The Furnace of Suffering

 

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The furnace of suffering! How it hurts and brings us pain. It is there that the Lord trains us for battle.  It is there that we learn to pray.

It is there that God gets alone with us and reveals to us who we really are. It is there where He prunes away our comforts and burns away the sin in our lives.

It is there that He uses our failures to prepare us for His work. It is there, in the furnace, when we have nothing to offer, when we have no song in the night.

It is there that we feel like our life is over when every thing we enjoy is being taken away from us. It is then that we begin to realize that we are under the wings of the Lord. He will take care of us.

It is there that we often fail to recognize the hidden work of God in our most barren times.  It is there, in the furnace, that no tear is wasted  but fulfills His purposes in our lives.

It is there that He weaves the black thread into the tapestry of our life.  It is there where He reveals that all things work together for good to those who love Him.

It is there that we get real with God, when all else is said and done. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him.” It is when we fall out of love with this life, and live in the light of eternity to come.

It is there that He reveals the depths of love that He has for us, ” For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time  are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  ~ Romans 8:18

It is there, in the furnace, that we realize ” For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:17

It is there that we fall in love with Jesus and appreciate the depth of our eternal home,  knowing that the sufferings of our past won’t cause us pain, but would rather enhance His glory.

It is when we come out of the furnace that spring begins to blossom. After He reduces us to tears we offer liquefied prayers that touch the heart of God.

“…but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” ~ Romans 5:3-4

Dear Soul,

Do you have the assurance that if you were to die today, you’ll be in the presence of the Lord in heaven? Death for a believer is but a doorway that opens into eternal life. Those who fall asleep in Jesus will be reunited with their loved ones in heaven.

Those you’ve laid in the grave in tears, you shall meet them again with joy! Oh, to see their smile and feel their touch… never to part again!

Yet, if you don’t believe in the Lord, you’re going to hell. There is no pleasant way to say it.

The Scripture says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23

Soul, that includes you and me.

Only when we realize the awfulness of our sin against God and feel its deep sorrow in our hearts can we turn from the sin we once loved and accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior.

…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.  – 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9

Don’t fall asleep without Jesus until you are assured of a place in heaven.

Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life, first you must believe in the Lord. You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven and put your trust in the Lord. To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life. There’s only one way to heaven, and that’s through the Lord Jesus. That’s God’s wonderful plan of salvation.

You can begin a personal relationship with Him by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:

“Oh God, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner all of my life. Forgive me, Lord. I receive Jesus as my Savior. I trust Him as my Lord. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, but have received Him today after reading this invitation, please let us know.

We would love to hear from you. Your first name is sufficient, or place an “x” in the space to remain anonymous.

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In loving memory of our Dad, who graciously endured much affliction.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept my faith.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:7

A Love Letter From Jesus

I asked Jesus, “How much do you love me?” He said, “This much” and stretched out His hands and died. Died for me, a fallen sinner! He died for you too.

***

The night before My death, you were on my mind. How I desired to have a relationship with you, to spend eternity with you in heaven. Yet, sin separated you from Me and My Father. A sacrifice of innocent blood was needed for the payment of your sins.

The hour had come when I was to lay down my life for you. With heaviness of heart I went out to the garden to pray. In agony of soul I sweat, as it were, drops of blood as I cried out to God… “…O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” ~ Matthew 26:39

While I was in the garden the soldiers came to arrest Me even though I was innocent of any crime. They brought Me before Pilate’s hall. I stood before My accusers. Then Pilate took Me and scourged Me. Lacerations cut deeply into My back as I took the beating for you. Then the soldiers stripped me, and put a scarlet robe on Me. They platted a crown of thorns upon My head. Blood flowed down My face… there was no beauty that you should desire Me.

Then the soldiers mocked Me, saying, ” Hail, King of the Jews! They brought Me before the cheering crowd, shouting, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” I stood there silently, bloody, bruised and beaten. Wounded for your transgressions, bruised for your iniquities. Despised and rejected of men.

Pilate sought to release Me but gave in to the pressure of the crowd. “Take ye Him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.” he said to them. Then he delivered Me to be crucified.

You were on my mind when I carried My cross up the lonesome hill to Golgotha. I fell beneath its weight. It was my love for you, and to do My Father’s will that gave Me the strength to bear beneath its heavy load. There, I bore your griefs and I carried your sorrows laying down My life for the sin of mankind.

The soldiers sneered giving heavy blows of the hammer driving the nails deeply into My hands and feet. Love nailed your sins to the cross, never to be dealt with again. They hoisted Me up and left Me to die. Yet, they did not take My life. I willingly gave it.

The sky grew black. Even the sun stopped shining. My body wracked with excruciating pain took the weight of your sin and bore it’s punishment so that the wrath of God could be satisfied.

When all things were accomplished. I committed My spirit into My Father’s hands, and breathed out My final words,”It is finished.” I bowed my head and gave up the ghost.

