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Honour and Happiness of God’s Saints

Image result for images of the martyrs near the throne of god

As I near the end of God’s Word again in Revelation, as usual, I am learning new things from Him and being reminded of things I may have forgotten.

Today Revelation 7:13-17 spoke very powerfully to me about those who will be left behind in the Rapture of God’s church, but will be brought to Salvation during the Great Tribulation. God is revealing things that will happen in the end of times to John for our knowledge and encouragement.

Here we see a description of the honour and happiness of those who have faithfully served the Lord Jesus Christ, and suffered for His Great Cause-Martyrs.

Though it is just a few short verses, there is much to glean from it. I have shared some of Matthew Henry’s commentary as it touched my soul and he puts it into words I never could. I find it encouraging as it helps me through the times when my selfish flesh wants to say, “Why bother?” after so long a time of witnessing to and praying for lost souls, and in my finite, human mind, not seeing the results I think I should see, when I think I should see them. Weeping only lasts until the morning! One day, we will stand before our Lord and be glad for anything we may have done to further His precious Gospel! Unlike these martyrs, I have not been called on to lay down my life for it. I must hope that I will trust in the Grace of God to get me through, should I ever be faced with that.

Revelation 7:13-17

13 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” (A question asked by one of the elders, not for his own information, but for John’s instruction. Now the question has two parts:– 1. What are these that are arrayed in white robes? 2. Whence came they? It seems to be spoken by way of admiration, as in Song of Solomon 3:6 – Who is this that cometh out of the winderness!)

14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.” (The answer returned by the apostle, in which he tacitly acknowledges his own ignorance, and sues to this elder for information: Thou knowest, Those who would gain knowledge must not be ashamed to own their ignorance, nor to desire instruction from any that are able to give it.)

“And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (The account given to the apostle concerning that noble army of martyrs who stand before the throne of God in white robes, with palms of victory in their hands: and notice is taken here of:

(1. The low and desolate state they had formerly been in, they had been in great tribulation, persecuted by men, tempted by satan, sometimes troubled in their own spirits. They had suffered the spoiling of their goods, the imprisonment of their persons, yea, the loss of life itself. The way to Heaven lies through many tribulations, but tribulation, how great soever, shall not separate us from the love of God. Tribulation, when gone through well, will make Heaven more welcome and more glorious.)

(2. The means by which they had been prepared for the great honour and happiness they now enjoyed: they had washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, Revelation 7:14. It is not the blood of the martyrs themselves nor anything the martyrs did, but the blood of the Lamb, that can wash away sin, and make the soul pure and clean in the sight of God. This is the only blood that makes the robes of the saints white and clean.)

15 “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” (The blessedness to which they are now advanced, being thus prepared for it. They are happy in their station, for they are before the throne of God night and day and He dwells among them. They are in that presence where there is fullness of joy! They are happy in their employment, for they serve God continually, and that without weakness, drowsiness, or weariness. Heaven is a state of service, though not of suffering. It is a state of rest, but not of sloth. It is a praising, delightful rest.)

16 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” (They are happy in their freedom from all the inconveniences of this present life: from all want and sense of want: They hunger and thirst no more, all their wants are supplied, and all the uneasiness caused thereby is removed; from all sickness and pain. They shall never be scorched by the heat of the sun any more.)

17 “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (They are happy in the love and guidance of the Lord Jesus: He shall feed them, he shall lead them to living fountains of waters, He shall put them into the possession of every thing that is pleasant and refreshing to their souls, and therefore, they shall hunger and thirst no more. They are happy in being delivered from all sorrow or occasion of it: God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. They have formerly had their sorrows, and shed many tears, both upon the account of sin and affliction. But God Himself, with his own gentle and gracious hand, will wipe those tears away, and they shall return no more for ever, and they would not have been without those tears, when God comes to wipe them away.)

(In this He deals with them as a tender Father who finds His beloved child in tears. He comforts him, He wipes his eyes, and turns his sorrow into rejoicing. This should moderate the Christian’s sorrow in his present state, and support him under all the troubles of it for those that sow in tears shall reap in joy and those that now go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.) THESE THOUGHTS ARE VERY COMFORTING TO THOSE OF US WHO SOW THE SEED AND CONTINUALLY PRAY AND WEEP FOR GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK AND HIS WILL THROUGH OUR EFFORTS!

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2018 in God's Love

 

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“A Man Who Feared God”

Although the Book of Job seems to be about a righteous man who endures incredible suffering, it does focus more on God’s Wisdom and Sovereignty. The grand themes of God’s wisdom and justice are indeed more significant than the suffering and faith of Job. The Book raises rather intense questions that we humans spend time on at different points in our lives: “Why do the righteous suffer? Why would God allow such suffering? Why should a man believe in God? Why believe in God when we cannot visibly see Him?” The answers to those questions point out the limitations of our human wisdom as opposed to the immense, unlimited wisdom of God.

