Today’s Scripture:  “ But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.” – 1 Peter 5:10

Introduction:

Why does God allow suffering?  I mean we’re supposed to be His children, He supposedly loves us so much, and if that’s really the truth than why in the world to we have to go through so much stuff?  If He’s love why suffering, sickness, disease, and all the garbage we see going on in the world?

I’m not sure if this message is going to answer these questions, but I know that we all have them from time to time.  It’s hard not to take a good look at this fallen world we live in, and wonder if there really is a loving God why He allows all this to happen.  The truth is that not everything in this world is His fault.  There IS a ruler of this age, and while God is in charge…the one thing He’s not in charge of is man’s own free will.

Man’s own free will, free choices, and desires have taken this world generation after generation into the abyss in which we seem to be heading into at an alarming rate of speed.  Especially here in America.  The problem isn’t God…it’s man.  Maybe one day the Lord will enable me to write a message to go down that road, but that day isn’t today.  I just have one last thing to say about this, and while it’s probably not going to be popular…I’m not interested in being popular…I’m interested in being Biblically correct…the condition this world is in has everything to do with the choices that men and women in political positions have made to turn their backs upon the very God that this nation was founded upon…and in truth…the world ought to be much…much more grateful that we Christians are still here.

There’s going to come a day when there will be a husband and wife lying next to one another.  One of them is going to disappear, and the other is going to be left wondering where they went.  There’s going to come a day when two people are walking along a path one moment, and in a blink of an eye…there will be one.  That day is quickly approaching…and since we cannot depend on anyone else to get their hearts right with God…it’s absolutely of critical importance that YOUR heart and MINE is right with God…because quickly approaching is the day of the rapture…and you can think that this rapture thing is a good story or some made up figment of someone’s imagination…but if your one of those that scoffs at the idea of a trumpet sounding and the dead and alive in Christ rising together…don’t be surprised that your one of the ones left here to wonder where everyone went…I can tell you exactly where we went…we went to be with Jesus in the very rapture that you scoffed at.

I don’t know who or what that was for…but apparently the Lord needed me to get that out before we got into today’s message.

Today’s Message:

“Why do we have to suffer?” “If God truly loves us, why do all the bad things happen to us?” I hear such questions often. For years, people have wrestled with those questions, and they still haven’t discovered the answers. I don’t even try to answer the questions. I do make one comment, however: “If God only blessed us after we became believers–if He took away all suffering, hardship, and turmoil for Christians–wouldn’t it be a way to bribe people into the faith?” – Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer

The age-old question is here in this devotional before I even got to reading about what I was going to be writing about.  Joyce answers this question just about the same way that I believe it needs to be answered.

That’s not the way God works. The Lord wants us to come to Him out of love and because we know we’re needy–so needy that only He can fill those needs for us.

The reality is that from the time of birth until we go home to be with Jesus, we will suffer at times. Some have harder tasks than others, but suffering is still suffering. – Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer

God doesn’t work that way.   He never promised that life would be easy.  He promised that we would not have to face life alone…IF…we choose to walk through it with Him.  That’s really the key here, friends is to make the choice to walk with God…like Enoch did.  If He was going to take all of our suffering, trials, and hardships away there would be no use for a verse like Romans 8:28 (KJV): “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Listen this verse says that He would cause all things to work together for good…He never said that all things would be good.  That’s the problem with the body of Christ.  Everyone thinks that now that they’re saved life is supposed to be a cake walk.  But is that Biblical?  Not really.  Jesus said there were certain things that would come.  Things like trials, persecutions, and tests.  He didn’t say that they might come our way…He said they would, and I would like to add that if you aren’t experiencing those things in your life…then you may want to find out how far you are from walking with God…and take the necessary steps back to Him.  Remember this statement…if your feeling distant from God…He didn’t move…YOU did.

