There are two types of knowledge that quite often come into my heart when I am trying to share with or receive from the Lord, head knowledge or factual knowledge and head knowledge. I will travel very lightly in the factual knowledge area because my walk with the Lord is still young, but I do have one thing to share, which gave me a little humor. It's a little quiz. By a show of hands how many here know the only book in the New Testament that does not mention Jesus by name? Third book of John is that book and I thought that was kind of interesting as I picked it up listening to different Christian stations throughout the week. So much for head knowledge. But I did want to say I covered both.
The message I wanted to share today when first asked to minister, by John, many months ago, even before church camp, is quite different than the one I am sharing today. Three weeks ago the Lord found me in a peculiar situation that I didn't know how I had gotten there, what it meant or how I was to resolve it. But as I go along I would like to share how it came about that I was able to decipher what this meant. So the base of my message to today is how fate and faith has effected my walk in the in the Holy Spirit during trials. I believe fate, controlled by God has great influence in our relationship with him, and because of this fate factor God my faith can grow each day. Webster's dictionary defines fate as follows "it is the force or power held to predetermine events; the final results or outcome determining one's destiny,"
"For whom he fore knew, he also predestined to become conformed to the likeness or image of His son" Roman's 8:29
Fate has been a true force in the events as to why I have to opportunity and am able to be here with you today. My faith was not often very well focused. In my youthful days I participated in many acts many of which involved sin, as I know it today. Sin can quite can often appear or a pleasure although usually filled with many errors in the word of God. As I reflect back, the Lord always seemed to be there at the right times although I was not always there for Him. God created us for His pleasure in the likeness of His own son Jesus Christ.
I am going to step back a few years here and kind of bring you up to speed on a couple of the incidences where or why I feel fate has played a role in my spiritual growth.
As a child I grew up on a farm and lived there for many years. The first simile I choice to share is when I the Lord first reached out to protect me. At a very young age of 4 or 5, any one that is acquainted with farming knows that there are many chores to be done and shared by all. One of my jobs was to get hay out of the hayloft, which were above the cattle barn as to feed the animals. Being too young to carry the 40 to 50 pound bales, which ever they may be. Being the ingenious one I was, I would tie a rope around that bale and drag them across the hay loft floor to a hole it the barn below. On one occasion the rope became entangled around my leg, and as the bale went down so did I right behind it. With the force of 40 or 50 pounds helping I landed on my head on the concrete floor below. I ended up with a cracked my skull as a result. I spent one night in the hospital, took a few stitches. Because I was such a wonderful patient they figured I would do better at home because they couldn't do anything with me there. I went home in the arms of my parents and recovered from that situation, pretty much. I believe the outcome could have been much more severe if God had not reached down and protected my fall to the extent that He did.
One other occasion I was involved in an automobile accident, which will come from time to time. This one in particular I was traveling on the interstate and fell asleep behind the wheel coming into a right hand curve in the road. As I fell asleep and the impact of the car hitting the ledges which had an outcropping in it I fell into the passenger's side of the seat, as the ledges tore part of the roof off the car at hood level of the car. The car rolled end over end, side over side some distance until it came to rest against guardrails where the road drops down and estimate of 50 to 60 feet plus to Route 2 below which in it's self could have been more devastating. I was not in that vehicle alone that day there was one other individual neither seriously hurt. I believe God once again reached down to protect me and by His will or direction when He caused me to lie across the front seat prevented further head injury or decapitation. As a result of all that I ended up with a half a dozen stitches in my left arm and took Dad's newly refurbished car on a flat bed. Needless to say he was not too pleased with that. Truly without God's protection I believe the outcome was again would have been much worse for me.