I first want to address the fact that Chapter 1 tells us that God considered Job “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” So, why did He allow all this suffering to come upon him? Let us not forget verses 6-12 in Chapter 1: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” God knew Job’s heart more than even Job did, just as He knows us more than we know ourselves. We know that satan roams to and fro on this earth seeking God’s strongest so that he can attempt to destroy them, but we learn here that that evil beast must ask God’s permission first. I believe that if God did not believe Job strong enough to get through these afflictions, He would not have allowed them.

Job’s friends thought they had all the answers for Job, and God let them ramble on for a time with ‘their’ opinions; much longer than I like. Although our friends, and ourselves in vice versa, sometimes just want to ‘help’ us get through our suffering with what they believe to be ‘good answers,’ they might do better to just be there and be sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit before speaking. I see Job’s friends’ answers as comfortable for them, but not comforting for Job. God let them know that their answers were inadequate and just plain wrong. They spoke from their experience and from traditions that were limited to the doctrine of retribution –  the belief that suffering is always punishment for sin. After God confronted Job, He told Job’s friends that He was angry with them because their answers were sinful and for them to offer up burnt offerings in atonement, AND He told them to let Job pray for them asking that God not deal with them as they deserved. Job 42:7, 8 “And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.” I believe that God understood Job’s questions and frustration about the horrendous losses He allowed him to suffer, and what a compliment to Job that God had confidence that he would not curse Him for it.

There is definitely a greater answer to Job’s suffering founded on God’s great wisdom. As I noted above, we have a rare behind-the-scenes look at God’s control and limitations that He put on Satan. Job was singled out by God to be a tested man of faith. satan accused God of bribing Job to believe in Him: Job 1:9, 10 ” Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.” Job came through this testing without sin, even in the face of the crushing disaster and the undeserved suffering. Even his wife told him to “Curse God and die.” He responded: Job 1:22; 2:10 “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly…But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” The key to having this mindset is staying so very close in our relationship to God, searching and standing on His promises in His Word. If we are not close to Him, our flesh listens to satan’s lies and we become angry with God.

In the first 13 chapters of Job, the question “Why?” is asked over and over, but with no reply. In our minds, the question demands an explanation and a justification, but even if Job could have understood God’s answers, he would have only known “parts of God’s ways: Job 26:14 “Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?” Our human minds lack the capacity to truly understand God’s ways, therefore, when we are faced with suffering, it is actually inappropriate to ask “Why?”

A better question would be “Who?”; “Who is in charge?” When God replied to Job He asked him, “Who?” at least 20 times in Chapters 38-41. When the “Who?” is God, then the persisting “Why?” is softened. The Believer can be like “a child that is weaned from his mother,” a child who has learned to wait for and to trust in his mother to give him what he needs at the right time: Psalm 131:2 “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.”

So, Job rightly and unwaveringly named God as the One who is ultimately responsible for all his suffering. He did not ever once blame satan, who was the one who directly struck him with those suffering blows-Job 2:10. God Himself told satan in Job 2:3: “Thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” God is not only in charge of the “good” things that happen to us while “helplessly” observing as “bad” things happen, but He is sovereignly in control of ALL things, good and bad. He permits His children to endure testing. At times, we want only to accept the good from God’s hand, but then we risk rejecting Him completely when things do not work out as we desire. That limited attitude of God’s wisdom is very foolish indeed, and we miss out on the blessings that come with our growth through testing.

Though Job was grief-stricken and bewildered at his trials, he recognized that God was in them and he determinedly chose to cling to God: Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” In his destitute and exhausted state Job uttered what I believe is a profound statement of faith: Job 19:25-27 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” While Job was in what we consider to be a hopeless state of affairs, he did not lose sight of his, and our, greatest hope that no matter what happens in this world, we can look forward to the world of Heaven to come. So, if our sufferings do lead to death here, we can be comforted that we will immediately be in the presence of our loving Saviour and Lord.

In Conclusion: Only our Lord knows all the whys and wherefores of our human suffering. Until “then shall I know even as also I am known,” knowing Him is more than enough for now:

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

2 Timothy 1:12 “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

James 5:11 “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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How to Endure Suffering No. 3

Fellowship Church- Grapevine, TXWrong Way No. 3 – Withdraw from Others

The past three months have been quite a test for me as I am healing and growing from the loss of my mother. I shared in my last post that in my past, I have gone away from God during trials and tribulations. A part of my turning my back on the Lord included pushing people away as well. I stopped going to church and fellowshipping with my family of God. We all know that the alternative is to go the way of the world. That just brings depression, guilt and shame.

I can say from experience that our times of suffering are much more bearable if we stay in communion with our born again brothers and sisters. The sincere hugs and “How are you? I am praying for you.” have helped strengthen me and have given me hope that there is, indeed, “a light at the end of the tunnel.” Many of them have gone through the loss of loved ones, and God has placed them there to encourage others. That is what our family is for – when one is down, the other lifts him up.

I really did not think much before about how deeply God loves me. It has become more obvious to me as so many times the message has words that I am convinced are just for me. ;-0 They are loving and nurturing words that only my Heavenly Father knows that I need to hear. There are times that I have to make myself go, but when I leave I feel truly lifted up. There are moments that I experience much joy while I am passing through this time of sadness, and I feel such gratitude to my Jesus for His times of peace that “pass understanding.” Instead of going the way of the world this time, I am truly experiencing His holding me up, and the moments of sorrow are not so dark anymore.

