Of course the saints have failures and disappointments along the way, but those failures should not be taken as "signs" that we should lower our expectations, or compromise our confession. For we are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (Heb.3:14). The righteous may "fall" or fail an hundred times, BUT THEY ALWAYS RISE UP AGAIN : Who passing through the valley of Baca (weeping), make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools (the Holy Spirit meets them in their valley of depression). They go from STRENGTH to STRENGTH; every one of them in Zion (all the saints) appeareth before God (they receive God's special attention) (Ps. 84:6-7).
|Prov.24:16||For a just man falleth seven times, and RISETH UP AGAIN: but the wicked falleth into mischief.|
|Psalms.34:19||Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him OUT OF THEM ALL.|
The True Saints not only recover and go on, but they also get STRONGER and more determined than ever to obtain all that God has promised; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope (Rom.5:4) The waning of zeal is the sign of a bad faith. Real Christians don't mellow with time, for the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Prov.4:18). The True Saints CAN find more and better reasons to be encouraged in their pursuit of God with the passing of time. Oh, there are some who will say that they have "gone the distance" with God and achieved no results. Wait a minute! Have you "gone the distance" in the way that the Bible describes? For....
|Psalm.25:12||What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose.|
|13||His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.|
|14||The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will shew THEM His covenant.|
|Heb.2:1||Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.|
|2||For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;|
|3||How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him;|
|4||God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?|
God may have winked at your striving to represent and defend SOME false doctrines that you accepted on the authority of other men when you were young in the faith: but, sooner or later it will become obvious that God is only interested in confirming the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3) in YOUR life. If you fear the God of the Bible, you will get your doctrine from that Bible, and if Your "church" does not square with that doctrine, you will correct them, ignore them, or leave them behind.
|Prov.29:25||>The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.|
This is no minor thing. Most of those who are led astray into a "faith" that God will not honor are pressured into it by their "friends". And then, because they are afraid to make any changes that will gain the disapproval of their friends, family, or church; they soon learn to accept the "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION. They look around their church to see who has really OVERCOME THE WHOLE WORLD (1 John 5:4); and not seeing anyone, they feel O.K. about being a failure themselves. This is a rather pitiful consolation, isn't it? Are you truly comforted by the thought that NO ONE ELSE has really gotten the victory either?
|Heb.12:12||Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;|
|13||And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.|
|Heb.12:5||And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him.|
But you may be undergoing such a harsh trial that you are bitter and angry at God. I've been there, too; but I learned that:
|Matt.12:20||A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgement unto victory.|
You may feel like a bruised reed: your hope and your faith have taken such a blow that you have no strength to stand anymore. You feel crippled by weakness, and are crushed beneath the cares of life. God will not damn you for this, nor will he deal you that "final blow" that finally breaks you.
You may have lost your bearings; you are no longer sure that you know anything "right" about God: therefore your "fire" seems to have gone out, and your testimony has been reduced to a wisp of smoke. God will not damn you for this, and neither will he finally "snuff you out".
Job complained bitterly AT God, and he also complained about God to his friends; but Job never quit trying to get God's help and attention. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy (James 5:11). But Job's friends, who did nothing but flatter and defend God throughout, were repudiated (Job 42:7).
Sending judgement unto victory means that the Lord will purge you of your faults, your errors, and your false doctrine, and in so doing He will bring you to that victory that you so desperately need. If your faith has continued to be a disappointment to you, then be ready and willing to accept some correction, for all the paths of the Lord are MERCY and TRUTH unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies (Psalm 25:10).
