THE NIGHT I GOT SIFTED BY THE DEVIL

THE NIGHT I GOT SIFTED BY THE DEVIL

Jesus Did It!

By: Norm Rasmussen

Have you ever been “sifted” by the devil?  Maybe you’re being sifted right now, and don’t even realize it’s happening. I would like to share a time when I was sifted by the devil and didn’t realize it.

There is an account in the New Testament Bible where Satan demanded to “Sift Peter like wheat.”  And the Lord said,  “ Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (See: Luke 22:31).   

Perhaps you don’t believe the devil exists.  Perhaps you think that the battle between good and evil only exists in “Star Wars” movies, and is only the figment of an overactive imagination.  Or perhaps you believe that such stuff like “the devil” and “demons” has been used to put fear into people, or control them.  I thought that way for nearly 35 years, until God made Himself real to me.  At a point in my life when I felt it wasn’t worth going on anymore, and suicide was the door I was looking to open . . . God supernaturally revealed His reality to me, though He didn’t have to. When He became real, and I promised Him that I would obey Him the rest of my life as best as I knew how . . . I didn’t realize I would have the devil to battle with in keeping that promise to my Lord.

To help appreciate what I’ll be sharing, one has to realize that if a person doesn’t believe that God really exists, but is only make-believe in the minds of those who believe He exists, then it only stands to reason that a person would not believe the devil or Satan exists.  And if a person doesn’t believe God or Satan exists, then that person could not possibly believe the Bible is telling the truth about the devil and demons.

If you read my conversion story: (See: The Night God Became Real)  - you won’t have much doubt that something happened to me that changed my life forever.  However, just because God became real to me didn’t immediately cause me to believe the devil or Satan is real.  Nor did I believe completely that the Bible could be trusted.  (See:  The Bible Miracle).

After God so graciously removed the thick cloud of doubt about whether or not the Bible could be trusted, I found myself still doubting that the actual reality of a devil could be believed.  When I read scriptures about Satan in the New Testament, I just assumed that they were words inserted by man alone and not inspired by the Holy Spirit through man at all.  Certainly, the devil could not be real.  That made no sense.  Why would God allow there to be a real devil and real demons that interfere with the affairs of mankind?  Is God weak or not as all-powerful as I thought He is supposed to be?

So – after nearly two years of walking in intimate spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ, I prayed a solemn prayer to Him, in this manner:  “Lord – the Bible indicates that Satan and his demon helpers are real spirit beings opposing Your will for humanity.  If Satan and demons really are real, and not just make-believe . . . I ask that you show me in a way that I can believe they are real like I know you are real.  If the devil and demons are not real, but simply make-believe, then show me that as well.” 

Little did I know that God would answer my prayer the way He chose to answer it.  

The time was in the early 1980’s.  I had been divorced for a couple of years.  On the weekends, I had visitation with my two precious children.  They were about 8 and 10 years old at the time.  It was on a Friday, and I would pick them up from my ex-wife’s house, and take them home for the weekend. 

My week at work had been extremely hectic and stressful.  That Friday after work, I found myself very uptight and stressed when I stopped to pick up the children.  Normally they were very happy to see me, and very well mannered.  Before even getting into the car, they were pestering each other, calling each other cruel names, and jabbing each other.  I told them to calm down once they got in the car, but they didn’t mind me for very long.

It was about an hour’s drive to our house, and as we drove through busy traffic, the children continued needling each other.  Time after time I told them to stop what they were doing, or they were going to be disciplined when we got home.  They obeyed all of one minute or less, and then they were right back at it.

As they kept making sarcastic remarks and poking each other, my anger began to grow, because they were not minding me.  This was the first time I could ever remember that they would not behave after a couple of warnings.  As we dodged in and out of busy traffic, my anger intensified at pokey traffic as well.  

About halfway home, at the height of their incessant picking at each other, a thought crossed my mind.  Why not lash out with my right arm and smash their throats, proving to them I mean business?

Then I shook my head and thought to myself: How could you even be thinking of doing such a thing to your precious children!?  What’s the matter with you? 

