You can watch us live each week!
Sunday AM: 11am
Sunday PM: 6pm
Worship Cast License #: 6786
CCLI #: 3105920
You can watch us live each week!
Sunday AM: 11am
Sunday PM: 6pm
Worship Cast License #: 6786
CCLI #: 3105920
Worship Cast License #: 6786
CCLI #: 3105920
I HAVE BEEN TOLD, WHEN WE ARE TRIED, AND DON’T PASS THE TEST OF ENDURANCE, AND TRUST GOD TO FIGHT OUR BATTLE —- BY THIS, I MEAN, WE TAKE IT IN OUR OWN HANDS —-WE WILL AT SOME POINT IN LIFE, HAVE TO TAKE THE SAME TEST OVER AGAIN.
IT IS MUCH BETTER FOR US TO GO AHEAD AND WATCH GOD MOVE ON OUR BEHALF, AND WAIT IT OUT, AND LET GOD GET THE VICTORY FOR US, THAN TO HAVE TO FACE THIS AGAIN.
YOU WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN THROUGH A TRAIL, DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT; BUT YOU WILL FACE ONE AT SOME POINT AND TIME AS YOU SERVE THE LORD.
II CORINTHAINS 8:2 – HOW THAT IN A GREAT TRAIL OF AFFLICTION (OR IN A TIME OF MUCH TROUBLE) THE ABUNDANCE OF THEIR JOY AND THEIR DEEP POVERTY ABOUNDED UNTO THEIR RICHES OF THEIR GREAT LIBERALITY. PAUL IS WRITING A LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS TO INFORM THEM OF HOW THE MACEDONIAN CHURCHES WHO WERE GOING THROUGH A TIME OF GREAT TROUBLE, WERE STILL FILLED WITH JOY THAT THEY COULD BE IN AN OVERFLOW OF GIVING TO THE CHURCHES IN JERUSALEM.
MANY OF US WHO ARE GOING THROUGH A GREAT TRIAL, WHETHER IT BE PHYSICAL OR FINANCIAL, WHATEVER IT IS, COULD LEARN FROM THESE MACEDONIANS. THEY WERE ONLY ACTING ON THE PRINCIPLES OF THE PROMISES OF GOD.
THEY DIDN’T ALLOW SATAN TO STEAL THEIR JOY, AND THEY WERE SOWING AN OFFERING AGAINST THEIR OWN POVERTY TO MINISTER TO THE NEEDS OF THE SAINTS. WHAT A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE TO US.
IF WE ARE BEING TRIED, WE SHOULD FIRST, PRAISE GOD THROUGH IT, AND THEN, TRUST HIM FOR THE OUTCOME.
ALSO, WE SHOULD ASK HIM, “LORD,WHAT CAN I LEARN THROUGH THIS?”
I PROMISE YOU, HE WILL SHOW YOU, AND BRING YOU TO A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF HOW HE WORKS.
JAMES 1:2-4 – MY BRETHREN, COUNT IT ALL JOY WHEN YE FALL INTO DIVERS TEMPTATIONS (OR VARIOUS TRIALS):
KNOWING THIS, THAT THE TRYING OF YOUR FAITH WORKETH (DEVELOPS) PATIENCE.
BUT LET PATIENCE HAVE HER PERFECT (COMPLETE) WORK, THAT YE MAY BE PERFECT (MATURE) AND ENTIRE, WANTING NOTHING (OR LACKING NOTHING).
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN GOING THROUGH TRIALS THAT DEVELOPE PATIENCE, AND BEING TEMPTED TO DO EVIL. BEING TEMPTED TO DO EVIL , IS BEING DRAWN AND ENTICED BY YOUR OWN LUST.
GOD DOES NOT TEMPT MAN TO DO EVIL (JAMES 1:13-18).
JAMES 1:12 – BLESSED IS THE MAN THAT ENDURETH TEMPTATION: FOR WHEN HE IS TRIED, HE SHALL RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE, WHICH THE LORD HATH PROMISED TO THEM THAT LOVE HIM.
