Faith Under Pressure
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
Remember–it takes BOTH Faith and Patience to INHERIT God’s Promises!
“All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
Tested by the Devil
Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.
The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.”
Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.”
For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.”
Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?”
“Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, ‘Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.’”
That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.
When God, your God, ushers you into the land He promised through your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you, you’re going to walk into large, bustling cities you didn’t build, well-furnished houses you didn’t buy, come upon wells you didn’t dig, vineyards and olive orchards you didn’t plant. When you take it all in and settle down, pleased and content, make sure you don’t forget how you got there—God brought you out of slavery in Egypt.
Deeply respect God, your God. Serve and worship Him exclusively. Back up your promises with His name only. Don’t fool around with other gods, the gods of your neighbors, because God, your God, who is alive among you is a jealous God. Don’t provoke Him, igniting His hot anger that would burn you right off the face of the Earth. Don’t push God, your God, to the wall as you did that day at Massah, the Testing-Place. Carefully keep the commands of God, your God, all the requirements and regulations He gave you. Do what is right; do what is good in God’s sight so you’ll live a good life and be able to march in and take this pleasant land that God so solemnly promised through your ancestors, throwing out your enemies left and right—exactly as God said. (Deuteronomy 6:10 -19)
“It will be a set-right and put-together life for us if we make sure that we do this entire commandment in the Presence of God, our God, just as he commanded us to do.”
This is the work of god–to believe. god was at work in christ who is the beginning and the end and with us all the way IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH BY HIS POWERFUL HOLY SPIRIT HELPING US BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO WHAT IS PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT. FOR HE CREATED US FOR GOOD WORKS TO WALK IN THEM. HE IS IN THE BUSINESS OF TURNING ALL OUR LOSSES–PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL SUFFERING, BEING FORSAKEN, ALONENESS, BEREAVEMENT, FORFEITED, LOST OR STOLLEN MONEY, POSITION, OR REPUTATION, RELINQUISHED RIGHTS–INTO GAINS, THE TRUE AND LASTING RICHES WHICH ARE KEPT SAFELY IN CHRIST JESUS FOREVER SECURE. BUT FOR NOW, HE IS USING ALL THESE PERCEIVED LOSSES WHICH IN HIS EYES, ARE ETERNAL WORTHY GAINS, TO MATURE US, TO REFINE US, TO STRENGTHEN US, TO PREPARE US, TO ENRICH US–IF WE WILL ONLY LET HIM.
be still and know that i am god that i will be exalted among the nations. when we stand in the place prepared for us by the lord in the wilderness of this barren earth and its fallen, corrupt world system, we gain the right to stand with god as children brought into intimate relationship through the risen son of god the father almighty. we stand on christ the solid rock. we walk in his word of truth–the word sent by god to heal and deliver from the curse of sin and death. the word that calls forth the end from the beginning calling forth those things that be not as though they are for jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, from everlasting to everlasting, he is lord. he is god of the living, not the dead. he is the resurrection and the life. he is the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the father but through him. when we return to him, the spirit is given to lead and guide us into all truth revealing jesus every step of the way for the lord gives grace and glory, no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly with him. if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of jesus cleanses from all unrighteousness. every where you place your foot, you take the kingdom! as he was sent, he sends us out. when we are little in our own eyes, we see more of his glory revealed as king of kings and lord of lords! our vision is fixed solely on he who is the beginning and end and with us through it all. for nothing is impossible with god. i would have fainted had i not believed to see the goodness of the lord in the land of the living; wait i say on the lord and he will strengthen your heart. he will open the eyes of your heart as you step out in faith as jesus said, “all things are possible if you can believe.” and as He also said, “fear not, only believe—then you shall see the glory of god revealed.” put out any dis-trust of his word and only believe do not allow anything no matter what to come between you and he who is forever faithful and true.
Place Your Life Before God
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2)
The Lord Be Praised
Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart where those who are right with God gather together and in the meeting of the people. The works of the Lord are great. All who find joy in them try to understand them.
His work is great and powerful. And He is right and good forever. He has made His great works to be remembered.
The Lord shows loving-favor and pity. He gives food to those who fear Him. He will remember His agreement forever.
He has shown His people the power of His works by giving them the land of other nations.
The works of His hands are faithful and right. All His Laws are true. They stand strong forever and ever.
