Monday, August 15, 2022

Encouragement in Trials

2nd Corinthians 4 says,

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).”


For most of us, our afflictions and difficulties do not seem very light or momentary. At first glance a lifetime of various victories and defeats doesn't feel momentary. But what Paul is saying here is that in the light of eternity, and in the light of the eternal work that God is accomplishing in each of us through our afflictions and trials, it is a light affliction, and it is but for a moment because it is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Our troubles will come to end one day, but they are accomplishing good things that will go on forever in God’s Kingdom. And God is not just working all things for good for us, but He is accomplishing His eternal purposes in the people around us through our trials, and theirs.


That reminds me of 1st Peter, chapter 1. Peter starts off by saying,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4).”


Our inheritance in the Lord is reserved for us who are “kept by the power of God.” That is, surrounded, guarded, protected, and kept by the power of God through our faith in Jesus Christ “for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (v. 5).”


In verse 5, Peter is saying that the rapture of the church, the tribulation, the second coming, the setting up of the Kingdom of Jesus is ready, it could be revealed at any time. That's what he said in the early to mid-sixties of the first century AD. So, if it was ready at that time, then he’s saying the rapture is imminent, it can happen at any time. Our salvation is ready, and when the Lord’s timing is fulfilled, He will come.


And then in verse 6 Peter says,

“You greatly rejoice in this,” speaking of that hope of salvation ready to come. We're looking for Jesus and we're looking to inherit our inheritance, our eternal bodies that cannot die and in which there is no impurity. We will be completely holy and righteous, we will not have a sin nature anymore. All of this we greatly rejoice in. Then he continues: “though now for a little while if need be you have been grieved by various trials.” That word grieved could also be translated “distressed.” These are very distressing and grievous times that we live in now, and of course all of the last two thousand years, in various places and in various ways, many Christians have lived with distressing circumstances. This is written to the church, and there are many trials and tribulations in this life for the followers of Christ.


But here's why we go through trials. We just saw it in 2nd Corinthians 4:17, that God is working a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” through our difficulties in this Christian life. The impact, the eternal purposes that God is accomplishing through our trials that we don't fully comprehend now, they each have eternal ramifications and purpose.


Now, in 1 Peter 1:7, Peter gives us more insight from the Holy Spirit and it’s really helpful and encouraging to understand.

“So that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”


Revelation, “apokalypsis” in Greek, like the Book of Revelation. Jesus is speaking of the revealing of Jesus Christ that happens at the rapture and then at the second coming and establishment of His Messianic Kingdom, the thousand-year reign of Jesus on earth.


Let's break down verse 7 a bit because this is so amazing when you think about how we get worn out from the trials, the difficulties. It really seems like one thing after another and we ask, “how can this be happening Lord and what is this for and why are you allowing this?” Well, we know in 2nd Corinthians that Paul said that God is working out something that far exceeds any difficulties in this life. That His plan exceeds our trials by so much, by so far, that you could call all of your afflictions in this life “light” and that you could call an entire lifetime of affliction “momentary.” That's how much God is working out for us in eternal terms, even though we can't fully comprehend all of that now.


Peter gives us a little more insight into that. Look at verse 7 in 1st Peter 1 again, “you've been grieved, distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith...” Now skip this next part of the sentence for a second, it is a parenthetical thought. Reading it like this helps us grasp what is being said: “that the genuineness of your faith… may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Peter is saying that when God allows our trials, it's like when gold is put into the refiner's fire. We are God’s treasure, we are His “gold.” Why does gold need to be refined? To make it more pure. And what happens when gold is made more pure? Its value increases.


So, our faith is tested and tried and refined through our trials. For what purpose? So that it, meaning you and I, may be “found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Whether we die and go to be with the Lord, or we go to be with Him immediately when He’s revealed at the rapture or at the second coming, the more refining that's been done in your life, the more praise you will receive. The more honor you will receive. The more glory you will receive. The purest gold receives the highest honor and is of the most value.


Now we see God’s ability to work all things together for good for His children. We can see where all of the refining leads. You’ve endured another trial and you have grown in your faith. You've endured another trial and you have more commendations. And when Peter says, “the genuineness of your faith,” he doesn’t mean God is checking to see if it is real, if it is genuine. Peter is saying that the trial is making it more genuine, more pure. Your faith is refined and becomes of more value.


