Life is about learning how to love. Life is full of adventure, triumph, tragedy, and changes that enable us to grow in love and mature in Christ likeness. Test and trials are designed to help develop our character and integrity so we can step into the powerful destiny God has waiting for us. Tests align us with the plans and purposes God has chosen for us Jeremiah 29:11. Tests are given for the purpose of promotion, and increased blessings, and friendship with God coming into our lives. Their fire forges a purity and holiness within, so God’s pure light can shine through everything we do in life. Trials enable us to develop our spiritual muscles so we can win the race that is set before us with grace and stamina.

God’s plan is for us to succeed, to be the head, overcomers, and light bearers in this dark world. We bring the hope of God into life’s situations when we act with the faith of God in our hearts. Every hard or difficult challenge we overcome through the great grace and faith of God in our hearts enables us to move closer to God’s heart and into the ‘greater works’. The thorny trials of today prepare us to be winners tomorrow, and champions in the future. The challenges in life enable us to accomplish the impossible through knowing the God in whom nothing is impossible.

God Knows Your Name!

It is comforting to know that God knew each of us by name before we ever existed. Our life purposes and destiny was completed in Him, even before we were formed in our mother’s womb. When God’s word goes forth it will accomplish what it has been sent forth to accomplish. When the Word of God comes to us it tests and tries us. It determines where our character is weak. The living Word of God measures the depth of our integrity. If we are found lacking in any area, the Word of God which is immediate, prevailing, authoritative and spiritually alive has the power to change and transform us into the image of the Word, Jesus. If we allow the Holy Spirit to write God’s words on the tablets of our hearts we will fulfill our destinies.

Isaiah 55:11–12 says, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth — it will not return to me unfulfilled; but it will accomplish what I intend, and cause to succeed what I sent it to do.” Yes, you will go out with joy, you will be led forth in peace. CJB

God’s word is truth; it is a shield, and the light that continually guides us in our calling. The joy of the Lord is our strength. We know we are on the right path because He leads us by His peace. No one or nothing can steal your destiny unless you willingly surrender it into their hands. We were created by God’s eternal spoken word; and His word is quick, sharp, and powerful. His word is able to renew us in the spirit of our mind so we begin to think higher thoughts and walk in higher ways. Kingdom purpose is activated by faith. Our faith gives permission for an unseen destiny (that which we already are) to come forth out of the invisible spiritual realm and manifest in its fullness.

          Believers live and prosper by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Proverbs 30:5 tells us that “every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” In Deuteronomy 8:3 it further states, “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus didn’t eat anything for forty days and nights, He became very hungry. The tempter came questioning if He was the Son of God, and if He had power, would He abuse that power, and command stones to become bread. Jesus answered with Scriptures, “It is written.” “It is not only bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4: 1–4. Jesus knew His Father was well pleased with Him. God’s pleasure did not depend on Jesus’ doing miracles or any great works but, simply being Himself, enjoying communion with God, and remaining continually in God’s presence through intimate prayer. In the time of testing and trial Jesus stood on the heavenly words His Father’s voice had spoken over Him at His baptism, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17 What loving words has God spoken to you recently in your dreams or in times of prayer? God’s words are true. What creative ideas has the Holy Spirit given you? Have you developed a plan for pleasing God? Are you energetically pursuing God’s purposes in your life?

The prophetic words that are spoken over our lives and the dreams we receive form righteous pathways for us to walk upon. The steep paths are not always easy for they lead us upward towards God and the high call on our lives. The difficult paths enable us to forge a forward path, step by step, in obedience to the confirming words of God’s favor. God watches over His word to perform it. When the word of God comes to us it will try us to see if we are able to carry it. If we choose to carry His word it will conform us to His image. The proceeding words of God are living, powerful, and creative. The words of God will form us into the vessels of honor He has called us to be. The word of God is perfect. We are called to be perfect as well. It is the word of God that changes us and transforms us from one level of glory to another higher and greater level. God is our eternal life source. The word of God will try and test the heart until it removes every stony part. The prophetic word will tear down everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God to replaces it with a heart of flesh full of God’s truth. This new heart will feel the pleasures and favor of God resting upon its every beat. God’s heart beats for the souls of man. Prophetic words provide avenues of change enabling us to become fishers of men’s souls.