The last simile I want to share with you at this time is in my days in college. Sometimes the spring can be quite warm. A group of us students decided to go for a nice cool swim in Huntington at the famous Huntington Gorge. Being curious as people are, one of the ladies that was with us climbed to the top of the waterfall and crept very close to get a closer view of the falls. She became caught in the current unable to get out. I being there closest proximity to her lunched and grabbed her arm with one hand and held onto rocks with the other. The current being too powerful pulled us both down through the ledgey falls into the whirlpool below. Anyone who is familiar wit those falls or the Huntington Gorge, many people have perished there, some as experienced as professional police divers at that very location. We were aware of that, or some of us were, but the day was so nice we needed a refresher. Being drawn down through and the whirlpool below being so powerful I believe the Lord once again stepped in for me, not only did he give me the ability through His strength to save myself, but He also gave me the strength to first retrieve and save my friend. I could have never done that on my own humanly strength.
Therefore I truly believe fate, controlled by God, allowed me to be sustained through these trials or events and allowed me to be here today. I believe fate has allowed me the time to be strengthened in my faith with God and has allowed me to be sought by Him and I in turn to seek more of Him. The Lord will seek any and all of His children if they open their hearts and allow Him to do that. As I came to know better as age ripened me.
Just over a year ago, which is kind of coincidental that I stand here today, I had an operation to repair a hernia that had developed. The operation it's self went well but something much more serious took place. I believe as I reflect back that this was yet another attempt of the enemy to discourage me because of the tremendous fiery attack on the person most dear to me, my best friend, my wife, Judy. If not for the spiritual insight of two sisters within this fellowship at the time and with God's grace, they coming to our assistance I am not sure where we would be today in our walk with the Lord or in our relationship as a family. The Lord sustained us through that trial although we felt we were pushed to the ultimate limits which would be able to be withstood, and led us to this fellowship with these servants of the Lord within the fellowship of Jubilee. Fate was very instrumental in the developing and the direction of my faith and my belief in the Holy Spirit. Without that compassion and direction provided by the Lord it would have been a mess.
Three weeks ago for me, plus or minus a day or two, was one year since I first stepped into this fellowship. Three weeks ago today was a very low, trying point in my spirit, my walk with the Holy Ghost, yet I did not know why this had taken me. Saturday was not a good day for me; everything just seemed to go from worse to worser. Sunday appeared to be headed on a better road, and then very quickly without any real reason or human reasoning Sunday progressed and got much more fierce, and I did not recognize state of my affairs at this time. It was obvious to other around me that I might have had better days. John called me that evening and asked how I was feeling. I'm not quite sure if he was calling to see how I was feeling physically with the many trials that I am going through on that issue, or if he detected that my spiritual thoughts needed reworking. We shared some thoughts and words of the Holy Spirit but even as we completed council that evening it was not totally clear to me what or why I was in this embattlement with my spirit or faith, which was very evident. John once again called the following night, which would be Monday to ask if I was busy. Our regular Monday night get together with Karen and Stuart was open for Stuart was quite ill with flu and bronchitis. John asked to come up and did so and we chatted. He asked me what I felt like I was going through and that point the only thing that popped into my mind being somewhat interested in sports was it felt like I was taking a goal line stance in a football game as it used to be played before domed stadiums. If you visual the Green Bay Packers playing in the snow, ice and rain I was right down in there in the trenches, a real mess. That's how I felt but even after having a full day to reflect on it I really did not know why I felt this way but it was quite a burden. In my conversations and with John's counseling that evening John had brought a couple of books for me to read and after listening to my plight he looked at me and said "Do you want me to tell you what is wrong?" I said sure. It was just he and me in the room and if I didn't like what he said that I wouldn't confirm it outside of that room. It was very simple yet I was unable to see it at the time, maybe being too close to it or maybe my maturity in faith was such. He told me that it was the attack of the enemy on me because of the way my faith had mature to a point that I was now a treat to Satan, because of my desires in helping and sharing with others in their needs, from a Biblical, spiritual point of view. After he said that I recognized there were times when John and I have spoke, and I believe it wasn't always me who was in need of fellowship. There were other occasions that were similar. To this point in my spiritual growth I had been real comfortable, not only coming to Jubilee church but also picking up and sharing