February 15, 2013

The Royal Road to Victory and Vic's Testimony

The Royal Road to Victory

How to Say Goodbye to Despair
And Discouragement
In Your Life

Scripture taken from the New King James Version:
Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
“Scripture taken from KJ3 Literal Translation Bible, First Edition,
Copyright 2006-2010
Used by permission of the copyright holder, Mary V. Green”
*All Scripture texts taken from NKJV except where otherwise noted.
*Any bold text words are mine.

            Christian friend, are you finding the Christian life an adventure? Do you look forward to tomorrow with great anticipation? Are you expectantly waiting to see what God will do in your life, or are you finding the Christian life a disappointment? Do you find yourself utterly defeated day by day, having a mountain top experience one day, and the next you find yourself in the depths of the valley?
          If the latter is true in your life, then know that God has something better in mind for you. It is not His plan for you to wander around in the wilderness of defeat and discouragement. There is a life of victory and of power available to you and for all of God’s children. This is the message of hope we desire to share with you.
          There are two reasons that this type of experience could be true in your life. The first may be that you think you are a Christian, but have never actually been saved in the first place. If you think this could even be the slightest possibility, then please take the time to read Vic’s testimony at the end first. If, however, you are absolutely convinced that you are a believer then continue on reading to find out the other reason that you may be having this kind of experience in your life…
          So many believers blame other people for the defeat in their lives. In effect they’re saying, “It is other people that make me feel discouraged. If it were not for them, I could be living victoriously.” On the other hand they may be saying, “If it were not for my circumstance, then I, too, could be living a victorious Christian life. In this way they end up blaming other people and circumstances for their defeated lives.
          In this the Christian greatly errs. The true reason for your defeated life is that you have refused to submit to the will of God for your life. You have, in essence, said, “I know better than God.” Just like in the garden in Eden Adam blamed the woman - telling God it was the woman He gave that was the problem! So, ultimately, when you blame other people and circumstances, you are blaming God for your defeated life. If you truly desire to experience true, lasting victory in your own life, you must come to terms with the message that God Almighty has given us in His Holy Word…
“In everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

The “What” of It

          The “what” of it is spelled out in the words, “In everything give thanks.” This is a straightforward command that God has every right to expect His children to comply with. There are many reasons as to why we must obey this significant instruction that God our Father has given to us, His children, but the following will suffice to make the point.
          The first reason being “…you are not your own…you were bought at a price.”1 Jesus Himself has purchased us with His very own precious blood, and therefore we belong to Him.
          For example, if you buy an item in a store, the moment you pay for it, it becomes yours. It is your very own possession, and you may do with the item virtually anything you choose, because it belongs to you. In the same way, Jesus paid the purchase price for you and you therefore belong to Him – you are His possession. Therefore He has every right to command of you whatever He chooses.
          The second reason is that we are His special people. In both Titus 2:14 and 1Peter 2:9 we are called “His own special people.”2 Dear Christian friends, here it is so plainly spelled out, “You are special to God!” Just like God had put a hedge roundabout Job, so has He done with you and every other believer.
          Thirdly, we know that God loves you right now. He loves you just the way you are. Revelation 1:5 makes this very clear in these words, “To the One loving us and having washed us from our sins by His blood.”3 Indeed, how can we doubt God’s love for us? He who sent His very own Son to die in our place?
          Finally, God has been, and is even now working in you. For in God’s Word we read, “…it is God who works in you [plural] both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”4
          We see then, that God bought you and you are His property. We understand too that you are special to Him, that He loves you, and is at work in your life right now. So why not simply say, “Lord I thank you for your interest in me, and in this situation I give you thanks.” Every step you take from day to day you will find yourself in a new situation. So learn to simply thank Him that He is in control, and is directing all the affairs of your life. It is in the expression of “thank you” that we voice our faith in God.

