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DIVINE DISCIPLINE
(Genesis 32:22-25)
By Rina Renthlei Mate from India


The Scripture passages for this meditation is taken from the book of Genesis 32:22-30 which tells about the story of Jacob wrestling with God. Indeed, it  is pertinent to say that the story of Jacob wrestling with God is one of the greatest historical and theological accounts of the relationship of humans and the Almighty in the pages of Scripture. In these verses, we see that how God disciplined Jacob's self-life and how Jacob responded that God's action?
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Here, the Divine aim was to overcome Jacob's self-life and the resistance was only overpowered by Divine action. We also see that when Jacob realized his helplessness, he ceased to strive and began to cling to God. Then, blessings came to him like a new character, a new power and a new experience and then, followed gratitude. The story brings before us a striking contrast of the human and the Divine, and reveals the way in which the human is met, overcome and blessed by the Divine. Now, let us take a closer look at the text.
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In these verses, we see that God's wrestling match with Jacob was not a dream or vision. Jacob's opponent was the Angel of the Lord. It was a physical fight with physical injury inflicted on Jacob, and yet there were obvious spiritual lessons impressed on him through this unforgettable experience. Even, we see that Jacob had sent ahead his elaborate gift of hundreds of animals to please his brother Esau. Some preachers develop this text as a fine example of wrestling all night in prayer with God. Obviously, God could have crippled Jacob in the first minute of this contest in order to bring Jacob to the end of his self-dependence.  When God finally wanted to, HE just touched Jacob's hip and Jacob felt excruciating pain as his hip was wrenched. So, God's breaking process reveals to us the power of our flesh. Jacob learned the lesson in that night. Jacob was finally subdued in the wrestling match. He had now no other choice except to cling to God. Remember, God wanted Jacob to confess not just his name, but his character.
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Only after Jacob acknowledged the Lord could bless him, then he began to submit himself to God and asked His blessing. Part of the process of knowing God involves knowing ourselves. Until God reveals the power of our sinful nature, we tend to think that we're not so bad, we even depend more on ourselves than on Him. Before, the Lord touched and crippled him, Jacob probably thought that the fight was pretty evenly matched. But, then in one light touch, the Lord wiped Jacob out. Likewise, sometimes God breaks us and we feel it's not necessary. Remember, God sees what we don't see and He knows what's best for us. There are no shortcut to receive God's blessing. Jacob suffered loss, but he won because he followed the hard path that God laid out. We, therefore, need to follow the way of God, and then we will receive the blessings of God in our life, family, work place and wherever we set our foot.
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Indeed, these passages of the Scripture set before us a picture of the Lord God subduing the proud, sinful flesh of his believing people by His almighty grace. It is the object of a wrestler to bring his opponent down, to pin him to the ground, to render him helpless. So, God wrestled Jacob to pin him down, to conquer his spirit, to subdue his flesh, to render him helpless and worthless creature he was. Therefore, God's purpose in all our trials are to make us strong in grace and strong in faith; and the way HE make us to know and recognize our weakness, just like what happened in Jacob's life

November 2016 Sermon Challenge winner
In Times of Trial and Testing
written by: Susan McCreadie
From: Scotland, UK
As we come to study the book of Job, we see how a man who has everything, who is a man of God with unshakeable faith, endures such a devastating period of testing and suffering in the face of the supreme sovereignty of God. God had virtually given Satan free will to do what he wanted to Job and as we hear of all he went through, how many of us would have withstood such a devastating test and still come through with a faith that endures? We all face many times of trial and adversity in our lives when we don’t understand why these things are happening to us, why God seems to abandon us or put us through such testing. Many turn to Scripture, particularly the Psalms for solace in times of distress and I have personally experienced great comfort from reading through them and using them as prayers when prayer is hard.

The book of Psalms has been described as a collection of songs and prayers that express the heart and soul of humanity. In them, the whole range of human emotions and experiences are exposed as David and the other psalmists honestly pour out their true feelings to God, demonstrating a deeply powerful and life changing relationship with Him. It is often in our own pain, hurt and anguish that we turn to the Psalms for help and as we read them, we see that, throughout the writers’ expressions of sin, fears, doubts, anger and despair, there is an everlasting hope, trust and faith that God will prevail and bring them through their trials to glory. We see them, by the power of God’s everlasting love and forgiveness, rise to the heights of joy to praise and worship Him, rejoicing in times of celebration. 
 
