All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.

April 5, 2012



WHY

CHRISTIANS

SUFFER

Mini-book

Part 4



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HANDS FOR JESUS

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2012 by Merle E. Koepke

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Introduction



Most Christians have not been taught the reason that Christians suffer in so many areas of their lives. Wherever we go we find Christians suffering from all sorts of conditions. Some Christians live in poverty. Some Christians have infirmities in their bodies. Some have mental problems. Some Christians suffer from sickness and disease. Why is it that way among Christians?

In Hosea 4:6 it says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge..." How do Christians reject knowledge? They do not spend time in the Word of God. They do not take the time to study the Word of God, to find out what God's Word says concerning how they should live their lives here on earth.

Jesus came to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. In Mark 1:14.15 it says, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God...And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." There was a major problem between what Jesus was teaching and what the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees were teaching at the time Jesus came.

There still seems to be a problem between what Jesus was teaching and what is being taught in many Churches today. Unlike the Old Testament, Jesus was teaching that Satan, the Devil, steals the Word of God out of the hearts of those whom he can. Without the Word of God in our hearts, how can we do the will of God the Father?

In Mark 4:14-20, Jesus explained the parable of "the Seed and the Sower,"saying, "The sower soweth the word...And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts...And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness...And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended...And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word...And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful...And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred."

The first thing Jesus said was that the sower sows the Seed. The seed is the Word of God. Once the Word of God is sown in a Christians heart, Jesus said that, "Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts." If Satan can steal the Word of God out of the heart of a Christian, they will not have any power to speak the Word. For the speaking must be done along with believing in their heart, that the Word will deliver them in time of need.

If Satan cannot stop Christians in the first try, then Jesus said of some, "...when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness..." Then Jesus said, they "...endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended..."

These are the first two things that Satan will try to do when Christians receive the Word of God in their hearts. Satan does not stop if he fails in the first two attempts to get the Word away from Christians.

Of those who do endure the first two trials of Satan, Jesus said then, Satan uses "the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." If Christians are unfruitful in speaking the Word, they will be defeated. Many become unfruitful in speaking the Word because of the cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and lust of other things.

If Christians do not continue to speak the Word of God from their heart they will not reap the return of "...some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred." Our reaping the hundredfold depends upon our continuing to speak the Word of God from our heart day and night.

Satan fills Christians minds with what the worldly people are doing. How can a Christian keep the first commandment that the LORD gave us in Matthew 22:37 where it says, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," while watching secular television shows that portray sex, divorce, and adultery? How can the Holy Spirit help those whose mind is on worldly things, rather than on the things of God?

What about all the false teachings that are going around in the Churches today? Can the Holy Spirit bear witness with false teachings? Can light and darkness fill the room at the same time? Can God have fellowship with the works of evil?

A major reason that Christians suffer today is what is happening in the churches they attend. In Job 1:6, it says, "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them." This is still happening today. When Christians gather together to worship the LORD, Satan comes also. This should not be permitted in Churches where Christians attend.

Where is Our Faith?



The New Covenant is a covenant of faith. In Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38 it says, "The just shall live by faith." James 2:20 tells us that "Faith without works is dead."

What does it mean by, "The just shall live by faith, and faith without works is dead?" That means that Christians must have faith. For their faith to be effective, it must be a living faith, not a dead faith.

The first thing we need to understand is that God gives Christians faith when they are born again into the body of Christ. Those who say they are Christians, and do not have faith are deceived. If they are truly a born again Christian, then they do have faith given to them in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23). They received the fruit of the Spirit in the new birth. It is "impossible" for a person to be a born again Christian and not have faith.

In Romans 12:3 it says, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."

Anyone who knows they are truly born again should know that they do have faith. To say, "I have no faith." is calling God a liar. That will never help anyone receive from God all that God has promised us.

