Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Struggle Is Good?

I had a discussion with a group of believers some years ago about the struggle Christians are destined to have. I had another discussion about the same subject matter with a group of Christians online. The consensus was that those I was talking to were in agreement to be in some sort of sorrowful struggle and they were fine with this horrible thing that was going to happen to them. It baffled me then, now, and if God doesn't reveal something to me quick, it still baffles me as to why intelligent believers could make such a sound decision in making Jesus their Lord and Savior and then also accept that with Him, there will come peril and destruction? So what happened next was for me to do as I have been taught and go seek out the answer for myself as to why there are 2 opposing views with the same intent: for the betterment of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13 AMP).

I wrote about the woman before who had an ailment that she was hoping God would cure before she had surgery. She said she hoped and prayed for God to do a suddenly on her behalf. In that time; however, the woman refused to listen to the sound advise of not eating certain food items which exacerbated the ailment she was having (2 Timothy 4:3 AMP). She claimed that her doctor never told her to stop eating such food items. The woman had the procedure done of which she resented but sought no other choice. Another woman was given the diagnosis of having terminal cancer. When I asked if the doctor put her on any special diet, she replied that he had not. She continued to consume her daily allowance of chocolate pudding and diet cola. Within months, she passed away (Titus 1:9 AMP).

Both of these women had different belief systems. One is a Christian and the other wasn't. Both said the doctor did not tell them to change any of their habits for whatever the reason, according to them. Both went through horrible suffering. Was it because of the habits they refused to give up? Was it because of not using sound wisdom? Was it because of sin not confessed (1 John 1:9 AMP)? Well, the Christian is still here and can do something about her circumstances so not to be in the same predicament again. The Christian can stop the pain and the horrific struggle she is going through even after the surgery. Can you see what that is?

You see, when Paul said that we would go through suffering, it was on a scale that has not been considered or taught (Philippians 1:29-30 AMP). He said that Jesus went through suffering and if you don't as well, then you are not of Him (Romans 8:17 AMP). As I read through those passages, it bothered me (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 AMP). It bothered me more when pastors and speakers did not explain them any better then my own studies (1 Peter 4:13 AMP). They expected horrific things to happen to those who believe as well. Why? Because it has happened to them.

Why did these things happen to them? Why didn't they tell us a complete testimony so that we could understand and not do the same mistakes? Why was this lesson skipped or merely skimmed over?

Its quite simple and a matter that I have written about with the analogy of the seed coming from the ground, a chick trying to get out the egg, or a baby getting through the birth canal. The struggle all serves a purpose. The seed is blown before enabling the correct end to be propped in the soil and the elements getting it to where it needed to be (or by a farmer). In so doing the seed cannot grow into a sapling without getting rid of the outer covering. The chick struggles to get out of its shell and while doing so, it clears its lungs from any mucous and strengthens its muscles to be able to walk about. The baby squeezes through the birth canal with a host of benefits for the baby and the mother when the process is done correctly. So thank God for the struggle.

Now with the acceptance of our Lord and Savior for us to live in abundance, what struggle is left?
Jesus requires for us to pick up our cross and follow Him. He requires for us to receive the Holy Spirit and develop the fruit thereof (Galatians 5:22-23 AMP). He requires for us to crucify the flesh daily...and there it is. There is what we would be crying over. There is what we scream about and fuss and refute. There is where we cry out to God why hasn't He done this or that for us yet. There is where the separation of the lambs and the goats come in (Matthew 25:31-46 AMP). Its where He, and those who maintain, can see if the love of God is in you or is it just lip service. Its the struggle of living Holy and not go back to the life we left behind. Its saying the right thing when angry rather using the profane vocabulary you used to use that could make a sailor blush. Its being able to give you shirt to someone in need and if asked to give your coat also without so much as a hint of regret. For it is written that God loves a cheerful giver. So recognize and see when any of the aforementioned used to cause you grumbling to do....and when you knew to do better, how much effort did it take for you to actually do it?

Paul suffered. No I don't mean the thorn in his side (2 Corinthians 12:7 AMP). I mean when he was persecuting the Christians and then told Jesus that he would stop (Acts 22:1-8 AMP). How long did it take for him to stop being angry? He stopped killing people but his argumentative ways took some time (Acts 17:2-17 AMP). That had to be a hardship for him to go through. What about those that followed Paul? Did they do what Jesus did or did they do what they saw Paul do? After all, he did say would that you could follow me. Then he added, would that you could follow me as I follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1 AMP). He had to grow up and in so doing, there was a struggle for all of the wrong things he did and said in the process. He could have said all of the right words and not believe any of them. But that would only be noise to the Lord and not that sweet savor that we hope for.