I also think that when people watch us as we turn to God for help in our hardships and they see our victories, it provides a witness to them. That witness may not always make them turn to Christ, but it does show God’s presence in our lives and makes them aware of what they’re missing. – Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer

That’s right, fellow believers.  The world is watching us to see how we react to trials, tests, temptations, persecutions, and the down right ugly things this world has to offer us.  The world is watching to see how we’re going to treat that person that cut in front of us at the check out counter.  The world is watching to see what kind of stuff your watching on your television or listening to on your iPod.  I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have 3 Doors Down in your music choice I have three of their CD’s, but I am saying that the world is watching to see what’s important to you.  That’s part of the reason for the fast I’m doing.  I want the world to see that while I like some of the things the world has to offer…I don’t want them to take priority or importance in my life…because in all reality while they do have entertainment value…they have no eternal value.

The ability to overcome trials, tests, temptations, and so forth also become a platform from which we are able to give a lost and dying world a testimony.  Not just with our words, but our actions.  Let me also add that if you don’t display a genuine love for people they will have no interest in you or your relationship with Jesus.  The world will care about hearing from you only when they know that you care about them.  That’s a bit of free advice, and for someone.  I don’t know who I’m talking to today…maybe I’m preaching to myself…but I’m definitely writing this with purpose for someone…or maybe it’s multiple people.

Let me just say this really quickly…if you came to this page looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear…you came to the wrong ministry.  I’m not about playing church.  I’m not about tickling ears.  I am about being honest, and delivering authentic messages.  I hope that they are full of truth spoken in love.

The other day I had a new thought: Suffering results in thanksgiving. When our lives turn chaotic and we don’t know what to do, we turn to the Lord for help, and He answers our prayers and sets us free. God speaks to us and comforts us. And the result is that we’re thankful. – Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer

I love what Joyce writes here.  Suffering results in Thanksgiving.  When we turn to Him in the midst of the mess, He answers us, and we see the result of what He does with the mess…and with us…it’s a cause to rejoice.  Why?  Because He’s always going to bring us out of the fire in better shape than we went into it with.  Sometimes we need to go into the fire so He can burn some things off and out of our lives.  So, if your going through the fire…so did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…and when they came out of the fire not only were they not singed, burned or smelled like smoke…they came out walking with Jesus closer than they did when they went in the fire…do you know why?  Read the story.  He was in the midst of the fire with them.

Wow!  That’s for someone too.  God wants you to know that the fire that you’re in the middle of that you’re not in it alone.  He’s with you, and when He brings you through and out of the fire…you’re going to have a deeper, stronger, more secure and intimate relationship with Him.  The fire isn’t to hurt you it’s meant to promote you…and it’s meant to burn some things out of your life that’s hindering your relationship with Him from being all that it’s meant to be.

The time between suffering and thanksgiving is when the devil truly attacks our thoughts. He may begin by saying, “If God really loved you, you would not have to go through this.” The truth is, we’ll have problems if we’re believers; we’ll have problems if we’re non believers. But as believers, we’ll also have victories. As believers in Jesus Christ, we can have peace in the midst of the storm. We can enjoy our lives during the hardships because we truly believe that God is working on our behalf to bring deliverance. – Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer

Conclusion and Prayer:

I don’t know who is going to read this message today, but this is the first time I’ve had a sense that I’m speaking to someone.  Maybe I’m speaking this message to myself, but that’s not important.  What is important is that you know…again…that fire you’re in the midst of right now isn’t meant to hurt you but promote you…and when you walk out of the fire you’re going to come out of it with a much deeper and greater understanding.  You’re going to have a stronger, more secure, and more intimate relationship with God.  He’s there…in the fire with you…and you’re going to come out of it stronger than you did when you went in.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this message as much as I enjoyed writing it.  I’m thankful for the Lord speaking through me to someone today.  I thank the Lord for all of you known and unknown that read these messages, and pray that you’re being blessed and challenged and encouraged by them.  I pray that you find from God whatever it is you need to find from them, and I only ask that if you find these messages to your liking that you share them with your friends.  There’s never a charge for our messages, there is no copy write.  I’ve received these things freely from the Lord, and I give them out just as freely as I received them.

Pray: My Master and my God, forgive me for always wanting an easy life. I admit that I don’t want to suffer, and I don’t like it when things go wrong. But I ask You to help me have a good attitude and to trust You to bring good out of it. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer