The One Who Is Always There For You

You can hear your parents arguing one night while you lay in bed. They've had a few disagreements before but nothing like this. This time their voices rise louder and you hear them say more hateful things.

Then… silence.

You’re frozen stiff in your bed with uncertainty. The next thing you know, you can barely hear them say that they are done and want a divorce.

Your heart takes a steep drop.

How can your mom and dad just leave each other like that? After all the family vacations you had together and things your parents taught and helped you with… all the good moments with them together.

An uncomfortable feeling that your life will never be the same settles in.

Your home is now broken to pieces…

Many of you can relate to the situation I've described in one way or another. A broken home is the result of whatever tragedy may have happened in your family.

What if one of your parents cheated on the other? I bet you feel torn between them because you love them both and yet feel betrayed by the one who did it.

Maybe one of your parents was abusive and you feel trapped in your own home. It causes you to act up outside of the house and get into trouble. Or you become very timid and hardly talk to anyone. Not to mention, all of the new problems that could come into the picture once you have step-parents and siblings. The family situation can get really messy - really fast.

If you come from a broken family or are experiencing conflict within your home now, how do you feel? Probably confused, hurt, resentful, angry, stressed, and insecure. It seems your whole life has been uprooted and misplaced.

God knows how you are feeling

God understands your torn emotions over your family’s circumstances.

If your father cheated on your mother, you saw your mother’s tears and feel the utter shock and betrayal. But you love them both and try to deal with the separation in your family.

God understands your emptiness from a mom who left you at birth. Your sadness from never knowing her. The bitterness you feel once you learn that drugs were more important to her than you were. God even sees the hostile home you grew up in.

He knows about the mom or dad who abused you. He knows your hopelessness of being stuck. Your stress. Your torment. Your unhappiness. But the pain will not last. Your torment will not continue. God has a plan for your life…

“For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11)

This world we live in is not perfect. There is trouble everywhere you turn. It’s a fallen world we live in now, yet God still has a grand plan for your life. He cares about you and His plan for you is good.
You can’t help what has happened in your life. Some people ask ‘Why can’t God stop the bad things from happening?’

It’s important to remember that God loves and cares about you. And when you are in pain, God feels those same emotions.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3)

God cares about what happens to His children and He will raise you up out of your terrible circumstances. Most of the time He will use your ugly past to shape your beautiful future.

Our Father in heaven is so patient with us and loves us unconditionally. Consider how quickly your parents can fall out of love with each other. Yet God will never stop loving you. When your family has crumbled, God is your foundation to rest on.

If your family has always been dysfunctional leaving you with pain, God will carry you through it and comfort you. The world isn’t perfect yet but He is still there for you right now.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mathew 11:28-30)

God has never left you and will never leave you. At times it may feel like He isn’t there. You are struggling and don’t know where to go for relief. He wants you to come to Him. Like the verse above says, ‘Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’

God can give you that needed peace in the storm. The storm may not go away now, but He can help you through it. It is your decision to come to Him. He will not force His way into your life if you do not want Him there. But He has watched over you all of your life and patiently waits for you to come to him. Deuteronomy 4:29 says:

“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Are you at a point in your life where you don’t know who to go to for help? Consider taking a moment to reach for your Heavenly Father. Even if you don’t know how to pray - that’s OK. He knows you and He knows your heart. He knows everything about you and knows your pain.

He will hear you if you reach for Him with all your heart and all your soul. How do I know this? Because I have reached for Him and He was there. An instant peace washed over me and I was no longer afraid.

Will you come to Him? If you want to be closer to God and know who He is, I encourage you to read His Word the Bible.

If you are blessed by this article, I encourage you to share it with everyone you know. May the God of peace and the peace of God be with you. Amen.

You can also check out for more information on KD4C – a youth movement for Christ coming soon.

*** Written by Sarah Sloan | Warrior Arise Ministry ***

Let Your Knowledge Of God Become An Experience In Your Life

Being knowledgeable about God does not automatically translate into an experience. You must consciously take and apply the word of God to your life daily.

Text: James 1:23-25; Hebrews 11:1-6; 2 Chronicles 16:9

There are many provisions in the word of God for His children. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him”. This implies that he whom God finds faithful to His promises will receive a visitation from the Lord.