Do you believe that everyone that goes to church services have the right intentions? It seems that everyone knows what to say and do, but do they believe those things for the rest of the week when they aren't in church? You see, we can't FAKE it until we make it. Faking isn't real. We have to believe it to receive it (Mark 11:23 AMP). And the believing isn't solidified without crucifying the flesh daily. How do we do this? By saying the right thing the moment we begin our day. Its the spiritual version of brushing our teeth and taking a shower. Do we struggle to be hygienic? Was it always easy to bath and get dressed or did you put your shoes on the wrong foot, skip brushing your teeth every now and again like everyone else when you were growing up? Well, its sort of like that when walking in the Spirit. It takes time for new ways to become habitual. Once they do, its as easy as Jesus said it would be. Don't be fooled anymore. You now know better so you MUST do better. Amen?

Thursday, November 20, 2014


When I was a child, I used to reside in Europe. At the end of the school year, the administrators would sponsor some function where all of the students were to participate. My last year in the school, the function was a 10 kilometer walk (6.21 miles). Most of my class thought it to be boring but it was better then sitting in the classroom the whole afternoon. In the beginning of the walk, everyone was pretty talkative. Towards the middle of the event, we took on the scenes of the hot, sunny day so there was plenty of oohing and aahing. At the last few kilometers, no one was saying anything just focusing on getting it over with so we could go home. Being from the United States and again, a child, I had no idea how long a kilometer was. It was a missed opportunity for an enlightening lesson the day before the event. I guess the teachers were looking forward to the end of the school year too. Yet by the end, I felt like I walked at least 30 miles.

Oddly back then, no one had the foresight to carry a canteen of water; no, not one child or educator. So by the time we could see the school's campus, most of us ran, I assumed for the event to be completed. But they saw something I didn't. It was a table with tubs filled with ice and cans of soda. Most of the boys out ran the girls, especially when they saw that there was no limit to how much soda we all could have. I never drank a full can before but that day not only did I drink a full can, I was looking to see if I could have another for the walk home. Before I could get off of the school's grounds, I finished off that can too. I recall not quite 2/3rd's of the way there, when my mouth felt sticky and back to needing something to drink again.

I thought of this again as a grown woman studying the Word and remembering a passage when Jesus was talking to the woman at the well. He told her about herself and what she was doing with her life just after He asked her for a drink of water. He never did get the water from her; what she received from Him was an understated warning that if she knew who she was talking to, she would realize that there is a drink He could give to her that will cause her never to thirst again. She listened but her hearing was superficial. Until she heard Him tell her about herself, she changed her position, put down the water pot, and went to tell of all she heard from Him (John 4:1-42 AMP).

What Jesus gives will cause us never to thirst again. There is no want or need that cannot be met. With God hearing the prayers of the righteous, how can a believer be dissatisfied? When i was in that school event and consumed all of that soda, my thirst was still there moments later. What I was looking for in those tubs was some water. That wasn't supplied, even though it would have been a better option and my thirst would be quenched. Quenched, meaning the thirst would be gone.

The scriptures tell us in the New Testament not to quench the Holy Spirit. I didn't see that verse though it had been preached about in the services I attended. The verse I did heed to was Psalms 51 where the writer asks not to take your Spirit from me. Though it used to be one of my favorite passages, it bothered me to know that the writer believed the Spirit of God would be taken from one who believes. I pacified myself thinking the passage is from the Old Testament and has no bearing on the Christian lifestyle of today. But then I found the verse, not to quench the Holy Spirit as I read the entire chapter of 1 Thessalonians 5. The entire chapter was instruction what to do in the last days. Its funny, how this time, in this manner, I was not bothered by what we are directed to do (verse 19).

You see, in Psalm the writer is asking for God not to cast him out of His presence and to not to take His Spirit from him. Why would there ever be a time that God would do such a thing when He continually tells us that He loves and will never leave nor forsake us? But then the writer tells God what he would like for God to do and then it sounds as if there is a bargain at the end of the verse..."then, I will teach transgressors thy ways and convert sinners over to you (Psalm 51:10-13 AMP)." Is that arrogance?

Saul received gifts from God and was well aware of who God is, yet became jealous of David and resorted to seeking out a psychic (1 Samuel 28:7 AMP). Sampson was well aware of his gifts from God and was given instruction as to what to do and not to do to keep himself strong and powerful. Yet with as much knowledge as he had, he still ate honey from a carcass, gave the unclean product to his parents to eat, and kept company with a woman that did not have the same faith as him. Elimelech knew his family was supposed to stay in the land that God gave them. The whole of Bethlehem was told this, yet he took it upon himself to leave the land because of famine and go into a place with people that knew nothing of Jehovah Jireh (Ruth 1:1-5 AMP). Would not these acts quench the Holy Spirit? Would these acts cause these men to be taken out of the presence of God? In His presence, there is light, peace, and joy. What happened to these men? Answer: They all died.

Granted, that is the Old Testament; nevertheless, there are many that teach from the Old Testament and live according to it. The Word tells us that the man that lives by the law will also die by that law because it is of the old covenant (Galatians 3:10-12 AMP). If we were to put this in the perspective of the new covenant and where it can be applicable for today, it looks like it is the same as God describes Himself: the same, yesterday, today, and forever.