JAMES TELLS US TO COUNT IT ALL JOY WHEN WE FALL INTO TRIALS (VERSE 2), BUT HE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT FALLING INTO SIN, HE IS TALKING ABOUT DISCOVERING THAT WE CAN FIND STRENGTH TO OVERCOME TEMPTATION AND ENDURE TRIALS, THROUGH THE LOVE OF GOD AND HIS POWER.
WITHOUT THE POWER OF GOD IN THE LIFE OF A BELIEVER, TRIALS CAN CAUSE HIM OR HER TO BECOME BITTER AND CRITICAL AND LOOSE THE CROWN OF LIFE.
VERSE 12 READS …WHEN HE IS TRIED… THIS SHOULD TELL US SOMETHING: WE WILL BE TRIED AT SOME POINT IN OUR LIVES.
LETS PASS THE TEST THE FIRST TIME, SO WE WON’T HAVE TO TAKE IT OVER AGAIN!!!
JEALOUSY AND RIVALRY
I would like to thank my heavenly Father for making this ministry possible, and giving me the grace to follow Him.
Our Scripture reading is found in Genesis Chapter 37, and Ephesians 5:28-33.
When we think of jealousy and rivalry, our minds go back to times in our lives when we have seen this in action. Could be, our actions, or the actions of others around us, or it could be what we hear from the media; but wherever we hear it, or experience it, we know it is rampant on this globe.
It is very important we know what the Bible has to say about it, so we can avoid it.
Jealousy means: Possessiveness, resentfulness, morbid suspicion, mistrust, and flaming anger.
Rivalry means: Competition, opposing, striving to win, struggle to surpass, contest, battle of wills.
You might say, “I read in the Bible where it says, God is a jealous God.”
You’re right. We are going there first.
Exodus 20:5,6 —-Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them (referring to idols),nor serve them: For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the Fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;
and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.
God said it. I am a jealous God.
God will not give His glory to another.
He will not tolerate a rival near His throne.
He is not jealous as the Greeks thought; of mere success, or greatness; but He is very jealous of His own honor, and will not have the respect and reverence which is due to Him, given to other beings or objects.
What about family ?
There has always been jealousy and rivalry in the family:
Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law
and so on —-
There has always been jealousy and rivalry in the Church family
And jealousy and rivalry in the work place.
But God wants us to get above that and come out to freedom from this torment, because …jealousy has torment… attached to it.
Let’s look at a family situation in Genesis 37:4,11,18,28,31-32,35, where jealousy between brothers causes much pain to the family.
Our story begins when Joseph was only seventeen years old.
He was shepherding the flock with his brothers, and brought his father a bad report on them. (verse 2)
Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age and made him a coat of many colors. (verse 3)
4- And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him and could not speak peaecably to him.
5- And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren (brothers): and they hated him yet the more.
He had dreamed they had bowed down in respect to him. (verse 7)
This caused them to hate him more. (verse 8)
In verse 9 and 10, he dreamed another dream, and told it to his brothers and his father. But his father rebuked him and said to him, What is the meaning of this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow down ourselves to the earth and do homage to you?
Verse 11 —- Joseph’s brothers envied him ; but his father observed the saying (his father took notice of the saying and pondered over it)
Although Joseph was seemingly trying to do the right thing, and his brothers were doing evil things, it seems to me these kinds of dreams should have been kept in his heart, and not shared with his brothers.
We see here to, his father did correct him when he needed it.
In our day and time we would call this a dysfunctional family, because the other brothers were the sons of two other wives. (verse 2)
Joseph was their half brother.
One day, when the brothers were feeding and shepherding their father’s flock; Israel told Joseph, “Go see whether or not everything is all right with your brothers and with the flock, and report back to me”. (14)
18 – And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
And they said to each other, “Here comes this dreamer, and master of dreams. Let us kill him and throw his body in some pit ; then we will say to our father, some wild beast has devoured him; and we will see what will become of his dreams!” (verses 19,20)
Reuben heard it and said, let’s not kill him, for Rueben’s plan was to rescue him, and take him back to his father. Reuben said, “Shed no blood.” So they took him and stripped him of his coat of many colors and cast him in a well-like pit with no water; and sat down to lunch. (verses 21-25)
25- When they looked up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, going on their way down to Egypt.