I Love you… Jesus.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

An Invitation to Accept Christ

Dear Soul,

Today the road may have seemed steep, and you feel alone. Someone you trust has disappointed you. God sees your tears. He feels your pain. He longs to comfort you, for He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

God loves you so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die in your place. He will forgive you for every sin you have committed, if you are willing to leave your sins and turn from them.

The Scripture says, “…I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” ~ Mark 2:17b

Soul, that includes you and me.

No matter how far into the pit you have fallen, God’s grace is greater still. The dirty despondent souls, He came to save. He’ll reach down His hand to hold yours.

Maybe you’re like this fallen sinner who came to Jesus, knowing He was the One who could save her. With tears streaming down her face, she began to wash His feet with her tears, and  wipe them with her hair. He said, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven…” Soul, can He say that of you tonight?

Perhaps you’ve looked at pornography and you feel ashamed, or you’ve committed adultery and you want to be forgiven.  The same Jesus who’s forgiven her will also forgive you tonight.

Maybe you thought about giving your life to Christ, but put it off for one reason or another. “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” ~ Hebrews 4:7b

The Scripture says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9

Don’t fall asleep without Jesus until you are assured of a place in heaven.

Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life, first you must believe in the Lord. You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven and put your trust in the Lord. To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life. There’s only one way to heaven, and that’s through the Lord Jesus. That’s God’s wonderful plan of salvation.

You can begin a personal relationship with Him by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:

“Oh God, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner all of my life. Forgive me, Lord. I receive Jesus as my Savior. I trust Him as my Lord. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Faith and Evidence

Have you been considering whether or not there is a higher power? A power that formed the Universe and all that’s in it. A power that took nothing and created the earth, the sky, water, and living things?Where did the simplest plant come from? The most complicated creature… man? I struggled with the question for years. I sought the answer in science.

Surely the answer can be found through the study of these things all around that amaze and mystify us. The answer had to be in the most minute part of every creature and thing. The atom! The essence of life must be found there. It wasn’t. It wasn’t found in the nuclear material or in the electrons spinning around it. It wasn’t in the empty space that makes up most of everything we can touch and see.

All these thousands of years of looking and no one has found the essence of life inside the common things around us. I knew there must be a force, a power, that was doing all this around me. Was it God? Okay, why doesn’t He just reveal Himself to me? Why not? If this force is a living God why all the mystery? Wouldn’t it be more logical for Him to say, Okay, here I am. I did all this. Now go about your business.”

Not until I met a special woman who I reluctentantly went to a Bible study with did I start to understand any of this. The people there were studying the Scriptures and I thought they must be searching for the same thing I was, but just haven’t found it yet. The leader of the group read a passage from the Bible written by a man who used to hate Christians but was changed. Changed in an amazing way. His name was Paul and he wrote,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-9

Those words “grace” and “faith” fascinated me. What did they really mean? Later that night she asked me to go see a movie, of course she tricked me into going to a Christian movie. At the end of the show there was a short message by Billy Graham. Here he was, a farm boy from North Carolina, explaining to me the very thing that I had been struggling with all along. He said, “You can’t explain God scientifically, philosophically, or in any other intellectual way. “You simply have to believe God is real.

You have to have faith that what He said He did as it is written in the Bible. That He created the heavens and the earth, that He created the plants and animals, that He spoke all this into existence as it is written in the book of Genesis in the Bible. That He breathed life into a lifeless form and it became man. That He wanted to have a closer relationship with the people He created so He took on the form of a man who was God’s Son and came to the earth and lived among us. This Man, Jesus, paid the debt of sin for those who will believe by being crucified on the cross.

How could it be so simple? Just believe? Have faith that all this was the truth? I went home that night and got little sleep. I struggled with the issue of God giving me grace – through faith to believe. That He was that force, that essence of life and creation of all that ever was and is. Then He came to me. I knew that I simply had to believe. It was by God’s grace that He showed me His love. That He was the answer and that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for me so that I could believe. That I could have a relationship with Him. He revealed Himself to me in that moment.

I called her to tell her that I now understand. That now I believe and want to give my life to Christ. She told me that she prayed that I would not sleep until I took that leap of faith and believed in God. My life was changed forever. Yes, forever, because now I can look forward to spending eternity in a wonderful place called heaven.

No longer do I concern myself with needing evidence to prove that Jesus could actually walk on water, or that the Red Sea could have parted to allow the Israelites to pass through, or any of the dozen other seemingly impossible events written in the Bible.

God has proven Himself over and over in my life. He can reveal Himself to you also. If you find yourself seeking proof of His existence ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Take that leap of faith as a child, and truly believe in Him. Open yourself up to His love by faith, not evidence.

Heaven - Our Eternal Home

Living in this fallen world with its heartaches, disappointments and suffering, we long for heaven! Our eyes turn upward when our spirit is bent to our eternal home in glory that the Lord Himself is preparing for those who love Him.

The Lord has planned the new earth to be far more beautiful, beyond our imagination.

