|FMH Children’s Club International
–– A Company Of Prophets ––
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, that’s the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
24 April, 2005
So what did you think about that last sermonet Christians Who Make God A Liar! (4/3/05)? Well it was only after writing it that the Lord reminded me of one particular incident (out of many) in which I was personally tempted to “make God a liar”. Because you see it was back in January of 2002 that the Lord took me on The Journey Of Fear that was one more white-knuckle, hair-raising adventure. And it was towards the end of that awesome journey for the Lord that the Almighty gave me His promise of a “new beginning” with Felix…however, there was a great big “IF” attached to the end of it.
You see my oldest son Felix had kinda sorta gotten blind-sided by “Serpent Breath” (Old Splitfoot). In other words at one point in time Felix was walking “tight” with the Lord – on fire with the Holy Spirit, but then came a time when he wasn’t. And the reason he wasn’t “anymore” was because of the suffering that Father God had requested/required him to endure “in the Name of Jesus”.
Now you’ll just have to believe me when I say that Felix was the “joy” of my life during his short time with the Lord…and please don’t take that the wrong way. You see I love all seven of my children regardless of their relationship with Jesus, but my real joy comes when they first receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and then go on into the baptism in the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders. And of course this was the way it was with Felix…that is until the day that it was no more.
So my “unimaginable joy” was suddenly turned into “unbearable sorrow” when Felix refused to “suffer for Jesus”. I was heart-broken to say the least! But then the Father made me a promise: Felix would return to Jesus “IF” I would be willing to become “homeless for Jesus!” In other words God said that my son would return to the Lord and suffer for Christ…but it wouldn’t happen unless I suffered first. And to put that in even simpler terms, God’s “promise” concerning Felix would become a “lie” IF I decided not to obey God by becoming homeless!
That was the “test” the Father put me through, but – glory be to Jesus – I made it!!! Through His strength I was able to suffer through the homeless situation and not make God a liar. And just as the Father promised back on 1/30/02 – "Three days and three nights shall not pass before Felix will accept his calling from God" – it was almost three years to the day (2/15/05) that Felix made contact with me once again. Glory!!! Because you see for three long years it was as though Felix had vanished from the face of the earth…but through my obedience and suffering his “deathly” silence has come to an end for the glory of God! (See the sermonet The Journey Of Fear! (3/10/02) and the sermonet series Homeless For Jesus! (7/27/03) for more details.)
Now, just in case you haven’t caught on quite yet, where we’re “headed to” in this message is a short little discussion on “suffering for Jesus”. In fact it’s because of this “very hard to deal with” subject matter that we’ve entitled this message “Is God Almighty A Sadist?” And for those of you who might not be familiar with the word “sadist”, in simple terms it means “someone who delights in seeing others suffer”. So the question still remains; “is God Almighty a sadist?” – does God Almighty enjoy seeing people suffer?
Well, besides the fact that I was instructed by the Father to write this message, another very good reason to get it in print is so that my real-life story will be directly in the “face” of Satan. I mean I’m sick and tired of him bugging me about the “afflictions” that God Almighty has called me to “suffer”, so now I’m going to confess it for the whole wide world to read.
Because it was right about the time I got fired from my job at The Toro Company (3/25/99) – for speaking “what thus saith the Lord” – that a small skin cancer developed above my right eye. At that time it was restricted to one tiny pore, and looked much like a pimple. However, after a few months it began to bleed on a regular basis. Well I prayed about it; seeking the Lord for either a healing or His direction on what to do. I mean I was literally caught between a rock and a hard place (no job, no money, no health insurance), but I desperately wanted to have the problem taken care of. In fact, to be perfectly honest with you, just looking in the mirror – day by day – and seeing this thing on my face was driving me nuts!!!
You see one of the reasons for my concern was due to the fact that a few years earlier I had a skin cancer that turned out to be a melanoma. I mean that one could have killed me! I could have died! But thanks be to God, He used my youngest daughter Hadassah to alert me to the problem, and the cancer was removed before growing to “killer” status. However, if that wasn’t enough to cause me concern already, my mother had part of her nose/face removed because of a skin cancer that looked very similar to mine. So on top of the all the suffering that I was experiencing – No Job, No Money, But God Will Provide! (7/25/99) – God allowed this cancer to develop on my face at a time when I could not afford a doctor.
