Haggai The Prophet – Preaches To Rebuild The Temple

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Solomon's Temple

Solomon’s temple under construction

The name Haggai means festal. Therefore, Haggai was believed to have been born during the pilgrimage feasts [Unleavened Bread, Pentecost or Weeks, and Tabernacles.] Deuteronomy 16:16-17- Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17- Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.

It is believed that Haggai was in his early seventies during the destruction of Solomon’s temple and witnessed the horrific event.

A Call to Build the House of the Lord

Haggai 1:2- This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.”’3- Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? 5- Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: Give careful thought to your ways. 6- You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on your clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.

vs 7- This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8- Go up to the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9- You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house which remains in ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10- There, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11- I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grains, the new wines, the oils, and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.

In 538 B.C. the conqueror of Babylon, Cyrus king of Persia, allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild Solomon’s temple. Fifty thousand Jews made the journey to their homeland to begin the monumental task.

Then the Lord stirred up the Spirit of Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, Governor of Judah, and the Spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the Spirit of the whole remnant. They all began to work on the house of the Lord; September 21, 520 B.C.

As the group built God’s temple, the Lord was with them and blessed them. He also guided them with His divine plans as a covenant, because none of them was alive when the temple stood in its splendor during the life of King Solomon. [Haggai 2:3-5]

After two years, in 536 B.C., the foundation was completed. Their rejoicing could be heard for miles.

The Samaritans and other neighbors heard of the success and were weary of the political and religious implications of a completed temple. Therefore, they joined forces and opposed the project. Work was halted.

In 522B.C. Darius the Great became king of Persia; he had high interest in the religions in his empire. Haggai and Zechariah began to preach in his second year to rebuild the temple; 520B.C. Work began again.

God promised the people that he would shake the heavens and the earth, the seas and the dry land. He would shake the nations.[God’s judgement] He will send all nations to fill this house with glory.

Haggai 2-9

God will send silver and gold to fill the house. It will be of greater glory than before, in Solomon’s day. In this place, God grants peace.

Before long, the people became lethargic toward the Mosaic Laws. In judgement, the Lord declared, “Whatever they do and whatever they offer, they are defiled.”

Four years later, the temple was completed and dedicated.

God reminds them that they have gone through a time of testing as they built His temple. Now he will bless them.

The Lord spoke to Haggai once again. “Tell Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, that I will shake the heavens and earth.” [God’s Judgement] The Lord will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of foreign kingdoms. He will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.

God is making a covenant with Zerubbabel; making him like a signet ring. This is a seal guaranteeing his future inheritance of a bloodline of God, in Christ Jesus.

The study of Haggai is a perfect example of just how important a house of worship is to God. Because the people were not respecting the House of the Lord and rebuilding it, God was sending His judgement upon them and the earth where they were concerned.

We can learn from this example that God likes splendor in His house of worship. Gold and silver may be a bit expensive for today’s budgets, but we should not be afraid to add beauty to sanctuaries in worship to God.

In addition, as believers in Christ, we are encouraged to attend a bible believing church on a regular basis. This is to commune with other Christians and grow in our faith; also to learn more about God.

It is my hope that every person, whether a Christian or someone exploring the topic, has an authentic church to attend. A church where the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught from God’s Word. Active bible teaching is taking place and children are being won for Christ Jesus, our Lord.

I pray that everyone has access to a church where Jesus Chris, and His Love, and forgiveness, is taught,

JA Ireland

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Joel Warns Judah Of Judgement From The Lord

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Joel 2-1

Bible historians believe this book was written between the ninth and the sixth century, B.C., after Haggai and Zechariah.

Joel has linguistic parallels to Amos, Micah, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. The day of judgement from the Lord is upon them, or will come, due of their sins.

Joel 1:2-4- Hear this you elders; listen all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? 3- Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. 4- What the Locust swarm has left the great locust have eaten; what the great locust have left the young locust have eaten; what the young locust have left other locust have eaten.

