I See Jesus Everywhere!
God Is Urging Us To Finish The Race
God Is Urging Us To Finish The Race
2 Timothy 4: 7-8 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that dayand not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
I Do Not Like To Be Tested
Statistics show that for every 10 persons who give their life to Christ 80-90% fall away from their faith and do not remain in it when life's tests come at them. That means only one or two really have had a life changing conversion and truly has been filled by the Holy Spirit. The rest have only tested the waters to see if this faith works and will make life easier and take their problems away. They then become back-sliders- They lose their love for Jesus Christ. Look at what the Bible says about losing your love for Christ:
Revelation 2: 1-5 1"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: (Scripture is revealing this is Jesus who is speaking.)2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
The Scripture above can be describing anyone of us. Jesus is urging us to remain strong in faith and strong in love for Him. Some first came into belief in Christ because they wanted what the Bible promises, such as: love, peace, joy, happiness, etc. But when trials and tribulations come, they blame God, and they say the Christian faith does not work. This saddens me because those that back-slide in faith have missed the big picture- they have taken their eyes off of the BIG PRIZE.
John 3: 16 16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Revelation 21: 4 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
I first wrote this section right after this event took place in my life (April 2007). Shortly thereafter,my brother Greg who helped write the "Psalms Written to Our Lord" chapter on this web-site passed away from cancer after six month from being diagnosed with this horrific disease. My time of testing lasted six years and since June 2007, God has begun pouring out His blessings on my family, our finances, and me. God is good and He has brought me through this long season of testing. It was not easy,but with my wife, my kids, and myself relying on God's strength, and not our own strength, we have made it through this hard, hard season. Thank you Father God and my Lord Jesus for being with me. I know you always are, but in my weakness, I sometimes fail to see it.
I resisted writing this chapter. I came close to erasing it a few times. I am embarrassed to air my dirty laundry for all to see. I do not like to show my weakness. But my love for God is giving me strength to let you read this.
This chapter was a bold undertaking. The subject of personal suffering for Christ is not a popular subject in America any longer.
Philippians 1: 29 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
It is a subject most churches in America, as well as in the industrial nations of Europe, and along with Canada shy away from and do not talk about at their pulpits. The fear of offending someone and political correctness have made our pulpits preach "Feel Good" topics mostly, and most will not tackle controversial matter. That is not the Bible. The Bible is controversial and so is Jesus. The Bible and Jesus is hated in this fallen world we live in.
Because most of my audience lives in America, but also in Europe and Canada, they do not want to hear or read about pain that is taught in the Bible. We live in a culture that wants pleasure all the time. Many of our television Evangelists are preaching the "Prosperity Message" because we want to be rich and pain free ( with no trials or troubles whatsoever) and we have bought into it. We do not like pain. We do not like suffering. We want, We want, and We want. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES!
All we have to do to know this for sure is look in the word of God. We know what happened to the apostles. They died a martyr's death for their faith in Jesus Christ. They had no mansions and no money, but God did provide for them.
What about Job? Could I, as an American, go through what Job did and keep my faith in my Redeemer? Could I go through what Job did and hold my tongue and not get angry with God? I always thought I could. Recently though, I failed. Two weeks ago, I got angry and I yelled at God for the first time.
My finances have been bad for about six years now. Before 1997, when I was only a babe in Christ... life was easy, I was blessed. I was making over $100,000 annually. I was saving money. I could afford to buy anything I wanted. No problems, no worries.
Then God got a hold of me, and my faith exploded. God worked miracles in my life and I wanted him more than anything. As my faith grew, I began to study the Bible, and more importantly, share my faith in Jesus Christ in many different ways. I always looked for a door opening to share my faith with family and friends, and even strangers.
It seemed overnight, things began to change for my family and I. Like a light switch, in one years time, my income was cut in more than half. I could not even plan for this it happened so fast. I could no longer save money. My credit card debt grew and grew (thank God all at low interest rates). Because of my own foolishness, I have made a mess of my finances and as I write this, they are very bleak. During these six years of trouble, I have gotten my strength from the Bible. I have and still do trust God that he will provide. My joy came from the assurance that I knew I will live in heaven forever. This was (and is) the prize I seek and which gives me joy.
The timing for when, for first time ever, I got angry with God is interesting. I meet every Friday evening with a group of men from my church. We discuss, study, pray, and have fellowship together and it is a wonderful time of sharing. This particular night, we were discussing if any of us ever has gotten angry with God. I was the only one who never had experienced this. The other men all confessed they had experienced anger with God. This is true, up until this night, I really never felt angry with God.
I do know this about me now. In my pride, I always thought no matter what- no matter what Satan threw at me, I would be like Job--I would persevere through all my troubles. That changed in an instant three days after my Friday night men's group, and that instant is all the time Satan needed. I was already edgy making decisions that effected our finances, and this Monday...every time the business phone rang... instead of making me money...it was costing me money. I felt what is the use? Why keep on trying growing in the Lord? Why share my faith with others when all I get from it is pain. Life was much easier when I was a babe in Christ...doing no work for his Kingdom. Satan left me alone when God and peoples salvation wasn't my priority. I started yelling at the one I love-my God.
I know the truth, the Bible never says life will be easy. There are no promises for Christian or for that matter the non-believer that life will be easy. Both have problems. Each day will bring problems of their own.
Matthew 6: 33-34 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Problems do come to us all. Jesus promise to always be with us, and asks us to lean on him- especially in our times of trouble.
It took me the better part of two weeks to forgive myself for being angry with God. Jesus has once again forgiven my sin, taken my burdens, and has given my joy back to me. My problems still exist, but the burden is gone. It is Jesus who sustains me.
Is it worth it? Is it worth growing ones faith? Is it worth the pain and troubles that Satan sends to those who seek Jesus first, and work for his kingdom? The answer is YES! Would it be better for me to go back to the time when I was a babe in Christ and Satan left me alone? The answer is NO! It probably would be easier, but then I would lose out on the closest and best relationship I could ever have. I love my Jesus. He is my strength. Without him I am nothing.
I pray God has spoken to you in this chapter and that you will stay strong in the Lord no matter what happens and that you will finish the race. I pray you will be one of the10-20% who will remain in their faith.
God loves you and so do I!
"Wonderful Story about a true transformation into Chrisitanity. Anyone who is questioning their fatih should read this book. This book gives true insight to the meaning of life and why, even though the life given to us by God is good, we also have to except suffering. I will buy this book and recommend it to others."
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