Reaching the unseen

REACHING THE UNSEEN IN 2018

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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

May God bless the Pastors and Bible Teachers all over the world, we thank God that Sermons to the World is now reaching 152 countries and all 50 States and The District of Columbia in the U.S.

MISSION

Mission: To be a resource to Pastors and Bible teachers in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. – Sermons to the World

VISION STATEMENT

Vision: To reach the world on the internet to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 – “to go into all the world and teach all nations”.

Bible Verse

"Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household." Acts 16:31

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

This World Is Not My Home

“THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME”
By Pastor Mark Taylor 

There are many things we do not know about what heaven will be like, because it is beyond our ability to comprehend. But one thing we can be sure of is that it will fulfill our greatest longings, it will dazzle us with its beauty, it will obliterate our greatest problems with its power and splendor, it will be greater than anything we could imagine or dream, it will be a place where love and joy will reign unspoiled. God is busy preparing all of this for us. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Hm” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

It will be where God will reward His Children for everything they have done for Him: every tear they shed in prayers for others, every person they helped, and every act of kindness done in His Name.  Think about what is really important.  “Only one life, it will soon be past, Only what is done for Christ will last”.  

If we make preparations for our grandchildren’s visit or guests coming to our home for a meal, how much more does a God of love prepare for the time His children will come to His eternal home. The Bible says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11). Jesus said, “I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).  If this fallen world in all of its brokenness can be so wonderful, what must heaven be like? 

Heaven is the residence of God. The greatest reward of heaven will be God Himself. Nothing we see or experience will be greater than the fact that we are with God and see him face to face. We sing “O how I love Jesus”, “Amazing Grace”, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”.  When we get to Heaven, we will see that Friend and enjoy His company forever.  “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). 

How wonderful it will be to be in the presence of God where we will perfectly know him and know that we are perfectly known and loved. John writes in the book of Revelation: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God’” (Revelation 21:3). We will have no greater reward or relationship than being with our wonderful God and seeing Him face to face. 

No matter what you are going through today - it is only temporary.  No one escapes difficulty and disappointment in this world.  Don’t let it drive you away from the God who loves you and wants to help you.  We are headed to a great place where God lives and where we will find true love and acceptance.  
Christians can be certain of their future in Heaven because Jesus prays for us. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.  And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.  Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.” (John 17: 9-11).

Christians can be certain of their future in heaven because God is for us and not against us.   What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8: 31-32).  In other words, how can we lose if God is on our side? How can we be kept from future glory if God is for us? Obviously we can’t.  We can be certain that He will bring His work to a fulfillment. God is not investing in a losing cause!  He proved His love for us on Calvary so we can be certain that nothing, absolutely nothing will keep him from completing His loving plans. Even when you struggle and fail, God still loves you and is still for you.

Christians can be certain of their future in Heaven because there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39). 

There is nothing in this world worth missing Heaven for.  There are temptations from Satan to be selfish, to mistreat others, to be actively involved in worldly pleasures that we know go against God’s principles. But I would ask everyone to consider if this wonderful place God has prepared for them that love Him, is worth missing.  Our time on Earth is brief and we can do many valuable and good things for the Lord Jesus while we are here.  He wants to bless us while we are here and then for Eternity.  At the end of your life you cannot take your wealth, your popularity, or your accomplishments with you.  Heaven is all about new things for those who love God and will serve Him in this life time. “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelations 21:5).

There are many things we do not know about Heaven because it is so much better than  Earth, that there are no human words to explain how great it is.  We will be reunited with our loved ones who loved God and accepted the Lord Jesus as their Savior.  We will be rewarded for all of our service and sacrifices in our service for God to meet the needs of others.  Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12).



I would encourage all of those who have not decided to accept the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior to make that decision, and give their lives to Him so that they might receive the gift of eternal life.  “Jesus said to him:  “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (John 14:6).  Heaven is a real place that has been prepared for those that Love God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 14: 1-3).