Their needling each other continued.  It was as though I wasn’t even in the car with them.  They were completely oblivious to my boiling anger.  Then a flash went through my mind again.  Go ahead!  Straight-arm their necks.  Show them you mean business!  When those thoughts rushed through my head, I could see my right arm coming off the steering wheel, and lashing out across their necks.  It would teach them a well-deserved lesson.  And as I saw it actually happening in my imagination, everything in me wanted to follow through with this anger-induced madness.

I gripped the steering wheel tighter.  I felt I dare not take my right hand off the wheel, or an uncontrollable impulse would actually cause me to follow through with this temptation to harm these two innocent children of mine.

I began to silently cry out to God:  Lord, help me!  Something is wrong with me.  I have gone from anger to rage.  If you don’t stop them from fighting, I’m afraid I can’t stop myself from lashing out at their necks with my forearm.

Their needling each other would not stop.  Only by the grace of God was I able to not follow through with smashing their throats -- ashamed as I am to admit it.  Finally I screamed at the top of my lungs, “If you kids don’t shut up, I’m going to hurt you bad!

That got their attention, thank goodness Their eyes grew huge, and they were stunned. They lowered their heads, and not another word was said by them all the way home.

But my rage didn’t stop.  It continued to simmer inside.  I wanted to run people off the road that was going too slow in front of me.  Something inside me wanted to lash out at someone - anyone - anything.  Anger was boiling inside me like a backed volcano wanting to unleash its fiery.

Yet part of me was asking myself what was wrong with me.  I was not a violent person.  Anger never had gotten the best of me before.  But I had somehow crossed over a line I had never crossed over before.  I was now in a state of near uncontrollable rage, and with the thoughts I had been feeling, I knew something tragic might happen if I didn’t get the kids home quickly and get away from them.

As we drove up to the trailer, I told the kids to get out and tell my wife (Kathleen) that I had to go be alone for awhile, and that I would be home later.  The oldest asked me, “Dad … are you alright? 

I remember answering him, “No, son, I’m not.”

Off I zoomed.  I had to get away from everyone.

I BEGAN TO YELL LIKE A WILD, CRAZED ANIMAL

As I was leaving the trailer park we lived in, I could not hold the rage pent up inside of me any longer.  It was like a bottle of shook-up champagne ready to blow it’s cork.  I began to yell like a wild, crazed animal as I left the park.  At the top of my lungs, I screamed out in agony, to relieve the pressure inside my head.  It was nearly dark, but I was seeing white everywhere.  I could hardly see the road.  I was afraid that I might run into another car because my vision was obscured from the hazy white. 

I remembered a dead-end dirt road not far from the trailer park, and I headed for it.  Fortunately, it was only a couple of minutes away.  I made it to the end of the road and turned the car off. 

There -- now I could slip into total insanity without harming someone else. That’s really what was going through my mind at that moment.  This is what it is like to go insane, I began thinking to myself.  This is how anger turned into rage sends people over the deep end to commit acts of violence.  How can this be happening to me?  This isn’t supposed to be happening to a normal person.  Why me? . . . I was thinking to myself.

I screamed and screamed as loud as I could, like a wild beast.  The louder I screamed, the better it felt, relieving a little of the backed up pressure and pain.

As my voice began to grow hoarse, a little thought out of nowhere went through my head.  You know … if you’ll just curse God, this will all go away.”

Yeah, I thought.  That would feel good.  But why should I curse God?  Christians don’t curse God.  Don’t be stupid, Norm.  You have to be crazy now, to think about cursing God.

“Curse Him! You’ll feel better.” Came the thought again, only with more intensity this time.

No, I thought to myself.  You can’t curse God.  He’s done so much for you.  Shut up!  No, I won’t!

“Curse Him!!! What has He ever done for you?  Look at this.  If He cared for you, this wouldn’t even be happening.  You know it.”

Yeah – why was God letting this happen to me anyway?  What had I done to deserve this?  Everything in me wanted to curse Him … to see if I could get rid of this rage.

“Go ahead.  Do it!  I promise you this pain will go away if you will.”

Over and over the dialogue went back and forth between my mind and this voice that seemed like my own, but wasn’t quite.  But I was in so much pain; I just assumed it was my own voice -- my own self, talking to myself.

This voice began screaming inside my head.  “Curse Him, you coward!  You know you’re GOING to.  Just get on with it.  Do it!”