1.1Corinthians 6:19-20 2.Titus 2:14 and 2Peter 2:9 3.Revelation 1:5 KJ3 4.Phiippians 2:13

The “Why” of It

          So just why should we give thanks in every situation? The reason is that we are told in the Holy Scriptures that “It is the will of God.”1 The most important place a believer can come to is where one submits to the sovereign will of God.
          Jesus Himself exemplified it in His earthly life. For example, if you look at His experience in the garden of Gethsemane when all the horror of Calvary’s cross was yet before Him, He said, “...nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”2
          Then too, look at Paul the apostle. He called himself a “bond-servant”3 or “slave” of God, and as such had no rights whatsoever. Now, Paul always sought to please His Master in every way. He even went so far as to say that he was the “prisoner of Christ Jesus,”4 though from our perspective he was sitting in a Roman prison. Yet he did not consider himself a prisoner of Rome, but of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was part of God’s plan for his life, and he therefore accepted it as such.
          Neither has God left us without hope during these trying times. For He has promised, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”5 So we see too, that it is not a matter of if, but “when.” God has promised, “In the world you will have tribulation.”6 So don’t think that a strange thing is befalling you – all of God’s children face trials and tribulations in their lives.
          We must understand that God alone knows what is best for us at all times. Sometimes He does allow a trial to come into our lives. In fact, every child of God experiences some trials, and it always has a purpose.
 Perhaps the clearest purpose is recorded in these words of God, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”7 Another is given us in the book of Romans. Here it says, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”8 Finally we have this promise, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation [testing]; because becoming approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to the ones loving Him.”9 So we see that after we endure the trials in our lives, there is a reward awaiting us. Indeed, then, we can conclude with Paul the apostle’s words in saying, “For our affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…”10
1.1Thessalonians 5:18 2.Matthew 26:39 .Philippians 1:1 4.Ephesians 3:1 5.Isaiah 43:2 6.John16:33 7.James 1:2-4 8.Romans 5:3-4
9.James 1:12 KJ3 10.2Corinthians 4:17

The “Where” of It

          We find, that the “where” of it is found in this phrase, “The will of God in Christ Jesus.”1
          Let us then draw your attention to some very precious and important truths about you as a believer.
          The first precious truth is that your salvation is “in Christ”, and in Him alone. “…for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”2
          The next precious truth is that your identity is “in Christ”, and in Him alone. It is by His name we are called Christians. It is because of Him that we are called believers, saints, and so on.
          The third precious truth is our security that we find in Him alone. It is He who upholds all things by the Word of His power. It is He who lives forever, making intercession on our behalf. As well, He has given us eternal life. For it is written, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”3 We can count on Him, because He always speaks the truth. He is same yesterday, today, and forever.
          The final precious truth is that our complete satisfaction is found “in Christ”, and in Him alone. For we have tried the pleasures of sin and have found to be true what the Scriptures say they are only for “temporary,”4 they do not last. As well, we have tried the pleasures of the world and found them to be a disappointment. God made us in such a way that true satisfaction can only be found in Christ alone.
          Listen now to this account of a Samaritan woman who found true satisfaction in what Christ Jesus offered her. “Jesus answered and said to her, Everyone drinking of this water [well water] will thirst again; but whoever may drink of the water which I will give him will not thirst, not ever! But the water which I will give to him will become a fountain of water in him, springing up into everlasting life.” Talk about satisfying! No wonder the woman responded by saying, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst…”5
1.1Thessalonians 5:18 2.Acts 4:12 3.John10:28 4.Hebrews 11:25 KJ3 5.John4:13-15 KJ3