Let me ask you: The "god" that you serve, is he the God,
Certainly, this describes the God we all wish to find, so, BE TEACHABLE: for it is evident that NOT everyone who claims to have "faith" gets the help they want from God. If you wish to press on, until you have realized all the goodness of God in your life, you must first:
You will have to ignore the uproar: that is, the clamorous DIN of the underworld, from which you are endlessly assaulted with threats, accusations, ideas that contradict the Bible, and challenges to God's faithfulness. You must also turn a deaf ear to the apologizers and excuse makers that are all around you, and even in your own "church". Those whose religion amounts to COMPLACENCY, COMPROMISE, and COWARDICE don't want anyone else to obtain what they themselves have failed to obtain, lest it be revealed that God was NOT PLEASED with their "religion".
And then, FACE UP to the promises and commands of Jesus Christ, Who said:
|John.15:7||If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.|
Our Blessed Lord and Savior is not talking about the memorization of some church creed, but about His own teachings on how to get that ABUNDANT LIFE (John 10:10) that we hear so much about. You will have to reject all those explanations and imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God (2 Cor.10:5). START ALL OVER AGAIN IF YOU MUST! and stuff your nose back into that Bible. Study the teachings of our Blessed and Reliable Lord Jesus Christ, and DO LIKE JESUS SAYS.
|Luke.13:1||There were present at that season some that told Him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices (they were murdered during their church-service).|
|2||And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things?|
|3||I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all LIKEWISE perish.|
|4||Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all them that dwelt in Jerusalem?|
|5||I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all LIKEWISE perish.|
Certainly, there can be no greater tragedy than ending up in hell, Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:43-44): BUT, that is NOT what Jesus is addressing here. What Jesus is talking about, is how to avoid the tragedies that are common to this life. Jesus is NOT saying that if they repent, that they will never have to leave this world. The Apostles Paul and Peter both "left this world", and I think it safe to say that they repented in agreement with what Jesus commanded. So, what we may avoid by repentance, is not the end of our life in this world (John 12:25); but, a TRAGIC ENDING. Certainly, those who came to Jesus to tell him about these tragedies were shocked and horrified at the "apparent injustice" of it all. Jesus points out to them that these were just ORDINARY PEOPLE: THEY WERE not sinners ABOVE anyone else: they were just ORDINARY sinners. Thus, we are informed that if we are just ORDINARY SINNERS, we shall all LIKEWISE perish. By the word "likewise", Jesus is referring to HOW they perished, not to the fact that they left this world. When Jesus said, If a man keep My saying, he shall NEVER see death (John 8:51), He was not thereby denouncing His Apostles, who were to lose their life for Christ's sake, and the Gospel's (Mark 8:35): but saying that they would never EXPERIENCE ANY of the pains, horrors, and sorrows, of death.
There are plenty of horrors and sorrows that can come around before death, too. Everyone would like to know how to escape from the terrible things that are constantly happening to the people around us. Wouldn't you?
Jesus says that except ye repent, ye shall all LIKEWISE perish: repent of WHAT? The Bible says, See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall we not escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven (Heb.12:25). What we must repent of then, is anything and everything which we discover is contrary to the Will and Word of God, WHENEVER it is brought to our attention.
If all the "good Christians" you know seem to be no more immune from the common sorrows and tragedies of this life than anyone else, then you KNOW that YOU ARE IN DANGER as well. They all go to church, sing in the choir, hand over their money, and say, "Amen", to the right things; but they still get terrible diseases, have horrible accidents, end up divorced, come to abject poverty, cannot escape their problems, and die before the proper time. Their "faith" appears to provide them with little more than consolations; and since you are "no better than they are", you expect little more than "consolations" for yourself.
|2Peter.1:2||Grace and Peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Our Lord.|
|3||According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:|
|4||Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption (continuous decay) that is in the world through lust.|
The word for "lust" means "any unrestrained or unguided desire, passion, or ambition". Everyone of us is a creature of NEEDS: we need food and shelter; we need love and companionship; we need glory (a sense of personal beauty and worth); we need virtue (energy and courage for the pursuit of righteousness). We need all these things, AND A LOT MORE, for the maintenance of our life in this world. The knowledge of God provides us with proper GUIDANCE in how to obtain all these things. If we fail to be guided by the by the knowledge of God in our pursuit of these things, we look in the wrong direction, make the wrong choices, and STUMBLE ON in the CONTINUOUS moral, physical, and spiritual DECAY (corruption) that is OBVIOUSLY at work in our own human nature. And Moses was 120 years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated (Deut. 34:7). Moses evidently did something right: SOMETHING WHICH, many of us ARE NOT doing right.
