Blessed is the Man that Endures Trial

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What exactly does it mean to be blessed and how does one get blessed by God? The Hebrew word for “blessed” is ASHERI or BARAK. Whenever a person is blessed by God the word BARAK it is always used. This means that the blessing is initiated by God and is beneficial to the person receiving the blessing.

In reconciling the use of trials and tribulations of this world that God allows in our life to occur and God’s blessing in our life, this is what I feel the Lord has shown me. First of all the perquisite for blessings is to know Jesus Christ and be clothed in his righteousness. This we can see from the scripture, in Matthew chapter 5 verse.6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Not our own righteousness but the righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus Christ.

This blessing comes through having a humble heart. (Poor in spirit) If one will not humble himself before God and admit being a sinner then the blessing of salvation will not come.  Pride is the negative attitude of the world, it is Satan’s attitude. Satan is uppity, prideful, boastful, thinks he is hot stuff. We can never get saved having this kind of an attitude. This is why God allows life trials and tribulations to occur in the lost so that they get humble and come off their high horse! God also uses the law, he shows the lost how evil they are and how they fall short of God’s expectations.  He uses these things to bring us to salvation; because he loves us.

Simply put, a child who is rebellious and never does what he is told, needs correction and discipline for his good. We need correction and discipline for our own good! Even the Christian is constantly being humbled and made dependant on God. God will never use a Saul. That is a person who thinks that he has a right or is God’s gift to everyone. God will always use a David, one humble and small in his own eyes. The humble boasts only in the Lord, not in their own ability.

But to this one I will look, to him who is poor and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word. Psalm 25:9-10

To be blessed by God does not mean that you will not experience hardship! When you are blessed by God it is based on right relationship with him but also by certain behaviors. Remember that James said that “I will show you my faith by my works” In other words, if you have faith in Jesus Christ, your life will bear fruit to show that you have been born of God.

In order to perform these behaviors we must be led and moved by the Holy Spirit and not by laws, rules, and regulations. An example would be, if I give all my money to the poor thinking that I will earn kudos with God; then I am gravely misinformed. Cain’s sacrifice of his works was not acceptable to God because they came by his own hand and for the motive of winning God’s blessings. Ables’ sacrifice, on the other hand was expectable because his sacrifice was based on God’s requirements and not by his own works. Able knew that nothing that he could do in his own ability would make God love him more or accept him. Only the requirement of a sacrifice of a lamb (figurative of Jesus Christ) was acceptable.

This is the same way with blessings from God. They are delivered according to certain requirements and based on how the Holy Spirit directs. In other words, my giving must be initiated by faith in God’s Holy Spirit which always comes with a love and passion for what one is giving to. If I give out of a requirement of necessity, to get a blessing, then my giving will not be acceptable to God BUT if my giving is initiated by the Holy Spirit it will be done with a joyful heart, even if I have given my last penny. You see, it is all based on the humble attitude.

He teaches the humble His way… Psalm 25:9-10

If you read all of Matthew chapter 5 you will see the requirements for certain blessings to come. I will bring a short caption of some of them. As you can see blessings are not always material and may not occur until we enter heaven.

Requirement:  the poor in spirit (humble) Blessing: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Requirement:   those that morn Blessing:  they shall be comforted

Requirement:  Be meek Blessing:  they shall inherit the earth.

Requirement: hunger and thirst after righteousness Blessing: they shall be filled

Requirement:  Be merciful   Blessing: shall obtain mercy.

Requirement: Be pure in heart. Blessing they shall see God

Requirement: Peacemakers. Blessing: called the children of God

Requirement: persecuted for righteousness’ sake Blessing: theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Requirement: Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake Blessing: great is your reward in heaven

In order to be blessed by God we must love God, walk in his ways by the power of the Holy Spirit, be obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and God’s word, do not go after false God’s (idols in our heart) Deut. 11:22, 26-28

Obedience to the Holy Spirit, (God in us) walking in the Holy Spirit, listening to his voice will give you a life blessed by God. Remember that many are the afflictions of the righteousness BUT the Lord delivers from them all!

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21

Blessed is the man that endures trial: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.

In conclusion, to be blessed by God does not always mean material nor does it mean that all blessings will be fulfilled in this life; some blessings will be fulfilled in eternity.

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WATCH FOR THE THIEF !