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing… ~ Isaiah 35:1-2

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” ~ Isaiah 35:5-6

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” ~ Isaiah 35:10

What shall we say in His presence? Oh, the tears that shall flow when we behold His nail scarred hands and feet! The uncertainties of life shall be made known to us, when we see our Savior face to face.

Most of all we shall see Him! We shall behold His glory! He shall shine as the sun in pure radiance, as He welcomes us home in glory.

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. ~ Revelation 21:2

…”And he will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” ~ Revelation 21:3b

“And they shall see His face…” “…and they shall reign forever and ever.” ~ Revelation 22:4a&5b

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” ~ Revelation 21:4

Our Relationships In Heaven

Many people wonder as they turn from the grave of their loved ones, “Will we know our loved ones in heaven”? “Will we see their face again”?

The Lord understands our griefs. He carries our sorrows… For He wept at the grave of His dear friend Lazarus even though He knew He would raise him up within a few moments.

There He comforteth His beloved friends.

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” ~ John 11:25

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with them. 1 Thessalonians 4:14

Now, we sorrow for those who fall asleep in Jesus, but not as those who have no hope.

“For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” ~ Matthew 22:30

Although our earthly marriage will not remain in heaven, our relationships will be pure and wholesome. For it is but a portrait that served its purpose until believers in Christ shall be married to the Lord.

“And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things shall be past away.” ~ Revelation 21:2

Overcoming the Addiction of Pornography

He brought me up also out of an
horrible pit, out of the miry clay,
and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my goings.

Psalm 40:2

Let me speak to your heart for a moment.. I’m not here to condemn you, or to judge where you have been. I understand just how easy it is to get caught in the web of pornography.

Temptation is everywhere. It’s an issue that we are all faced with. It may seem like a little thing to look at that which is pleasing to the eye. The trouble is, looking turns into lusting, and lusting is a desire that is never satisfied.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  ~ James 1:14-15

Often this is what draws a soul into the web of pornography.

The Scriptures deal with this common issue…

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” ~ Matthew 5:28-29

Satan sees our struggle. He laughs at us deliriously! “Art thou also become as weak as we?  God can’t reach you now, your soul is beyond His reach.”

Many die in its entanglement, others question their faith in God. “Have I wandered too far from His grace? Will His hand reach down to me now?”

Its moments of pleasure are dimly lit, as loneliness sets in having been deceived. No matter how far into the pit you have fallen, God’s grace is greater still. The fallen sinner He longs to save, He’ll reach down His hand to hold yours.

The Dark Night of the Soul

Oh, the dark night of the soul, when we hang our harps upon the willows and find comfort only in the Lord!

Separation is sorrowful. Who of us haven’t grieved the loss of a loved one, nor felt its sorrow having wept in each other’s arms no longer to enjoy their loving friendship, to help us through the hardships of life?

Many are passing through the valley as you read this. You can relate, having lost a companion yourself and are now experiencing the heartache of separation, wondering how you will cope with the lonely hours ahead.

Being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart… We are homesick for heaven and anticipate the reunion of our loved ones as we long for a better place.

The familiar was so comforting. It’s never easy to let go. For they are the crutches that have held us up, the places that have given us comfort, the visits that have given us joy. We hold on to what is precious till it’s taken from us often with deep anguish of soul.

Sometimes its sadness washes over us like ocean waves crashing over our soul. We shield ourselves from its pain, finding shelter under the wings of the Lord.

We’d lose ourselves in the valley of grief if it were not for the Shepherd to guide us through the long and lonely nights. In the dark night of the soul He is our Comforter, a Loving Presence who shares in our pain and in our suffering.

With each tear that falls, the sorrow nudges us towards heaven, where no death, nor sorrow, nor tear shall fall. Weeping may last for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. He carries us in our moments of deepest pain.

Through teary eyes we anticipate our joyful reunion when we will be with our loved ones in the Lord.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” ~ Matthew 5:4

May the Lord bless you and keep you all the days of your life, until you are in the presence of the Lord in heaven.

The Furnace of Suffering

The furnace of suffering! How it hurts and brings us pain. It is there that the Lord trains us for battle.  It is there that we learn to pray.

It is there that God gets alone with us and reveals to us who we really are. It is there where He prunes away our comforts and burns away the sin in our lives.

It is there that He uses our failures to prepare us for His work. It is there, in the furnace, when we have nothing to offer, when we have no song in the night.

It is there that we feel like our life is over when every thing we enjoy is being taken away from us. It is then that we begin to realize that we are under the wings of the Lord. He will take care of us.

It is there that we often fail to recognize the hidden work of God in our most barren times.  It is there, in the furnace, that no tear is wasted  but fulfills His purposes in our lives.

It is there that He weaves the black thread into the tapestry of our life.  It is there where He reveals that all things work together for good to those who love Him.

It is there that we get real with God, when all else is said and done. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him.” It is when we fall out of love with this life, and live in the light of eternity to come.

