HOW CAN I SUFFER WELL?

What a crazy question? If one thing is true about this life, it’s that everyone suffers. It’s a universal experience; something we can expect to face at various turns in our life.

However, given that everyone suffers, maybe there’s a better question we can ask. Rather than, “Why do I suffer?” instead we could inquire, “When I suffer, how can I face it well?

None of us choose to suffer, but each of us gets to choose how we suffer. If we’re willing to shift our question in this way, God in Psalm 73 gives a brilliant answer.

A worship leader called Asaph penned this Psalm. The Psalm has three parts.

1. Problem: In verses 1-14, Asaph tells us about the problem that he faced.

But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.” Psalm 73:2-3

Asaph is resentful of those around him making ungodly life choices but facing no consequences for it. He describes their cruelty, greed and pride in depth and then remarks, “Look at these wicked people enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

Maybe you feel the same sense of injustice in your own life; maybe you don’t relate at all. But one thing we can all take away from Asaph’s complaint is that God is big enough to handle our problems.

We don’t need to paper over them. Like Asaph, we can express our frustrations to God. If we need to whinge, far better to whinge to the One who has supernatural patience and can actually do something about it.

God wants us to draw near and tell Him about our struggles. He doesn’t require eloquent prayers—He just wants our hearts. This might be why the word ‘heart’ is mentioned six times in this Psalm.

At the height of his complaint, Asaph moans.

Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.” Psalm 73:13-14

In other words, “God, I’m trying to do the right thing, so why am I still suffering so much?” Does that question sound familiar? Yes, Asaph is asking the wrong question. He’s in need of some perspective—and that’s exactly what he’s about to get.

2. Perspective

in verses 15-22, we hear about the perspective that he gained. A sudden shift takes place as Asaph realises,

If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people.Psalm 73:15

Up until this point, Asaph hadn’t been seeing straight. He’d been in a deep well of self-pity, and now he’s starting to ascend out of it. His eyes have been opened to something we’re so often blinded to: our feelings are not facts. In such moments of self-pity, we need the facts to reshape our feelings. This is exactly what happens to Asaph:

So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!  Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.Psalm 73:16-17

We moderns don’t like this idea—the destiny of the wicked. Surely at the end of time, we reason, God will be kind to all. But is that really what we want?

How terrible it would be to catalogue all of the evil, committed through all of the centuries, by all of the tyrants and terrorists, tricksters and transgressors. It would leave no doubt that the world truly cries out for justice.

A God that lets every wrongdoer off the hook is not a God worthy of our affection: he is a moral monster. Deep down, we long to see vindication for those who have suffered.

Despite our modern objections, deep down we long for the God of Asaph—the God who will right every wrong, who steps in to defend the oppressed.

God will bring about ultimate justice. This is the perspective that Asaph gained. Finally, he could see how wrong he’d previously been:

Then I realised that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.
 I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Psalm 73:21-22

3. Presence

Fortunately, this is not where Asaph’s journey ends. As he concludes his Psalm, in verses 23-28, Asaph testifies to the presence of God that he experienced.

What a relief that our problems don’t get the last say. And what a relief that even the right perspective isn’t God’s end-game when we suffer. The point of it all—the way to face suffering well—is to let it drive us into the very presence of God:

“Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God is the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.Psalm 73:23-26

Your suffering might not be understood by a single soul on earth. But nothing escapes God. He knows of your struggle. He wants to meet you in it. He offers you the comfort of His presence.

In this Psalm, Asaph lands on a truth that you and I are still catching up with: there’s a gap between the real and the ideal, between how life is and how it should be. But standing in that gap is a God who listens intently to our problems, resets our perspective, and welcomes us into His presence.

If He were just any god, that might be cold comfort. But this is the God who Himself faced incomprehensible suffering. He didn’t remain aloof—instead, he took on flesh, walked among us, and dealt with all the world’s injustice at Calvary. Because of this, every wrong will ultimately be made right.

This side of the cross, we have even more reason than Asaph to confidently declare:

But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.Psalm 23:28

Taken from article “But God is the strength of my heart” by Kurt Mahlberg

WHY THIS WEBSITE IS CALLED LIVING ETERNAL NOW

This website is called Living Eternal Now for a reason. Eternity on a new earth needs to be your focus. Look at these Scriptures which are written for Christians. They clearly show Christians will appear before the judgement seat of Christ. “If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved”

Are you living for heavenly reward?

“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthian 5:9-10

“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:10

“Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward2 John 1:8

Listen to John Bevere on Driven by Eternity. He will challenge you on how you live your life from this day forward.

CHURCH HAS LOST FAITH IN THE SUPERNATURAL

Great message from Francis Chan on what the church has lost and how we need to take it back from the enemy. Knowing what God promises is the key. Supernatural power is available when we are in God’s will. We need church like in the Book of Acts when Holy Spirit power was evident. Sharing possessions like the church in the Book of Acts. The church is one, like Jesus prayed to the Father for, so the world would believe.

ONLY RADICAL HOLY LIVING WILL DO

For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth—proving what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things are exposed when they are revealed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.  Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:8-14).