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“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

In the Greek the word for thief is kleptēs. The English derivative is embezzler, pilferer. It comes from the word Klephts. These were warlike robbers who were self appointed people descendents of the Greeks who opposed Ottoman oppression. They carried on a continuous war against Ottoman rule and remained active as brigands until the 19th century. (Wikipedia)

The thief in this scripture is a metaphor for Satan because this is how he operates; fiercely, opposing God’s kingdom by plundering, robbing, killing and destroying.

Let’s take a closer look at what Satan does against God’s kingdom, shall we? God refers to him as a Klepht because he does guerilla warfare. He lies in waiting, crouching in hidden places and looking for any opportune moment to pounce upon unsuspecting targets. He then plunders his prey by robbing him and  if he can, he will kill and destroy. How does he do this? Well let’s take a look at what scriptures tell us.

• By masquerading as the Good Shepherd. Pretending to be sent by God. This can be a false religion or false cult or false doctrine leader or group. The wolf will devour. A wolf is always in scripture portrayed as a devourer. The wolf will take all your money and all your freedom in Christ and all your liberties in the Holy Spirit. The thief wants you in bondage. Jesus came to set you free from the religious restraints of false Shepherds. He came to give you life in the Spirit and not death under the law. Jesus gave his life for you to be free from sin and death, not under guilt and condemnation.

The false shepherd draws disciples after themselves; they do not lead you to the Holy Spirit. The thief will run off when danger comes but the true Shepherd will stay with you even in trouble.

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.” John 10: 8,9

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:11

But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. John 10:12

• Another way the thief ill try to destroy you is by keeping you  under his power by the world’s sensual pleasures. Satan offers you the money and riches of the world because they are his to give. Remember that he offered Jesus all the riches of the world if he worshipped him! Are you being lured by false prophets promising you money and “blessings” if you give to their ministries? You will be left behind if you are! Remember that Judas worked for Jesus. And he stole money for himself!

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  1 Thessalonians 5:4

• The thief will break into your house and steal your belongings. Materially, spiritually, physically if you are not constantly watching! Be alert in the Spirit! Stay close to the Lord and watch in prayer! If you don’t and let this slide the thief will come and plunder all that belongs to you! Watch and pray at all times in the Spirit! Jesus will come when you do not expect him!

But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Mathew 24: 43

Jesus promised to give his sheep life abundantly. Let’s take a closer look at this verse. “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. “

Might have- echō- to possess, to own.

Life- zōē-  absolute fulness of life  which belongs to God.  life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed both physically and spiritually.

More abundantly- perissos- superior, extraordinary, surpassing, uncommon, pre-eminence, superiority, advantage, more eminent, more remarkable, more excellent.

In conclusion, we must watch and pray against the thief from entering in to plunder and steal, kill, destroy. We also must pray for Zoe, God’s abundant life as he sees fit to give us individually in the earth and for his keeping power until he calls us to be with him where we will have our inheritance in him for all eternity,

CHAPTER ONE OF “THE WIDE ROAD”

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                                                                   The Cross Roads

Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness. Hebrews 3:7, 8

Joel stood at the crossroads of life. His dark shaggy hair fell over his youthful brow, shadowing the piercing of his deep grey eyes that were staring intently into the valley that loomed before him. A fierce inner struggle was taking place in the young man’s heart so that he groaned from deep within. “Which way should I choose?” he cried.

The Good Shepherd watched the young man who stood halting between two opinions and like the soft gentle rain falling from heaven, he began to speak softly into Joel’s heart. “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

After contemplating the narrow way, Joel found that he just could not bear the thought of carrying that heavy cross through the gate of life and down the narrow road. Being quite aware of the story told to all travellers of how narrow was the way of the righteous, he cringed at the very thought of it. Joel knew that the narrow way led to persecutions and tribulations for the word’s sake and he sure did not want to be burdened with that.

Looking into the Narrow way, Joel realized that he would never be able to walk down such a narrow path and still be encumbered with the cares of this life. To his dismay he saw that cross at the door of Hope and there was just no way of getting around it. “You don’t want to take that narrow road do you?” Joel’s carnal nature balked as Joel pondered the narrow way. “Come on give me a break! That way is for losers, the simple-minded who need a crutch to get through life!

Joel’s moral conscience that wanted to obey the written law rather than the Spirit of life, also cried out at Joel’s peering into the narrow way. “Don’t take that road! You won’t be able to obey the law for righteousness!”

Considering the voice of his moral conscience which tried to persuade him to walk in self-righteousness and his carnal nature which pulled him towards vice and vanity, Joel turned aside from the way of life and began his journey down the wide road.