They are done by what is true and right. He has made a way for His people to be free. He has set up His agreement forever. His holy name is to be honored with fear. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
All who obey His Laws have good understanding. His praise lasts forever. (Psalm 111)
POINT YOUr kids in the right direction—
when they’re old they won’t be lost. (Proverbs 22:6)
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; He’ll promote you at the right time.
Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you. (1 Peter 5:6)
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN
‘Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt,
Pharaoh and all his household;
He brought us out from there in order to bring us in,
to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’
whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said,
“I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.
Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.
HUMILITY LEADS TO GOOD UNDERSTANDING
Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning. (Proverbs 1:7)
“So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes,
to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today (Deuteronomy 6:22-24)
As the story unfolds, we’re told that the lampstands signify the churches.
During harsh times of persecution,
the faithful often wonder where their Master is.
Is He even aware of what they are experiencing?
John’s vision confirms what the gospel already teaches:
Jesus is present with them even in their suffering,
moving among those who dare to bear the light.
Lampstands, of course, are not the light. They only carry the light.
The true Light that has come into the world is none other than Jesus, the Son of Man
A Door into Heaven
Jesus continues to challenge Jewish ideas about who will be in the kingdom of God and how the Kingdom will work. Those who have been dishonored on earth will be honored in the Kingdom, and those in positions of economic and religious honor here will be dishonored there. He also challenges individuals to reconsider their personal value systems. They should not honor their own lives and family above Christ, but rather give them up for Him.
“I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out.
“But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall!
“Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.
“You do have this to your credit: You hate the Nicolaitan business. I hate it, too.
“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’m about to call each conqueror to dinner. I’m spreading a banquet of Tree-of-Life fruit, a supper plucked from God’s orchard.”
Invite the Misfits
He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table.
Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said,
“When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor.
Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host.
Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Red-faced, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.
“When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place.
Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’
That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
(The Parable of the Guests, Luke 14:7-14)
This message is from him who is the First and Last, who was dead and then came back to life.
“I know how much you suffer for the Lord, and I know all about your poverty (but you have heavenly riches!).
I know the slander of those opposing you, who say that they are believers—the children of God—
but they aren’t, for they support the cause of Satan.
Stop being afraid of what you are about to suffer—for the devil will soon throw some of you into prison to test you.
You will be persecuted for ‘ten days.’
Remain faithful even when facing death and I will give you the crown of life—an unending, glorious future.
Let everyone who can hear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches:
He who is victorious shall not be hurt by the Second Death. (Revelation 2:9-11)
Jesus: Truly, some of you who are here now will not experience death before you see the kingdom of God coming in glory and power.
Six days after saying this, Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up onto a high mountaintop by themselves.
There He was transformed so that His clothing became intensely white, brighter than any earthly cleaner could bleach them. Elijah and Moses appeared to them and talked with Jesus.
Peter (to Jesus): Teacher, it’s a great thing that we’re here. We should build three shelters here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
He was babbling and did not know what he was saying because they were terrified by what they were witnessing.
Then a cloud surrounded them, and they heard a voice within that cloud.
Voice: This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him.
All of a sudden, they looked about and all they had seen was gone. They stood alone on the mountain with Jesus.
On their way back down, He urged them not to tell anyone what they had witnessed until the Son of Man had risen from the dead, so they kept it all to themselves.
Mark doesn’t usually record events with much attention to chronology; but in this case, he mentions that the transfiguration took place six days after Peter’s confession of Jesus’ identity. In a dramatic confirmation of the truth Peter has spoken, the three disciples see that Jesus is indeed the Anointed One of God. The veil of Jesus’ human nature is pulled away, and the glory of His divinity shines through.
The appearance of Moses and Elijah shows that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the answer to all the promises of the prophets. The disciples hear God’s own voice commanding them to listen to Jesus as His beloved Son. What an incredible confirmation of the truth that Peter spoke in faith only six days before!
Disciples (to one another): What does He mean, “Until the Son of Man is risen”? (to Jesus) Master, why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?
Jesus (thinking of John the Baptist): Elijah does come first to restore all things. They have it right. But there is something else written in the Scriptures about the Son of Man: He will have to suffer and be rejected. Here’s the truth: Elijah has come; his enemies treated him with contempt and did what they wanted to him, just as it was written.
When they reached the rest of the disciples, Jesus saw that a large crowd had gathered and that among them the scribes were asking questions. Right when the crowd saw Jesus, they were overcome with awe and surged forward immediately, nearly running over the disciples.