26- And Judah said to his brothers, What do we gain if we slay our brother and conceal his blood?”
27- Let us sell him to the Ishmaelites. And they sold him for twenty pieces of silver, which is a sermon of it’s own, because Jesus was betrayed and sold-out for twenty pieces of silver: —- but let’s go on.
28- And They took Joseph into Egypt.
29- Then Reuben , who had not been there when the brothers plotted to sell the lad, returned ; and behold, Joseph was not in the pit.
31,32- They killed an animal, dipped it in the blood and sent it to their father.
34- And Jacob tore his clothes, would not eat, and went into mourning.
35- His sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said “I will go to my grave to mourning for my son.”
And his father wept for him.
36- And the Midianites, and Ishmaelites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.
39:2- But the Lord was with Joseph.
As the story goes on we see Joseph being put down and then being lifted up to the number one place next to Pharaoh.
God had given to him the gift of interpreting dreams, and used this gift to lift him up to this great position to eventually help his family in a time of famine, to keep them alive, and because his family had to come to Egypt where they could buy food, they in due time, did bow before Joseph, because reigned next to Pharaoh.
In this story, we see sibling rivalry in the worst degree. Jealousy and rivalry which led to hate and anger and a conspiracy to do harm followed by lies to cover-up. After which, grief filled the family.
Many do not actually carry-out what they think to do to their siblings, but to hate them shows what is in their heart.
Christians struggle with jealousy at times, which brings on curses and severe problems to come upon them, if not dealt with.
I can think of other accounts of jealousy that arises in families, such as one family member is more prosperous than the other.
A Mother-in-law may be jealous of her Daughter-in-law, or the other way around. Sometimes they may see each other as rivals for his attention.
I tell you, this should not be going on in the life of a Christian.. It is walking in the flesh. This brings so much trouble into the family that does not need to be there. Get over it! It grieves your relationship with God.
Woman of God, understand this: the love the son has for his mother, is different from the love he has for his wife. To try to cause division between either of these two relationships will backfire on you.
Listen to this Scripture in Ephesians 5:28-33 —-So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: (or just like the Lord does the Church).
For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
For this cause (or this reason) shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.
Nevertheless let everyone of you in particular (or personally) so love his wife even as himself and the wife see that she reverence (or honor) her husband.
Mother-in-laws sometimes think their son or daughter could have done much better in choosing their spouse: but many times they are looking at the faults of the in-law, and they fail to see their child’s imperfections.
There should be a love bond between in-laws because of the marriage bond of their child to the one they choose.
God If that child of yours is so perfect and intelligent and such a magnificent Christian, why do you think they made such a bad choice?
Think about it!
I tell you, if more time was spent trying to understand, and praying for that child’s spouse, there would be more peace and harmony in their lives, as well as your relationship with your child; not to mention the relationship between you and God.
If there is no harmony in the family, the children pick-up on it and become like you.
I am sorry to say, jealousy and rivalry are rampant in the Body of Christ as well as in family life.
This shouldn’t be. Allow the Holy Spirit to convict you and change you into that person that overlooks the faults of others.
Pray this prayer with me: Father, I want to be like Jesus. Help me to deal with any jealousy or rivalry in my life. I repent of it. I know it hurts my relationship with You. Please forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Bring harmony in every area of my life. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
Intellegence report from military leaders: LARGE ARMIES COMING TO DESTROY JERUSALEM!!!
In response, King Jehoshaphat turned his troubles face to seek God.
The Lord said, “Be not afraid nor dismayed (fearful, confused, or discouraged) by reason of this great attack, for the battle is not yours, but the Lords.”
When King Jehoshaphat received that word from the Spirit of the Lord, he told his people, “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established (built-up, supported). Believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.’
Then King Jehoshaphat did a strange thing to many, he appointed singers unto the lord, to proclaim: PRAISE THE LORD; FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOREVER!!!!!
