Dear Friends and Family,
Here we are entering the beautiful Fall season once again. It seems that we just put away our Christmas decorations from last year and we’re once again entering the season of approaching holidays. It seems as if time has sped up over the last years. However, it’s not only is time that is speeding up, but so is our current economic and social situation here in America. It has deteriorated and we are seeing things and experiencing things that our parents and grandparents would have said was impossible for God-fearing Americans. I guess that’s the operative word though – God-fearing. Scripture clearly states that for those who do not fear the Lord there is nothing to restrain them from the fallen nature that resides within mankind since the fall of Adam. As we live in a fallen world – one that will be done away with so that a new earth can be established following the millennial reign of Christ – and we live with people with fallen natures, as well as that old fallen nature continually trying to get it’s preeminence back in our own lives, is it any great mystery that we deal with trials and tribulations in this life? Do we really have no other explanation for this than that God has organized them for us? Proverbs tells us God does not have to do one single thing to cause trouble in our lives. Our very natures and surroundings do very well all by themselves.
3 The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the Lord.
The world is rushing toward hell and destruction as a mighty stream rushes down the mountain and toward the great sea. So too, when we decide to come out from the world and live for Christ and His Kingdom we are not taken out of the stream of this world but we are now running contrary to it. So our battle will be against the tide always. Do we need anymore explanation for why we face trials in our lives? The unsaved face trials because they have allowed the rushing stream to take them toward destruction – we face trials because we have stood against the tide. There is no escaping trials in this life. So settle that fact now.
This month I want to talk about how the trials and tribulations of life can accomplish one of two things – make you or break you; and we will see how the choice as to which of those scenarios plays itself out in your life is entirely up to you! Our base Scripture for this month’s teaching is found in Deuteronomy 5:24
The Lord Our God Has showed us His Glory…
The Lord’s greatest desire is to manifest His own glory through the work of His hands. Mankind is, according to Scripture, His greatest work. That is it is the work that is closest to His heart. We are the apple of His eye. What is man that He is mindful of us? Yet, He is. But how can God be manifested in such fallen creatures as we are? Our eye is not single – we are always distracted away from Him and His Kingdom, being more concerned with our own reputation, our own lusts and desires, our pride – thinking we are capable of handling the circumstances of our lives on our own or thinking we know what we want and what is best for us and how to get it without his intervention and wisdom – in all this then how can we truly behold the glory of God? We’re not even qualified to do so. Clearly, the only way that we can behold and reflect His glory in our lives is for self to be put out of the picture to make room for God to be exalted. I must decrease and He must increase. How is “self” put out of the picture? It has to be crucified. But how do we crucify the flesh daily. Paul says, “I die daily.” By looking at his life we can see exactly what he meant by that and use it as an example to help us understand how to apply those principles to our lives. Paul did not consider his personal life (self) dear to him. He laid his life down at every turn that God could be glorified in and through him. He thought of God first and foremost, and others more than himself. He was willing to pay any price, to suffer loss, discomfort, pain, humiliation, even imprisonment and death to further the cause of Christ and His Church. It’s through suffering these trials and tribulations that self is crucified. Paul said that nothing was more important to him than to reach the goal and receive the prize of the upward call of Christ. That goal was maturity and that prize was the transformation of the soul and a full salvation. There is a path that we all must walk that leads from earth to heaven. For each of us the obstacles in that path will differ but there is no path that is free of obstacles for any of us. These obstacles, tests and trials if you will, that we face will cause us to become aware of our own weakness and foolishness. As we become conscious of these things and allow them to die in us we experience the power of God in our lives and we see his majesty and glory more clearly as he shows himself strong in delivering us from the sin and foolishness that so easily get us off the path. If we never have to face difficult things we will never see the wonders of his deliverance, kindness and love. If we never messed up we would never see the awesomeness of His grace and forgiveness. When we face sadness, loss, poverty – both spiritual and natural, temptation and reproach we learn the power of God toward us because we experience