Filled with his own ways, Joel was enticed by his carnal nature, to pursue after the pleasures of this life. With delight he traveled the wide road experiencing the most tempting sensations that he could possibly imagine. Revealed before him in all their arrangement of wonderful and tantalising fare were the pleasures of this life conceived from the inordinate desires of the hearts of men.

By choosing his own way, the traveler of the wide road at once began to pursue the passions of his wayward heart.  Having resisted the gentle wind of conviction that blew over him at the cross roads of life, Joel’s heart soon became hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. By rejecting the way of truth, he was soon filled with the error of his own ways and it was not long before his journey down the wide road led him through the deceitful weeds of wicked intentions. In Joel’s ignorance, he began to pursue with rigorous fervour, worldly endeavours and being tempted by the dark powers of this present world who ruled the wide road, he soon became entangled with the affairs of this life.

The Good Shepherd who seeks out those who are lost and without hope on the wide road, continued to watch over the young man on his journey with great compassion. For Joel was a chosen vessel called by God for his eternal purposes and even though he would go through a time of great darkness, the Father who knows the beginning from the end would draw Joel and call him out of darkness into his glorious light.

Traveling through the weeds of wicked intentions that lead through the thorny spikes of worldly sorrows, Joel in stubborn determination continued in his own way until he came to the entrance of the land of Self-seeking.  At the entrance to the city he saw a sinister looking man sitting in a booth by the wayside. Dressed in black attire and wearing a devilish grin upon his face the man motioned for Joel to come towards him. As he did, Joel saw a sign hanging over the booth where the man was sitting, that read; “Welcome to the Wide Road. All travelers required to exert self will and worldly ambition. Have a pleasant journey.”

The man at the booth, who was eyeing the traveler of the wide road rather impertinently with an all-knowing look upon his face, caused Joel to become rather annoyed. With an impudence of his own, he decided to confront the man head on. “What seems to be your problem?” Joel asked not bothering to cover up his quite blatant aggravation. The man at the booth just ignored him and with a mischievous grin sighed, as if to say, “I have been here so many times before and you are just another number of the many who are going their own way down the wide road. ”

Holding out a pair of dark glasses for Joel to take, the man at the booth began twisting his thin moustache, and said with a smirk on his face. “Here, friend, you will need to wear these if you want to continue in your own way down the Wide Road.”

“What are they for?” Joel asked as he held up the dark glasses to the sun and peered curiously through them.

They are your blinders,” the man grinned again mischievously. “All our travelers must wear them, you know, they keep out the light.

“How will I ever be able to see with these things on?” Joel asked the smirking man in bewilderment.

These blinders will not obstruct your vision in any way, traveler, but serve only to keep the messengers of the gospel from penetrating your understanding. You do not want to lose your own way do you?” The man grinned with a look of glee.

“Why, of course not,” Joel balked. “who are these messengers of the gospel anyway?”

Bothersome creatures and quite fanatic I’m afraid.” The man at the booth sighed with resignation. “They try to hinder your journey down the wide road and will even stop it if they can, by preaching that foolish gospel which claims only one way to salvation. You don’t believe that stuff do you?”

Joel shook his head quite vehemently. “No, I do not!”

I didn’t think so or you wouldn’t be here.” The man at the booth laughed uproariously. “Who could believe such a tale? Did you know that those goody two-shoes are always trying to keep our travelers from enjoying the pleasures of this life?”

Wrinkling his nose with displeasure as he fastened the dark glasses on his face, Joel declared with pride, “I intend on enjoying the pleasures of this life and no pesky light creature is going to take off my blinders of that you can be sure!”

The man at the booth twirled his handle bar moustache and grinned even more at Joel’s wilfulness. “Well so long. I guess I’ll be on my way now.” Joel said as he turned around to continue his journey down the wide road. “I’m off to search for the pleasures of this life.”

The man at the booth then yelled after Joel, “Remember; don’t let those messengers of the gospel take off your blinders. You could get saved from the pleasures of this life and change over to the other side if you are not careful.”

“I’ll be careful.” Joel yelled back.

The wide road which at first was filled with ease and comfort gradually became cumbersome for the traveler and very unpredictable. Joel soon found himself being led down one dead-end and then another. Finally, after going down many bends and curves, the traveler of the wide road became quiet exhausted and he fell down into a crumbled heap on the cold and stony ground.

Just when Joel was drifting off into a deep slumber, from out of nowhere sprung up from the cracks of the hard cold ground, vines, which began ever so craftily to wind themselves about the traveler of the wide road’s feet. Clinging to his weak flesh the vines of vanity held on to Joel tenaciously, keeping him firmly fixed to the cares of this life.