Jesus (to the scribes): What are you debating with My disciples? What would you like to know?
Father (in the crowd): Teacher, I have brought my son to You. He is filled with an unclean spirit. He cannot speak, and when the spirit takes control of him, he is thrown to the ground to wail and moan, to foam at the mouth, to grind his teeth, and to stiffen up. I brought him to Your followers, but they could do nothing with him. Can You help us?
Jesus: O faithless generation, how long must I be among you? How long do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to Me.
They brought the boy toward Jesus; but as soon as He drew near, the spirit took control of the boy and threw him on the ground, where he rolled, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus (to the father): How long has he been like this?
Father: Since he was a baby. This spirit has thrown him often into the fire and sometimes into the water, trying to destroy him. I have run out of options; I have tried everything. But if there’s anything You can do, please, have pity on us and help us.
Jesus: What do you mean, “If there’s anything?” All things are possible, if you only believe.
Father (crying in desperation): I believe, Lord. Help me to believe!
Jesus noticed that a crowd had gathered around them now. He issued a command to the unclean spirit.
Jesus: Listen up, you no-talking, no-hearing demon. I Myself am ordering you to come out of him now. Come out, and don’t ever come back!
The spirit shrieked and caused the boy to thrash about; then it came out of the boy and left him lying as still as death. Many of those in the crowd whispered that he was dead. But Jesus took the boy by the hand and lifted him to his feet.
Later He and His disciples gathered privately in a house.
Disciples (to Jesus): Why couldn’t we drive out that unclean spirit?
Jesus: That sort of powerful spirit can only be driven out (overcome, cast out, conquered) with much prayer and fasting.
“This is a message from the Son of God, whose eyes penetrate like flames of fire, whose feet are like glowing brass.
“I am aware of all your good deeds—your kindness to the poor, your gifts and service to them; also I know your love and faith and patience, and I can see your constant improvement in all these things.
“Yet I have this against you: You are permitting that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach my servants that sex sin is not a serious matter; she urges them to practice immorality and to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to change her mind and attitude, but she refused. Pay attention now to what I am saying: I will lay her upon a sickbed of intense affliction, along with all her immoral followers, unless they turn again to me, repenting of their sin with her; and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches deep within men’s hearts, and minds; I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
“As for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, really), I will ask nothing further of you; only hold tightly to what you have until I come.
“To everyone who overcomes—who to the very end keeps on doing things that please me—I will give power over the nations. You will rule them with a rod of iron just as my Father gave me the authority to rule them; they will be shattered like a pot of clay that is broken into tiny pieces. And I will give you the Morning Star!
29 “Let all who can hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:19-28)
The father has enough faith to bring his son to Jesus for healing, but he asks hesitantly whether there is anything Jesus can do. In his desperation, the father recognizes the limits of his faith. Perhaps that very desperation is enough because Jesus immediately heals his son.
Having successfully healed many demon-possessed people when Jesus sent them out earlier, the disciples are at a loss to know why they are completely unable to heal this little boy. Jesus’ reply is cryptic and surprising: “That sort of powerful spirit is only conquered with much prayer and fasting.” It seems that although the disciples have faith that they can heal the boy, they are spiritually unprepared for the depth of evil residing in the world. They need to be saturated in the presence of God to face the challenge.
When they left that place, they passed secretly through Galilee.
Jesus (to the disciples as they traveled): The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of the people, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise on the third day.
But again they did not understand His meaning, and they were afraid to ask Him for an explanation.
At last, they came to Capernaum where they gathered in a house.
Jesus: What was it I heard you arguing about along the way?
They looked down at the floor and wouldn’t answer, for they had been arguing among themselves about who was the greatest of Jesus’ disciples.
It is only natural for the disciples to wonder which of them will be His right-hand man. Even the three disciples who have just seen Jesus’ glory revealed in the transfiguration cannot resist the attraction of honor. After all, who has a better claim than they do to being the greatest of Jesus’ disciples?
Fortunately Jesus overhears what is said and is quick to respond in mercy to correct their mistake. Greatness in His eyes doesn’t consist of seeing wonders or performing miracles or even fasting and praying. Instead, greatness is about humility and service. These are the heart of the kingdom of heaven.
He sat down with the twelve to teach them.
Jesus: Whoever wants to be first must be last, and whoever wants to be the greatest must be the servant of all.
He then called forward a child, set the child in the middle of them, and took the child in His arms.