5-6- Wake up you drunkards, and weep! Wail, all you drinkers of wine; wail because of the new wine, for it has been snatched from your lips. 6- A nation has invaded my land, powerful and without number; it has the teeth of a lion, the fangs of a lioness.

vs 9-10- Grain offerings and drink offerings are cut off from the house of the Lord. 10-The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails.

A Call For Repentance

1:14-15- Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your Lord God, and cry out to the Lord. 15- Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

vs 19-20- To you, O Lord, I call for fire has devoured the open pastures and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. 20- Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the open pasture.

2:1- Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on the holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand.

A dreadful army of locust marches into the land. The lord is the head of the army.

vs 11- The Lord thunders at the head  of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his commands. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?

vs 12-14- “Even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to me with all your hearts, with fasting and weeping and morning.” 13- Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14- Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.

vs 16- Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast.

The Lord’s Answer

vs 18-Then the Lord will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people. 19- The Lord will reply to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine, and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations.

vs 20- I will drive the northern army far away from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land, with its front columns going into the eastern sea and those in the rear into the western sea. And its stench will go; its smell will rise.

The Day of The Lord

vs 28-30- And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29- Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30- I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth.

vs 32- And anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

The Nations Judged

3:1-“In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,

vs 2-3- I will gather all nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgement against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my hand. 3- They cast lots for my people and traded my boys for prostitutes; they sold girls for wine that they might drink.

3: 9- Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let the fighting men draw near and attack.

vs 13-14-  Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepresses are full and the vats over flow—so great is their wickedness! 14- Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!

Blessings For God’s People

vs 17 – Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.

vs 20-21- Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. 21- Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon. The Lord dwells in Zion!

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I believe we should perceive Joel as written. The massive locust plagues, and severe drought, that devastated Judah were the great and dreaded, Day of the Lord. Some feel the locust and drought are symbolism for great armies; Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greeks, and Romans.

As is common, restoration and blessings come only after judgement and repentance.

We can find this in our lives today. If the Lord judges us with sin in our lives, we must repent and rid our lives of the sin, otherwise, He will bring judgement.

God will remove from our lives whatever is causing us to sin. If we are stealing at work, we will lose the job. And yes, there may be serious legal consequences. God does not take sin lightly and neither should we.

If the sin is marriage infidelity, God will bring the affair into the light, to end it. Consequences be what they may?—perhaps severe.

Perhaps we are not sure about something we are doing. Is it a sin against God or a person? Read God’s Word. Seek Christian council. If the Holy Spirit is convicting us, it is sin. Stop doing it. Confess it and ask God for forgiveness. Then ask God to help to rid us of the cravings. He will do that for us. He wants to help us.

I pray that none of us are living a life of sin, thus vulnerable to God’s judgement,

Gary The Tested

 

Jesus’ Greatest Miracle

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Jesus in Hell

Jesus Descends to Hell for Three Days

Matthew 28: 1-10- After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2- There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3- His appearance was like lightening, and his clothes were white as snow. 4- The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5- The angel said to the woman, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6- He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7- Then go quickly and tell his disciples: He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him. Now I have told you. 8- So the woman hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9- Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10- Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

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Many agree that Jesus’ resurrection was his greatest miracle. Only one other person in history was raised from the dead. Jesus raised Lazarus. The difference was, Lazarus rose to an ordinary life again, just to die a normal death again. We know nothing about him after Jesus raised him from the dead[for the glory of God].

In contrast, an angel announced that Jesus rose from the grave. Many people saw Jesus, talked to him, ate with him. He spent time with people and his disciples for forty days when he, before the disciples, ascends to heaven. He rose into eternal life with his resurrected body.

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1 Corinthians 15:14-17-And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15- More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. 16- For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17- And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

Jesus’ resurrection is the basis for our faith. Paul tells us that without the resurrection, Jesus’ sacrifice to God for our sins is not complete. We are still in our sins. We must return to the old covenant [animal sacrifices for the covering of our sins].