the littleness and weakness of man! So don’t be troubled when you face manifest trials and tribulations as James tells us because these very trials will work for your greatest good if you allow them too. It’s not that the trials hold any great spiritual strength – it’s that in and through them you turn toward the one whose strength and power will cause the things the enemy means for evil to work for your greatest good. If our road was a road of smooth comfort and success we would, in our humanness, become easily distracted away from the Lord at worst and complacent and lukewarm at best. If you’ve had a rough road in life allow those very experiences to cause you to see and experience the greatness and lovingkindness of God as you look back (or ahead) to see His great salvation in and through it all. If you’ve messed up your life and can’t even see how God can put it all back together again, you are a perfect candidate for His grace and mercy to show themselves strong for you. Your troubles and weaknesses cannot destroy you, but only serve to enrich you with a wealth of knowledge and an experience of the character and power of God. They can only destroy you when he is left out of the equation. They can only destroy you if self remains on the throne with a “why me,” “life’s not fair,” attitude of self-pity and anger. Trials and tribulations WILL come in this world, and life is NOT fair! Where did you ever get the idea that even in Christ we were promised that this world would be fair? We love the promises of God, but we don’t often quote the ones about trouble! In this world you will have tribulation (John 16:33) and in this world you will have persecution (2 Timothy 3:12) and in this world you will have stumbling-blocks and betrayals. Those are the negative things the Scriptures promise. You cannot avoid them. You cannot get through life without facing these things. So how will you handle them when they come? Anyone who has lived a few years on this earth will tell you that it’s not IF they come, but WHEN they come. Will you allow them to destroy you or build you? John 16:33 goes on to say, but in spite of that be of good cheer because I have overcome the world (literal translation – I have deprived it of its power to hurt you). So praise God if you didn’t have a life of ease and plenty because that has helped you not to be left you in a place of darkness and ignorance, but that in the great fight of affliction and trials you have been trained, equipped, and made capable of reflecting His glory through his wonderful dealings with you in and through it all! Praise God for His wonderful, indescribable mercy and grace toward man. Praise God for His magnificent plan of salvation, which no one but Him could ever have conceived or carried out. There is more to salvation than eternal life as precious as that is. God is looking for mature sons and daughters who will take the responsibility and accept the authority of being His kings and priests on the earth and in eternity. As we have already established that we will have many trials and struggles in this life we need not be surprised when they arrive but rather use them as a means to help us crucify the flesh and transform the soul. We are a three part being. That is we have a spirit (that inner part of us that communes with God. The Place where he resides), a soul (which consists of your mind, will and emotions), and we have a body. Our salvation was a complete salvation; that is it touched all three parts of our being not just our eternal spirit. Salvation is a word that is actually in a tense that expresses this thought: You are saved, you are being saved and you will be saved. You are saved – that happened when you were born again! Your spirit was saved and brought from death to life. You are being saved – that is the present (on earth) transformation of the soul. That is the work the Lord is doing in you NOW! He is saving your soul; and you will be saved, that is when he comes for his people our bodies will be saved as they are changed from an earthy to a heavenly body in the twinkling of an eye. Had the enemies of Christ known or understood this plan they never would have crucified the Lord of Glory. Still today, if the enemies of Christ and His people understood that their efforts to cause us to be destroyed only seek to make us stronger because it is not our weak human flesh that responds, but our spirit man through the power and grace of the indwelling Christ that responds, they would leave us alone! What they seek for our destruction only serves to build us. Praise the Lord. Who but God could do such things; and how would we ever be aware of it if the enemy of our souls had not sought to destroy us?
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!!!!
We have been saved from spiritual death. We will still experience natural death here on earth, but not in spirit, soul or body will we ever experience spiritual death – which simply put is separation from God.
The victory was complete! We have ALL that we need for life and godliness. It’s our choice which road we take – the broad way which gives us lots of space for the flesh but leads to destruction; or the narrow way which confines and crucifies the flesh but leads to life.
In His Love,
Solid Rock Ministries