Why Pain & Suffering

Pain and suffering can help us to learn important lessons in life.

•Pain and suffering can test us to show what we are made of.

•Pain and suffering can help to shape our character.

•Pain and suffering can lead to repentance and salvation.

•Pain and suffering can sometimes help us to trust God.

•Pain and suffering can bring about creativity, resourcefulness and courage.

•Pain and suffering can help us to comfort others who are going through similar pain.

•Bearing pain and suffering well can be an inspiration to others.

•Pain and suffering can have a Divine purpose in preparing us for glory.

•Pain and suffering can prevent us from becoming dangerously proud.

•Sometimes pain and suffering in the life of one person can result in the advancement of the gospel in the life of another person. – Words Worth Listening

God led MOSES out into the wilderness for 40 years.

Why? “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” Deuteronomy 8:2 (NIV)

Moses was not allowed to go into the Promise Land because he disobeyed God: Water From the Rock, Numbers 20:1-12 (NIV)

1 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.   2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron.   3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD!   4 Why did you bring the LORD’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here?   5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”   6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them.   7 The LORD said to Moses,   8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”   9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him.   10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. 12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” 

God told Moses he would die soon. After Moses died, Joshua, who had served Moses from childhood, led the Israelites into the Promised Land.

God told Joshua: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

God allowed JOB to suffer agonizing loss and illness and at the same time, he dealt with mockery and condemnatory peers. Job was a blameless, upright and God fearing man in the sight of God.

Why? “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” Job 1:1 (NIV)

“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’” Job 1:8-12 (NIVUK)

Jobs suffered agonizing trials and “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 1:22 (NIV)

PAUL THE APOSTLE lost everything, yet he said…

“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8 (NIVUK)

SUFFERING FOR BEING A CHRISTIAN

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:12-16 (NIV)

JESUS, God’s Son, Suffered Horribly

Why? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

The Lord, Jesus Christ suffered our punishment for sin and He was crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death.

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” Hebrews 2:9-10 (NIV)

Christians, even with our pain and suffering, God wants to use us. What do you think some of our top priorities should be while we are living on earth?  Listed below are some of my thoughts:

Our Love for God: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)

Imitate Jesus’ Humility: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”  Philippians 2:1-8 (NIV)

The Great Commission: Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation…”  Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)

As Christians, God expects us, within our sphere of influence, to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. If you proclaim to be a Christian, you’re living in a glass house. Your words, lives and deeds are being scrutinized: therefore, we must be sure our lives are Christ-like, in both word and deed. Be sure to listen for the Holy Spirit’s direction when approaching and/or beginning a conversation with people about God’s Gift of Salvation: John 3:16. When I was a baby Christian, I had so much zeal. I couldn’t wait to tell someone about Jesus. I had not yet learned that I needed the Holy Spirit’s help.

In closing, I’d like to encourage all those who are witnessing for Jesus. You may plant the seeds of God’s Word in many lives and God will send other Christians to water those seeds, because our words and Christ-like personality may just be a part of what they need see and hear. You may not always see the end results of sowing the seeds of God’s Word into the lives of your loved ones, friends, coworkers and strangers who happened across your path but don’t let this discourage you, because…

God Word says, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”  Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)

Remember, sharing your testimony with people is important!

The Bible says in Revelation 12:11 (NIVUK) “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”

Telling your story can be the overcoming power for someone else. It can symbolize the “blood” that was shed so someone can experience life. Some man, woman, girl or boy needs to hear your story in the midst of his or her painful situation.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Parable of the Sower

On this earth are billions of people who have never, even once, heard God’s Word from the Bible spoken to them. There are millions like that just in America alone. Probably right in your neighborhood are people with no hope, with seemingly unsolvable troubles, going through terrible trials, yet who have never heard the powerful answers God has for them. I want to encourage you to determine personally to be one of Jesus’ faithful “sowers [who] sow the word.” People’s lives and eternity are in the balance.

Mark 4:3-14, KJV …Behold, there went out a sower to sow… [8] And other [seed] fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred… [14] The sower soweth the word.

“The sower soweth the word,” said Jesus. And that Word of God, He said, produces fruit, “a crop.” The Lord is telling us in these parables to share His Word with people, and it has the potential to bear fruit in their lives and to lead to an abundant harvest.

Matthew 13:1-23 (KJV)

1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

He has commissioned us to be seed-sowers. The field is the world, Jesus said in another parable (Matthew 13:38). Christ’s command that we be sowers of the seed of His Word in all the world, is an early hint at His later Great Commission: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). It’s similar in Luke 24:49, where Jesus directs His disciples into ministry in which “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

In God’s Love and † Grace, Susan

Excerpts from Pastor Jim Feeny’s sermon entitled “The Sower Sows the Word. You Can Too and Harvest a Crop.”