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From the Inside Out
(Note: Except where otherwise stated all Bible references are taken from the New King James Version NKJV with the Holy Names inserted.)
It is not the trials, temptations or challenges we face that are the real problems, but our attitudes to them. The same situation that defeats you can be the stepping-stone for someone else. The knees and faith of the Hebrew boys could have buckled when confronted with sure death in a fiery furnace. Daniel could have chosen the easy way out rather than the prospect of being food for hungry lions. The youth David could have avoided conflict with the giant Goliath from whom older men had fled in fear. These heroes acted as if they were oblivious of the dangers they faced. There was something inside of them that was far greater than their challenges. They had a cause they would not forsake and a faith that could not be compromised. The circumstances around them merely provided the catalyst for their inner dynamic fortitude to be manifested. Their extraordinary external challenges met with astonishing internal attitudes of strength and defiance, which brought about conclusive amazing victories. Their battles were not won in the external arena amid the public gaze of weakwilled spectators. No, it was won in the privacy of their hearts and minds, where, long before these events, they had been nurturing a living embryo filled with the power of faith in Yahweh.
How About You?
Daniel did not face Goliath, David the fiery furnace, or the three Hebrew boys the lion’s den. Yet each test was as stringent as any of the others. Your battleground may not resemble these arenas. But sooner or later you will be in your own affray. Problems of one kind or another will find you whoever and wherever you are. What do you have within you for the trial, temptation or challenge that will surely come? Do not deceive yourself. It is from the things stored up in our hearts that we speak, act, react and are motivated. Yahshua said in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
    Temptations, tests or challenges are nothing more than favourable environments for the embryo within you to burst forth. Whatever you have within, will come out under pressure. Faith and fear, hope and doubt, love and hate are examples of the myriads and ranges of feelings that lie dormant within you patiently waiting the right moment for them to manifest themselves and show who you really are. Yahshua said, “From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:21-23)
    You are not necessarily the person you would like to be, or the one you would like others to think you are. The real you is on the inside often quietly concealed until the appropriate time. So what do you have stored up within you? If you do not know, then start to pay more attention to the words you utter, the things you look at or listen to, the emotions you feel or express, the use of your time and money, your reactions to the words and deeds of others, the things that ‘get you going’ whether good or bad, and your priorities. By looking at these things you may meet a stranger you had never met before …YOU!
    You need to build on a solid rock so that when the storms and winds come, you will not be shaken. On what are you anchored? Can it withstand the battering winds and driving rains of life? Will your anchor hold? It will not hold if your inner strength comes from the world, your flesh and the devil. Doubts and fears, your tendency to sin, self-centred desires and emotions, succumbing to your weaknesses, or relying on your own strength will only bring you defeat. Your natural self is no match for the violent storms of life. You need a power that is far greater than anything that can assail you.
The Sure Antidote
Yahshua said in Matt 7:24, “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
    Trials, temptations and stresses will come like torrential floods or devastating winds, and we cannot survive except we are
House built on rock foundation
  firmly anchored in His word.
Plant and Reap
The psalmist said in Ps 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You
    We need the word deeply embedded in us like yeast, spreading and filling all areas of our hearts and lives that there will be no room left for sin.
    Proverbs advises us to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life,” Prov 4:23.
    Planting the word of Yahweh in our minds and hearts is our only means of surviving the spiritual bombardment that will come daily. Whether or not you like the word, or can find the time to read it, you must get into the word and make sure the word gets into you. The Scripture guarantees that it will bring results. Isa 55:10-11 affirms that,
    As the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."
    In addition to Bible study, the writer has found much benefit by listening regularly throughout each day to readings directly from the Bible. Use whatever method is best for you, but keep on planting the raw pure seeds of the word, and watch how they will grow and bear fruit in your life.
Know It or Find It and Use It
Yahshua, in His temptation, gave us a good example of how we can apply the word when we are tempted. Satan tried his best but could find no weakness in Him. Why? The word was in Yahshua before the adversary got there, for Yahshua is the Word. He responded to each temptation with a quotation from the Torah. Even so you need to know and be so strong in the word that wherever in you Satan seeks to strike, he will keep on finding the word, the word, the word - a relevant one for each temptation! Let him be the one to get frustrated and irritated, not you. Just make sure that when he returns, as he will, that once again he will get much more of the same … Yahweh’s word.