All around us are the "so called proofs" that many, or MOST of these great and precious promises are not to be taken literally. Every one of us can recite our own LIST of unanswered prayers and "faith ventures" that failed. Meanwhile, we are surrounded by those who claim to know, live by, and represent The Truth; but they are always ignoring or EXPLAINING AWAY these great and precious promises, because THEY TOO, have failed to see them fulfilled in their own lives. They say that those great and precious promises were for "the old days", or that they were not meant to be taken LITERALLY; but were meant to be realized only as "encouragements". They IMPLY that Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles EXAGGERATED the reality of these great and precious promises as a "prop" for hope. Jesus said: With God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26); and with this they will agree; BUT, they leave you with the final impression that all things are NOT LIKELY, BECAUSE, as THEY say, God is not "interested" in giving us SIGNS; but in our "remaining faithful" without any evidence that God is confirming our religion (Mark 16:17-20).
|Matt.7:7||Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you;|
|8||For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.|
|Mark.11:24||Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.|
|Luke.10:19||Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.|
|John.8:51||Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death.|
Our Lord Jesus Christ said these things. Was He exaggerating?
The Apostle Paul said these things. Was he exaggerating?
James said these things. Was he exaggerating?
YET, many people treat these great and precious promises as if they were no more than some sort of "bait"; meant only to "lure you in" to Christianity and to keep you chasing after things you cannot receive. Thus, they make these great and precious promises into DECEPTIVE and VIRTUALLY UNOBTAINABLE promises. They dare not come right out and CALL GOD A LIAR; so INSTEAD, they come up with a new "definition" for FAITH, in which "faith" is really nothing more than the willingness to tolerate and flatter a "god" that they have judged in their hearts as guilty of treachery and indifference.
THINK ABOUT IT: A "friend" writes you a letter, in which he promises to be "there for you" when you NEED his help; BUT, he doesn't come through. You may be willing to FORGIVE your friend for his failure to "be there for you" because he was INCAPABLE of helping you. You may ALSO be willing to forgive your friend for his failure to be "true to his word", because you know that YOU are NOT always faithful to your OWN promises. You are willing to TOLERATE the UNRELIABILITY or your "friend", and not make his FAILURE to be RELIABLE into THE ISSUE that ends your friendship.
God is NEVER "incapable" of ANYTHING, and you know that. So, are you going to "forgive" God for being "unreliable", thereby accusing Him of treachery? Or will you face up to the fact that there are only 5 reasons that can occur to professing Christians for why tragedy came or why the thing that was needed was not supplied soon enough to make a meaningful difference.
1. There is no God.
2. God has no sympathy for your suffering, and is ignoring your cry for help.
3. The Bible misrepresents what you are to expect from God, and how you may receive it.
4. You did not meet the conditions; plainly stated in the Bible; for receiving the promise.
5. God righteously and justly refuses to grant your request for His own glory, AND for your own good.
Oh, but there is always the "later" CLAUSE: many will excuse themselves by saying, "God will help me later"..... ALWAYS LATER: but no one is ever truly consoled by the thought that due time refers to the indefinite future or the end of this life. SO, you RESIGN yourself to failure, fear, and disappointment, and you learn how to TOLERATE a "god" that you have to "forgive" for NOT ANSWERING YOUR PRAYERS: a "god" that you have to "forgive" for not making THE INSTRUCTIONS clear enough: a "god" that you TOLERATE because you are afraid of Him, and you hope that in your moment of worst extremity, He will FINALLY "feel sorry for you", and be obliged to help you. What kind of man is it, that prefers to live under the specter of a brutal and insensitive god; rather than to repent, change, and be blessed?