As we hear Job’s story, I ask myself - do WE have such a strong foundation of faith? Are we rooted in love and filled with His Holy Spirit? Can we come before God in complete honesty and trust and know, if we were brought to our knees, with nothing left, He would be all that we needed? As our creator and Sovereign, nothing about us is hidden from Him. Despite knowing all our sins, imperfections and unworthiness, God chose to give His only son to die on the cross for us, not because we deserved it, but because of His immense love for us. And what a love! We cannot imagine how much God loves us and His love is greater than anything we will ever face in our lives. No matter how many times we turn from God, or try to run from Him, we cannot escape His divine Majesty and Love for He is with us and within us always. Through His gifting of the Holy Spirit, the Power that is in the Risen Christ, that is IN GOD HIMSELF, filled US and we can stand fearless with that Power and love in our hearts. Let us give thanks to God as we put our hands in His and continue to discover God’s grace together on this, our spiritual journey of hope, faith and growth in our personal relationships with Him
 
Are you saved?
It is often misunderstood what being saved means. Many church denominations preach, and believe, that if you ask the Lord into your heart, that you will be saved. They even have a special prayer for newcomers to say. Then they exclaim, "If you you say this prayer, sincerely, you will be saved". Many people leave the ones looking for salvation with unanswered questions, and little understanding on where to go from that point on. Mainly, because those ministering have been taught poorly themselves. Many newcomers fall away and are led to believe falsly in a "once saved always saved'' doctrine. Just because you say a prayer asking the Lord to come into your life does not mean that you are saved forever, even if you were sincere at the time.
You can call a friend and ask them to come over to your house, but that doesn't mean they will come. And you may decide while they are on the way that you do not want their company. You may leave with selfish plans of your own, or you may shut the door on them. And even if they come into your home, you may send them away because you disagree with them, or that they are not what you expected.
So if you did welcome Jesus into your home, not just to visit, but live. Would you change the things in your home that he wants you to change? If he wants you to clean your home, or to change your carpet, would you? If he wanted you to take down obscene pictures, to repaint your home inside and out, would you? If he wanted you to stop listening to the kind of music you listen to, and to change your wardrobe, would you?
Jesus, his apostles, and the early church fathers did not teach a once saved, always saved doctrine. Salvation comes from first believing in the Father, and that Jesus was the son of God, the foretold Christ. Then comes repentance, a repentance that must be upheld all of your life. And then to bear good fruit, the fruits of the spirit.
Jesus made it very clear to the seven churches in the beginning to John's revelation that only those who overcome will be rewarded. Revelation 2:1-3:22. John the apostle taught that if you claim to be in the Lord, but continue doing evil things, that you have lied, and the Lord is not truly in you. 1 John 1:5-10. John also taught that those who do not obey the Lord, do not really know him, in 1 John 2:3-6. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus said to those who do not do His fathers will, those people will not enter heaven, and Jesus will say to them on that day, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers." James, Jesus' brother, and leader in the early church said that those whom persevere under trial will recieve the crown of life, James 1:12. In John 3:16 Jesus says that "whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." If you believe in Jesus, and that he is the son of God, and that He died and came back to life, you must also believe what he taught. And to believe what He taught means to obey what he taught. In John 14:23 Jesus said, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching." To begin learning what Jesus taught, read the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:1-7:28. Then apply these teachings to every aspect of your life. There is so much more to teach on this topic, and there will be a new page put up in the doctrine section concerning true faith and salvation. So no one is saved from death unless they ask the Lord into their life, obey his teachings, and follow Him with all their heart for ALL their life. If you cannot serve the Lord for all your life, how will you serve Him for all eternity? We are only here for a blink of an eye. I invite you to dive deeper into understanding faith and salvation, especially if you feel offended by this sermon. The Lord is not someone to be taken lightly, which in today's world he is.
 
Blind faith
 
Before knowing Christ we were blind. We are all still blind, but now we have a guide that leads us, a guide that acts as our eyes, that is, the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever seen a blind man trying to find his way? Alone, he trusts in his stick, and his senses. And what about the blind leading the blind, or a deaf and blind man? One mistake and they could fall into a pit. Danger is always around them, and they have no choice but to follow the path that they are on because they can not see to choose wether to take a good path or the wrong path, unless someone tells them.
Now we who have been given the Holy Spirit through faith in the Father's son, Jesus the Christ, have eyes to lead us. It takes faith to let someone lead you, but what better choice do you have than to let Him guide you? Would you rather trust a stick, or another blind man? The Lord will always lead you down the good path.
 