The Lord responded by setting an ambush against the enemy.
Remember – The battle is the Lord’s – Seek Him. Praise Him! (II Chronicles 20)
Sr. Pastor Roy Porter
WE ARE TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE THAT WE HAVE WEAPONS. THESE ARE NOT FLESHLY WEAPONS, BUT WEAPONS OF A SPIRITUAL NATURE. THESE WEAPONS GUARD OUR SOUL.
FIRST, WE HAVE WEAPONS AGAINST THE WORLD, WE CALL FAITH.
I JOHN 5:4 – FOR WHATSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD OVERCOMETH THE WORLD: AND THIS IS THE VICTORY THAT OVERCOMETH THE WORLD, EVEN OUR FAITH.
THIS FAITH IS THE PRODUCT OF OUR BELIEF THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD (V.5).
THE NEXT WEAPON IS AGAINST SATAN, THE ENEMY OF OUR SOUL, WHICH IS THE COMPLETE ARMOR OF GOD FOUND IN EPHESISNS 6:11-18 –
PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THE WILES OF THE DEVIL, FOR WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES, AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, AGAINST SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES (PLACES OF AUTHORITY). WHEREFORE TAKE UNTO YOU THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY, AND HAVING DONE ALL TO STAND, STAND THEREFORE, HAVING YOUR LOINS GIRT ABOUT WITH TRUTH, AND HAVING ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS; AND YOUR FEET SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; ABOVE ALL TAKING THE SHIELD OF FAITH, WHEREWITH YE SHALL BE ABLE TO QUINCH THE FIREY DARTS OF THE WICKED. AND TAKE THE HELMET OF SALVATION, WHICH IS THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD. PRAYING ALWAYS WITH ALL PRAYERS AND SUPLICATIONS IN THE SPIRIT.
YES, PRAYER IS ONE OF OUR GREATEST TOOLS, OR WEAPONS IN WARFARE. WE CANNOT GO TO BATTLE WITHOUT IT.
THE LAST WEAPON I WILL MENTION IS THE WEAPON AGAINT THE FLESH. THIS WEAPON IA THE SPIRIT.
GALATIANS 5:16-25 –
THIS I SAY THEN, WALK IN THE SPIRIT AND YE SHALL NOT FULFILL THE LUST OF THE FLESH. FOR THE FLESH LUSTETH AGAINST THE SPIRIT, AND THE SPIRIT AGAINST THE FLESH: AND THESE ARE CONTRARY THE ONE TO THE OTHER: SO THAT YE CANNOT DO THE THINGS THAT YE WOULD. BUT IF YE BE LED BY THE SPIRIT, YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW. NOW THE WORKS OF THE FLESH ARE MANIFEST (PLAIN), WHICH ARE THESE; ADULTRY, FORNICATION, UNCLEANNESS, LASCIVIOUSNESS, IDOLATRY, WITCHCRAFT, HATRED, VARIANCE (DISCORD), EMULATIONS (JEALOUSIES), WRATH, STRIFE, SEDITIONS (DIVISIONS), HERESIES (FALSE DOCTRINES), ENVYINGS, MURDERS, DRUNKENNESS, REVELLINGS (WILD PARTIES), AND SUCH LIKE: OF THE WHICH I TELL YOU BEFORE, AS I HAVE ALSO TOLD YOU IN TIME PAST, THAT THEY WHICH DO SUCH THINGS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
BUT THE FRUIT OFTHE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, AND PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE: AGAINST SUCH THERE IS NO LAW. AND THEY THAT ARE CHRIST’S HAVE CRUCIFIED THE FLESH WITH THE AFFECTIONS (IT’S PASSIONS) AND LUSTS. IF WE LIVE IN THE SPIRIT, LET US ALSO WALK IN THE SPIRIT…!
SLEEP IS IMPORTANT TO OUR DAILY HEALTH.
OUR BODIES CAN GO JUST SO MANY HOURS WITHOUT IT, THEN MAJOR PARTS OF OUR BODIES BEGIN TO BE FATIGUED AND OR EMOTIONS BECOME ALL OUT OF SORTS; WE CAN’T THINK CLEARLY, AND OTHERS AROUND US ARE AFFECTED.