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2 Corinthians 4:14- Because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.

Paul says that we know the Lord God raised Jesus from the dead. The proof is more than the empty tomb. The proof is forty days of witnesses; people saw Jesus, talked to him, ate with him. The disciples were with him. They wrote about him. Two thousand years later, (today), Jesus is everywhere in the world. Books are written about him. Articles are written about him, like this one. His churches are everywhere around the world. Painters paint about him. Movies are made about him. Artists perform about him. Jesus’ influence is global.

As I stated previously, the only other person to ever be raised from the dead was Lazarus, except for the bible story, the world forgot about him. But we cannot forget about Jesus. His influence is everywhere around the world.

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1Thessalonians 4:13-18-Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14- We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  15- According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16- For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17- After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18- Therefore encourage each other with these words.

For more information on the Rapture, I invite everyone to read my article: Are You Ready?—When Jesus Returns?

https://bestill876095733.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/are-you-ready-when-jesus-returns/

On that glorious day, we all will see our Savior in the sky. Along with our loved ones that are believers in Christ.

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Just another miracle for God. The bible is full of stories of God showing his Glory through His people.  The ten plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and the birth of the Messiah, are three giant examples of many miracles.

For two thousand years, Christians have anticipated with eagerness the return of Jesus. We have studied the books—Daniel, Revelation, and others from God’s Word and watched the signs around the world.

We are called to be eager for Christ’s return. We are called to study God’s Word. Be aware.

Matthew 24:36-37-No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37- As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

Mark 13:32-33- No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33- Be on guard! Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come.

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The Great Commission

The last thing Jesus tells his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19- Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20- and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

As a believer in Christ, we are called to be alert about more things than simply His return. As followers, we are Jesus’ disciples. In the Great Commission, we are called to arms.

First- Make disciples of all nations. Win lost souls for Christ. Spread the gospel.

Second- Baptize new believers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

Third- Teach new Christians to obey Jesus’ commands and follow Jesus and grow in the faith. So they can spread the gospel for Jesus and repeat the cycle.

There is an entire world of people to share Jesus’ gospel. Why should we share Jesus? Because he rose from hell and the grave. What was the Son of God doing in hell? He descended to hell when he died for my sins and for your sins; for everyone’s sins.

The question is, have you accepted Jesus’ free gift of salvation. He paid the price for everyone’s sins on that cruel cross at Calvary. Then he died and descended to hell for us all. This was to pay in full the price for all our sins(all mankind). We must believe he did this for us as individuals; you and me.

If you believe this and would like to receive Jesus into your heart, you must pray a prayer and ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.

So why do you want Jesus? We are born into eternity. This life is not all there is. This live is merely a preamble to eternity.  In this life we must make a choice; heaven or hell. Those who do not choose, are choosing hell. No matter what is thought or believed. If one does not choose Jesus, one is choosing hell and Satan—for all eternity.

Death in hell

To choose Satan and hell means at death, a total separation from the Lord God, in hell. Torment for all eternity.

Please choose Jesus. Pray this prayer. Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I am sorry for all my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Thank you Lord Jesus. A-men.

If you prayed this Salvation prayer you have been born again. You are now a Christian. Praise God! Your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Live.

You share in Jesus’ greatest miracle, his resurrection. You have been born again, into eternity with the Lord. Your salvation is guaranteed. May you grow in the love and the faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May we all heed our calling to share the gospel of Christ,

Gary The Tested

God Allows Adversities—Because He Loves

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Being Shaped by God's Mighty Hands

 

God Molding Us With His Mighty Hands

 

God allows hardships in our lives so we can (1) grow closer to Him (2) grow in faith (3) comfort others.

