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Graceful Perseverance: The Three Seasons of Life (Part 2 of 3)

Posted March 18th, 2018 @ 09:03am

This week's blog is part two of a three-part series called The Three Seasons of Life. Today, I'm discussing the second season, the testing season. How and why God tests his children is a mystery. What do we need to do and what do we need to watch for? What life tests do we need to pass, if any, in order to make it in The Lambs Book of Life?

i.e. The Lambs Book of Life - Not everyone has his or her name written in the Lamb's Book of Life! One's name is not written in at birth, nor does he or she have it written in by the sovereign choice of God. A person's name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life only because he or she chooses to ask God to place it there. - The Lamb's Book of Life: www.discoverrevelation.com.

Once we have passed all tests specifically designed for us, what are God's next assignments for us while we are here on this earth? We think there are so many unanswered questions, but the answers are in His word, the roadmap of our lives.

The second season is the testing season. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. - Job 23:10.

The season of testing is very similar to the season of teaching, except the season of testing requires we realize that the world we live in is full of temptations. The media overwhelms us with greed, lust and cynicism which then becomes a vicious and ugly trap. Even though none of us are immune to this exposure, we do have free choice in the matter. The Internet, commercials and social media are forever tempting us to buy, spend, and invest in things of this world.

Social media is forever luring us into sinful acts, whether personal or in a social setting. The buying temptations lure us to the belief that we never can have enough. We are convinced "retail therapy" works in our lives, but only ends up becoming a financial hardship because we fall victims to the temptations all around us. We all have favorite stores, shops and restaurants and when we visit them, we can get swallowed up by the potential harm we may be causing ourselves financially.

The credit card frenzy tempts all of us to buy, buy and buy with more and more plastic. The credit card industry has made it too easy to first get a credit card and then the second temptation is increasing the credit limit so we can purchase even more. As we accumulate more and more stuff, we discover we are headed for financial disaster.

Do not love the world or anything in the world...The world and it's desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. - 1 John 2:15, 17.

The pressure to own more and better stuff than our neighbors is nothing but a evil trap and does nothing but weigh us down. To combat these temptations, we must stay in daily communication with the Lord, praying for protection and discernment.

Second, we must stay alert in order to recognize the battle of temptation that is being waged against all of us.

Believers must live with the tension of being in the world, but not belonging to it. ~ Hezekiah.

What some of us do not realize is God is the God of ownership of all things. God owns everything in and of this world. He is the creator of all things. We own nothing. In faith, God owns everything; we know God owns everything; by earthly measures we know man only owns some things. But know that God is a free and generous God, and He blesses us with things to tend to, and matters for us to manage while we are here (our families, children, jobs, homes).

He knows the desires of our heart. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. - Psalm 37:4. We should also learn that what He blesses us with can also be taken away. We need to realize we are not owned by stuff, we are owned by Christ. Test me, Lord and try me, examine my heart and my mind. - Psalm 26:2. Passing this test of temptation in this world means we are living in freedom, a Christ freedom, a Christ freedom life from earthly bondage. Believers must live with the tension of being in the world, but not belonging to it. ~ Hezekiah.

Christ is the only open hand in this life, not things or stuff in this world. His expectation is also a test of the temptations. An obvious test would be that of a millionaire's life. With all his riches, does he live in a mansion and horde his money for his own or does he help by giving to others like the less fortunate, the homeless or the weak who surround him everyday? Does he live in a mansion and doesn't give to others? Or does he take the financial blessings that come from God in the first place and share his blessings with others? This situation is a true test. How many of us realize that we are influenced daily with worldly stuff that is intended to suck us in and consume us?

The most important test is whether we focus on our relationship with God. Imagine how this situation looks in the eyes of Christ. That's why we've been blessed with His word, the roadmap for our life. God gave us the Ten Commandments to live by, a new life of freedom. A life free of sin. The Ten Commandments are the bookends of our life. The Ten Commandments represent the freedom to a better life so we do not fall into bondage with things of this world.

As a Christian, we learn how to be content with what we have; that contentment sets us free. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.  - Philippians 4:12-13. 

As Christians, we must learn what it  means to be full or empty, to have plenty or to have little. The Lord desires us to pass many tests in this life so that we may learn how to become living examples, more like Jesus. We need to learn to live a life of open hands, not of closed hands. God bestows blessings upon each of us in our lives. Living a life of open hands is when we graciously learn to give to others, and in return God will continue to bless us as His reward. The Lord does not favor those who hoard things for their own pleasures. But He does favor those who He has blessed with plenty and continues to share with those in need.

Blessings until next week,

Debra Pauli,

Unstoppable Believer

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