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Romans 8:28-39

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

We often struggle with why the people of God go through so much suffering and trials.  Some might say it is because they don’t have enough faith or they must have sin in their lives.  I tend to believe that it is often the sweetest and most precious grapes that make the best wine, but in order for them to offer up their vintage taste and sweet fragrance they must first be crushed.  Suffering and trials have been the plight and portion of many a saint.  It is not a new concept.  We struggle with that because we think in our hearts, even if we don’t outwardly say it, “God if you are sovereign then why don’t you deliver the afflicted and the suffering, especially those who are calling out to You?”  The victory of life in the natural and fleshly man is not always living in health, wealth and prosperity.  It is not about what we have in the good times of our life.  The true metal of a godly nature is tested in the fire.  All of our works will be tested in that fire at some point.  Some may be going through that fire right now.  Perhaps you are very weary; the enemy has assaulted your faith and your God.  Your friends may be like those that Job had, only content on you confessing your sins or shortcomings.  It takes a tremendously faithful person to go through the fires that God sometimes allows in our lives.  The real victory is not in whether or not we see our earthly deliverance; it is in how we live our lives in the midst of those trials.  God’s Word says in 1 Peter 1:7-9, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.”  It is not the suffering and trials that God rejoices in, it is the faithfulness of His saints in the midst of it.  That faithfulness and praise in the midst of suffering is the sweet aroma and incense that rises into the heavens.  It is a sweet smelling savor unto the Father’s nostrils.  Nothing can speak louder to God that we love Him for who He is and not just what He can do, than our faithfulness in the midst of our suffering and trials.   

We know in our hearts that God’s arm is not short that He can not save, but nothing torments and discredits satan more than a Christian who will only honor and praise His God even when satan is twisting his arm behind his back.  What focuses us more on God’s grace and strength than our trials and tribulations?  In those places where we have no further human resources or help in the flesh to lean on, we learn to take hold of the grace of God.  We learn the patience to enter into His rest and know that these earthly vessels of clay and the very life that they we breath are in His hands.   Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.” We have offered ourselves up into God’s hand to do as it pleases Him.  Our lives are for His glory and not for our own.  We struggle with the perspective of suffering and trials because we see it from a human standpoint.  Our view is the preservation of the natural life.  God’s view is not in the importance of the outward haul of the seed, but He is looking to the life within.  The threshing floor was a place of separation between wheat and chaff.  The outward man with this body is like the chaff.  The separation is really a claiming of the Christ nature and a revealing of it.  No one has the goods like the one has passed through the fire.   Their testimony is not one borne out of head knowledge; it is a witness of experience.  Before Job went through his trials he knew a lot about God and had a relationship with Him, but it didn’t compare with how he knew God when he went through the fire.  In the conclusion of what Job went through and after his discourse with the Almighty he says this in Job 42:1-6, “Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.””  Many of us know about God, but it is only as we have gone through the fire that we come into a place where we have seen Him.  When we have seen Him, all foolish doubts and questionings cease and we repent in dust and ashes.  

God loves us.  We have been called out and set aside for a purpose.  He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.  His Son learned obedience through the things that He suffered.  If you are in that place of suffering then God is only proving your faithfulness and your faithfulness is a mockery of the enemy.  He is raising you up in LIFE even when your body only seems to be experiencing death.  Lay hold of the resurrection and the Life within you and live out of Him.  His grace is sufficient and He will raise you up to the praise of His name.  Hold fast your faith, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!

 

Blessings,

#Kent

 

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Whose Fan is in His Hand

Matthew 3:11-12
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:
Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The Church, in its present state, is a mixture of flesh and spirit. It is composed of the true grain, which contains the life of God and the power within them to reproduce that life in multiplication of that same nature and substance. The chaff is seen in two dimensions. First, we see the chaff in regards to the impurity in the individual’s life as a believer. While the blood of the lamb has redeemed us we know that we who are walking in this life are constantly struggling and warring against impurity and the flesh. None of us are yet walking in the fullness and sinlessness of Christ, except by faith. We as believers groan within ourselves for the completeness of that redemption that sees the fullness of deliverance and overcoming of sin in our lives. So there is a mixture of that which is still being redeemed in soul and body and that which is already redeemed in our spirit that God is dealing with even now as salvation continues to work in us, spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
The second dimension of this chaff is seen in those who are identified with the church, but aren’t true believers. They may put on a good religious front, know how to say all the right theology, and have all the wrapping of a Christian; yet, they are in fact, none of His. They may not even truly recognize and discern their state. They think that because they wear the label and have the outward appearance of religious ones, they are saved and are going to heaven. Sadly the Lord makes plain through many parables that the present Church is not made up wholly of believers, but there are a lot of church goers and bench warmers that really don’t have a personal, saving relationship with Christ. The Lord says, “by their fruits you shall know them.” We have all had occasions in our lives to see those who spoke in the name of God, but in no way represented His character and nature in their lives. Do we? Are we of the true household of God, having come in by true repentance in our hearts, whereby it is our desire to forsake sin and unrighteousness because we have asked the Lord Jesus to be the Lord and master of our hearts and lives?
When the world looks at the church, they don’t even realize that they are looking at a mixed bag of sheep and goats. When those who present themselves as Christians, but live a life of hypocrisy, are seen by the world, then all of the Church and God are judged accordingly. Realistically it is not just the unbelievers that are guilty of this, even as true believers we can dishonor the name of the Lord through our behavior and lifestyle that is contrary to the will and purpose of God.
If the Church is the thrashing floor, then it is a place where the Lord Jesus comes in with a fan in His hand. What does a fan do? It creates a wind that blows. John baptized with water, but he said that Christ would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. In Matthew 3:10 he says, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” The true test of everyone one that confesses to be a believer is the fruit that they bear. The way that fruit is tested is when the fan blows the wind of the Spirit and fire across our lives. When adversity and trials come upon us, what is coming out of our lives? Are we murmuring and complaining? Are we cursing and angry with God? Are we forsaking our confession of Christ to go back into the world? What happened to the children of Israel when they were tested in the wilderness? It brought out the true nature of who they were and many were judged accordingly. The Lord’s fan is even now blowing across many of our lives. What it brings up in us is not always a very pretty sight. Often we even see things in ourselves we didn’t know were there. How we deal with these revelations of ourselves is paramount to our relationship with Christ. When the Lord fans our lives it will do one of two things, it will drive us deeper and more committed into Him or it will drive us away from Him. It is separating the wheat and the chaff both in our individual lives and corporately in the Church as a whole. The last thing any of us would ever want to hear is the Lord say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
Church, we must know Him, intimately and personally in this hour. We must pursue and press into Him as never before. Allow the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire to only blow you further and more completely into Him and fan away from you all that isn’t of His nature and Spirit. All the fire can do is consume the dross and impurities that still want to cling to all of us who are believers. All that we want to remain is a pure faith and a pure nature flowing out of a heart filled with the love of God. We want to be sure we are the real thing and not a cheap imitation, that we are indeed the wheat and not the chaff.

Blessings,
kent

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