what this fellowship is all about. Honestly I was quite comfortable riding on the wings of this fellowship. I was getting my spiritual food through the people around me and people were willing to share and care, that was something Judy and I had been looking for quite sometime before we became a part of this fellowship. It is also at this point that the Lord spoke to me and said ok get out of free card has expired, time for you to start participating more openly and outwardly. He had laid a lot of things on my heart, a season that many others within the fellowship has been going through as well, and since the Lord has spoken to me and put this issue on my heart, at least three weeks previous from now I was amazed at the number of people, brothers and sisters, young and old who are going or sharing the concerns of trials, attacks and burdens that I was. It was at that time the Lord told me what I was to share with. Turn to:
Blessed is a man who perserves under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
I think that fits into an area where I was. I feel to some extend I did perserve under a number of trials although at that time I might not have know the detail of their meaning but the Lord promises to love those who love Him through our faith. As one's faith strengthens it also opens up to more attacks or more trials. As one might think that as your faith in the Lord matures and strengthens the attacks and trials might become less burdensome, less often. The truth of the matter is quite the opposite. As one's faith in the Holy Spirit and the Lord grows, becomes a greater part of their lives, and then this growth becomes a risk factor to Satan. Satan, being a devious, cunning, orchestrater of much evil will make the trials much fierce, much more fiery, much more severe.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeals among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as thou some strange things were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12
What he is talking about is basically as we come closer to the Lord, learn to walk the walk, talk the talk of the Holy Spirit, Satan doesn't like that. He will go to any extreme he can to confuse us, put thoughts in our minds to be disloyal, disobedient, distrusting even for just a minute thing in the Lord. If he can do that it is a victory for him. Previously my faith, not being what I call well focused I was not that much of a threat to Satan. As I say, I enjoyed the pleasures of life some more, some less than others did. Satan always makes to make sin look inviting. Now as my maturity in the Spirit is growing each day, each hour, I find my trials and attacks are becoming greater and much more intense as time goes along.
be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1Peter 5:8
He knows no limits and he will go to any extent to confuse us.
before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep thy word. Psalm 119:67
I think that fits in well with me, where I have been. Before my faith became such that Satan felt I might be a problem for him I was not in what I know today in a lot of trials and attacks. Now that I have been afflicted or trialed this past year reflects for me that I am more in tune to try and keep the Lords word and built upon it.
it is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn thy statutes. Psalm 119:71
Fits like a glove for me. Another way the Lord has been talking to me about this message He is sharing through my voice, is that I in order to deal with trials or attacks as the enemy, or any attacks is to identify the source of that trial. Sin quite often will play a part in that trial. Sin has been in existence since Adam and Eve. The tree of Knowledge of good and evil. One source of trials is Satan. Satan is a deceitful, conniving liar. Satan knows no limits to when it comes to inflecting attacks and trials and will do anything he can to get our minds or our thoughts away from the Lord. I also believe that if he has targeted some one he can not attack and bring victory over directly it is not beyond him attack someone who is very close to us. Could be a spouse, a close friend or an acquaintance. If Satan can't bring us down one on one he will try to do it with people who surround us. If he can get us demonstrate just a small lack of faith in the Lord, cause us to shame the Lord in any minute manner he will take that occasion to celebrate a victory. Satan knows once he has a toe hold on our spirit and if we were not careful that would be the beginning of what he is striving for. One of Satan's favorite weapons to use on us is the arrow of doubt. He will shoot that thing all over the place. The arrow of doubt Satan loves to use, always trying to get us to doubt God's grace and his love for us.
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the full armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breast plate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, in addition to all taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. Ephesians 6:10-16
Many have spoken of and share the importance of the armor of God and once again here we are, if we attempt to protect ourselves and our faith with the armor God that cuts down the percentage of the enemy, Satan, taking advantage of a weakness in getting another chance of a toe hold in us. We must always be on guard for satanic warfare. Another tool Satan will try and wage is another way for him to try and confuse us, take our eyes off from God and possibly cause us to take a bad turn if only for a moment, a turn we can ill afford to take.