It is there that He reveals the depths of love that He has for us, ” For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time  are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  ~ Romans 8:18

It is there, in the furnace, that we realize ” For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:17

It is there that we fall in love with Jesus and appreciate the depth of our eternal home,  knowing that the sufferings of our past won’t cause us pain, but would rather enhance His glory.

It is when we come out of the furnace that spring begins to blossom. After He reduces us to tears we offer liquefied prayers that touch the heart of God.

“…but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” ~ Romans 5:3-4

There Is Hope

Dear friend,

Do you know who Jesus is? Jesus is your spiritual lifeguard. Confused? Well just read on.

You see, God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to forgive us of our sins and to save us from everlasting torture in a place called hell.

In hell, you are by yourself in total darkness screaming for your life. You are being burned alive for all eternity. Eternity lasts forever!

You smell sulfur in hell, and hear blood curdling screams  of those who rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. On top of that, You’ll remember all the horrible things that you have ever done, all the people you have picked on.  These memories are going to haunt you  forever and ever! It is never going to stop. And you’ll wish that you paid attention to all the people who warned you about hell.

There is hope though. Hope that is found in Jesus Christ.

God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus to die for our sins. He was hung on a cross, mocked and beaten, a crown of thorns were thrown upon His head, paying for the sins of the world for those who will believe on Him.

He is preparing a place for them in a place called heaven, where no tears, sorrows or pain will inflict them. No worries or cares.

It’s a place so beautiful that it’s indescribable. If you would like to go to heaven and spend eternity with God, confess to God that you are a sinner deserving of hell and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

What The Bible Says Happens After You Die

Every day thousands of people will take their final breath and slip into eternity, either into heaven or into hell. Sadly, the reality of death happens every day.

What happens the moment after you die?

The moment after you die, your soul temporarily departs from your body to await the Resurrection.

Those who place their faith in Christ will be carried by the angels into the presence of the Lord. They are now comforted. Absent from the body and present with the Lord.

Meanwhile, unbelievers await in Hades for the final Judgment.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments… And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” ~ Luke 16:23a-24

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” ~ Ecclesiastes 12:7

Although, we grieve over the loss of our loved ones, we sorrow, but not as those who have no hope.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17

While the unbeliever’s body remains resting, who can fathom the torments he is experiencing?! His spirit screams! “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming…” ~ Isaiah 14:9a

Unprepared is he to meet God!

Although he cries in his torment, his prayer offers no comfort whatsoever, for a great gulf is fixed where no one can pass to the other side. Alone he is left in his misery. Alone in his memories. The flame of hope forever extinguished of seeing his loved ones again.

On the contrary, precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Escorted by the angels into the presence of the Lord, they are now comforted. Their trials and suffering are past. Although their presence will be deeply missed, they have hope of seeing their loved ones again.

Will We Know Eachother In Heaven?

Who of us hasn’t wept at the graveside of a loved one,
or mourned their loss with so many questions unanswered? Will we know our loved ones in heaven? Will we see their face again?

Death is sorrowful with its separation, it’s hard for those that we leave behind. Those who love much often grieve deeply, feeling the heartache of their empty chair.

Yet, we sorrow for those who fall asleep in Jesus, but not as those who have no hope. The Scriptures are woven with the comfort that not only will we know our loved ones in heaven, but we will be together with them also.

Although we grieve the loss of our loved ones, we’ll have eternity to be with those in the Lord. The familiar sound of their voice will call out your name. So shall we ever be with the Lord.

What about our loved ones who may have died without Jesus? Will you see their face again? Who knows that they haven’t trusted Jesus in their last moments? We may never know this side of heaven.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ~ Romans 8:18

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Does God Stop Bad Things From Happening To Us?
The answer to this question is that God is omnipotent and omniscient, which means He is all powerful and all knowing. Scripture says He knows all our thoughts and nothing is hidden from Him.

The answer to this question is that He is our Father and that He cares for us. It also depends on who we are, because we do not become His children until we believe in His Son and His death for us to pay for our sin.

John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. To His children God gives many, many promises of His care and protection.

Romans 8:28 says, “all things work together for good to those who love God.”

This is because He loves us as a Father. As such He allows things to come into our lives to teach us to be mature or even to discipline us, or even to punish us if we sin or disobey.

Hebrews 12:6 says, “whom the Father loves, He chastens.”

As a Father He wants to bless us with many blessings and give us good things, but it doesn’t mean nothing “bad” ever happens, but it is all for our good.

I Peter 5:7 says “cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you.”

If you read the book of Job you will see that nothing can come into our life that God does not allow for our own good.”

In the case of those who disobey by not believing, God does not make these promises, but God says He allows His “rain” and blessings to fall on the just and the unjust. God wishes for them to come to Him, becoming part of His family. He will use different means to do this. God may also punish people for their sins, here and now.

Matthew 10:30 says, “the very hairs of our head are all numbered” and Matthew 6:28 says we are of more value than the “lilies of the field.”