    In order to do this you will need a word of Yahweh to counteract every testing circumstance you face. For example, when you are in conflict, remember Yahshua’s words: “Blessed are the peacemakers”, then act accordingly. Let these words be the basis of your response. Pray for strength that the “peace of Yahweh [will] rule in your hearts,” Col 3:15.
    When you are tempted to sin, speak with determination and stand upon the word that says “sin shall not have dominion over [me],” Rom 6:14.
    Cry out to Yahweh as David did, using, if necessary, the words he used in Psalm 51. If tempted like David, remind yourself of and act upon the words, “Flee sexual immorality,” 1Cor 6:18 and “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness,” 2Tim 2:22.
    Before ‘giving someone a bit of your mind’ check your heart against the word, that you have “the mind of the Messiah,” 1Cor 2:16.
    When stressing circumstances threaten to overwhelm you, never forget Isa 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Then fill your mind with Yahweh and faith-producing words.
    The word is your sure weapon. Use it in every circumstance you face. “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” (that is, the word of faith) Rom 10:8. Apply it. “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” Jas 1:22.
There is never a problem that requires you to act without Yahweh’s word, which is your strength. If you do not know the Scripture you need, then find it with the help of a concordance. But get it inside of you quickly or else you will yield to your natural impulses and please the adversary. It is best to be equipped before the battle. Soldiers do not wait until the battle begins to look for weapons they had never used, or to acquire training and skills they never had. Memorise useful verses before-hand, so like Yahshua, you can defeat the enemy on the spot.
Power-packed Punch
There is nothing we have that is more powerful than the word, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in Yahweh for pulling down strongholds,” 2 Cor 10:4.
   The word of Yahweh is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,” Heb 4:12.
   The word was the power that Yahweh used to create the universe,
   The worlds were framed by the word of Yahweh, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” Heb 11:3.
   That creative power of Yahweh’s word, when activated in our lives, can equip, change, strengthen, and encourage us, in spite of the circumstances we may face. Nothing else in the world can take us safely through the “fiery trials”, “the sin that easily ensnares us”, and “the wiles of the devil.”
   This is why we are encouraged to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Yahweh” wherever we go, Eph 6:17. Without the word we are utterly defenseless, going into our daily battles without the strength and ammunition we need.
   Jer 23:29 asks: “Is not My word like a fire?” says Yahweh, “and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” The word of Yahweh, with its melting or breaking processes, can change hard and cold hearts, responses and attitudes. We need it to bring victory in our lives when circumstances seem to be unyielding or impenetrable.
Let It Shine
Ps 119:105 tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
   We need a lamp through the dark tunnels of life to see the way we should go. Amidst the unpredictable twists and turns we need the light of the word to guide us into Yahweh’s straight paths. Through dangerous seas we need a lighthouse and compass. Now more than ever, as the darkness in the world deepens and in the midst of the ever increasing folly of the worldly-wise, we need the light of the word to shine in us and light the way for others.
   The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple,” Ps 119:130.
   When you have Yahweh’s word in you and obey it, “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of Yahweh shall be your rear guard,” Isa 58:8.
Fear Nothing - Not Even Death
Many in whom the word has taken root will prove to be too strong for the enemy, who will be unable to break into their defenses. In Rev 6:9 we are told of those “who had been slain for the word of Yahweh and for the testimony which they held.” Satan knew that with the power of the word in them he could not gain entrance to their hearts. They were slain. Yes, they were slain, but that did not and could not remove the word that had become part of them. These saints endured to the end and each received a white robe. (Rev 6:11)
   When we have the word deeply entrenched in us we will fear nothing and no one, not even the outraged demons, for at the worst they can destroy our bodies, but the word that will remain in us is indestructible and will last forever.
   The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of Yahweh stands forever,” Isa 40:8.