Suggested Right Way:

Keep fellowship with believers, Hebrews 10:24, 25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in God's Love

 

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How to Endure Suffering No. 2

English: Calvary in Kcynia Polski: Krużganek, ...

Wrong Way No. 2 – Withdraw from God

It has been a pattern with me in the past to turn away from God when faced with crises in my life. Some times it was because I listened to the lies from the devil that I am no longer worthy to serve God. When I went through my divorce, I went away from the Lord one step at a time. I stopped serving in the church choir, then I stopped helping with the youth group, and I gave up teaching the precious 2nd grade Sunday School class. I eventually left the church, and I regret to admit that I came to a point where I could not pick up His Word and read it nor bow to Him in prayer.

Well, I have come to learn that none of us is worthy except by the work Jesus did at Calvary. I gradually followed Jesus’ sweet promptings back to His loving, gracious arms. I now understand that it is not He who turns away from me when I cannot feel His presence, but me who has turned away from Him. My prayer is, “Lord, please let me never go away from you again, no matter what happens.”

At other times, my turning away has been by crawling into a liquor bottle to numb and self-medicate from anger and pain of past wounds, while questioning, “God, how could you allow this woundedness from others?” He has taught me that I must trust Him without question. I am understanding more with each trial that it is all a part of the bigger picture. This life is just preparing me for my life with Him in eternity. It is up to me if I stay the course and keep my heart focused on Jesus, or if I choose to believe evil’s lies and go the way of the world. I have cried tears of repentance for the time that has been lost while going my own way, instead of living for Him. I can never get those precious days back, but my vow is to never lose any more.

I just finished reading Job. God never revealed to Job His reasons for allowing the horrendous losses and heartache he experienced. It was revealed to me during this reading that God reminded Job of all that He had created because He was saying to him, and would say to each of us, “You believe that I am God and that I have power to accomplish all these things. Why do you not trust me with every aspect of your life?” If God is allowing some trial or challenge in my life, He promises that He will lead me through it. God cannot lie, so I am learning to just trust Him in ALL things. Is it difficult to remember this in the midst of the trials? Yes, but that is why I must stay in His Word and commune with Him daily. I am experiencing recall of His promises that I have read, and I find that the Scriptures He brings to my mind fend off evil attacks.

Suggested Right Way to Endure Suffering-from God’s Word:

Acknowledge that He is with you, Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” WHAT A COMFORT THOSE WORDS ARE! He said them and He cannot lie.

Pray all the more, 1 Peter 5:6, 7 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Next Wrong Way – Withdraw from Others

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Posted by on July 21, 2012 in God's Love

 

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How to Endure Suffering

I recently decided to approach my daily Bible reading with a plan I found on the Blue Letter Bible website based on the chronological order of God’s Word. I am now reading in Job (yes, more of God’s perfect timing, right?)  🙂 which is the next order of events after Noah and the flood. In my study Bible, in the Book of Job is a chart on what the Bible says about “How to Endure Suffering.” I have learned that the best way I am able to apply what I read to my life is to write about it or share it with others. If this study may help someone else along the way, Glory to God for that. I know that it is indeed growing me in this temporal journey on this earth.

There is a list on the left side of the chart of the wrong ways to endure suffering. I told my husband that, “Gee whiz, I believe I have done every one of those wrong things on that list. Now, I wish to learn God’s right ways of getting through this season of my life. I will study the list on the right side of this chart from God’s Holy Word.”

No. 1 Wrong Way – Demand to know WHY. Boy, when my mother was in the hospital fighting her battle to stay alive, I lost count of how many times I asked God why He would allow this sweet Child of God to endure such suffering. Then when she died, I asked why all her fighting seemed for nothing. Although I believe that it is natural for us in our human flesh to ask why when we witness suffering or when we go through it ourselves, it did not comfort me, nor did it give me the answers I longed for.

I have gotten to the point where I no longer care why any of it happened. I know that Heaven looks much sweeter to me now. 🙂 Another thought that comes to my mind is, “Why not? Must I only accept the good in life and not the bad?”

One of God’s suggested right ways to endure suffering is found in Romans 8:28-30: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

Now that I am past asking God why, I take much comfort in being content to know WHO is in charge. How it blesses my soul to know that God “foreknew” me and called me to be His child. Since I chose to answer His call and receive Him as my Lord and Saviour and to be justified by His Son, I will one day be glorified with Him. I can be content in the fact that, yes, I will go through trials on this earth, but look WHO has me in His hand and is preparing me for the future glorification in Heaven with Him and my saved loved ones.

When I saw this Scripture on the right side of that chart as the Right Way, I understood why God had brought this very word to me in the midst of the pain, but I did not let it sink in at that time.

Next time: wrong way: Withdraw from God

May - King James Version of the Bible.

May – King James Version of the Bible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in God's Love

 

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