And there is NO possibility that the reason you didn't RECEIVE what things soever you desire was because you failed to TRY HARD ENOUGH or HOLD OUT LONG ENOUGH. Anyone who doesn't TRY HARD ENOUGH or HOLD OUT LONG ENOUGH was never "IN THE GAME" in the first place. AND . . . anyone who will "explain" their failure to OBTAIN the promises by their lack of stamina, WOULD NEVER OBTAIN them no matter how hard they tried. Such a man is actually putting God to the test: he thinks that if he makes, what is in his own judgement a "sufficient attempt", that he can blame God for whatever happens. Faith in God is not something you "try", to see IF it "works". One who has faith in the promises of God has ALREADY renounced faith in everything else. Jesus said . . . No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Jesus did not say GOING BACK, but looking back. Looking back is "keeping in mind" what you can or will do JUST IN CASE "faith" doesn't work. Narrow is the way, which leadeth into life; and few there be that find it (Matt. 7:14). You should not be surprised if you don't see many EXAMPLES of success in these things among the "Christians" around you. Even if there ARE such EXAMPLES, you may not be able to see them.
|1Cor.2:11||For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of that man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.|
|14||But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.|
Those who claim to have RECEIVED THE PROMISE may "appear" to have just been well served by fortuitous events. A man prayed for money; his parents passed away and he received an inheritance. A man prayed for healing; he also went to the doctor, but God healed him anyway. God doesn't give SIGNS to convince people to believe Him: SIGNS follow them that already believe (Mark 16:17). If you justify your own failure to receive the promises by saying, "Well, no one else really has either", you deceive yourself: SOMEONE HAS, AND THEY KNOW THEY HAVE, even if they cannot prove it to you. The eye, the ear, and the heart of the natural man CANNOT "see" the things of the Spirit of God EVEN when they are right in front of Him. We are advised to avoid comparing ourselves to the "majority" as a way of "justifying" our own level of success in "living out" the Christian faith:
|2Cor.10:12||For we dare not make ourselves of the number (majority), or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.|
The words "are not wise", are literally "understand it not". They "DON'T GET IT". The man who thinks that only a few more minutes of holding out will excuse him from any further obligation to depend on or receive the promises, is just like the man who looks for PROOF of the RELIABILITY of the promises in other men. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing from the Lord (James 2:7). For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (Romans 3:3). But those who do receive the promises will be persecuted by those who don't, so be ready to endure......
|1John.3:11||For this is the message that we heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.|
|12||Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brothers were righteous.|
Should anyone CLAIM to be RECEIVING the promises, and also APPEAR to be RECEIVING the promises; they are going to be HATED, SLANDERED, and DENOUNCED by all those who KNOW that THEY THEMSELVES have settled for THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION. Should anyone dare to separate themselves from the "number", and then both claim and demonstrate the fulfillment of those promises; they are likely to be accused of using witchcraft, or of being false prophets. Even Jesus was accused of casting out devils by Beelzebub the prince of the devils (Matt.12:14).
In Genesis chapter 4, Cain and Abel both present an offering unto the Lord. And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and unto his offering: but unto Cain, and unto his offering, He had not respect. When Cain discovered that God did not respect his offering, he could have INQUIRED of God to find out WHAT WAS WRONG with his offering! He also could have gone to his brother and asked him for counsel in the matter: but PRIDE prevented that! INSTEAD, he just HATED his brother, and stewed in his hatred, until he finally chose to "solve his problem" by getting rid of what REMINDED him of his own failure: his brother Abel. The Pharisees and Sadducees "got rid of" Jesus because of ENVY (Matt.27:18). Cain was Abel's "brother": (fellow church-member), but he was of that wicked one. You should not be surprised if your SUCCESS turns your "friends" into ENEMIES. Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? (Proverbs 27:4). Those who are more concerned about proving that they are "just as good as everyone else", than they are about learning and obeying the truth, invariably commit the sin of Cain against the righteous.
