Count 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.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God says:
This will be Life Lesson No. 8 today on how to live the abiding life. Jesus gave you a tremendous promise, “If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7. This promise is conditioned on you abiding in Him and His Words abiding in you. And if His Words are abiding in you, then He who is the Word is abiding in you. And when you love Him, you agree with His Words with all your heart and obey them, and He reveals Himself to you and in seeing Him you see Me. And there is no other way you can come to Me but through Him, for only in Him are you reconciled to Me. In Him you have redemption by His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
In this world though you will have trials. If you have lived any amount of time you know that. Even in living the abiding life you will have trials in this life. The devil is still roaming the earth and because he knows his time is short now, his fury has increased. So he is trying to raise up strongholds where his will is being done as he destroys the earth and human lives. But he can only act in the earth if he finds a person through whom he can further his lies. If you will submit to My Word, and resist the devil, he will flee from you and you will have sweet victory. But many people give in to the devil and his evil schemes and tactics with no resistance at all. “And my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest, and as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth; and there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped.” Isaiah 10:14. It is time you opened your mouth and spoke; it is time for you to prophesy and tear his strongholds down. It is time for battle, but remember, you go forward to fight the good fight of faith but the battle is Mine. Do you remember the words of the prophet when three enemy armies united against Judah at the time of Jehoshaphat? “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17. And how did they respond to that? Did they doubt because the three enemy armies lined up against them way outnumbered them and look impossible to resist? No. They responded in faith. How do you know? They counted it pure joy, “Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. The Levites, from the sons of the Kohathites and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel, with a very loud voice.” 2 Chronicles 20:18-19. And they acted on their faith and obeyed the prophetic utterance to go out and face the enemy to stand their ground. “They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20. And how did they go to face the enemy? With the greatest weapon you can use on Satan when he kicks up a dirt storm in your life. It is called the voice of thanksgiving raised in joyful songs of praise. The victory cry. “When he had consulted with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” When they began singing and praising, the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir destroying them completely; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When Judah came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and no one had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found much among them, including goods, garments and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry. And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much.” 2 Chronicles 20:21-25. And they never stopped singing praises, but you must see that to win the battle they thanked and sang BEFORE they saw the victory manifest. They sang when the LORD sent His Word to heal and deliver them.
A trained warrior looks for and loves a good battle. A boxer looks for a good fight. A runner can hardly wait to run the race. And those in training for combat will take blows to harden them up. Even self defense is learned by struggle and fight. Without someone to fight the boxer is idle and the soldier has no job and might as well go home. Do you remember from the book of Judges the reason there still remained enemies in the land of Israel after Joshua had conquered it? “These are the nations that the LORD left in the land to test those Israelites who had not experienced the wars of Canaan. He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.” Judges 3:1-3. I give you My full armor, My Word in your mouth, the Name of Jesus, and My Spirit in and on you—all to give you sweet victory over all the forces of evil. You are dressed for battle. Why run and hide from it like the Israelite army did from Goliath until David stepped forward and resisted him. And down Goliath went.
But you have an even better word, Jesus has already conquered the devil. He crushed his head, just as foretold in the Garden of Eden. So you are actually fighting a defeated foe. His activity is illegal and his authority as “god” of this world was obtained from Adam and Eve by misrepresentation and deceit. And that is still the way he works. Do not fall for his lies. The first thing he does, is just as he did to Eve, he questions the truth of My Words and then subtly pulls you away from truth by appealing to your emotions, lust, and pride. He calls sin by other names, such as “choice,” “freedom,” and “equality.” But what really happens is you are taken captive to do his will on earth though he is a defeated foe. If you will just stick in agreement to My Words and resist his lies and refuse to take the illness, lack, depression, shame, bitterness, anger, immorality and a host of other degrading evils that you could resist and put to flight.
“Count it all joy,” wrote My servant James, “when you encounter various trials.” Why would that be? “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. For “all discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11. And My apostle Peter, who lost one battle but came up again to knock down the enemy in such great strides that even Peter’s shadow healed people when he passed by them, wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:4-9.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5.
And what do you need to always obey if you want to win in life and be an overcomer? I tell you very clearly what My will is for you in Christ Jesus. If you are one who says you want to do My Will but are having trouble being sure you are doing it, you need to memorize, agree with, and do this. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. This is the voice of thanksgiving, and as your praise so shall your strength be. A merry heart does good like a medicine. My joy is your strength.
And what gives you this joy even in the worst storm and shipwreck of your life? My promise of deliverance, salvation, new beginnings, and better days. “Many are the troubles of the righteous man, but the LORD delivers him out of them all,” sang David in the dark caves of his time of trial and testing. But he came out pure gold to a great victory. He experienced every good promise I had planned, just as Joshua did. “O magnify the LORD with me, let us together extol His Name,” sang David as he kept My praise always in his mouth, and as he magnified Me the problem got smaller and smaller in his eyes until he knocked down the giant Goliath with one small smooth stone.
You can sow the Word in tears but you will only reap the harvest of the promise in that Word one way. And what is that? Those who sow in tears must reap with shouts of joy. If you just keep crying and whining you sow but you will never harvest. With joy you will draw water from the springs of Salvation. And when you are fighting the battle of faith you need to drink so you don’t wither away, like the barren bush in the desert that only relies on the flesh to accomplish deliverance. That little barren bush never even sees the good when it comes. The answer goes right by it in its dry and withered state.
“Rejoice in the Lord always,” wrote Paul, “again I say rejoice!” And you really do need to tell yourself that many times in a trial. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget ALL His benefits.” Psalm 103:1-2. Give yourself a good dose of My Word, eat it and drink the living water and you can fight and win. For the battle is Mine but you must go forward. Stand firm and be strong in the power of My might. It is there for you. My Spirit is in your heart. You are anointed with joy and power.
And Jesus reaffirms this in the abiding life He counseled you to live, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 14:7-11. It is My Word that is the source of your joy. If you will focus on that, you will have joy and you will win. Never let go of the Word. And once you have had the exhilaration of winning over the trials and temptations the devil throws at you like fiery darts, you will be flexing your faith muscles for the next battle. You are ready for battle. I train your hands for battle and your fingers for war. It would be sad to have no opportunity to conquer.
What did My servant Paul write? “Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 10:8-10.
Next time a trial comes, do not retreat in fear and tears, instead consider it a faith challenge that you are more than equipped to take on. “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21.
I love you. Consider it all joy when you encounter trials, for you know you will be adding another trophy to your reward in the Hall of Fame of faith. Just read Hebrews 11. You are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who overcame and are enjoying their reward that are cheering you on to the finish line of your race. Run with patient endurance and run so as to win. I am present as your Helper. Jesus is the author and finisher of your faith and He faced the Cross for the joy of what lay before Him. Joy unspeakable filled with glory is there for all of you and that is enough to count it all joy. Remember, look up at Me and smile and your face will never be ashamed. It will be radiant. Son bathe every day in My Word.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11.