We know the Bible says God loves us (John 3:16), so we can be sure of His care, love and protection from “bad” things unless it is to make us better, stronger and more like His Son.

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
This is one of the most common questions asked of theologians.  Actually everyone experiences bad stuff at some time or another.  People also ask why do good things happen for bad people? I think that this whole question “begs” us to ask other very relevant questions such as, “Who is really good anyway?” or “Why do bad things occur at all?” or “Where or when did bad ‘stuff’ (suffering) start or originate?”

From God’s point of view, according to Scripture, there are no good or righteous people.  Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is not a righteous man on earth, who continually does good and who never sins.”  Romans 3:10-12 describes mankind saying in verse 10, “There is none righteous,” and in verse 12, “There is no one who does good.”  (See also Psalms 14:1-3 and Psalms 53:1-3.) No one stands before God, in and of himself, as “good”.

That is not to say that a bad person, or anyone for that matter, can never do a good deed.  This is speaking of continuous behavior, not a single act.

So why does God say that no one is “good” when we see people as good to bad with “many shades of gray in between.”  Where then should we draw a line between who is good and who is bad, and what about the poor soul who is “on the line.”

God says it this way in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and in Isaiah 64:6 it says, “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.”  Our good deeds are tainted by pride, self gain, impure motives or some other sin.  Romans 3:19 says that all the world has become “guilty before God.”  James 2:10 says, “Whoever offends in one point is guilty of all.”  In verse 11 it says “you have become a lawbreaker.”

So how did we get here as a human race and how does it affect what happens to us.  It all started with Adam’s sin and also our sin, because every person sins, just as Adam did.  Psalm 51:5 shows us we are born with a sinful nature.  It says, “I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”  Romans 5:12 tells us that, “sin entered the world through one man (Adam).”  Then it says, “and death through sin.” (Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.”)  Death entered the world because God pronounced a curse upon Adam for his sin which caused physical death to enter the world (Genesis 3:14-19).  Actual physical death did not occur at once, but the process was begun.  So as a result, illness, tragedy and death happen to all of us, no matter where we fall on our “gray scale.”  When death entered the world, all suffering entered with it, all as a result of sin.  And so we all suffer, for “all have sinned.”  To simplify, Adam sinned and death and suffering came to all men because all have sinned.

Psalms 89:48 says, “what man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave.”  (Read Romans 8:18-23.)  Death happens to all, not just to those we perceive as bad, but also to those we perceive as good.  (Read Romans chapters 3-5 to understand God’s truth.)

In spite of this fact, in other words, despite our deserving death, God continues to send us His blessings.  God does call some people good, in spite of the fact that we all sin.  For instance, God said Job was upright. So what determines if a person is bad or good and upright in God’s eyes?  God had a plan to forgive our sins and make us righteous.  Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrated His love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  (See also Romans 5:16-18.)  Romans 5:4 tells us that, “Abraham believed God and it was credited (counted) to him as righteousness.”  Abraham was declared righteous by faith.  Verse five says that if anyone has faith like Abraham they too are declared righteous.  It is not earned, but given as a gift when we believe on His Son Who died for us. (Romans 3:28)

Romans 4:22-25 states, “the words, ‘it was credited to him’ were not for him alone but also for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.  Romans 3:22 makes it clear what we must believe saying, “this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe,” because (Galatians 3:13), “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us for it is written ‘cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’”  (Read I Corinthians 15:1-4)

Believing is God’s only requirement for our being made righteous.  When we believe we also are forgiven our sins.  Romans 4:7&8 says, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”  When we believe we are ‘born again” into God’s family; we become His children. (See John 1:12.)  John 3 verses 18 & 36 show us that while those who believe have life, those who do not believe are condemned already.

God proved that we would have life by raising Christ.  He is referred to as the firstborn from the dead.  I Corinthians 15:20 says that when Christ returns, even if we die, He will also raise us up.  Verse 42 says that the new body will be imperishable.

So what does this mean for us, if we are all “bad” in God’s sight and deserve punishment and death, but God declares those “upright” who believe in His Son, what effect does this have on bad things happening to “good” people.  God sends good things to all, (Read Matthew 6:45) but all men suffer and die.  Why does God allow His children to suffer?  Until God gives us our new body we are still subject to physical death and whatever may cause it.  I Corinthians 15:26 says, “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

There are several reasons why God allows this.  The best picture is in Job, whom God called upright.  I have numbered some of these reasons:

#1.There is warfare between God and Satan and we are involved.  We have all sung “Onward Christian Soldiers,” but we forget so easily that the warfare is very real.

In the book of Job, Satan went to God and accused Job, saying that the only reason he followed God was because God blessed him with riches and health.  So God “allowed” Satan to test Job’s loyalty with affliction; but God put a “hedge” around Job (a limit to which Satan could cause his suffering). Satan could only do what God allowed.

We see by this that Satan cannot afflict us or touch us except with God’s permission and within limits.  God is always in control.  We also see that in the end, even though Job was not perfect, testing God’s reasons, he never denied God.  He blessed him beyond “all he could ask or think.”

