suffering

As we consider the anguish of Jesus Christ today…. we need to realize that nobody, including Him, “likes” suffering…. but it was and is a necessity in this present world. (Luke 22:42-43)

Humans will do almost anything to avoid it…. but suffering is a consequence of SIN and is UNAVOIDABLE in this world. (2 Timothy 3:12)

The mystery of WHY some people suffer more than others has led to all kinds of incorrect conclusions down through the centuries since the beginning (when SIN entered the world) (Psalms 73:12-19)

But clearly, from the natural point of view, it is no different than many of the other “problems” that face humans…. hunger, disaster and many more “problems” affect some and not others. (Luke 13:1-5)

Our real concern should be “beyond the grave”….. why ? ….. because the time we spend on this earth is but a small drop in the vast ocean of ETERNITY.

All the “people of God” mentioned in the Bible  realised this….. and it is sad that today many Christians are living “short-sighted” and spend most of their time “digging in” to their earthly existence, rather than preparing for their ETERNAL future.

The Bible clearly teaches that God blesses the righteous and, though some of them may suffer during their life, He is able to make such suffering count for their eternal benefit AND give them the unfailing strength and grace to endure it while they are going thru the experience. (Job 42:12-17)

It is a WIN-WIN situation actually…. because what are the alternatives ?

You cannot “escape” suffering by doing evil because that brings judgement….. and you cannot escape it by being “neutral”, because when SIN entered the world it was ENDEMIC…  if you are NOT being led by God you are under the condemnation of SIN…. EVEN though you may abhor (what you think are) the “worst sins” and imagine that you are “not a sinner”…. in reality, all sin is SIN. (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8)

If the righteous have to endure suffering…. why would anybody else think they can “get away” from it ? (1 Peter 4:18)

Having accepted that ALL OF US have to suffer to some degree or other…. we should be able to clearly see the TWO PATHS set before us….

When the wicked suffer…. they get nothing…. they are simply reaping the consequences of their evil ways…. and can look forward to even more suffering in the future.

However, when the righteous suffer there is  ALWAYS BLESSING to follow…. Jesus suffered horribly for us…. and now He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Head of the whole human race in the Glorious world to come.

The Prophets and Martyrs  suffered for their faith in proclaiming the True Message of God….. and they went to join Christ in everlasting Glory. (Acts 7:55-60)

The blessings of this earth are a snare to the soul…. see that you do not get entangled by it…… this is why the book of Revelation was given by God to the saints…. it is both a WARNING and an ENCOURAGEMENT… it just depends on where you stand with God.

Our lives will usually contain both good times and bad…..  we cant have everything good….. and we wont have everything bad either….  the important thing is our attitude towards GOD during both the good and bad times.

We MUST put GOD’s Will above ourselves and our own desires…. and thankfully, even when we fail to do this, we can ask forgiveness through Jesus and start all over again.

As we consider the suffering of Jesus today…. let us thank Him that He was willing to go through it for us….. and ask Him to help us to be willing (should the need arise) to endure whatever comes our way in the course of doing God’s Perfect Will.

I also publish on http://users.bible.org/blogs/stephenmendes and you might find the message for today that is over there, both helpful and interesting.

Have a blessed Easter weekend !

hard times

Today there are people out of work who are uncertain of the future, today there are people who are hungry, today there are people who are sick physically or depressed mentally.

Yet everyone CAN rejoice in the Lord…. why ? …. because He IS good, and His mercy endures forever…. let everyone say (regardless of their circumstances) GOD IS GOOD and His mercy endures FOREVER.

Do you believe that God is ABLE to sustain you in these hard times ?… IF you seek His presence and TRUST His Word you will get through…. but separate your real NEEDS from LUXURIES (and beware of COVETOUSNESS)…. Read Jeremiah 45:2-5 …. this is a time of hardship across the face of the whole earth, this is not a time for selfish behavior.

Read Revelation 9:20-21  and Revelation16:9 ……  people always BLAME GOD when they are not getting a life of LUXURIOUS ABUNDANCE …..  when things are not going well for them, they HATE GOD…… isn’t that amazing ? ….. GOD is the ONLY ONE who is in a position to HELP THEM and they blame Him and blaspheme His name !

What did David do when he was in perilous circumstances and distressing times ?…. READ THE PSALMS ….. David PLEADED WITH GOD for His help and deliverance….. David REPENTED of all his sins and sought to be righteous…… David TRUSTED God that regardless of what he was going through at that time, the future would be better and expected God would “come through for him” eventually……  David PRAISED God because of who God is, regardless of whatever circumstances he found himself in….. David LOVED God because he knew from experience that GOD IS GOOD and, in fact, HE is the source of all “that is good”…. apart from Him, there is no such thing as…. “good”.

Do you believe that satan and his demons are “good” ?  do you believe that the demons CARE about your welfare  ? ….. let me tell you about them,  to the demon spirits you are just EXPENDABLE…. they have been around for thousands of years and attached themselves to countless bodies…. after you are DEAD, they will have no difficulty finding another VICTIM…. the world does not lack humans….. the world is OVERPOPULATED and there is an abundance of flesh from which they can pick and choose…. as the end of the age approaches, it will becomes the heyday for demons as people themselves  CHOOSE wickedness over righteousness…. and blaspheme God because of their woes, they will believe the DEMONIC LIE, that these foul spirits actually “care” about them and want to “help” them…… and they will believe the BIGGER LIE … “that all their problems are actually God’s fault”.

