We all face difficulties and challenges in life. Jesus said in the world we will have trials. But then He added that He has overcome the world. It is interesting that He made that statement while facing His soon crucifixion!

In the garden of Gethsemane He face His coming death and although He on a human level did not want to endure the cross, once He determined that it was the will of the Father for Him to “drink the cup” He settle it in His own heart and in His evaluation has already overcome the world!

It is easy to lose perspective when we are experiencing the pressure of life and the testing of the evil one. But Jesus considered doing the will of God a higher value than His personal freedom from suffering.

For us to esteem our suffering in the same way is challenging! But the apostle Paul viewed his sufferings in the same manner.

2 Cor. 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul saw that whatever the enemy stirred up against him it was having the exact opposite effect because he kept his focus on eternal realities, not temporal ones. This is what he calls the “good fight of faith.” Even our trials are developing within us an increasing amount of glory. Our inner person is developing and being strengthened even when our outer person is facing and enduring contrary winds of opposition.

In another place Paul assure us that Father will not allow us to be tempted, tested or tried above what we can endure and with the trial He will make a way of escape that we might see our way through it.

1 Cor. 10:13
No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.

When we are in the midst of our trials we can praise God for His faithfulness, even before it is revealed to us in our circumstances.

The unseen realities of faith will always prevail over the temporary, seen ones.

Many today are obsessed with looking for the signs of His coming. Me, too! I’m looking for a glorious church without spot, wrinkle or blemish that has been washed in the water of the Word. Eph 5:25-27
“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”

I’m waiting for the saints to be equipped until we come into the unity of the faith and the full knowledge of the Son of God – unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Eph. 4:11-13
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, TILL we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

I’m waiting until we are built together and have become an habitation of God in the Spirit. Eph. 2:20- “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, n whom you also ARE BEING BUILT for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

I’m waiting until we reveal the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and power in the heavenly realms. Eph 3:8-12 “This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints!—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, 9 and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known THROUGH THE CHURCH to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. This is according to the purpose of the ages, which He made in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord.”

I’m waiting until the Church receives the glory that Jesus gave us and we become one resulting in the world knowing that Father sent Jesus.John 17:20-23
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT YOU SENT ME. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that THAT THEY MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

I’m waiting until Jesus brings many sons and daughters into the glory He now possesses. Heb. 2:10-11 “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, IN BRINGING MANY SONS TO GLORY to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

I’m waiting for the Church to stop looking for the second coming and start to appreciate the first. Eph. 1:3 “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer.

All of these statements are clear pronouncements from the Word. Ask yourself: How do these ideas fit with my current understanding? Then – adjust!

Peter exhorts believers to not think it is strange when they face intense times of trial as though some strange thing was happening. Trials are part and parcel with living the Christian life. One teacher commented that we only experience two “normal” weeks a year! We are facing the resistance that comes from the enemy because we are pursuing more of God. Actually, increased resistance is a back-handed compliment! As you seek to rise above complacency and indifference, your threat level to the kingdom of darkness rises and the enemy – who always operates in fear – attempts to stop your progress. But Peter tells us to be sober, vigilant for our adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour.
Ignore his roars! One translations “resist him, solid as a rock in your faith.” Peter goes on to say that the God of all grace who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ will equip, establish, strengthen and settle you.
His grace is sufficient for you. His power is brought to manifestation in your weakness.

Jealousy and Envy
An issue we probably all face is the temptation toward jealousy and envy. The mind of the flesh – the carnal mind – Paul tells us is enmity against God. We see the beginning of this idea in Genesis in Cain’s jealousy toward Abel, because God didn’t accept Cain’s offering (from the ground God has said was cursed) but did accept an animal sacrifice. Ironically, the first murder was about religion! The book of Hebrews tells us that Abel offered a better offering because he did it by faith. Can had offered God his “works.” There could be no sense of works in the animal sacrifice, but Cain had worked hard tilling the land. In seed form in Genesis we see the beginning of both the bride and the whore. One is full of self-congratulations because of works and the other full of praise for God’s grace.
But we all must guard our hearts against the subtle tendency to compare ourselves with other, envy their gifts or be jealous of their success. Much of God’s answer to this problem is knowing who we are in Christ and discovering how God has gifted us. Father has put in each of us the grace and gifts to fulfill our destiny. All comparison is misguided and unproductive. Seek to became the person that God has gifted you to be and refuse all temptation to compare yourself with anyone else.
You are who God made you to be.

The fear of the Lord is not being fearful of God’s judgment or disapproval. Some translation refer to it as the reverential awe of the Lord. Some would be surprised to know who the greatest example of walking in the fear of the Lord is in Scripture: The Lord Jesus Christ!
Think about it: He had no sin so He had to guilt or shame. So the true fear of the Lord cannot have any fear of judgment in it. But certainly Jesus walked in a reverential awe of His Father. As a Son He constantly acknowledged that apart from His Father He couldn’t do anything.
Grace enables us to embrace the fear of the Lord. Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord leads to the full knowledge of God and to riches, honor and long life.
This reverential awe of the Lord is not something we try to work up. It is something we invite the Lord to work in us. It’s fruits are divine wisdom and understanding. It promises us greater discernment as well.
As the great example of the fear of the Lord, we read a prophecy of Jesus in Isa 11:2-3 ” The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears;”
Observe that the fear of the Lord enabled Jesus to walk by faith and not by sight!. He was dependent of the Spirit that was upon Him, not human reasoning or His senses. The fear of the Lord is a real key to the life of faith.
Hab 2:4 “Look at the proud person. He is not right in himself. but the righteous person will live because of his faithfulness.”
The fear of the Lord causes us to trust in the faithfulness of God and not in our cleverness or wisdom. We lean not on our own understanding, or as the Jerusalem Bible puts it: put no faith in your own perception.
By God’s grace and the fear of the Lord we are enabled to “see” into the unseen realm of spiritual reality where we have (past tense) been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
By the reverential awe of our Father we see and trust in unseen realities; the realities of faith.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

