Category: tribulation


In the introduction to this series we discussed briefly the different types of suffering that a believer will experience over the course of their life here on earth. We understand as believers that suffering, at whatever stage and in whatever capacity we meet it, is a tool designed by God as a directive catalyst toward spiritual maturity.

As we move through this study we will gain valuable insight on exactly how God uses suffering to train, correct, strengthen, and even protect His people. When this study was first introduced to me in its original form some years ago, it changed my perspective on how I view and received adversity in my life. This is extremely important in the process of moving along the continuum towards spiritual maturity.

As we move deeper into this study you will be faced with a multiplicity of scripture. The reason for this is that a life void of scripture is a life void of power. It is the primary priority of every believer to engage in the consistent daily study, intake, digestion, metabolism, and inculcation of Bible doctrine. One of the greatest deficiencies of the modern believer is sound doctrine, resident in their souls. We tend to lean too much toward emotionalism, which has no foundation to support us when we are bearing the burdens of conflict and suffering.

Some of the core concepts in this lesson were originally presented by the late R.B. Thieme Jr., someone I have always respected as a Bible teacher and expositor. Over time, I have revisited these concepts multitudinous times and I have developed a deeper understanding and the concepts have broadened. It is not important who gets credit for this, because God is the author.

Suffering has multiple purposes and these purposes can best be understood in relation to the believer’s spiritual growth or progression towards spiritual maturity. Basically there are five categories of Christian suffering. The first two are primarily associated with spiritual childhood (the stages of spirituality that range from spiritual infancy through spiritual adolescence. These two categories are designed as punitive measures by God. The last three are associated with spiritual adulthood and are designed for the sake of providing blessings for the believer.

It is important to understand that although these categories of suffering are associated with certain stages of spiritual advancement, they can be experienced by any believer at any time. For instance, a spiritually mature believer can find themselves in a state of carnality and suffering as a means of punitive (punishment) and correction; while an immature believer can find themselves suffering for blessing through making good choices.

This study series is designed to examine the multiplicity of problems that believers encounter in the way of suffering and the divine solutions available to them in any stage of suffering. Suffering has purpose and the answer to dealing with suffering is extensively delineated through scripture. We will learn how to engage our struggles without becoming emotional, frenetic, unglued or defeated.

The five categories of Christian suffering are as follows:

Punitive

  1. Self-Induced Misery – the consequences of poor decisions.
  2. Divine Discipline – the move of God to correct poor decisions and wrong actions

For Blessing

  1. Providential Preventive Suffering – Pressure applied by God to prevent you from making the wrong decision or doing the wrong thing (Paul’s Thorn in The Flesh, 2 Cor. 12:7-9)
  2. Momentum Testing – Suffering used as a barometer to gauge the believers progression and impetus towards spiritual maturity
  3. Evidence Testing – Suffering used as evidence of a believer’s maturity and God’s sovereignty

All suffering, in some way is designed by God for the purpose blessing; the circumstances that surround the suffering will provide the clarity that reveals the purpose. The important thing is for every believer to have doctrinal orientation so that they might be able to understand the spiritual implication of the physical manifestations that are contributing to their suffering.

One of the primary problems with a vast majority of Christians is that they use emotion as a barometer and catalyst to move them through their daily encounters. God designed emotions to be a responsive mechanism not the catalyst for problem solving the issues of life. We are to have Bible doctrine inculcated deeply into our heart (the right lobe of the soul) in which a foundation is developed on which the believer can learn to apply the doctrine that they have learned to the circumstances that they encounter.

Suffering functions as a guardian for the adult believer in the same way that a parent functions with as a guardian for a child. Basically the restraints that are used and put in place for children are replaced and enforced by suffering. The dynamic of suffering serves to deplete us of our own resources and it forces us to lean and depend on God for our daily provision. Suffering makes us more pliable for the hands of the Potter.

In the same way that parents are more than disciplining agents for their children, suffering is not simply God’s way of disciplining us. Suffering is a great instructor as it demands your attention. As we are forced to use the provisions of our God, our appreciation and love for Him is strengthened and we become more in tune with His will for our lives.

As we move through this study series we continue to develop a new perspective of suffering as we dismiss both, the proclivity for asceticism and the victim complex. We will learn that when properly engaged, suffering will always catapult us toward our divine destiny.

Contrary to popular beliefs among many believers, suffering is not something to be sought out, there is no intrinsic value in suffering itself. The value is in taking the lesson and the purpose involved in the suffering and maximizing its potential. Suffering should never be a perpetual force in the life of a believer. If it is, there are other elements that must be addressed.

In the same sense, believers are not to take on a victim mentality when faced with suffering and adversity. They should engage it with faith and certainty that a sovereign and omniscient God is in complete control. When the believer uses all of the Divine assets at their disposal, there are no circumstance that can negatively impact their peace and state of happiness. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

October 16, 2012

Master Designer
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10, New English).

Friend to Friend
Our son was born to be a builder. From the time he could hold a plastic red hammer in his toddler-sized hands, Jered began hammering imaginary nails into the coffee table, fixing everything that was broken in our house, and drawing crayon blueprints of various objects he planned to build. No wooden surface in our home was safe from Jered’s scrutiny or design.

Since my husband enjoyed woodworking as a hobby, he decided to build Jered a miniature workbench beside his own in the garage. Several nights each week, Dan and Jered headed out to the garage to pound and hammer and do what they called “man stuff.” I thought it was cute – a philosophy that would drastically change in the years to come.