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Leaving the City of Regret

As we enter 2019 this is a good reminder of 2018

Leaving the City of Regret - Larry Harp

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip." 

I got tickets to fly there on "Wish I Had airlines". It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town. 

As I checked into the "Last Resort Hotel", I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there. 

First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the wish I Had family. You probably know ol' Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday's. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share. 
Then Shattered Dreams would surely make and appearance. And It's Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don't Blame Me and I Couldn't Help It. 

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent "pity party" could be cancelled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn't have to be depressed. 

One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them. 

So, if you're planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myselfs and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. God bless you in finding this great town. If you can find it -- it's in your own heart -- please look me up. I live on "I Can Do It street."

Your Christmas Gift of Peace - The Absence of Fear


Your Christmas Gift of Peace. The Absence Of Fear
By Pastor Mark Taylor
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward everyone.”  Luke 2: 13-14
How wonderful our homes could be, how wonderful our lives could be, how wonderful our world could be, if we really did put into practice the blessing of "peace on earth, good will toward men." We cannot control what happens outside of our lives, but we can have peace in this world. 

Today, I am going to tell you how that can be possible - at least in your world.  Peace is a gift that cannot be bought or made.  It is something God wants to give to His children.  It comes from Heaven and from our love for Our Lord Jesus Christ. He said: "My peace I give unto you." (John 14:27).

(illustration). When I counsel  young couples who are thinking about divorce, I often ask them "What is it you want to happen in your marriage?"  They will usually respond that they want to have a home where there is peace and love.

The Biblical definition of peace is not only the absence of war or conflict with others, but peace within our hearts.  Jesus said:  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).  Paul speaks of Peace: “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).  This is the kind of Peace we need on earth and in our lives during this Christmas season.

Give  Peace to. others.

Paul wrote in Romans 12:18? There he says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

 In Jesus Christ, God gave us the opportunity for the forgiveness of our sins.

You see, we’ll never have peace with our fellow man until first we’re at peace with ourselves. And we can never really be at peace with ourselves until we’re at peace with God. And we can never be at peace with God until our sins have been forgiven.

Another thing that can rob you of this wonderful gift of peace is letting things that others have done to you cause you anger and hurt.  Ask God to give you enough trust in Him that He will take care of the wrong that others have done to you.

At Christmas time we seem to be more sensitive to one another, don’t we? We give presents to people we don't know and maybe even to some we don't like, or reaching into our pockets for money to help some one in need, or delivering food to someone who is hungry, because Christmas reminds us that God has reached down to help us. And now we want to help one another.

CHRISTMAS IS A TIME TO MAKE ROOM FOR OTHERS.  Look at those around you…that part of the world God has given you to minister.
There are people that are hurting all around us.
They are suffering from depression.  The bottom line is that people around us need us.
They need a touch that can serve as a conduit of the healing grace of God.


When you bring peace to others, God will bring peace to you.  

Luke 6:38
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

 You want Peace, Give Peace.  How do you define peace?  Is it the absence of conflict and fear, then make that happen for someone else.  When people are around you Be a sanctuary, a place of safety, a place of joy, a place of joy and laughter, a place of love.  Be that person whose conversation is uplifting and others enjoy being around and you will be giving peace.




Peace with ourselves

But our life doesn’t always go as expected. Chances are your perfect Christmas plans will have some unexpected interruptions. Realize that your plans may not be God’s plans, and God is working His plan when He interrupts your plan.

The messages of the angels to the shepherds, to Joseph, and to Mary was to “Fear Not”.  Their first Christmas was full of unexpected interruptions.

Joseph probably would have liked the angel to explain his situation to the rest of the family.  Imagine the hassle Mary endured as an unwed mother, the hassle of a wedding, the whispers and guessing: why Joseph would do such a thing, or who would of thought such a thing of a nice girl like Mary? But the angels only said “Fear Not”.  

