It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

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Seasons of Perseverance – To Be Abased and To Abound

Life is a process of living through every season and every phase and it is going from one cycle of life to the next. Just being born and living will bring about variation and transformation, be it from infancy, to childhood, adolescence, adult and then death. This same goes for our soul, mind and spiritual growth, because in all these areas we will experience various seasons and cycles of life, whether we want life to change or not.

In this natural life, some people have a tendency to believe theyshould live without problems and troubles. They want to livefree from difficulties and harm, that is part of what is being taught by this fallen world system. It is saying, people shoulddo whatever they want and they deserve to live their lives free from restraint, but it is all lies, falsehoods and deception. We live in a fallen world that is full of sin and we will experience suffering and distress.  If we have not been taught to have the right mindset and understand the spiritual principles of thekingdom of God, we may fall into despair, misery and a state of hopelessness because of the lies of the enemy and what we have been told.

Psalms 119: 33-37   Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,And revive me in Your way. NKJ

Many societies have lost touch with the Biblical moral teachings of Christ. The daily teaching of God’s word and the truth of His love, compassion, forgiveness and unity has been removed from many mainstream circles such as schools, organizations and even some religious organizations. The typical person and many cultures are developing their own opinions, feeling and judgement as to what is right and what is truth according to their perspectives, rather than according to the truth of God’s word. 

Proverbs 14:12,15-16 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps. A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident. NKJ

Life will bring its challenges, be it the loss of a job, loss of health or a loved one, everyone will face extreme difficulties. Then the question will be, how we will endure and persevere in whatever state we find ourselves.

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. NKJ

We are told to forgive those who have wronged us and even though wronged, we do not payback evil doings with evil and revenge. We are to pursue and hunt for a way that is good for both us and those who wronged us. This is not easily done and may take many efforts to be accomplished, that is why we are told to pursue it, to chase it, and to go after what is good. We are told to continue to pray, so that we may grow andunderstand that if we are experiencing these trials and hardships, God has allowed it and it is part of His will for our lives in Christ Jesus. As followers of Christ, we will experience hardships just as He experienced, and like Christ we are to persevere to the end knowing that we will be victorious. 

1 Peter 4:1-2 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. NKJ

Horatio Spafford was a businessman, lawyer and follower of Christ, he suffered major ruin financially with the loss of property in the Chicago fire of 1871. Two years later in 1873 his four children were drowned at sea in a shipwreck while crossing the Atlantic. Horatio sailed to meet his wife, the only family survivor of the wreck and as his ship passed near the place his daughters died he was inspired to write the words to the song, “It is well with my soul.” 

“When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot You have taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul. Let this blest assurance control that Christ has regarded my helpless Estate and has shed His own blood for my soul. It is well with my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Only a life rooted in Christ and believing in the promises of God can withstand such blows and great losses financially and personally. We must realize it is not what we go through thatwill determine who we are, but it is how we respond to what we go through that will magnify God and reflect His glory on earth. Every life will experience loss and devastation but it is our response that will testify to the world that we have a Hope, which is Christ. If our hope is in this life only, then we all would live most miserably.

1 Corinthians 15:19-22 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made aliveKJV

It is by the truth of God’s word and being led by the power of the Holy Spirit that we learn how to survive life atrocities and brutalities. We must learn to live in every season of time and every phase of life knowing that God orchestrates situations and circumstances.  If we are going through hardships, He has prepared a plan of deliverance to work all things to our good sothat we will be witnesses of His Majesty and His Glory in the earth. 

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. NKJ

Our responsibility is to walk in confident faith and trust in Godand to persevere until we see the goodness of the Lord in our circumstances. We are to be thankful in whatever situation we are in, knowing it is the will of God for us. If God allowed these situations to take place, He has also provided for them and we should let our patience be at work as we persevere with hope in Christ Jesus.  

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

Philippians 4:12-13 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Spiritual Principle of Prayer and Fasting

There are many misconceptions about fasting and praying.  Some people think it is outdated and an Old Testament requirement and others believe they can use it to manipulate the hand of God. The disciples asked Jesus why they could not heal the boy with epilepsy, He told them, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. This statement has led to manymisunderstandings about fasting and praying for healing but in essence He was speaking about faith. 