I knew we had a true builder on our hands when Jered built a clubhouse inside our garage. And what a clubhouse it was – complete with four walls, a roof, windows and a door, carpeted flooring and a window air conditioning unit – all of which he scrounged from neighbors, dumpsters and piles of discarded wood at construction sites. He built a jewelry box for my birthday and a toy box that held his prized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If we needed storage cabinets in our garage, Jered drew up blueprints and built them. When we moved to a house with small bedrooms, Jered designed and built a queen-sized bunk bed over a built-in desk and book shelves to conserve space in his room. We no longer bought furniture. Jered simply built it. Looking back, I did not realize that those crayon blueprints and plastic tools would pave the way for our son’s career. Today, he owns his own construction business and is a master carpenter and builder.

Jered reminds me of another young man who was destined to become a builder – Jesus. Jesus’s earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter by trade and taught Jesus everything he knew about being a master carpenter. It was not uncommon for the son to carry on his father’s business in those days. I often wonder if Jesus didn’t have a little workbench beside Joseph’s. I am sure Jesus must have followed His daddy around, hammering alongside His father’s true blows. I imagine Joseph had to remove a few stray nails driven by Jesus and even repair a few of his Son’s “jobs.” Did Jesus make a jewelry box for His mother or did He build a piece of furniture that Mary treasured like I treasure everything Jered has ever built for our home? Jesus was and is the ultimate Architect and Builder.

Yes, God is the Master Creator, but His greatest creations are not made of wood or stone. Jesus was and is the creator of eternal masterpieces like you and me. His blueprint for our lives is second to none. His plan is the Word of God and is without flaw or error as it molds us into the image of God – a process that is sometimes painful.

I once promised myself that I would never buy a house that could be described as a “fixer-upper.” I don’t like fixing things. I want everything to be fixed before I move in. But there I was, buying a town house that needed so much work even the realtor couldn’t believe my husband and I wanted to buy it. Why didn’t someone stop me? No one did, so the sale was made, and we went to work. Actually, my son and husband went to work while I went crazy.
I had no idea how horrible the process of remodeling could be. Layer after layer of dirt, grime, stains and ugliness was stripped away. Rotten kitchen cabinets were torn from the walls, and rusty appliances were replaced. We basically gutted the whole place and rebuilt it – while living in it. I was not happy!

I will never forget the day I woke up to see a toilet sitting at the foot of our bed. It was at that moment I resolved to never set foot in another house that required so much work. I am so thankful God does not feel that way about me.

Honestly, I used to wonder why God didn’t just demolish the old me and build a new one. Then He did just that – through a two-year battle with clinical depression. While sitting at the bottom of that deep, dark and slimy pit, the Father lovingly stripped away old fears and insecurities. From the walls of my heart, He tore the rotten attitudes, undisciplined thoughts and unholy desires that had walked me to the edge of my pit – then pushed me in. He replaced rusty old dreams with new ones and basically, gutted my life to build a new one, a better one, and a stronger one.

I know there are days when the plan of God seems completely wrong and we simply do not understand. Every moment is pregnant with darkness, and our hearts are numb, paralyzed by fear and doubt. We are treading water in the storm-tossed sea of life, desperately longing to see Him walking on the treacherous waves toward us, rescue in His hand. It is in those shadowed moments that we must choose to trust the Plan Maker, the Master Designer, even though our faith is small, and we cannot understand the plan. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And one day, every one of our question marks will be yanked into exclamation points as we see that high plan as He sees it – perfect.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

Today, girlfriend, set aside your meager agenda. Lay down your limited life arrangement and look for God to meet you at the point of surrender, power and victory in His hands. Now that is a great plan.

 

 

There is someone out there who is going through an extremely difficult time right now. It seems that the load that you are bearing is going to break you. It seems that every where you turn there is bad news. I had someone tell me on yesterday that they could not win for losing. Right now it seems as if the clouds are so dark that you can’t see one foot in front of you and the uncertainty is sucking the life out right of you. I just want to take this moment to reassure you that God is cognizant of your struggles; He is keenly aware of your pain and he sees your your tears.

 

Take a look at what God tells Moses concerning the Israelites suffering at the hands of the Egyptians:

 

“7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land,(U) a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3:7-9, NIT).”

 

God assured Moses that He was perfectly aware of the suffering of His people and that He had come because of their suffering to deliver them. My friend, God knows what you are going through, and He is working in the background to produce His glory through your circumstances. When the vicissitudes of life roll in, don’t despair; God works in the midst of uncertainty to produce eternal lucidity based on responsive faith.

 

Let’s take a look at what the Psalmist had to say about God’s relationship with His people:

 

“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation and adorn the wretched with victory Ps. 149:4, AMP).”

 

I want you to know that your breakthrough is coming, simply trust and believe that your tears are temporary. I say as the Apostle Paul, “…consider that the suffering of this current moment cannot be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us (Roman 8:18).

 

I want to encourage you to hold on, your change is coming. God is performing His promise in your life as I write this. Do not allow you circumstances to dictate your stance of faith.

 

God is moving in your darkness to accomplish His will. Remember that authentic faith is efficacious. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

20 Then Job arose and (Z)tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said,

(AA)Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The (AB)Lordgave and theLord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20-22, NASB)

22 (AC)Through all this Job did not sin nor did he [m]blame God.

As I sit here preparing for my sister’s funeral I am reminded of a sermon preached at the funeral of another close relative. The preacher was also a relative and he also drew his topic from the above text. The topic was posed as a Question: Can God Trust You With Trouble? Out of all of the multitudinous sermons I’ve heard and preached, this one resonates through my soul fluently and incessantly. What I have learned is my faith is not substantiated by the fruit of my conquered moments. It is not justified by the bounty I have accumulated. My faith is validated and confirmed in the midst of trials and adversity. So today I pose the same question to you: Can God trust you with trouble?

