So much of the “church” world today is filled with fluffy, self-pleasing, seeker-friendly heresy that people no long can recognize that the Bible does have real encouragement. I was listening to a sermon today when God shed some light on the real encouragement of His Word. The fact is, in this world we have pain, struggles, debt, bills, fears, hurt…, etc. We are going to face destruction, death, slander, doubt, tests, loss, and trouble. We will have times when there is no money in the bank. We will have times when we can’t afford food. We will have times when the holiest person hurts you. God NEVER promises it to be easy. God WILL give us tests, and we will have those tests UNTIL we pass them. For those people that heap to the false doctrines that tell you that God’s promises are the prosperity of your health and wealth, you are believing a lie. But the awesome Truth is this.
Psalm 56:8 – Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
He puts our tears in a bottle. He holds every tear with Him, knowing our pain and hurts. He writes in it His book. Verse 9 says “When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.” God is FOR us. Now, a lot of people might be saying, “Well that is all Joel Osteen is trying to say.” No. That isn’t all. This portion of Scripture says (paraphrasing the point) “I am hurting IN GOD, I am being chased by my enemies IN GOD, I am crying in pain IN GOD with GODS FAVOR, but in the end God will prevail. He remembers my pain. He knows my hurt, but HE is my comfort.”
The fallacy with the doctrines of health, wealth, and prosperity is this… NO Apostle of God EVER had health, wealth or prosperity. Matthew suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound. Consider the following:
Mark died in Alexandria, Egypt, dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.
Luke was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.
John was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos where he wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation. The Apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as a bishop in modern Turkey. He died an old man, the only Apostle to die peacefully.
Peter, was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross, according to Church tradition, because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
James the Just, the leader of the Church in Jerusalem and brother of Jesus, was thrown down more than a hundred feet from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club. This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.
James the Greater, a son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the Church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman soldier who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
Bartholomew, also known as Nathanael, was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed about our Lord in present day Turkey. He was whipped to death for his preaching in Armenia.
Thomas was speared and died on one of his missionary trips to establish the Church in India.
Jude, another brother of Jesus, was killed with arrows after refusing to deny his faith in Christ.
Matthias, the Apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and beheaded.
Barnabas, one of the group of seventy disciples, was stoned to death at Salonica.
Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment which allowed him to write his many epistles to the Churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, from a large portion of the New Testament.
Jesus said that men would HATE us for HIS Name sake! (Matthew 10:22, 23)
It sounds like doom and gloom, and it is. This world is an aweful place, but the GOOD NEWS is that we have the peace of God that passes ALL understanding (Philippians 4:7). I’ll conclude with my favorite portion of Scripture:
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:1-8