(1)- 1 Peter 4:19- So then, those who suffer according to God’s Will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Acts 14:22- Strengthen the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

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If we are suffering, commit to the Lord. Draw close to him. There is a reason for the anguish. Study God’s Word. Pray continually. God will reveal through his Holy Spirit, in time, why we are going through the storm. He will hold us tight in the palm of His mighty hand as the storm surrounds us and swirls around us.

One of the possibilities for the storm is, we are being tested by Satan. A testing is when Satan stands before the throne of God in heaven and petitions God to test a person. He has studied us and finds us with unrighteousness. God allows the testing to purify us; we are refined by fire.

For more information on testing, I invite everyone to read my article: The Full Armor Of God—Wear It! https://bestill876095733.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/the-full-armor-of-god-wear-it/

Not every storm is from Satan. This is a broken world. Bad things happen to good people all the time; a bad medical report, family issues, work relationship problems, financial hardships. All these problems can lead to horrible consequences, sometimes at the best we can do.

These catastrophes in our lives will rip us apart—tear or families into pieces. Our best solution is to turn to our heavenly Father for comfort and guidance and ride out the hurricane. As the winds of disaster blow in our lives, rest in the palms of His mighty hands. Ride out the storm in His strength. If we rely on his strength, we will survive the storm.

2 Corinthians 12: 10- That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Ephesians 6:10- Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

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(2)- Grow in Faith- When God allows a storm into our lives, it can be for many reasons. Many of these reasons are not for us to understand.

Isaiah 55:8-9- “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9- As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

All things are in God’s control; he owns the entire world. When the Lord allows a catastrophic event into our lives, it can be difficult to think of him as good and loving. How could a God who loves his people allow bad things to happen to good people?—especially when he has the power so stop the hurricane.

We must consider that this is a broken world; full of sin. Bad things happen all around us, all the time. Sometimes, God rescues us from the disaster, and in his wisdom, sometimes he does not. He allows us to go through the event even though he loves us with a deep love that is beyond our understanding.  The question is, where is our focus?

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2 Timothy 3:16- All scripture is God –breathed and is useful for teaching, reproofing, for correcting and training in righteousness.

2 Peter 1: 20- 21-Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21- For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes God’s reason for allowing us to go through a storm is to drive us upward toward Him, in our faith. The Lord, through the Holy Spirit, will call us to read His Word with a passion, perhaps like never before. Through the reading of the bible, the Holy Spirit will reveal God’s truths to us that we never understood before. The scriptures will take on new meaning; they will become alive to us.

God will use the horrific event to reveal new truths about himself to us through his Word and allow an increased pouring out of His Holy Spirit upon us. (This may be accompanied by excessive crying or weeping)

God grows our faith in spurts like this. He might use a storm as the event to grow us.

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(3)- Teach us to comfort others. It is difficult to feel mercy toward someone else’s pain if we have not been through pain ourselves. Pain is a universal bond. The pain does not have to be the same but sometimes it is the same or often times relatable. God allows his children to go through pain, to help others who are suffering; that is only one reason.

Romans 8:17-18- Now if we are children, then we are heir –heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his suffering in order that we may also share in his glory. 18- I consider that our present sufferings are not worthy comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

We are called to share in Christ suffering; we also will share in his glory, if we remain faithful to him to the end.

Therefore, since we as Christians are called to share in Christ’ sufferings, in all pain, we must run our race, no matter what the Lord has called us to do. Encourage one another in our pain.

If we are not sure what our race is, pray and ask the Lord for his wisdom as to what our purpose is. He will reveal our purpose for us in His good time. Wisdom is waiting for the Lord while remaining in the faith.  By remaining in the faith, we pray, read our bible, and attend church; walk in the Lord.

One part of running our race is comforting others who are in pain. We should be quick with comfort and compassion—but withholding judgement. Since we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, none of us has the right to judge—no matter what a person’s pain.

For more information on running your race, I invite everyone to read my article:

Run Your Race For Jesus https://bestill876095733.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/run-your-race-for-jesus/

Be like Christ and give comfort to others.