When we look at Job in the whole of this passage we see a man that has lived his life in a way that was pleasing to God. In fact, God gives Job one of the most stellar reviews of anyone in the Bible. Let’s look at how God describes Job in chapter 1.

And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who [reverently] fears God and abstains from and shuns evil [because it is wrong]? (Job 1:8, AMP)

God uses words like blameless and upright to describe Job. I want you to take notice of something extremely relevant to the apprehension of this message in full. At the very same time that God is giving Job this sparkling pure review, He is volunteering him for the spiritual and physical hail storm of the ages. “Have you considered my servant Job…” God is saying to Satan if you are looking for someone to test, I volunteer Job. Understand this; if God volunteers you, you are definitely prepared for the moment.

Why would God offer up His best to endure the worst? I will tell you why. In the legal world whenever there is a testimony given the opposition has the right to cross examine. In other words, the testimony is not allowed to simply stand on its merits, it must hold up under cross examination. The same is true with the Christian life. When you make your proclamation of faith you must understand that at some point your testimony will be cross examined by the vicissitudes of life. No matter how tight you walk the line. No matter how often you pray. Irregardless to the depth of your scriptural knowledge, you are going to have to endure the cross examination of the enemy.

For all of Job’s loyalty he reaped disaster. For all of His righteous living he encountered darkness. For every passionate prayer he prayed he was met with news of death and loss. As we move through the book of Job we learn that he did not understand his heartache. He could not lay a finger on its source; however, the one thing he knew is that he had not done anything to deserve it. Wait, maybe he did. When you live within the will of God and walk in your purpose, you put yourself dead in the crosshairs of the enemy. When you make your proclamation of for God I live and for God I die, you become public enemy #1.

The scriptures tell us that in all of this, Job did not sin. Not only did Job refrain from sinning, but he found a way to praise God in the midst of his pain. When I think about this, that same question keeps ringing in the back of my mind: Can God trust you with trouble? When all of the eloquent words in the world can’t rescue you, and the unadulterated force of the enemy is leveled against you and your loved ones, will God be able to trust you with that pain?

When you can’t pray away the loneliness, will you still praise? When you can’t speak away the darkness will you still show gratitude? When in return for your love your friends become your accusers, will you still proclaim the greatness of God? Oh, it’s easy to shout his praise when all is well in your life, but when the phone rings only to bear more bad news, can you still sing of his worth?

Your legacy will be established through the way you engage your trials. Your greatness will be unveiled as you press inexorably toward your mark. Will your story reveal your valor or that you simply folded under the pressure? God wants to trust you with trouble, can he?

Be blessed,

Bishop Rick Wallace

Christian Impact

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends it roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. (Jer. 17:7-8, NASB)

Many believers associate prosperity and success with the absence of adversity and struggle; however, the majority of progression and advancement in this Christian journey is accomplished in the midst of adversity. Growth in the areas of faith and spiritual maturity are accomplished in the midst of adversity.
Through the prophet Jeremiah, God assures those that trust in Him that they will be established and remain productive and prosperous, even in the midst of adversity.
It is not in the ease and comfort of your tranquil moments that ground is taken in this warfare. It is in the midst of the heated battle of uncertainty that the Christian advances by faith. When we understand that we must engage the enemy in order to retrieve what he has taken, we will understand that recovery and restoration does not come with ease, but must be taken by force.
Victory does not come through the circumvention of the vicissitudes of life, but by appropriately navigating through them by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us that we do not war according to the flesh. He makes it clear that this is spiritual warfare. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 he once again tells us that though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. We find in that particular passage that our weapons are mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds. This means that we have all that is needed to accomplish victory.
Will victory be accomplished easily? No!. It will come at the price of great sacrifice and commitment. It will come with the loss of self. It will come with the loss of so called friends. It will, however, come.
I encourage each person that reads this to take courage in the promises of God and understand that victory is imminent for the committed soldier.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but[b]divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…7 [c] You are looking at [d]things as they are outwardly.  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 7, NASB)

In the above scriptural passage we have an extremely powerful revelation given to us by God through the Apostle Paul. In it we find not only one of the major reasons why many believers live perpetually in a state of defeat, we also find the means of overcoming our defeatist state of mind.

It is of immense importance to the Christian believer to understand the manner in which he must engage his struggles. Too often the believer attempts to engage spiritual matters through natural means and finds himself in a place of intense darkness. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 10 Paul produces a state of lucidity for the Corinthian believers who were in a state of carnality that was close to tearing the local church apart.

In verse 3, Paul immediately introduces a truth that when apprehended brings with it victory and power. Paul tells the Corinthian believers that although they walk in the natural realm, they do not wage war through natural means.

I cannot stress enough the gravity of this truth. So many believers find themselves in situations and they immediately employ natural methods of engagement to spiritual issues. Allow me to elucidate; no matter what situation you may be in, no matter how pragmatic or empirical the evidence of your circumstances may be, the issue is always spiritual. What you are seeing is simply the physical manifestation of an issue that has a spiritual origin.

Paul made this very clear when he told the Ephesians that “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood…’ but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12).” The problem may have manifested itself in some physical form and yes that physical issue must be addressed, but the issue must be engaged from the place of spiritual warfare.

I have noticed as I read the tweets, posts and rants of believers that know how to speak about breakthrough, but very few of them understand the true dynamics of obtaining their breakthrough. Understand that the enemy preys on our ignorance. It was the Prophet Hosea that gave us the revelation that God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. The enemy knows that the vast majority of believers are lacking in foundational indoctrination; this means that believers don’t fully understand their basic rights and the assets that are available to them as a part of the royal family of God.