But, in His loving mercy, God the Father finally directed me to make an appointment with my dermatologist, encouraging me that He would provide the funds. However, what I was to soon discover was that the reason I was going to the doctor was not to take care of my problem but to deal with my doctor’s problem. Because you see my doctor was a Methodist who believed that “church attendance” would save him from the burning flames of Hell…and it was my job to convince him otherwise. But as God would have it, one fine day while driving to his office for a follow-up appointment, my truck was totaled (smashed and trashed) in a four car pile-up …and my doctor visits were no more. (See Pastor Tom Brown’s Fear! (9/23/01) for more on the story.)
In fact as it turned out, my doctor never did get rid of my skin cancer…and then all Hell broke loose in my life! I mean what followed shortly after the truck crash was that Annie divorced me, I became homeless for Jesus, and I got put in jail for doing what the Lord told me to do! It’s called “SUFFERING for Jesus” big time! However, it was during this very severe time of testing that the Good Lord promised me the cancer was healed…and even though it continued to grow bigger and bigger day-by-day!
So go figure! I mean here it is some six years later and the skin cancer has grown to about three-eight’s of an inch in diameter – but God says it’s healed!!!
Now my question to you is “What would you do?” I mean even though I’m still without a job (awaiting God’s promised job with Toro), I could go to the doctor and have this thing taken care of…because I’ve recently been granted “free” medical services though the Veterans Administration. However, if I choose to shortcut my “suffering” by having the cancer removed, then I am not putting my faith in God’s Word…which takes us right back to our previous sermonet “Christians Who Make God A Liar!”
In fact when it comes to health problems, the skin cancer on my face is not the only physical difficulty causing me to suffer. Because it was right about the time the skin cancer popped-up that an old wound in my left ankle flared-up too. And you see this ankle problem has everything to do with a life-long circulation problem that Serpent Breath “keeps on telling me” will eventually cause me to lose my leg. However, the Devil is a liar because God Almighty “keeps right on telling me” that He’s got it under control and everything’s going to be all right!
So go figure! I mean here I am with two very worrisome health problems, but yet the Lord has personally promised me that both are in His Hands and I need not worry. In fact it’s through a recent dream that my sister (Carolyn) had that I’ve been able to “see” my health problems in the “spiritual realm”. Because unbeknown to her at the time, as she was dreaming that I had been “snake bitten on the left ankle and was dying”, my left ankle was once again flaring up. And of course seeing how we all know that “snakes” are symbolic of the “forces of evil/demonic spirits”, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where my health problems are coming from. I mean Satan is mad but I’m glad because my Father in Heaven is going to use it all for His glory. You see not only is Father God going to heal me of these problems, but He’s also going to use the suffering that I’ve endured to empower me to heal others! Glory!!!
Now after having said all that, just how many “Christians” do you suppose would agree with me on my decision to “trust in God’s Word” and not go running off to the doctor? I mean just how many of those who claim the name of Jesus do you suppose would label me both “dumb and stupid” for continuing to “suffer” and not seek medical attention?
Well with those two questions in mind you should be able to get a pretty good picture of what most “Christians” think about “suffering for Jesus”. But then again, just to make sure you get the point, what do you say we approach that question from a little different angle…like head-on? How many “church-going folks” do you figure could/would “grab-hold” the “gospel Truth” that “the Heavenly Father desires to see His sons and daughters suffer”?
That’s the question! And of course it’s because of the “general response” to that “straight-on question” from the “modern-day Christian church” that we’ve entitled this message “Is God Almighty A Sadist?” In fact when it comes to this thing about the Christian having to “suffer for Jesus” in obedience to His Word by taking up their cross and following Him, most “apostate church-goers” would flat-out deny it by saying “Jesus has already done the suffering for us on His Cross!” And taking that just one step further, when it comes to this thing about “suffering for Jesus” through “physical ailments” as directed by God, it’s those same “apostate church-goers” who would say “God created the doctors to heal the sick so that nobody should have to suffer!”
So you see that’s the Christian’s “justification” for doctors! However, the truth of the matter is that God Almighty created the doctors because men and women wouldn’t trust in Him. I mean after all, “sickness and disease” didn’t even exist – it was only a concept – until man (Adam) decided to “sin” by worshipping his wife (Eve) instead of the Creator (see Is Jimmy Swaggart’s Wife Frances Really Uncovered? (5/5/02)). In other words, it was only because of man’s “rebellion” against God (disobedience/sin) that the Almighty had to create the doctors in order to keep the “sinful rebellious man” alive long enough to “recognize his sin, confess his sin, be forgiven of his sin, and thereby be healed of his sin-induced sickness and disease”. Because in all actuality, if you do this thing God’s way you really won’t need a doctor:
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:14-16 KJV)
In fact one of these days (the Good Lord willing) I’m going to publish a book entitled “A Pig On The Cross!” that will likewise show a very vivid “crucified pig” on the cover. And of course the message behind this very graphic illustration of a “mutilated pig nailed to a cross” goes back to the Old Testament days when Satan used the pig to desecrate the altar of God. Because in all actuality, if Jesus professing Christians put their trust in anything other than the “Cross of Christ” (which includes His command to Believers to suffer – “take up your cross and follow me”) then they are desecrating the “Cross of Christ” by putting their trust in the pig.