This went on for what seemed like nearly half an hour or so.  I was sweating.  I was so caught up with what was going on inside my head that I was oblivious to everything else around me. 

Then somehow … I know it was only by the grace of God … I did the only right thing I had done all day.  I somehow managed to get enough strength (and wisdom?) to do something inside me that has been the most difficult thing I can remember ever having to do.  I said, “Lord, would you please help me?  If you don’t, I’m going to end up giving in to this temptation to curse you.  Please help me …”

No sooner than I got that plea out of my heart, then this thought went through my mind: What has God ever done to you that would make Him worthy of being cursed?

I thought about it.  I had heard not long before that God is a good God, and bad comes from the devil, not God.  Could that be really true?

Then a dim light bulb slowly began to glow inside my being.  It was like a revelation just burst forth into a little flickering flame, and it was starting to shine forth the tiniest glimmer of light.

GOD ISN'T WORTHY TO BE CURSED -- HE'S ONLY WORTHY TO BE PRAISED

Then from out of that tiny light bulb, I had these thoughts:  God isn’t worthy to be cursed; He’s only worthy to be praised. 

“CURSE HIM!”  Came the other voice.  “Curse Him!  You know you want to!  You KNOW God gives good and evil to those He wants to.  There is no such thing as a devil who can do what is happening to you right now.  It is GOD testing you – don’t use the devil doing this as an excuse not to curse God!”

When that voice screamed loudly through my mind, the temptation kept returning to follow through with it.  But before it continued for more than a brief moment, this other little voice would ring out sort of like in sing-song fashion:  God is not worthy to be cursed.  He’s only worthy to be praised.”

“CURSE HIM!”  Bam – back came the temptation.

But another voice was saying: “He’s not worthy to be cursed.  He’s only worthy to be praised.” 

Back and forth it went, with rapid-fire intensity.  It was like there was a duel going on inside me.  It was like my mind was a battlefield, and two enemies were fighting without my granting their permission.

I still had rage bottled up inside me, though by now my throat was so hoarse and my head pounded so bad that I no longer was screaming anymore.  Getting rid of that rage and regaining sanity was the one and only thought on my mind.

Finally a thought struck me: why not speak out loud and repeat what the little peaceful and pleasant voice was saying from somewhere inside my white rage?: “Jesus is not worthy to be cursed. He’s only worthy to be praised.” 

I began to join along with that voice. I began to repeat after it louder.    The louder I said it, and the faster I repeated it, the quieter the other voice was being drowned out.  And guess what -- the louder I sang the little sing-song rhyme out loud -- “Jesus is not worthy to be cursed.  He’s only worthy to be praised” -- the rage began to lesson.  Oh … that began to feel so good.  The pressure inside began to subside.  I had hope that it might bring me back to my normal state of mind.

WHO ARE WE TO CURSE, AND WHO ARE WE TO PRAISE, ANYWAY?

Finally the desire to curse and spew profanities at God was completely gone.  The rage and anger completely lifted, and my soul was finally at peace.   I sat there in the dark in my car -- hands raised to the Lord, saying over and over: “Jesus … you’ll never be worthy to be cursed.  You’ll only be worthy to be praised.”

Then I realized that I needed to start thinking about getting home and apologizing quickly to my children.  They had to be frightened by my actions.  Just before starting the car to drive away, another voice went through my head.  Only this time, it was a voice different than any other.  Not loud, but of a little different tone. 

Here is what I heard:  “Remember praying a prayer awhile back; remember asking Me to reveal the reality of Satan and demons, and power they have been allowed to have over people, or whether they were just lies and make-believe?  I have just answered that prayer ... giving you a living demonstration of what Satan is capable of doing to people if they don’t trust Me for protection from him.  Don’t ever take that protection for granted.”

Whoaaa ... yes.  I had forgotten all about praying that prayer!

When I got back to the trailer, I apologized to my precious children.  I tried as best as I could to explain to them what had happened, though they looked at me pretty mystified.  I prayed over them that God would remove this ugly episode from their memories, and that they would be completely normal from it.  