Joseph was planning on marrying his sweetheart.  Mary was probably planning on an elaborate wedding and a normal family. Things did not work out like they wanted them to.  God changed their plans.   Because Joseph listened to God and resisted the urge to give into his fear, he did marry his sweetheart and was honored to have been chosen to raise God’s only Begotten Son.

“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto you Mary as your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:20).
The absence of fear is an important part of having “Peace on Earth” and having peace in your life this Christmas and every day of the year.  

"Do not say to yourselves: Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." (James 4:13-14).

After the angel told Mary about her opportunity to let God work in her life by carry the Lord Jesus: The angel told her to “fear not”.

“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy Child which shall be born from you shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, your cousin Elisabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.”  For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Your word. And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:34-38.  
We don’t need an angel to appear unto us and speak with us today.  We have God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to give us peace in difficult times.
Whether rich or poor, powerful or weak, whoever we are, we need peace that God is with us. And God has promised that when the Christ child enters our hearts and lives, then we will receive His help. And when we are helped by the Holy Spirit of God, then we are to develop a more sympathetic feeling towards one another.

[ (Psalm 46:1)
God wants to give to you this Christmas the gift of Peace.  Peace is an assurance that He is in control of your life if you have given your life to Him.  This is called “Providence” - nothing can happen to you without God knowing about it.
A. Finally, Paul mentions peace with God. Vs’s 8-9 are verses we need to read often. They’re so special. Here is what Paul says.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Paul is saying, "Here are 8 filters. Everything you hear & everything you see needs to pass through them. And if it doesn’t make it through these 8 filters then it shouldn’t be in your mind & in your heart.

There is so much garbage in this world. And the old saying "garbage in, garbage out" is true. So think about it. Can the movies you see, & the TV programs you watch, & the music you listen to pass through these 8 filters? 
Paul says, "Put everything through these 8 filters. If it’s not true, then don’t welcome it. If it’s not noble, if it’s not right, or pure or lovely or admirable or excellent or praiseworthy, don’t let it find a home in your heart. And if you’ll use these filters you’ll have peace with God." 
Put the interruptions in your life in perspective.  Sometimes they look a lot worse than they really are and many times they are only temporary.  We spend $100 worth of worry on a $5 problem.  This will rob you of the wonderful gift of peace the Lord wants to give to you.
Another thing that can rob you of this wonderful gift of peace is letting things that others have done to you cause you anger and hurt.  Ask God to give you enough trust in Him that He will take care of the wrong that others have done to you.
“Peace on (Your hearts and minds on) Earth” and may you show good will toward all people.  You can do it if you have God’s Peace in control of your life.  It is a gift, all you have to do is ask for it and accept it as a part of your free Christmas gift of salvation.
And 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
But Peace does not come alone or without some pre-conditions.  Righteousness and Peace are married and they come as a pair.  
“Righteousness and Peace Have Kissed Each Other” Psalm 85:10

You cannot have one without the other.  You cannot live a unrighteous life and expect to have Peace.  On the other hand if you live a Righteous life, Peace will automatically come. When you live a life pleasing to God, which is a righteous life, you will have peace.

“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace”
(James 3:18).   “But God has called us to peace.” (1 Corinthians 7:15).
You have to receive the gift of Peace as an act of your Will.
 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
(Colossians 3:15-16)

A Prayer of Peace For You.
"The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26).



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

God Will Show You The Way

“GOD WILL SHOW YOU THE WAY”

By Pastor Mark Taylor

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

The God we serve is not someone who has left us to guess about important decisions in our lives.  All through the Bible He has given us examples of how he led the children of Israel in specific directions. 

At times others will ask you to help them and you do not have the resources.  When you cannot help them ask God to supply their needs.   "When God's work is done in God's way, God will provide what is needed." Dr. Bob Tyson

“Truly I see that God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34).  When obstacles seem to prevent their movement, He moved the obstacles.  “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt” (Joshua 2:10).