Psalms 97:10b (NIV) says, “He guards the lives of His faithful ones.”  Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.”  This is God’s promise to all believers.  He does and will protect us and He always has a purpose.  Nothing is random and He always will bless us – bring about good with it.

We are in a conflict and some suffering may be a result of this.  In this conflict Satan tries to discourage or even stop us from serving God.  He wants us to stumble or quit.

Jesus once said to Peter in Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded permission to sift you as wheat.”  I Peter 5:8 states, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.  James 4:7b says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” and in Ephesians 6 we are told to “stand firm” by putting on the full armor of God.

In all of these tests God will teach us to be strong and stand as a loyal soldier; that God is worthy of our trust.  We will see His power and deliverance and blessing.

I Corinthians 10:11 and 2 Timothy 3:15 teach us that the Old Testament Scriptures were written for our instruction in righteousness.  In Job’s case he may not have understood all (or any) of the reasons for his suffering and neither may we.

#2. Another reason, which is also revealed in Job’s story, is to bring glory to God.  When God proved Satan was wrong about Job, God was glorified.  In John 11:4 we see this when Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified.”  God often chooses to heal us for His glory, so we may become sure of His care for us or perhaps as a witness to His Son, so others might believe in Him.

Psalm 109:26&27 says, “save me and let them know that this is Thy hand; Thou, Lord, hast done it.”  Read also Psalm 50:15.  It says, “I will rescue you and you will honor me.”

#3. Another reason we may suffer is that it teaches us obedience.  Hebrews 5:8 says, “Christ learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”  John tells us that Jesus always did the Father’s will but He actually experienced it as a man when He went to the garden and prayed, “Father, not my will but thine be done.”  Philippians 2:5-8 shows us that Jesus “became obedient to death, even death on the cross.” This was the Father’s will.

We can say we will follow and obey – Peter did that and then stumbled by denying Jesus – but we don’t really obey until we actually face a test (a choice) and do the right thing.

Job learned to obey when he was tested by suffering and refused to “curse God,” and remained faithful.  Will we continue to follow Christ when He allows a test or will we give up and quit?

When Jesus’ teaching became difficult to understand many disciples left – stopped following Him.  At that time He said to Peter, “will you also go away?”  Peter answered, “Where would I go; you have the words of eternal life.”  Then Peter declared Jesus to be God’s Messiah.  He made a choice.  This should be our response when tested.

#4. Christ’s suffering also enabled Him to be our perfect High Priest and Intercessor, understanding all our trials and life’s hardships by actual experience as a human being.  (Hebrews 7:25)  This is true for us also.  Suffering can make us mature and complete and enable us to comfort and intercede (pray) for others who are suffering as we have.  It is part of making us mature (2 Timothy 3:15).  2 Corinthians 1:3-11 teaches us about this aspect of suffering.  It says, “the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we may comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we have ourselves received from God.”  If you read this whole passage you learn a lot about suffering, as you can also from Job. 1). That God will show His comfort and care.  2). God will show you He is able to deliver you. and 3). We learn to pray for others.  Would we pray for others or for ourselves if there was no NEED?  He wants us to call on Him, to come to Him.  It also causes us to help each other.  It makes us care for others and realize others in the body of Christ care for us.  It teaches us to love each other, the function of the church, Christ’s body of believers.

#5. As seen in James chapter one, suffering helps us persevere, perfecting us and making us stronger.  This was true of Abraham and Job who learned they could be strong because God was with them to uphold them.  Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”  How many times does Psalms say God is our Shield or Fortress or Rock or Refuge?  Once you experience His comfort, peace or deliverance or rescue in some trial personally, you never forget it and when you have another trial you’re stronger or you can share it and help another.

It teaches us to depend on God and not ourselves, to look to Him, not ourselves or other people for our help (2 Corinthians 1:9-11).  We see our frailty and look to God for all our needs.

#6. It is commonly assumed that most suffering for believers is God’s judgment or discipline (punishment) for some sin we have committed.  This was true of the church in Corinth where the church was full of people who continued in many of their former sins.  I Corinthians 11:30 states that God was judging them, saying, “many are weak and sickly among you and many sleep (have died).  In extreme cases God may take a rebellious person “out of the picture” as we say.  I believe this is rare and extreme, but it does occur.  The Hebrews in the Old Testament are an example of this.  Over and over they rebelled against God in not trusting Him and in not obeying Him, but He was patient and longsuffering.  He punished them, but accepted their return to Him and forgave them.  It was only after repeated disobedience that He severely punished them by allowing their enemies to enslave them in captivity.

We should learn from this.  Sometimes suffering is God’s discipline, but we have seen many other reasons for suffering.  If we are suffering because of sin, God will forgive us if we ask Him to.  It is up to us, as it says in I Corinthians 11:28&31, to examine ourselves.  If we search our hearts and find we have sinned, I John 1:9 says we must “acknowledge our sin.”  The promise is that He will “forgives us our sin and cleanse us.”