Because you see the truth of the matter is that “true healing” only comes about through the “suffering” that results from “walking in obedience to God’s Word”. And if the Christian chooses not to “walk in obedience to God’s Word and suffer for Christ” then their “true healing” will not come about…and their only other good alternative will be “modern medical technology” – the pig!!! In fact the physical design of the “pig body” is so close to that of the “human body” that the pig heart, pig lungs, pig liver and pig etceteras will all be used as “replacement parts” for the “human parts” that have been destroyed by sin. So you see in the very near future there’s going to be lots of so-called “Christians” walking around with “pig parts” because they weren’t willing to “suffer for Christ” in obedience to His Word! In other words these so-called Christians will have chosen to worship “the pig” instead of “the Christ”!
And having said all that, let’s check out the Scripture – thus saith the Lord – that proves the fact that “suffering for Jesus” is a necessary part of the “Salvation Process”:
“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. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered (G3598) a while, make you perfect (G2675), stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:6-11 KJV)
Suffer (G3958) [pas'-kho, path'-o, pen'-tho] - Apparently a primary verb (the third form used only in certain tenses for it); to experience a sensation or impression (usually painful): - feel, passion, suffer, vex.
Make perfect (G2675) [kat-ar-tid'-zo] - From G2596 and a derivative of G739; to complete thoroughly, that is, repair (literally or figuratively) or adjust: - fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect (-ly join together), prepare, restore.
Now did you “see” God’s “Salvation Plan” of “suffering for Jesus” in that Scripture? Well the part about being “made perfect” is what happens to the “Believer” who is willing to “humble themselves” under the “mighty hand of God” by “suffering” whatever “afflictions” (difficulties, burdens, problems, hardships, pain, trouble, miseries or misfortunes) the Father allows Satan to put on them. Because it’s only through this very painful process of “dying to the flesh” that the Believer is finally “resurrected in the Spirit of Jesus” and “born-again”. And, as dumb as it might sound, it’s only through the pain inflicted by Satan on the Believer, and the Believer’s willingness to suffer through it for the glory of God, that the Believer is slowly but surely transformed and made “perfect” like Jesus. So you see what Satan means for evil will work against him for the good of the Believer…if the Believer will only keep their faith in God and not run from the “suffering” that God Almighty has allowed Satan to put them through.
And having said all that, we can now proceed to the next Scriptural proof on why Christians must suffer for Christ in order to be healed (set-free) of their sin:
“For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer (G3958) for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered (G3958) for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered (G3958), he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:20-24 KJV)
What a powerful Scripture that one is! In fact it really blows me away how the “apostate Christians” can continue to use the last part of that “Word of God” to brainwash “Believers” into believing that they don’t have to suffer anymore. Because you see it’s the last part of that Word – “that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” – that they religiously use to justify their “no more suffering” belief of “Jesus has already done the suffering for us at His Cross!” Because the Truth of that Scripture is in the fact that the Almighty is using it to confirm that Believers must “suffer” like Christ in order to be made righteous like Jesus: “because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”.
And if that Scripture wasn’t enough to make you a “Believer” in the power of “suffering for Jesus”, then let’s see what this next one does:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:7-14 KJV)
So what did you think about that one? Well I don’t know about you but I greatly admire Paul for speaking those very descriptive words: “whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ”. And just what do you figure those “things” were that Paul considered as worthless “doo-doo” in order to become one with Jesus? Well would you believe his “legal profession” for one? I mean Paul was “the best” when it came to the “law”, because you see Paul got his degree as “Rabbi” while studying under the best teacher (Rabbi Gamaliel)! As a rabbi, Paul was a minister, teacher, and lawyer all rolled into one, and without a doubt he could have been “rolling in the dough” because of it (lots of cash $$$$$$). However, Paul made the choice to give it all up and suffer for Christ when He made up his mind to follow Jesus.
