Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Struggle

Jesus said, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50)

According to Strong’s Concordance, the word straitened in the Greek means:
“to hold together, i.e. to compress (the ears, with a crowd or siege) or arrest (a prisoner); figuratively, to compel, perplex, afflict, preoccupy:—constrain, hold, keep in, press, lie sick of, stop, be in a strait, straiten, be taken with, throng.”

Are you experiencing this baptism of anguish right now? Your response during time(s) of  “straitening” is crucial.  Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

This baptism of tremendous struggle (an anguish that will seem impossible to bear) must be endured in the faith.  You must endure the humiliation. You must endure the loss.  You must endure the agony.  Giving up is not an option for those whose eternity will be spent with Christ.

You will suffer as a Christian. Let that sink in.  How will you respond in such times?  In your patience, possess your souls (Luke 21:19).  Understand that while the suffering (your tribulation) is and will be the most agonizing time(s) of your life, those times of trial are the most important, and if endured in Christ, the most holy encounters a person can have with the Lord.   

Never find personal delight in another person’s suffering, but, at the same time, always know that suffering is an opportunity for a person to either continue on the narrow path that leads to Jesus Christ or an opportunity for a person to begin his journey with Christ - as long as the suffering person continues in the faith.

During tribulation (agony), read (study) the Word of God, pray, fast, and most importantly, never give up on the Lord manifesting Himself to you. Satan will whisper all kinds of deceptions to you. He will want you to be angry, to give up, to kill yourself, to assume God just doesn't care; each of these ultimately equal not continuing in the faith. Don't you believe him!

The first true moment of tribulation in my own life occurred some 9 years ago.  I’ll link those personal
testimonies at the end of this article. During that time of being crushed by the wine press (a death of my flesh and birth of the Holy Spirit within me), the Lord was first silent for a long period of time, but He, in His mercy, sent a sister in Christ to feed me manna until I could reach the crucial and mandatory place of Peniel (Genesis 32:30). It was there that I saw His Face. His presence manifested after months of agony (months of prayer, months of weeping, months of building faith, months of fasting, months of studying His Word).

In that process, I was trampled on the ground in a state of utter humiliation.  All types of “notions” I had about my abilities crashed to the floor!!! Hallelujah! The Lord was patient during all of this, and He, being all knowing, waited until I reached complete brokenness, complete humility before He showed me  #1 that He truly exists and #2 that I am nothing if I do not rely on Him. The scales gradually fell from my eyes, and through this threshing process, my perception of sin and carnality was turned on its head -  better yet, it was ripped to shreds !  It was only during that excruciating process (the process where my cross was heavy and my knees were buckling underneath) that I was truly born of the Spirit and the Truth.

The aspects of carnality that I loved about life (my life, other people’s lives, and just in general) died a slow, agonizing death.  Due to truly enduring by faith, Christ was forming in me, so that I could walk in the SPIRIT of CHRIST (Romans 8:9; Romans 8:11).   I gloried in God to see that dead carcass of selfishness and carnality at the end of this tremendous struggle, and you will too!  Just endure, knowing that your fiery trial will yield the fruit of righteousness.  I was happy to see my carnal self put to death. As painful a battle as it was and some of the battles were beyond brutal, such was necessary to really be straitened (pressed, perplexed, afflicted, thronged) (Luke 12:50).  Not only was it a battle against my flesh, but Satan was also very fond of my carnality too; he had spent 32 years molding me, so he brazenly made his presence known over a period of several months.  Hallelujah, the LORD is stronger though!

Why do I share this?  When YOUR day of tribulation comes (and maybe it is here now), do not take the easy way out.  Do not listen to your flesh or Satan.  Do not listen to voices in this world who know nothing about truly enduring in the faith.  Go to God, and do not relent until He speaks.  He will.  He will.
Further Reading:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Babylonian Mountain

Remember this Saints:

Paul wrote Holy Spirit-filled letters WHILE IN prison, and roughly 2,000 years later, what God did through Paul WHILE he was imprisoned is still transforming those who are seeking the Face of God.

No matter what evil purpose Satan and his minions hope to accomplish by imprisoning you, silencing you, and restricting you, know this: Bars on a jail cell did not stop God then, nor can the enemy stop those whose primary objective is to serve and glorify God today. Just when the Devil whispers 'all is lost,' God says, I am with my people WITHERSOEVER they go! There is nothing the Devil can do that will ever RESTRICT an Almighty God!

Lest we forget, there is a false Babylonian church/world system parading around and pretending to be something special, but IN the midst of that corrupt system, God has planted His remnant CHURCH, a separate and holy nation that is peculiar to God. The Apostle Peter ends his first epistle with: "The church that IS AT Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you;."

No matter what shackles Satan has clamped on your feet, hands, and mouth, PRAY! Pray that God will do a great work through you! Pray that God be glorified even in the presence of the oppressor! He will! He will!

I prayed back in January about an issue that appeared impossible to withstand and conquer, and God said, "Wait on me, Joy. I'll handle this!" And today the moment arrived - God handled it!

The mountain moved.

Daniel faithfully served God while in Babylon! So can you!

Acts 16:
"19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison,"

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Rejoicing in Sin?

