Saturday, January 6, 2018

WHY WE SHOULD REJOICE IN SUFFERING

The Lord has been speaking to me lately about a not so very popular subject… suffering. God is preparing His people for the tribulation that is coming into this world – a time that will bring with it much suffering for those who are faithfully following Jesus Christ. Yet Jesus tells us, even in this, we are to take heart for He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

As a Believer, the Lord wants you to be encouraged. He wants you to remember that even in times of suffering, you have reasons to rejoice for it is written that we should “glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:3)

God’s word prepares us for and warns us of what is to come. It clearly informs us that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Therefore, we should not be surprised when a fiery trial comes to test us. We should not act as if something strange is happening. God’s word further tells us that when we are persecuted on account of Jesus, we are considered blessed for this is evidence that the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon us. This is not the same kind of suffering that befalls us as the result of sin, such as murder or adultery. The suffering we encounter on account of Jesus is not a shameful suffering for it glorifies God. Sinful suffering does not benefit us, it destroys us. Whereas God causes all righteous suffering to work together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose.

We should remember that even though we will be afflicted, we are not destroyed and even though we may not understand everything that is happening to us, we are not to allow it to drive us to a point of despair for we have a hope – that is Jesus Christ – within us that sustains us until the Lord delivers us from it all. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

Child of God, you have been given the privilege to fellowship with God which is what you do when you engage in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It is an honor to suffer and be tested for His sake. In and of itself, that privilege alone would be enough but furthermore, God has blessed you to receive benefits on account of your righteous suffering and if your faith is genuine, you will come through it all complete and lacking nothing. “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4

Be encouraged my brothers and sisters. Though suffering must come, God will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability. He will always provide a way out so that you will be able to endure it. Look for it. On the other hand, if you are not willing to carry the cross that has been handed to you, know that you will be rejected and considered not worthy of Him. Although suffering will bring pain, it will yield a peaceful fruit. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

You, my friend, are not alone and we are not to walk this journey alone. It is our charge as Believers to bear one another’s burdens. In this, we are fulfilling the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) In the natural, suffering is not pleasant. However, in the spirit, it is good for us and the benefits are many. Granted, this is all a mystery. You will be tempted however, do not turn from it and do not despise it. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35

Though we (Believers) are being killed all the day long and are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered, we shall resolve to continue on for His sake. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:35-39)

When you are temped to turn away from the cup of suffering that is handed to you, remember that God’s grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in your weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 

Those who suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. To this, you have been called because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example so that you might follow in His steps, and those who endure it to the end will be saved.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

TAKE A KNEE

One morning, I awoke with excruciating pain in my left knee. I screamed out and grabbed my knee then pulled it to my chest. In my spirit, I heard the voice of Lord: “Pain will come in submitting to the authority of God Almighty.”

As one who often receives divine revelation through dreams and visions, over the years I have come to understand that there is significant meaning behind every symbolic detail that the Lord reveals. In a past experience, God showed me that my left side represents the authority He has given me. My right side represents the power He has given me to operate within that authority. The knee represents submission to God’s Spirit as in “every knee shall bow.” God used the pain I experienced in my knee to relay this message…

As followers of Jesus Christ, and according to the measure that has been assigned to each individual Believer, we have all been given authority, by God, to operate within the power to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.”You, as a follower of Jesus Christ, are to submit everything the Lord has given you to His Power, His Authority and His Will – not your own. With that being said, you must also understand that as a Believer submitting your life to the Will of God, you will be subjected to tests, required to make sacrifices and expected to endure the pain of it all. So, when these things come your way, do not think them strange. Encourage yourself in the promise that God will work “all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Why must we experience pain? You live in an evil world that is being influenced by Satan to rebel against God. Thanks to the devil, this world is not operating in a way that is conducive to the ways of God. In fact, it represents everything that is contrary to God. As you walk the straight and narrow path that the Lord has paved for you, you will come up against much resistance. This conflict is evident in everything and everyone around you - including those who are closest to you. As you progress in your walk, much will happen that you will not understand. However, “you must not grow weary while doing good, for in due season you shall reap if you do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

There is only so much control that you have over things that will happen in your life, however God is always in full control. Nothing catches Him by surprise. If He allows it, there’s a reason for it. In the midst of the storms that will come, be encouraged and trust God in it for it is written: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

You may not understand all of the trials that will befall you, still continue to trust God and obey His every command for it is written: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Walking with Jesus is not easy. The walk of a Believer is not a walk for the faint at heart. When one makes a decision to follow the Lord, one must count the cost then decide whether they are willing to pay the cost – for it is a high price indeed. Oh, but it is so worth it. If you are not resolute about your decision to walk with Jesus and remain faithful to the Lord no matter what, you have already lost the battle. For your enemy will come to know this and take full advantage of you. He will then do whatever it takes and use whatever he can to destroy you.

Are you one of the chosen few? Do you desire to be counted among those who will overcome this world, or are you destined to be among the many who will not? There are many who say they believe but yet their lives say otherwise. Do you love God more than you love this world? Do you love Jesus more than you love your sin? It is written: “Many are called but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14

As a Believer, you are to follow Jesus and as Jesus submits His Will to the Will of the Father, we are to submit our will. Just as Jesus humbled Himself and became as a bondservant committing His life to the service of the Father – even to His death on the cross – we also must humble ourselves and become bondservants who have committed our lives. Just as Jesus endured indescribable pain and suffering for us, redeeming us from the penalty of sin, we must be willing to endure pain and suffering for it is written: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.” Matthew 10:24

Jesus submitted His Will to His Father’s Will and God exalted our Lord and Savior. He now sits and rules at the right hand of God. Now, by His authority and by the powerful name of Jesus Christ, it is written that come what may every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess – in Heaven, on Earth and beneath the Earth – that Jesus is Lord. If you are faithful to the end, you shall also continue in His way following His perfect example for His way is the only way to move onward and upward into God’s Kingdom of glory.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on Earth, and of those under the Earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11