Now while we’re on the subject of “doo-doo”, and how we as Christians should follow the example of Paul by labeling all our “stuff” as such, please let me give you the inside story of just how well I handled the transition. Because you see it was right about the time I got fired from The Toro Company (for speaking what “thus saith the Lord”) that I could in no way look at the good paying ($$$$$$) Engineering Manager position I had just lost as “doo-doo”. No way!!! I mean even though the Father let me know that it was His Will for me to get the axe so that I could learn to trust in Him, I really and truly wanted my job back in a very big way! I mean I was SUFFERING big time…and I even let my Heavenly Father know it!!! But in His loving mercy, the Father kept right on reminding me that a Believer can not be born-again until they first “suffer and die” – “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
So you see the process of losing the “stuff” that brings pleasure to the “flesh”, as the Believer walks in obedience to God’s Word, is what this “suffering” thing is all about…and it hurts…because it’s all about killing off the sinful “flesh”. However, the great thing about “suffering for Jesus” and “dying to the flesh” is that after the “death” comes a “new life” in Christ Jesus as the Believer is “resurrected” from the dead and “born-again” in the Holy Spirit.
And after having said all of that, it should be a little easier to understand why Father God commands the Believer to “rejoice and be glad” throughout this painful process of “suffering for Jesus” and “dying to the flesh”:
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13 KJV)
In fact as it pertains to the title of this message – “Is God Almighty A Sadist?”, the world has a special name for people who “get happy” when the “sadist” inflicts pain on them:
Masochist - someone who receives great pleasure in being abused or dominated: a taste for suffering.
Now just in case you haven’t caught on quite yet, this thing about God being a “sadist” and His followers “masochists” is all tongue-in-cheek, because in the truest “sense of the word” these words are most often associated with “perverted satanic pleasure derived from pain”. So, in all seriousness, the bottom line of this message is that God Almighty does enjoy seeing his sons and daughters “suffer for Jesus”, but it is not because “God’s a Sadist seeking perverted enjoyment” (God Almighty Is Not A Sadist!). The Almighty God enjoys seeing his sons and daughters “suffer for Jesus” because that’s the only way in which “sinners” can be transformed into “saints”. It’s what’s commonly known as the “sanctification process”, and it’s only because of God’s “Great Love” for a “lost and dying Hell-bound world” that Jesus “suffered and died to sin” so that everyone else might have the privilege to do the same.
In fact the “Apostle Paul” went into great depth in the following Scripture to help the folks in the Church of Corinth understand this very simple Christian Truth on “suffering”. Because, putting it in the purest and simplest form, what Paul said to the Corinthians was “if anyone claims the Name of Jesus, but yet ain’t suffering for Jesus, then the Jesus they are following is not ‘The Christ’ but someone else (another Jesus)”. And of course, it was because of what Paul believed in and taught – “suffering for Jesus” – that quite a few folks in the church world though he had gone “fool crazy”:
“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly… But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things… But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:1-15 KJV)
Now the best way for me to explain what Apostle Paul has just said is by using myself as an example. Because it was right about the time Father God called me into the FMHCCI ministry that I started “seeing” myself in some very “high places”. I mean what I saw myself becoming was much like some of those “high dollar” international evangelist on T.V.; Kenneth Copleand and the like. However, what I soon discovered was that the more I “heard from God and obeyed God” the further I got from where I thought God was going to take me. I mean the more I did for Him the more I seemed to suffer and lose what things I had (stuff). In fact it was shortly after having lost my job because of the ministry (after having first lost my family because of the ministry), that the Good Lord let me know that all those “losses” proved that I was who He had called me to be. In other words it was my “suffering for Jesus” that provided the “cold hard proof” that I was actually walking with the Lord and speaking His Word.
And getting back to “Paul the apostle” and the “Church of Corinth”, it was some of those folks in the church who claimed to be apostles of Jesus Christ who weren’t. In fact Paul went so far as to call them “false” apostles! And of course the reason for Paul’s very harsh accusation can be found in the meaning of the word “apostle” – “a person who is sent forth as a delegated representative of Jesus Christ”. So you see in order for a person to “represent Jesus” they must “act like the Jesus”. But when it came to those “false” apostles being willing to “hear God” and “obey God” and “suffer like Jesus”…well, they just weren’t willing to go there!
