Kaye Mendoza: December 10, 2007

Count it all Joy

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." [James 1:2-3]

Amid trials and tribulations, James tells us to count it all joy - for these trials of many kinds tests our faith and develops perseverance. This perseverance must finish its work so that we may emerge mature and complete, not lacking anything.

When we are facing trials, there are times when we think that they are more than what we can bear. But when we anchor our faith on Him Who is in control, our Jehovah Elohim, we know that we are standing on sure ground. No matter how bleak the circumstances are, we still stand on the Word of God, which is the Truth. God never gives us more than what we can bear, He is always there to help us and be our strength.

I pray that this day, in all our life's trials and tribulations, problems and persecutions, in the midst of adversity and animosity - we shall stand on the faith and the promise of our God, the Lord Jesus Christ - that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.

He knows everything and everything is under His control. For as long as God is God and He is on the throne, our peace, our love, our joy and our salvation is assured. Blessed be the Lord forevermore, to Him Who is, Who was and Is to come! Let us count it pure joy that we are being tested. let us count it all joy that we are able to glorify God in our lives.

Let us love the Lord with all our hearts, with all our souls and with all our strength. We are made for this, this is our purpose in life - let us count it all joy for the glory of God.

Debie Misir: December 03, 2007

The Hand of Grace

God's grace falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:45 He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. It is by His grace that we all live and breathe. Even those who do not acknowledge that there is a God, enjoy God's grace each and every moment, for without His grace, we cannot exist as evidenced in Job 34:14,15 If he (God) gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

We are all sinners, some saved by grace and some still in our sins. The word of God says, "the wages of sin is death", so in essence, those who do not confess their sins and believe on the One who died for the remission our sins, are indeed still sinners and are spiritually dead (separated from God). It is only a matter of time before their earthly bodies die as well and return to dust. In Genesis 6:3 the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years. Thus, God has given His grace to mortal man for 120 years. During that time, it is grace at work through the Spirit of the Lord to free our wills and grant us repentance unto Salvation. Even for those who have repented and are saved by grace, washed in the blood of the Lamb and made heirs to the throne of God with Christ Jesus, grace is still at work in us. We are now being sanctified by grace, we live, move and have our being in Christ by grace, and we are being transformed daily into the image and likeness of Christ by grace.

Will the hand of Grace always be extended to man? The Bible clearly states that it will not. For the unbelievers, it is the grace of God that saves them from literally experiencing "Hell on earth" right now. For the Spirit of the living God is now on the earth, dwelling within the hearts of the believers. However on the day of "the rapture", when all the saints shall be taken up, the Holy Spirit will ascend back to Heaven with them, then Hell on earth will become a reality for those who rejected God. For although the Hell that was prepared for Satan and his fallen angels is a place of fire and brimstone, the true Hell for all of mankind, is a place without God presence. It is a place of utter darkness, emptiness, and despair; a place without God's love, peace, joy, or comfort; a place of eternal loss and hopelessness. 2 Thessalonians 2:7,8 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed.

For us, who believe and have received the gift of God by grace, there is also no guarantee that God's grace will continue if we grieve the Holy Spirit. In the book of revelation, chapter 3, John is writing, in the Spirit of the Lord, to the church in Sardis warning them against being a "dead" church. The Lord warns them that it is not enough to believe and receive, but it is to "obey" what they had heard. Rev 3:5 states He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life. In other words, though we initially believed and repented, we must now walk in obedience to every word of God or the hand of grace will be lifted and even that which we initially received will be taken away. If we continue to disobey the word of God, and harden our hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit, God will take His Spirit away from us. We must work out our salvation daily, with fear and trembling, in obedience and reverence to a Holy God and loving Savior. Only then is our blessed assurance sure.

Father, we pray, like David Lord, take not thine Holy Spirit from us, but help us to be obedient to Your every precept, Your every word. Teach us to hide Your truth in our hearts that we might not sin against you. Lead us in all the paths of righteousness, by the power of your Spirit, in Jesus's name we pray. Amen.