The “Who” of It

          To whom then do these words “to you” apply? I am certain that you would agree that they apply to every child of God. Also, we find that the “you” is in the plural and therefore makes this command inclusive of every child of God – including you!
          O Christian friend, have we not seen that we are commanded to be thankful? O then how it must grieve the very heart of God when we grumble and complain! Listen then to what God has said right after these words: “…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” It says, “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”1 Why? Because, when we complain, we are essentially telling God that we do not agree with what He is doing in our lives!
          Just as Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lie in the garden and ate the forbidden fruit, so grumbling is believing Satan’s lie. For both say one thing – I don’t trust God, and I think I know better than Him!
          O, you who call yourselves Christians, how God-honoring it would be if you would stop complaining about what He is doing in your life, and would simply begin to thank Him! Then, and only then, would you experience the peace and “rest” in your life! Yes, you may have the “rest” of salvation, but this will bring you the “rest” in your daily life! Then you will have joy unspeakable!
          If we would only start our day with, “Thank You, Lord, for what You are going to do in my life today,” what a difference it would make! Not only this, but when you are faced with a situation, simply say, “Lord, in this situation I give You thanks.” Then you will find that you will have a love for people that you have never before experienced – even for difficult people! You will find your attitude towards people completely changed. When you have truly understood and accepted these things, then you will find your Christian life to be the exciting adventure that God intended it to be!

1. Philippians 2:14

Victor Reimer and Roy Byman

Vic’s Testimony

I would like to take the time to give my testimony here, especially for those of you who consider yourselves religious.