It is the Devil that puts thoughts in the minds of Christians to say they do not have faith. If Christians do not take authority over the thoughts in their minds, they can limit God in helping them. As long as they continue to listen to the Devil, God will be limited.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other..." In Romans 6:16 it says, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" By the confession of a persons mouth, we know who they are listening to. The words a person speaks lets us know whose thoughts they are receiving.

Christians must stop letting the Devil tell them what they can do and what they cannot do. The Word of God tells us that Christians are born again in the likeness of God. The likeness of God is that "God lives by faith in His Word."

The seed of the new birth came from "the Word of God" (1 Peter 1:23). That seed must reproduce after it's own kind. If that seed does not grow and reproduce it will die. If a Christian does not feed and water that Seed with the Word of God and prayer, how can it grow?

The likeness of God is "faith in His Word." God lives by faith in His Word. Christians must also live by faith in the Word of God. If Christians do not have faith in the Word of God, they could die.

It is faith in the Word of God that causes us to prosper and bring forth more fruit. Jesus said in John 15:1,2, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman...Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

The life that is in the vine comes from the seed, which is where the root of the vine came from. The life of the vine flows through the vine into the branches. It is the life that flows through the branches that keeps the vine and the branches alive. Therefore, the life of the vine is in the Word of God, which comes from the incorruptible Seed of the new birth (1 Peter 1:23).

God the Father watches over the branches of the vine (which is the body of Christ). If there are some who do not bear any fruit, the Father takes them away. That is not good for anyone who is truly a Christian, if they are taken away from the vine (out of the body of Christ). Look at what Jesus said to the church of the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:15,16, "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot...So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

If Christians bear some fruit, then the Father prunes them so they bear more fruit. For a Christian to bear fruit, they must "have faith in the Word of God." All fruit is dependent upon "the grace of God and the faith of the Christian."

In Ephesians 2:8, it says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." God gives us grace and faith in the beginning. Now we must receive everything from God by His grace through our faith. Therefore, everything in our lives is by "God's grace" through "our faith."

When we pray and ask God for something, He looks at our heart. We must have faith in our heart, not just believing in our head. God looks at the heart, not our mind which is in our head. When God sees faith in our heart, He answers our prayers according to the faith we have in our heart.

If the faith we have in our heart is dead faith (not willing to put action to what we believe), God cannot help us. In James 2:20 it says, "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead." Can dead faith save a person from the works of the Devil?

The book of Romans is not written to those who are not born again. It is written to "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints..." (Rom. 1:7). Even though it was written to those in Rome, it is recorded in the Scriptures because it also applies to all Christians. God is not a respecter of persons. What was for the Christians in Rome is also for all who are "called to be saints" in Christ Jesus. Therefore, in Romans 1:16,17, it says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek...For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." If Christians are to live by faith, and be saved by faith, they will need to use their faith. Their faith must be a living faith, not a dead faith. We are saved by the grace of God, through the faith that God has given us. Saved means, "delivered and protected from any and all of the works of the Devil." If our faith is dead, how can we be healed, delivered, and protected from the works of the Devil?

According to James 2:20, Faith without works (which means, "without corresponding action") is dead faith. If we say we believe the Word of God and do nothing, then we have what James calls dead faith. Dead faith cannot do anything for us or for God.

If we stop hearing the Word of God our faith could die. If we stop reading the Word of God our faith could die. If we stop speaking the Word of God, our faith could die. These three things we must continue to do, to keep our faith alive, and active in our lives.

If our faith is dead faith, what do you think God will do? Will God save us and deliver us if our faith is dead? Will God heal all our sicknesses and diseases if our faith is dead?

I do not think we should plan on that, especially after what it says in Hebrews 10:38. God said "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."

I believe it would be best if we got our faith working for us. To get our faith working for us we need to be reading the Word of God, hearing the Word of God, and speaking the Word of God.

It is our speaking the Word of God that is the most important part. But to speak the Word of God, we must keep the Word of God in our heart, and in our mind.

When we were first born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, God put the seed of faith in our heart. Then, God also put his thoughts in our minds and in our hearts. In Hebrews 8:10 it says, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."