John 15:9- As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

God’s love gives us the ability to love, if we are abiding in his love.

John 14:15- “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

If we truly love the Lord Jesus, we will be eager to follow his commandments; we will pick up our cross and follow him.

1 John 3:11- This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

If we say, we love Jesus, then we must love one another. If we call ourselves Christians—Christs’ followers, we are required to love as he loves us. To love with agape love isn’t humanly possible; loving unconditionally is a trait that is given to us from the Father, through his Holy Spirit. Pray that God will give you, as I do, a heart that loves with agape love (Deep and unconditional love) of the Father in heaven.

For more on God’s agape love, I invite all to read my article: God’s Agape Love, Displayed For All To See

https://bestill876095733.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/gods-agape-love-displayed-for-all-to-see/

Let’s all pray for Christ’s love (agape love) toward everyone and give comfort and love to all who hurt,

Gary The Tested

Trust God To Meet All Our Needs

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Joseph Governor of Egypt selling grain

Joseph Governor of Egypt selling grain

Philippians 4:19- And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Psalms 27:14- Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

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When waiting for the Lord, we are to be very active spiritually; praying, studying God’s Word, attending church. God will work in our lives. In the beginning, it is often behind the scenes where we cannot see or are not aware. Keep being active spiritually.

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In the Old Testament, Joseph lived in Canaan; a young man of seventeen years of age. Joseph’s father, Israel(Jacob) loved Joseph more than his other siblings because he was born of his old age. Israel made his prized son a richly ornamented robe. This made the brothers very jealous.

Joseph had a dream. They were binding sheaths of grain. Joseph’s sheath stood up and his brothers sheath’s of grain bowed down to his. When he told his brothers, they hated him even more.

Joseph had a second dream in which the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to him. His brothers were jealous. His father and mother did not know what to do with this information.

Later in the desert, Joseph’s brothers took his robe and tossed him into a cistern. (A place for storing water. It was empty) They pulled him out of the cistern and sold Joseph to a band of Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They in turn took him to Egypt. Joseph was sold in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s captain of the guards.

The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered. He lived in the house of the Egyptian master. Potiphar placed Joseph in charge of the household, because he saw God’s anointing on Joseph. Potiphar prospered because of Joseph’s anointing by the Lord.

Joseph was a well—built man—alluring, attractive. Potiphar’s wife took notice of him. She said, “Come to bed with me!” He refused. Stating, that would be a sin against my master and my God.

She persisted greatly, day after day, but Joseph refused. He chose the righteous path.

Out of anger and revenge, she lied and reported Joseph to her husband. Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison. In prison, the Lord was with Joseph. Joseph was placed in charge of all the inmates under the warden. In prison God gave him the ability to interpret dreams.

Two years passed for Joseph in prison. Pharaoh had two dreams. The cup bearer from prison remembered Joseph. He explained how Joseph had interpreted dreams in the dungeon. Pharaoh sent for Joseph. Pharaoh told Joseph the dreams and he explained. (The Lord gave Joseph the answer to the dreams)There will be seven years of great prosperity followed by seven years of severe famine such as the land has never seen before. You must store up the harvest in storehouses during the years of fat to feed your kingdom during the years of famine.

Pharaoh placed Joseph in charge of all Egypt to oversee this operation. Pharaoh put his signet ring from his finger on Joseph’s finger. Dressed him in fine linen. A gold chain around his neck. A chariot to ride in for his second-in –command and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Joseph was placed in charge of the whole land of Egypt. He was thirty years old. Pharaoh gave him the name Zaphenath-Paneah.

Over the next seven years, the food Joseph stored in every town and city and all over Egypt was beyond counting or measure.

During this time, Joseph was happily married to Potiphar’s daughter. They had two sons. He forgot about his past pain.

The seven years of prosperity quickly ended. Famine spread throughout Egypt. Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians. Jacob, Joseph’s father, sent his sons to Egypt to purchase grain for their survival; all but the youngest brother Benjamin.