Ah, but here's THE RUB: There often appears to be some "mysterious" unresolved problem that STANDS BETWEEN us and the promise. Our Lord Jesus answers this objection by telling us that THE RUB is UNBELIEF. A man came to Jesus and said: If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us and help us (Mark 9:22). The man places the responsibility for the solution to his problem on the Lord, by suggesting that THE RUB has something to do with Jesus' ABILITY, by saying, "If thou canst"; and Jesus' WILLINGNESS, by saying, "have compassion".
|Mark.9:24||Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.|
Jesus ignores the challenge, and tells the man that all things are possible to him that believeth. He has plainly made the man responsible for believing. The man then tries to shift the responsibility back onto the Lord by suggesting that it's the Lord's fault for not MAKING HIM BELIEVE:
|Mark.9:24||And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.|
I'll bet you have TRIED THIS: and it may have brought an answer to your prayer once or twice, but I know that this hasn't "worked" EVERY time. AM I RIGHT? There are no "abra-cadabras" in the Christian faith. Jesus healed this man's child to avoid an ugly public scene (Mark 9:25), NOT in response to some "additional" faith supplied to the man by the Lord. The NEXT TIME this man wanted something from God, the "abra-cadabra" didn't work: he had to become "the kind of person" who could believe God for what he needed or wanted; and so do you.
|James.4:2||Ye lust (desire strongly), and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not|
|3||Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.|
YES, there is THE POSSIBILITY OF NO; but SILENCE is NOT NO. Silence is neither yes nor no. Silence is just SILENCE. God simply REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE prayers that ignore what He has already revealed. Also, when God does not respond to our desire, WE ALWAYS HAVE CAIN'S OPTION: we can either INQUIRE into why God is not pleased to respond, or we can be bitter about it. Of course, there are some who will not CARE about it.
|James.1:5||If any of you lack wisdom (the knowledge of what to do next), let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally (quickly, freely, reliably), and upbraideth not (God doesn't read off a list of all your faults before He helps you); and it shall be given him.|
For every problem God can provide a solution, and for every SINCERE question God provides an answer. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18). If you are not calling upon Him in truth; THE REALITY IS: you are not calling upon Him at all. Many pray to a "GOD-IDOL" intheir own mind, a "god" that is a figment of their own imagination.
|Psalm.50:21||...thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.|
This "God of wishful thinking" who is expected to vindicate decadent human nature is NOT GOD; but is an EXALTED SELF IMAGE. Those who "pray" to such a "god" gain their confidence from thinking things like, "If I was God I would do this for me" and, "if I didn't do for someone what God isn't doing for me, I would be a bad person". Thus, if their prayer doesn't get answered, they have labeled God as "a bad person". All of these "reasonings" are just DEPRAVED RUBBISH, and avail nothing. Because that which may be known of God IS manifest to them; for God HATH showed it unto them (Roman 1:19). God is HERE for those who REALLY want Him; and if THIS be NOT TRUE, then there IS NO GOD. For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
|Heb.10:35||Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.|
|36||For ye have need of PATIENCE, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.|
Sometimes the fulfillment of the promise WAITS FOR US after we have done the will of God. This is not a test of endurance; as if God didn't already know what your limits are. The will of God that we must DO before we receive the promise will ALWAYS be something we CAN find out. If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God (James 1:5). The length of the DELAY is controlled by YOU. As soon as you get around to doing the will of God, you will receive the promise. Of course, it's also possible that you will finally realize that you don't really need or want what you have been asking for, and will be glad that God didn't grant your request immediately. How ludicrous it is to suppose that these great and precious promises are to be compared to the "carrot on the stick" that is held just in front of the horse's nose. The faster the horse gallops after the carrot, the faster the carrot flees from him. God does not do this to us.
