Job 15-17

Job knows that God does not always punish the wicked and reward the godly. Since that is true, what motive would we have for obeying God? Eliphaz realizes that Job’s stance will put his own future in jeopardy, because Eliphaz enjoys rewards, which he thinks stem from his own godliness.  If people serve God only for what they get out of it, then they are not really serving God at all, they are truly serving themselves by making out that their practice of godliness is demanding God serve them with rewards. Jesus stated that people which have a faith in religion like that, already have their reward. Mat. 6:1-5. The best motivation for practicing our faith is love, which Job knew from Dt. 6:4-5. God didn’t need to promise Job more blessings for more faithfulness. Job knew that the fulfillment of God’s law in his own life was loving God no matter how bad God let us down. Paul expresses this clearly, Romans 13:8-10.

Eliphaz has harsh words for Job, which charge Job with hypocrisy, 15:34-35.  Job denied the charge of hypocrisy in 13:16, 17:8 & 27:8. Job knew that his friends couldn’t prove it true.  The suffering Job feels is proof to Eliphas that Job is hiding a past sin and is not owning up to it, but Job knows that his suffering in this life ends in this life, and in heaven there will be no pain or tears. Job’s suffering was working for Job to lead to glory. Job was hoping that his suffering would lead to vindication, and that his honest relationship with God would be justified in staying faithful till death. This surely is the only way Christian martyrs could face piety in the face of persecution to death, 1st Pt. 1:6-8, 5:10 & 2nd Cor. 4:16-18 & Rom. 8:18.

In Job’s reply we have three requests, 16:1-14, Sympathy from Friends.  16:15-22, Justice from God.  17:1-16, Relief in Death. Job does feel like God painted a target on his back and gave everyone bows & arrows. His suffering was so great that he longed to die, but he didn’t want to die before he could vindicate himself or see God vindicate him, which explains his cry in 16:18. Ancient people did believe that the blood of innocent victims cried out to God for justice (Gen. 4:8-15) and that the spirits of the dead were restless until the corpses were properly buried, Isa. 26:21. So even if Job died, he would be restless till he had been proved righteous by the Lord. The reason Job cries for a fair trial before God is because he has no advocate or mediator before God to represent him in his sufferings. None of his friends would defend him, so his only hope was that God in heaven would defend him and bear witness to his integrity (16:19).  As a Christian we have Jesus as our Advocate, 1st Jn. 2:1-2. He intercedes as our High Priest mediating for sinful priests and priestesses like ourselves, Heb. 2:17-18, 4:14-16. So confession to Christ is essential, 1st Jn. 1:5. If in this life only we have hope, we are miserable, but since Christ Himself is our hope, we may sorrow in suffering, but not without hope, 1st Cor. 15:19-20.  

God looked beyond Job’s hopeless depression and bitterness and saw that he still had faith. Sometimes in life we must learn to be thankful for unanswered prayer. Because in the darkness of despair (we like Job) sometimes say things to God, we later regret, but God understands all about it and lovingly turns a deaf ear to our words but a tender eye to our wounds. C.S. Lewis says of suffering, “Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly, Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively, but don’t come talking to me about the consolation of religion, or I will suspect you don’t understand”.  If we inside religion want to be a true comforter, there is a price to pay and not everyone in religion is willing to pay it. But the God of all comfort, comforts us to make us comforters to others, not to just make us merely comfortable. God expects us to share His comfort with others. 2nd Cor. 1:3-7.

Jesus Annointed Thrice?