Remember that Satan is the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10) and as with Job he wants to accuse us so he can cause us to stumble and deny God.  (Read Romans 8:1.)  If we have confessed our sin, He has forgiven us, unless we have repeated our sin.  If we have repeated our sin we need to confess it again as often as necessary.

Unfortunately, this is often the first thing other believers say if a person suffers.  Go back to Job.  His three “friends” relentlessly told Job he must be sinning or he wouldn’t be suffering.  They were wrong.  I Corinthians says in chapter 11, to examine yourselves.  We should not judge others, unless we are a witness to a specific sin, then we can correct them in love; neither should we accept this as the first reason for “trouble,” for ourselves or others.  We can be too quick to judge.

It also says, if we are sick, we can ask the elders to pray for us and if we have sinned it will be forgiven (James 5:13-15).  Psalm 39:11 says, “You rebuke and discipline men for their sin,” and Psalm 94:12 says, “Blessed is the man you discipline O Lord, the man you teach from your law.”

Read Hebrews 12:6-17.  He disciplines us because we are His children and He loves us.  In I Peter 4:1, 12&13 and I Peter 2:19-21 we see that discipline purifies us by this process.

#7. Some natural catastrophes can be judgments on people, groups or even nations, as seen with the Egyptians in the Old Testament.  Often we hear stories of God’s protection of His own during these events as He did with the Israelites.

#8. Paul presents another possible reason for troubles or infirmity.  In I Corinthians 12:7-10 we see that God allowed Satan to afflict Paul, “to buffet him,” to keep him from “exalting himself.”  God may send affliction to keep us humble.

#9. Many times suffering, as it was for Job or Paul, can serve more than one purpose.  If you read further in 2 Corinthians 12, it also served to teach, or cause Paul to experience God’s grace.  Verse 9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Verse 10 says, “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

#10. Scripture also shows us that when we suffer, we share in Christ’s suffering,  (Read Philippians 3:10). Romans 8:17&18 teaches that believers “will” suffer, sharing in his suffering, but that those who do will also reign with Him.  Read I Peter 2:19-22

God’s Great Love

We know that when God allows us any suffering it is for our good because He loves us (Romans 5:8).  We know that He is also always with us so He knows about everything which occurs in our life.  There are no surprises.  Read Matthew 28:20; Psalm 23 and 2 Corinthians 13:11-14.  Hebrews 13:5 says, “He will never leave us or forsake us.”  Psalms says He encamps around us.  See also Psalm 32:10; 125:2; 46:11 and 34:7.  God doesn’t just discipline, He blesses us.

In the Psalms it is obvious that David and the other Psalmists knew that God loved them and surrounded them with His protection and care.  Psalm 136 (NIV) states in every verse that His love endures forever.  I found that this word is translated love in the NIV, mercy in the KJV and lovingkindness in the NASV.  Scholars say there is not one English word which describes or translates the Hebrew word used here, or should I say no adequate word.

I came to the conclusion that no one word could describe the divine love, the kind of love God has for us.  It seems it is an undeserved love (hence the translation mercy) which is beyond human comprehension, which is steadfast, enduring, unbreakable, undying and everlasting.  John 3:16 says it is so great He gave up His Son to die for our sin (Reread Romans 5:8).  It is with this great love that He corrects us as a child is corrected by a father, but by which discipline He desires to bless us.  Psalm 145:9 says, “the Lord is good to all.”  See also Psalm 37:13&14; 55:28 and 33:18&19.

We tend to associate God’s blessings with getting things which we want, like a new car or house –the desires of our hearts, often selfish wants.  Matthew 6:33 says He adds these to us if we seek His kingdom first.  (See also Psalm 36:5.)  Much of the time we beg for stuff which isn’t good for us – much like little children.  Psalm 84:11 says, “no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

In my quick search through Psalms I found many ways in which God cares for and blesses us. There are far too many verses to write them all out.  Look some up – you will be blessed.  He is Our:

1). Provider: Psalm 104:14-30 – He provides for all creation.

Psalm 36:5-10

Matthew 6:28 tells us He cares for the birds and lilies and says we are more important to Him than these.  Luke 12 tells about sparrows and says every hair on our head is numbered.  How can we doubt His love.  Psalm 95:7 says, “we…are the flock under His care.”  James 1:17 tells us, “every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above.”

Philippians 4:6 and I Peter 5:7 say we should not be anxious for anything, but we should ask Him to meet our needs because He cares for us.  David did this repeatedly as is recorded in the Psalms.

2). He is our: Deliverer, Protector, Defender.  Psalm 40:17  He rescues us; helps us when we are persecuted.  Psalm 91:5-7, 9&10; Psalm 41:1&2

3). He is our Refuge, Rock and Fortress.  Psalm 94:22; 62:8

4). He sustains us. Psalm 41:1

5). He is our Healer.  Psalm 41:3

6). He forgives us.  I John 1:9

7). He is our Helper and Keeper.  Psalm 121  (Who among us hasn’t complained to God or asked Him to help us locate something we misplaced – a very little thing – or begged Him to heal us from terrible sickness or had Him rescue us from some tragedy or accident – a very big thing. He cares about it all.)