There are general or specific provisions of God for an individual and this provision is determined by what you know about God. God said “because without faith, it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

The secret to faith is finding out the subject of faith and its capacity to do beyond what you can ask or think. Having a big faith in a small God is not going to help but having a small faith in a big God will work wonders in your life. You must be sure of your faith. The sureness of God is built on the foundation of accurate knowledge and not guess work (2 Peter 1:16).

Jesus is real, He’s not false. God wants you to come to a place that your knowledge and experience of Him becomes a reality. The knowledge and information we get in the Bible is designed of God for us to duplicate it in our lives and make them our own experience. Everything good you see happen to people in the Bible, God can make it happen to you too. God is looking for people that will take Him at His word and stand upon it to determine their experience and outcome in life.

You cannot be surer of anything in life that the experience of God you have. What becomes your experience starts as a revelation or information that you test and discover. The knowledge of God without being proven will never become your personal experience.

Jesus heals the sick, but it will not become an experience or influence on you till either you face a challenge with your health or someone you know faces it, and therefore, takes the knowledge of the Word demanding that Jesus should do what He said He can do. And when it happens it becomes your experience.

*** Written by Olusola Areogun ***

Take The Junk In My Trunk

Jesus, Please Take the “Junk In My Trunk.”

In my life, I allowed a lot of “junk in the trunk.”
There was so much that my life stunk!
There were many things I collected along the way,
They just seemed to hang around me every day.

Some of the junk were old and some were new,
I was at a loss as to what I was going to do.
As my life began to take a downward turn…
This was the moment I became concerned.

I came to the decision; “this junk has to go!”
My life needed to be cleansed and made whole!
I know my life was burdened and “bottomed out”,
I needed to be cleansed from the inside out!

I cried out to Jesus; “please take the junk of mine”,
“It’s ruining my life and destroying my mind!”
Jesus reached out and did a beautiful work within;
By His power He removed all of my junk and sin!

Praise the Lord! He began a beautiful work in me!
The load of junk is gone! I've been set free!
He can do the same for you! Won’t you let Him?
Won’t you give him your life and simply trust Him?

You too can be forever changed by His power;
He can remove all of your junk this very hour!

*** © Jim Pemberton 2016 ***

Cultivating Friendship With God

You can wake up each morning knowing that God wants to be a friend to you that sticks closer than a brother. He sent Jesus to die for you so that you could be His friend. Sad to say, you can have a relationship with somebody and not be their friend. The reason this is true is that it takes time, effort, desire, and sacrifice to cultivate such friendship.

Too many people don’t have or don’t take the time to seek God in a proper way. They’re always in a hurry doing this and that. They don’t seem to realize that if you’re too busy for God, you’re too busy. People need to sacrifice whatever it is they’re doing and seek God like never before. They need to know Him and Who He is. Moses and David both had a desire to know God in a close and personal way. Abraham was willing to offer up his son Isaac because he wasn't going to let anything interfere with his friendship with God.

To “seek God” means to have a face to face relationship with Him. This means God has your individual attention and you have His. Hebrews 11:6 says that God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” What does He reward you with? A good life.

Too many people know about God but don’t “know” God. Why? Because they don’t seek, crave, and pursue Him with all their heart and soul. God must be sought after to be found. Meeting somebody doesn't mean you “know” them. It takes a face to face relationship to get intimate with somebody and fellowship is the key to really getting to know someone.

When you “know” somebody in a close, personal way you will stick to them like glue. You become one with them and an intimate relationship is the result thereof. Before long your lives will mingle with one another. When you know God you’ll start conceiving things down in your spirit. You’ll get pregnant with a vision that God wants you to live a good life.

A miracle is inside of you and it will be confirmed with signs following. Jesus prayed in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You sent.” Eternal life is a good life and comes when your life is intertwined with God’s. It is interesting to note that when you mingle with God, the devil can’t tear you apart. You’ll look like God, talk like God, act like God, think, love, forgive, walk, and have dominion like God. This is all part of God’s plan to give you a good life and fellowship is the key that will cause this to become a reality in your life.

There are four decisions you can make that will help you cultivate a strong, binding friendship with God. The first decision you can make is to become a worshiper of God. Paul told the church at Rome, brothers and sisters who were friends with one another, to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16). To become friends with God we must do the same thing to Him. How does one “kiss” God? Through praise and worship.

