Live-fire training

James 1:2 tells us to “count it all joy” when we experience various trials. Trials meaning what, exactly?

Think of it like this… live-fire training. The primary mission of the U. S. Army, according to the Army themselves, is “to fight and win our Nation’s wars…” Victory over our enemy.

Trials =  training. Tests are part of the training. The soldier’s appropriate response to a test is not to take the attacks lying down, but to make use of the arduous training he’s received to achieve success on the battlefield.

Live-fire training proved essential when United States troops came under heavy attack on Pacific island battlefields during WWII. As did hand-to-hand combat training, and weapons training, and physical fitness training. The enemy was determined to kill every US soldier, and yes, many died.

They died fighting for their fellow soldiers and for their country.

When they faced live fire, they did not lay down and weep because the General wouldn’t come fire the rifle for them.

The purpose of training, the purpose of testing – trials –  is not complicated. Victory over the enemy. John 10:10.



Predestination, a controversial subject. The original Greek word simply means to determine ahead of time, like drawing the boundary lines on a plat.

It’s a destiny and destination pre-planned by God for anyone who accepts Jesus as Saviour.

When we accepted Christ, God changed us.
Not into a frog.
Not into a millionaire.
Into a human habitat for the Holy Spirit, who then enables us to be conformed into the image of Christ.

God also changed our eternal destination.
Not a planet of our own to rule.
Not some great universal mind.
To God’s own home, heaven.

That’s not hard to understand. God didn’t decide who would get those changes, he just decided what those changes would be.

When God created whatever he created, he first thought about it. Once he’d given it every consideration, he decided to do it. He planned it all out, down to the tiniest detail. He designed the what, when, where and how, extrapolating every action and reaction to cover every contingency, all this in his mind before he ever moved to create anything.

Among his plans, God decided to create a being. (He actually created more than one type of being, angels, for instance, but these notes center around human beings.) God planned, designed and created human beings. Mankind. We can speculate as to his reasons but he did it.

When he did it, he designed the human being in his own image. The human didn’t resemble an asteroid, an octupus, a speck of dust or a black hole. God designed man – predestined him – to be made in God’s own image. He energized him with his own life, setting his existence on earth into motion.

Before God created the human being, he designed a habitat for him. He created an expanse we call the universe. There he housed untold numbers of objects, organized into what looks to us like messy and complicated interconnected systems. Some objects he created as stars, nuclear engines that provide energy to power and sustain other objects. Other objects he designed to orbit those stars, forming what we call solar systems. Those include planets and their satellites (moons), planetoids, asteroids and comets. Not to mention interstellar dust and light waves in their myriad forms; building blocks from the universe creation. “Left-overs?” Planets and suns coming and going? Maybe.

When God created that habitat, he planned, designed and set into motion great numbers of solar systems interacting together, smaller circling greater, larger circling even greater. These rotating systems filling the universe are grouped into collections we call galaxies; even the galaxies rotate and orbit something else. NASA’s orbiting telescopes bring us spectacular full-color photographic images of them by the thousands. Amazingly beautiful!

Now, asteroids and comets can be odd shapes but God designed planets to be orb-shaped. Some are mostly dry, others mostly liquid, but our own planet earth He predestined to be an orb containing a balance of gases, solids and liquids.

When God was creating all this, he determined that humans would have a physical lifespan occupying space and time on planet earth. Once the physical lifespan was finished, however, God decided that the spirit – the person himself – would not end.

But what should become of the human’s spirit then? Should he continue on without a physical form on the planet earth? As a ghost, perhaps? Should he occupy some other planet where he wouldn’t need a physical body? Or would he be reincarnated, born into a new body and begin another earthly existence?

No. In the Bible God has told us plainly what He desired for the human being: Eternal fellowship with Him in his own home.

And before he ever created mankind, God designed – predestined – the mechanism to achieve that fellowship. Believe and accept God’s way to be in Christ Jesus, and where Christ goes, we’ll go.

Some folks have made it far too complicated.