How I Came To Be a Believer

          Now it may be that you will go, “oh sigh,” when you start reading my testimony, “here goes another boring testimony” – but wait! Listen…
          I was born into a very religious home. By most standards, it would have been called a “Christian home.” Thus, being a “Christian home”, we would of course go to church, and I to Sunday School in my childhood years. The church we attended was a typical Evangelical Church.
          Then it happened. Someplace around the age of five the church got the Sunday School together for a film. In the end we were told something like, “If you want to go to Heaven, then you must invite Jesus into your heart.” Well, of course I wanted to go to Heaven! So, without telling a soul, I went home and did just that. From that day on I called myself a Christian.
          For the next five or so years, I don’t think I gave any thought to the things called “spiritual.” I just lived a kid’s life, having fun. However, it was keenly impressed upon me that I should read my Bible and pray as I got older. So night after night I would pray and read my Bible.
          Once I got to my teen years things really started to change. Some would have said, “You’re merely going through a typical teen’s rebellious time in your life.” However, I felt convicted for the lifestyle I was living in. No, I wasn’t caught up in gangs or anything like that, but I felt that I was a sinner just the same. I felt the separation between me and God. I knew something was wrong, I just didn’t know what.
          I began to live out some very frustrating years. It was the beginning of trying to live the Christian life. I knew the things I should, and should not, be doing. Yet I continued to be a failure, I felt, in the eyes of God. I could fool those around me for the most part, but I knew I couldn’t fool God.
          I was trying to live the Christian life by living in a self-imposed set of do’s and don’ts. I would read my Bible and pray every day. I would attend church regularly. I even went on a number of short-term mission trips overseas. Yet, despite all these things, I always had a fear of God’s judgment. I frequently felt guilty. I would go through a constant cycle of sinning and confession. I always felt uncertain about my salvation, and would repeatedly invite Jesus into my heart. Yet nothing changed.
          Finally things became clear to me. I was reading a book called, “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus,” written by John R. Cross. In this book he explained the core message of the Bible from beginning to end. It was then that the puzzle pieces began to fall into their proper place. It was then that it suddenly dawned on me – I was not saved! It shook me to the core. It was then that I realized that if I had stayed on the course I had been walking – I would have ended up in Hell, thinking that I had been a true born-again Christian. What I now know, is that I had merely been religious. I had believed Satan’s lie – his counterfeit.
          I had believed the very same lie that Adam and Eve had believed in the garden. They, too, believed Satan’s lie, that they could eat of the “Tree of Knowing Right from Wrong,” and live forever under their own effort. So I found that religion tells you the do’s and the don’ts, but it gives you no strength to live by them – it leaves you empty, and without hope. In fact, it leaves you feeling like a complete failure, and that is exactly what Satan is after. For his hope is that you will then ditch God and anything else to do with Christianity. And if he can’t convince you of this, then to at least keep you duped that your religious ways will save you. Either way Satan wants to deceive you. In reality, Satan is the god of religion. That is what Satan wanted to be after all, wasn’t it? Yes, he aspired to be God, and to rule as God. That is still his plan today, and sadly he is deceiving billions of people with his lies. People, like I was, are fooled by his appearance as “an angel of light.” That’s right, Satan does not appear in his cartoon attire – that too is a cleverly disguised tactic of his. The reality is that he masquerades as an angel of light. More accurately we might say, that Satan’s attire is one with a suit, tie, and maybe a clerical collar – don’t be fooled! He is clever, imitating the truth as closely as possible, seeking to deceive as many as possible.
          Now, of course, not only did I come to see that I was still a helplessly lost sinner on the way to Hell, but I also came to see the one and only way to be saved.
          I came to see that there was absolutely nothing on my part that could save me. That is, there was no effort, or trying, on my part, that could save. I saw that religion was Satan’s great scam. The truth was that Jesus had already done everything. The only thing left on my side was to believe that to be true. This took my eyes off of myself, and caused me to look to Jesus. Jesus is my Savior. I am not my own savior. For how could one possibly save oneself? How could one possibly save oneself, who is up to their armpits in quicksand? No, we need outside help, but we do need to trust the one who has come to save us. Someone might say, “Well, how much faith does it take to be saved?” I say, “How much faith would it take to let someone rescue you from the quicksand?”
          God is very plain in His Word that we are all sinners. Everyone is lost, and on the way to Hell. You know very well that everyone sins, and you know, too, that you’re not an exception. God is also equally plain that “The wages of sin is death.” It is quite simple then – nothing but death would suffice as punishment for my sin. No amount of praying, confessing my sins, doing penance, doing good, inviting Christ into my heart, would suffice – no, someone must die. For “without shedding of blood is no remission [pardon] of sin.” So, either it would be I who must die (which would mean that after my physical death I would ultimately go to the Lake of Fire, and thus be eternally separated from God), or someone innocent would have to take my place.
          This is where the good news comes in. Jesus was my substitute – it was He who died in my place! Jesus took upon Himself all of my sin - past, and present, and future. Oh, what joy filled my life! Just to know that all my sins had been forgiven, because Jesus Christ had been punished for every one of them. In turn He gave me His righteousness. It was because of this transaction that I can now be innocent before Him. What rest! What joy! What peace! I knew I had been changed from a sinner to a saint. All because of what Jesus did for me.
          Understand then, that just as Jesus Christ was punished for all my sin, so He was punished for all your sin. All that is left is for you to believe this to be true. Do you believe Jesus Christ to be your Savior? Do you believe that He rose from among the dead like He said?
          I implore you; it is a miserable, miserable thing to try to live like a Christian when you’re not one. It is like a caterpillar trying to fly. It just can’t. It must go through metamorphosis, and then, being a butterfly, it can fly! Oh, look to Jesus and live! Stop thinking you know better than God! Jesus completed the work on Calvary’s cross for you. It was for you that He hung upon that cursed tree! Your every sin on Him was laid. He was punished because of your sins! Why did He do this? He did it because He loves you, and wants you to be free from the burden of sin. He yearns for you to accept His free offer of salvation.
*Please contact me if you’re interested in knowing more. I would be most glad to take you through “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” Bible study. It takes only about 11 hours to go through, and it will change your life.