Only Those Who Do The Will of God Will Inherit Eternal Life.
We are doing no one any favors when we attempt to change God's Word on this issue. If man is more concerned about pleasing others, rather than pleasing God, that man will find himself compromising the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, there will be many who will stand before God and be rejected by God because they spent their lives speaking a gospel that made people feel comfortable in their sin. They spent their lives soothing 'worried' sinners into believing it was okay if they continued in sin and that God would welcome them into Heaven regardless, simply because they professed Jesus with their "lips."
~What a tragic lie~
When a person is abiding in Jesus Christ, changes occur! A Holy transformation begins and continues to take place! Branches/believers IN Christ will receive Holy, Righteous, and Life Giving 'sap' that flows from Jesus -- The Vine. A person cannot and is not abiding IN that which is Holy all the while remaining the same old sinner. It is spiritually impossible!
When I was IN the world, I looked like the world, and my very nature was that of the world. Why? Because I was attached to the "sap" of the world. Worldliness flowed through me. I liked the sights, sounds, and sinfulness of the world. It fed me. And I didn't know I was a mess of sin because my master was the world and its sin!

Thanks be to God though ... when I was born of the Holy Spirit of God after being tried by fire, my blind eyes were opened. I repented, and I became a branch IN the Vine of Christ. By faith, I began to dwell/abide/live with Jesus Christ. His goodness began flowing through me. I was/am transforming all because of Him.
As Jude taught, somewhere along the way, false notions of salvation crept in. Oh, if only the masses knew the Power of God to transform a person into Holiness, Righteousness, and Purity. This Truth is available to all, but sadly, many would rather chance believing the lie in order to continue sinning and to continue consoling those who practice sin.

Regrettably, many have more faith in "SIN" being so powerful that man cannot overcome it, rather than having true faith in JESUS being able to overcome the sin nature within us as we abide IN Him. What a shame! What a compromise!
Read carefully the two sections of verses below.
If a person is not in the WILL of GOD, that person will not inherit eternal life WITH God. May he who has ears hear what the Spirit says.
Section 1:
 1 John 2:
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL of God abideth for ever.
Section 2:
Matthew 7:
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, AND DOETH THEM, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

John's Warning Against Loving Without Discernment

'Let him that thinketh that he standeth take heed lest he fall'(1 Corinthians 10:12).  These words of the apostle Paul could well stand as a subtitle for John’s little epistle.  The recipients, a chosen lady and her faithful children, were obviously standing.  They were walking in truth, remaining faithful to the commandments they had received from the Father. John is deeply pleased to be able to commend them.  But he takes nothing for granted.  Realizing that standing is just one step removed from falling, he hesitates not at all to issue a reminder ‘love one another’ (v. 5).  The apostle admits that this is not a new revelation, but he views it sufficiently important to repeat.  Loving one another, he stresses, is the equivalent to walking according to God’s commandments.

John indicates, however, that this love must be discerning.  It is not a naive, unthinking, open to anything and anyone kind of love.  Biblical love is a matter of choice; it is dangerous and foolish to float through life with undiscerning love.  False teachers abound who do not acknowledge Christ as coming in the flesh.  It is false charity [false love] to open the door to false teaching.  We must have fellowship with God.  We must have fellowship with Christians.  But we must not have fellowship with false teachers  - This introduction is found within a 1990 publication of a Thomas Nelson King James Bible.    

2 John:
1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
2 For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which
we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

Friday, February 17, 2017

I Bless His Name

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19

I was given the opportunity to testify of God’s faithfulness to renew my mind when it was battered by such anguish years ago.  In the opportunity, you better believe the serpent raised his head and gave me several reasons why I should not - several fear tactics as to why I needed to remain quiet.  

“You will offend that person if you tell them your testimony.”  

Instead of bowing down to  the serpent, God reminded me that the verse above applied in this
situation.  The Lord has faithfully  been teaching me how this verse means what it says.  Satan is brazen, and he is a bully.  However, there is no need for a saint to be bullied by Satan.  Saints are to tread over ALL the power of the enemy.   So - I did.  I tread on him by this testimony.  I shared that no matter the mental anguish, no matter the thoughts that attempt to take root in a person’s mind in order to birth sin, JESUS Christ is the answer.  He ALONE renews minds.  I recalled Isaiah 61 that carries this promise and power:  “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

As I did this, my flesh fell on the floor dead. And I was happy to see it there.  My spirit that was led by His Spirit was emboldened.  I decided the consequence that followed by man - his response, him being offended by me - was all worth it as long as it brought GOD GLORY!!

I would not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially this aspect.

After sharing my testimony, a series of miraculous and Holy Spirit filled moments occurred, one after another and another!  Wow!  The Devil wants people to be shackled in their thought life and wants them to rely on the world to fix them, yet the world’s “fix” is simply a band-aid.  The real problem is still lurking underneath, festering.  Jesus can renew a broken mind! Seek HIM!

This song is so beautiful.  The words ring true in my own life.  No matter what battle you face, praise in the midst; for the Lord will show up and resurrect you.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


In the reference section of a Thompson Chain Bible, you will find a brief, neutral outline of the Book of Jeremiah.  The portion below is of note.  Though a neutral listing of this aspect of the Jeremiah, it is one that should be scrutinized, especially by those who are instructed by God to deliver sobering messages to the masses.

  1. By his neighbors -- Jeremiah 11:19-21
19 But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.
20 But, O Lord of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.
21 Therefore thus saith the Lord of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the Lord, that thou die not by our hand:

  1. By his own family -- Jeremiah 12:6
6 For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee.

  1. By the priests and prophets -- Jeremiah 20:1-2
1 Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.
2 Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord.

  1. By his friends -- Jeremiah 20:10
10 For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.

  1. By all the people -- Jeremiah 26:9
9 Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

  1. By the king -- Jeremiah 36:23  
23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

Rejected by man, but accepted by GOD:

Jeremiah 1:
4 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
7 But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.
9 Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
. . .
17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.
18 For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
19 And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.