Jesus said in John 4:23, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” If you are a friend of God He will show Himself strong on your behalf and this will cause you to live a good life. Tell the Lord to search no more. Tell Him you’re ready, able, and willing to become His friend.

God is searching for those who will be loyal to Him and become His friend. What do you think will happen when God finds such a person? He’ll “buddy” up to you. He’ll “pal around” with you night and day. God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). The word “inhabit” means ‘to settle, sit down, dwell.’ When you praise God and become His friend He’ll sit down and dwell with you.

Let’s face it, everybody likes praise. People like praise, cats and dogs like praise, and God likes praise. When a person compliments you something rises up on the inside of you causing you to respond back to that person in a positive way. You just naturally want to bless them back and this is how God is. So praise God continually because He wants to do something good to you. During times of trouble, back off from the situation and praise God.

You don’t have to memorize and quote every verse in the Bible concerning the trial you’re going through. No, just praise God for Who He is. When you do God will show up and sit down and dwell with you. God is forever looking to give something to somebody somewhere so if you decide to be a worshipper you’ll be right in the center of whatever it is God is doing. It will put you in the secret place of the Most High, a place that promotes and gives to those who dwell there a good life.

The second decision you must make to become a friend of God is to be determined to always live by faith. Let’s face it, we can’t please Him without it (Hebrews 11:6a). When you choose to live by faith you’ve made the decision to please God. Revelation 4:11 tells us that all things have been created for His pleasure, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, and by Your will (for Thy pleasure) they exist and were created.”

Why do you think you were born in the first place? You were created to give God pleasure and your friendship with Him is what He values most. Never forget, you were created to be God’s friend and nothing pleases Him more than when His friends live by faith. You have faith (Romans 12:3) and you need to have faith in your faith. Your faith got you born again and that’s the greatest miracle of all. If your faith can do that it can get you anything else. Begin to actively engage yourself in the lifestyle of faith. Everything you do should be by faith. Never take a vacation from your faith but use and apply your faith to everything you do.
Faith is the confidence of “knowing that you know”, a firm conviction based on hearing the Word of God spoken out your mouth. If you don’t have confidence in whatever it is you are doing then you are not in faith and neither are you pleasing God. Faith is a lifestyle, so live totally and completely by faith all the time. The just shall live by faith and it is a constant expression that we believe God and what He says.

When you believe God with all you've got then your friendship with Him will surely blossom. Faith isn't hard. God is dedicated to faith and He doesn't ask us to do anything that He doesn't do Himself. God lives by faith and when you do what He does you’ll become His friend. How does God walk by faith? He “calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”

The AMP Bible says God “speaks of non-existent things that He has foretold and promised as though they already existed” (Romans 4:17). That’s faith! Verse 18 says this about Abraham, “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed so that he became the father of many nations.” Verses 20, 21 says, “he did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” Abraham was a man of faith. In fact, he is called “the father of our faith.” Is it any wonder that God called him His friend?

The third thing you can do to cultivate a friendship with God is to make the decision to obey Him at all costs. Jesus set the example in the Garden of Gethsemane when He said to the Father, “Nevertheless, not My will but Your will be done.” God called Abraham His friend because he walked by faith and was willing to obey God even to the point of offering up his own son as a sacrifice (see James 2:17-23).

Walking by faith requires actions of obedience. When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son he got up early the next morning. That’s faith. When he reached the place where the sacrifice was to take place he told his servants, “Wait here and we’ll return.” That’s faith. Isaac asked, “Where is the sacrifice?” and Abraham said the Lord would provide one. That’s faith. Abraham obeyed God because he believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead. His actions of obedience proved that his friendship with God meant more to him than the relationship he had with his wife and son. To become God’s friend we must obey Him at all costs because obedience is the only proof we have that we believe God.

The story of King Saul in 1 Samuel tells the tragic tale of a man who did not obey God with all his heart. He listened to the voice of the people more than the voice of God and thought he could make up for his disobedience by offering up a burnt offering to God. Samuel confronted him and said, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” Obedience means something to God and you can never make up with sacrifice what you lose with disobedience. Saul’s authority as king was stripped from him and he later committed suicide on the field of battle. He learned the hard way that no matter what the cost one must obey God rather than man. And when you do what God tells you to do, you then are in line to be considered God’s friend.