When Peter fell away from the Lord he denied knowing Jesus three times. When the Lord came to restore Peter back to his first love, and into his place as a friend and soul winner, Jesus asked Peter three times “Peter do you love me more than these men?

Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these other men love me?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Then Jesus said to him, "Take care of my lambs." Again Jesus said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Then Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." A third time Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was sad because Jesus asked him three times, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you!" Jesus said to him, "Take care of my sheep. John 21:1–19”

Love covers a multitude of sin. Jesus knew if Peter was not restored to his first love, in his discouragement he would return to, and lead the other disciples back into their previous secular life callings. Jesus had called each of the disciples, both past and present, to be lovers of God and fisher of men’s souls.

When Jesus died on the cross and before His resurrection, the disciples were left to their ways, talents, natural abilities, and giftings. In his fallen state Peter decided to go fishing and he took the other disciples with him. They worked and toiled all night applying their natural skills and talents, but caught nothing. It is the same with us today. If we follows man’s traditions, program and forget to seek the Lord for His direction we remain barren and unfruitful. Jesus called to the disciples from the shoreline. Jesus saw their situation from a different heavenly perspective. His presence brought in abundance, success, and prosperity. Jesus said, “Friends! Cast your net on the right side and you will find some fish.” When the disciples followed Jesus’ directions and did things the “right” way, they caught so many fish they were not able to pull the net full of fish back into the boats. They had to call for other boats to come join in unity and purpose with them. Their boats had to drag the net full of 153 fish back to the shore. Peter was so energized he wrapped his coat around himself, jumped into the water and swam to shore. Do you get that excited when you hear the Lord’s voice calling you?

The number 153 represents the nations of the world that are waiting for the “Sons of God” to arise and cast their nets on the right side to bring in the largest harvest of souls ever. The 153 fish also symbolically represents revival, harvest, the ingathering, Kingdom multiplication, and evangelism, because of the different kinds of fish that were saved in the nets, a full yield, and it represents the number of the elect, sons of God. The harvest will not come in by our might, or by our power, but by following the direction of the Spirit of the Lord.

The whole world is groaning and the earth is quaking as it is waiting for the sons of God to arise into their place of restoration. When the Sons of God arise, walk with God in friendship and move in obedience to the Spirit of God, the greatest harvest of soul’s man and  the world has ever seen will come to pass. Romans 8:19–23, says,

“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” NKJV

God sees us saved, healed, whole, and complete in Him. He sees the end product, what we are destined to be in the future. When we hear, and receive His written, and spoken words in our hearts they release the needed power for us to become the person we are in the future. Prayer, worship, praise, and decrees enables us to bring the future into our now. His words go before us to prepare the way to open the double doors and establish spiritual gateways so His presence can accelerate the transformation process.

Isaiah 45:1–3 "Thus says the Lord to His anointed (that’s you), To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held — to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut:  'I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.” NKJV

When we are in God’s presence His light changes us every time. Learning to sit at His feet receiving His love, and giving Him our love, is all God asks of us. Jesus says, “Come to Me with all your struggles and burdens, seek My face, and I will give you rest. Learn of Me I am gentle and humble in heart.”  

This is the time to ASK largely and correctly so that our joy may be full! (John 15:11, John 16:24) Ask, Seek, and Knock in times of intimate fellowship in God’s presence and your request will be given to you. Matthew 7:7 encourages us to keep asking, to continue seeking and to knock, until the door is open to us. Did your mother ever tell you, “If you meet your Father at the door when he gets home, and you ask him nicely, he will give you what you want?” Sometimes we ask our heavenly Father but in the wrong way or for our own lust or selfish gain James 4:3. When we learn to ask without self pity or complaining and we continue asking in a more appropriate way, until we get the words and our attitude right, then, it will be given unto us.