The difference between a weak and strong spirit
A man with a weak spirit crumbles easily in times of trouble, trial, and temptation. Though he may be physically strong, if a man's spirit is crushed his whole body becomes morally weak and confused. he has nowhere to stand. His pride has become the high perch from which he fell.
But a man with a storng spirit, with strong faith, does not truly fall because the Lord catches him and holds him up in times of trouble. Though he loses everything, and everyone comes against him, he stands strong and blameless in the Lord. though his body is bruised, beaten, and wasting away, he continues living in faith. Nothing can move him. His pride is in the Lord. He does not trust in his own stregnth and wisdom. He trusts in the Lord. He perseveres and keep his integrity, and his composure. He gives all his glory to the Lord because everything he has is from the Lord.
 
 
What does is take?
What does it take to recieve eternal life? Jesus taught much about remaining faithful, about baring good fruit, and keeping with repentance. The book of revelations is believed to have been written by John, one of Jesus' desciples, around 95 AD while he was late in his age. It was a vision, a revelation from Jesus himself to John to give to the churches. It is the last book of the bible, and though some of the early church did not except it, many did. Eusebius the early church father and historian believed that is was truly written by John and was credible, since it was in full circulation in the 1st century and used by the earliest church fathers. In the book of revelation Jesus gives great warnings to the church and many things that are to come in the future concerning the church, the world, the wrath of God, and the end of the ages. In the first few chapters Jesus tells the churches over and over again that they must "overcome" and and that you must be "worthy" to be with Jesus, and to recieve eternal life. He tells of the coming trials on the world and on the church and encourages the church to remain faithful. He says to remember what the church has been taught and to keep with repentance, and to repent earnestly because He rebukes and discipline the ones that He loves.
So what does it take to recieve eternal life?
You must OVERCOME this world and the evil in it.
Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:11
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.
Revelation 2:17
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes. I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it.
Revelation 2:26
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations-
Revelation 3:5
He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknoledge his name before my Father and his angels.
Revelation 3:21
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
"So how do I overcome this world?" you might ask yourself. It begins with Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life. There is no way to the Father except by through me." Jesus is the gate to the kingdom of heaven. To walk through that gate, you must first believe that it is there, that Jesus is who he said he was and that he came to do what was prophesied. Then simply humble your heart and examine yourself, your life, and acknowledge the sinful heart that you have. Then get down on your knees and pray to God, and to Jesus to come into your life and lead you down the path of righteousness. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and tell Him that you believe in him. If you truly believe you will recieve the holy spirit as a guide. Something new will happen in you, you will become a new creature. Listen to that voice and begin obeying it. Read the bible and learn as much as you can about following Jesus and put everything into following Him. Repent from your old ways and turn to the Lord's ways, and obey the Lord. THIS is how you OVERCOME the world.

 
The Holidays Are Approaching
A new year is coming soon, and our favorite holidays are approaching. In America most people have just celebrated Thanksgiving, a day giving thanks to God for what we have. It was a day that used to be celebrated giving thanks to God for the much needed end year harvest that would help people survive through the winter. These days not everyone farms, and much of the needed food can be bought at the store all year round, and with little effort. Thanksgiving has lost much of its "thanks" to God as did most other holidays. Soon, Christians and non-christians alike will celibrate Christmas, and the new year, and soon after that we will celebrate Easter. All of these days have been taken for granted and have lost much of their origional meaning. Santa Claus has gone from a real living saint to an exaggerated childrens tale, to a commercialized money maker for stores. Not only that, but the world has used him to push out the real reason that Christians began celebrating Christmas, Jesus. The same has happened with Easter. Jesus has been pushed out by the "easter bunny".
Not only have people taken for granted what they have, and stopped giving thanks to God, they have begun making these days just another reason to party, get drunk, and indulge in their own worldly selfish pleasures instead of giving glory to God and thinking about others and helping the less fortunate. If we have been given much, we should also be giving much to others. So before you celebrate a holiday (holy day), no matter what country, think about what you are doing and why you are celebrating it. Remember to give thanks to God, and give thanks to the Lord Jesus, your life rests in His hands. Remember the parable about the rich fool who stored up things for himself and put his faith in the abundance of his possesions.

Luke 12:16-21

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Do not be like this man during the holidays. Jesus gave his very life, as did many other saints and apostles, just to spread the truth and the good news of God's gift to everyone. Jesus taught to build up your riches in Heaven and not on earth. So during the Holidays remember to give to others. You don't have to give alot, give according to what you have been given, and in any way that you can. You do not know if you will die this very night, so do good and give while you still can, because there will be a day when you will not be able to give anything, and it will be too late to give thanks, or to build up riches in Heaven.