In John 17 Jesus said He has given us His glory that we might be one even as He and the Father are one. This imparted glory is to bring us into union with the Father and the Son in the same way Jesus was one with His Father in His earth walk and now in heaven. The Father, by His Spirit, through Christ is bringing us into a “oneness” with Himself and the Lord Jesus that Jesus said would cause the world to know that the Father sent the Son and that He loves us even as He loves the Lord Jesus! Allow it to sink in what the Father intends for us in this life – not the next one! He wants to come into such a vital union with us through the finished work of Christ that the world can’t help but acknowledge that truly God did send Jesus. So what is ahead for the Church? Glory, ever increasing glory!

The apostle Paul prayed the heart of the Father in his Ephesian prayers. He prayed that God would grant the believers a spirit of wisdom (practical insight into applying truth to our lives) and revelation ( lifting the veil off the Word) in the full knowledge of the Father. He then notes that this unveiling would involve 3 things: Understanding the hope of our calling (which Paul tells us is Christ in us the hope of glory); the riches of the glory of the Father’s inheritance for us; and the exceeding greatness of His power that is working in us who are believing. He says that this power that is at work within us is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and enthroned Him at the Father’s right hand. Later in this letter He notes that the Father, compelled by His great love, made us alive together, raised us up together and enthroned us together with Christ, above the principalities and powers. The revelations of these 3 things can transform the Church if we lay hold of them.

The goal of our redemption is to enter into the Father’s rest. Hebrews tells us that “we who have believed do enter that rest” (Heb. 4:2). What is this rest? It’s when we cease from our own works and rely totally on what Jesus had done for us. It’s not that we become passive, but now our works are done in gratitude, not to earn anything from the Lord. We were recreated in Christ for good works that God predestined us to walk in (Eph. 2:10). You have destiny written all over your recreated spirit. Who you are in the deepest place is totally acceptable to your Father. And, if that was not enough, He recreated you to perform works that you are perfectly gifted to accomplish! Yes, there are challenges we face in walking out our destiny, but Father has graced us and empowered us to overcome everything we face. Every challenge is an opportunity for our Father to show us His wisdom by taking everything the enemy means for evil and turn it for good. There is no calamity or sickness that can attack you that your Father doesn’t have a plan to turn it for your good (Rom. 8:28).

It is foolishness to think you won’t face challenges that will severely try you. But it is unbelief to think that anything that the devil does can surprise God and leave Him without a plan to give you victory. His grace is sufficient for you and His power is made perfect – brought to maturity – in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5). Or, as the Jerusalem Bible translated this verse: Put no faith in your own perceptions. You might not understand the “why” or clearly see the “how,” but know that you are not alone and your Father will see you through. Offer Him the sacrifice of praise and watch Him bring forth victory in you life.

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When I was first saved, we were taught the return of Christ could be any minute and just work to get people saved before the rapture. Now, it’s always a good idea to get people saved, but we saw nothing but disaster ahead for planet earth. Great Tribulation, antichrist, the nations united against the remaining Church – those who missed the rapture! No earthly hope for the Church, just escape to heaven.

I was shocked to discover after considerable study that this view was something only recently – the last 150 or so years – in the Church. The popular view so dominated the Christian media and so many Churches that it was hard to believe it was only recently taught.

Think, as an example of a modern doctrine that is not Biblical, of cessassionsism. Cessassatism is the idea that supernatural manifestations such

healing, miracles, tongues etc. are not for today. There are so many healings and supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit today that it is becoming more and more difficult to deny these things are happening in the Church.

Like Cessassionism, the pessimistic view of the earthly destiny of Church is vanishing. In the Great Commission, Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. That is an enormous assignment! And Jesus seemed to think is was possible. Didn’t He know about the Great Tribulation and the antichrist?

When challenged with some of these concepts some years ago I began to investigate what was taught. I set out to prove the popular view was right. A friend gave me a book that proposed that the Great Tribulation was describing the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. I had never heard of such a thing! As I followed his arguments and compared Scripture with Scripture, his case came together in a way that surprised me. Why hadn’t I heard this before?

As the case became stronger and stronger, the sense of foreboding that had hung over my life lifted. If the Great Tribulation was fulfilled in 70 AD, then I had nothing to fear concerning the future. As I was sorting through all of this, I also began to see the truth about the Kingdom of God. According to Peter on the Day of Pentecost, after Jesus rose from the dead, He assumed the throne of David and began His reign. He must reign until all His enemies are beneath His feet. Isaiah said, “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” Disciple the nations. Glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

These promises gripped me with new optimism. With the tribulation properly fulfilled in the past, Jesus could wash His Church in the water of the Word and eventually present to Himself a glorious Church without spot, wrinkle or blemish.

I said “good-bye” to the Late, Great Tribulation!

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