Bible Study: Trial Is God's Blessing

Gospel Reflection: Trial Is God’s Blessing

It’s written in the Book of James 1:2-4, “My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” From the verses, we can see that God blesses man and perfects man through trials and refinements. So when we are in trials, we should seek God’s will and face the trial with a positive attitude. In this way we can make up for our deficiencies and tempered our will in adversities. Eventually we can satisfy God’s will and requirement and be commended by God. Since ancient times, those who were used by God or blessed by God all experienced tribulations. They obeyed the environment God arranged for them and stood testimony for God, so that they gained God’s blessings. Moses was refined in the wilderness for 40 years, until his hot blood was ground away and he had the true faith to be fit for God’s use, to shoulder the heavy responsibility of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Abraham offered up his only beloved son, Isaac, to satisfy God’s heart. Finally he received God’s blessings for bearing testimony for God in the trial. Job upheld his faith to God after his property had been stolen and his children lost their lives. Finally he stood the testimony for God and gained God’s blessings. Peter experienced hundreds of trials in the journey of following the Lord. Finally he was nailed upside down on the cross for the Lord, and achieved obedience unto death and love to the utmost. In the Book of Daniel, it says, “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried” (Daniel 12:10).These words tell us that only by experiencing trials and refinements can we be made purified and get changed in our life disposition. The Lord said, “Whoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34). “God’s refinement of man is not merely for the sake of a one-sided effect, but for the sake of a multi-faceted effect. Only in this way does God do the work of refinement in those who are willing to seek the truth, in order that man’s resolve and love are made perfect by God. To those who are willing to seek the truth, and who yearn for God, nothing is more meaningful, or of greater assistance, than refinement such as this.”   » You might be interested in reading more: • A Reflection on How to Overcome Trials and Tribulations From a Story • What to Do When You Lose Faith in God in Setbacks • What Should We Do When We Face Trials? Learn From the Story of Job Peace be with you all! Dear brothers and sisters, if you have any understanding or enlightenment from God, you’re welcome to share with us.1. Via the online chat window at the bottom right corner of the screen.2. Send an email to info@testifygod.org.We sincerely hope we’ll grow spiritually through sharing with each other.

What Does the Lord’s Prayer Mean and What Is His True Intention Within It

What Does the Lord’s Prayer Mean and What Is His True Intention Within It?

By Xiaocao The Lord’s Prayer Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.Amen. The Lord Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9–10). Nearly every believer in the Lord can recite this passage of the Lord’s Prayer, but most of the time we just recite it to conclude our worship services or to give thanks before meals while we all neglect to contemplate and understand the true meaning within it. As we get accustomed to this kind of practice, reciting the Lord’s Prayer has become a conventional religious ritual. So how should we interpret the Lord’s Prayer in a way that is in accordance with the Lord’s will? Usually, when we talk about entering into the kingdom of heaven, we believe that God’s kingdom is certainly in heaven and that the Lord will rapture us up into heaven to meet Him when He returns. But in the Lord’s Prayer, the Lord tells us to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth and that God’s will be done on earth, which is telling us that God’s kingdom will ultimately be realized on the earth, not in heaven. The Book of Revelation also prophesies, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:2–3). These verses say that the kingdom of God shall come down out of heaven, that the tabernacle of God is with men, and that God’s kingdom will be established on earth. We, however, are always looking forward to being raised up into heaven by the Lord and meeting Him in the air when He returns in the last days—this is totally impractical. The air is simply not a place for us humans to stay. Our notions and imaginings really are against the Lord’s words! Recently I read a passage in a book of truth, which says: “When God and man enter into rest together, it will mean that humanity has been saved and that Satan has been destroyed, that God’s work among man has finished entirely. God will no longer continue to work among man, and man will no longer live under Satan’s domain. Therefore, God will no longer be busy, and man will no longer rush about; God and man will enter into rest simultaneously. God will return to His original position, and each person will return to his or her respective place. These are the destinations that God and man will respectively reside in after the end of God’s entire management. God has God’s destination, and man has man’s destination. While resting, God will continue to guide all of humanity in their lives upon earth. While in God’s light, man will worship the one true God in heaven. … When humanity enters into rest, it means that man has become a true creation; humanity will worship God from upon the earth and have normal human lives. People will no longer be disobedient to God or resist God; they will return to the original life of Adam and Eve. These are the respective lives and destinations of God and humanity after they enter into rest” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together”). These words tell us that God will come to work and save mankind in the last days. After all the evil forces of Satan are wiped out and mankind’s thousands of years of painful life since being corrupted by Satan is put to an end, those who accepted God’s work and are saved by God will survive the great disasters of the last days and be brought by God into His kingdom, while those wicked individuals who once persecuted God upon earth and the enemies who were disobedient to Him will have been destroyed by the great disasters. People who attain God’s full salvation will receive His blessings and enter into rest in the kingdom of God, and they will continue to believe in God and worship God from upon the earth under God’s guidance and will return to a peaceful and happy life as that in the Garden of Eden. So it can be seen that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will establish His kingdom on earth—this completely fulfills these words “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” The Lord also tells us that we should first pray for God’s kingdom and righteousness in our belief in God. Therefore, we must pursue the truth and live by God’s words, be able to practice God’s words and believe in God strictly according to His requirements. No matter what trials or refinement may befall us, be they natural or man-made disasters, persecutions, tribulations, suffering or illnesses, we should be able to seek God’s will, not make complaints or betray God, and accept and obey His sovereignty and arrangements unconditionally. Only thus can we be called someone who obeys God and does God’s will, be saved by God and enter into the kingdom of heaven. Just as God said, “Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into…