Without question, our value to God is infinite and unconditional in Christ. In this passage “value” is analogous of our purification, our sanctification. In other words, maturing in Christ. Our sanctification leads to a deeper walk with Jesus and to things we do for Christ in this life by His Spirit. Our trials make us more like Jesus and lead to maturity and the accomplishing of the works that God wants to accomplish through us, which things lead to praise, honor, and glory; our rewards in Heaven! Peter is speaking of our sanctification and purification. Not for salvation, but for maturing and growing in our Christian lives, in our closeness and genuineness of relationship with Jesus. Read this again: our trials lead to our purification and sanctification, which directly lead to maturity and works done in the Spirit, which accomplish eternal benefits and rewards; praise, honor, and glory in the Kingdom of God forever!


We are saved by grace through faith immediately, and fully made holy and set apart by just our simple faith in Jesus Christ; by our faith in the blood of Christ shed for our sin and His resurrection for our life. But there is a work that God is doing in us now that we are born-again, born from above. He is working out His will in and through us now and forever. His will is that we live more holy lives in this life, that we live our lives focused on Him, in communion with Him, in relationship with Jesus. But of course, that only goes so far (even in an entire lifetime) because we struggle against our old sin nature. Sometimes it seems like it's barely gone anywhere! When we are with the Lord, when Jesus arrives or we go to be with Him, that sin nature will finally be destroyed completely.


What is Peter’s point, then? That all of our fiery trials in Christ bring growth and maturity in our walk with Him, and God is using them, not just in our life but in the lives of the people around us. Most immediately, our family, our friends, our co-workers, and people in church; our brothers and sisters in Christ. And other people that we encounter, and people yet to put their faith in Jesus.


And so, as we go through these things and God works them out- these trials, these sicknesses, these persecutions, a variety of different things that bring trials, we are adding to our reward. We are adding to our walk with Christ. We are adding to the praise and honor and glory that we are going to receive from Him. And the Lord is using us to add to His Kingdom!


The disclosure of this truth here in First Peter should give us renewed hope and recharge us to endure. We are so close to the return of Jesus. He's coming so soon; we can hardly comprehend. It could be a matter of days. It could be months or years, but it is so close now. He has delayed His coming thus far because God doesn’t want any to perish, but all to come to life (2 Peter 3). But we are seeing literally dozens of prophecies, hundreds of things happening every day around the world, that show how close we are to the return of Christ, biblically speaking. This can be proven, it is all laid out in the Word of God, the Bible.


The Lord is coming so soon. Even if it is years away that's still very, very soon. Endure. Press through. Know that God has a reason for the trials that you're going through. An eternal purpose to bless us beyond all that we can think or imagine! And God is never going to leave you or forsake you. He is holding you in His hand. He makes that promise. If we call out on Him, if we put our trust in Him, He Himself will answer. He Himself will deliver us.


Endure, keep fighting the good fight of faith, persevere like a good soldier. Stay in your Bible like it is the only way you will get through- because it is. Keep crying out to the Lord and asking why He’s doing what He is doing, and He will show you. Stay in the Word of God because look, it is all right there. He's doing a work, a good work, an eternal work. When we're in Heaven 10,000 years from now it will seem like a light affliction, it will seem like it was but for a moment. And all of this you are enduring is bringing your family into the Kingdom, bringing your friends into the Kingdom, your co-workers, other people that you care about or maybe even people you don't care about, enemies.


Lord Jesus, have mercy on your people. Come quickly, Lord. But use us until that time has arrived.


The Lord bless you and I hope this was a blessing and an encouragement. Grow in the grace of the Lord, keep your face in your Bible, and keep looking up! The King is coming very soon.

Watch the video:

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Best Place to Be

Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? These two questions come up often in daily life. Then there are those times that they become big life questions. Where should I be? What should I be doing?

What I am about to say is not meant to invoke guilt, but it may have that effect. It is not meant to condemn or judge, but you may feel that way when you read it. Sometimes the things that we need to hear will make us uncomfortable. But if we receive the loving conviction of the Spirit of God, He can show us a better way. What I am about to share is not mine. It is the message of Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, and is the absolute truth that everyone needs to hear and seriously consider. It is the answer to the questions. It is the answer to all questions.

Where do you want to go? The single greatest place you will ever find, anywhere on the planet or in the universe, and over the span of your entire life, is that secret place in fellowship and prayer with your Father in Heaven. The ongoing relationship that He wants to form with you; that’s where you belong. The Creator of all things, your God and Savior, wants to call you friend, wants to give you all of His love as a good Father does His child.