Matthew 6:19-21

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


 

 
Deeper Roots
 
It is written, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for everyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) and that we are saved by grace though FAITH (Ephesians 2:8). Also, scripture says that faith is knowing what we hope for, and being certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is what holds us together to God through Christ. Through faith, we believe. Through faith, we are saved. Through faith in God, we can move mountains, heal the sick, and overcome any obstacle that tries to overcome us. But sometimes we doubt God. Sometimes we put faith in our own strength, in our own knowledge, and sometimes in other people or teachings. The path of rigtheousness is straight and simple, but sometimes we get pulled away from that straight path because of things that distract us in this world. 
The word planted in us starts as a seed and grows into a great tree as long as we water it FAITHFULLY. The greater our faith in God, the deeper that we are rooted. The deeper that we are rooted, the easier it will be to withstand trials and temptations, just as a tree with deep roots can withstand famine and drought.
To grow in faith we need to give more of EVERY day to God in prayer, and in studying scripture. We need to remember that God has a plan for us, that He did not call us to be idle, but that he called us for a reason. If you don't know what that reason is, it is because He wants you to grow in understanding, and seek Him with all you have before He can use you. Even if it doesn't feel like God has a purpose for you, remember that He would not call you without a purpose. Remember and find comfort in what is written in Jeremiah 29:11:
 
 "I know the plans that I have made for you, declares the Lord.
 Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you.
 Plans to give you hope, and a future."
 
So in all things seek God through Christ's teachings, and seek the purpose that He has for you. Even when it feels like your faith is running dry, try harder, the lord supplies the water, and when he sees you running dry he will replenish you.
 
The Unsung Hero's
Who is the real hero today? Many look up to our military service men and women, our firefighters, and policemen and women as the hero's of our world. But what about those who save lives with words, who push people to Christ, who lend a helping hand, who offer a word of encouragement, who show love to those who need love, who feed the hungry, and clothe the poor, and who lead a family as God wills in Christ.
Everyday people are in need of encouragement. People get discouraged and this can start a downward spiral in one's life that can lead to drugs, alcoholism, and even suicide. Discouragement can come in many forms. It may come from unfriendly or hateful comments from friends, family, co-workers, or strangers; Failure at work, school, or sports; and also people get discouraged with home life, whether it is with their spouse or children. But many of us know of that friend in Christ, a church assembly or pastor, or that special someone that you can turn to for advice and ENCOURAGEMENT when life has you down. They help lift you back up again before Satan can turn you down that road that leads to death. You may not realize it, and neither does the person that helped you, but they may have just saved your life.
What about the kid in school that is bullied. Many children, teens, and adults have killed themselves or others because they were bullied. But what you don't hear about is the kids that are bullied, but don't go down the wrong road because someone stuck up for them, or someone became their friend or encouraged them. Not only may they have saved their life, but they may have saved many lives.
What about the person that helped convert their radical Islamic friend to Christianity. Who, at the last minute changed their mind about a suicide bombing, or the killing of innocent people in the name of God, because their friend, or this person they know witnessed to them. Not only did that person save that man or woman's life, but they saved many.
What about the person who cares to feed or clothes the poor, even if they can only give them money, to help feed them. Because someone gave a little money, another child lives a little longer. And because that child lives, they may devote their whole life to ministering to others. To feed the hungry, and lead others to Christ. Not only did that person save that child's life, but they brought life to, and saved many more than just one.
What about the husband and father, or the wife and mother who raise a family as God wants them to be. Who teach their children to love God, to follow Christ. Who prays with them. These children will never go astray, and this couple will stand united in Christ, and this family will be strong, and will become an example to other families and friend, that may follow their example. These children may lead their friends or strangers to Christ. They may have saved many lives unknowingly.
And finally what about that man or woman who has had enough! Who walks down the street with hate in their heart. Who can't stand life anymore. Who hates others and can't stand their own life. This very night they have decided to take their own life. But.... then you meet them on the street and say hello and smile as you pass them by. Their is a little glimmer of hope that was just planted in their heart. They smile back and life isn't so bad. Or they just happen to hear that song on the radio that God uses to call to them, to let them know that He is here. That He is ready to help them because now that they are broken, they will listen. You just helped save their life. Those who sung that song on the radio; they too just helped save that person's life.
 God works through us everyday to help save lives, but many people are blind of it. Even the people whom He works through can be blind of the work that He is doing through them. Love is contagious just as hate is contagious. God is everywhere. He is all around us, He is in us, and He works through us.
To finish up, I would like to note one thing that is different between these two kinds of hero's. One gets paid for their services, the other gets no money for what they do. But the ones that do not get paid now, will get paid in God's kingdom for their services. So is it worth it to dream and hope to be a war hero, or a firefighter, or policeman. Money comes and goes and does not last. But the reward of the righteous will last forever. Jesus said, " Do not store up for yourselves riches on Earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves can break in and steal. But store up for yourselves riches in Heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy, and where thieves cannot break in and steal. For wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
 
