Trust in God

bible-Sunlight

I’m a teacher at a small Christian school, and Friday was our last day of school.  We work next week to clean and paint and set up classrooms so that anyone interested in the school can tour the school over the summer.  This time of year I really start thinking about how much we have to trust in God.  You see, after next week I’m jobless.  This will be the third summer in a row.

 

It’s easy to say that you trust in God, but sometimes hard to put into practice.  It’s easy to trust in God when things are going well, but a lot more difficult when faced with tough times and uncertainty.  We are, however, told to put our trust in God.

 

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

 

We are given many examples of others trusting in God in many situations:

 

Abraham –

 

Genesis 22:1-12

 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham:and he said, Behold, here I am. 2And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

 3And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. 6And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father:and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood:but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:so they went both of them together. 9And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham:and he said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him:for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

 

Abraham trusted in God to save Isaac, either by intervening before the sacrifice or by raising him from the dead.  Abraham knew that God had great plans for Isaac’s descendants, and God always does what he says.

 

Noah –

 

Genesis 6:11-22

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

 14Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of:The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. 17And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons ‘wives with thee. 19And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

 

Even though it seemed absolutely crazy, Noah trusted God.  Until then there had been no rain, so no one had ever seen a flood of any type.  Noah didn’t live near a sea, so he’d never built a boat before.  He had to trust God to help him make it watertight, and trust that God would indeed send a flood.  People mocked Noah and his family…called them names, said they were crazy and fools.  Through all of that, Noah trusted in God.

 

Schadrach, Meshach, and Abednego –

 

Daniel 3:13-28

Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well:but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? 16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 19Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. 20And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

 26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. 28Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew the consequences of their refusal to worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar created.  Yet the trusted that God would protect them if it was His will.

 

Daniel –

Daniel 6:6-23

 

 

Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. 7All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 9Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

 10Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 11Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 13Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. 14Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him:and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. 16Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. 17And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

 18Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting:neither were instruments of musick brought before him:and his sleep went from him. 19Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel:and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions ‘mouths, that they have not hurt me:forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

 

Daniel knew that continuing to worship God was against the decree signed by King Darius.  But he trusted that God would protect him from the lions.  Even King Darius trusted that Daniel’s God would save him.

 

Even Job, who suffered greatly and lost everything but his life, trusted in God.

 

Job 13:13 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:

but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

 

There are many other examples of scripture telling us to trust in Him.

 

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation;

I will trust, and not be afraid:

for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song;

he also is become my salvation.

 

Isaiah 26:4 Trust ye in the Lord for ever:

for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:

 

Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;

and he knoweth them that trust in him.

 

God wants us to trust that he will provide for us, that he will protect us.  But, that provision and protection isn’t free.  God wants us to follow His word.  He wants us to repent of our sins, be baptized in Jesus name, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and live our lives for Him.

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Spiritual Battlefield Part 1

Lighthouse

Most people don’t understand what the spiritual battle is.  They don’t understand who is fighting, why they’re fighting, what’s at stake, and why they should join the fight.  I hope, with help and direction from God, to be able to explain all this to you in a way that helps you understand why it is important.

 First of all, let me explain what the battlefield is.  The battlefield is the World (not the physical world, but the world’s system; or, common but non-Biblical ways) that tells and teaches a myriad of things about God that are untrue.

The world tells us that God is not real. That He is just a creation of the minds of men to control each other, to give us an excuse to fight and dominate others, to give us someone to blame for our own shortcomings.  The world tells us that God was created to explain a world that was unexplainable to the “simple minds” of our ancestors.

Because the world does not believe (or only partially believes) in the existence of God, they feel free to tell us that we need to keep God to ourselves.  Their “more enlightened” minds are offended by our religion, doctrine, and morality, and we should not be allowed to offend them, so we must keep our religion to ourselves in our homes, in church on Sunday, or better yet, not practice it at all..

We, as Christians, tend to be meek.  We don’t want to cause offense to others.  This is an admirable trait to have, but remember, we must live by the Word of God.  Romans 10:11 says, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” and 1 Peter 4:16 states, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”  Do not let the world shame us into hiding God and His word from the view of others.

The removal of God from public life is a major part of the battlefield, but it is not the only part.  The battlefield is large and has varied terrain.  To effectively engage in the battle, we must study the entire field.  So, what else makes up the battlefield?

Other religions and belief systems make up a portion of the battlefield.  More and more, people who are searching for answers are looking to any belief system that can bring them comfort and a feeling of belonging.  We have to make sure that people understand that believing in anything isn’t the same as believing in the One True God.