Later that evening, before falling off to sleep, I realized God had done a lot more than just answering that prayer I had prayed and leaving it at that. I had also been tested --  intensely tested.   I had experienced something of the sort that Job experienced in the Old Testament, but of a much shorter duration.  Something in me needed to be sifted, and this was God’s way of dealing with it.  I also had a much stronger desire to seek God about that statement I had heard about: ‘God being a good God, and the devil being a bad devil, and the two should never be confused as to who is doing what in our lives and around the globe.’  Nevertheless ... God will allow Satan to test us and try us, for our spiritual growth ... to be a instrument in God's hand to help Godly character be formed in us. 

Through this incident, God not only showed me how quickly Satan and his demonic helpers would reduce me to a screaming (violent) lunatic were it not for God’s divine protection and grace, it was also the best reminder that I could ever have had that the most foolish thing a person could ever do is curse God.  How do I know with certainty?  Because He’s not WORTHY to be cursed.  To be “worthy” of being cursed, one has to do wrong.  Was He wrong for dying in my place on the cross so that I wouldn’t have to suffer judgment throughout eternity for my sin against Him?  Was He wrong for dying so that I could legally be reconciled back to God the Father in good standing …. free of charge?  Was He wrong for giving me the Holy Spirit to serve Him during this life?  Was He wrong for keeping me from committing suicide a few years earlier?  Just what had He ever done wrong that was reason to make Him “worthy” to be cursed?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing!  The only one worthy to be cursed was the one who has brought the curse of sin and death upon humanity.  His name is Satan.  Satan has never done one thing worthy to receive my praise.  Not one thing.  He is the one who has fully and completely earned the sad honor of being cursed.  He’s worthy of nothing else.  Zip - zero - nada.

I don’t say that angrily.  I don’t say that arrogantly.  I say it with sadness.  The anger and rage built up inside of him is his hate for God and God’s people.  He will never know the peace and joy that the Holy Spirit eagerly gives to those who will give themselves completely to the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. 

Jesus …. I praise you one more time.  Thank you.  You are only worthy of it.       

Though it would have been very easy to never tell anyone about this experience, I’ve felt the Lord wanted me to humble myself and share it publicly.  I also feel led to share some thoughts that dovetail with it … especially if you are going through a difficult time in your life right now and it makes no sense. 

In the Old Testament book of Job we read how Satan was granted permission by God to “sift” Job.  In the New Testament, we read how Satan was allowed to “sift” Jesus in the desert during his 40-day fast.  We then read from Luke 22:31 that Peter was allowed to be “sifted” by Satan as well for a season.  The Apostle Paul was the recipient of Satan’s sifting as we read in 2 Corinthians 12:7.  The question arises: Why does God allow a person to be “sifted” by the devil, or Satan?  I don’t believe there is any one answer that covers all situations.  In many cases, it acts as a “humbling agent.”  None of us can see the potential we each have for spiritual pride.  Only God can.

Other times it is not necessarily pride that God is burning out of us, but we simply are being sifted because we are walking in disobedience to God in one form or another. Or, God may be trying to get our attention.  Sometimes God allows us to be sifted because we have allowed the cares of the world to penetrate our soul, and we have grown distant from God.  Our desire and delight to commune daily with Him in prayer may have dangerously diminished.  (Daily prayer - asking God to protect us from evil - is absolutely necessary to keep Satan away from our families and ourselves.  God is not obligated to keep His constant protection around us without our frequent asking.  Scripture tells us that prayer (and praise) is a very necessary weapon to keep Satan at bay [See: 1 Peter 5:8Luke 21:36 ]). 

I believe there are even occasions that God simply will allow a person to be sifted by Satan to give that person a “small glimpse” of just how evil and ruthless Satan is. I believe this applied in my case, although burning away some pride was also involved.  It also can teach a person “priorities,” as it also did in my case.  God will allow us to blame Him for the pain we might be suffering for a season, but the day might come where He wants us to realize the pain is not coming from Him at all: it’s coming from Satan, God’s enemy and your and my enemy.   

I personally believe Satan is allowed to sift every Christian who lives for any length of time here on earth - to one degree or another.  Sometimes it’s of a short duration.   Sometimes it’s over an extended period of time.  Sometimes it’s much of one’s whole lifetime.  People who suffer physical and emotional suffering much of their lives may be experiencing nothing more than Satan’s sifting. 