 

In the Heat of Trial
 
Everyday we face some kind of trial. Life tries us, people try us, Satan tries us, and God tries us. Spiritually we are pushed down, beaten, wounded, and stressed to our limits. Many of us do not like the trials in life. Instead of looking at the trials of life as a headache, shouldn't we look at it as a way to glorify God's name in Jesus among believers and non-believers as a testimony of the divine strength given to us? Satan might try to tempt and try us, to make us fail, but God works in us and leads us in the right direction to glorify His name. Flee from Satan and do not always try taking temptation head on. Sometimes you may be able to resist and sometimes you must know when to run. It is written in James 4:7:
 
-Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
 
 God puts us through the fire, and refines us to make us pure, so that no one can point out a spec of impurity in us. We are like raw ore when we first come to the Lord. He immediately puts us through the fire to begin burning the impurities. Not only does He forgive us of our impurities, He begins removing them from our lives. After being made pure, like a craftsmen He can shape you and hammer you into what He needs you to be. No matter what the outcome you stand and shine for God's glory. But you can not get there unless you stand through the fire and trials in life. The only way to stand is to have faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ, and His teachings. If you fail in your trials it is because you did not trust in God but your own strength. Or maybe you have backslid and need to devote your life to the Lord. Sometimes the Lord will put you through a trial to get you to turn back to Him. Just because you fail in a trial does not mean that there is no hope for you. If you fall, do you not get back up. Get up and keep moving forward towards the Lord, because there is a reward at the end of your trial.  It is just as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15:
 
~the fire will test the quality of each person's work. If what has built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved-even though only as one escaping through the flames.
 
And if you fail, do not blame the Lord as if your test was too hard. It is written in 1 Corinthians 13:
 
-No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
 
So, If you do not feel strong enough you are always given the choice to flee. And don't think that you are the only one suffering trials. You can be sure that if you are going through a hard time in life, someone else is going through something just as hard or harder. Rejoice in God's strength and faithfulness. Rejoice in the attention that God is giving you, just as a child rejoices in the attention of a father. Remember, your parents put you though hard times and discipline to make you stronger and to lead you into maturity. Remember what is written in 1 Peter 1:6-7:
 
 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
 
And what is the reward for  overcoming trials and temptations in life? For standing firm until the end? You can be sure that you will become stronger spiritually. That you will become more fruitful. But if you stand firm until the end of your life, you can look to what is written in James 1:12:
 
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
 
So, remember that standing faithfully in trials and temptations proves your love for God, and He will reward you with the Crown of life. Eternal life in Jesus Christ.
 
Are you a Mary or a Martha?
 
Are you a Mary or a Martha? In the story in Luke 10:38-42, Mary and Martha are sisters. Martha is working hard to make preparations while Mary stays at Jesus' feet to listen to Him preach.  Here is the passage:
 
Luke 10:38-42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."In life we are easily distracted by what we think we need to get done. The world is changing and is moving faster everyday. Many people are trying to multitask through life because to them it doesn't seem like there is enough time in the day to get everything done, leaving little or no room for God. Then when they do get time, they waste it on their own desires rather than give it to God. If you step back and look at your own life, can you see things that you can do without? TV, video games, hanging out with friends, going to the bar, partying, etc. Are any of these things productive? We are to put God first in life. He gave us life. Start out every day with Him and end every day with Him. Wake up early in the morning and give Him your time. Pray, give thanks, and read a chapter from scripture. Give thanks to God for every good thing that you have throughout your day, and at the end of the day Give Him your time in prayer. You will be rewarded. Jesus died so that we might have a personal relationship with God. He is too often thought of as someone unreachable. Rather, He is like a Father or a close friend. He wants to hear you, talk to you, and have a relationship with you, just like you do with your own father and friends. Don't go through life busy and take for granite the open invitation to the very best relationship that you could ever have.
 

The Hardest Thing That I've Ever Done

 

A lot of people believe that when you become a Christian, everything is going to be just peachy. That everything is going to go up from here, and just get better and better. You might expect great prosperity, great health, everything you want. Not only do many expect it, but many churches encourage believer's expectation by preaching prosperity. Its known as prosperity theology, the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, and also the gospel of success. And it couldn't be further from the truth if you are going to follow Jesus.