|Matt.7:11||If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?|
You wouldn't give a power saw to a 5 year old child, no matter how often he asked for it, would you? But a 5 year old child has no real use for a power saw; even if he thinks he does. So it is, that SOME of the things we ask for are not good things. This does not mean that we can never obtain the things we are asking for, but that we may have to change or mature before we can "handle" them safely. Oh YES, there are a million questions we could ask about all the POTENTIAL "terms and conditions" attached to receiving what soever things we desire; but those who have a "million" questions will never receive the promise. Those who have a "million questions" are always avoiding a few questions that they are afraid might be answered; and if those questions are answered, they will have to CHANGE their ways. They erect a forest in order to conceal the offending tree.
|Heb.11:6||But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.|
YES, whenever we are disappointed with God, it's a CRISIS OF CREDIBILITY: Someone has been loyal, and someone has been treacherous. There is something COMICALLY IRONIC about the man who SAYS he can trust the WORDS in the Bible to tell him how to ESCAPE DEATH and LIVE FOREVER; while he cannot trust that same Bible to tell him how to get something of infinitely less importance, like a little money, or swift recovery from an illness, or freedom from sinful habits, or a little guidance in his daily life. The Bible SAYS that since God was willing to give you His only begotten son (John 3:16), He is also willing to give you these lesser things.
|Rom.8:32||He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?|
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31). OF COURSE; there is this ONE REALLY BIG QUESTION: is God "for" YOU? The reason that many professing Christians will NOT RECEIVE what you are READING HERE, is because they are unwilling to seek the honour that cometh from God ONLY. They look for a "set of instructions" to tell them how to obtain the promises of God WITHOUT having to become "the kind of people" that God will honour. There are NO "sure-fire" "step by step" instructions on how to obtain the promises, EXCEPT: He that cometh to God must believe that He is (really exists), and that He is a REWARDER of them that diligently (carefully, meticulously, relentlessly) seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus said: How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5:44)
|John.15:11||These things I have spoken unto you, that My JOY might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.|
Our Lord says that we MIGHT remain joyful; that is, ALWAYS have joy. BUT: NO WHERE in the Bible is it said that True Believers cannot or will not EVER be TEMPORARILY overcome; AND, no one that I have ever met has been able to tell me that they haven't SUFFERED any MISERY, DEFEAT, and DESPAIR. One of the reasons why 'it can't be all fun' in this life is because you WILL BE HATED.
|Luke.6:22||Blessed are ye, when men shall HATE you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.|
|23||Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.|
To be a True Believer in this present evil world is to be surrounded by people who will not like you. And we know that we are of God, and THE WHOLE WORLD lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19). Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). The more Christlike you become, the more you will be HATED by the world. Rejoice ye in that day.
|John.16:20||Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.|
|33||These things have I 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.|
Yes, there is plenty of sorrow, even for those who love God, do what's right, and receive the promises. There is sorrow for the ruin of mankind. There is sorrow for our friends and family that refuse The Truth. There is sorrow for the blessings we lost because we were unteachable. There is sorrow for the wounds we still bear from our past sins. There is sorrow that the Lord has not yet come, and sorrow that we yet sin and fail.
The Bible does not teach us the NECESSITY of misery, defeat, and despair; as if there was NO WAY to remain always joyful: the Bible anticipates the likelihood of failure, heartbreak, and disappointment; because victory is CONDITIONAL. Jesus said: IF ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall done unto you (John 15:7). IF . . . . . . . . . . .