Upon their arrival, Joseph recognized his brothers and ordered, he would keep one of them in prison while the rest went back for the younger brother. They also could purchase grain to take with them. Their bags were filled with grain and unknown to them, their silver was also placed in their bags—returned to them. They left for the return journey to Canaan.

Later, the brothers returned to Egypt with Benjamin to purchase more grain. They were taken to Joseph’s home. When Joseph arrived home, they bowed down in respect—still not knowing the identity of the ruler.

After some trickery, Joseph orders them to go and get their father, Jacob. The entire family was to move to the region of Goshen and be near Joseph. They were to bring their flocks, herds, and all they have. Joseph would see to their care in their new land in Egypt.

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Joseph was seventeen when he was sold into slavery, to the Ishmaelites, by his jealous brothers. When Joseph saw his brothers again, he was the Governor of Egypt, he was forty years of age. Joseph trusted God and was patient. Through Joseph’s faith and patience, God raised him to prominence.

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Isaiah 30:18- Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of Justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 40:31- but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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Be patient in the Lord. He will meet our needs. He promises us.

Our Faith pleases God, obedience pleases him. A reward is coming on earth and in heaven; he promises.

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2 Thessalonians 3:10 – For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule; “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

God will give us work, but we must be willing to do it. Often times, God meets our needs through working. He blesses us with work. Good health. Good decision making. Stamina at work. Good jobs. Protects us from bad bosses; gives us his grace to deal with them.

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Deuteronomy 8:17-18-You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18- But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

Deuteronomy 8- Do Not Forget The Lord- When we have a comfortable life, when we are content, do not forget who got us there. It was the power of the Lord. It is the Lord who gives you the ability to produce wealth.

Deuteronomy 19- 20-If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other Gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20- Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

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It is very important, when all our needs are being met by the Lord and we are comfortable, remember to give him praise daily. Do not become complacent. Remain strong in the faith. Continue to pray daily, study God’s Word and attend church frequently. Make sure not to fall into the sin by putting other things in your life before the Lord; idols.

God will meet all our needs if we trust him and wait,

Gary The Tested

God’s Grace Revealed

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Forgiveness of Sins

Leviticus 4:35- He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the lamb of the fellowship offering,  the priest shall burn it on the alter on top of the offerings made to the Lord by fire. In this way the priest will make atonement for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.

Leviticus 5:10- The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.

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In the Old Testament animal sacrifices were required for the covering of sins. God was very specific about the atoning sacrifice. Leviticus 1, 6:8-13, 8:18-21, 16:24. Lev. 2, Lev 3, 4 and 5 all have scriptures describing God’s requirements for animal sacrifices before He will forgive sins.

Atoning for sin and receiving God’s forgiveness was just as crucial under the Old Testament as it is today. In those days, just as today, without the forgiveness of sins, God will remove his protection from our lives. He will do this however he chooses. The consequences will be whatever He chooses. His ultimate purpose is to bring us to repentance, and draw us back to Him, and back to His will.

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Hebrews 10:4-12- For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5-Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offerings you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6- with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.” 7- Then I said, “Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, O God. 8- First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law requires them to be made). 9- Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10- And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11-Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12- But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

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In the New Testament we learn from Jesus that animal sacrifices never took away sins. That such sacrifices did not please God. The law required this sacrament for the forgiveness of sins, but sins were not gone, they were covered until later, waiting for the perfect sacrifice sent by God himself.

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1 Corinthians 15:13-15- If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14- And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15- More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.

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Christ’s resurrection is the basis for our faith. The empty tomb was there for all the world to see. Jesus didn’t have to die on that horrible cross. He choose to. He was the final sin sacrifice for Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Muslim’s, etc, Chinese, Russians, Japanese, Africans, Asians, Americans, the entire world.