Jesus: Whoever welcomes a child like this in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me is welcoming not Me, but the One who sent Me.
John (to Jesus): Master, we saw another man driving out (conquering, overcoming, casting out) unclean spirits in Your name, but he was not one of our group. So we told him to stop what he was doing.
Jesus: You shouldn’t have said that. Anyone using My name to do a miracle cannot turn quickly to speak evil of Me. Anyone who isn’t against us is for us. The truth of the matter is this: anyone who gives you a cup of cool water to drink because you carry the name of your Anointed One will be rewarded.
But if anyone turns even the smallest of My followers away from Me, it would be better for him if someone had hung a millstone around his neck and threw (cast, flung) him into the deepest part of the sea.
If your hand turns you away from the things of God, then you should cut it off. It’s better to come into eternal life maimed than to have two hands and be thrown (cast, flung) into hell—where the worm will not die and the fire will not be smothered.
If your foot trips you on the path, you should cut it off. It’s better to come into eternal life crawling than to have two feet and be thrown (cast, flung) into hell— where the worm will not die and the fire will not be smothered.
And if your eye keeps you from seeing clearly, then you should pull it out. It’s better to come into the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown (cast, flung) into hell, where the worm will not die and the fire will not be smothered. Everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is a good thing; but if it has lost its zest, how can it be seasoned again? You should have salt within yourselves and peace with one another.
One Reason (Writer/Artist: Jason Allen Upton)
I lived my life for a while
Asking for signs to believe in
God played defense in my trial
Quietly hanging there bleeding
While i cast lots for his robe
While i point my bloody finger
He pays debts that i owe
He says “Father, forgive them”
I used to ask for a sign to believe in
But he never gave me a reason to ever doubt Him
Give me one reason to doubt He is Messiah
Give me one reason to doubt He is alive
Give me one reason to doubt i am the apple of His eye
Just one reason now
Just one reason to doubt
Ahh ah ah
Just one reason now
Just one reason to doubt
I see the faith of our fathers
Abraham, Issac, and Jacob
They never saw what was promised
But they never once felt forsaken
Through fire, famine, and sword
Tribulation and war
They never asked for a sign to believe in
So tell me how we stand in judgment and ever doubt Him
Give me one reason to doubt He is Messiah
Give me one reason to doubt He is alive
Give me one reason to doubt i am the apple of His eye
God’s intention for the world is this: “I will be your God, and you will be my people.”
This is fulfilled by those who are faithful to Him.
Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.
If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.
Wisdom, as James understands it, is the ability to live life well and make good decisions. Wisdom doesn’t come from old age or hard knocks. Wisdom begins with knowing and depending absolutely on God, who is never stingy when it comes to wisdom for those who seek it. He supplies all the wisdom we need when we ask. But when we try to go it alone—without God—trouble is around the corner.
The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded commitment to God. Those who depend only on their own judgment are like those lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind. Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn’t assume the Lord will rescue them or bring them anything. The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused.
If you are a brother of humble means, celebrate the fact that God has raised you up. If you are rich and seemingly invincible, savor the humble reality that you are a mere mortal who will vanish like a flower that withers in the field. The sun rises with a blazing heat that dries the earth and causes the flower to wither and fall to the ground and its beauty to fade and die. In the same way, the rich will fall and die in the midst of their busy lives.
Happy is the person who can hold up under the trials of life. At the right time, he’ll know God’s sweet approval and will be crowned with life. As God has promised, the crown awaits all who love Him.
No one who is tempted should ever be confused and say that God is testing him. The One who created us is free from evil and can’t be tempted, so He doesn’t tempt anyone. When a person is carried away with desire, lured by lust, and when desire becomes the focus and takes control, it gives birth to sin. When sin becomes fully grown, it produces death.
If you give in to temptation and desire, then sin is born. If you give in to sin long enough, it overpowers you and costs you your life.
My dearly loved brothers and sisters, don’t be misled. Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. We have a special role in His plan. He calls us to life by His message of truth so that we will show the rest of His creatures His goodness and love.
Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. Human anger is a futile exercise that will never produce God’s kind of justice in this world. So walk out on your corrupt liaison with smut and depraved living, and humbly welcome the word of truth that will blossom like the seed of salvation planted in your souls.
Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you are going to find you have been deceived.
