Ever since Adam and Eve were alienated from God the Father in the Garden of Eden, an orphan spirit has permeated the earth causing untold damage! (By “orphan” I am referring to a sense of abandonment, loneliness, alienation, and isolation.) Almost immediately after the fall in Eden, the fruit of this orphan spirit resulted in jealousy culminating in Cain murdering his brother Abel because God the Father didn’t receive his offering. To make matters worse in contemporary society with the breakup of the nuclear family large amounts of people are not only alienated from God but are brought up without the loving care and security of their biological fathers.
As a full-time church minister since 1981, I have had the task of observing the lives of thousands of believers. Consequently, I have come to the conclusion that there are believers in the church who say they are Christians, while, at the same time, espousing value systems that are secular. However, these secular believers are slightly different from what we may identity as a “carnal Christian,” whose ways have to do with the overt sins of the flesh and emotions (read 1 Corinthians 3:1-4). Of these two types, the secular believer, as with “secular Christianity” (which, by the way, is contradictory and, therefore, a misnomer) is more subtle because they are sugar-coated with spirituality and outward peace but have foundations of secular values.
Pain is unavoidable in this world. The primary kind of pain I am referring to throughout this article is emotional, mental and psychological. Jesus promised us that in the world we will suffer tribulation John 16:33. (Both physical and emotional in this context) There are many different reasons for pain: some pain is self inflicted, some is caused by unexpected tragedies like an accident, some is caused by the behavior of other people, some from mental and emotional trauma, some, like in the Book of Job are divine tests, and more.
a. The Bible teaches that fire is a metaphor describing three types of purging people can experience:
• The fires of testing
• The fires of evaluation
• The fires of damnation
Text: Matthew 5:4
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
For many years I wondered what this verse meant. I used to think that God wants us to feel bad for all the sin in the world and walk around depressed or sad all day. But now I believe this verse has to do with the need for us to fully face and deal with those things that hurt us. Only those who fully enter into this process of grieving over wrongs done to them, or for sin, will ever be able to process their pain to the point where they can be comforted by God.
In this article, I am using the term “religion” to refer to man-made effort that utilizes works to please God. It is very easy to mistake being religious for having a relationship with God. All religions in the world are based on religion which is a man-made attempt to reach God. However, Christianity is supposed to involve having a genuine relationship with God (2 Cor. 13:14).
The following is a chapter from Joseph Mattera’s latest book “Travail to Prevail: A Key to Experiencing the Heart of God”.
When I came to Christ in January of 1978, I was the kind of person that could read the bible for many hours, but I had a hard [difficult] time praying for more than a couple of minutes.
All that changed in June of 1978 when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Within a few months I was able to pray for a long time without getting bored.
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