Jesus’ response to them was talking about the increase of faiththrough prayer and fasting and it was not just about healing. It is through faith that all the spiritual principles of God will work. The spiritual principle of fasting and praying according to God’s word will increase our faith and it is with faith that wecan heal the sick and cast out demons. 

Matthew 15-21 Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” NKJ

To put Jesus’ words into context, He was talking about their lack of faith and unbelief as the reason they could not heal the boy. Not because the sickness or demons were so powerful butbecause of their lacked of faith. It is by fasting and praying God’s way that we are able to increase our faith that we could possibly move mountains and heal the sick. 

The spiritual principle of fasting and praying is given to us from God as a weapon of spiritual warfare but He has also given us the manner in which we are too fast and pray, which is according to His will and His way. Some people will abstain from eating for a period of time but will not couple it with prayer and thereby they are in effect, dieting or cutting back on their food intake. Others will fast, but during their time of fasting they are not seeking God, they are puffing themselves up before men. Their actions can cause discord, conflict andarguments because of their hatred and malice against others.   

Isaiah 58:4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness.
You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. NKJ

God does acknowledge they do indeed fast, but according to their own way. They walk around with sad and distorted faces to get the praise and attention of men. At the same time they are misusing and mistreating people, those created in the image of God, because of some differences or dislikes. 

Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? NKJ 

God tells us the type of fast He has chosen. We are to seek God in prayer to loose those who are in bondage with the heavy burdens of sin and wickedness. Yet many will see people who are living in sinful lifestyles and will abhor and despise them, instead of praying that they will be loosed from that bondage.  

While fasting and praying we are to seek the good of others who are oppressed, worried, broken, harassed and weighted down, that they will be freed of these yokes that society and mankind has placed on them. 

Fasting is not just the abstaining from eating but it is taking the money and time we would normally spend on our lavish meal to provide for those who are in need. We are to feed the hungry, to help those who are homeless to find them shelter and to cover those who are without adequate clothing. 

God told us not to hide from our family or our own flesh. Godknows that in our natural state, for many different reasons, we would want to disappear and be out of sight and out of view from some of our family members. It takes the Holy Spirit and the power of God to get our hearts to forgive those who have hurt us especially those who were supposed to provide and protect us. 

This is not to say we are to put ourselves in harms way but we are to seek God and ask Him to give us the forgiveness we need for our people. So that we may be able to process and deal with those concerns according to His word and that we may move on and be set free. Though we may never be in their presence we can be at peace and not hide from the things that tormented us.  

Fasting and praying is not just staying away from food but it is a time to engage the soul in fellowship with God. Just as the body needs nourishment for growth so do our souls need the spiritual sustenance we receive from God. When we invest time to fast and pray our spirit and soul are nourished more so than with the constant pampering and indulging of our flesh. 

When we spend time in the presence of God we cannot help but to reflect His glory. Just as Moses when he had been with God his face glowed because he had been in God’s presence. Though there may not be a physical glowing appearance like Moses’ but people can recognize those who have been in the presence of God, by their love and humbleness toward others. 

There is no specific timeframe to fasting. We see in the Bible where people have fasted for a meal, until evening, a day and some even longer. It is not the length in time but, it is a privatematter with the sincerity of heart in seeking God. This will illuminate the soul, discipline the flesh and energize the spirit as we increase our awareness of God.  While in His presence ourfaith increases by knowing God is faithful to His word and Heable to perform mightily on our behalf. 

Matthew 6:16-18 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Fasting and praying engages our total being. It not onlydisciplines the body by saying no, while refraining from food, but it engages the soul as we intreat and intercede for others to be helped with their needs and burdens. It also connects our spirit with God’s Holy Spirit allowing us time to be in His presence and to receive from Him.

The Good Heart Soil

The good heart is one that receives the word of God and is softened by allowing the word to remove the hate and bitterness that has caused the heart to be hardened. It takes time to know and fellowship with God through His word and prayer. The time we spend communing with God allows us to understand His word and His ways, so that we can remove those stony places that have developed over past hurts and failures. 