What the enemy does is attack believers and then convinces them that there is nothing that they can do about it. The enemy has successfully directed the focus of believers to their circumstances and away from God. Many of you reading this short treatise are convinced that your breakthrough is tied to the improvement of your circumstances. Let me make something lucidly clear to you; the Christian life is not circumstantial; it is not situational; it is solidified in your position in Christ and validated through your faith.

What does Paul say on the matter? He says that we walk in the flesh, but we do not wage war according to the flesh. What he is saying is that we may be of this world, but we are not bound by it. Our spiritual assets are powerful and mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds. For those of you that did not get it, the pulling down of strongholds constitutes a breakthrough; however, the breakthrough is not initiated in the physical realm. This is where so many believers lose the battle. The breakthrough is initiated in your thought processes. It is in understanding your identity in Christ; it is in being cognizant of the divine assets that you have at your disposal; it is in understanding the dynamics of spiritual warfare.

So many of you are waiting on your circumstances to change to validate your breakthrough, but your circumstances are actually waiting on you to move into the spiritual realm and assert your spiritual prowess through faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s be clear about this, this is not mystical, but it is spiritual. This is about gaining an understanding that your circumstances to do not dictate who you are and what you can and will accomplish. Listen to what I am about to say very carefully: Your victory is not in the changing of your circumstances, but in the manner that you engage them. Your breakthrough is not in alleviating the struggle, but realizing that you are victorious despite them. As a faith wielding believer, you are built to advance in adversity. Adversity is the fertile soil in which faith is cultivated and grown.

It was Paul that said that tribulation produces patience, and patience hope, and hope does not disappoint. So, you see that your breakthrough begins with your state of mind. You are victorious even in the midst of the struggle. You are still royalty, even in the midst of the struggle. You are still a joint heir with Christ, even in the midst of the struggle. You are still men or valor and women of virtue, even in the midst of the struggle.

Paul tells us that our weapons are mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds. The physical manifestation of your breakthrough comes when you exercise the dynamics of faith through a mindset that says I am who God says that I am and I will not be shaken or swayed by my circumstances. Genuine breakthrough manifests itself in the physical when authentic believers refused to back down to their circumstances. The believer simply decides that they will not receive the negative report of the enemy. Although the circumstance is real, the believer’s spirit simply disagrees with the circumstance.

What I mean when I say that a believer’s spirit disagrees with their circumstances is that they see that the circumstance is real, but they understand that they have the power to step into the spiritual realm and override the circumstance and render it inconsequential in negative impact. The believer that has learned how to wage spiritual warfare knows how to use their negative situations to their benefit.

In the book of Isaiah, Chapter 40 we are told that those that wait upon the Lord are renewed in strength and shall mount up with wings as eagles. I have taken many looks at this passage over the years and it carries massive implications. First we must understand that the word “wait” here is not in the passive sense, but requires progressive endurance merged with a patience that understands that in God’s timing he is going to move and His movement will be immensely powerful and unmistakably God. Next is the empowerment that is analogous to the soaring of the majestic eagle.

I studied a little about the eagle and what I have learned is there is no other creature who can soar at the heights of the eagle. What I found most interesting is the fact that when a storm is approaching and the winds begin to pick up, the eagle literally flies toward the storm and uses the force of its tumultuous winds to fly above it. This is what the faith filled believer does; he uses the adversity in his life to propel him into the next level. He soars above his struggles.

One important note: Paul says that we are to cast down imaginations or arguments of all that is exalted against the knowledge of God. I will not delve too deep into this at this moment, but th,is points once again to the enemy attacking our thoughts. The word rendered “imaginations’ or “arguments” is actually “systems of thought” and points to the attempt of the enemy to confuse the thinking, mindset, and belief systems of the believer. We are to speak against and move against all things that are contrary to the knowledge of God. In order to do this one must have knowledge of God.

In closing, I want each of you to understand that breakthrough is a process that begins with your mindset. When you become aware of who you are in Christ and the powerful assets that are available to you through your relationship with Christ, you will be able to accomplish great feats and overcome all obstacles. You will understand that your physical breakthrough is simply the manifestation of your faith which says that you have already overcome.

You conquer your moments through faith.

God bless,

Bishop Rick Wallace

http://rickwallaceministries.com 

I want each of you to pick up your iPhones, EVO’s, and all of those other smart phones, turn off the screen until its dark and then look at your reflection in that iPhone and I want you to tell yourself, “Self, I am coming out and I am coming out with my hands up! I coming out of every dark situation with my hands held high in victory. God has promised that he would deliver me.I am coming out of the trap of selfish ambitions.
I am coming out of depression.
I am coming out of low self-esteem.
I am coming out of financial difficulty.
I am coming out of this abusive relationship.
I am coming out of confusion and despair.
i am coming out of subpar living
I am coming out of the sphere of dwarfed goals
I am coming out of weak moments and poor decisionsLook to God and tell Him that you glory in His name and you rest in the promises of His Word. Self, I know that God has something for me, for His Word says that Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of men all of the things that God has prepared for those that wait on Him. Self, hold on a little while longer, the breakthrough is coming. Self, settle yourself into the peace that transcends all understanding and wait for the flow of God’s awesome power to reach into this situation. Self, I am coming out. I coming out with my praise in tact. I am coming out with my joy in place. I am coming out with my song ever refreshed in my soul. I coming out with a new testimony. I am coming out with new wings to soar. I am coming with a Dance like David’s. I am coming out with vision and purpose in view.