And the greatest thing you could ever experience or achieve? Far beyond all else, it will be those things that the Lord has prepared for you to do throughout your life in the grace, power, and leading of His Holy Spirit. God made us for a reason and has an eternal plan, perfectly crafted for each of us individually, and as a group in fellowship with each other, the church. Those that love God in spirit and truth are the family of God.

Be careful not to go down the wrong road. If you are off His path, do not hesitate to get back on track! There are a lot of reasons we go down the wrong roads, over and over. Do not fall for an imitation of God’s perfect will for your life. There are millions of fraudulent destinations and empty activities down millions of dead-end roads. Beware, because they are full of false promises that always lead to disappointment, emptiness, depression, despair, pain, anger, confusion and worse.

There is one way and one truth. Jesus said that He Himself is the Life, and the only way to life, and the only way to do life. Real life. Real wholeness. Real satisfaction. Real fulfillment. Real hope. Real peace. Real joy. Real love.

God has given us the secret to life: stop living for yourself and live for Christ. You will find everything you were ever looking for in God Himself. Not in a poetic sense. Not in an ethereal way. But seek God with all your heart and He will reveal Himself to you in the real, living person of Jesus Christ. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and He will daily lead you, protect you, provide for you, and ultimately deliver you from this life into eternal glory in His everlasting Kingdom.

The Way, the Truth and the Life is a person: Jesus of Nazareth.

If you are a Christian and you don't know this or are not living in this way, if you're not living your life 100% for Christ in all that you do, whatever you do, then you are being cheated. A scam has been perpetrated on you. And you will have to learn the hard way that every other road does come to a dead-end. God’s road for your life is perfect; narrow and difficult at times, but true, and real and perfectly fit for you.

True, deep, and lasting joy and peace does not come in the pursuit of happiness, wealth, power, or even helping others, but in yielding to the transformative and life-giving work God wants to accomplish in you through your daily walk with Jesus. The world, and all the things in the world, cannot give you that kind of peace and that kind of joy.

What we learn is that firstly, our lives are to be all about developing our relationship with God through our faith in Jesus, growing in the grace and knowledge of Him, and letting the Lord change us and live His life through us for His glory and for His eternal purposes. You will not have satisfaction in this life chasing your dreams outside of God’s direct will for you, only frustration. Jesus is not for salvation only, leaving you to go on living for yourself and in the ways of this lost, godless society. Jesus is to be the center of your daily life, as you become a new person, Heavenly minded, discovering the Creator Himself and His purpose for your being. God desires to interact with you daily, in a variety of ways, to accomplish His work in your life now and to prepare you for eternal life in His Kingdom.

And if you're not already a Christian, God stands ready to forgive you- if you turn to Him. He will take you into His family, into His home, and give you that true life and real satisfaction in Christ. The Creator of all things set aside His glory and became a man to go to the cross for you and me, to die for our sins, and rose again to life- to give us life. Death could not hold Jesus because He is the only person to ever live a truly sinless life.

If you turn to Jesus and put your faith in Him He will forgive you of your sins and your mistakes, and all of the roads that you've gone down, and every single thing you've ever done, and will give you new life in Jesus Christ; wholeness of life and abundant life starting right now.

And when Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom on earth or when your time to leave this world arrives, you will immediately be with the Lord in His perfect Kingdom forever, resurrected to eternal life through faith in the one who died for you and rose again, bringing you true life forever.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Bite-Sized Bible Studies: The Love of God Wins

There are those who accuse Christians of hate because we simply believe our Bibles and lovingly warn others of God’s judgment on sin. But those who hate are those who hate God because He dares to convict us of our sin.

God has promised that a day of judgment will come for all those that hate Him and ultimately reject His provision for our sin- Jesus.

Repent of your sin! And believe the good news of forgiveness of sin and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sin and rose to give sinners life. Call out to Jesus today and live!

Psalm 21:

Sunday, July 10, 2022

God, Our Flawless Father

God is the Flawless Father of those who repent of their sin and call on Him in spirit and in truth.

He is…

The Creator

Our Provider

Our Protector

Our Salvation









Hates Sin

Loves Righteousness

God is Perfect




God Hates Evil

Loves Good

God is Omnipotent




The Righteous Judge

God is Love (1 John)

For those who allow God to be their Father through faith in Jesus Christ, He is our Lord and Savior, the hope of our eternal salvation. Jesus said, “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father (John 14).”

