Christians should heed the warnings that the apostle John is giving, and He is not the only one in the Bible that gives Christians this warning.  Hearing any kind of voices and not testing to see if they are of God can lead to spiritual death.  It is what defiles a man that we should remember what Jesus said in Matthew 15:16-20, and he said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.” We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; therefore, we should know a little about the darkness we have all come out of. Those vain words spoken to deceive us back into darkness.

No, we must not heed those vain words because as Christians our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, and we have overcome the wicked one [see 1 John 2:12-14]. Those who are in Christ have overcome those who are in darkness including false teachers. The Apostle John encourages the children of God by saying, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” [see 1 John 4:4]. It is through the blood of Christ and his resurrection that overcame the spirit of darkness. The Apostle Paul calls the darkness the mystery of iniquity in 2 Thessalonians 2:7.   Paul also exclaims to let no man deceive you by any means [see 2 Thessalonians 2:3]. There will be a falling away or [apostasy] that will take place before the man of sin will be revealed. Some well-known pastors have already given the warning of denominations falling away from the rudimental teaching of the gospel of Christ.

There will be a time when many will not endure sound doctrine but will enlist teachers who will teach what they want to hear. Some would pervert the Gospel of Christ for their own pleasure of seeking monetary gain. I have personally witness removal of pastors who had a personal agenda instead of being a true servant of Christ. Let us heed the warnings in the word of God and pray that we do not fall short of the glory of God but prove all things and hold fast to that which is good [see 1 Thessalonians 5:21]. The Apostle Paul goes on to say in 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23, to abstain from all appearance of evil and he prayed that our whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stay on the road of the Gospel of Christ in love and know that you do not stand alone, for greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.  Know that the true spirit of God will always point to Christ who came in human form, died on the Cross, and arose from the dead, and now sits on the right hand of God.  It is Jesus, the son of God, who came in the flesh to save humanity.  Praise God who gave us His son as a sacrifice to save all humanity.