When engaging in conversations with many "Christians", you can usually tell which ones actually follow him and his ways, and those who are weekend warriors, the ignorant, or hypocrites. At some point throughout the conversation about God and Jesus, those who are truly committed always respond with, "Its the hardest thing that I've ever done." And that's the way that it was meant to be.

 God desires godly children(Malachi 2:15). To become a godly child in Christ takes much refining. Just like gold is refined in the fire, so are we(Zechariah 13.9), and the fire is hot. Just as you discipline your children, to teach them, so God teaches us. Through suffering and trials we become better, and in the end reap a reward (James 12:1) . Pain and gain, is a common phase that comes to mind when thinking about exercise, but such a phase can also be used when describing discipleship in following Jesus Christ.  Many people find trials or troubles in life demeaning, especially when they feel that they are supposed be living some kind of "perfect" healthy and prosperous "Christian" life in the eyes of the public. The truth is, that whomever thinks like that, has set their self up for failure from the very beginning of their false journey. Their expectation was that they would not have to face anything hard like health problems, a financial crisis, family problems, marriage problems, house problems, car trouble, trouble with friends, problems at work, etc. In fact before I decided to follow Christ, nothing really bad ever happened to me.

 

A War Was Waged

When I decided to make a commitment, a war was waged for my soul. It was like the Lord said, "Get ready because there is going to be trouble, but remember that no trouble will be too hard or unbearable as long as YOU TRUST ME." One thing that I have learned is that trusting in the Lord usually means going in the direction that feels most uncomfortable, and most difficult. I am always led in the direction that LOOKS less appealing. The direction that I do not want to go in. But everything always works out for the best and in the end I ALWAYS see why God led me in the direction that He did.

 

A Journey For Wisdom

Sometimes you might ask, "Why doesn't God just plain out tell me what he wants." Sometimes He sort of does, but most of the time He doesn't because a lesson is better taught with a journey. Think about school. It wasn't fun or interesting most of the time. You probably don't even remember even half of what you were taught sitting in class, even though you went to school 18-25 years of your life. But one thing you never forget are the field trips. Those days that you left the classroom and took a journey to learn by doing, not just by hearing.  That is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. You can find all the knowledge that you want in a book, but wisdom comes from doing. And it is written to get wisdom, and though it cost all that you have get understanding.  The bible is great for study and reference and teaching (2Timothy 3:16) but God doesn't want a bunch of people that just "know" everything. Knowledge is good but Wisdom is the application of your knowledge learned and understanding is what you gain from wisdom. The fact that you have lived through a problem or have lived through a trial and in the end you understand how to get through it and how to help others who go through those same problems. In helping people through their problems, you act as God. That is what being a godly child is. Allowing God to teach you and work through you. That's what God wants.

 

Conclusion

Jesus himself suffered, so why should we expect luxury if we are to follow Him. You can't choose luxury and Jesus (Matthew 6:19-24), and you can't expect that nothing bad is going to happen when you start following Jesus, because the moment you make the decision to follow Jesus you make yourself a target for the devil, and raw ore ready for God to refine. The conclusion is this: That love overcomes everything, and If you do decide to follow the Lord, you must love God with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (mark12:30) just as Jesus said, because following him is going to be the hardest thing that you have ever done.


 

Spring Has Sprung With Good Reason

 

In Pennsylvania, in the USA, spring has just sprung. We had a very long, and cold winter. It is wonderful to see new life spring up, after such a long period of looking at bare trees, and living in freezing cold temperatures. Most days are not worth going outside in the winter, so you are stuck inside all day long, day after day. It gets depressing. But when spring came this year, it came all at once. Death ended and life began almost instantly.

Its the same when you make that choice to follow Christ. Every year I am reminded about how empty and cold I was inside, and the new life that God gave me in Christ. When I began following Christ a new hope was given to me. I went from being a bare dead tree, to a tree full of fruit that never thirsts for water. My roots are planted deep in Christ. Before Christ, I lived in the dark. I didn't see a future for myself. I was blind. When you live in the darkness you can't see the light, but when you live in the light, you can see the darkness, and how it affects the world.

Passover, Good Friday, and Easter has just passed by. They are a reminder and celebration of the new life that God gave us through Christ. I wonder sometimes, is it a coincidence that Christ rose to life again at the beginning of spring?


 

Spring Has Sprung With Good Reason

 

In Pennsylvania, in the USA, spring has just sprung. We had a very long, and cold winter. It is wonderful to see new life spring up, after such a long period of looking at bare trees, and living in freezing cold temperatures. Most days are not worth going outside in the winter, so you are stuck inside all day long, day after day. It gets depressing. But when spring came this year, it came all at once. Death ended and life began almost instantly.