God has already done His part in the new birth. God gave us a new heart, and put faith in our heart. Following the new birth, God continues to put His laws in our hearts and in our minds. When the thought comes to read the Scriptures, that is God putting His thoughts in our minds. As we read the Scriptures, God puts His laws (His desires), in our hearts.

When the Devil attacks us in our minds or our bodies, we must put our faith into action. In Romans 10:6-11 says, "But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)...Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)...But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach...That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved...For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation...For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."

Jesus is not going to go to the Cross and die again for our sins, iniquities, sicknesses, and diseases. Jesus is not going to go back down into hell to deliver us from the powers of the Devil. What Jesus did for us in His death and resurrection from the dead was a one time operation.

To receive what God has promised us in His Word, we must believe all that Jesus did for us almost two-thousand years ago. It is already done. Jesus already paid the price for our salvation from the works of the Devil. When we received Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior, God put his Word in our hearts and wrote His Word in our mind. Is it still there, or have we let Satan steal the Word out of our heart? (Mark 4:14-20).

Has the Word of God which God put in our heart and in our mind become dead, by not living by faith? Have we gone back to walking after the flesh, and not after the Spirit? If we have, then we need to be reminded of what it says in Romans 10:9-11. We need to get the Word back into our heart and into our mind. That is the Word of faith which was preached by the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans. This same Gospel is written throughout all of the New Testament.

The gospel of Christ, is the power of God unto Salvation (which is, deliverance and protection from all the works of the Devil). The works of the Devil are sins and iniquities, sicknesses and diseases, which Christians have permitted Satan to bring into their lives.

In Romans 6:16 it says, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Christians cannot blame God or the Devil for their disobedience to the Word of God, which was first sown in their hearts and minds when they received Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior.

If, after they are truly born again, they go back to serving the Devil, they again become servants of the Devil. As long as they continue to walk after the flesh, Satan will continue to inflict them with sin, sickness, and disease.

What Jesus did for us on the Cross of Calvary is for our benefit as long as we are here on earth in a body of flesh and bones. The blood that Jesus shed for us is the seal of an everlasting covenant with God the Father. If we break the covenant, we give place for the Devil in our lives.

We must first "repent, and confess our sins," then receive forgiveness and Salvation by what it says in Romans 10:9,10. It says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved...For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

In the New Testament, Salvation is for those who will come to God according to His Word. To come to God, we must believe all that God told us in His Word.

Salvation is for the whole world, but it is also for those who are born again Christians. After we are born again into the Body of Christ, we still need to be saved. In Acts 2:47 it says, "...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

The only way a person can be added to the church (which is the Body of Christ), is through the new birth. We are born again into the Body of Christ by the new birth. Once we are born again into the body of Christ, we need to be saved from the works of the Devil.

How do we get saved from the works of the Devil? By believing in our heart and confessing with our mouth what the Scriptures tell us. We start with what Jesus did for us in His death and resurrection. Then we continue to speak the Word of God out of our mouth, and become doers of the Word, not just hearers only.

We cannot become born again a second time. But, we can "repent, and confess our sins and receive forgiveness from all unrighteousness." We can walk in the Light as the Father and the Son are in the Light, and the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:5-7).

We may not receive healing for our bodies if we do not repent, and confess our sins. God did not promise to heal our bodies if we do not believe in our heart and confess with our mouth all that Jesus did for us in His death and resurrection from the dead.

Therefore, Romans 10:6-11 is not for those who are not born again. It is for those who are born again into the Body of Christ. Romans 10:6-11 is for the Salvation (deliverance and protection), of those who are in Christ, and have given place for the Devil in their lives at one time or another.

Hindrances

to Receiving from God



Some of the most common hindrances to receiving from God are:

(1). The people around us, that influence what we think and do. Sometimes they are those of our own household. Jesus said in Matthew 10:36,37, "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household...He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

If those of our household do not believe the Word of God according to what is written, they can hinder us in receiving from God. Their ideas, and their desires may not be that you would make a decision to obey the LORD and spend time in the Word of God and prayer. They may still be walking after the flesh, living according to the five senses. The world and the things of this world may be more important to them than obeying the LORD. This can be a big hindrance to those who are seeking answers to their prayers.