In fact it’s right about here that this thing about “simplicity” comes into the picture: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Because in the truest sense of the word, the “simplicity that is in Christ” means nothing more than the Believer’s “single-minded devotion to take up their cross and follow Jesus…and just do it come Hell or high water”!!! In other words there can be no “pretence or hypocrisy” involved in this word “simplicity”. God’s “salvation plan” through Jesus Christ was very bloody, and it hasn’t changed. And you see the reason those “apostles” became “false” was because they wanted to be one of those “high dollar” international evangelist too…but they weren’t willing to suffer for Jesus along the way…so they started preaching about “another Jesus” who has “done all the suffering for us”.
And with all of that in mind it should be a little easier to understand why Paul continues on with his message by proving to these “false” apostles that he is a “real” apostle of Jesus Christ through the things that he suffered:
“I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” (2 Corinthians 11:16-30 KJV)
Now, without a doubt, Paul was on a roll! Talk about someone who suffered for Jesus! Talk about someone who “took up their cross daily and followed Jesus”! I mean if anybody had the right to claim themselves a “representative of Jesus Christ” (apostle) Paul certainly did! Because when it came down to understanding this thing about “the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus”, Paul was the scholar! In fact it was because of his superior knowledge acquired through his “suffering for Jesus” that Paul spoke a Truth that few Christians really want to understand:
Weakness/Infirmities (G769) [astheneia - as-then'-i-ah] - From G772; feebleness (of body or mind); by implication malady; moral frailty: - disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness.
Weak (G770) [as-then-eh'-o] - From G772; to be feeble (in any sense): - be diseased, impotent folk (man), (be) sick, (be, be made) weak.
“Who is weak (G770), and I am not weak (G770)? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities (G769).”
So you tell me, how many “Jesus professing” Christians do you know of who could/would “glory” in their “weakness and infirmities” like Paul? I mean after all, how can Christians “glory in suffering” when they’ve been taught they shouldn’t have to suffer…because “Jesus has already done the suffering for them at His cross”?
Well Paul understood this thing about suffering, and glory be to God that he did! Because you see if Brother Paul would have backed away from his awesome calling, after having been told of the unimaginable suffering he would have to endure in order for it to be accomplished, we would not have fourteen (14) of the twenty-seven (27) books in the New Testament. Paul wrote over half of the New Testament as directed by the Holy Spirit, and it was only accomplished through his “suffering for Jesus”:
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he [Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him [Paul] how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.” (Acts 9:15-16 KJV)
“…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:48 KJV)
Now even though we’ve already covered a very long list of things that Paul had to suffer for the glory of God, there is one last item that we need to look at in order to wrap-up this message:
“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities (G769). For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness (G769). Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities (G769), that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities (G769), in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak (G770), then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:1-10 KJV)
You see Paul was that “man” who God carried off to Heaven and showed a few unimaginable things that he wasn’t allowed to tell anybody else about. In fact these things were so secretive that words hadn’t even been invented to describe what he saw. I mean Paul was a very special individual, who received “much” Power from on High, but was likewise required to suffer “much more” than the average Christian because of it. In fact it was this thing about the “thorn in the flesh”, that Paul was “sick and tired” of having to deal with, that the Father refused to heal so that Paul could receive even more Power from on High through his “thorn in the flesh suffering”: “…therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
So now do you understand the reason for me not going to the doctor with my infirmities? I mean I’ve got a “thorn in the flesh” that I’m sick and tired of dealing with too…but I’m a gonna stick it out like Paul. Because by the grace of God I know that these infirmities will work for the glory of God “in me”, if I will only trust in God’s Word and “suffer for Jesus” until God’s “promised healing” is made manifest!
“For though he [Jesus] was crucified through weakness (G769), yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak (G770) in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.” (2 Corinthians 13:3-4 KJV)
In closing, I think it goes without saying that this was a hard message for most to receive. However, for those of you who still reject this Truth about Christians having to “suffer for Jesus”, please let me invite you to read The Cross!!! - Who’s Cross??? (3/27/05). Because what you’ll find in that expose on “The Cross” is the testimony of a man who almost waited until it was too late to “suffer for Jesus”. You see Carol Beiker’s father refused to “take up his cross and follow Jesus” until he finally came down with terminal cancer. But glory be to God for His mercy! Through the five (5) remaining years of his life Carol’s father was able to “live for Jesus” as he suffered the pain of dying to the cancer.
So the question still remains, “How Do You Want Your Fire…Now Or Later?”
Don’t put it off till later! Seek God’s Will for your life NOW, and then just do whatever He directs you to do. Walk out in obedience to the Almighty – expecting to “suffer for Jesus” – so that you too can “Keep On Keeping The Faith In Jesus!”
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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