It my opinion, one needs to be very careful in coming to judgmental conclusions as to why others are being sifted.  God may reveal to you the reason or reasons -- primarily to pray and encourage that person until the sifting has lifted.  What I believe is important, however, is to inquire of God as to any sifting that I personally may be undergoing.  God may very well have been waiting a long time to hear me personally ask Him to reveal to me why Satan has been allowed to sift me.  

If the Apostle Paul was allowed to ask God why his “thorn in the flesh” given to him from a demon was not being removed, and God surely revealed to Paul the reason … you and I have every right to inquire of God as well  (See: 2 Corinthians 12:7).  If God chooses to withhold the answer, or delay answering it, what is that to us?

God seldom has, nor seldom will, do what we think He should do.  He does what He wants to do, because He is all wise, and He has the right to.  

What we can know is that as a parent or an adult, it is necessary to withhold blessing and favor from our children from time to time so that they do not become spoiled or disobedient to authority.  Children need to be taught as quickly as they can that the “adult world” doesn’t dance to their tune; it’s the other way around.  Children also need to be taught quickly that the world doesn’t hand them money or favor or power on a “silver platter” just because they feel like it’s only “fair” that the world should do so. 

As parents, we don’t cause pain to our children because we hate them (I’m talking about emotionally healthy, normally adjusted parents, that is).  We “correct” them because we love them when correction is the only means available to us to accomplish the correction.  God treats us the same way.  It’s because of His love for us and His wisdom that He corrects us and shapes us as He wisely knows we need it for our own good.  Scripture makes it very clear in Hebrews 12:5-11:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives”.

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  But if you are without chastening, of which ALL (emphasis mine) have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.  Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect.  Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?  For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for OUR (emphasis mine) profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  

God is fully in control of everything Satan is allowed to do in the lives of Christians.  Even to the point of death, which is difficult to comprehend and accept at times.  Yet portions of scripture promise us that a time will come in eternity for the family of God to no longer have to deal with Satan’s siftings.  We will be totally free from chastisement and correction, we can fully assume, because God will have burned out of us during our time here on earth everything that needs to be burned out of us once we pass over into glory (See: Hebrews 12:23).

SUFFERING IS ALMOST ALWAYS FOR OUR CHARACTER GROWTH IN SOME WAY

In diligently desiring to know why God allows Satan and his demons to do what he does to us to bring suffering, I'm fully persuaded God has supplied a HUGE answer.  It's for our character growth  -- our spiritual character growth.   

Dear one, if you are a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the pain and suffering you are experiencing at the moment seems to be a burden almost too hard to bear, please allow this truth to seep deep into your spirit for some comfort:

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 that 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).  

The “inward man” spoken of in the above scripture is our spirit.  Our spirit can be likened to a grain of sand inside a clam.  From the outward pressures of this life, our spirit is being made into a beautiful and glorious pearl.  Our spirit is being transformed into a masterpiece of God’s own making.  That’s why the family of God can find rest in the midst of pain, torment, injustice and suffering.

Persecution can be another form of being “sifted like wheat.” God has given us forewarning in 2 Timothy 3:12:  Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  What we must never allow is to let Satan convince us that God is persecuting us.  Persecution always comes from Satan: Always. 

Persecution has cost millions of Christian lives.  God has allowed multitudes of followers of Jesus Christ to be “sifted” right into heaven.  Scripture does not promise us that God will keep Satan from “sifting” us right into heaven.  All God promises is that when we die, however it happens, we will be with Him in glory, if we are dedicated followers of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus told Simon Peter in Luke 22:31:  “Satan is going to be allowed to sift you like wheat.” (Paraphrased)  What is not recorded in scripture might have been something like this:

“Peter, I have something to tell you that is very hard for me to have to say.  The Father has given Satan permission to try your faith.  You are soon going to be tormented emotionally unlike anything you’ve ever imagined, let alone experienced before.  You’re going to question whether God is even real anymore.  You’re going to doubt that I am even the Messiah.  You’re going to experience fear for your life.  You’re going to feel like God has betrayed you.  You’re going to be tempted to hate me - the Father - your brothers and sisters in the Lord, and even yourself. 