Consider what Jesus said in John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments you will abide in my love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Jesus maintained obedience at all costs and had a close relationship with the Father. Let all of us follow His example and do the same.

The fourth thing we can do to cultivate a close friendship with God is make the decision to become a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” The Message Bible says, “God loves it when the giver delights in his giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.”

By becoming a cheerful giver you enter into the realm of God’s love. The word “friend” means ‘to have affection for’ and scripture shows clearly that God showed affection to His friend Abraham. God loves everybody, saints and sinners alike, but His affection is manifested toward His friends. God poured out His affection on Abraham because he was a cheerful giver who was willing to give up his only son in obedience to the Lord’s command.

The Amplified translation of 2 Corinthians 9:7 says this, “Let each one give as he’s made up his own mind (not pressured to give) and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully, or under compulsion, for God loves, that is, He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon a cheerful, joyous, prompt to do it giver whose heart is in his giving.”

Truly, these verses describe Abraham and if we would follow his example we, too, can be called “the friends of God”. When you make the decision to become a cheerful giver God will prize you above other things. He’ll never abandon you and will be unwilling to do without you. You’ll reach a point where you’ll be abiding in His love so much that you’ll reach a point where God can begin to pour out His affection on you. Why would God do this? Because you’re involving yourself in the fundamental motivator of God’s life.

We all know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...” God is always giving. That’s His nature. That’s Who He is. That’s what He does. When you become a cheerful giver you involve yourself in what He has actively been engaged in since eternity past. When you involve yourself in something He’s interested in, in something He likes to do, He’ll begin to “pal around” with you. He’ll hang out with you. He’ll be your friend and you’ll be His.

Percentage wise, there are not a lot of people who make giving a lifestyle. Thus, very few people enter into a personal friendship with God. But when you become a cheerful giver you put yourself in a very valuable position where God is concerned. Now He can use you as a channel through which He can bless others.

The good news is that you can never out-give God. Your resources are limited and His are not. And when you become His friend by making the decision to become a worshiper of God, to live by faith, to obey Him at all costs, and to become a cheerful giver, God will dwell with you and pour out His affection on you. You have to put yourself in the position to receive in abundance the unlimited favors of God. That is the good life.

*** Written By Randall J. Brewer ***

What It Means To Be A God Warrior

Most people think that if you go to church then you are considered a Christian. But there is so much more to it than that. Some who claim to be Christian and go to church put on a very different face outside of church. I’m sure you know someone who fits in this category.

None of us are perfect. Even Christians mess up sometimes. But the difference between a regular church attendee and a true warrior for God lies in a person’s heart, and the actions that come from their heart.

To start with, character and integrity are extremely important to a God warrior. What do those words mean, though? When I was in school, I remember one of my teachers explaining character this way:
“Character is who you are and what you do when no one is looking.”

Sometimes you think you can get away with something when no one’s looking, and sometimes you succeed. But even though people may not see what we do, God sees what we do, and He knows why we do it.

A person with good character doesn't feel good about doing something wrong. Integrity is what guides a person’s character to be good, and the opposite of integrity is dishonesty. It is our moral conscience and we can decide to ignore it or not.

A God warrior doesn't just have good character and integrity. There are a lot of people who have good character but they are still not a God warrior. So what is the difference between a God warrior and a good person?

If you believe in God and care about doing His will, then you will have a sincere longing and desire to live a life of character and integrity. What is His will and why should you care about it?

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Part of doing God’s will is following His example. You decide to be nice to other people. You help others. You are compelled to share Him with others so they can learn who He is.

As a warrior for God, you also actively seek opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus. There are a lot of people who want to lie about who God really is. They want to hate God. They even want to say He does not exist.

When you are on God’s side, these things will make you sad and angry. This is because you know God is real. You know He is love. In fact, by letting Him in your heart, He shows you who He really is. And it is up to us to defend who He really is. 1 Peter 3:15 says:

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

We shouldn't stay silent as others walk all over God. It is our duty to defend the truth. And we can take these situations as opportunities to share who God is in the face or our enemy.

Even if we don’t know what the bible says, we can share who God is in our own lives and help others. By doing things like this, people will start to see who God is through us. And a God warrior gets excited when others decide to come to Christ.