IT WAS EASIER FOR US TO GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST WHEN OUR EMPLOYMENT WAS FARMING AND PHYSICAL LABOR; BUT NOW, WE ARE BOMBARDED WITH MUCH MENTAL STRESS: ON THE JOB AND AT HOME. WE HAVE MACHINERY AND ALL KINDS OF APPLIANCES NOW, THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO MAKE OUR WORK EASIER BUT WE JUST SEEM TO “ADD-IT-ON” INSTEAD OF REST WHILE WE CAN.
SOME YEARS BACK, I HAD AN ILLNESS, THAT REQUIRED MUCH REST AND SLEEP. I QUICKLY NOTICED HOW THE NAPS I WAS TAKING WERE HEALING. IWAS WEARING OUT MY BODY AND WAS ALL STRESSED-OUT.
SLEEP IS DEFINED AS A STATE OF COMPLETE OR PARTIAL UNCONSCIOUSNESS.
IN THE SCRIPTURES, THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 21 REFERENCES, AND MAYBE MORE, REFERRING TO SLEEP OR THE LACK OF IT.
SLEEP IS DESCRIBED AS SLUMBER IN PROVERBS 6:4,10. PROVERBS 3:24, IT IS DESCRIBED AS SWEET – WHEN THOU LIEST DOWN, THOU SHALT NOT BE AFRAID: YEA, THOU SHALT LIE DOWN, AND THY SLEEP SHALL BE SWEET. HERE, IT SAYS…THOU SHALT NOT BE AFRAID…
SO WE MUST ASSUME, FEAR KEEPS SOME FROM HAVING SWEET SLEEP.
VERSE 25 – BE NOT AFFRAID OF SUDDEN FEAR , NEITHER OF THE DESOLATION OF THE WICKED, WHEN IT COMETH; AND VERSE 26 READS – FOR THE LORD SHALL BE THY CONFIDENCE, AND SHALL KEEP THY FOOT FROM BEING TAKEN.
MANY PEOPLE ARE PARALIZED WITH FEAR, AND FEAR BRINGS WITH IT TORMENT. WE ARE TOLD IN THE BIBLE, THAT FEAR IS A SPIRIT; IT IS A HARASSING DEMON THAT KEEPS PEOPLE FROM BEING AT PEACE SO THEY CAN’T ENJOY A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP.
SOMETIMES GOD USES THE LACK OF SLEEP FOR HIS PURPOSE: IN DANIEL 8:18, DANIEL WAS GIVEN A PROPHETIC VISION IN HIS SLEEP: – NOW AS HE WAS SPEAKING WITH ME, I WAS IN A DEEP SLEEP ON MY FACE TOWARD THE GROUND: BUT HE TOUCHED ME ND SET ME UPRIGHT ( OR MADE ME STAND UP).
IN DANIEL 2:1, WE SEE WHERE THE INABILITY TO SLEEP IS CAUSED BY WORRY – NEBUCHADNEZZAR DREAMED DREAMS…WHEREIN HIS SPIRIT WAS TROUBLED, AND SLEEP BROKE FROM HIM (HE COULD NOT SLEEP). WORRY CAN CAUSE ANY OF US TO HAVE INSOMNIA. IN ESTHER 6:1, THE KING COULD NOT SLEEP BECAUSE GOD WANTED HIM TO READ THE BOOK OF CHRONICLES.
INTERCESSORS AND MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL, CAN’T SLEEP BECAUSE GOD HAS A PURPOSE IN MIND: MOSTLY, SO THEY CAN PRAY AND INTERCEDE ABOUT SOMETHING OR FOR SOMEONE.