“But Peter … listen carefully to me.  You have my promise.  I have prayed for you, and no matter how painful it gets, your faith in God to see you through this is not going to fail.  And once you come out on the other side, you are going to be a different person.  You’re going to have the ability to minister to others that you don’t have right now, and your reward in heaven will be greater, so take great comfort that good is to come out of all the pain you are about to endure.”

Romans 8:28 is God’s assurance to those who put their trust in Jesus Christ, even to the point of painful and unjust death, that God will cause it to work for our good:  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, those who are the called according to His purpose.  (Devout followers of Jesus Christ are “the called.”)

Precious one … if you are going through some” sifting” of your own right now, allow me to reacquaint you with a very important promise from God’s word found in 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 

Though I believe this portion of scripture is to be mostly applied when we are being tempted to sin, I also believe it is good during times of our “sifting” that we go to God in prayer and ask Him if there is some way of escape from our being “sifted.” Sometimes … Satan is simply attacking us, and God will rescue us from that attack, if we will seek and trust God for a way of escape.  Sometimes … God is allowing us to be “sifted” for the sole purpose of learning new tactics of effective spiritual warfare against our enemy to be used later on down the road, and/or will help equip us to teach them to someone else who will need them later on.

When the Holy Spirit purposely led Jesus into the desert for confrontation against Satan, the Father gave Jesus a way of escape.  It was not an escape from the battle itself, but it was a successful battle plan to defeat Satan’s attack.  What was this “battle plan” that was so successful against Satan?  Jesus quoted specific scripture to Satan that Satan had no defense for. 

If you are being “sifted” right now to one degree or another, have you gone to God and asked Him for specific scripture to apply to the enemy of your soul?  The greatest weapon we have against Satan is God’s Word correctly applied to our situation.  The Holy Spirit will give us the correct portions of the Word to apply, if we will trust Him for it in our time of need.

DO YOU REALIZE GOD HAS GIVEN YOU AND I THE EQUIVALENT OF A SPIRITUAL "NUCLEAR WARHEAD" TO FIGHT EVIL ATTACKS LAUNCHED AGAINST US?

Sometimes we fail to miss something key about the trial Jesus faced in the desert.  Jesus fasted while in the desert.  Prayer is obviously a powerful weapon against Satan, but in our culture today, fasting is often not encouraged the way it should be.  Isaiah 58 and Mark 9:29 in the King James translation it is a spiritual nuclear weapon we have at our disposal.

Don’t be using a B-B gun against “the evil sifter” when a “nuclear warhead” is called for, okay? 

Living itself much of the time is a trial for every Christian.  We each face our own “desert confrontations” with Satan, to one degree or another.  With a snap of His finger, God could smite Satan off planet earth and every person on the planet would instantly be freed from most suffering.  Yet God in his infinite wisdom has chosen to let Satan tempt and sift Christians at different times and seasons for reasons we simply are not fully allowed to understand on this side of eternity, other than it is ultimately designed “to share in His holiness.”   (See: Hebrews 12:10)

On the other side, in a future time, it will be made fully known to us what ‘sharing in His holiness’ is all about.  It will all make perfect sense.  But on this side … how many of us can truly say we get excited about sharing His future holiness when we’re going through painful sifting?   

Having said the above, I’ll repeat something said earlier … this we can assuredly say about why God allows the devil to try us and sift us, though to receive much comfort from it, it may fall rather short of providing comfort while we’re going through hardships: Because God is love and wisdom; love and wisdom are the foundational reasons why God allows suffering in our lives. 

Going back to our children: when they continuously disobey the rules we lay down for them, in our love and wisdom, we take away privileges from them until they hopefully learn to obey the rules we expect them to follow … which in our wisdom we know are only good for them.  Sure it pains us to make them suffer, as it pains God when you and I suffer.  We take no pleasure in seeing our children suffer and why would God take any pleasure in seeing His children suffer?  The only glimmer of joy we might receive from disciplining our children is in a future sense.  We know that when we discipline our children, if they show a tangible willingness to change … we know they will be a better person for it as they grow older. 

The wisest thing a child can do when a parent disciplines them is to make sure they fully understand what they are to learn from the suffering of the discipline.  The wisest thing a child of God can do when going through hardship is ask and trust God to show them what they are to learn from it.