   May the word of Yahweh in your heart have full sway in your life until you breathe your last breath.
If Sin Enters
In spite of practicing all you know, Satan will keep on looking for some crack in your armoury, some unguarded area of your life, or a weakness that has become a part of you or is too dear for you to give up. A gap in the wall of your house, or an unlocked window is as much of an entry to the thief as an opened door. Even David, a man after Yahweh’s own heart, did not guard his eyes, which are an entry to the heart. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, his eyes stirred his appetite and he feasted on that which was forbidden. So will you, except you “Keep your heart [and the entrances to it] with all diligence,” Prov 4:23.
   After sinning with Bathsheba and murdering her husband, David was made aware of his sinful state by the prophet Nathan (2 Sam 11:2-12:7). Notice that because sin had such a hold on him, David did not see his true state and the wrong he had done until Nathan figuratively held a ‘mirror’ before him, and in effect said, “this is the man you are”. It was only when Yahweh’s word was spoken to him, through the prophet, that he was convicted. It is only when dead consciences are aroused through Yahweh’s word, that there is hope for a change.
   When the enormity of his offense registered in his heart, David cried out to Yahweh in a prayer of repentance (Psalm 51). Here is some of what he had to say: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.”
David knew the problem was not Bathsheba. She had been merely doing what she had to do. The problem was within him. The sinful nature with which he was born had no respect for his anointing as king. It was a far greater enemy than anything he had encountered before – more menacing than Goliath, a bear or a lion. Those things were on the outside. A more formidable foe had been within him since birth. It was part of his nature. This
King David repents
badly needed to be eradicated. He knew that Yahweh desired purity on the inside. With inner cleanliness, the right responses would flow forth.
   The guilt of David’s sin against Yahweh bore heavily upon him. He said: “I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me,” Ps 51:3. There was only one way to deal with this internal destructive monster. The inner sinful nature had to be removed. He needed a powerful deep cleaning that he himself was incapable of carrying out. Therefore he cried out to Yahweh: “Have mercy upon me, O Yahweh, according to Your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin…Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow…Create in me a clean heart, O Yahweh, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” Ps 51:1, 2, 7, 10.
   David desired for the filthy heart to be completely removed and a new heart created in him, so that he would be steadfast in obeying and pleasing Yahweh rather than his passions. He wanted no more for sin to “have dominion over [him],” Rom 6:14, but that Yahweh’s righteousness would prevail. Yahweh accepted his brokenness and David received inner cleansing. “A broken and a contrite heart––These, O Yahweh, You will not despise.” (Verse 17) The record of David’s life would have been quite different if he had not accepted Nathan’s reproof. It is essential for us to submit to Yahweh’s words.
The Heart of the Matter
David’s choice was simple: either defeat the inner fiend or allow it to defeat him. You know the beast that lies within you. You may conceal it for a time, but eventually it will turn upon you and destroy you except if it is eradicated. You are no match for it. You cannot change it, or tame it.
   Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil,” Jer 13:23.
   Until you have dealt with the evil within you, circumstances will continually arise that will cause you to react in the same way you have always done. Again and again, you will cry out: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24) The awareness of the inner problem is only the first stage to cleansing. Remaining at this stage only leads to frustration and more sin. You need desperately to see the extent of the dilemma, and cry out to Yahweh as David did. Yahweh has promised:
   Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool,” Isa 1:18.
   The resolution of your problem must begin within you. You must be equipped within, before you can face the circumstances on the outside. Your Bathsheba will always test what is on your inside. Wrong attitudes or responses will come to the fore when the right circumstances present themselves. Be ready, for in such an hour as you think not, you will be tested. Cry out with all your heart to Yahweh, as David did, to be forgiven, cleansed and rescued now from the enemy that is within you before it is too late.
   Do not allow sin to remain in you and drive you away from Yahweh. Satan is launching an all-out attack for the control of your heart and mind, and to separate you from Yahweh. If you sin, quickly return to Yahweh in penitence as David did, seeking earnestly to have your heart purged from the filth of sin, then work hard to restore your relationship with Yahweh.