If you are experiencing hard times today….. I urge you to follow  David’s example…..  REPENT of all personal wickedness, PLEAD WITH GOD over your problems, TRUST GOD regardless of your present circumstances and then PRAISE AND THANK GOD for He is GOOD and His MERCY ENDURES FOREVER.

I encourage you to read about both JOB and DAVID….. later in their life their circumstances changed for the better and they both died peacefully in a ripe old age after receiving the full blessings of God on their lives  because of their FAITH and TRUST in HIM.

Later days and the death of Job …. Job 42:12-17 …. Later days and the death of David … 1 Chronicles 29:26-28

Death of anybody who truly LOVES God…. Psalms 116:15

unbelief

To an “educated”  person, our  faith is “nonsense”

because in a child-like manner…. we believe God for all sorts of matters in our everyday lives…. and when it happens according to our prayers, we thank God and our faith is strengthened…. it is the times that it does NOT happen according to our prayers that give the unbeliever the opportunity to discredit us…. “see I told you so” they gleefully tell us “all those other times you thought GOD was making things happen according to your prayers it was just “good luck” and “chance”… and this is their proof…. FAILURE.

So what are we to make of this ?…. certainly everything we pray for is not going to happen for several reasons:

1. God is NOT a genii…. “your wish is my command”… and we are supposed to be serving Him (and not the other way around).

2. Even if we are “good” saints and totally dedicated… we should be praying ACCORDING TO HIS WILL… and sometimes we just dont know what His will is in some cases.

3. Other factors may be involved… besides our wishes and His will…. what about the wills of other people  ? (the people we are praying for)

It is harder to exercise faith when various prayers (seem) to go unanswered…. but we are not to stop praying or exercising faith (Luke 18:1 – 8)….. and some prayers have been answered many years after those prayers were made.

The way I see it, there is always a positive and a negative way to look at everything…

FAITH is the positive way…. faith goes on even when things are not looking so rosy

UNBELIEF is the negative way…. once unbelief sets in….. it is followed by frustration and despair…. is there any advantage to this ?

Optimism versus pessimism….. looking on the bright side…. versus looking on the dark side…. Thankfullness and praise versus grumbling and complaining.

Take your choice today.

Prayer for Today:

Loving Heavenly Father, Thank you for all your many blessings every day…. help us to focus our attention on your goodness and the many blessings you pour out for us each and every day…. help us to have right thoughts towards you… and guide us what you would have us to pray about. Amen.

Frustration

I am a very slow person, meaning I do not accomplish a lot in a short space of time….. perhaps because I am too “detailed” in everything I do… and this was always a source of frustration to me…. over the years, I have tried on occasions to “speed up” but this always ended in more frustration.

I found myself envying the people in the Bible, their lives seemed so simple and relaxed….. with HOURS to spare, just sitting on a peaceful hillside tending sheep or planting crops and just watching them grow….. I get to wondering IF David had lived in 2011, would the Psalms ever be written ?

I tell God…. I cant wait to get to Heaven where TIME SHALL BE NO MORE….. I mean, TIME is my WORST ENEMY….. I NEVER seem to have enough time to do even a quarter of the things I want to do…. and what is worse, as each year passes, I seem to be slipping further and further behind.

EITHER I am getting SLOWER or TIME ITSELF is SPEEDING UP…. I know this sounds crazy but it is my REALITY.

REGARDLESS of my “problem”, GOD is the same FOREVER… He dwells in the High and Holy place with them who are of a contrite and humble spirit , to revive the spirit of the HUMBLE, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)

The dictionary says that contrite means “penitent” or “thoroughly sorry” and humble means “humility” or “lowly condition or rank”…. I guess I qualify, because as a result of my “slowness” I am a “nobody” and cant seem to “get anywhere” in this world… or “achieve anything” in life….. therefore the only way I can ever be “happy” is to cling to the hope that someday I will be with God (who made me in the first place) and my “slowness” will not matter anymore.

So is this the end of the story ?

Not quite…. the MORE of my “scarce and limited time” I spend “studying” GOD and worshipping Him through Praise and Thanksgiving….. the happier I will be…. REGARDLESS of my circumstances on earth….. and since I cannot achieve all that I want to do anyway….. maybe it does not matter in the long run either.

Many “worldly successful” people view…  “God, the Bible and the Church” as a crutch for “inferior” people to hold on to…. “something they dont need and certainly do not have time for”.

These “successful” people (who we all envy) dont need God…. and they usually despise us as well…… no wonder it is “virtually impossible” for them to get into the Kingdom of Heaven…. and even if they could get there, they wouild not like it there…. because it would represent everything that they DESPISE.

Thank God today for everything He has done for you….. make a list of all the blessings you are enjoying… dont think you are being blessed ? …… just pick up a newspaper or turn on a TV….. trust me, you are blessed, there are many, many in a worse state than you.