Key Texts: Luke 7:11, 36-50 & John 12:1-8

 It is easy to confuse the texts and see them as the same event or just two events. If we consider the synonomy of Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9. It becomes even more confusing, but as we compare the differences and similiarities, we can possibly see that there are actually three different events taking place, which every gospel writer comments upon.
Luke                                             John                                  Matthew & Mark
Near Nain in Galilee                 In Bethany nr Jerualem            In Bethany nr Jerusalem
Simon, Pharisees House      Mary & Martha’s House        Simon, The Lepers House
Much Earlier                    Before Triumphal Entry                   After Triumphal Entry
Parable told to Simon              Disciples Addressed                Disciples Addressed
Sinning Woman of City            Mary the Sister of Lazarus       ‘a woman’
Upon Feet with tears                  Upon Feet, NO tears                At Head, no tears
Woman forgiven           Mary Guarded & burial mentioned     Memorial & Burial
No price of oil                         300 denarii Judas quoted         Disciples value oil
Alabaster Flask                       No Flask                                 Alabaster Flask   

Isaiah 61:1-3, is what Jesus read in the Synagogue at Nazareth (Lk 4:18-19), and it mentions the “oil of joy” replacing mourning, as a response to the Spirit anointing the Messiah.  Here in all four gospels, oil may be symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit and in each anointing we have humble women exalting the holiness and forgiveness they see in Jesus. Kingship in Israel was always instigated by the anointment of oil, see 1st Sam. 16:13 in the example of David. It is interesting to note that David is the only King, Jesus quotes. David is also the only King mentioned in Hebrews 11, the chapter of heroic faith.  Could the women in the gospels be used by God to remind Jesus that His Kingship has a future rule to be exercised after his burial? The people certainly try to treat Him like a King upon his entry into Jerusalem. But the sentiment of His Kingship is twisted in a false charge against him during his trial before Pilate.  Obviously from our perspective today, we need to remember that our place and duty is to exalt Jesus as holy and royal.  This good news, is memorialized by an unknown woman, do we see ourself  here in this message, pointing people to Jesus?

Jesus Teaching on the Richman & Lazarus

Many people find it difficult to see this passage as anything other than a parable. Even as early as Beza in his 6th century manuscript, with Latin & Greek writing, it’s noted as a parable.  But Luke wrote it between several sayings and warnings of Jesus. Indeed chapter 16 begins with a parable, but Luke afterwards writes about Jesus teaching Pharisees who loved money and gave them plain teaching in 16:14-18, then he begins teaching on the rich man and Lazarus. Chapter 17 begins with more plain teaching. Grammatically in the majority of Greek texts there is no reason to call the story a parable and none but Beza’s do it.  Another reason to accept it as plain teaching is it’s unique features which make it different from any other parable. Such as the naming of a person like Lazarus, and also, parables do not narrate on the spiritual realm. All parables are earthly stories which have a spiritual truth to teach.  But the story of the rich man & Lazarus is a spiritual story with a spiritual truth. Another fact that distinguishes the story from a parable is it’s lack of analogy in it’s point. True, some parables do end with no explanation, but when they do, they each have an obvious analogy. This story has no analogy, it simply tells us plain truths. If it is a parable, where is the analogy? The facts are:

1. There is no such thing as reincarnation, v26, Heb. 9:27

2. There is no migration of souls from punishment to bliss or vice-versa, v26

3.  The resurrection and the scriptures have God’s power, 31, Rom. 1:2-4, 16.

4. Everyone is given supernatural knowledge of identification after death, v23

5. Money can not buy eternal life or divine favor, the rich man met punishment, Luke 6:30.

6. God’s children are assured assistance from angels during death, v22, Mt. 18:10.

7. Beggars do not go to paradise because they are beggars.  Lazarus went to paradise because he had obviously listened to Moses & the Prophets and believed to become a child of Abraham, v31. Today we need to listen to Christ to obtain the right by faith, becoming a child of God, John 1:11-13.

8. The conclusion is that there is no second chance at salvation after death, despite what any other denomination or scholar says about eschatology, the rapture or pre- or post-millennium doctrine from interpreting Revelation otherwise. Our judgment takes place outside of time, after this part of life on earth.  Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “THIS DAY…..”  Luke 23:43.