Spirit-filled Christians are not immune to overwhelming assaults of the enemy, but we should be victorious at the end of the battle. Sadly, in today’s dark world, even some of the most passionate Believers are experiencing defeat after defeat. Many would admit that they have been unable to break free from strategic, continual, tormenting and demonic oppression. They force a smile on their face for Sunday morning and let it fade away as they walk out the doors at the end of the service. For some depression and despair digs into their soul and refuses to let go. They pray in tongues and stand in faith with no effect at all. It seems that God has abandoned them. The truth about their situation, however, is quite different.

Do not be deceived. None of us is strong enough to resist the onslaught of a very evil, demented and deadly spirit if we entertain that spirit. Not only must it be cast out, but it must be rejected in every form, in every area of our lives.

As I stated above, innumerable Spirit-filled Christians find themselves bound up, oppressed and without strength for a permanent deliverance in their lives. Yes, they are spiritually minded. They understand the power of prayer. They believe in the authority granted to them by Christ. They do their best to function as spiritual warriors, but at the end of the battle, they are beaten, desperate and hopeless. The enemy wins time and time again.

We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived into thinking that evil is less threatening just because it takes the form of something familiar.

Many are in a cycle of warfare with the enemy, attempting to function spiritually, appearing to be bold and fearless as they engage him. However, they can never win unless they completely cancel their agreement with evil.

Both the enemy and whatever vehicle it uses to entice us must be eradicated from our lives. Now.

You have heard that it was said by the ancients, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. For it is profitable that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew. 5:27-30).

I have heard pastors, leaders and seemingly solid Christians tell me that cursing and violence in movies doesn’t bother them. Occasional nudity doesn’t either. However, they refuse to watch sexual situations, that’s where they draw the line.

They wonder why they can’t live free from lust. They can’t imagine living a life with no unrighteous sexual images (which would be anybody real or imagined other than their spouse) dancing through their minds.

The enemy is manifesting through all unrighteous forms of media, something that seems so common, so familiar, so innocent, playful, something that’s now a part of Western culture.

Others continually wrestle with anger and hatred while playing violent video games. The spirit of hatred is nicely packaged: the video game, a familiar part of most people’s lives.

The truth is clear. We can’t watch nudity in media and stay free from lust. We can’t watch violence and expect it to have no effect on us. It’s more than cause and effect. The enemy chooses certain vehicles and methods to anoint as he works to facilitate his plan of destruction in our lives.

We need to cast the spirit completely out of our lives and never allow ourselves to be deceived into enjoying what they have to offer again.

“For freedom Christ freed us. Stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts” (Romans 13:14).

Keep an eternal focus, Jesus is coming back soon, be prepared, be the temple of the Holy Spirit, then discernment will increase, holiness will increase, only then will you find true freedom.

Extract from Hounds of Hell Aren’t Family Pets: A Prophetic Dream About Radical Freedom by John Burton

IRAN CRACKS DOWN ON CHRISTIAN CONVERTS; SENTENCES BELIEVERS TO TEN YEARS PRISON

But know this , that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves…” 2 Timothy 3:1

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 5:11-12 

Yes and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12

Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness sake , for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10

 

Authorities in Iran are increasingly targeting Christian converts with arrests and imprisonments, according to the New York-based Centre for Human Rights In Iran.

“In less than two months, since June 2017, Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran has issued long prison sentences to at least 11 Christian converts and the former leader of the Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Iran,” CHRI said in a report.

On July 6, the judge sentenced four Protestant Christian converts to 10 years in prison each “in a trial completely lacking due process,” the group said, quoting Mansour Borji, the advocacy director of a London-based group, Article 18, which defends Christians in Iran.

The four converts — Yusif Farhadov, Eldar Gurbanov and Bahram Nasibov from Baku in the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Iranian national Nasser Navard Goltapeh — were arrested at a reception hosted by their Christian friends in Andisheh last June.

Prosecutors couldn’t produce any evidence to show the converts had acted against national security, Borji said. Yet they were convicted of being “Zionist Christians” who “acted against national security with the intention of overthrowing the state in a soft war.”

Two weeks earlier, the same judge had given Christian converts Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie 10-year prison sentences for propagating house churches and promoting “Zionist Christianity.”

A ruling is still overdue for a decision on an appeal by Omidi, Mossayebzadeh and Fadaie against a sentence of 80 lashes each for drinking wine during a communion service. The Christians were arrested May 13 during a series of raids by security service agents on Christian homes in Rasht.

The U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide has also criticised the government of Iran for persecuting converts.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement.”We reiterate that the national security charges levelled in all of these cases amount to the criminalisation of the Christian community for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief, and that this is occurring despite the fact that the Iranian constitution recognises Christianity. We urge members of the international community to extend the sanctions still in place against Iranian individuals to include members of the judiciary who are implicated in ongoing and severe harassment and persecution of religious minority communities.”

Perhaps this crackdown is occurring due to the reported large number of Iranians converting to Christianity.