It is also through grace that we are even able to accomplish His will. Now that you know what His will is, how does His grace help you carry it out?

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We are not perfect. We all make mistakes whether it’s on purpose or not. So through Jesus’ death, grace is God’s acceptance of us. He gives us a clean slate by forgiving and forgetting.

Without this, we can’t do His will on our own. We are not perfect, but He is. We don’t know all things, but He does. We may fail, but He does not. When we know He is our source of all things and that He freely gives it, we can stand up in courage through His strength.

Prayer is also part of who a God warrior is. When we pray, we speak directly to Him like we would a friend. You can share with Him your deepest feelings, thoughts, pains, hopes. And you can ask Him for strength, advice, direction, or help anytime and anywhere.

By being a warrior for God your primary goal is to discover and fulfill God’s purpose. You still have personal interests and goals but they are not your primary focus; fulfilling the destiny God has for you becomes your top priority. Everything you do starts to revolve around that primary goal.

To reach this goal, you will need resources. A God warrior needs tools and training to defend against the enemy. This is why the bible is such an important resource for every Christian. The more you want to learn about God, the more He will help you find Him.

Will you step up to be a God Warrior? Will you be our one in a million?

You can start now by visiting to learn more. You can register your youth group to join the movement, take the Warrior Pledge, or help us by volunteering. Sign up for all three if you want because we’d love for you to join us!

If you liked this message, I encourage you to share it with everyone you know. May the God of peace and the peace of God be with you. Amen.

*** Written by Sarah Sloan | Warrior Arise Ministry ***

The Danger Of Leaving Off

Key Verse: "“...He has ceased to be wise and to do good”" (Psalm 36:3)

We rejoice when we see a new believer enthusiastic to grow in his walk with God. How sad it is when one who started well has cooled off and no longer has any appetite for the things of God! What a tragedy when a soul turns back, for Jesus said in Luke 9:62: “no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Those who turn back are never really happy. They may return to their old ways and their old friends; they may go back to all that the world can offer and try to stifle the inward voice that calls them back to the Lord, but they can never quite silence their conscience once they have known what it is to be wise and to do good!

Why do people who start out so hopefully turn back? Consider some reasons:-


If a man leaves off he must obviously have made a start, for how can he give up what he has not started? There is, however, what we may call a defective start. There are many people who once attended church, and took part in some form of Christian service, who were never born again (John 3:5). They had a form of godliness, but no inward reality (2 Timothy 3:5; 1 John 2:19).

There are many who, when they started, confessed their allegiance to Christ but did not really get right into the kingdom (Mark 12:34). They have only been Christians in a nominal sense; they have never received the Lord Jesus (John 1:12), nor trusted Him as Saviour (Acts 4:12).


Here is a reason why many lose out spiritually. They start out well in the Christian life and then flounder, for the simple reason that they do not feed upon the Word of God (Colossians 3:16); do not regularly spend time with the Lord in prayer (Luke 18:1); and do not cultivate regular attendance at the house of God (Hebrews 10:25).

Is it any wonder that those who neglect these means of grace break down spiritually? If we neglect food, fresh air and exercise we soon break down physically; and if we neglect Bible reading, prayer and worship with the Lord’s people there is bound to be a spiritual breakdown.


We have all seen Christians become slack when they began to get on in the world. They have been promoted in their job and have moved to a larger house, bought a bigger car, have prospered and have become what the world calls successful. And when this has happened they have grown cold, careless and dull spiritually. The world’s pull is very powerful, and it is easy to go the world’s way instead of God’s way (2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15-17).


Sooner or later every Christian is persecuted for Christ’s sake and is chastened by the Lord for the purposes of sanctification. Jesus told us that in the world we would have tribulations and that if we seek to live faithfully we will be persecuted (Matthew 5:10-12; John 16:33).

The Bible also teaches that every Christian must expect suffering, trial and testing. This is all part of God’s permissive purpose and plan in training us and making us the people He wants us to be (Hebrews 12:6-11). But sometimes, when persecution is fierce or adversity is severe, God’s people fall and are turned aside.


If a Christian harbours some sin then most certainly sooner or later he will be out of fellowship with the Lord. For example: if a Christian man marries a non-Christian girl, in all probability through this act of disobedience (1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14) he will become worldly. Sin always puts a barrier between us and the Lord (Isaiah 59:1-2).


