Count It All Joy
by Jarrad Miller
All of these things are bound to come upon us at some point throughout our lives, some way, shape, or form. Unfortunate? Yes. Is God to blame? No. Does God allow these things to come to pass? Yes.
Let’s review the story of Job. He was known as a righteous man; an upright man who was blessed and had favor with both God and man.
In Job 1:6-12, a conversation occurs between God and Satan:
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?”
So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
Then 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 fears God and shuns evil?”
So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on him.”
God allowed Satan to destroy his flocks, possessions, children, and his health. Job refused to give up on God, even though he didn’t understand why this was happening to him.
Setbacks, tragedies, and sorrows strike Christians and non-Christians alike. But as Christians, when we go through tests and trials, God expects us to express our faith to the world.
In James we are advised, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (Jam. 1:2-3).
In his passage, notice how James didn’t say “if” you face trials, but “when” you face them. I was always told that you have to go through some things to know some things. Although God loves us—believing and obeying Him do not shelter us from life’s calamities.
Adversity destroys superficial faith.
In turn it strengthens real faith, by causing believers to dig their roots deeper into God to weather the storms we will face.
Jesus dives deeper into this explanation in Luke 6; “Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great" (v. 47-49).
When life is calm, our foundations don’t seem to matter. But when crisis arises, our foundations are tested. Be certain your life is built on the solid foundation of knowing and trusting Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, I leave you with the words of our Apostle Paul in Romans 5:3-5; “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
"Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator." (1 Pet. 4:19)
So keep your hope in God, always giving Him praise, honor and glory in your life—through our LORD Jesus Christ. Since we know God is faithful, we can count on Him to fulfill His promises to us.
So how do you respond to your troubles? Do you ask God, “why me?” Or do you ask, “use me?”
The Humble Servant
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. - Romans 12:3 NLT
One of the biggest things we fail to realize is: LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU! Everybody has needs, wants and desires that we would like to be met. As Believers, it’s shameful to admit that we have not grasped this truth. Christ led by example and the most profound thing He ever did, was die on the Cross for the sins of the world.
Jesus Christ was a true example of humility, for Paul said:
"Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion." -Philippians 2:5-8 MSG
Jesus taught this profound truth to His followers saying:
"Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage." - Matthew 20:27-28 MSG
“So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.” - Mark 9:35 MSG
“This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again.” - John 10:17 MSG
Now whenever Jesus spoke, He backed it up be His actions. He isn’t looking for “hearers” or “sayers” of the Word, but DOERS. It makes no difference how much Scripture you know, if you don’t apply it daily it’s all meaningless.
John 13 illustrates the love that He had for His disciples. He goes on to say: "I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life" (John 13:15-17).
What happened? Now I commend those who are still living this truth, but honestly… we must do better!
We are privileged children; a royal priesthood and in a privileged position to live out the life that our Lord & Savior ordained for us. But we have become “spoiled” children, always wanting to be pampered, wanting to receive; we want to inherit the blessings of God but we don’t carry that Cross.
What about the well-being of others? Society has already taken on the role of self-gratification but this would not be so in the Body of Christ. Our brother, Apostle Paul said:
"If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." - Phil. 2:1-4 MSG
So many people seem to be worried about their own happiness; people seeking their own glory instead of the Lord’s. A career change, a new relationship, material things - whatever it takes for them to obtain happiness, not understanding that although, they may end up “happy” when they have achieved all these things; NOTHING measures up to the joy that our Father provides.
Happiness in this world depends on circumstances, but joy from the Lord Jesus can never be depleted… because true security is found in Him!
I understand how you feel. The word of God says to draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. But understand this, God dwells inside of you, so no matter how you feel or what you’re going thru, nothing can separate you from the love of God. He loves you. He adores you. Keep the faith, and if you ever need anything, just send me a message. I’ll be here. But God will never leave nor forsake you.
He Calls You Friend
By: Minister J. Miller Sr.
God is the greatest friend we can ever have! I know to some that may sound crazy, but let’s just take a moment and evaluate the qualities of a friend.
A friend is defined as: an intimate associate; association of familiarity and companionship. The number one quality in any friendship is TRUST! You can trust that person with all of your secrets, without having to worry about whether if they will expose you or not. A friend is someone that you can depend on. That person will be there for you through thick and thin. A friend will love you, value you, cherish you for who you are, not for what you can do for them.
I can honestly say, I haven’t met too many people like that. But there is One Faithful Gentleman I know and His name is Jesus! He desires to have an intimate relationship with the people He created. He does not want or desire rituals, but intimacy! He tells us in Revelations: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me." Jesus wants to have fellowship with us, and He wants us to open up to Him. He is patient and persistent in trying to get through to us—not breaking and entering, but “knocking" (3:20). You have the option to invite Him into your "home" or leave Him outside to stand in the cold.
Unfortunately, many people choose to ignore Him. I ignored Jesus the majority of my life. I grew up in a home where God was revered, but it just wasn’t real to me. I was living life seeking the approval of man, all the while Christ was just left outside, wanting to fill me with His love; the love I desired so much. The pleasures of the world—money, security, material possessions—can be dangerous, because their temporary satisfaction makes us indifferent to God’s offer of lasting satisfaction.
Today, I live my life dedicated to God, for "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). One day I was walking on my way to work and the Lord spoke to and said, “I desire to be friends with my people.”