Its the same when you make that choice to follow Christ. Every year I am reminded about how empty and cold I was inside, and the new life that God gave me in Christ. When I began following Christ a new hope was given to me. I went from being a bare dead tree, to a tree full of fruit that never thirsts for water. My roots are planted deep in Christ. Before Christ, I lived in the dark. I didn't see a future for myself. I was blind. When you live in the darkness you can't see the light, but when you live in the light, you can see the darkness, and how it affects the world.

Passover, Good Friday, and Easter has just passed by. They are a reminder and celebration of the new life that God gave us through Christ. I wonder sometimes, is it a coincidence that Christ rose to life again at the beginning of spring?


 

Never Leave A Brother Behind

 

The United States recently handed over five Taliban prisoners for ONE united states soldier. I have read many complaints about this act, mainly because people believe that this soldier deserted his post, which is most likely true. He even emailed some nasty things about the US military and government before he left, about the evil things that they had done in Afghanistan. Basically he was fed up with fighting for what he felt was a lie. But after all the offensive, exposing things he wrote and said, and even though he turned and deserted his post and got himself captured, the U.S. government was willing to give up five important prisoners for just one. They went through many pain staking hours searching for this man for years after he was captured in 2009. They never gave up on him after all these years. Its the same way with God. Even if you feel like your going nowhere, and you despise some of the things that the Christian world or the world in itself has done, and even if you turn away and run and get captured by the enemy, the Lord will come searching for you just as it was written in Matthew 18:12:

 

"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?

 

Those who come to Christ a given a down payment on their souls. The Holy spirit comes into your life and changes you. Just like boot camp and training for a U.S. soldier, God puts you through the fire to test and refine you. He puts time and effort into you, changing you into a true son. You are a son, and a soldier in the Lord's eyes. If you stumble away, if you should become lost, He will come for you and He will find you and carry you home.


 

Faith

 

Faith. What is faith? Is it simply believing that God is real? Is it simply believing that Jesus died for your sins? Lets say that you believe that God is real and that Jesus died for your sins? Does that mean that you are saved? Because it is written in Ephesians 2:8 that we are saved by "GRACE" trough "FAITH". But it is also written in James 2:26 that faith without deeds is dead. So we can say that faith is not simply believing. It is acting on what we believe in. Faith without deeds is like buy a car and never putting gas in it, or driving it around. It serves no purpose. So if you do not put to action your belief in Christ and his teachings, then how could you have true faith, and without faith how could you be saved.

Lets further our understanding in what faith is. It is written in Hebrews 11:1 that faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. If you could think of an analogy to portray the meaning of that verse, what would it be? Mine would be to describe faith as an internet sales transaction. I can't see the person or the item. But "with faith" I buy an item online, and I receive an online receipt which I hold onto with "hope" that I will receive that item. I don't doubt that I won't get that item, and I wait patiently for it to come, even though I can't see those working on the other end of the purchase. I know that they are working to deliver what I asked for. Sometimes its a 1 day delivery, and sometimes its a 6-8 week delivery


 

The Whore of Babylon, the Beast, and the False Prophet

 

Last  weekend while meditating on scripture God revealed to me that the secret to prophecy in the book of Revelation is in the stars. I dream and have visions a lot about the stars. A lot of the Book of Revelation mentions the stars. The main thing that I want to explain that God revealed to me scared me. It has to do with the woman and the beast with many heads that she sits upon. There is a new world order approaching. It is right in front of our face but we are blinded from it purposefully by those knowing powers and authorities. This may all seem like a conspiracy theorists rant by the end of it but I assure you that I am no conspiracy theorist, nor do I worry myself with such things as conspiracies, world powers, illuminati, masons, or politics. 

In the sky are many constellations. One of those constellations is Hydra. The mythological beast with many heads. When one is cut off it grows back. Such as the beast with many heads, "one was wounded but its wound was healed". See where I'm going with  this yet? Hang in there, it gets better. There are four constellations that sit on Hydras back. I will start with the tail. At the tail is Noctura.

Noctura is an owl. In Jewish legend the owl represents Lilith, Adam's first wife that would not submit to him. She is also referred to as a bit of a demon whore. One who practices sorceries and adulteries. Sound familiar yet? Look up Bohemian grove. There is a Bohemian grove club that gets together and performs rituals while worshipping a huge owl statue. Who are the members of this club? Many are politicians and rich people. Authorities and rulers of this world.