The more we know about Jesus and the fellowship of His suffering, the more we will understand that life is full of troubles. In knowing God’s word, we are able to better deal with our problems according to His ways, so that we will be able to process them, deal with them and move on from them. We will recognize that earth is not our forever home and that we are just passing through it as we prepare for our eternalhome. So, when persecution, tribulation and chaos come into our lives we are not easily offended. We do not allow our circumstances to be our focus but we let the love and the forgiveness of God cultivate our good heart soil. 

Matthew 13:8-9 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” NKJ

Philippians 3:10-11 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

There are many things that vie, contend and struggle for the time and attention of our hearts. It is our will, be it a conscious or unconscious decision, that will determine the state and condition of our heart. Life is difficult and for those who refuse to forgive and choose to live in anger and resentment theyharden their hearts to the seed of God’s word. These hardened hearts cannot receive God’s word, so the enemy will come and steal the seed of truth from them. 

A good heart receives the word with joy and will let go of thoseharden stones of hate and bitterness that was in their hearts. A good heart receives the truth of God’s word and allows it to spring up, to have depth and to take root. When the heat of life,persecution and tribulations blaze on them, they are not easily offended nor will they wither away. Because they allowed the depth of God’s word to remove the hate and pride and allowedthe word to take deep root in their hearts.  

Colossians3:12-13 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 

A good heart receives the word of God as truth and will not let the worries of living life, the desires of this world or the pursuit of its riches to choke the seed of God’s word from of their heart. They are able to trust God with their life and their future,learning to be content in whatever situation they are in and understanding that this is God’s will for their life. Having faith in God, believing and trusting that He will be faithful to His word and provide a way of escape out of every situation. 

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:   I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.   I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Every child is born with an innocence, a state of being without guile, corruption or hate but because of this fallen world, sin has changed and deformed us all. An innocent heart is turned into one of hate, full of pride and bitterness because of the evilness of mankind. This can cause the good heart God created to be twisted into a heart that is hardened, stony and full of thorns and will not allow the love, forgiveness and compassion of God to grow. 

A good heart is one that will produce much fruit and is one that knows the promises of God, trusts God and rests in His love and faithfulness. Though hard times come they do not loose faith because they will pray about everything, rejoice in all things and give thanks to God that He knows their situation and circumstances. They believe in His word and believe the problems they are going through; God will change and allow them to be used for their good. These problems will also will reveal and reflect His glory and divine will for their lives on the earth. 

Matthew 13 18-23

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower:  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.  But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.  Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

A good heart will live in God’s Shalom peace, which surpasses natural human understanding. A good heart will rest in the knowledge of God and allows them to be restful and peaceful. Good heart soil is capable of producing and reaping thirty, sixtyand a hundred times more than what was sown in their lives and the lives of others. 

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. NKJ

Spiritual Principle of Heart SoilsHardened- Stony- Thorny

Jesus spoke often of spiritual principles that operated in the kingdom of God on earth in parables. These were stories told for those who had a heart for God and could understand these principles, but those who were blinded to these truths could not. The parable of the seed sown will show us how the truth of God’s word is like a seed that goes out but falls into many different types of soil. It is the condition of the heart soil thatwill determine the end, whether it be it failure or growth of the seed sown. 

Matthew 13: 3- 9 Then He spoke man things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.  Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.  But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” NKJ

Jesus explained the different conditions of the heart so that we could understand how these kingdom principles operate in our lives.  God’s truth is ever speaking through His creation, be it in the heavens, the sun or the stars; His splendor is revealed in nature in the mountains, the trees and the animals and His wonders are displayed in the oceans and seas and all that it is in them. 

There are many who look upon God’s marvelous creation and will still say there is no God and it was all done by accident. They are refusing to acknowledge the truth that is shown in all His creation. 

Romans 1:18-20  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 

God reveals His truth to everyone and all are without excuse because His truth speaks and is revealed everyday through His creation. God reveals His truth line upon line, precept upon precept. If one rejects the first line of truth, they are unable to receive the next precept or teaching upon which this truthshould be built. People refuse to acknowledge His glorious creation because they want to go their own way and do the things that are against God and nature therefore, they refuse God’s word. Some profess themselves to be wise and even godly but their hearts are darkened with their own vain imagination and their eyes blinded by Satan.  