8). He gives us peace.  Psalm 84:11; Psalm 85:8

9). He gives us strength.  Psalm 86:16

10). He saves from natural disasters.  Psalm 46:1-3

11). He sent Jesus to save us.  Psalm 106:1; 136:1; Jeremiah 33:11  We mentioned His greatest act of love.  Romans 5:8 tells us that this is how He demonstrates His love for us, for He did this while we were still sinners.  (John 3:16; I John 3:1, 16)  He loves us so much He makes us His children.  John 1:12

There are so many descriptions of God’s love in Scripture:

His love is higher than the heavens.  Psalm 103

Nothing can separate us from it.  Romans 8:35

It is everlasting.  Psalm 136; Jeremiah 31:3

In John 15:9 and 13:1 Jesus tells us how He loves His disciples.

In 2 Corinthians 13:11&14 He is called the “God of Love.”

In I John 4:7 it says, “love is from God.”

In I John 4:8 it says “GOD IS LOVE.”

As His beloved children He will both correct and bless us.  In Psalm 97:11 (NIV) it says “He gives us JOY,” and Psalm 92:12&13 says that “the righteous will flourish.”  Psalm 34:8 says, “taste and see that the LORD is good…how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

God sometimes sends special blessings and promises for particular acts of obedience.  Psalm 128 describes blessings for walking in His ways.  In the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) He rewards certain behaviors.  In Psalm 41:1-3 He blesses those who help the poor.  So sometimes His blessings are conditional (Psalm 112:4&5).

In suffering, God wants us to cry out, asking for His help as David did.  There is a distinct Scriptural correlation between ‘asking” and “receiving.”  David cried to God and received His help, and so it is with us.  He wants us to ask so we understand it is He Who gives the answer and then to give Him thanks.  Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Psalm 35:6 says, “this poor man cried and the Lord heard him,” and verse 15 says, “His ears are open to their cry,” and “the righteous cry and the Lord hears them and delivers them out of all their troubles.”  Psalm 34:7 says, “I sought the Lord and He answered me.”  See Psalm 103:1&2; Psalm 116:1-7; Psalm 34:10;  Psalm 35:10; Psalm 34:5; Psalm 103:17 and Psalm 37:28, 39&40.  God’s greatest desire is to hear and answer the cry of the unsaved who believe and receive His Son as their Savior and to give them eternal life (Psalm 86:5).

Conclusion

To conclude, all people will suffer in some way at some time and because we have all sinned we fall under the curse which eventually brings about physical death.  Psalm 90:10 says, “The length of our days is seventy years or eighty if we have strength, yet their span is but trouble and sorrow.”  This is reality.  Read Psalm 49:10-15.

But God loves us and wishes to bless all of us.  God does show His special blessings, favor, promises and protection on the righteous, to those who believe and who love and serve Him, but God causes His blessings (like rain) to fall on all, “the just and the unjust” (Matthew 4:45).  See Psalm 30:3&4; Proverbs 11:35 and Psalm 106:4.  As we have seen God’s greatest act of love, His best Gift and Blessing was the gift of His Son, Whom He sent to die for our sins (I Corinthians 15:1-3).  Read John 3:15-18 & 36 and I John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 again.)

God promises to hear the call (cry) of the righteous and He will hear and answer all who believe and call upon Him to save them.  Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  I Timothy 2:3&4 says He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Revelation 22:17 says, “Whosoever will may come,” and John 6:48 says He will “not cast them away.”  He makes them His children (John 1:12) and they come under His special favor (Psalm 36:5).

Simply put, if God rescued us from all illness or danger we would never die and we would remain in the world as we know it forever, but God promises us a new life and a new body.  I don’t think we would wish to remain in the world as it is forever.  As believers when we die we will instantly be with the Lord forever.  Everything will be new and He will create a new and perfect heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1, 5).  Revelation 22:3 says, “there shall no longer be any curse,” and Revelation 21:4 says that, “the first things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:4 also says, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”  Romans 8:18-25 tells us that all of creation groans and suffers waiting for that day.

For now, God doesn’t allow anything to happen to us that isn’t for our good (Romans 8:28).  God has a reason for whatever He allows, such as our experiencing His strength and sustaining power, or His deliverance.  Suffering will cause us to come to Him, causing us to cry (pray) to Him and look to Him and trust Him.

This is all about acknowledging God and Who He is.  It is all about His sovereignty and glory.  Those who refuse to worship God as God will fall into sin (Read Romans 1:16-32.).  They make themselves god.  Job had to acknowledge his God as Creator and Sovereign.  Psalm 95:6&7 says, “let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God.”  Psalm 96:8 says, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due HIS NAME.”  Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”

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