Friday, July 1, 2022

Video Study: Colossians

The Apostle Paul writes to the church at Colosse in Asia Minor (present day Turkey), giving thanks "because of the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven," that is, their salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. He then makes it very clear who Jesus really is- God, the eternal Creator of all things. Paul finishes the first chapter by saying that when we place our faith in Jesus for forgiveness of sins and eternal life, Christ Himself indwells us and is Himself our hope (our assurance) of glory.

(All 4 chapters of Colossians are now available on YouTube)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Video Study: 2nd Peter 1

Peter's second letter begins with the now aged apostle opening his heart to remind the Church to be diligent to grow in our walk with Christ. He then speaks of being an eyewitness when Jesus was transfigured into glory on the mountain. He finishes the first chapter by saying that we have an even stronger proof of God's word and work available to us in Bible prophecy, exhorting Christians to pay attention to it "as a light that shines in a dark place."

(All 3 chapters of 2 Peter are now available on YouTube)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Is Your Faith True?

Our walk with Jesus is a spiritual one. He didn’t come to bless us materially. When we love Jesus with all our heart we set our minds on things above, not things on the earth. We seek spiritual blessing: wisdom, understanding, discernment, purity, meekness, the leading of the Spirit. We want to please Him with true hearts of repentance, love, and worship of Him for who He is. We desire the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. We seek to be more like our wonderful Savior, and to know Him more and more through prayer and His Word- the Bible. 

Jesus did not come and die for our sin so that we could go on sinning without regard, but that we could be forgiven of our sin and receive the power to overcome sin in our lives, more and more, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not come and die for our sin so that we could “live our best life now,” living only for enjoyment and comfort, traveling, entertainment, and excitement. Our great need is not in experiencing every great thing this world has to offer. Our great need is in the regeneration of our spirit and the renewal of our mind, not in temporary, material abundance or vanishing worldly pleasures. 100 years will come and go in the blink of an eye. Our lives on this earth are like a morning mist that blankets the hillside, but by noon, has completely evaporated. That is why Jesus said, 

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).” 

“For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:16-17).” 

We must take great care to confirm within our own hearts that we are true to the Lord. Paul said, “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified (2 Corinthians 13:5).” 

The only way to test yourself, to test your Christianity, is to compare it to the New Testament. How do your beliefs hold up against biblical truth? The book of Acts through Revelation are uniquely for the Church, and are the basis and standard of what Christianity is to actually be. Test your faith against the New Testament to see if you are in the faith, and to grow and change accordingly, as the Lord reveals to you through His Word. This isn’t optional for Christians. This is the only way to test your faith to see if it is truly biblical Christianity! 

When John and Andrew began to follow Jesus, Jesus asked them, “What do you seek (John 1).” We need to ask ourselves, “why am I following Jesus? What am I seeking from Him? Am I focused on what the Lord can do for me here and now, or am I yielding to the Spirit, seeking and searching for the truth and to know God more fully? Am I seeking to die to this life and follow Jesus wherever He sends me or am I looking for material blessings for a worldly life?” 

These may be indicators of where your heart toward God is truly at. 

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).” 

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63).” 

“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 18:9-14).’" 

A person can only be saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace, not by our own good works. But saving faith produces spiritual fruit (Galatians 5). There is a renewal of our hearts and minds to the things of God (Romans 12). There is regeneration of our spirit, which was once dead to the things of Christ Jesus, but is now alive to Him (Titus 3). Is God’s Word penetrating your heart? Can you look at the fruit of your faith and see the spiritual, biblical changes? Our walk with Jesus is over a lifetime, and we will always have times that we fall. I am far from perfect, but you should have seen me before I gave my heart to Jesus! I really want to know Him! I agree with His Word. I really want to please Him. I really want to be done with this fallen nature. He really has changed me, even in light of knowing how far I still fall short of the glory of God. 

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness… (Romans 3:21-25).” 

Maybe you have lost your first love (Revelation 2), or maybe you were never born-again at all (John 3). Take this opportunity now to turn to the Lord in truth and in spirit and to fully commit your life to Jesus Christ.

"’But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father (John 6:64-65).’"

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).’”

“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His (Romans 8:9).”

Brian Farrell is a follower of Jesus, saved by God's amazing grace through faith in Christ. Brian is a Bible teacher and the founder of Walking With Jesus Ministries. He lives with his wife Dana in Temecula, California.