   Strive to be clean inside. Inner purity is not optional if we are to win in our daily battles and please Yahweh. Except we are pure on the inside, we will not see Yahweh now or in the life to come. Yahshua said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see Yahweh.” Matt 5:8. The ‘Message’ puts this verse this way: “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see [Yahweh] in the outside world”.
   If Yahweh is to be revealed to and through you, then He must be on the center stage of your life, visible to you and to others and not obscured by the barrier of sin.
   Persons whose heart is without contamination (like crystal clear water not having pollution of any kind) will see Yahweh at work in their lives here and now, and will see Him when He comes to tabernacle among men.
   Psalm 24:3-4 asks, then answers, a vitally important question: “Who may ascend into the hill of Yahweh? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”
   Yahshua denounced the Scribes and Pharisees who were only clean on the outside:
   Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness,” Matt 23:27-28.
   It is better to be spotless on the inside than to be gaudy on the outside.
   Romans 2:28-29 tells us: “he is not a Jew who is one outwardly … but he is a Jew who is one inwardly.” (The same could be said of a believer.) “He is not a believer who is one outwardly…but he is a believer who is one inwardly.”
   Yahweh does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but Yahweh looks at the heart,” 1 Sam 16:7.
   Without Yahweh, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” Jer 17:9. It is only when our hearts are cleansed that we can live in victory above sin and it is only when we are connected to Yahweh that we can triumph over the world, our flesh and the devil. As long as you harbour sin in your heart you set up yourself for sure defeat in this life and for damnation in the life to come.
Other Challenges  
As we draw nearer to the end of the age, tests of one kind or another will come to each of us with increasing frequency and intensity. When this happens we should not be alarmed.
   Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you,” 1Pet 4:12.
   We will be tried but we do not have to be defeated. The
battle is already won. Yahshua said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.
   Trials are the essential processes through which the believer’s strength, character and allegiance are tested. They cannot be bypassed, but Yahweh has promised in Isa 43:2,
   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.
   How you come through trials will depend on the state of your heart and your relationship with Yahweh.
   Most persons may be able to exhibit lovely attitudes and admirable qualities when they are not under pressure of any kind. It is under heat that the quality of metal is tested; dross is removed and gold refined until it can reflect the image of the refiner. Trials can bring lasting benefits in moulding our character and increasing our dependence on Yahweh but they also have the potential of diverting our minds from Yahweh. We need to have the word of Yahweh as a buffer within us that will enable us to withstand the intense heat of fiery trials, reflect the beauty and glory of Yahweh and take our stand for Him.
   Before the trials come we must be firmly decided in our minds that NOTHING shall separate us from the Messiah – no “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” – NOTHING! (Rom 8:35)
   When Peter’s severest moment of testing came, He denied Yahshua. When Daniel and the Hebrew boys came face to face with death for their obedience to Yahweh, they chose to please Yahweh rather than an earthly sovereign. That is what trials are all about. Will you hold fast in the rain as well as in the sunshine? Will your conviction and commitment be washed away by the floods and be burned up by the heat? The answer will depend on what you have within you.
Stress may be defined as the demand made on physical, mental or spiritual energy. Any weight-bearing device will collapse if more weight is applied to it than it was designed to carry. We ought to be careful as much as lies in our power to avoid putting unnecessary burdens on ourselves, but we cannot isolate and insulate ourselves from all the perplexing pressures that will come our way.
   The center of stress is within us. A problem that does not penetrate our defenses is manageable. When it gets to the core of our being, however, we may feel helpless, frustrated, irritated, angered, panic stricken, anxious, aggrieved, self-pitying and revengeful, or any other component of a host of negative responses. Such reactions are evidences that the stress has hit and wounded us within.
What Can We Do?
If we feel inadequate to cope, but at the same time think that the resolution of a difficult problem is entirely dependent on our own strength, this only exacerbates and does not relieve the pressure placed upon us. On the other hand, it is not a normal natural reaction to respond to troubling experiences with tranquillity. When we are cut emotionally, we will bleed. Stresses cannot be ignored or wished away. The external difficulty may require to be tackled, but sometimes it cannot be changed–for example bereavement. At all times, our responses are to the predicament matter more than the circumstances themselves. In the same storm, the disciples panicked while Yahshua was asleep.