the birth of the Lord Jesus

Gospel Reflection: Why the Pharisees Could Not Recognize the Lord Jesus Was the Messiah

By Liu Fang Two thousand years ago, the Israelites desperately longed for the coming of the Messiah, but when the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, finally arrived, the Pharisees actually nailed Him to the cross, and as a result, the Israelites were subject to God’s punishment—the destruction of Israel. This bitter failure really calls for our reflection: How come the Pharisees who had believed in God for generations resisted God? Now it is already the last days, and the prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically been fulfilled. At this critical time of welcoming the Lord, how can we avoid following in the footsteps of the Pharisees? As we all know, at the end of the Age of Law the Israelites, according to the prophecies in the Scripture, all longed for the Messiah to come and save them. At that time, the Pharisees, after hearing the prophecies about the coming Messiah, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6), and “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2), began to fancy what He would be like based on the literal meaning of these prophecies. In their mind, the One who was to come must be called Messiah. Since He would come to rule, He must be someone who would be born into a royal palace with a heroic bearing and commanding presence, who would grow into a great warrior like David and lead His people to drive the Romans out of Israel, rescuing them from the oppression of the Romans. However, the fulfillments of the prophecies were not as the Pharisees had imagined. When the Lord Jesus came, He was neither called the Messiah nor born into a royal palace. Instead, He was born in a manger and grew up in a poor carpenter’s home. His external appearance was not as majestic and extraordinary as they had fancied, but was very ordinary and normal. He didn’t lead the Israelites to overthrow the rule of the Romans, but walked among the people preaching the way of repentance, and taught them to practice forgiveness and tolerance and to love others as themselves. Seeing the Lord Jesus, who was ordinary and normal, not like the Messiah they imagined, the Pharisees stubbornly held on to their own notions and imaginings, concluding that He couldn’t be the coming Messiah, and seized upon every chance to condemn and resist Him. Even though the Lord Jesus performed many miracles and expressed many truths, from which many people recognized that He was Christ, the Pharisees didn’t have the slightest intention to seek. Regardless of how profound the Lord Jesus’ preaching was or how many miracles He performed, they obstinately rejected His work and even incited the people of Israel to resist and condemn Him. Later, they went so far as to collude with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus—the Messiah who had come, committing a heinous sin and offending God’s righteous disposition, and ultimately were subject to God’s punishment—the destruction of Israel. The failure of the Pharisees is really worthy of our self-reflection. They treated the prophecies about the Messiah based on their own conceptions and imaginations, which led to them becoming the ones who bitterly longed for the arrival of the Messiah but nailed Him to the cross. We all know that the prophecies in the Bible are about the things that God will accomplish in the future, which cannot be fathomed by us humans. So how should we treat them in a way that is after God’s heart? The Bible says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:19-21), and “Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). These verses tell us that the prophecies are all from God, which cannot be commented on at will by us. We cannot interpret them literally, or rely on our own notions to speculate on them or determine their meaning, because they will only be fulfilled according to God’s own plan. God’s work is wondrous and full of His wisdom, which cannot be fathomed by us humans. If we define God’s work based on the literal meaning of the prophecies, we are liable to resist God and ultimately be destroyed by our own conceptions and imagination. Compared to the Pharisees, there was a group of people who approached the prophecies of the Messiah in a different way. When seeing the Lord Jesus, who was ordinary and normal in appearance and not in accord with their fantasies about the Messiah, they didn’t hold on to their conceptions and imaginings but focused on listening to His words, and finally recognized through His words and work that He was the coming Messiah. Just like Simon Peter—he once said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Why could he say these words and recognize the Lord’s identity as Christ? This is because he found that what the Lord did was totally beyond what humans can do, that what He said contained the truth, and that He possessed the essence of God and “the words of eternal life.” The woman of Samaria is another example. When she…