God the Father is the giver of all things and is looking for every opportunity to bless us. But many people have difficulty trusting and receiving good things, even when those things come from God. The problem is that we not only have trouble trusting God’s work in our lives, but we also don’t always respond to God’s voice. People often hear the Scriptures but don’t really listen. People store truths in their brains but never put them to use. For James, the only good religion is religion lived out every day.
If some fail to do what God requires, it’s as if they forget the word as soon as they hear it. One minute they look in the mirror, and the next they forget who they are and what they look like. However, it is possible to open your eyes and take in the beautiful, perfect truth found in God’s law of liberty and live by it. If you pursue that path and actually do what God has commanded, then you will avoid the many distractions that lead to an amnesia of all true things and you will be blessed.
If you put yourself on a pedestal, thinking you have become a role model in all things religious, but you can’t control your mouth, then think again. Your mouth exposes your heart, and your religion is useless. Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world.
“You still have a few followers of Jesus in Sardis who haven’t ruined themselves wallowing in the muck of the world’s ways. They’ll walk with Me on parade! They’ve proved their worth!
“Conquerors will march in the victory parade, their names indelible in the Book of Life. I’ll lead them up and present them by name to My Father and His Angels. (Revelation 3:4-5)
Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True—David’s key in His hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open—speaks:
“I see what you’ve done. Now see what I’ve done. I’ve opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don’t have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep My Word. You didn’t deny Me when times were rough.
“And watch as I take those who call themselves true believers but are nothing of the kind, pretenders whose true membership is in the club of Satan—watch as I strip off their pretensions and they’re forced to acknowledge it’s you that I’ve loved.
“Because you kept My Word in passionate patience, I’ll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test.
“I’m on My way; I’ll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown.
“I’ll make each conqueror a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, a permanent position of honor. Then I’ll write names on you, the pillars: the Name of My God, the Name of God’s City—the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven—and My new Name.
“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.” (Revelation 3:2-13)
“Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from Me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from Me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from Me so you can see, really see.
“The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then!
About face! Run after God!
“Look at Me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear Me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside Me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of My Father. That’s My gift to the conquerors! (Revelation 3:18-21)
“This message is from him who wields the sharp and double-bladed sword. I am fully aware that you live in the city where Satan’s throne is, at the center of satanic worship; and yet you have remained loyal to me and refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you by Satan’s devotees.
“And yet I have a few things against you. You tolerate some among you who do as Balaam did when he taught Balak how to ruin the people of Israel by involving them in sexual sin and encouraging them to go to idol feasts. Yes, you have some of these very same followers of Balaam among you!
“Change your mind and attitude, or else I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
“Let everyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches: Everyone who is victorious shall eat of the hidden manna, the secret nourishment from heaven; and I will give to each a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one else knows except the one receiving it. (Revelation 2:12-17)
Driving Out the one who throws under (As Jesus was Driven Out into the wilderness to drive out Satan!)
A battle broke out in heaven. Michael, along with his heavenly messengers, clashed against the dragon. The dragon and his messengers returned the fight, but they did not prevail and were defeated. As a result, there was no place left for them in heaven. So the great dragon, that ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, was cast down to the earth along with his messengers. Then I heard a great voice in heaven.
A Voice: Now the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Anointed One have come.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God,
has been cast down and silenced.
By the blood of the Lamb
and the word of their witnesses,
they have become victorious over him,
For they did not hold on to their lives, even under threat of death.
Therefore, rejoice, all you heavens;
celebrate, all you who live in them.
But disaster will befall the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to your spheres,
And he is incredibly angry
because he knows his time is nearly over.
When the dragon realized he had been cast down to the earth, he pursued the mother of the male infant.
In order to escape the serpent,
she was given the two wings of the great eagle
to fly deeper into the wilderness to her own special place
where she would find sustenance for a time, and times, and half a time.
Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a raging river that chased after the woman, trying to sweep her away in the flood. But the earth came to her rescue. It opened its gaping mouth and swallowed the river that spewed from the dragon’s mouth. As a result, the dragon was enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children—those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the testimony of Jesus.
He brought us out of there so He could bring us here and give us the land He promised to our ancestors.
He commanded us to remember all these rules to show that we fear Him, our God,
so that things will always go well for us and so that we can keep living here as we are now.
If we carefully obey everything the Eternal our God has commanded us,
then we’ll be living as we should, in righteousness and in right relationship with Him. (Deuteronomy 6:23-25)
And the dragon stood waiting on the sand of the seashore. (Revelation 12:7 -18)