“For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you until you had passed over, even as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea which He dried up from before us until we had gone over” (Joshua 4:23).  He will remove obstacles that keep you from serving Him and being happy and successful.

In the New Testament Jesus reminded His disciples that He could make a way for them also: “Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You go, and how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:5-6).

You and I face many important decisions in our lives.  Sometimes we are not sure which way to turn.  Sometimes we face roadblocks to our dreams and goals.  

I would like to encourage you today to trust the Lord in helping you make a way to accomplish God’s will in your life.

I usually pray this prayer when I am trying to “find the way”:  “Lord if this (thing, goal, desire) is your will for me, open the door and allowed me to go through it.  Give me the wisdom and confidence from the Holy Spirit to know that my desires are in line with your will for my life.  Lord, if this desire is not your will, please lock the door so that I cannot go through it.  Keep me from making a wrong decision that will cause me problems.”  

Sometimes we find ourselves in difficulty and we don't like It.  God allows us to go through these situations to make us a stronger person and increase our faith.  

I don't believe God causes bad things to happen to His children.  They happen for many reasons.  Sometimes because of wrong decisions we make, sometimes because of the free will and sin nature of others, and sometimes it is an spiritual attack from Satan.  Regardless, God uses those things to build us into better people and draw us closer to Him.

Then I pray as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did: “If you would be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42).  

Sometimes the Lord removes it from me, and sometimes He reminds me of what He told Paul when he prayed for healing: “For this thing I besought the Lord three times, that it might depart from me. And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me” 
(2 Corinthians 12:8-9).

As one song put it: “Sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He calms me.”

One thing we can count on is that God is with us and wants to lead us and make a way for us to become victorious even in difficult times.  Even if you are suffering from bad relationships, poor financial decisions, or health problems remember His words of encouragement to us: 
“No temptation has taken you but what is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation also will make a way to escape, so that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Go to God in prayer.  Ask Him to give you the faith to endure your hardship until He makes the way.

Jesus said this about our life on earth: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  

And we are reminded by God’s Word that even when things are going bad for us God will make a way for it to become good: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

God has not only made a way for us to make it through this lifetime, but has made a way for us to go to Heaven. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  

If you will give your life to Christ, He will make a way for you to go to a real place, with real people, and experience the real presence of God: “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).

God also wants to use you to make a way for others.  You have been given gifts and abilities you can use in service for God.  “Give, and it shall be given to you, good measure pressed down and shaken together and running over, they shall give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you measure, it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).  

Every time you do something for someone else they receive a blessing and so do you.  There are people today that need you today.  It may be something as simple as a kind word or an act of kindness. It may be something that requires your time, money, and talents.  If God lays something on your heart, He is expecting you to do it.  And in many cases, if you don’t do it, it want get done.  


God is going to make a way for you today.  “He gives power to the weary; and to him with no vigor; He increases strength. Even the young shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

