But Where's the Victory?
edited: Saturday, May 02, 2009
By Cynthia A. Buhain-Baello
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, May 01, 2009
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Recently I showed an article to my daughter for her to read, and asked her opinion. Since she has taken degree courses in various ministries and in counseling from Every Nation Ministries (Victory International) I felt she was qualified to give an unbiased view.
The article was about encouragement and it relates the remarkably consistent and amazingly frequent sufferings and trials of a couple in ministry. From the first few years of pastorate, when a child meets an accident, to a latter part during actual ministry where the pastor gets into an accident too, and suffers illness, up to the time when the house gets burned, the pastor dies, the son gets into drugs and later into homosexuality, it all paints a terribly bleak picture of the Christian life!
If an unbeliever would read that story, he will definitely NOT WANT to be born-again or become a Christian!! It seems suffering is all there is to the Christian's life and there is no victory at all, no fulfillment of God's
promises that He will be our help in time of trouble!
After reading it, without any pre-judgment on her part, she told me that the Christian walk is a process of trials with a PURPOSE. God is not a sadistic God that He enjoys making His child suffer. It is easy to blame the
trials as a "work of the devil" or a way that he is doing the "hindrances" to prevent one from ministering effectively. It would be unthinkable to surmise that God just looks indifferently while His servants become the devil's target practice.
II Peter 2:9 says "...then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment."
Not all trials come from the devil, sometimes we fail to be "the branches that abide", we are "active" in ministry but not "intimate" with the Source of our ministry: God. Some sufferings are consequences of sin, for God already forbids homosexuality and engaging therein leads to AIDS and illness, just as cigarette smoking leads to lung cancer and death. Sin always brings a curse and loss of God's protection and favor. We do not lose salvation but we suffer the results of sin.
God promised His servants in Isaiah 43:1-3 -
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.
When you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
The call for ministry and the EMPOWERMENT for ministry comes from God.
Without the Power of God in a minister, he is open season for the devil's attacks because he goes into war without
his proper assignment, weapons, and bullets. It's like going to war with a water gun.
When a minister (and his family) is under the protective mantle of God's covering (for we are protected by the Blood of Jesus Christ) these things will be evident, something like "proof of life" :
1.) THERE IS VICTORY FROM SIN
I JOHN 3:9 says- "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he
cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God."
2.) THE DEVIL CANNOT HARM HIM
"We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and THE DEVIL CANNOT HARM HIM. (I John 5:18)
3.) GOD PROTECTS HIM
"God is just; He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and GIVE RELIEF TO YOU WHO ARE TROUBLED."
(2 Thessalonians 1:6-7)
"The One Who calls you is Faithful and He will do it." (! Thessalonians 5:24)
4.) GOD GIVES HIM ANOINTING
"As for you, the anointing that you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things, and as the anointing is real, not counterfeit- just as it has taught you, remain in Him."
5.) HE WALKS THE TALK
" Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." (I John 2:6)
6.) HIS CHARACTER HAS BEEN MOLDED FOR THE CALLING
" For this reason: add to your Faith
goodness; and to goodness, knowledge,
and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive
in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus.
But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and BLIND, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins,
Therefore, my brothers, BE ALL THE MORE EAGER TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE. For if you do these things, YOU
WILL NEVER FALL, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
(2 Peter 1:5-11)
7.) THE LORD PROVIDES FOR HIS NEEDS
"the Lord is gracious and compassionate. He provides food for those who fear Him, He remembers His covenant forever." (Psalm 111:4-5)
8.) HIS FAMILY WILL BE CARED FOR AND
WILL FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
"Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in His commands.
His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever."
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright."
9.) HE ENJOYS GOOD HEALTH AND GOD'S FAVOR
"If you make the Most High your dwelling- even the Lord, who is my refuge- then NO HARM WILL BEFALL YOU,
NO DISASTER WILL COME NEAR YOUR TENT.
For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." (Psalm 91:9-11)
"His Faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." (Psalm 91:4)
10.) GOD GRANTS HIM SUCCESS IN MINISTRY
"May Your deeds be shown to Your servants, Your splendor to their children." (Psalm 90:16)
"May the favor of our Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes establish the work of our hands."
Nothing is impossible with God nor is anything too hard for Him. In my life as a Christian, I have seen how He answers the simplest prayer of Faith.
Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart. He confides to those who fear Him and He is close to the brokenhearted to bind up their wounds. He is near to all who call on Him in truth, and to all who look up to Him their faces are radiant and never put to shame.
When we call He answers, while we are yet speaking He hears. He is the God of miracles and He displays His power among the people. "Call to Me and I will answer you and show great and unsearchable things you do not know."
God calls us not to make us suffer, "For I know the plans I have for you,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
God is True to His promises, He has never failed to keep them, "They will be My people and I will be their God.
I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and the good of their children after them."
God is concerned not only with us, but with our children as well. "I will make an everlasting covenant with them;
I will never stop doing good to them,
and I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me."
(Jeremiah 32: 38-40)
Finally, we do not need to beg for His Love, because God is all good and loves to do good - "I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul." (Jeremiah 32:41)
Ministry is God- assigned, we do not "call" ourselves to it. He gives it and plans it for us. Our Lord Jesus Christ was more concerned with the branch "abiding" before they will be able to bear fruit, and fruit that remains.
"Remain in Me, and I will remain in you.
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain n Me."
A branch that ministers without nourishment from the Vine, Jesus Christ,
may be in a positional leadership, active in ministry, visibly present in all church crusades, but eventually it will dry up, exhausted, emptied of spirit, and falls to the ground of defeat.
Warren W. Wiersbe and David Wiersbe, in
"Making Sense of Ministry" (Chicago, Ill.:Moody Press,1983; pp.31-46) tells us more clearly:
1. The foundation for ministry is character - not professional skill.
2. The nature of ministry is service - not being served.
3. The motive for ministry is Love- not money or power
4. The measure of ministry is sacrifice - not success.
5. The authority of ministry is submission - not pulling strings.
6. The purpose of ministry is to glorify God - not to glorify ourselves
7. The tools of ministry are Prayer and Scripture - not a marketing handbook and an ingratiating manner
8. The privilege of ministry is growth - which may be in depth rather than in numbers
9. The power of ministry is the Holy Spirit - not programs
10. The model for ministry is Jesus Christ - not a corporation or a man.
Our testimony as Christians is very influential and essential, it is a letter of recommendation of what God has done in us, and so it should glorify Him. "For it is God Who works in you to will and to do according to His good purpose." (Philippians 2:13)
When we fail and stumble along the way,
reflection and deep introspection will reveal it was not really the devil's fault, it was our pride.
"Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.
For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved but the one whom the Lord commends."
(2 Corinthians 10:17-18)
(Note: Research resources:
"The Church: Purpose, Profile, Priorities" Chuck Swindoll; Multnomah
Press; 1988, Fullerton,California, USA
"Into His Presence" Charles Stanley;
Thomas Nelson Publishers;2000, Atlanta
Georgia USA, p. 328 "The Way of Adversity"
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|Reviewed by J'nia Fowler
|Well said. I think George is quoting a maxim which happens every day and in many ways; it is easier to kill the messenger than it is to hear the truth. IH, J'nia|
|Reviewed by Susan Smith
|Thanks for your insight and sharing it with us. Susan|
|Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen
|Cynthia thank you for sharing this, we need to read more articles like this
In Christs Love
|Reviewed by Georg Mateos
|I knew, long ago, of a preacher. He hadn't a temple, a church or a house of God, he simply when from town to town telling the people where was the good road and what His Father expected from them.
They killed Him, because it was more easy than hearing the truth.