Romans 1:21-22   Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 

John 12:40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” NKJ

Jesus spoke of three types of conditions of the heart that will hinder a person from receiving God’s word. These conditionswill obstruct their growth and their potential to live a productive and fruitful life in the kingdom of heaven. The first was the seed that fell on the wayside or the hardened soil where the seed could not penetrate or get into the heart soil, so the enemy comes and steals that seed-word of truth from them.  

The second condition is the stony heart soil.  They are the people who get excited when they first hear the gospel and get busy with all the busy work of doing things and serving. But they fail to take time to study God’s word and they are not rooted and grounded in the understanding God’s truth and principles. Therefore, when the tribulation and hard times comes and they are persecuted because of the word of God, they get depressed, disheartened and offended, thinking God has failed them. Their lack of knowledge and understanding of God’s spiritual principle that every truth and faith stance will be tested is missing and they are often offended. 

The third condition is the thorny heart soil. They hear the word of God and receive it but the weeds of the demands of everyday living, and the cares of getting ahead and getting more begins to overgrow and overtake the true word that was received. Like any garden, though good seed was sown, but if left untendedthe weeds will outgrow and the choke the good seed and it becomes unproductive and unfruitful. 

Matthew 13 18-22

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower:  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.  But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;  yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.  Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 

Some people will accuse God of being unjust because of the many who do not have access to the word, but God reveals Himself in all creation. God’s truth is revealed and is visible in every corner of the world, but the first line of truth must be received before the next line is given and understood. Before new truth is given the first truth must be received, believed and accepted. It is the condition of one’s heart that will determine whether they receive it and their will and their choice willdetermine their destiny.

Romans 1: 20-21 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. NKJ

The Spiritual Principle of Seedtime and Harvest, Sowing and Reaping

This world operates on the seed principles of sowing and reaping. It was a spiritual kingdom principle that was established by God in the beginning when He gave the command. He commanded as long as the earth remains there will be seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summerand day and night will not cease. These things will happen as long as the world is in existence so it would be fitting for us to understand and learn these principles. 

Genesis 8:22 “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest,Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.” NKJ

We all are living in various seasons in life and sometimes we are in more than one season at a time. In the spring and summer of our lives we are sowing the seeds of life into our families, giving birth to children, starting new jobs and careers and expanding our lives while cultivating new friendships and engaging diverse people. In our harvest time we see the blessing of God as we reap from the sowing of good seeds and investing in our children, families, friends and careers. Our lives are richer, fuller and deeper because we decided to invest in other people and not only ourselves. 

Jesus often talked about the seed as the word of God and sowing the seed of God word into the hearts of mankind.  There is a time to plant and a time to harvest, we live in the summer and winter of our lives as children of the light of day and not in the darkness of night. We are to understand that there will be times that the sun shines bright in our lives. There are also times when we are in the bitterness of winter when everything lies dormant and there appears to be no life at all, and yet the seasons change and spring will come. It is up to us to persevere through those difficult times with hope in God. With faith to believe He is faithful to His word, and that we will yield the fruits of our labor and the harvest will come. 

Mark 4:26-29 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.  But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

The kingdom of God is operating on the earth and Jesus speaks of it in the parable of the good seed that was sown and would bring forth a harvest but then the enemy came and sowed wild weeds that became be a trap and a snare. This is what happenedwhen God created a beautiful world for mankind and the enemy came and ensnared and entrapped humanity into sin and death. 

Some people want to question God as to why He allows evil people to live and they want to see them uprooted and destroyed immediately. God knows the heart and the destiny of a person and what we see are people’s bad actions but we cannot see their true heart or their final destination. We all have been in a dark place where if He had given up on us then, we would have not been able to make it. But because of God’s love, tender mercies, compassion and longsuffering, we were able to be brought out of darkness and into His Marvelous Light in Christ. Only God can judge their motives and intent and will know which are good seeds or bad. At the harvest the good seed will be gathered and stored with the king and the bad seed will be harvested with the tares and weeds. 