SUFFERING AND GOD'S CHILDREN

Suffering And God's Children
by Pastor Mark Taylor

 “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and not receive bad?”
Job 2:10
If you want to believe in God’s goodness and fairness, but find it hard because of the things that have happened to you and to people you care about, I want to write some thoughts as I ponder that same question and thoughts of others who have experienced  great loss.  And remember that God can handle your disappointments and anger.  He is still a loving God that wants to help you.  
I do not personally believe that bad things that happen to us always comes from God.  Many people do.  And I am sure you can find verses that would indicate that they might.  I am not a Bible scholar but based on my thoughts and experiences over 50 years of serving and walking with The Lord Jesus, I have some educated explanations.
 One of those explanations that is central to my understanding of God in my personal relationship with Him is that "God is love."  (1 John 4:8). Therefore I believe that most of the bad things that cause us suffering comes from another source.  I believe some of our suffering is due to poor choices we make.  Another source of our suffering comes from Satan.  My personal belief is based on one verse that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave us:  "The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10::10.  And finally, there is some suffering for which there is no explainable answer this side of Heaven.
The great theme of the book of Job-- and the one for which it is world famous -- is its treatment of the reason for suffering in the Christian life. None of us have a problem when we are told that suffering is sent by God to punish wrongdoers. We have a long list of names that we could present to God of people who deserve this kind of thing. It is eminently just for God to punish wrongdoers with suffering, we think. People who hurt others and are vicious, cruel, and wicked ought to be made to suffer for what they do. Our whole system of justice is built upon that principle. That is why we put people in jail and fine them, because we are trying to carry out justice through punishing wrongdoing. That satisfies our sense of justice -- except when we happen to be the wrongdoers getting punished. Then, of course, it is all very unfair.
But what about the times we are living right and are close to God.  The book of Job teaches us something that should have been obvious to us from our reading of the Gospels, and that is the fact that Jesus suffered. Now, obviously, Jesus did not suffer because he was a wrongdoer, nor did he suffer because he needed to have his attention captured by God. He was always sensitively responsive to the Father's will, and always did that which was pleasing in his sight. Yet his life was filled with suffering from beginning to end -- rejection, misunderstanding, disappointment, cruelty, harsh words, and unjust treatment -- all the way through, so that he merited the description of the Old Testament, even before the cross, that he was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," (Isaiah 53:3).

If we are going to suffer, then the question may arise about “why live a righteous life and follow Jesus?”  The reason is that Scripture speaks in numerous passages about "this slight momentary affliction preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Corinthians 4:17), and of how "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us," (Romans 8:18). When that day breaks, the one thing for which we will be infinitely thankful, the one thing above all others that will thrill us and cheer us and cause us to glory, is the fact that out of all the created universe we were chosen to be the ones who bore the name of God in the hour of danger and affliction, problem and trial. There is no higher honor than that. That is what Jesus means when he says, "Blessed are you when men persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your honor before the Father. For so persecuted they the prophets who were before you," (Matthew 5:11-12).  You may feel as I do, and that is that I don't want to suffer.  And I hope you and I are not called to suffer.  But, if and when we do, we need to have some understanding of why it is happening.
Finally, I want to say that there are some questions that we will never know the answer to until we get to Heaven.  Who can explain a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado that sweeps across an area and good Christian people lose there lives or possessions?  Who can explain the evil events such as September 11, 2001 or shootings in elementary schools?  Who can explain why children get terrible diseases such as leukemia  or aids?  I certainly cannot and even though I have read countless books and heard many explanations, I have not found an answer.

There are some obvious explanations for some suffering.  When a person has poor health habits for many years such as excessive smoking of tobacco, use of drugs, or excessive drinking, medical science has told us what the consequences will be.  Law enforcement has told us the consequences for drinking and driving, distracted driving, and not wearing seat belts. Our parents and grandparents have told us of possible consequences for being with the "wrong crowd" and going to the "wrong places".  A reasonable person cannot blame God for the suffering brought on by these poor decisions.