Going up the back of hydra we find Corvus and Crater. The raven and the Cup. There is a raven society that claims to be part of the illuminati. The raven also represents sorcery throughout history. The cup is the cup that the world drank from. The whore of Babylon that practiced sorceries and the world drank from her cup of adulteries. That accounts for three of the four constellation, the best is yet to come.

So what constellation is at the head of this great beast with many heads? The sextans constellation. The constellation is named so after a sextant, an astronomical viewing devise. Freemasons incorporate the sextant with the ruler in their symbol with the square. So who is at the head of this great serpent? The Freemasons. Or many would say the Illuminati. See I told you that this would sound like a conspiracy theorist's rant.

So who are the Illuminati? Supposedly they are made up of those who are called "the globalist elite". Those who comprise the worlds authorities. Elite rich family bloodlines that control the banks, the media, the currency and our governments. A couple of those families that have ties with the globalist elite are McDonalds, and Disney. Paranoid yet? Or are you in disbelief? Do some research and look into it. I'm not paranoid about all of this, but it opens my eyes to what may be going on around me in the world behind the veil. It shows that the times spoken of in the book of revelation is here and that the beast with the whore of Babylon are present in the world today.

As for the beast that the whore sits upon we can look back to Daniel chapter 7. It is laid out in broad daylight who the beast represents. In Daniel's dream he saw 4 beasts. The last beast is no concern to us right now. The first three beasts however are. One look liked a lion, the other a bear, and the last a leopard. These beasts represented three different kingdoms. The Greek, Persian, and Babylonian, which today make up the middle east. The beast in Revelation chapter 13 is described as appearing as a leopard, with the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion. So there it is. This beast is the middle east. The false prophet goes along with the beast. It would be my assumption that the false prophet is Muhammad. He denies Jesus to have ever have died on the cross, and denies him as the son of God. His prophecy is false, and he has raised up a religion in violence, and against God's people, Jew and Christian alike. Muhammad may have not started out this way in the beginning but as the Quran goes on it begins to contradict the teachings found in the bible. The beast is the middle east, along with Islam. All of this is in plain site. We live in the final hours of the beginning of the end.


 

The Holidays Are Approaching
 
2015
A new year is coming soon, and our favorite holidays are approaching. In America most people have just celebrated Thanksgiving, a day giving thanks to God for what we have. It was a day that used to be celebrated giving thanks to God for the much needed end year harvest that would help people survive through the winter. These days not everyone farms, and much of the needed food can be bought at the store all year round, and with little effort. Thanksgiving has lost much of its "thanks" to God as did most other holidays. Soon, Christians and non-christians alike will celebrate Christmas, and the new year, and soon after that we will celebrate Easter. All of these days have been taken for granted and have lost much of their original meaning. Santa Claus has gone from a real living saint to an exaggerated children's tale, to a commercialized money maker for stores. Not only that, but the world has used him to push out the real reason that Christians began celebrating Christmas, Jesus. The same has happened with Easter. Jesus has been pushed out by the "Easter bunny".
Not only have people taken for granted what they have, and stopped giving thanks to God, they have begun making these days just another reason to party, get drunk, and indulge in their own worldly selfish pleasures instead of giving glory to God and thinking about others and helping the less fortunate. If we have been given much, we should also be giving much to others. So before you celebrate a holiday (holy day), no matter what country, think about what you are doing and why you are celebrating it. Remember to give thanks to God, and give thanks to the Lord Jesus, your life rests in His hands. Remember the parable about the rich fool who stored up things for himself and put his faith in the abundance of his possessions.

Luke 12:16-21

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Do not be like this man during the holidays. Jesus gave his very life, as did many other saints and apostles, just to spread the truth and the good news of God's gift to everyone. Jesus taught to build up your riches in Heaven and not on earth. So during the Holidays remember to give to others. You don't have to give alot, give according to what you have been given, and in any way that you can. You do not know if you will die this very night, so do good and give while you still can, because there will be a day when you will not be able to give anything, and it will be too late to give thanks, or to build up riches in Heaven.

Matthew 6:19-21

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also


 

Wonderful Counselor

The days that we celebrate Christ's resurrection have just passed and we are awaiting the Pentecost. A time when the Apostles waited in patience for the gift that Jesus promised to send back, the great and wonderful counselor, the Holy spirit. These days are often looked over and aren't celebrated as fervent as some of the other big holidays. But shouldn't the day of Pentecost and the days in between be held in higher regard. It was the day that the Holy Spirit came down in power and began filling the Lord's disciples. This was the promised gift from God. This gift wholly connects us to the Father. So don't forget to remember that day, and Thank God not only for His Christ, but for His wonderful Counselor