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How to have eternal life


Affliction

Many of those involved with Shattered Men are afflicted, including several of
our moderators or former moderators.  Although several of us have not been afflicted in our marriages, some have been. Others are ravished by disease. Some by family problems and rejection. Many are not sure of the cause, but they know they feel hopeless. In the next few moments, we will learn more about
affliction and illness. We will look at the cause of sickness and
affliction and we will look at the life of some that were afflicted.
Most of all, we will also learn that there IS hope and how to find that hope.

Affliction

The cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses,
etc.; an instance of grievous distress; a pain or grief.

This is from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996, 1998
MICRA, Inc.

Usage: Affliction, Sorrow, Grief, Distress. Affliction and sorrow are
terms of wide and general application; grief and distress have
reference to particular cases. Affliction is the stronger term. The
suffering lies deeper in the soul, and usually arises from some
powerful cause, such as the loss of what is most dear -- friends,
health, etc. We do not speak of mere sickness or pain as ``an
affliction,'' though one who suffers from either is said to be
afflicted; but deprivations of every kind, such as deafness,
blindness, loss of limbs, etc., are called afflictions, showing that
term applies particularly to prolonged sources of suffering. Sorrow
and grief are much alike in meaning, but grief is the stronger term
of the two, usually denoting poignant mental suffering for some
definite cause, as, grief for the death of a dear friend; sorrow is
more reflective, and is tinged with regret, as, the misconduct of a
child is looked upon with sorrow. Grief is often violent and
demonstrative; sorrow deep and brooding. Distress implies extreme
suffering, either bodily or mental. In its higher stages, it denotes
pain of a restless, agitating kind, and almost always supposes some
struggle of mind or body.

My friend, GOD is not the cause of sickness or affliction. We are
told in John 10:10 that Jesus came to give us life and to give it
more abundantly. Although we know that when we get to heaven it will
be a perfect place..no more sickness, no more tears, I believe God
wants us to see this more abundant life right here too. You see,
this same verse also tells us that it is the thief (satan) that came
to steal, kill and destroy. The thief wants to steal our joy, to kill
our bodies so we will not be around to tell about the one that can
end all our afflictions and to destroy our testimony so that no one
will listen to us. There are many ways he does this but that is
another message.

This week, the 40th president of the United States returned to his
maker. For ten years before this, one of the most brilliant minds
ever to serve our country was afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease.  Within
recent months he did not even recognize Nancy, his wife for over 52
years. Many reading this knows first hand how this affects those
around them. Others have cancer. Their body is slowly destroying
itself and often they go through terrible treatments to try to stop
the cancer.

Affliction effects the righteous as well as the unrighteous. It is for this reason, we can not pass judgment on those in affliction as to the cause of it.

Affliction may be a judgment from God.

Egypt was afflicted with the ten plagues for two primary reasons.  The first was to bring about repentance to let God's people go.  The second was because they would not.  We can learn some lessons from this.  Each time satan tried to mimic what God could do, it backfired.  It finally cumulated in the last most deadly plague...which resulted in the Passover in which the blood of an unblemished lamb was to be placed on the door post for the death angel  to pass over that home and spare the first born.

We often hear that God sometimes has to bring someone down low enough so they have to look up for help..to look to HIM.  From this, we can see that when God uses affliction to cause one to look to Him, it can also cause some to turn from Him.  Exodus 7:22 tells us:  "And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said"

In Exodus 10:27 we are told: "But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go."

Many believe that God could not or would not save Pharaoh and use this for an example of people that are and have always been beyond redemption. I do not believe for a moment that anyone is beyond redemption so when we are told that God hardened  someone's heart we need to consider what was happening. Pharaoh knew Moses was right. He knew that the gods Egypt believed in were false gods and that the Lord God that Moses served was the true God.  How do we know?  Romans chapter one although it was not written yet still holds true....verse 18 - 20:  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;    Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

We have often had someone do something and then declare to them...YOU have made me mad. Did they?  Or was it more that what they did made you angry?  Often this anger was not justified. I contend that hearts are often hardened because of the cause of the first sin when satan declared he would ascend to the throne...PRIDE. 

My friend, do you find yourself not caring about what God says or feels about what is going on in your life?  Do you feel HE has abandoned you?  Something can be done about this:  Hebrews 3:15  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.   You see, all we need to do is to humble ourselves and HE will lift us up. If you think you have gone to far and that you can not turn back. if this message is bothering you and you wished for even a moment that it was not to late for you...I want you to listen good...it is NOT too late for anyone that is reading this if something is stirring within their heart. If anyone wishes they can have the joy and peace so many have found they CAN have it.  That feeling you have is called conviction.  It was the same feeling Pharaoh had but he hardened his heart and turned away because of pride.  Do not let that happen to you.  Turn to God and ask HIM to melt your heart to receive HIM.  HE WILL!

 

Affliction can be passed on whole nations.  We have seen many times in the history of Israel how this occurred. The captivity in which we find Daniel and the three Hebrew children standing strong for God is but one example.

We have seen it in the history of other nations too. Those nations that that have forgotten God or have said he does not exist have suffered afflictions as a nation. Those nations that have kept God in focus has always had the most freedom of any on earth.  2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us:  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. One thing that will bring God's judgment upon a nation is to hate Israel.  The Jewish nation has and continues to be God's chosen people. The covenant with Abraham was an unconditional one and that has not ever been fully met yet.

There are other things that will bring affliction upon us.

1: Bitterness. 

Acts 8:22   Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23   For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

Romans 3:13    Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:  14   Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:  15   Their feet are swift to shed blood:

We are told to get rid of bitterness:

Ephesians 4:30    And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31   Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32   And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
 

2: Sin will bring affliction. 