PETER WAS FAST ASLEEP IN A PRISON (DUNGEON). JAMES HAD ALREADY BEEN BEHEADED FOR THE CAUSE OF THE GOSPEL, AND PETER WAS NEXT IN LINE: ACTS 12:1-11 – NOW ABOUT THAT TIME HEROD THE KING, STRETCHED FORTH HIS HANDS TO VEX CERTAIN OF THE CHURCH. AND HE KILLED JAMES THE BROTHER OF JOHN WITH THE SWORD. AND BECAUSE HE SAW IT PLEASED THE JEWS, HE PROCEEDED FURTHER TO TAKE PETER ALSO. (THEN WERE THE DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD). AND WHEN HE HAD APPREHENDED HIM , HE PUT HIM IN PRISON, AND DELIVERED HIM TO FOUR QUATERNIONS OF SOLDIERS TO KEEP HIM; INTENDING AFTER EASTER (PASSOVER) TO BRING HIM FORTH TO THE PEOPLE. PETER THEREFORE WAS KEPT IN PRISON; BUT PRAYER WAS MADE WITHOUT CEASING OF THE CHURCH UNTO GOD FOR HIM. AND WHEN HEROD WOULD HAVE BROUGHT HIM FORTH, THE SAME NIGHT PETER WAS SLEEPING BETWEEN TWO SOLDIERS BOUND WITH TWO CHAINS: AND THE KEEPERS BEFORE THE DOOR KEPT THE PRISON.
AND BEHOLD, THE ANGEL OF THE LORD CAME UPON HIM, AND A LIGHT SHINED IN THE PRISON: AND HE SMOTE PETER ON THE SIDE, AND RAISED HIM UP, SAYING, ARISE UP QUICKLY. AND HIS CHAINS FELL OFF FROM HIS HANDS. AND THE ANGEL SAID UNTO HIM, GIRD THYSELF, AND BIND ON THY SANDELS. AND SO HE DID. AND HE SAITH UNTO HIM, CAST THY GARMENT ABOUT THEE, AND FOLLOW ME. AND HE WENT OUT, AND FOLLOWED HIM; AND WIST NOT THAT IT WAS TRUE WHICH WAS DONE BY THE ANGEL; BUT THOUGHT HE SAW A VISION. WHEN THEY WERE PAST THE FIRST AND SECOND WARD THEY CAME UNTO THE IRON GATE THAT LEADETH INTO THE CITY; WHICH OPENED TO THEM OF HIS OWN ACCORD. AND THEY WENT OUT, AND PASSED ON THROUGH THE STREET; AND FORTHWITH THE ANGEL DEPARTED FROM HIM. AND WHEN PETER WAS COME TO HIMSELF, HE SAID, NOW I KNOW OF A SURETY, THAT THE LORD SENT HIS ANGEL, AND HATH DELIVERED ME OUT OF THE HAND OF HEROD, AND FROM ALL THE EXPECTATION OF THE JEWS.
THIS WAS A TRYING TIME IN OUR HISTORY WHERE THE CHURCH WAS GOING THROUGH HARASSMENT AND PERSECUTION. WE FIND PETER FAST ASLEEP IN A PRISON.
BECAUSE HEROD, THE KING, SAW HOW IT PLEASED THE JEWS TO WATCH JAMES BE KILLED BY THE SWORD, THAT HE DECIDED PETER WOULD BE NEXT: AFTER THE PASSOVER.
SOMETIMES WE FIND IT HARD TO SLEEP AFTER WE HAVE PASSED THROUGH A TRIAL DURING THE DAY OR WE ATE PIZZA LATE IN THE EVENING.
THIS STORY OF PETER AMAZES ME BECAUSE PETER KNEW WHAT WAS TO TAKE PLACE THE NEXT MORNING, YET WE FIND HIM THE NIGHT BEFORE WHE WAS TO BE EXECUTED, AN A DEEP SLEEP, CHAINED BETWEEN TWO SOLDIERS, AND GUARDED WELL.
HEROD’S GREAT DESIRE TO PLEASE THE PEOPLE BY GIFTS AND SHOWS OF BLOOD TO WIN THEIR FAVER, HAD BEEN FOILED. HE WAS PLANNING TO BRING PETER UP ONTO A STAGE OR SOME HIGH GROUND WHERE ALL THE PEOPLE COULD SEE HIM CONDEMNED WHICH WOULD BE AS GOOD THEM AS A GLADIATORIAL SLAUGHTER TO A ROMAN AUDIENCE.