Praise God.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes….”(Rev. 21:4 and 7:17)

“And the Lord will wipe away tears from all faces….”(Isa. 25:8)

 

If you are anything like me, you have those moments in which tears begin to well up in your eyes.  You make abortive and bootless efforts to suppress the inevitable tide of physically manifested emotions.  Tears can be brought on by many ardent and effusive forces.  There are tears of regret; when I take a retrospective glance at my life, tears began to flow as I am reminded of the pain that has come to others because of my selfish actions.  There are tears of pain.  The same retrospection that produces regret also paints the malevolent and inclement portrait of abandonment and heartache.  There are tears of Joy, sadness, emptiness and loneliness.  Tears are most often associated with negative emotions.

 

It is a natural human instinct to hold back tears.  Nobody wants to cry.  I took some time to stop by and tell you that it’s okay to cry, your tears are temporary.

            “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…”(2 Cor. 4:17)

 

Jesus promised it, mama confirmed it, and experience has consummated and solidified the fact that this world will bring pain to those that inhabit it.  There is no circumvention of the trials and tribulations of this life.  You will inevitably take some wrong turns that consequently lead to pain.  You will at some point and time experience the heartache brought on by the neglect and betrayal of those you love and hold dear.  There will be a time when you will, just as David, say, “In return for my love there are my love they have become my accusers…”(109:4)  There are men that with every ounce of their being attempt to stem the tide of tears that flow as a result of pains that run deep.  There are women that have sworn that they will not shed one more tear over a man that has repetitively wounded their emotional stability.  Yet, in both instances, these people wake in the morning to find their pillows drenched with tears.

 

Tears are as natural as the instinct to suppress them.  They are a physiological response to invisible emotions; emotions that the majority of us don’t want exposed.  In our culture, tears are considered a sign of weakness, especially when it comes to men.  However, our emotions were never meant to be suppressed, but expressed.  David, Jeremiah, and Jesus all wept.  Very few people understand that crying and weeping are part of the healing process.  Suppressed emotions are never conducive to proper healing.

 

 

 

The most awesome truth about our moments of weeping is that no matter how hard we try to conceal our tears, our weeping is never a solitary experience.

 

“And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.”(Ex. 3:7)

 

God acknowledges that He has seen and heard the cries of His people.  He establishes the point that He is not some distant God that is cold and aloof toward His people.  Exodus 2:23 informs us that as the cries of the children of Israel rang out, God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Remembering His promises, God looked upon the children of Israel and acknowledged them.  God has promised us that He will never leave nor forsake us.  This fact should bring solace to every believer.  Though the vault of your emotions has been breached and a medley of emotions cascade through the hollows of your existence, do not despair.  No matter how lonely the moment, irrespective to the current darkness, you are not alone.

 

Not only has God promised never to leave us alone, He has promised to act on our behalf.

            “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.”(2 Chron. 16:9)

 

“When the enemy comes in like a flood.  The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”(Isa. 59:19)

 

God did not simply acknowledge the children of Israel and their circumstances, He became personally involved.

“So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians…”(Ex. 3:8)

 

Not only have “I’ heard their cries and seen their oppression, “I” am going to intervene on their behalf.  The God we serve is completely responsive to the needs of His people.  He does not sit idly by while they face the vicissitudes of life.  God responds to those tears with a decisive force, bringing power, joy, and peace.

 

In fact, it is those moments of mourning, weeping, and crying that God moves most awesomely in the lives of believers.  When the pain of the moment has taken control of your life; when the loneliness has consumed you and the manacles of depression have seized hold of you; when no one else seems to care, God hears and God answers.  God responded to the cries of Job, David, Jeremiah and more.  It was the weeping of Mary and Martha that moved Jesus to tears and prompted the resuscitation of Lazarus.  It was the weeping of the nation of Israel that caused God to speak through Ezekiel and promise to bring them up from their graves of despair.  God moves in moments of desperation.

 

Let us look once again at the book of Exodus so that we might closer examine the dynamics of God’s movement in the lives of His chosen.  It begins in Chapter 1.

            “But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty….Now there arose a new king over Egypt…and he said to his people….come, let us deal shrewdly with them….therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens….and they made them serve with rigor…. Then the King spoke to the midwives…and he said, when you do the duties of a midwife to the Hebrew women, if it is a son, then you shall kill him…”(Ex. 1:7-6)

 

The God we serve is a “show up” God, and the show up process begins at the moment of need.  Up to this point, God had sustained His people through providential care.  They had increased abundantly and grew exceedingly mighty, but the moment the Egyptians moved against them, the show up process began.  God’s subtle movements are revealed in His providential provisions.  There is nothing subtle about the show up process; when God shows up He shows out.  He is completely radical in His movement.  He leaves no doubt as to who has brought deliverance.  Your tears are a visible sign that God is about to bust a move in your situation.

 

 

Every oppressive move of the Egyptians drew God closer to His people.  Every lash of the taskmasters whip, every drop of sweat from the brow of an enslaved Israelite, every vociferous cry of a Hebrew woman brought closer the day that God’s inimitable and unsurpassed power would be displayed on behalf of His chosen.  The tears of the believer are like a magnet that acts as a spiritually kinetic force that draws God to the center of the struggle.  Sometimes all you can do is cry.  Your ability to reason has dissipated, rendering you dysfunctional.  You want to pray, but you can’t form the words.  All you can do is cry.  Your soul sinks within you and the questions of why, how and when press their way to the surface.  Why is this happening to me?  How could he/she do this to me?  When will it end?  All of these questions have their place, however, the most pertinent question is not why, how, or when, but who?  Who can I turn to when my attempts to ebb the tides of the tribulation proves futile?  Who can I trust when no one else seems to care?  When those who are normally the pillars of support in my life are being crushed under the weight of life’s realities, to whom can I turn to be the buttress that sustains me in the midst of the storm?

