"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Today's world appears to be some type of time warp where everything just moves faster as time progresses. However, for most of us as time progresses; complications don't often get solved faster. It is at the point in time when matters have gotten us in such a burdened state that we feel like losing all hope and forget who our creator is. Truly, it’s easy to get really caught up in life and to feel trapped in our problems. Just today my wife got a second speeding ticket in two weeks and wasn't even speeding when she got this one. Next she found out that her professional certification was expired even though her employer maintains it and requires it. I found that my check for this pay period was much smaller than expected (it's honestly not that big anyway which is why it matters so much). The little things in life seem big when they gang up on you, but we must stop dead in our tracks and remind the enemy who we serve. The first step to fighting the enemies’ attempts to drag you down is to make sure you are on God's side. Secondly we must understand that we must not lose faith and hope in God. We also have to understand that suffering is part of our sacrifice to God and that overcoming the obstacles thrown at us is part of the process of growth in faith. I hope and pray that all of you can reflect on a testimony to compare to these experiences and how God has brought you out. Salvation's Call also looks forward to the future testimonies in how the content here has helped you overcome the odds that life brings our way through your faith in Christ and your new found knowledge of His Word.
When I say the term "on God's side", I'm not talking some relative term as you would expect in school for your gym coach to divide you on sides for competition in some sort of fun game. What we mean is truly being a "Christ follower" which is where we get the term "Christian" in the first place. To be a follower of Christ you must first have had to confess your faith in Jesus Christ, that He was slain on that rugged old cross, and was placed in a tomb to only be raised again in three days where he would spend a short time on earth before ascending to Heaven to be at the right hand of the Father. You would have also confessed that because He died and rose again that this made the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind and now you receive eternal life because of the shedding of His Blood. Thank God that He provided a way so that us people, not born into a Jewish household could have a gateway to heaven instead of Hell! No longer do we have to sacrifice animals and spend countless hours raising them to ensure our ability to worship the God we serve. All we have to do is call upon Him, profess our faith in Christ and we have a communication line directly to heaven at no physical cost to us. Being on God's team requires us to be "all in". Jesus warned us of being "lukewarm" in Revelation 3:16 where He says, " So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." To be a luke warm Christian is to be one foot in the church and one foot out. In essence, we either serve God or we serve Satan. Everyone has a God whether they will admit it to you or not. For some it is their favorite athlete while others cherish their family over God. We must be willing to serve God with all our hearts and minds. We must not hold any idols over him. Our lives have to be balanced and managed so that no life problem, item, property, or person becomes more valuable to us than Him who created us. My wife loves me and I love her, but on our wedding day we vowed God's will over each of our desires because we know without him first in our lives our marriage is worthless. You may ask, "What does this have to do with being luke-warm"? Everything my friend! Way too many Christians in the church today are luke-warm and hold their faith for times of convenience." I will go to church on the fourth Sunday because I know that I will be working on Saturday night until 10pm the rest of the month. “My club softball games are on Sunday afternoons, so to be well rested I'm just going to skip worshiping God until the season is over." These are subtle little activities that seem harmless at first, but only allow the enemy to get in when we are weak and have not had the Gospel fresh on our hearts and destroy our faith completely. Of course everyone has complications with scheduling, life, and work which causes us issues sometimes with our worship commitments. This ministry was even created to help people with those sorts of problems, so trust us when we say we understand when life hurts. What we cannot allow though is for our faith and dedication to God be compromised due to our life circumstances. We must praise Him in our problems in life, and ensure that we are on God's team by professing our faith in Him.
To get through trials in life we must also not allow the enemy to steal our hope/faith in Christ and a better life after this world. God has promised us to protect us. We see in Psalm 3:2-6 where God protected and uplifted David, perhaps in one of his most trialing moments in life where he was afriad for his own physical well-being. Although King David was confident in God to look over him and meet his needs, he was also even more confident in God's promise to bless him in the next life. As Christians, our biggest benefit to faith in Christ is knowing that He prepares a place in heaven for us as He does in John 14:3. Not only does He promise a place for us if we have faith in Him, but he also promises to come and get us at His appointed time. What can the enemy steal from us if the inheritance that we have invested in is not of this earth? Still, there are times when we can really find ourselves bogged down and dull in faith. It is imperative that in these moments we must stop and reflect at all the good things that God has done for us and remember that He is in control.Remember that God spoke and the universe was created. Our words are powerful and often times we have to use them against the powers of evil. The old saints use the term "Get behind me Satan" often and it works. I personally love to call out the name of "Jesus" as I know that He hears the cries of His children and answer their call like the mother a lost lamb in the woods. Our Shepherd sees the needs of His flock and tends to our wounds. Trust in God and He will see you through.
One of the biggest lies that some ministries want believers to have faith in is more of a philosophy/trend than anything to do with Christianity at all. They inspire and instill confidence in their followers, but do little to encourage believers to check God's Word out for themselves. They offer a "feel good" ministry that functions within the parameters of positive feelings or emotions. The truth is they couldn't be further from the truth instead of teaching it. Being a Christian will not automatically make you successful in the eyes of the world. Some Christians have become successful and still are post-conversion, but the success was not just bestowed on them just for being Christian. God chooses to bless some of his children in this way, but I have found that many of us are probably not because the one thing that keeps us grounded with Him is our brokenness financially so that we do not become prideful by our own means. If I had millions of dollars from birth, I would not have experienced many of the financial hardships that I encountered which brought me to faith in Christ in just the right timing that it did. Regardless of how broke I feel compared to this country, I have to remember that just being born here was blessing given that since I am a citizen that places me in the top 98th percentile in the world for wealth. That alone is proof that God has blessed me. We often become accustomed to the normal state of living around us and when the comfort is snatched out from underneath us, it reminds me of how God has blessed me bountifully. We must remember that being a believer in Christ although rewarding, places in a position of suffering for His cause. If Christ himself suffered being the Son of God, as well as the disciples, what makes us believe that we are not subject to such persecution by evil as well? Surely if the greatest church planter and evangelist of all time, in Paul suffered; what excludes us? Does that mean that Christ doesn't love us? Surely, it does not. His loved transcends the elements of this world and fleshly body. He knows our limits and past failures. He knows how much suffering we can take until we break. He allows this as He allowed the enemy to attack Job to mold us into who he needs us to be. If we are servants of Christ, we must surely be shaped into the image that He requires us to be in order to serve Him in this life as well as the next. I pray that we all recognize even our blessings amongst the dirt of life. God is creating a diamond out of this dirty world, but to first do that he must cut and mold the ore. We weren't found as shiny stones, but as dirty rough rocks waiting on our creator to mold us back into the image in that we were created to be. Amen and Praise the most perfect Jeweler, Christ Jesus!
John 14:3 (KJV)
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Psalm 3:2-6 (KJV)
2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
3 But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
4 I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
2 Corinthians 11:17-23 (ESV)
17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would[a] but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!
But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.