Another source of trails is from within ourselves. We will quite often, I believe subconsciously bring on trails from within us concerning things going on within or around us. The origins of these might be desire which are not within our means, desires which do not have the direction or have the blessing of God yet we think we can take it upon ourselves and go around that criteria. Pass experiences that have occurred in our lives or maybe someone's life close to us, ignorance, sin even bad advice will quite often to cause trials to erupt within us as well misdirection. If we do not look to the Lord for guidance and for His direction in our spiritual walk we ourselves could quite often be the originators of these trials. We quite often our own worse critics and this used unwisely, is another source of generating of trials or attacks from within ourselves. Trials are also brought on from God, our savior, Himself. God has his reasons for to allow and or initiate trails. God will cause trials within us to test our faith, to teach us endurance and to strengthen us in his word. God will allow trials to purify us and teach us discipline, also to give us direction to cause to walk closer to His walk, to teach us to love as Jesus loved, teaching us to love as Jesus loved his flock, that flock being you and me. As our faith increases you can count on our trials to do the same.
Consider it all joy, my brother, when you encounter various trials knowing that the test of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
Very surely trials can be brought on by God. We can expect trials through out our earthly walk. Only upon taking of our last breath, when the Lord calls us home, to his home, should we expect trials to end. Trials are like x-rays, x-rays of our lives, of our faith, the purification and cleansing, needed, endurance, love and our devotion to God. One of God's purposes of trial is to encourage us. God knows everything there is to know. God knows what our limits are, God knows our limits in all trials, no matter what the source, and as long as our faith is in Him, He will always substance us and protect us. He will never allow the trials to be so intense that we fail completely. He will push us to the limits on many occasions but I believe that is a tool he uses to teach us endurance, trust, trust in His word
do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
That in itself right there tells us that as long as our faith is true to Him, no serious harm may befall us. We may feel that we are at our limit and beyond but God will always be there for us as long as our faith is true.
Before my faith was on Jesus trials occurred without the capability for me to realize their sources therefore I was unable to respond properly to those trials. If we are unable to respond properly that is another victory for the devil it's another victory for Satan. Trials will either strengthens us in our faith and in our walk and in our pursuit of the Holy Spirit and in God or they will ruin us, they will bury us. It depends on our recognition of the source and most importantly the outcome will depend on our proper response to God. each and every trial. In order to respond properly to our trials we must identify the source. Proper response will always include that we have faith in God, that our faith is true and our love for God. That would always be a proper response in any trial. To place our undivided trust in Him and not just a partial trust or just enough trust to get us over that obstacle in the road. Knowing that he has sustained us to this point in our lives and will always do so as long as our faith is true, true to God. I believe more importantly true of ourselves in
and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Trials are tough most generally depending on our proper response it can be welcomed. They can teach us how to love how to be faithful, how to be disciplined how to endure but in order for that to happen we must recognize the source and be able to answer with a proper response.
The Lord sought me out, as we all know we can not seek Him until he is ready to seek us. The early incidents I spoke of earlier I feel he was trying to get my attention of how great His love was, how great His faith was but being young in age and well as in spiritual maturity I didn't recognize that. I didn't pick up on that. The carrots being dangled out there by Satan were too attractive. At the time I saw no great harm to others so I continued. For many, many years I have reflected back and have gone over this a number of times with Roy, Jan, John, Wendy, Judy, countless other people. I reflected back and I could see these areas where God and reached down and protected me from greater harm but I couldn't understand why, why me at the time. My faith was no well focused to say the least. As my faith has become stronger it makes more sense to me of some of these occurrences and some of the results I just thank the Lord he sought me out, he has guided me through His wisdom, His powers, that I am able to share some of those thoughts as he has laid them out to me. With God's grace and forgiveness my walk with the Lord has just begun. AMEN! BACK_TO_TOP