“When I cry out to you, Then my enemies will turn back; this I know, because God is for me.” (PS 56:9)

“And it will be for a sign and for a witness…for they will cry to the Lord…and he will send them a savior and a Mighty one, and He will deliver them.”(Isa. 19:20)

 

“Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep….So David recovered all…and nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great….David recovered all…”(1 Sam. 30:4, 18-19)

 

 

When there is nowhere else to turn, even when there is “no more power” to weep, God hears our cries, even the silent cries of a desperate soul.  It’s okay, go ahead and cry.  Your tears are a release of the pressures, hurts and disappointments of the moment.  Your tears are a clarion sounding to God that His child is in need.  Your tears are not meant to be quenched or suppressed; they are an expression of the heart’s yearnings.  Your tears are a part of God’s show up process.

 

Isn’t it awesome to be in Love with a God that loves you; a God that becomes personally involved in our lives.  I can’t promise you that there will not be tears, in fact, the one you hold dearest may yet break your heart; the expectations for tomorrow may go unfulfilled; in return for your love, they may become your accuser.  Yet, God, in His bountiful love, sees, hears, and responds to the cries of His people.

 

God, through His Word, has not only promised temporal relief from life’s struggles and disappointments, but an eternal acknowledgment and comforting for every tear shed during this ethereal journey of Christianity.

 

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”(PS. 46:1)

“For the lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”(Rev. 7:17)

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”(Rev. 21:4)

 

In Psalms 46, we find that God is a present help in trouble.  He is there during those bouts with loneliness; He is there when you are grieving and mourning the loss of a loved one; He is there when all you possess is taken away.  No matter what you are going through; no matter how dark the moment, God is there.  Not only is He a present help, but he has promised to bring eternal peace and comfort.  He has promised to wipe every tear permanently away from your eyes, after which there will be no more death, no more sorrow, nor crying.  He has promised that He will personally take away forever, every pain, every heartache, and every tormenting struggle.

 

Isaiah 25:8 says, “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.  Isaiah 35:10 says, “And the “ransomed” of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing.  With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and singing shall flee away.”

 

“The ransomed” refers to those who have been purchased at a price; those whose debt has been expiated by the Son.  “The ransomed” are those who have been redeemed by the precious “Blood” of the “Lamb”.  Ransomed and redeemed are words meritorious of our concentrated attention.  These words remind us that we have been released from the prison of sin; we have been rescued from the pit of hell; we have been preserved for all eternity; we have been liberated, set free, and cut loose from the shackles of eternal damnation.  God in His matchless love has said, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave…(Hosea 13:14)”

 

 

When we keep in view the fact that we are creatures redeemed by the creator; when we are able to apprehend in full the understanding of the magnitude of the love required for God to redeem us in our sinful state, we will view our trials, sufferings, and disappointments in a different light.  We will view them as Paul did:

 

            “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”(Rom. 8:18)

“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed….for our light affliction, which is but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4: 8,9,17 and 18)

 

Your tears are a temporary response to the reality of the moment.  Your tears are a physical expression of an emotional state.  It’s okay, go ahead and cry, the pain won’t last forever.  God’s on His way and He’s bringing joy with Him.  He’s coming to wipe away ever tear.  You may be crying now, but weeping only endures for a night, for joy comes in the morning.  Cry if you must, but do not despair; the God we serve is a show up God.  He is on His way to deliver, to heal, to liberate, and to exalt.  So, let the tears flow when they come, for soon God will wipe every tear away!

 

May you be richly blessed!

 

Sincerely,

Bishop Rick Wallace

Faith Grows Amid Storms

“He hath acquainted himself with my beaten path. When he hath searched me out, I shall come out shining” (Job 23:10, free translation).

Faith grows amid storms”–just four words, but oh, how full of import to the soul who has been in the storms!

Faith is that God-given faculty which, when exercised, brings the unseen into plain view, and by which the impossible things are made possible. It deals with supernaturals.

But it “grows amid storms”; that is, where there are disturbances in the spiritual atmosphere. Storms are caused by the conflicts of elements; and the storms of the spiritual world are conflicts with hostile elements.

In such an atmosphere faith finds its most productive soil; in such an element it comes more quickly to full fruition.

The staunchest tree is not found in the shelter of the forest, but out in the open where the winds from every quarter beat upon it, and bend and twist it until it becomes a giant in stature this is the tree which the mechanic wants his tools made of, and the wagon-maker seeks.

So in the spiritual world, when you see a giant, remember the road you must travel to come up to his side is not along the sunny lane where wild flowers ever bloom; but a steep, rocky, narrow pathway where the blasts of hell will almost blow you off your feet; where the sharp rocks cut the flesh, where the projecting thorns scratch the brow, and the venomous beasts hiss on every side.

It is a pathway of sorrow and joy, of suffering and healing balm, of tears and smiles, of trials and victories, of conflicts and triumphs, of hardships and perils and buffetings, of persecutions and misunderstandings, of troubles and distress; through all of which we are made more than conquerors through Him who loves us.