Pretense displeases God, especially when it comes to His “service.” Jesus said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:8-9).
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. - John 15:13-15
Because Jesus Christ is Lord and Master, He should call us servants, instead He calls us friends. How comforting and pleasing to be chosen as Christ’s friends. Because He is Lord and Master, we owe Him our unqualified obedience, but most of all, Jesus calls us to obey Him because we love Him.
God wants our time.
God wants our commitment.
God wants our hearts, for He is the lover of our souls.
Make a decision to today to put God first, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Thank you. Glory be to God! My work is for the Lord and His glory. Thank you for stopping by :-)
Church Attacks Kill 17 In Kenya
At least 17 Christians were killed in simultaneous attacks on two churches near the Somali border on Sunday, July 1. A group of masked assailants launched grenades and opened fire with assault rifles on a Roman Catholic church and an African Inland Church located about two miles apart in Garissa, Kenya. In addition to the 17 killed, more than 40 people were wounded in the attacks.
The deadliest attack was on the African Inland Church, where two policemen guarding the church were shot and killed. The attackers then threw two grenades into the building, causing serious injuries to worshipers.
Broadcast news footage showed the after-effects of the attacks—benches knocked over, blood pooled on the floor and splattered on the walls, clothing lying on the floor and Bibles strewn throughout the buildings.
“This is the worst single attack since October, when our troops went into Somalia,” national police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told Reuters. “It is the worst in terms of the numbers killed, the manner of execution, the anger behind it and the anguish it has aroused, as well as the national impact it has had.”
The northern Kenyan town of Garissa has been used as a base for operations against insurgents in Somalia since October. Although no group has claimed responsibility for the church attacks, Reuters reports that police blame sympathizers of Somalia-based al-Shabab.
“You can imagine for such a small town how the police and medical services have been stretched trying to deal with this,” regional deputy police chief Philip Ndolo told Reuters.
Sources: Reuters, BBC News
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.— 1 Corinthians 1:27
Vietnam: Wives of Prisoners
In this report, you’ll meet three tribal women who traveled two days from their village in the mountains to tell us their stories. One said, “My husband was put in prison because he requested freedom of religion in the faith (Christianity).” Another told us of the challenges facing Christian women in her village because of the imprisonment of their husbands, “He’s not at home. No one can do heavy labor at home, only women and children. We are afraid that the government will bring more difficulties upon our lives.” You’ll also meet a pastor who has suffered beatings because of his Christian activities.
Video credit: One Hundred Huntley Street/The Voice of the Martyrs Canada
Voice of The Martyr’s: Violence Increasing in Iraq
USA Prayer Update for August 3, 2012
Sources: VOM Contacts, BBC NewsViolence Increasing in Iraq
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4 NKJV
At least 107 people were killed in the Baghdad area on July 23 in a wave of coordinated bombings and shootings. Of the 19 towns affected, the worst hit was a Sunni neighborhood in which 41 people were killed. The attacks are thought to be the work of al-Qaida. “It has been a terrible day here in Baghdad,” said a VOM contact. “None of our people have been killed as far as we know, but there have been severe injuries. We are just trying to see how we can help people. We do not know how much worse it will get.” Sectarian violence is on the rise in Iraq amid growing political tensions. At least 237 people were killed during the month of June. “There have been further threats sent to us as Christians today,” the VOM contact said. “Thank you for your prayers. We need them.” Pray for Iraqi Christians as they walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Love Is Blind
By: Minister J. Miller Sr.
What is the definition of LOVE? Our society confuses love & lust. Unlike lust, God’s kind of love is directed outward towards others, not inward towards ourselves. Love has become a mixed-up term with little meaning.
Today, people are still confused about love. It is the greatest of all human qualities, and it is an attribute of God himself!
Whoever does not love does not know God,
because God is love. - 1 John 4:8
God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness" (Jer. 31:3). He is eager to do the best for us if we will let Him. Before we were formed in the womb the Lord knew us. For years we swam around in a sea of meaningless searching for love. Mary J. Blige had a joint called "Real Love,’ where she belted out that she was in search of a real love. However, I will never forget the song by Eve called "Love Is Blind."
“Love is blind and it will take over your mind. What you think is love, is truly not.
You need to elevate and find." - Eve
There is definitely some truth to the above statement, but love is NOT blind; it’s the people who know the Word, but do NOT know the meaning of it! In high school, I dated a girl I thought I was in love with. But I tried to control her. God gently leads, Satan tugs hard. I didn’t want her to wear revealing clothes, or have male friends, because I thought they would probably be flirtatious with each other. I would get upset if I even thought she looked at another guy. No longer did I look at her as human. I looked at her as my property, and ultimately I felt that I could put my hands on her…all in the name of LOVE!
LOVE IS NOT BLIND! It is that the truth of love has been veiled to those who do not know or have fellowship with the Son. Rihanna sings to us, “we found love in a hopeless place,” but when you spend your meaningless life searching for love and searching for hope, eventually you will realize that hope & love are found in Jesus Christ who will never disappoint.
So back to Eve’s song, “what you think is love, is truly not. You need to elevate and find." Ain’t that the truth! The Word of God says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
In conclusion, we need to elevate and find out what love is truly about. Apostle Paul said that love is the greatest gift.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
CHOOSE GOD…CHOOSE LOVE!