THIS IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION WAS JUST THE RIGHT TIMING FOR A MIRACULOUS EVEN IN THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH. WHEN THE BATTLE SEEMS THE HOTTEST, THE VICTORY IS USUALLY THE SWEETEST.
SUDDENLY, THE LIGHT SHOWN IN THE PRISON! THE ANGEL HAD TO AWAKE PETER OUT OF A VERY DEEP SLEEP AND RESCUE HIM AS THE SOLDIERS SLEPT ON DUTY. THIS, BY THE WAY, IS AN UNFORGIVABLE ACTION OF A SOLDIER. THIS WAS HIS DEATH WARRENT.
WHY DID PETER HAVE SUCH A CALM DEEP SLEEP ON THE NIGHT BEFORE HIS INTENDED DEATH? BECAUSE HE KNEW HE WAS IN THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD, AND KNEW IT EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS A BATTLE GOING ON FOR HIS LIFE. PETER LIVED WHAT HE TAUGHT THE CHURCH.
WE LEARN SWEET SLEEP AND REST FROM THESE GREAT SOLDIERS OF THE CROSS; BUT THERE IS ONE MORE WAY WE LEARN: AND THAT IS THROUGH EXPERIENCING GOD’S PROMISES THROUGH OUR BEING TESTED.
LAST NIGHT I WAS STUNG IN THREE PLACES ON MY BODY BY A SCORPION IN BED DURING MY SLEEP. THE LAST TWO STINGS CAUSED ME TO JUMP OUT OF BED AND TURN ON THE LIGHT. THERE HE WAS, A BROWN SCORPION, READY TO STING AGAIN. MY HUSBAND SOON CAPTURED MY LITTLE ENEMY, AND I WENT BACK TO BED, AFTER CHECKING FOR MORE OF HIS LITTLE SCORPION FRIENDS. —-DID THIS KEEP ME AWAKE? NO! —-I WENT BACK TO SLEEP, LEAVING MYSELF IN THE HANDS OF THE ONE WHO IS FAITHFUL: MY LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.
The subject of today’s message is: THE TRIED.
Our Scripture reading is found in Psalm 66. We will start with verse 8.
How can anyone who has not been tried speak of such a thing?
Well, no one who has not been tried can even understand this message until they have had this experience.
Being tried is not the easiest part of being a child of God.
We are tried by the use of family, friends, Church members, and by enemies to the Gospel.
We are tried by our own imaginations going wild.
We are tried by our reactions to situations.
We are always on the battlefield as we serve the Lord. But all we have to remember is, 1 Samuel 17:47b —-the battle is the Lord’s.
We don’t have to fight our battles.
Trials come, my friend; they come, but we should remember trials are like a tunnel. They have a beginning and an end. We can see light at the end of a tunnel. When we are going through them, we see nothing but darkness, but we as Christians, still have the sense that we are still moving: we are in place, moving forward.
It’s like the times when we are in the middle of being tried, that we realize how powerful the grace of God really is: how He is in charge, because we have no strength on our own, our trust cannot be in the flesh.
Flesh won’t help, it has to be God who is carrying us through.
Look at Psalm 66:8-12 —-O bless our God, ye His people, and make the voice of His praise be heard:
which holdeth our soul in life (which implies a previous condition of great danger), and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
For Thou, O God, hast proved (or tested) us; hast tried us as silver is tried.
Silver, according to ancient methods, required a prolonged process of refining before it could be pronounced pure, so you could say it this way, “You, through a long process, have purified us with fire.”
Verse 11,12 —-Thou broughtest us into the net (or into a dungeon or stronghold); Thou laidest affliction upon our loins (The meaning is, You crushed us down under a heavy weight of oppression, or laid great burdens on our backs).
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through the fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.
Men came against us to harm us, but in the end, You brought us out into wealth and great abundance, a place of refreshment, a place of liberty.
Look at verse 16-20 —- Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.