“Amid storms.” Right in the midst where it is fiercest. You may shrink back from the ordeal of a fierce storm of trial…but go in! God is there to meet you in the center of all your trials, and to whisper His secrets which will make you come forth with a shining face and an indomitable faith that all the demons of hell shall never afterwards cause to waver. –E. A. Kilbourne

*************

What an awesome revelation. The Apostles Paul said that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance produces character and character produces hope. Paul said that hope produced through this sequence does not disappoint (Rom. 5:3-5 paraphrased). This type of hope is the product of pure faith. The type of faith is the fruit of a seed that that can only be cultivated within the fertile soil of trials and sufferings. Faith is not faith until it has been tested and proven pure.

6[You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations,

7So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed. (1 pet. 1:6-7 AMP)

The furnace may be turned up seven times hotter than normal, but understand that you are not in the furnace alone. Just ask Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego about the fourth man that joined them in fiery furnace (Daniel chapter 3). When you allow your faith to be developed in the heat of life’s trials you will see your naysayers and enemies speak just as King Nebuchadnezzar, who had to humble himself before the God of his servants. Nebuchadnezzer came to personally witness the reason for such resolute faith in those three young boys. This faith produced results so powerful that King Nebuchadnezzer said: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! And they set aside the king’s command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God …there is no other God who can deliver in this way!” (Dan. 3:28-29 AMP)

Trust God in all that you are going through right now is is worthy, willing, and able to perform His promises. Give God Some glory! ~Bishop Rick Wallace

 

Foundation Scriptures: Hebrews 3,4:1-8; Isa. 26:3,4

Key Verses Is. 26:3

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you.” (Isa. 26:3)

 

I have read and believe that a true state of happiness is the most difficult state for a Christian to achieve.  In order to apprehend the veracity in this statement, one must be willing to be honest with themselves; next they must have the ability to detach themselves from the euphoric world in which they have become engrossed.  Allow me to paraphrase: Wake up and smell the coffee! Please understand that I am not saying that it is impossible, I am simply pointing to all that comes against us to rob us of our contentment and joy. We will find out shortly that in Christ all things are possible.

 

Through experiential progression, I have come to the conclusion that no matter how determinedly and agonizingly we strive to escape the pain, heartache and despair that life so opportunistically places at our feet, we will inevitably endure asperity and anguish.  Christians don’t like hearing that.  We want to be told that post salvation life will be a metaphorical cakewalk.  The truth is, we have been promised that there will be a great deal of trials and tribulation.

 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world.”

(John 16:33)

 

The Greek word used for tribulation here is “thlipsis” which means: pressure, oppression, stress, anguish, tribulation, adversity, affliction, crushing, squashing, squeezing, distress.  This word carries the connotation of taking something that is free and unfettered and compressing it with the objective of producing something better.  The same word is used of crushing grapes and olives in a press.  “Thlipsis” is, in essence, spiritual bench pressing, making a stronger and more formidable Christian soldier.  So, our struggles are quite a necessary part of our spiritual progression.

 

This does not mean that inevitable trials and distresses will be easy but they should not produce fear, anxiety, or bitterness.  At the same time Jesus promised tribulation, he also promised peace.  How is this so?

 

“Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone.  And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:32)

 

At the time of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion, the disciples would all in some way forsake Him and flee to the safety of their homes.  Though they would leave Him, He would not be alone, because the father would be with Him.  We have the same promise.

 

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ “ (Heb. 13:5)

“For He Himself is our peace.” (Eph. 2:14)

 

Therefore, our peace is not in the absence of trials, but in the perpetual presence of our Lord and Savior.  As believers, we tend to paint illusions of grandeur; we have all the right responses to the struggles and vicissitudes we face.  Painting over the realities of this harsh world, we give the appearance that life is all peaches and cream; when in fact, the pressures against those who believe in Christ are a thousand times greater than those of the unbeliever.

 

At first glance, the aforementioned statements present a gloomy and dark picture and may be somewhat discouraging to those who are new in the faith; However, I believe that it is of vital importance that all Christians face the facts.

 

Fact One: We reside as aliens in a world that is under the rule and Lordship of Satan.  We are considered aliens because although we reside here, our citizenship is in heaven. (Phil. 3:20)

 

Fact Two: The world by its very nature is hostile toward Christians.  Christ declared that since the world hated him, it would hate us also.

 

Fact Three: We are dead centered in the midst of a spiritual warfare, the angelic conflict.  We are both, participants and spoils of this war.  There are spiritual forces that are constantly moving against us.

 

In summary, the Christian is constantly facing tremendous, powerful, insidious pressures, and often, the greater your capacity for service, the greater the believer can be used by God, the greater the pressure on every side — the world, the flesh, and the devil.

 

In the beginning, I stated my belief that a true state of happiness is the most difficult state for the Christian to achieve.  I did not say it was unattainable, for it is very much within the grasp of every believer.  Then why is it so difficult to achieve? It is difficult because believers have taken on the worldly view of ephemeral elation, happiness of the moment.  The celerity at which happiness enters and exits the lives of believers is astounding.  To most, happiness is circumstantial, depending on situational occurrences.  This produces instability and ineffectiveness.  God, through His infallible Word, has promised perpetual joy.  This joy is irrespective in nature; it is not dependent upon external circumstances; it does not dwarf in the face of adversity and it burgeons in response to the development of our relationship with Christ.  This joy is closely related to the peace God has promised.  They are always found in close proximity to each other.  Our joy and peace are produced through constant abiding in Jesus Christ.  So allow me to reiterate this truth: Joy and peace are not produced through the circumvention of life’s storms, but are perpetually present despite them.