Significance of the Lord Jesus’ Appearance to Thomas

As we all know, in the Bible there are the following scriptures: “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you. Then said he to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold my hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said to him, My LORD and my God. Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:26-29). Whenever I read these scriptures, I always think: The scriptures record that the Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples after the doors were shut, saying “Peace be to you!” That is to say, the Lord Jesus at that time was no longer a flesh but a spiritual body, for only the spiritual body is not subject to space and geographical constraints, entering into and going out of the house with the doors closed, appearing and disappearing at any time, with transcendent power. However, I wonder all the time, “Now that the Lord Jesus, after the resurrection, has finished the work He undertook, why is it necessary for Him to return to the people’s midst in His original image, appearing to His disciples or talking to Thomas?” Not until I have read God’s words did I have a brand-new understanding and knowledge of the intention of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to His disciple Thomas after the resurrection. God’s word says: “When He came to Thomas, He let doubting Thomas touch His hand, and told him: ‘reach here your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ These words, these actions weren’t things that the Lord Jesus wanted to say and do only after He had been resurrected, but they were things He wanted to do before He had been nailed to the cross. It is evident that the Lord Jesus who had not yet been nailed to the cross already had an understanding of people such as Thomas. So what can we see from this? He was still the same Lord Jesus after His resurrection. His essence had not changed. Thomas’ doubts had not just started but had been with him the entire time he had been following the Lord Jesus, but He was the Lord Jesus that had been resurrected from the dead and had returned from the spiritual world with His original image, with His original disposition, and with His understanding of mankind from His time in the flesh, so He went to find Thomas first, to let Thomas touch His rib, to let him not only see His spiritual body after resurrection, but to let him touch and feel the existence of His spiritual body, and completely let go of his doubts. Before the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, Thomas always doubted that He is Christ, and could not believe it. His belief in God was established only on the basis of what he could see with his own eyes, what he could touch with his own hands. The Lord Jesus had a good understanding of the faith of this type of person. They only believed in God in heaven, and did not believe at all, and would not accept the One sent by God, or the Christ in the flesh. In order to have him acknowledge and believe in the existence of the Lord Jesus and that He truly was God incarnate, He allowed Thomas to reach out his hand and touch His rib. Was Thomas’ doubting any different before and after the Lord Jesus’ resurrection? He was always doubting, and aside from the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body personally appearing to him and allowing Thomas to touch the nail marks on His body, no one could resolve his doubts, and no one could make him let go of them. So, from the time the Lord Jesus allowed him to touch His rib and let him really feel the existence of the nail marks, Thomas’ doubt disappeared, and he truly knew that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected and he acknowledged and believed that the Lord Jesus was the true Christ, that He was God incarnate. Although at this time Thomas no longer doubted, he had lost forever the chance to meet with Christ. He had lost forever the chance to be together with Him, to follow Him, to know Him. He had lost the chance for Christ to perfect him. The Lord Jesus’ appearance and His words provided a conclusion, and a verdict on the faith of those who were full of doubts. He used His actual words and actions to tell the doubters, to tell those who only believed in God in heaven but did not believe in Christ: God did not commend their belief, nor did He commend their following which was full of doubts. The day they fully believed in God and Christ could only be the day that God completed His great work. Of course, that day was also the day that their doubt received a verdict. Their attitude toward Christ determined their fate, and their stubborn doubt meant their faith gained them no results, and their rigidness meant their hopes were in vain. Because their belief in God in heaven was fed on illusions, and their doubt toward Christ was actually their true attitude toward God, even though they touched the nail marks on the Lord Jesus’ body, their faith was still useless and their outcome can only be described as beating the wind—in vain. What the Lord Jesus said to Thomas was also very clearly telling every person: The resurrected Lord Jesus is the Lord Jesus that had initially spent thirty-three and a half years working among mankind. Although He had been nailed to the cross and experienced the valley of the shadow of death, and He had experienced…

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