Matthew 13:24-30 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 

So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’  But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 

Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

The spiritual principle of sowing and reaping, cold and heat, summer and winter day and night will not cease as long as the earth remains. We will forever have times of dark nights and bright days, warm summers and cold winters and seedtime and harvest times, times when we are doing well and not so well. We cannot determine when we will receive our harvest but we can decide what type of harvest we will gather, as we choose the type of seed we sow. As every farmer and anyone who hasgrown plants knows whatever seed that is planted that is the crop that will be reaped.  

Genesis 8:22 “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest,Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.” NKJ

Our present may be difficult times and hard situations but God has given us all the ability to change our future with the type of seed we plant for our harvest.  If we want sweet corn in our future we cannot plant bitter herbs or bitter greens in our present, because karma is real and we will reap what has been sown. But we can always ask God to forgive and pray for a crop failure of those sour grapes we have sown and ask Him keep us on the path of the good seed. 

Revelation 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

Live With Death in Mind – Die with Life in View!

People want to live this life as though it is never ending and view death as a final destination. In actuality this life is but a limited time and space and death is our true transition to the eternal.  We should live our lives with our ultimate purpose in mind, which is to reflect God’s glory while we are on the earth and with our eternal destination as our fore view, outlook and vision.

John 17: 3-4 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. NKJ

God made mankind with the intended purpose that they would live forever, but sin brought death and destruction into the world. Now life is but a fleeting moment or as a vapor that is there for a while and will soon pass. Fallen humanity tends to live life for the moment or just for the immediate gratification of its present cravings, desires and wants. Jesus is our example;He lived His life with death in mind knowing He would bring many people into the family of God while giving hope for eternal life. 

James 4:14-15 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 

Jesus lived His life under the shadow of death knowing His ultimate end would be the death of the cross.  This did not makeJesus morbid, dark or woeful because He understood His purpose. Jesus came to die with the purpose and knew He would have eternal life with God the Father and those who would come to God through faith in His life, death and resurrection will also have eternal life.

John 17:1-2 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 

When we understand our created purpose and live life with eternity in mind then we can live a life that reflects and reveals God’s glory. We too can bring the saving knowledge of God the Father to those around us, that they may have eternal lifethrough Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

God has given us blessings, talents and gifts that we may be blessed and be a blessing. God had given much land and houses to Israel but told them to leave the corners and the gleaning of their fields for the poor. God is not against us having more but He wants us to be mindful of those who do not have.  Jesus warns us with the parable of the rich man who had plenty, more than he could store, but he decided to hoard his increase rather than sharing and helping those who were in need. 

Leviticus 23:22 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the Lord your God.’”

Luke 12:16-21  Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. 

Life is not one bad action, misjudgment or a mistake made thatsentences us to damnation forever. Life is the sum of the choices of an individual’s continuous exertion, inclination orambition, which will determine their actions and in due course determine their destiny. Our destiny is not determined by some poor judgment or some shameful act. Our destiny is the combination of the decisions and the unceasing set of actions of our will, which refuses to receive the provision God has provided in Christ.

Isaiah 1:18-20   Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Life is a parenthetical set of time; it has a beginning and an ending. It is what we do with this life from our beginning until our death that will determine our eternity. Many will live this life piling up riches and wealth as though they will live on this earth forever and yet they fail to plan for where they will spend their eternal life and destiny. 

Matthew 25:41-43 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:  for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

Matthew 25:23   His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  NKJ

We are to live this life understanding that death is our ultimateend on earth and it is a part of life. Living with death in mind it can teach us how to live a productive life on earth and can help us to live with our eternal purpose in view. Then we can makeour decisions based on the things that are eternal.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. NKJ

It Is Finished! – He Has Risen!

On the day Jesus died on the cross He cried, “It is finished.” He closed one segment in time, a time when mankind was alienated from God because of sin.  Jesus paid the ultimate and everlasting cost for the sin debt that humanity owed. Jesus then ushered in a new era where God’s mercy and Justice came together to offer humanity a new way for eternal life. 