 

When your mind is fixed on Jesus; when your heart is settled in love, there is no storm, no disappointment; no heartache that can rob you of your joy and peace, even in the midst of the storm.  We are forever coalesced to the Prince of Peace.  “For He Himself is our peace.(Eph 2:14)  The Greek “eirene” (eye-ray-nay) carries the meaning of state of rest, quietness, calmness, an absence of strife, and tranquility.  It also carries a connotation of “being united with” as well as “to bring an end to hostility”.  So in essence, the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7) is the culmination of “being united with Christ” whereas he “brings an end to hostility”, thereby creating a “state of rest” in which there is “an absence of strife” and a sense of “calmness” and “tranquility”.

 

 

This union with Christ is birthed through the channel of faith.  God wants to provide a place of rest, but it has to be obtained through the promises of His Word, received by faith.  Let us take a look at Hebrew 4:1,2:

 

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it, For indeed the Gospel was preached to us a well as to them; but the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”

 

 

The first thing we notice here is the conjunctive adverb “therefore”.  This word indicates that there is a preceding clause as well as a subsequent clause.  The subsequent clause is easily identified as it immediately follows the conjunctive adverb, but where is the preceding clause?  The answer is: In the previous chapter.  The original text of the Bible was not separated into chapters or numbered in verse.  This was done later as a means of reference.  So we will have to look beyond the confines of these numbered boundaries.  The preceding clause that completes this statement is found in Chapter 3, verse 19, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

 

In Chapter 3, the writer of Hebrews reminds us that the first generation of recently freed Israelites failed to reach the peace, tranquility, and abundance of the promise land.  The writer quotes a passage from Ps. 95:7-11 that reinforces the cause of this failure to reach the promised place of rest.

 

In Chapter 4 he jumps from the past to the present and exhorts or admonishes the readers not to fall short of the promised rest.

 

“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as them; the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with “faith” in those who heard it.” (Heb. 4:2)

 

Here lies the very thing that separates those who are able to attain true peace and happiness and those who are not —faith!  They received the promise just as we have, but it did not profit them.  They had the promise, but did not stand on it.  We have thousands upon thousands of promises in the Bible.  It has been estimated that there are in excess of 33,000 promises and of these, over 7,000 promises that God will have a direct and positive impact on those who will trust and believe in Him.

 

The problem with the Israelites in the wilderness was the spiritual ineptitude, the inability to see past their circumstances and trust God to perform that which he had promised.  They received the promise, but it was not encapsulated by faith.  Faith not only empowers, but it protects the promise.  Faith guards against anxiety, doubt, despair, impatience, and fear.

 

We have to face the fact that as Christians, we are going to be tested; we are going to endure trials and tribulations; we will be battered by the storms of the suffering and compounded by the vicissitudes of life; however; God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  God is saying, “You believed enough to trust Me with salvation, trust Me to provide you with that peace that transcends all understanding.  Trust Me to provide you with that happiness that is inexpressible.  Trust Me to anoint you with the power to fulfill your destiny.”  He is standing before you telling you that His grace is sufficient for you.

 

God has bequeathed us His infallible Word, we only need to take hold of the promises that are before us.

 

When we are able to grasp the understanding that the absence of trials and storms in our lives is not indicative of the potential for joy, peace, and fullness, but rather, our joy, peace and happiness is afforded and sustained despite the presence of life’s trials, we are then able to enter that rest.  We will be able to “count it all joy”.  We will be able to enter into our divine purpose with an unbridled pertinacity, overcoming every trial by faith.

 

As the burdens of this tedious life press us down and drain us of our strength, we can rest in the calm assurance that God’s grace is sufficient for us and His strength is made perfect in weakness.  We will be able to withstand the nefarious attacks of Satan while resting under the shadow of the almighty.

 

The Israelites in the wilderness could not enter the rest of the Promised Land because they did not receive the promises of God with faith.  So then faith is a prerequisite for peace, and we know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17)

 

It is time to uncover the secrets of God’s Word.  It is time to uncover the secret that says: “If I delight myself in the Lord, he will give me the desires of my heart.”

It is time to uncover the secret that says: “I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread.”

It is time to uncover that secret that says: “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.”

That secret that says: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

That secret that says: If I “wait on the Lord and be of good coverage, He will strengthen my heart.”

I’m talking about joy inducing secrets.

The secret that says: “He who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.”

That secret that says: “When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take care of me.”

That secret that says: “No weapon formed against me, shall prosper.”

I’m talking about shackle loosing secrets.

The secret that says: “My defense is of God who saves the upright in heart.”

The secret that says: “Fear not for I am with you.”

The secret that says: “At my first defense, no one stood with me, but God stood with me, and strengthened me.”

The secret that says: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds.”

I invite you to do as I do.  When darkness falls on my life, I call out the name of the Lord.  I can call Him any time of the day.  I will call Him in my moments of weakness.  I will call Him and tell Him about my troubles.  When I call Him, I can say, “Father, I stretch my hands to thee, no other help I know, if thou withdraw thine self from me, where else shall I go.”  I can say, “Precious Lord take my hand lead me on and let me stand.”  I can say, “Guide me over Great Jehovah, a pilgrim through this barren land.  I am weak but thou art mighty hold me with though powerful hand.”  I can say as the Psalmist, “Restore in me the joy of your salvation.

 

I can call Him down in the midst of the storm.  When I call Him, I say, “Lord, I need healing” or can simply speak those two worded prayers: hold me; keep me; protect me; bless me; shelter me; guide me.  No matter what happens I know when I call Him, He answers.  I invite you to join me in this place of rest.

 

May God bless, keep, and prosper you, even as your soul prospers!

 

Sincerely,

Bishop Rick Wallace

 

 

 

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