There are explanations I have heard that I don't agree with even though I have heard good people use them to explain suffering.  Below are what I view as some wrong assumptions that many people have developed as they go through suffering.
1.  One wrong assumption is that bad things are not suppose to happen to good people.  Let us look at a couple of many verses in the Bible that contradict that theory.  "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous But the Lord delivers him out of them all." Psalms 34:18-19.  Even our Lord and Savior let us know that life is full of suffering.  "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33
2.  Some people have address suffering in every generation by assuming that we somehow get what we deserve and our misfortunes come as punishment for our sins.  This is a wrong assumption.  It creates guilt even where there is no basis for guilt.  Blaming the victim is a way or reassuring ourselves that the world is not as bad a place as it may seem, and that there are good reasons for people’s suffering.   It makes people hate God, and even makes them hate themselves.  And most disturbing of all it does not even fit the facts.  God has provided a payment and forgiveness for all of our sins, and there is no one that is without sin.  “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).  If we all got what we deserve, none of us would be alive.  It is true that there are natural consequences for sin, but that is not why bad things happen to good people.  
This does not take into account that God does chastise His children when we need it. But I personally believe that he does not hurt other people for our sins.  I do not believe that a person who loves God and is trying to serve Him will receive chastisement at the expense of others.  For instance, I do not believe God would take a child or spouse of someone because they did not live up to all the standards they felt were set for them.  Neither do I believe we get diseases like cancer and other things for our shortcomings.  We serve a merciful and loving God and Father and He is a better Father than any of us and we would not punish our children with that severity.  
"For whom the Lord loves He chastens,  And scourges every son whom He receives.  If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.  Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness."  Hebrews 12:6-10
3.  Another wrong assumption is that one of God’s reason’s to make us suffer is educational.   I have heard people say “Maybe God is trying to teach us a lesson.”  God does not do painful things to us as His way of helping us.  This statement is used to defend God or give Him an excuse for the bad things that happens to His children.  God does not operate this way.  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”                (Jeremiah 29:11).  It is wrong to think that the God who loves us and sent His son to die for us would try to teach us lessons by allowing innocent children to die in accidents or through incurable diseases.
3.  Let me give you one final assumption that I think is wrong, even though it may take you awhile to believe it or process it.  “God is all-powerful and causes everything that happens in the world.  Nothing happens without His willing it.”  God is all powerful, but   Just because God is all-knowing does not mean He causes bad things to happen to good people.   “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”   (2 Peter 3:9).  
It is almost impossible to believe that God does not always get His way.  Bad things do happen to good people in this world, but it is not God who wills it.  God would like people to get the good things they deserve in this life, but He will not always arrange it.  God wants the righteous to live peaceful, happy lives, but sometimes it does not happen the way He wants it to.
Why?  Because He loves you and me and He has given us a license that is called “free will”.  "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). 
 He has temporally abdicated His all-powerful ability to give you the ability to choose to love Him and receive good things from Him.  If we can bring ourselves to acknowledge that there are some things God does not control, many good things become possible.  We will be able to turn to God for things He can do to help us, instead of holding on to unrealistic expectations of Him which will never come about.  Our question should be “God, see what is happening to me. Can You help me?” not “God, why are You doing this to me?”  Where was God when Hitler killed over 6 million men, women, and Children?  He was with the victims and not with the murderers.  Even though He does not control man’s choosing between good and evil, he is sees and feels the tears and prayers and is suffering alongside the people He has created.  “For we have not a high priest who is not able to be touched by the feelings of our feeble flesh; but we have one who has been tested in all points as we ourselves are tested, but without sin. Then let us come near to the seat of grace without fear, so that mercy may be given to us, and we may get grace for our help in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:15-16).
God gets back His power when we pray and get strength and comfort from Him.  He puts that power in us to feed the hungry, fight the injustice in our world, heal the brokenhearted, and all the things that He allowed His Son, the Lord Jesus to do, now He can use us.  You become His legs, His arms, His feet, and His mouth.
When bad things happen to good people, God wants to help them.  He wants  those who are hurting to stop hurting themselves.  He wants you to pray and connect with others who have the power to get things from Him.  He wants to comfort you and love you when bad things are happening to you.  He wants you to comfort others when bad things are happening to them.  Prayer will deliver you from many bad things, but not all bad things.  But when bad things happen to God’s people, they can be assured of one thing and that is that He will give you the ability to get through it.  This is called grace.  “And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”                              (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Finally, when bad things happen to good people, they have a choice.  They can allow God to use them to help others or they can become bitter and angry.  You can become better or you can become bitter. I hope you will understand this one thing and that is that the bad things that happen to you are not from God.  They are either from poor choices or Satan Himself.   Our Lord said about Himself and Satan: “The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).