John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled  in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight

Psalm 85:9-10 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace havekissed. Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven. NKJ

In the Old Testament God in His compassion and mercy offered mankind time and space to repent and turn from their evil ways.  God gave mankind a chance to atone and apologize for their sins through the sacrifice of animals. This was only a temporary solution that only covered sin for a while and had to be repeated often.  This was how God – Jehovah, interacted and responded to fallen mankind prior to the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus came as the ultimate sacrifice of God. One that needed no repetition, it was complete in making payment and retribution for humanity’s sin debt in full. 

John 1:29  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 

Prior to Christ’s atonement, when mankind refused God’s grace and refused to turn from their evil ways, God would remove His hand of protection. The people were then allowed to receive the full consequences of their actions and decisions. A Holy and Just God required payment for willful disobedience and sin and the wages of sin is death. 

Hebrews 10:30-31 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Every person will choose to either believe in Jesus and receive the payment He made in full or they will stand before a Holy and Righteous God and give account for their own sins and failings.  Now the question is, whose death will satisfy this payment? We all have a choice, though some may remain quiet on this matter, but silence is a choice in and of its self. 

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;   that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Jesus lived His life as a man, He died as a man, the Son of Man, limiting Himself to the abilities of humanity. In His death He completed the work God the Father has assigned to all mankind, to live a holy and righteous life, one that reveals and reflects His glory on the earth. Only Jesus was able to complete and bring it to a finish for all humanity. 

Hebrews 9:12-14 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.   For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Matthew 28:6-7 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

Jesus rose as the Son of God, having all power and authority given to Him. He is able to save those who were lost but believe in Him. Though Jesus died and finished the work of salvation alone, He has risen to give life to many who believe, receive and trust in Him by faith.  What we could not do for ourselves Christ did. Jesus lived a perfect life and died the death of the cross for our sins that we may be raised up in the last days to live forever with Him. 

Matthew 28: 18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Amen.

1 Corinthians 6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.

He has Risen with a new body that will live forever with God. All who receive by faith Jesus as their Lord and Savior will be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Followers and believers in Christ are saved but we still have our old fallen nature and bodies that are affected by sin. Because He has risen, we have hope in a new life with new bodies, not marred by sin, that will be like the risen body of Christ.    

1 John 3:1-2 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. NKJ

Because He has risen, I can face tomorrow! Because He has risen all fear is gone! Because He has risen, I know He holds my future! This life is worth living, just because He lives! And because He lives, He is my Hope!

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. NKJ

God – Works All Things Together for Our Good.

Just as God foreknew in the garden the fall of mankind and made provision, He has also made provision for every situation we are in. When we are tempted to rebel, rise up in pride, hate or vengeance, God has provided an alternative way for us. It is up to us to seek His way and take the way He has offered us out of our present darkness. At times this way may be one of humbleness and self-effacement, which is contrary to the nature of pride the of fallen mankind.  

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

God foresees the traps the adversary has laid and know that we are weak. Though we may fall, God will turn those situations the enemy meant to hurt us and use them to be a benefit and blessing to us and those we minister to. 

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 

Romans 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 

The things we go through and the lessons we learn often times are not just for our benefit. When these experiences arenavigated well, according to the knowledge and understanding of God’s word and faith in Jesus Christ, we are able to live inhope. These can be life lessons and useful in showing how to reflect God’s glory in hard situation and to those around us. 

Hebrews 12:1, 3 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. NKJ

Satan is not all knowing, but he has been observing mankind from the beginning. He has seen our tendencies, bents and the propensities of our appetite, so that humanity may be lured and tempted into his snares. That is why we must control our bodies so not to give the enemy an avenue to come and trap or entangle us into evil and depravity. 

1 Peter 5:8-11 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.   Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while,perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

It is our adversary who comes to wreak havoc over our lives, causing death and destruction but God has provided a way of escape. The world has cultivated a pattern of over indulgences,which seeks to fulfill every whim or desire without restraint.This leads to an undiscipline life that seldom tells the body no to its extravagances and excesses. 

As followers of Christ, we should exercise our will and minds and say no to our body’s cravings and appetites. We do this sothat we may run this race and win against the temptations of this world.  No one can run a marathon on the first try. It takes discipline, training and continued practice to run this race. Just as living a life under control is a practiced skill, it is not achieved overnight. 