Jabez Asked for Enlargement

Jabez was a man who was more honorable than his brothers. But, his mother named him Jabez, which means, ‘affliction’, because she bore him in pain. Jabez didn’t want to be known as an affliction, or one who caused pain, so he called out to God. Jabez asked to be blessed, with an enlarged measure of God’s presence, resting upon his life. He asked for God’s hand to be upon him. “Be near me and don’t let anyone hurt me!” God granted his request. Jabez asked for his territory and his borders to be enlarged. When I meditated on this passage I saw a vision of God’s presence coming to rest over everything Jabez owned like a hand formed out of a glory cloud. The light of God came to rest over and sealed Jabez in a protected zone. If we surrender all, and allow the territory or magnitude of God’s presence to increase in our lives, like it did in Jabez’s life, the level of pain we experience, and the level of pain we cause others, will decrease. More of God in our lives means more of every good thing will rest upon us. Jabez realized it was God’s hand and presence that brought forth the increased measure of blessing, favor, and prosperity in every area of his life. He hungered for and desired more of God. The prayers Jabez uttered enabled God to bless him indeed. The prayers we offer will allow God to bless our lives too!

God Called Moses by Name

Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, 'Bring up and lead this people!' But You have not let me know who You will send with me.” You have said, ‘Moses, I have known you by name, I am well pleased with you. You have found favor in My sight.’ “So Moses said to the Lord, “If I have found favor in Your sight teach me Your ways Lord. I want to know You so I can continue to please You. Help me lead this nation of Yours.” The Lord answered Moses, “My presences will go with you. I Myself will take the lead and give you rest.”

Moses responded, “If Your presence doesn’t go with us, let us remain in this place, don’t lead us up from here.” “If Your presence goes with us we will know that we have found favor with You and that we are pleasing in Your sight.” “But, if You don’t go with us, no one will be able to distinguish us, from every other person in the world.” “Lord, it is Your presence that makes us special. Your grace and favor separates us from the ordinary.” The Lord told Moses, “I will do for you what you have asked of Me because I am pleased with you. I know you very well I call you by name.”

Moses prayed again. He asked the Lord to show him His glory! The Lord said, “I will show my favor, love and mercy to anyone I choose. I will make my perfect goodness pass before you Moses. I will be gracious and proclaim My character and attributes before you. You will know Me and hear My name as Lord! I will show you My compassion.”  “But, you cannot see My face, for no man can see Me in all of my glory and continue to live!” Then the Lord said to Moses, “See or behold, there is a spiritual place by Me, where you can stand upon the Rock, Jesus, to see My glory passing by. I will place you securely in Jesus, in the cleft of the rock and safely cover you with My hand. No one will see you, but they will see My glory resting on you. I will hide you from their view and manifest Myself through you. When I take My hand away all you will see is My Son’s scarred, bloody back, but not My face. Moses the strips that Jesus bore on His back and the blood that Jesus shed releases the glory. The glory is in the cross of Jesus Christ. Exodus 33:12–23 Authors Paraphrase

Abraham was Known by God

The Bible tells us that Abraham was known by God. The Lord appeared to his friend Abraham in his tent. He sent three angels to communicate His plans and share His purposes with Abraham. When Abraham looked up, and saw the angels he ran from the presence of the Lord, bowed down, and greeted them with, "My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.” The angels asked for Sarah his wife, because they had come to bring the promise of a son to life in her womb. Their words brought laughter and joy into her heart and opened her womb to receive the promised seed. Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" And the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?' Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” “Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. And the Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."…. “Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.” Genesis 18:1–32

          God visited Abraham in his tent, walked with him, and talked with him in daily times of intimacy. God shared His secrets and plans with Abraham. And Abraham shared his hearts desires, hopes, and plans with the Lord. An intimate relationship requires an open dialogue and trust. God granted Abraham his hearts desire for an heir but the promise was fulfilled only after it seemed impossible.

We must remember God is always present and powerful so nothing is impossible. If we will hide His word in our hearts and seek God’s face we will be able to continually abide in His presence. It is the presence of God in us that empowers us to bear eternal fruit. If we live our lives apart from God we will not be able to do anything. The Bible says it like this, “apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15: 4–5, Abiding in God’s presence will ensure that the dreams of destiny that God has sown in each of our hearts will come to pass.

David cried out for God to search every part of his life even his very heart to discover if there were wicked areas that didn’t please God.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23–24”

Our faith and trust is pleasing to God. Fear, doubt, and unbelief bring God’s displeasure because He cannot look upon sin. Abraham was the Father of Faith. Abraham’s faith in God caused him to receive the promises of God in the fullness of time. His faith enabled him to be a friend of God. We too will become intimate friends of God as we develop our love and faith through overcoming the trials and test of this life. Trials empty us of ourselves making more room for the faith and love of God to reside within us.