There are also those who will say that we all worship the same God; that we just call him by different names: Mohammed, Buddah, Gaia, Hu, Satnam, etc…  These are not the One True God.  Acts 4:12 tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  We are told in John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”  Therefore, clearly declaring that the “name” of God is Jesus.

The various denominations make up part of the battlefield.

“How can this be?” you ask.  The argument is that the various denominations are just made up of good people who interpret the Word of God differently than we do.

This is exactly the problem.  We are told in Proverbs 30:6 “Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” But, what does this mean?

The original Old Testament was written in Ancient Hebrew, with a few passages written in Aramaic.  The new Testament was written in Ancient Greek. Neither Hebrew nor Greek as spoken today is the same as it was at that time.  Over time the Bible has been translated into other languages.  This in itself is not the problem (although all translations have errors, and so I strongly suggest that you have a concordance handy when studying your Bible), the problem arose when man decided that he needed to make the Bible easier to read.  Instead of translating the bible from one language to another, men decided to change the words of the Bible so that they were “more modern” and “made more sense” to everyone.

This led to changes and omissions of the text.  Man added and took away from the Word.  Man took it upon himself to decide what God meant, and what other men should get out of the Word…in essence, what the Word should mean to others.  Man decided not to just translate the Bible, but to interpret it.

Currently, the purest translation of the Bible is the King James version.  When you compare this side by side with other “translations” you will find some passages have changed meanings, and other verses are missing altogether.  This directly violates Proverbs 30:6 admonition to “Add thou not unto His words…”.

As men change the meaning of the Bible, it becomes easier and easier to decide what they believe the “important parts” are.  Many people have gone from reading and trying to live by what the Word says, to choosing the parts of the Word that are easiest to live by, and that make us feel good about the lives we are living.

The most blatant example is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  

Many people interpret this to mean that all you have to do is believe in Jesus and you are saved!  You will have permanent and eternal salvation.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but even Satan and his demons believe in Jesus Christ.  Satan knows Him very well….he used to be one of His angels.  James 2:19 states, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

If we look to the beginning of John Chapter 3, we see Jesus talking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus.  Nicodemus knew that Jesus was the messiah.  He believed in Jesus, and knew that He held the answer to eternal salvation.  He asked Jesus how to be saved.  John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus asked how it was possible for a man to be born again.  In John 3:5 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

But, man is born of water when he is birthed by his mother.  Doesn’t this cover the “born of the water” part of Jesus’ instructions to Nicodemus?  First of all, Jesus says “Except a man be born again”, so that excludes the original birth out of our mother’s womb.

Well, couldn’t being born again simply mean of the Spirit?  Jesus tell us in John 3:3 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  He makes it very clear here that he is not talking about a fleshly birth.

Jesus Himself says that you have to do more than simply believe.  He said that if you believe in Him you should not perish, not that you will not perish.  There is a big difference between those two words.  Should is conditional upon your actions.  If you live according to Jesus’ teachings, you literally “should” not perish.

He tells us to be born of the water.  This means being baptized, by full immersion in the water, so that we are “Born Again”.  We are told in Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  Romans 6:4 states, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” 

So obviously, we must be baptized, but how?  Acts 2:38 says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  If you combine that with Romans 6:4 as stated above, you see that you must “be buried with him by baptism” and “be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ”.  That is a very specific formula.  God doesn’t tell us things that are unnecessary for us to know.

Ok, now we are baptized by full immersion in the name of Jesus…so now we’re saved forever, right?  Wrong.

We are told in Mark 16:17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”  New tongues?  That one is explained in Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Ok, so I have been baptized by full immersion and was filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke in other tongues, so NOW I’m saved forever, right?

Again, no.  2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  God needs to approve us.  Being saved is work.  This also disputes those denomination that claim that all you have to do is accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.  Again, God needs to approve us We must study the Word of God and live by the Word of God so that we may show ourselves approved of God.  Anyplace that tells you an easier way is not telling you the Truth, and they will have to answer to God for that someday.

The last part of explaining what the battlefield looks like, is explaining where the battlefield is.  Simply put, the battlefield is everywhere.  It is in our homes, our place of work, with our friends, with our family, in our churches, in our schools, and in the media.  Everywhere we go, Worldly messages are pushed at us and we must fight against them so we do not fall on the field of battle.

A Poem

Keep me in Your warm embrace
I love You Lord and seek Your face
We know the wage of sin is death
But through Your Word we can be blessed

You keep Your Word, You do not lie
You hung upon the cross to die
You died that day so we could be
With You for eternity

Through You sins are washed away
In this world I cannot stay
I want to be with You above
To reside forever in Your love

I want to strive every day
To study Your Word and live Your way
I want everything I say and do
To be wholly acceptable unto You

~ J Mendyka