1 Corinthians 9:26-27 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus, I fight: not as one who beats the air.   But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

It is in the most difficult situations that we find the test of our trust and faith in God. Though we may not understand why we are going through, or why we experiencing this dark phase unable to see the next thing, we can choose to trust God. God is faithful and hope is in His word that He will bring us through every situation, so that we may receive eternal life. 

Micah 7:7-8 Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.

No matter the problem, no matter the situation or difficultiesthat we experience we should hold fast and know that our Hope is in Christ. 

Ruth 3:18 Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.” NKJ

Our hope is our faith and belief in God’s word and His steadfast love for us.

Then we all may say, “I will wait and see how the Lord settles the matter!”

God of All Comfort

God is not aloof, indifferent or coldhearted toward our pain and suffering when we lose a loved one or experience hardship. We are told to trust God and have faith in Him, but this does not minimize our grief and anguish and God listens to our cry. Jesus Himself is touched and understands our feelings because He experienced all that we have suffered and tells us to come to Him for help when we have a loss or in need.  God knew we would fall and could have chosen not to create mankind but He chose to create mankind and allowed them free will to love or reject Him.  God’s love, mercy and grace has provided another way for us to be redeemed from sin.

Acts 7:34 I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.”’

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. NKJ

God is the God of all comfort and compassion and He hears our cry for help. Sin and the enemy are the reasons we are experiencing these hard times and we must look to God and His provision to bring us out. Just as in the beginning God provided Christ as our redeemer from sin He has made provisions for us to break out of every snare the enemy has laid.

 

2 Corinthians 1: 3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.   For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.  

God knew before he formed this world that mankind would rebel and fall because of Satan and sin. God redeemed humanity at the high cost of the life of His Son Jesus. He wanted mankind to be rescued and delivered from eternal damnation even before the world began.

Death was not God’s design for mankind, though the enemy uses it against God’s creation, but God made a counter plan for eternal life and to free mankind from the traps of Satan and eternal death. 

Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. NKJ

 

Psalm 116:15-16 Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds.

God is love and full of compassion toward us and hears our cry when we are going through difficult times. He is not insensitive or a hardened father who is cold toward his children. He does not require them to suck up their pain and bear their grief without feeling, but our God and Father has come along side us to comfort us. Jesus was moved, had compassion and wept at the cries of Mary and Martha, having loss their brother Lazarus. Jesus did not weep for Lazarus because He came to raise him from the dead. Jesus wept for the living who were hurt and distressed because of their loss. God is concerned with the things that concern us. 

John 11:35-36 Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

God sees and foresees our life; He knows what we will experience and has made provisions for us to be able to come out victoriously. We are told that we will have troubles but we can take consolation and comfort in the fact that our salvation is sure.  So when we endure and persevere through these sufferings it produces hope and faith in God. After we have come through these hard situations we are able to comfort those who are also going through. What God brings us out of He gives us authority over and we can become a witness to His love and mercy and be a reflection of His glory and use this to minister to the people around us. 

2 Corinthians 1: 6- 7 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.  And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

God has sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit to be with us and in us so that we are never alone. Just as God brought Israel out of Egypt and went before them by cloud during the day and fire at night, so is He with us in every situation to help, defend and protect. Israel grumbled against God and Moses called them a rebellious and stiff-necked people, ungrateful for all God had done for them. We too can choose to murmur and complain about our situations or we can trust God and the Hope we have in His love for us.

Numbers 14:1- 3 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.  And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!  Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 

Deuteronomy 31:27 For I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord, then how much more after my death?

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. NKJ

Our comfort is to know we have eternal life with God the Father and Jesus His Son. The things we go through are hard and difficult. However, when we have a true knowledge of God and Jesus according to His word, we can endure and press through these experiences.

John 14:16-18 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. NKJ

Our comfort, our hope and our great expectation is in the love of God and His plan for us and that He is forever with us and will never leave us.

The perspective – Fear or Faith

Our perspective is everything, it is the bedrock of who we are and will determine how we view ourselves, people and thingsaround us. Thereby our perspective will dictate our actions, thoughts, responses and feelings in every situation. The natural fleshly perspective is fear and to see everything as it relates to or has a focus on self. The problems we go through, be it a loss of a job, home or loved one, most people’s attention is on themselves as though something strange was happening to them.  