Awaking with a start, the traveler of the wide road found to his dismay, that he could not in his own power break free from the intense grip that the vines of vanity had upon him. Creeping up his pant legs the vines of vanity had found their way to the traveler of the wide road’s heart, where with a death like grip they squeezed on tightly to his high-minded imagination that was being nourished, and fed upon the wisdom of this world.

At the point of absolute despair, Joel cried out, to God or a god, whoever would listen and come to his aid during times of trouble. To his surprise, once again Joel heard the familiar still small voice calling him to the narrow way.

What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Struggling with his carnal human nature that desired after that which perishes with the using, the traveler of the wide road found himself becoming more and more bound up in the vines of vanity. The more that Joel tried to get free from the ensnarement of the cares of this life, the more entangled he became. It was not until Joel completely reached the end of his own self-exertion that he finally began to be able to bend his leg inward just enough to straighten out his own way and get part of himself free. At the sound of the Good Shepherd’s voice whose mercy spread over Joel like the wings of an eagle, the vines of vanity eventually began to loosen their grip.

It was just enough for the traveler of the wide road to find a way of escape. Then with all his might Joel forced his way out from the vines of vanity which had grown in abundance on the hard cold ground. But like an ox going to the slaughter, the traveler of the wide road once again returned to the pathway of wicked intentions that he hoped would lead him eventually to the pleasures of this life.

Winding and winding, the way of self- seeking seemed to be getting Joel nowhere, until just before he was about to give up on ever finding his own way, he saw before him a lush valley spread out in the not too far distance. It was a wonderful discovery for the traveler of the wide road to be able to finally find a place to satisfy the longing of his empty heart and rest his weary troubled soul from the trials of life that he had just experienced.

In this deceptive valley on the wide road grew many trees, worldly and wise. Hanging from their branches were passionate fruit that was soft and juicy and blossoming among the enlightened of this age were flowers adorned with vain beauty; tempting tulips in a variety of colors, Chrysanthemums adorned with pompous pompons, peonies tall and tantalizing, roses with spiky thorns, daffodils trumpeting clusters of hearsay as well as many other kinds of wild flowers growing wild and wondrous.

The traveler of the wide road, with pleasure partook of the forbidden fruit of worldly desire as he frolicked among the wild flowers whose fragrance intoxicated him with euphoric pleasure, so much so that Joel soon became completely over taken by the love of this present world. Eventually, even the air in which Joel breathed became so enticing that he could scarce keep awake and alert to moral danger. Having his mind controlled by the sensual lure which had captivated his heart and dulled his perceptively, Joel was aroused exceedingly to the cares of this life.

Having his heart filled with the intoxicating aroma of worldly passions and the wisdom of this world, Joel closed his eyes and fell into a deep slumber, at the base of a huge willow tree that was filled with the strength and might of the gods of this age. He slept in self-confidence and snored aloud in his apathetic slumber.

Flooding the traveler of the wide road’s dreams were fanciful feasts of delicious dainties and delightful passions that tantalized his imagination. This caused him to sleep on and on without feeling any immediate consequence for his selfish motives and wilful deeds in which he pursued life.

When Joel finally awoke from his sensual dreaming his head was groggy from the heady aroma of the bouquets that surrounded him in the deceptive valley. Stumbling to his feet, with the worldly wisdom still lingering on his soul, the traveler of the wide road began to move ever so slowly through the valley and into a very crooked path which overflowed with the love of this present world.

Making his own way down the crooked path, Joel, was not quite able to shake the conviction of having resisted the still small voice. With concerted willfulness he hardened his heart and set his will once more towards traveling down the wide road in search of the pleasures of this life.

Like the sound of many waters, whose waves flowed back into the ocean, the still small voice became only an echo in his memory, with the words, “Come follow Me.” whispering ever so quietly into his heart.

By following the crooked path, Joel was led to many more crooked paths with each of these having their own particular bend. Some were muddy and cumbersome, while others were dusty and dry. Still others were lined with hewn stones formed by the ways of man having a hard path which reflected the hearts of all travelers who sought after their own way. “They have made for themselves crooked paths,” the Good Shepherd sighed as he watched Joel journey in his own way, down the wide road, “Whoever goes in that way shall not know peace.”

The crooked path led the traveler of the wide road towards all things askew and horribly deformed. The right way was maligned and evil spoken of and the narrow path mocked with contempt. After stumbling over many stumbling stones, Joel decided to rest in a grassy field on a crooked path, misleading in its delusive deviation from the truth.