This life is not all there is. Everyone who has ever lived, and will ever live, is born into eternity. Death was not the end for Jesus and it will not be the end for us. Just as God raised Jesus from the grave, He will raise us up on the last day to live with Him in heaven for all eternity; believers in Christ.

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2 Corinthians 4:14-15- Because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15- All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

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The certainty we have in the resurrection is in God’s Word (Holy Bible). Also He raised Jesus from the grave just as Jesus said. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, God will raise you on the last day as well.

If you are not absolutely certain of your salvation, that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and Jesus lives in your heart, please pray with your whole heart the Believer’s Prayer above this article.

Praise God the tomb was empty,

Gary The Tested

Harness God’s Protection

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Armor of God-1

Ephesians 6:13-18- Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

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If you are called by the Lord to read or study the gospel of Job you are being tested.

Satan petitioned God at His throne in heaven to test you. And God allowed Satan to do so for a reason. That’s right. Satan and God had a conversation at the throne of God in heaven and they discussed you. In time, God will reveal to you why He allowed Satan to test you.

During his testing, Satan attacks your emotions; agonizing fear and terror. Deep loss and depression. Uncontrollable crying. No appetite (food repulses you) and more. All to the point of near or possible death. He will cause you to lose your church, job, home, children, spouse, family, everything, life. He can only do what God allows him to do.

Job 1:12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Job 2:6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well then, he is in your hands, but you must spare his life.”

Satan will study you, look for your weakness, then use someone or something to attack you. If you are married, he will study your spouse as well. He will attack whichever of you two he feels is the easier target for him to destroy you and your spouse. His goal is to destroy your life—completely and totally.

Satan will use someone from your church, family, job, neighborhood, close friend, etc to betray you and his testing will begin. This person will behave demon-like. They will terrify you to the point of almost death. Remember Satan will manipulate your emotions. You will feel deep emotions that you would not normally feel. His testing may go on for years. You could be reduced to skin and bones while struggling to sleep or eat. You may be barely able to function in life as you attempt to keep your family together as you deal with whatever outside crisis Satan has brought into your life via this person or thing or circumstance he is using (his tool to torment you). This can go on until you are nearly to the point of death or your family is broken apart. You may lose your job, your home, lose everything.

The person Satan uses is always someone who is not saved but who is faking Christianity. If you remember back through history with this person, there were lots of red flags. And you did not know what to do with the warning signs so you ignored them. God tries to warn us to stay away from these people, but we must heed His warnings. Someone who is very loud, always drawing attention to themselves, is someone to keep an eye on. God loves the humble and meek. Learn to be a good fruit inspector. If God shows you the red flags, you don’t need to understand. Obey the Lord and keep your distance, you’ll be glad you did.

Galatians 5:22- 23a- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Satan petitions God night and day to test the Lord’s people. To protect yourself against Satan’s testing, don’t tell lies, don’t gossip, don’t steal, pray continually, live a righteous life, live a Christ-like life. Be honest, good, humble, and fair. Do not have any unconfessed sin in your life. Read and study the bible (Word of God). Make sure your faith is sure and steady. Believe God keeps his promises. Make certain you are saved. That Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit dwells within you. Then pray in the Spirit for all the saints. And attend church.

Pray for wisdom. Pray for the Lord to draw you close to Him.

Psalms 91:11- For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

Pray for God’s hedge of protection. He will send His angles to protect you.

Pray that God will increase your faith; use you for His glory in this world.

When Satan is finished with you and your testing comes to an end, if your family is still intact, and you still have your job and home, you have fared better than most.

Know this, Satan always betrays the person he used to betray and test you (his tool). After Satan is finished with you and your family, he betrays that person and goes after them, but much, much worse. If you thought you got it bad, what you got was child’s play compared to what that person got from Satan.

Final note: The Lord (via my wife) asked me to write this article. The information I am giving you about testing and Satan, except for the scriptures, is from my own experiences.

Put on the Full Armor of God,

Gary The Tested