   The believer’s situation does not need to be one of helplessness and hopelessness. The loins of our hearts and minds must be girded at all times with Yahweh’s words in advance of and especially during the pressures. Only the power of Yahweh’s word and Spirit in us will replace our deep-seated weaknesses with spiritual strength and equip us for unexpected struggles. Only His everlasting arms can carry us through difficult times. Only He can ease the pain, calm our fears and dry our tears.
   With Him we can be strong in spite of our circumstances. We can draw upon supernatural divine help in times of need by looking up to Yahweh instead of looking out at our situation. The reality of and dependence on Yahweh’s abiding presence must be greater than the intense heaviness we are experiencing.
   The believer has the Burden Bearer who invites us to cast “all [our] care upon Him, for He cares for [us,]” 1Peter 5:7. When we do this, we, too, will experience that as the songwriters Ike Davis and Ray Heady wrote:
                     There is peace in the time of trouble
                     There is peace in the midst of the storm,
                     There is peace though the world be raging,
                     In the shelter of His arms.
The Quiet Place
Just as a motor requires intervals of fuel and rest, we cannot function effectively if we overlook these basic physical and spiritual necessities. When these are neglected, tension is created; we overheat and will be burnt out, after displaying some undesirable qualities. Yahshua recognised this and has given us a good example that we must follow. He taught that “men always ought to pray and not lose heart,” Luke 18:1. In His ministry He was constantly giving of Himself to others, but He found the time to be alone from the thronging crowds or even His disciples in order to pray and re-connect with His Father. Mark records that “in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed,” Mark 1:35. On another occasion, after feeding the five thousand, He found a quiet place and prayed, “When He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there,” Matt 14:23.
Yahshua also encouraged His disciples to retreat and refresh themselves.
   “He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat,” Mark 6:31.
   Excessive pressures can cause us to neglect ourselves, furthering to increase our stresses and reduce our effectiveness. Like Yahshua, we must find the time to recharge our inner batteries, as continuous output without input will eventually lead to emptiness. We cannot afford to be at a low level of spiritual energy. Do not ignore the signals of tension or tiredness. Resort to a quiet place where you can be alone and speak to our Father in secret and meditate upon His words,
   For thus says Yahweh Elohim, the Holy One of Israel: ’In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength’,” Isa 30:15.
   Without this frequent connection we will not be able to meet the demanding challenges of life.
   Even when we are resting in Yahweh, stresses will come into our lives and we will need to ensure that, like a soldier prepared for battle, we maintain a high level of spiritual fitness.
Faith Fitness
The natural cry when in distress is “I cannot cope.” Here lies the problem and the solution. For as long as we think that we must carry these heavy burdens and can find no burden bearer, we will always be overwhelmed and crushed by the weight. This does not have to be the case for the person who really believes in Yahweh and Yahshua.
   ‘Faith’ is not synonymous with ‘playing tough.’ It is not about putting on a bold front. Who would have the strength, when shattered and battered by suffering, to make this effort? No, faith is not what you do or can do, but rather it is all about who Yahweh is, what He has done, and will do for you if you trust and obey Him. The Scripture teaches us “he who comes to Yahweh must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him,” Heb 11: 6.
   The things you may need to do in order to relieve your situation can be beneficial only after you have built up an impregnable fortress of confidence in, and reliance on, Yahweh. Works of faith do not precede but come after faith in Yahweh is riveted in you. The application of knowledge cannot go before the acquisition of knowledge.
   Long before the hammering blows of life strike, you must know and be confident beyond any doubt that “The everlasting Elohim, Yahweh, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint,” Isa 40:28- 31.
   This is a knowing faith—a deepseated, unshakeable confidence in who Yahweh is. When we are absolutely and resolutely certain in our own minds of Yahweh’s power, dependability, wisdom, and unfailing loving care and concern, we will trust Him through all circumstances of our lives.