(2) Then there are those who believe that God sent doctors to heal the sick. That is not proven in the Bible. There is no place in the Bible that it tells us we should go to doctors when sickness and disease come upon us. Some of the doctors and medical people do not even know God. Some of them serve other gods, and could even get into worshiping other gods. Some could even be practicing witchcraft. The world's system does not require that doctors have a Christian attitude. But the LORD does require that Christians obey the two commandments the LORD gave us in Matthew 22:37-40.

The Bible says in Exodus 15:16, "...I am the LORD that healeth thee." Psalm 103:2-4 says, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits...Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases...Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies...Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."

Many Christians are like the children of Israel. They live like the world lives and follow the teachings of the world. That is why they believe the doctors can help them. The world only knows the doctors, but Christians should know the LORD, who is to be our healer. Many Christians do like what it says of the Children of Israel in Psalm 107. Then, when the doctors cannot help them, it says, in Psalm 107:19,20, "Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses...He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions."

The LORD does not refuse to heal those who go to the doctors, but if their trust is in the doctors and not in the LORD, they may not receive their healing. The LORD heals people by His Word. If they do not keep the Word in their heart, and believe in the LORD, they may not get healed.

(3) Our own desires to enjoy the world and the things of this world. When our time is taken up in the things of this world that are not necessary, such as watching Television, or listening to Radio, especially the news and entertainment shows which speak and portray living contrary to the Word of God. Soap operas are the devils entertainment. All they do is put thoughts in the minds of Christians to do as they see them do.

Sometimes, many Christians spend a lot of their time doing things they say God is not against, like sports, and outdoor activities. This keeps them from spending time studying the Word, speaking the Word and praying. Many Christians spend a lot of time watching football, basketball, baseball games, etc. Others spend a lot of time watching outdoor sports, such as fishing, hunting, camping, etc. These are all worldly distractions to keep Christians from studying the Word of God, praying, and speaking the Word of God.

The Devil uses the above distractions and many other ways to keep Christians from doing the will of God in their lives. If the Devil cannot steal the Word of God out of the hearts of Christians, he will use whatsoever means he has to keep them from studying the Word, hearing the Word, and especially speaking the Word.

Those who keep the two commandments the LORD gave us, will be doing the will of God. When we are doing the will of God according to the Scriptures, God will take care of us in every area of our lives. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...This is the first and great commandment...And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself...On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." For those who keep these commandments, God will answer them when they call upon Him.



Things to consider when we pray:

1). God does not answer prayer because we are faithful. "God answers prayer because He is faithful."

2). God does not answer prayer because we are perfect. "God answers prayer because He is perfect."

3). God does not answer prayer because of our good works. "God answers prayer because of what Jesus did."

4). God does not answer prayer because we want Him to. "God answers prayer because of His Word."

5). God does not answer prayers of begging and pleading. "God answers prayer because of our believing and faith."

6). God is not a respecter of persons. "We cannot force God to answer our prayers."

7). God does all things because of His Love, Grace, and Mercy. "Not because we deserve it."

8). God does not answer prayer according to our will. "God answers prayer according to His will."

It would be good if Christians would search their hearts before they pray. Repent of anything that is not pleasing to God. Confess their sins and receive forgiveness of all sins and iniquities.

God will not refuse those who walk by faith, and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). God will not refuse those who are led by the Holy Spirit and walk in the Spirit. In Galatians 5:24,25 it says, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts...If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

Those who walk after the Spirit, God will hear them when they pray. God will answer their prayers when they pray according to the will of God.

In 1 John 5:14,15, it says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us...And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."

For more information on this subject, get all of the parts to this series of Mini-Books. For other help, you can also go to our Web sites on the Internet and download as many free books as you desire. Go to:

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