Everywhere today Satan has his ministers (2 Corinthians 11:15), false teachers who propagate error and seek to turn aside even the elect of God (Matthew 24:11; 2 Timothy 4:3-4). Be on your guard lest the subtle endeavour of some Christian Scientist or Spiritualist turn you aside from your hope and from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3; Acts 20:29-30; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Peter 2:1-3).


Yes, some Christians simply get discouraged, and it is well to remember that discouragement always comes from the Devil but it does come! He sees to that! Very often it succeeds in turning aside the Christian who in his heart of hearts desires to love and serve the Lord. How?

Little by little. No-one leaves off all at once. A zealous Christian does not suddenly say, I am going to give it all up! No, it is a gradual process. It begins in secret. It begins in the heart, secretly and unobserved by any human eye (Proverbs 14:14; Judges 16:20).

With remorse. No-one ever leaves off following the Lord happily, contentedly. Every backslider constantly remembers the better days.

Suppose someone reading this article ceased to be wise and to do good, has grown cold, indifferent and out of touch with the Lord: can he or she make a fresh start? Thank God, yes! What must be done? Three things:-

Make a full and frank confession to the Lord Himself, and be assured that He will forgive, cleanse, restore and reinstate (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9).

Return to the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul (Isaiah 55:7; John 21:15-17).

Trust Him to keep you, to support you, to sustain you and to give you strength day by day (Hebrews 13:5-6; Jude 24).

May the good Lord grant us strength to stand firm in the faith and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel of Christ Jesus. Amen.

*** Written by Francis Dixon | Words of Life Ministries ***

...building the body of Christ

The Song Of The Soldier

Rise, ye children of salvation,
All who cleave to Christ the Head;
Wake, arise! O mighty nation,
Ere the foe on Zion tread.

Pour it forth ... a mighty anthem,
Like the thun ... ders of the sea; ...
Thro' the blood of Christ our ransom,
More than conquerors are we; ...
More than con ... querors are we, ...
Thro' the blood of Christ our ransom,
More than conquerors are we.

Saints and heroes long before us
Firmly on this ground have stood;
See their banners waving o'er us
Conquerors through Jesus' blood.

Deathless we are all unfearing,
Life laid up with Christ in God;
In the morn of His appearing
Floweth forth a glory flood.

Soon we all shall stand before Him,
See and know our glorious Lord;
Soon in joy and light adore Him,
Each receiving his reward.

Tests and Trials: The Refiner’s Fire

Without exception tests and trials come into the lives of every born-again believer. Oftentimes, they come when you least expect it, when everything seems to be going good for you. Still they come and will continue to come until we all go home to be with the Lord.

Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We’re told in 1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” Since tests and trials will always come our way, the attitude we have when they do come and what we decide to do about them will be the deciding factor as to whether or not we live a victorious Christian life.

Tests and trials are not easy and were never meant to be. They do, however, serve a purpose. Jeremiah 9:7 (AMP) says, “Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, I will melt them by the process of affliction to remove the dross and test them; for how else should I deal with the daughters of My people?”

Psalm 66:10-12 tells us, “For You, O God, have proved us, You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net, You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.”

The Bible talks of God’s children being refined as silver and gold. This metaphor is borrowed from the technology of refining precious metals which included heating them in a crucible to see if all impurities had been removed. These metals pass repeatedly through the furnace until all the dross breaks away and floats to the top. The refiner then removes all the impurities and disposes them.

It is said that the refiner knows when the process is completed by seeing his image reflected in the precious metal purified. God is compared to a refiner of silver and gold which means He allows His people to be cast into the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10) until they are purified and clearly reflect His image in their lives. Daniel 12:10a says, “Many shall be purified, made spotless and white, and be tried, smelted and refined.”

Job, a man who definitely passed through the fire when Satan brought several tests and trials into his life, tells us, “But He knows the way that I take. When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold, pure and luminous” (Job 23:10). Indeed, fire is a blessing if you know how to use it.

From one point of view, times of distress constitute a testing of God’s people as to their trust and loyalty to God. Sometimes, the best place to be is in a position where there is nothing else you can do but step back and trust God. With the Red Sea before them and the Egyptian army behind them, Moses told the people of Israel, “Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13,14).

Passing through the fire is a sign of your commitment to God. If you run away from every test and trial that comes your way, “if you faint in the day of adversity, then your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).