   Yahweh says to those who really know Him: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your Elohim. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand,” Isa 41:10.
   Promises like these must be immovably fixed in you and become part of your survival kit, which you instantly apply the moment fear approaches. It is of no use to pride yourself in knowing Scriptures if you do not apply them to your heart, mind and circumstances, but seek other solutions when in difficulty. You will need confidence to believe that even if the worst thing happened it would be for the best. Paul’s shipwreck caused the evangel to get to Malta. Joseph rose from the pit, slavery and prison to the second highest position in Egypt. Lazarus’ death was the gateway to his resurrection and the reason why “Many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Yahshua did, believed in Him," John 11:45. You do not know Yahweh’s plans for using your trying experiences. Look to Him and not at your circumstances. He knows best and is in control. Yahweh is ahead of every situation you face, and will bring glory to Himself every time. Trust Him.
   Except you really believe in the ability, reliability and sovereignty of Yahweh, you are not prepared for troubles when they come. The believer’s immediate response to any problem ought to be confidence in the One who has never lost and can never lose a battle.
   It is possible for you to develop an unnatural courage when you know and have an intimate relationship with the Almighty One who takes on projects of all sizes. He who created the universe also feeds the sparrows and clothes the grass of the field. He cares for you and is by your side, to cushion each blow, and to say to you “I, Yahweh your Elohim, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’,” Isa 41:13. These promises, however, will remain mere words until the truth of the meaning of who Yahweh is, takes hold of you and fills your innermost being.
   Faith in Yahweh will cause you to commit your ways unto Him, knowing that He will direct your paths (Prov 3:6). Your storms in life will reveal how well you are resting in Yahweh. Remember, not only to keep Yahshua in the boat of your heart and mind, but to have also the confidence that because He is there you will survive the storm. All will be well.
   When faith in Yahweh and His word gets into us before the stress, it activates an unwavering strength that dispels fear, hopelessness and gloom, for “Yahweh Elohim is a sun and shield; Yahweh will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly,” Ps 84:11. This promise is only applicable if we are walking uprightly in obedience to Him.
Faith is the uncompromising stubborn confidence that the everlasting sovereign Elohim whose name is Yahweh, will always be on our side, if we obey Him. Especially at times of greatest difficulties we need to know that Yahshua is our friend. Yahshua said “you are my friends if you do whatever I command you,” John 15:14. But how can we know He is our friend and sing songs like, ‘What a friend we have in Yahshua, all our sins and griefs to bear’, when we doubt our relationship and question our obedience to Him? If we are not obeying Him, we have no reason to trust that He is our friend.
   When the children of Israel disobeyed Yahweh, their enemies always troubled and defeated them. You cannot reduce your stress levels if you are thinking that the things you are going through are coming to you as a punishment for disobedience. You need to have that possibility out of the way by walking in His ways, obeying Him and drawing closer to Him. This is confirmed in 1John 3:22:
   Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
   When your communication lines to Yahweh are clear and your prayers are not hindered because of your iniquities (Isa 59:2), you can have a firm trust in Him that He is on your side, and that His promises belong to you. This awareness will in itself relieve stress and will give you confidence during your troubles while you patiently await the unveiling of the ‘good’ that is intricately woven into the fabric of your distress. (Rom 8:28) But remember it all begins on the inside and depends on who and what fills your heart and mind.
   Since we are in a battle, we must do what the general says, if we hope to be victorious. Soldiers who defy their commander’s instructions are not confident in his leadership or of victory. We cannot expect to reap Yahweh’s blessings when we do not do what He says. When we are in difficulties we desperately need to know that there is nothing we are doing to displease Him and that we are not reacting in the wrong manner to our circumstances.
   Obedience and trust take time to be developed in us. We cannot reap from trees on the day their seeds were first planted. We cannot handle the stresses that come our way if we have not developed a confidence in Yahweh to assist us, and an assurance that we are in a close relationship with Him.