Some peoples respond in a way that says God has failed, that He did not come through to protect or provide. But the spiritual perspective of faith is to understand life is chaotic, that Satan is an enemy and sin is in our world. These problems and suffering are part of the life we live but we can use them to bring God glory because He has made provision for us to persevere and become victorious. 

1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 

Living in this fallen world is like living in water where things are continuously wet. In the world where we live there is no escaping the effects of sin, just as things in ocean are always wet. When mankind lost their Holy Spirit, their likeness of God,the world fell into this ocean of sin and now sin is part of this fallen world and therefor there is no escaping the process of becoming wet. But Christ has come and has given us a lifeboat that can take us out of the elements of the ocean of sin and can bring us into a life eternally without sin.  

Job 14:1-2  Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue. NKJ

Suffering is an unavoidable universal rule. It is a natural process of development and growth and can be used for learning obedience. How we view our suffering will determine our perspective toward life and God. This is where the battle begins, where the enemy will try to incite rage, anger and fear, but God’s word tells us to not be anxious, or afraid and to not linger over those thoughts of fear. 

Philippians 4: 6-7 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.

We are not to let our minds stay or dwell on these fearful thoughts and be filled with the ongoing considerations that fear brings. We will make a choice, though it may be done consciously or unconsciously out of habit. The human mind can only hold one thought at a time and we are to turn our thoughts on those things which are true, pure and praise worthy and that is how you change your thoughts, hearts and perspective toward God and to conquer fear. 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

As a result of the curse at the fall, life struggles, trial and suffering are woven into the very fabric of this world. These tests are means of displaying one’s allegiance and loyalties whether it be to God or to the enemy and this fallen system. God has always given mankind a choice and an opportunity to reveal and exhibit whom they will obey. Sometime it is in the struggles and things we suffer that God’s children will turn to Him, His word and learn the process of being obedient to theword of God.

Hebrews 5:8-9 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.   And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him

Deuteronomy 8:2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

All that the children of God do and everything they go through should be for the praise of God and to be a witness of God’s Love, mercy and compassion to a lost world.  Everyone will have troubles in this life and they will decide whether to run in fear and blame God, just as Adam did, or to live in faith and trust in God’s love as Job did during his struggles. Job did not understand why he was going through those hard times but he trusted God with his natural life and his eternal life, believing in God. Though Job did not know the reason behind his trials he trusted God even to the point of death and knew that God would be his defender. 

Job 13:15-16 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. He also shall be my salvation, For a hypocrite could not come before Him.

Life is a process of learning and growing. We are born again by the grace of God, through faith in the completed work of Christ. Jesus came to redeem us from the curse of the law and by faith we have been born again into the family of God. We become as children in God’s family with a new culture and a new kingdomand we must learn and study how to navigate in this new kingdom and its spiritual laws. 

As any child born into a family, they have the bloodline and the characteristics of that family. But being a child, they do not know or understand the meaning of their pedigree, until they are taught in the knowledge with an understanding of their family. So it is for those born again into the family of God, they also are not aware of their godly inheritance or lineage and His kingdom ways and principles until they are taught and learn His word.  

1 Corinthians 3:1-2 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; NKJ

Every person will go through troubles, the difference will be how we respond and react to these problems. When God reveals a truth and we decide to accept and trust that truth then there will be a testing to see our commitment, our integrity and our faith.  It is in these trials that we will display our true character, integrity and the love of God our Father. Our actions will attestand be a witness in both the natural and spiritual world for God’s glory.  

Abraham faced the test of the promise of God to be the father of many nations through his son Isaac. The proposed death of his son Isaac was hard but Abraham trusted God and believed His word was true and that God was able to raise Isaac up from the dead in order to fulfill His promise that through Isaac he would become the father of many nations. 

Genesis 17:3-4  Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:  “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.  NKJ

Darkness cannot stay where there is light, fear cannot coexist with praise and thanksgiving to God. What we allow to linger in our thoughts and minds will affect our perspective. The result of this battle will be of fear or faith!

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