We have seen this with Egypt and in the personal lives of men like David, Saul and many others. Peter denied Christ and this resulted in his not being able to declare his love for Christ when Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him.  Often willful sin will bring affliction.  We see this in the teaching Paul gave on the observing the Lord's Supper or communion. 

1 Corinthians 11:29    For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30   For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

The term "sleep" indicates that they did not lose salvation, but were taken home early.

Of course, we all know that we do reap what we sow.

Job 4:8
Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.   Galatians 6:7    Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8   For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

We can see this when we read The Hidden Cost...of SIN!
 

2 Corinthians 12:7   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.
 

3:  Curses can bring affliction. 

The Word of God teaches us that the sins of the father will be passed down to the third generation. This can be a result of learned behavior...or it can be from a curse that has been placed.  Many times our own past activities or the activities of our ancestors may be a basis for demonic problems based on Exodus 20:5.  It is important therefore to renounce  the sins of our ancestors.  This is done simply by telling God that we do renounce any sins of our ancestors and we therefore break any curse that is on us.  Many of us know the story of the Devil and Daniel Webster where someone sold their soul to satan...Remember my friend, whatever the contract anyone has made with satan, it can be canceled by the   BLOOD OF THE LAMB! 

 

PLEASE REMEMBER HOWEVER..THAT NOT ALL AFFLICTION IS CAUSED BY PERSONAL SIN!

There have been many in the Bible that were afflicted to bring glory to the LORD.  Job is the best example. The blind man in John 9:1-5.    And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2   And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3   Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4   I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5   As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

If you do not think the sins of parents can effect their unborn children, ask any new born nursery  nurse who has had to take care of a new born baby addicted to crack because the mother was.
 

4:  Benefits of Affliction

Affliction will often cause one to look to and depend upon God.  The rich tend to depend upon themselves.  They do not think they need to consider the source of needs.  They feel they can go out and buy anything they want. Yet those that do not know where their next meal is coming from often have to depend upon God to provide it.  Hudson Taylor was one such person. He had an orphanage and often they sat down for supper without anything on the table. This precious man of God blessed what they were about to eat...and often just as he said Amen..there would be a knock on the door and someone would be bringing...supper.

In Genesis 22 Abraham was afflicted when he was told to offer up his son Isaac as a sacrifice.  God said to Abraham:  "And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."  I do want to tell you here, that although we have seen some people taking the life of their children and saying God told them to do it...we KNOW without a doubt that it is and never will be GOD telling any of us to sacrifice a human life.  It would be a direct violation of God's word as (Leviticus 18:21, 20, 2-5 and Deuteronomy 12:31)

It causes repentance:  Numbers 21:7   Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.  Note, this occurred when people were being bitten by snakes. After this, God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and all one had to do when bitten was to  look and live. 

2 Chronicles 15
3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. 4 But in their distress they turned to the LORD , the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. 5 In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. 6 One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. 7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded."

(Why must we wait until we are in trouble to seek HIM?  God wants to be an intiment  part of your life..not one watching..From A Distance

Jonah went was afflicted when he went on whale ride for refusing to obey God.  He (like so many of us) thought he knew better then God when God told him to go to Nineveh.  Again, this affliction caused him to turn to God in repentance.  You can read about it here.  WHALE RIDES

Afflictions brought the prodigal son back to the father. (Luke 15)  Have you strayed from the one that loves you more then anyone else my friend?  It is a simple matter to return to HIM. 

When we see others afflicted, it gives us the opportunity to allow God to show them His love..through us. You see, often the afflicted are forgotten and ignored. 

Psalm 31
11   I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.
12   I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.
13   For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
14   But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.

There are many more examples of each of these areas but I do pray the message I wanted to give has been given.  Before we close, I do want to leave you with several things that will show without a doubt that God does see what you are going through..and HE CARES!

2 Corinthians 4:17    For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

Romans 5:3   And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4   And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

James 1:2    My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3   Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4   But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.


James 1
12   Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Most of all. Romans 8:31-39 tells us:

31   What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32   He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33   Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
34   Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35   Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36   As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37   Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38   For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39   Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Look once again at verse 35....tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  These people were greatly afflicted..but they were loved...and NOTHING separated them from HIS love.

To those who know someone who is afflicted.....do NOT  turn you backs on them.  They need a friend.  Don't know what to say?  Most often is is enough to simply BE there with them.  Help them cry.  Let them know you care.   Be a Doer of the Word in Matthew 25:

35   For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36   Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37   Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38   When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39   Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40   And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41   Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42   For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43   I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44   Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45   Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
 

Again, those that Christ talks about here were afflicted and HE told us that when we met their needs..we did it unto HIM! 

My friend, we did say we would give solutions.  I have throughout this message but on last time...if we trust Jesus Christ fully, HE will lift us up.  We could say I was afflicted..but then.,..JESUS!


 I am not ashamed of the Gospel 

 We're an anchor for those who are hurting

We're a harbor for those who are alone

Sometimes it is not always easy, bearing Calvary's cross

We have been ridicule by those who don't know Him and mocked by those who don't believe

Still I love standing up for my Jesus cause of all that He's done for me.

That's why I am not ashamed of the Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

No I am not afraid to be counted but I am willing to give my life

See I am ready to be all HE wants me to be

Ill give up the wrong for the right

I am not ashamed of the Gospel No,  I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For every moment His hand has had mercy

for all the love He has shown in my life

A simple thanks just doesn't say how I am feeling. I get tears in my eyes

So as for me I am going to keep on believing in the one whose been so faithful to me.

I'm not out to please this whole  world around me. I've got my mind on eternity.

That's why I am not ashamed of the Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

No I am not afraid to be counted but I am willing to give my life

See I am ready to be all HE wants me to be

Ill give up the wrong for the right

I am not ashamed of the Gospel 

No,  I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

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