How I Found Contentment
In My Christian Life

          One thing is certain about the Christian life, and that is that you will have trials and tribulations in this life. Perhaps you are a young believer. If so, let me warn you that this will be true in your life as well. It will happen. My life, I have to say, was no exception.
          I would grumble about this that and the other thing. Only during brief good times would the grumbling cease. I would complain about weather that I didn’t like. I would complain about people that rubbed me the wrong way, or that I thought were living differently than I would like them to. I would gripe about circumstances I didn’t like. I didn’t think this attitude was a big deal. I thought I had the right to complain about these things. After all wasn’t I owed better? Shouldn’t things be fair?
          What I didn’t realize however, is that I was complaining about God! This really began to change my thinking about the whole thing. I realized I was being just like the Israelites that wandered in the desert, the ones whom God had forbidden to enter the bountiful land. I realized that by wanting better circumstances in my life, I actually wanted the circumstances other people had. Then it dawned on me that the Bible calls these things coveting, envying and jealousy! I realized these things were, in reality, some pretty awful sins!
          At the same time too, Satan was distracting me with the things of the world. He was trying to lure me away from God’s will for my life by the things of the world. Not bad things per se, but by the things appearing “innocent.”
          Don’t be fooled, Satan will do absolutely anything to get you to forget about God. He’ll do anything to cause you to doubt that God cares about you. Anything to get you out of God’s will for your life. Satan would much rather that you have him as your god and follow his will for your life!
          Looking at Paul the apostle for a moment now we see that he was most decisively saved, and yet he says that he “learned to be content” in every situation. This is key. We must learn to be content no matter what we have or don’t have. I began to realize that I wasn’t content. I wanted something more than I had. I wanted my hard times to end. I wanted an easier life. I wanted what others had. In reality what I was saying is, “God you gypped me!”
          I learned too, that it is only under trial that one matures as a believer. I found that the miserable people and circumstances in my life acted like sandpaper on a carving. Yes, it is a rough experience, but it is only in this way that the imperfections are removed, and a beautiful creation is revealed. In this case the creator is none other than God Himself! So then we see that God uses people and circumstances that may not be pleasant to mold and shape us into mature Christians.
          At the same time I realized that God was testing me through these trials, to see whether I would trust Him or not. The simple truth is that God wanted to take me into the “bountiful land” of Canaan, but I doubted what He was doing in my life. God didn’t want me to live a life of misery. He desired to take me into the “bountiful land” – a land of rest and joy – a “fruitful land”. Now I’m not speaking as to salvation, I’m talking life from day to day! God wanted me to trust Him even in the midst of my hard times.
          Look at the people in the Bible. Did they trust God in the midst of trial? Think of Paul the apostle.  He prayed three times that the “thorn in the flesh” would be taken away, and God said, “My grace is sufficient for you.” What about Caleb and Joshua who were in the same circumstance as the rest of the Israelites? What about Daniel, who praised God while knowing the plot against him? What about Abraham, as he was called by God to give up his son whom the promise of God was through? What about Esther and Haman’s plot to kill the Jews? The list could be long, and the examples lengthy, but the point is, these people all trusted God as they went through various ordeals of life.
          Satan would have liked for me to be dissatisfied with what God had given me in this life, and to want more, to want better. Truly, Satan has not changed his tactics. For in the same way, he tempted Eve by causing her to doubt God’s love for her; to cause her to think that God was withholding something more when, in fact, God had blessed them bountifully! The truth was that they were already in the “bountiful land”! So, when I came to understand that God had my good in mind, that He loved me, that I was being ungrateful towards Him and that I wasn’t trusting Him, then I began to give Him thanks for all the circumstances in my life, whether difficult or not. Why? I now knew that He was using them to help me, not to hinder me. I knew too, that God was allowing every one of these situations in my life. For Satan cannot do one thing beyond what God allows.  That is clearly demonstrated in the story of Job.
          Now I can give thanks to God, despite the challenges that come my way. I can now accept my circumstances because I know that they are God’s will for my life and that they are for my good. I can rejoice, because His will is being worked out in my life. I most gladly serve Him as a slave. For what better Master could one desire, than He who sent His only begotten Son to die in our stead? How marvelous to have Him in control of my life!
          Yes, God desires that you trust Him too. He yearns for you to accept your circumstances. Will you trust Him with your daily life? Will you accept your circumstances as God’s will for you? I hope you do, because it is a life of rejoicing and rest. Come - come into the “bountiful land” God has prepared for you! It is a “fruitful land”!

Victor Reimer

email me at focusingonjesus@gmail.com

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