I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled (or celebrated) with my tongue.
In all these verses, it seems the Psalmist has been through a terrible trial. He began to praise God with His mouth and tell others how God brought him out but. But God did more than just bring him out of this trial, He moved Him into a place of refreshment, a place of liberty, a place of blessing. He was elevated into another level with God by the passing of this great trial.
I have been told when we are tried, and don’t pass the test of endurance, and trust God to fight our battle: by this, I mean, we take it into our own hands —- we will at some point in life, have to take this same test over again.
It is much better for us to go ahead and watch God move on our behalf, and wait it out, and let God get the victory for us, than to have to face this again.
You who have never been through a trial, don’t know what I’m talking about, but you will face one at some point and time as you serve the Lord.
2 Corinthians 8:2 —- How that in a great trial of affliction (or in a time of much trouble) the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto their riches of their great liberality.
Paul is writing a letter to the Corinthians to inform them of how the Macedonian Churches who were going through a time of great trouble, were still filled with joy that they could be in an overflow of giving to the Churches in Jerusalem.
Many of us who are going through a great trial, whether it be physical or financial, whatever it is, could learn from these Macedonians. They were only acting on the principles of the promises of God.
They didn’t allow Satan to steal their joy, and they were sowing an offering against their own poverty to minister to the needs of the saints.
What a wonderful example to us.
If we are being tried, we should first praise God through it, and then trust Him for the outcome. Also we should ask Him, “Lord, what can I learn through this?”
I promise, He will show you, and bring you to a greater understanding of how He works.
Let’s go to James 1:2-4 —-My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (or various trials):
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh (or develops) patience.
But let patience have her perfect (or complete) work, that ye may be perfect (or mature) and entire (or finished), wanting nothing (or lacking nothing).
There is a difference in going through trials that develops patience, and being tempted to do evil. Being tempted to do evil, is being drawn and enticed by your own lust. God does not tempt man to do evil (James 1:13-18), but look at Verse 12 —-Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.
James tells us to count it all joy when we fall into trials (Verse 2), but he is not talking about falling into sin, He is talking about discovering that we can find strength to overcome temptation and endure trials, through the love of God and His power. Without the power of God in the life of a believer, trials can cause him to become bitter and critical and lose the crown of life.
Verse 12 reads, …for when he is tried… This should tell us something, we will be tried at some point in our lives.
God knows men’s ways
In Job 23:10, Job is talking —- but He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Job is saying He knows every detail of what is happening to me, and when He hath tried me: when He has examined me, I will come forth as gold: He will pronounce me completely innocent.
God does reprove Job and humble him through this trial, but Job comes out the better for it.
Look at Job 42:12a —-So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: and Verse 10 says …the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before…Which brings us back to Psalm 66:12 again —- Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. And Verse 10 —-For Thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us as silver is tried.
The trying of our faith is of great value to us in our relationship with God. It brings us to a place of humility and trust that we as humans can’t seem to learn and grow without.
We will finish this message with Revelation 3:18 —-Jesus is talking here—-I counsel thee (or advise you) to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
What is He talking about here? Is he telling us to buy something material from Him? No. He is telling us we are to learn as much as we can through the trials we go through in life, and consider them as gold for our growth in righteousness.
Jesus tells us that those He dearly and tenderly loves, He tells them their faults and convicts and convinces and reproves and chastens them. He disciplines and instructs them. So we are to be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent: changing our minds and attitudes (From Verse 19).
We can learn by living every thing the Word tells us, or we will have to learn by experience through trials by fire.
Which-ever way we choose, we still have to learn one way or the other. It seems to me most people have to learn the hard way.
Then we can call ourselves, THE TRIED.
Pray this prayer with me:
Lord, forgive me for doing it my way. Help me to learn what Your Word says and do it, so I won’t have to learn everything through being tried. Show me what you want me to learn from the trials I have already been through and the one I’m in now. I submit to you and humble myself before You. I repent of self-dependence. I now depend on You.
Use me and help me grow so I can be what You intended me to be in Your kingdom. Thank You, Father.
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