15 Days of Faith – Day 5

I don’t know many people who like being tested. I used to think that if I ever got out of school, I’d never have to take another test in my life. Boy, was I wrong. I have an oral report I give every Sunday (called a sermon), turn in an annual report of my finances to the IRS, submit reports and updates to ministry leaders in my church, and I have to go to the doctor for physicals and the dentist for checkups. Tests are a part of life.

The Bible says that God tests our faith. In today’s video, I speak briefly about why our faith is tested, but I want to write for a moment about how it’s tested. Usually, when something is tested, pressure is asserted. It may be mental pressure, like a student in school, or physical pressure, like an athlete on the football field. You’ll find that in spiritual testing, pressure is also applied to our lives.

I don’t want to say that God initiates all of the pressure on us for the testing of our faith, but I know that God uses it. Sometimes, our faith is tested because someone else acts out their brokenness and we get injured as collateral damage. Everyone is broken by sin. People act like broken people because of sin, and those actions can cause a lot of pain and struggle in other people’s lives. Although God is not the cause of those actions, He always harnesses an opportunity to grow us into the likeness of His Son. Do you remember David in the Old Testament? One of the great tests of his life came from his own son’s rebellion.

We may be tested by physical struggle. This struggle could come in the form of sickness or financial struggle. Again, God doesn’t always cause these issues, but He uses them to grow us and shape us. Job fell into this category. The Apostle Paul also had a physical struggle. We don’t know what it was, but we do know that he asked God to remove it from him on three different occasions. Here’s how God responded to Paul’s request, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Paul learned that being weakened or even broken was not necessarily a bad thing. God’s power grows in our brokenness.

The Bible says that God has a purpose for our testing, and the bottom line is that it’s always for our good. Testing matures us and strengthens us. It helps us to know ourselves and teaches us how to depend upon God.

Are you being tested now? Cry out to God. Learn from God during this time and let Him work in your life. One day you’ll see that you will come through the fire and survive the struggle. You’ll find that you are stronger in the Lord than before and more equipped mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually to serve the Lord.

In the meantime, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,       knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Watch today’s video by clicking this link.

15 Days of Faith – Day 4

What does it mean to fix your mind on something? Have you ever had a problem you needed to solve, and you thought about it continuously throughout the day? I remember a serious problem I had a few years ago, and there seemed to be no solution. I pondered the issue for days. I awakened one night with the solution. For starters, I believe God gave me the solution, but it all came about because my mind was fixed upon it (and I prayed fervently about it).

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” For starters, I like the idea of perfect peace. God’s Word is 100% true, and it says perfect peace is a possibility. The Hebrew literally says, “peace, peace” — a double load of peace. It was a Hebrew idiom or way of saying something is complete.

Do you see the word “keep” in that scripture? It means to “secure or guard as with a garrison.” God says He is going to stand guard over those who fix their minds on Him and fully trust Him. It reminds me of another passage found in the New Testament:

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Do you want “peace, peace,” perfect peace? Keep your mind fixed on God. How do you do that? I suggest first to fill your mind with Scripture. Meditate on the Word of God throughout the day. Sing songs of worship that magnify God and praise His name. Pray without ceasing. Talk to God all day long about what’s going on in your life and in the world. Christianity is a relationship to be experienced not a program to attend.

If you fix your mind on God, he will set up a guard over your heart and your mind. You will find a peace that is mind-blowing and soul healing.

I invite you to watch my video for additional thoughts as you choose daily to keep your mind fixed upon God.

Cashless Society and the Last Days

bitcoinWould a cashless society move us more quickly to an economic climate conducive for the last days? The Bible prophecies that in the last days, our world will be joined together under one government. While it seems to me that a one-world government will not happen without some sort of global catastrophe, there are several additional things happening in our world today that will make this global unification possible. One thing of interest is the financial unrest being experienced around the world. In order for one man to rule the world, world economies must be unified. This means that there must be some sort of global currency that is accepted in every marketplace. A global currency will either be preceded by a global economic failure that happens instantly around the world, or it could happen gradually as a result of struggles within several key nations. The unification of global markets may seem to be a good solution to a widespread problem. Once key nations agree to a unified economy, the smaller nations will soon follow. I believe there was a time in our nation’s history when this unification would have been very difficult, but today this feat will not be as challenging. One difference is that fewer people carry cash in their pockets. Experts tells us that debit card usage has increased dramatically over recent years, and now people can even use their smart phones as a means of making purchases. There was a time when people carried a number of bills in their wallets, but now those days are slowly drawing to a close. While some people still use cash, many of us depend largely upon our debit cards. According to Retail Touchpoints, cash is no longer king in the marketplace and hasn’t been since June of 2012. J.P. Morgan is now announcing their plans to initiate a “mobile wallet” to their customers. A number of consumers use PayPal on a regular basis as their means for paying for items at the checkout register. Once our society has totally bought into a cashless existence, it will not matter to our citizens if we call our cash dollars or euros or whatever. One currency that is growing in popularity is the bitcoin. This is a virtual currency that is being recognized around the world, and it is easy to see how it could one day be the currency of choice. The Bible teaches that Jesus is returning for Christians in what we often refer to as the rapture. I do not know if the rapture will happen before this one-world government is finalized, but we can see evidence of it slowly taking shape. One evidence will be a global currency made much easier through a cashless society. Jesus said to be watchful; He is coming back. So, the next time you swipe your debit card or pay for your products with your PayPal account, just know we are one step closer to the return of Christ.