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God's Grace Ministries
2004; devil, no more!
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Excerpt from a letter sent 3-9-2004.

Greetings in Christ!
I am sending this to you all as a message to begin 2004.  We will take a look at James 1:2-7

2.  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
 3.  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
 4.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
 5.  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
 6.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
 7.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

We have made a choice to not only accept Christ into our lives, but we have also made the decision to serve God.  Our ultimate goal is to  spread the gospel of Christ so that other souls may accept Christ in their lives to recieve salvation just as we did.  Let us think about any major sport.  Be it football, baseball, soccer, basketball, cricket, etc.; you have another team standing in your way, trying to make it as difficult as they can to prevent you from scoring points.  Why?  So that they can win, and you can loose.  Likewise are there many things that is in the way of you spreading the gospel and effectively working in the ministry of Christ.  We have personal attacks, and then we have attacts against our ministries.
We must be able to know that with each attack that we endure, we gain.  We only loose when we make the decision to give in and be weary in well doing.  But if we withstand the firey darts of the enemy, as well as the tests and trials God sets up for us to go through, we become victors and allow God's glory to shine through us.  How? If I am having a difficulty, there are many who are watching me not to see what the outcome is going to be, but to see how I handle the situation until the outcome arrives.  Because knowing that I made it through is one thing, but being able to show others how to do the same is another topic in itself.

Word Study
\Test\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Tested; p. pr. & vb. n. Testing.] 1. (Metal.) To refine, as gold or silver, in a test, or cupel; to subject to cupellation.
2. To put to the proof; to prove the truth, genuineness, or quality of by experiment, or by some principle or standard; to try; as, to test the soundness of a principle; to test the validity of an argument.
So we find here in James, that when we do enter our tests, we should count it all joy. Think of it this way.  With every problem that comes your way, there is a reward waiting for you based on your results.  In school, we take a test to see if we have an understanding of what we have studied.  This provides proof of what we have learned.  The more I study to understand, the higher my grade can be on the test.  Likewise, as we study to show ourselves approved unto God, as we find in 2 Timothy 2:15, we get our tests from God.  We say that we have understood the love of God?  We will be tested for that.  We say that we have studied and understood the fruit of the Spirit?  We will be tested for that.  Through our families, through our friends, our co workers, neighbors, enemies...people around us in general can be used to create situations in which we are tested.
So after we have studied the Word of God we get to apply it through faith. That is what helps us to make it through the test.  Being able to smile and have a faitful attitude, even when there is no money in the bank.  Even in the toughest trial, we can still open our mouths and our hearts and praise God as if we have all our needs met.  We teach others who are watching us, the importance of not only faith, but patience.  Sometimes, we ask God to end our trials and our tribulations.  We feel that we cannot make it through, or that we cannot handle the trial.  In doing so, we also are asking Him to take away our reward for enduring to the end.  So we must patiently endure our tests and trials knowing that God is trying to perfect a work in you.  We cannot advance to the next level in school unless we are tested!  Nor can we advance to the next level in God unless we are likewise tested.
In essence, when we look at verse 4, we see that the end result is "that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."  The way to pefection is to renew your mind to want nothing. Being content with Jesus alone.  Paul states in Phillipians 4:11, " Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."  Think about it, if we want nothing, it does not allow room for the devil to cause us to be jealous because of what someone else has.  It does not leave room for envy if someone else gets what you want.  It does not leave room for you to be upset if what you ask for does not come instantly.  It teaches us to be content and patient; so that God can be God.
But it continues to let us know that if we cannot face our trials with patience and faith, it makes it hard for the end result to come, and the things we ask for, we may as well forget about it.  It's like telling God, "Listen, I know I failed your test, but bless me anyhow.  I know that I gave up before the end, but can you answer my prayer?"  Those of us that have children, imagine if they came home with a report that they failed all of their classes, and then asked you for a new car and money?   That is the mindset we have when we do not allow our tests and trials to have it's perfect work, and the blessings and rewards God has for us gets hindered as we are wavering in our faith.

How do we waiver?  If we believe in God, we must believe in His Word.  If His Word says that He will never give us more than we can bear, then we must believe that all tests and trials are given to us in a measure in which we can bear.  We are never tested beyond what God knows we can handle.  What glory can God recieve by giving us a test that He know we will fail?  It brings more definition to us being more than a conqueror, because we are given a test in which we can pass!  We are given a battle in which we can win!  So our test becomes testimonies!

Word Study
tes·ti·mo·ny    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (tst-mn)
2. Evidence in support of a fact or assertion; proof.
Notice that the definition of the word 'test', indicates that it is trying to find proof. Testimony is the evidence of that proof.  There is a game which I play on my computer.  I like to use strategy games because it excercises my mind to think and to think quick.  This particular game, it set itself up so that I must defend myself against 7 other armies.  Each army can war against each other, but they usually seem to all join together to defeat me.  I tried it a few times, and would be defeated.  I was about to give up, but tried one more time.  I named the army Judah, and coincidentally, the computer assigned the color of my army to be purple.  A color of devine royalty.  I began and gained a little ground, but just as expected, they joined together to defeat me.  I was about to just turn the game off knowing what then end result was.  But for some reason, I decieded to see it through to the end.  If I am defeated, I get defeated with my very last try. To make a long story short (it took about four hours), I defeated all 7 armies.
Now that was just a game, but sometimes in life, we give up just before the victory.  We say to ourselves that we cannot be victorious and forget that we are already victors in Christ.  Serving in ministry is toughh these days, with all that is going on. Internationally, ministries face the challenge of ministering with little available resources and funds. Here in the U.S. it seems that our challenge is not only the funds it takes to run ministry, but the traditions which has been established in the church.  Whatever the challenge we face, we must overcome it because the price is too great to loose.  Someone's soul is waiting to recieve salvaltion because you allowed God to use you.
Finally, "brethren, be not weary in well doing." As we go into 2004, let us say to the devil, "2004, devil, no more!" Let us put on our armor of God, let us stand with our heads looking towards the hills from which cometh our help, and let us march on to victory in the name of Jesus Christ!  Now may the peace of God which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, amen!

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