Our Weaknesses  
In addition to sin, trials and stresses, the believer can be hampered by their own inherent weaknesses. You may for example be of a nervous disposition, and easily frightened and overwhelmed by anything that is beyond your control; or, you could be quickly angered when frustrated; or, you may be of a hasty or restless nature. These and many other shortcomings will always make you vulnerable to attack. What is more you will find that you keep on getting more similar testing experiences that expose and exploit your weaknesses. Your weaknesses, like a light substance in water, will be the first to rise to the surface and manifest itself. This is serious, as you will never make real spiritual progress while they remain with the potential of diverting your focus on Yahweh, disrupting your relationship with Him and your service for Him. It is vitally necessary for your sanity and spiritual survival that these enemies within are dealt with and destroyed. They can and will be smashed by the power of Yahweh’s Spirit, when you continually yield yourself to
Yahweh, trusting and obeying Him and praying unceasingly with a determination that these things will no longer have dominion over you.
   It will take some time. Habits and characteristics developed over a lifetime are not instantly removed by one resolution. But if you admit the weakness, confess it to Yahweh, earnestly desire its removal, and use the tools Yahweh has provided, it will go.
   If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you,” Matt 17:20.
   Be assured by the large number of Yahweh’s commands to “be strong” that He does not want us to be hindered by our shortcomings. It is His will for these hindrances to our growth to be removed so that we will be transformed more into the image of Yahshua. Your mountain of weaknesses will have to go! Ask and keep on asking, knock and keep on knocking and as long as your faith and determination do not waver that stubborn door will have to budge. You WILL become strong where you were once weak. Your day WILL come when you will recognise the tests before they cause the old familiar responses. Like Paul you WILL be able to say: “Thanks be to Yahweh, who gives [me] the victory through our Saviour Yahshua the Messiah,” 1Cor 15:57.
Summary and Conclusion
The battlefield is not your circumstances, however severe they may seem to be. It is in your heart and mind. That is where the enemy attacks. That is what you must defend, and that is where you must be victorious. From the overflow of your heart you speak, act and react. Start with Yahweh’s help to uproot the weeds and plant the seeds of His word in your heart and mind. Every testing is an
opportunity to demonstrate what is within you. Make sure it reveals more and more of Yahweh.
   Inner strength is paramount. All entrances to your heart and mind must be always protected (for example your eyes, ears, touch, appetites and emotions), with the knowledge and application of the word (the sword) of Yahweh. Yahshua has given us the supreme example of how to cope with the enemy, in whatever form he, she or it may come. He had the word of Yahweh. Be diligent to use it and you, too, will be strong and victorious. Let the word stand like a watchman at every possible entry to your heart.
   The Bible has given us all the equipment we need for battle, and what is more the battle is already won through the work of Yahshua. By faith believe this: be strong and courageous. Yahweh has planned no defeats for you. You are without excuse for fear or failure.
   No weapon formed against you [externally or internally] shall prosper,: Isa 54:1.
   You are of Yahweh, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world,” 1John 4:4.
   When your responses to temptations, fiery trials, stresses, and innate weaknesses appear like Goliaths threatening to defeat you and rob you of your freedom in Yahweh, do not give in, give up, or be intimidated. Filled with Yahweh’s word and His Spirit, say to your weak will that is ready to yield “be strong!” Defy that insubordinate nature. Advance toward it. Let Yahweh’s cause burn passionately and His Spirit rise up within you like a sling to propel the three stones - the word, prayer and faith in Yahweh - to their target. Do not attempt to fight spiritual battles with carnal weaponry. You will be defeated every time. Do not give the foe space or time to gain ground. Deny that mean, threatening monster the first strike at your heart. Get in there first, equipped with the word, prayer and a resolute faith in, and obedience to, Yahweh. Advance, release the darts and witness the victory, for the battle is not yours but Yahweh’s. Apply this every time the wrong attitudes or reactions want to manifest themselves. Accept no defeats or compromises, for “Yahweh your Elohim will deliver [the enemy] over to you, and will inflict defeat upon them until they are destroyed,” Deut 7:23. Finally, trample the thing that seemed so daunting, and wave its severed powerless head in jubilation and thanksgiving to Yahweh who alone has caused you to triumph!
-Elder Buel Hallpike

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