Dear friend, one thing we need to deal with in these days when well meaning saints of God are claiming the best of everything, perfect health, instant healings, fine salaries, fine homes, and expensive cars, is what the scripture has to say concerning suffering, trials, and tribulation.

Man may boast of his faith, but God tries his faith by fire to see just how strong it really is, (not how strong he says it is).

Let me say up front that the trial of your faith is not sent to destroy you, but to make you strong, and the faithful, who when tried in the furnace of affliction will come forth as pure gold, with all the dross of self burnt away.

Secondly, suffering has it's own purifying effect.

It separates us from the flesh, causing us to see that it is but dust and profiteth nothing at all. If we whine and cry over the light afflictions He allows us to go through, then we do not know Gods' purpose in them; read II Corinthians 4: 8 - 17 ... Neither do we understand the meaning of the text, Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. Hebrews 12: 6 - 11.

Even though now for a season, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1: 6-7

Therefore beloved, think it not strange concerning the firey trial that is to try you: But rejoice, in as much as you are partakers of Christ's suffering, that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4: 12-13

For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourself likewise with the same mind: For he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the lusts of men, but the will of God.

Many expect to enter the Kingdom of God some easier way, sort of through the back door, but the Bible says in Acts 14: 22 That we must through much tribulation enter the Kingdom!! Let me encourage you dear suffering saint, you have many companions in your trials and tribulations. Read Hebrews chapter 11 again, this time with an open and thankful heart that you are counted worthy to suffer for Christ's sake... The apostle John writes in Rev. 1: 9; I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,.. Also listen to what the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3: 8 - 10 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...

One of the tragedies of our modern age is that the moment you fall into suffering, affliction, tribulation, failure in business, or any such trial, there will never lack a host of Jobs' comforters who will jump at the opportunity to show you that your suffering has come upon you because God is displeased with your life and is punishing you for your wrong doing.. Never lend an ear to such unlearned, unenlightened, ignorant people. (don't forget Jobs' friends were wrong!!) Remember the words of Jesus--In the world you shall have tribulation; But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world....

There are so many dear saints claiming this and that to satisfy the desires of the flesh, and yet hope to rule and reign with Christ when He returns. Friends the scripture clearly says; If you want to rule with Him, then you must suffer with Him. We need to come to the place where we can say as in James 1:2, I count it all Joy when I fall into divers temptations. read verses 3 & 4.

Let me point out the good of your suffering.. Suffering of any kind, rightly accepted and understood always works death to the flesh and its desires, but life to the spirit.

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance. All these things grow and increase under fiery trials, affliction, suffering and temptation.

I cannot emphasize too strongly that suffering for righteousness sake is a God sent purifier, putting to death all corrupt and carnal tendencies, while at the same time acting as a fertilizer to all the graces of the spirit.

To suffer for righteousness sake is the honor of any christian, to suffer for the cause of truth, a good conscience or any part of christian duty, is a great honor. The delight of it is greater than the torment, the honor much more than the disgrace and the gain much more than the loss!!!! Therefore let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful creator. I Peter 4: 19. Even our Lord Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered. Hebrews 5: 8 - 9

The Apostle Paul advised believers who were going through the trials and afflictions of this life to look beyond the present to the glory ahead. Paul acknowledges that our outer man is perishing while the inner man of spirit is being renewed day by day. He said our " light afflictions " were momentary, but were working " FOR US " a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal (temporary); but the things which are not seen are eternal " 2 Co. 4: 16-18.

Friends, we need to come to the place in our christian walk where we know with everything that is in us, that God loves us and is with us in ALL things...Absolutely ALL things are working together for our good whether we understand it or not.

We really can say, I can do all things, be all things and suffer all things for Christ's sake and for the sake of the wonderful good He is working out in our lives. Oh, if we could only learn early in our christian walk with the Lord, that our lives are as clay in the potters hands, to be moulded, not according to our likes or dislikes, but according to the design of the potter. I love the words of a song given to a brother a few years back, I sing it often, in prayer concerning my own heart, I pray you can sing it honestly yourself.

Make me new Lord Jesus, make me new. It seems in oh so many ways I'm not enough like you, Take this weary vessel I have been and mould me once again, Change my heart, Change my spirit, Make me new.

There is so much more one could share on the suffering and perfecting of the saints, but there is not room in this little writing. Let me encourage you to get out your concordance and study the subject out, it will change your life..

In closing I would like to take the liberty of paraphrasing, for today's economy, Habakkuk 3: 17 - 19. Although the cupboards may be bare and neither fruit on the shelf, though the company I work for fail and my labour yield no wage; Yet will I rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation, for the Lord God is my strength and He will make me to rise up and walk in high places with Him.. Praise His name..

Sincerely in the Love of Christ,