WHY ARE WE TO EXECUTE WISE JUDGMENT AGAINST OURSELVES?  

1 Corinthians 11:30-32 is a portion of God’s Word that seems to get left out of much of our “prosperity gospel” of the day.  If a matter of taking Communion in a wrong manner can bring emotional, spiritual and physical sickness and premature death to believers, do we really understand all that goes on behind the scenes in the spiritual realm?  God says in 1 Corinthians 11:31 “that if we will judge ourselves, we would not be judged.”  But it then goes on to suggest in verse 32 that if we don’t judge ourselves properly, He’ll do the judging for us.  When that happens, can that “chastening” include up to and including premature death?  Verse 30 certainly appears to me to be our clue that it can.  Does God sometimes allow Satan to be the “enforcer” of God’s judging us here?  It certainly appears that way to me as well. 

If we suffer for doing wrong, fair punishment makes sense, doesn’t it?  But when we suffer for doing right, it makes no “human sense” at all, does it?  Keep this in mind when you are suffering for doing right – suffering when you’ve done absolutely nothing as an offense to God to deserve it.  We must never overlook one of the most hopeful promises in all of scripture, found in Hebrews 11:6:  For he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.   Every time you and I suffer unjustly for our faith in Jesus Christ, God is going to reward us in the next life.  It will not go unnoticed by God, and it will account for future and lasting reward.  [Though God has not given us scripture to build a guaranteed, iron-clad doctrine for this statement . . . I believe suffering unjustly; suffering for the cause of Christ “lays up special rewards in heaven for us” (See: Matthew 6:20) that would boggle our human comprehension if we were to know about them on this side of eternity.  I believe the Holy Spirit has imparted that to my spirit at some key times in my own life when I was undergoing emotional suffering when it made no “humanly sense” to be suffering].  

Prisoners who stay faithful to Jesus Christ – having stripped from them the privileges that other Christians outside of prison are able to enjoy – are in a position to “lay up rewards for themselves in heaven” not only by witnessing to other inmates and praying for each other, but using their free time to pray for people and ministries outside of prison.  [If you happen to be a prisoner reading this right now, and you lay awake at night doing a rerun of your life; wondering why God even put you on this earth in the first place to be granted nothing but a “wasted life” … please diligently seek God to quicken in your mind the incredible opportunity you have to use all those idle, “wasted hours” praying for people and ministries such as Precious Testimonies Evangelistic Ministries.  “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I  say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”  (See: Matthew 10:42 NKJV).  Let the Holy Spirit illuminate your assurance that He who prays for a disciple in the name of a disciple will most assuredly receive a disciple’s reward as well.   Praying unselfishly for other people is the highest demonstration of giving known to humanity once we have given ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ: don’t ever let the devil convince you otherwise!

A GREAT FALLING AWAY ... SOBERING INDEED

As we move ever closer to the day when the Antichrist will be fully manifested, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 in the KJV translation says, “There will come a great falling away” prior to him being revealed on earth.  Though this has been a portion of scripture that has often been debated as to its exact meaning, there is no longer little “debate” for me.  I believe it has primarily a two-fold meaning: 

ONE:  Most Christians are going to be sifted by the devil in various ways for the plain and simple reason that they are Christians, whom he hates … not dislikes a little.   Those who end up “falling away” from their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ will be those who entered into Christianity with this mindset:  “What can God do for me?”  Those who stand firm in their resolve to not let anything separate them from their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ unto death are those who have weighed the cost of remaining a born again Christian and have determined within themselves that no matter how unfair - no matter how painful - no matter how discouraging - no matter how much trust doesn’t seem to work - no matter if answers don’t come as to why things are happening the way they are happening – it won’t matter to them, for it has never been a matter to them anyway “As to what God can do for me How I can glorify my God and be pleasing to Him in the midst of "the fiery furnace" I'm in is the mindset I will have until it's time to be translated into heaven.