EVENTUAL victory is assured; and this is a great comfort, but while we are waiting for that FINAL and COMPLETE VICTORY, there may well be times of MISERY, DEFEAT, and DESPAIR. Not only are we surrounded by those whose "philosophy of life" make them ESSENTIALLY HOSTILE to us, but we ALSO cause many problems for ourselves.
|1John.2:1||My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.|
The Apostle doesn't say "and when a man sins", as if to suggest that sin was a NECESSITY; but if any man sins. The moment you begin to blame God for your problem you hurt your own cause. How can you expect to get relief from a God you have judged as cruel and unfair? The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and instead of changing his ways, his heart fretteth against the Lord (Prov.19:3). And we are warned, that those who sin against their brother, and then refuse to repent and apologize, will find themselves locked in a prison of misery, defeat, and despair until they have paid the uttermost farthing (Matt.5:22-26).
|1Peter.4:17||For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?|
|18||And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?|
|19||Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful creator.|
|1John.5:2||By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.|
|3||For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.|
|4||FOR whatsoever is born of God OVERCOMETH THE WORLD: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.|
|5||Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?|
All God's children are WINNERS; and NOT IN NAME ONLY. There is an infinite difference between "claiming" the VICTORY and LIVING IT. Overcoming the world is INSEPARABLY CONNECTED to PERSEVERANCE in KEEPING the commandments of Jesus Christ. Anyone who actually lives by The Sermon on The Mount (Matt.5:1-7:29), has indeed overcome the world. One who "gives up" on relentlessly trying to keep His commandments does not love God, was NEVER born of God, and DOESN'T REALLY BELIEVE that Jesus is the Son of God.
|Daniel.3:16||Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.|
|17||If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.|
|18||BUT IF NOT,|
|be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.|
Now, someone might see in these words, "BUT IF NOT", an expression of DOUBT. There is NO DOUBT here: but PREVAILING FAITH; the Faith that prevails all the way to eternal life. Biblical faith is not PRESUMPTION that God must or will do like "we say" because we have some scripture to remind God about. The word for "faith" in the New Testament means primarily, "LOYALTY and TRUST". Neither is Biblical Faith the same thing as "pretending"; as if spiritual things have no reality without our consent. The only word in the New Testament which could be translated to "pretender" is the Greek word for HYPOCRITE; and we are well informed about the fate of hypocrites.
Dear Reader, Don't think for a minute that I have written this because I have always had an easy time of it, or that I have come away VICTORIOUS in every challenge to my faith. I have had times of ABSOLUTE DESPAIR; times when I was so MISERABLE and DEFEATED that I seriously doubted my salvation. I have been so angry at God that I literally cursed at Him because He wasn't helping me the way I wanted Him to. I remember spending 3 days huddled in the corner of a room, weeping in agony, because I felt like the Lord was ignoring me. I was so miserable, and so defeated, that I rarely left that corner for those 3 days; and neither did I eat anything for those 3 days. I also remember a period of 6 months of ceaseless despair, which I fell into when a big-shot preacher managed to convince me that I was possessed by a demon that spoke in tongues. I lost so much weight and became so haggard that I permanently lost my youthful appearance. I became so sick from depression-related illness that I nearly died. My skin turned gray, my hair fell out, and I was regularly vomiting up BLOOD. I recovered from these times of MISERY, DEFEAT, and DESPAIR, and many others; and WHEN I DID, I found that I was MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER to get the TOTAL VICTORY.
Even now, as I write this; I am in critical danger. Any moment now my creditors are likely to show up with the truck and start cleaning out the house. I believe GOD TOLD ME to leave my job, and devote myself to writing this book. There are children in this house, that look to me for their food and shelter. You have NO IDEA . . . . . .BUT, even if the worst happens to ME, I will not go back on anything you have read here. I am not preaching to you about how I found success, ease, and a comfortable life. I am drawing your attention to what The Bible SAYS to you and me both. If I now STUMBLE INTO RUIN, that won't change WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS, nor will my OWN failures TAKE anything away from the FAITHFULNESS of God. Besides; I KNOW, that no matter what happens, I WILL RECOVER, and when I do, I will renew my pursuit of ALL the GOOD THINGS that are mine to enjoy in those great and precious promises. I've been through hard times before, and I know how these things come out.
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