Many people run away from making a commitment to God or anybody else for that matter because with it comes responsibility. In the day and age in which we now live, people do not want to be responsible for anything. They “don’t want to get involved.”

Tests and trials will bring about change in their lives and many people don’t like or want to change. They run away from change as if it were some incurable plaque. They run away from the effort, work, and pain that the changes to become Christ-like require. Daily they avoid the challenges of improving themselves with spiritual growth and are content to lay back and live the easy life.

Tests and trials will require work on their part and most people don’t like to work. They enjoy living in their comfort zone and they crave the quiet life with as little detours and distractions as possible. They like microwaves and remote control switches. They wouldn't think of getting out of their easy-chair and walking across the room to turn on the television set themselves.

These people are not workers, they are floaters. They float through life and take whatever this world throws at them. Whatever will be will be. It is these lazy people who will never gain prominence in the kingdom of God. They are satisfied at being where they’re at, wherever “that” might be, and will never rise above the level of being mediocre believers.

These are the people who back away from the heat of walking through the fire of growth. They pull back and become only “half-baked.” The Bible calls these people “lukewarm” and says that God will spew them out of His mouth (Revelations 3:16). This statement is hard but true and the sooner the decision is made to face our trials and not run away from them the better off we’ll be.

When a test or trial comes our way the first thing we should do is determine the cause of the fire. God does not ordain all fire and it’s not always the devil’s fault either. Many times we bring fire into our own lives. We cannot blame God or the devil if we are facing a financial crisis because we violated the proper use of credit cards at Christmas time. We need to accept responsibility for our circumstances because where we’re at today is a result of the decisions we've made throughout our lives.

We need to be teachable and learn from our mistakes because Satan will fight and attack you through your lack of knowledge. If we refuse to panic when the tests and trials come, if we stay connected to Jesus through the fire, then ultimately spiritual growth will come. Pain always precedes promotion.
James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Many Christians fail to grow because they never see the connection between their problems and their future dreams and victories. A crisis is a signal for you to learn and grow, not lose. You are not to shrivel up and fade away into oblivion just because times are hard. No, you stand up and fight the good fight of faith! Understand that your problem leads to your pro-motion.

A problem will introduce you to yourself and cause you to find out what you’re made of. Every obstacle will bring change into your life. You’ll either be stronger because of it or you’ll be weaker. Great leaders are those who refuse to quit and rise above their problems. All born-again believers should view the tests and trials that come their way as opportunities for their lives to be built up and molded until they become mature in the Lord.

This is how holiness comes and God Himself said, “Be holy, for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Do not let your head hang low and confess that you’re walking through the valley. In Christ there are no valley experiences. Some mountains are just higher than others.

In the 1960’s, Petula Clark had a hit song called “Don’t Give Up” where she sang “Hold on ‘til you know that you’ve won.” In the kingdom of God it’s the “holding on” that brings growth and maturity to the born-again believer. James says to “let patience have its perfect work.”

This takes time and is therefore a wrong and unprofitable expectation for one to believe their problems will simply dry up and blow away just because they've prayed the perfect prayer. The primary desire for believers should not be to live a trouble free life but rather to develop inside themselves those qualities that will mold and shape them into the very image of Christ. Surprisingly, this is the purpose hardships serve. No pain, no gain. Maturity and strength of character always comes to the believer when they respond to the tests and trials of life in the proper way.

It is faith that causes one to rise up in triumph over their troubles and to rejoice in the midst of their sufferings. Pressure, hardship, and affliction produces patience inside of you and as you put your hope in Jesus unwavering endurance will create in you the character needed to stand tall as you walk through the pitfalls of life. This in turn produces joy and the strength you receive from this spiritual fruit will give you the confidence and hope to put your faith in God “Who always leads us to triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14).

God never promised us an easy life but He did say in Jesus we could have a victorious life. Life is what you make it, whether good or bad, therefore, on the evil day when calamity strikes go to Psalm 91 and meditate therein day and night. As you do you will come to realize that like the three Hebrew children in the book of Daniel (Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego) you can be in the midst of the refiner’s fire and not be burned. And you won’t even smell like smoke. When you exit the furnace of affliction you will come out smelling like a rose.

*** Written by Randall J. Brewer ***