TWO:  This "great falling away" has to do with compromise of God's Word and being sucked into Satan's deception on many different levels by both non-Christians and sadly even many Christians as well.  Already in the United States as it is in many other nations, truth has become "relative."  The Bible is quickly becoming not THE only source of Truth God has given humanity to know what we're to believe about God - good and evil - and how we're to obey God - but just one of many "truth" sources.  And even then ... we want to try to make the Holy Bible something God never intended for it to mean ... to suit our own personal tastes and desires.  We observe politicians at the highest level compromising the revelation of truth of God's Word at almost every turn, as we also see corporations doing the same, all for financial greed and lust for holding onto power.  We observe denominations in the Body of Christ and popular ministries and individual ministers compromising the accurate translation and application of God's Word as well, seeming to have no fear of how God will judge them for it one day (See: James 3:1). The clearly presented Truth in God's Holy Bible has essentially been thrown out for the sake of "compromise."  The compromising mantra at the highest level ... "Can't we ALL just get along peaceably" is turning our collective minds into demonic deceived mush -- ripe for the Anti-Christ to gain a stronger foothold over the top decision-makers of the world. 

Now then . . . if you are going through painful suffering right now, perhaps it is little comfort to you to hear that on the other side of eternity, God will remove all feelings of the pain and hurt we experienced while on earth.  He might allow certain memories to remain if it serves a purpose, but the pain itself associated with the memories will be removed.  But take comfort in this, precious one.  Jesus is praying for you right now, that your faith will not fail.  Jesus Christ is fighting for your faith right now more than you might be capable of realizing.  Jesus Christ was fighting for you the moment He came to this sinful planet.  Jesus Christ was fighting for you when He hung on the old rugged cross.  Jesus Christ was fighting for you when He resurrected.  Jesus Christ is fighting for you right now … and the assurance of it is written in Hebrews 7:25: 

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since he ever lives to make intercession for them. 

If there was no one else on earth, Jesus would be fighting for you right now in prayer … that your faith does not fail.  You’re not going to let it, are you?

Furthermore … do you think it’s coincidence that you’re reading these words?  I think not.  The Spirit of Jesus Christ inside of me has inspired me to write these words … just for you! 


PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!

To help us share the Best News every person needs to hear on this planet, randomly click FOR JESUS on just three (3) of the JESUS DID IT! links below. It will take just a few moments of your time. Please - that’s all you are asked to do. God will reward you!  (Of course, be highly encouraged to forward one or more of these video clips to those who may have never heard what Jesus did for them on the cross ... especially young people). Thank you so much!

JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT! 


JESUS DID IT!  - or -  JESUS DID IT!

(Please paste one of the above links onto your Facebook page - website - blog - video; etc.)


If this testimony/writing has blessed you, would you please take a few moments and share with us HOW it has blessed you?  Your feedback is very important.  Please mention the author of this testimony and the testimony title when you email your comments.  Thank you so very, very much!  Email:  ptoffice@precious-testimonies.com

A Special Message:  http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/f-j/HelpingShareTheMessageOfTheCross.htm


Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God?  We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To get to know God; to be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God.  What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one.  Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life. 


The staff and our ministry supporters so greatly appreciate hearing how God is touching lives for His glory through this outreach.  If this ministry has blessed you in some special way, would you please consider taking a brief moment and share your blessing with us?  Simply email us at: ptoffice@precious-testimonies.com

We truly thank each of you who allow us to publish your testimony, for those who faithfully pray (and fast) for this outreach, for those of you who help support the ministry financially, and for those of you who pass along these testimonies and other ministry writings to others. Especially to prisoners! The part the Holy Spirit has you play is vital in helping win lost souls and being engaged in discipleship, and we can never thank you enough for the labor of love and support you provide on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Precious Testimonies is supported financially by those God directs to sow into this ministry.  We ask each person reading this to please ask God on an on-going basis if He would have you sow a financial gift to this evangelistic outreach of His - trust that He will clearly communicate His will to you in the matter - then simply be obedient.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the current financial needs of this outreach, or any other questions you may have.

For convenience, you can simply click on the secure Pay Pal donate button below if you want to donate by credit card.  Otherwise, you can send your precious gift to:   Precious Testimonies, P.O. Box 516, Jenison, MI 49429.

Precious Testimonies is a non-denominational 501-C-3 evangelistic ministry, and financial love offerings to this ministry are tax-deductible for those who qualify.  A financial summary can be viewed by clicking on the following link:  Financial Summary.

Inquiries or comments are welcome at our E-mail address: ptoffice@precious-testimonies.com

Thank You, and God bless you!