None of the above facts, are in obvious conflict with the entirety of God’s word. Paradise is where we all want to be. The word is used in Genesis 2:8, where dwelt the tree of life, it disappears throughout Biblical history but reappears in Rev. 2:7, 22:2 & 14. The word paradise is used by Jesus on the cross to the thief, Lk. 23:43 and by Paul in 2Cor. 12:4, seeing things which were unlawful for mortals to talk about. Therein is our hope alive, Colossians 1:5. Is it by faith also in your heart?

Job 4 & 6

Perhaps we are closer to God and growing in Him best, when we are wrestling with Him, rather than merely mouthing pious prayers of thanksgiving for blessings? Remember Jacob turning into Israel while wrestling with God’s angel, Gen. 32:24-32. We must endure for the blessings to come, they are worth it. Paul lived this principle in his daily life victoriously, 2nd Cor. 11:30-31 & 12:9-10.

 Job and his friends were wrong in trying to explain everything about God, they seemed to have a defiant attitude to go one on one with God and find justification for all the suffering Job had to endure. What is wrong with this? Nothing really, but when we assume we have the RIGHT to question God, we become like children arguing in a sandbox, in comparison to the wisdom & mysterious judgments of God, never forget Romans 11:33 & Job 16:2.

Whatever the answer is to our trials, it lay in making the right choice by trusting God to get us through them. Most of the suffering Christians must experience in their life is not due to our own personal sins, but rather the reason for most of our suffering is because of the fact that we live in a sinful world. Will we choose to glorify God or reject His help? Jesus recognizes this dilemma when he dealt mercifully with the man born blind, recorded in John 9:1-3, 44.  Worshiping God in any circumstance is worthwhile, it is our job, no matter what happens, to give God thanks for something, even in the worst of trials.

The friends of Job only had an intellectual relationship with God. This is not helpful. Eliphaz’s experience was a reality for him, but it was not God’s wisdom. The power of God needs to be searched for in our heart thorugh God’s promising word. The reason Job survived such criticism from his so-called friends, is because Job’s heart persevered in his search to know God, instead of just knowing about God, therein lay God’s strength for Job, 4:2-3.  Eliphaz the Temanite criticized Job because Eliphaz didn’t know God personally. Job 4:6 shows Eliphaz’s ignorance in thinking that a person’s own confidence, integrity and respect would be power for a person in pain. Eliphaz believed a lie and Job would not fall for it.

Job felt like God had shot poisenous arrows through him, Job 6:2-4.  He didn’t know that his pain was actually Satan’s arrows. Job, like ourselves must come to terms with God’s allowance and permission for Satan to test us. Why? So that our faith in God can grow and be stronger for other people to learn from in overcoming sin. Job’s laments are acceptable. Job admits his words are rash, but this is expected because God made us this way. Donkey’s bray when hungry and oxen lo when out of food, and humanity cries out to God when we are dealt unfair blows. The answer to suffering truly is a fellowship with Jesus becaue it is by Christ’s stripes we are healed, 1st Peter 2:24, we must remember that the Spirit of Christ actually wants to suffer with us in oru trials, Colossians 1:24. There are many things in Job’s life that make us feel sorry for him, his loss of his children, property and his painful boils and even an angry wife on top of it all. But what truly is worse that all of this, is the realization that Job did not have a sympathing mediator between him and God. Our advantage in suffering as a Christian is the fact that we have Jesus, who gives us the victory over this sinful sufferable life. Our grave does not win, death itself has no sting. Praise God for our mediator and sympathizing High Priest Jesus Christ.

Jesus & The Man Born Blind

Key Text: John 9:1-41 

Why the disciples asked the question about the origin of sin, or why the man was born blind, is indicative of one certainty.  The man’s blindness was obvious and must have shown itself from some kind of deformity. His blindness was not because of any sin he or his parents committed. But for God to be glorified, He had planned for this meeting of Jesus. However, for ourselves, it is comforting to know that our frailties, illnesses or injuries are not necessarily directly linked to our sin (although sometimes they can be), but rather they are often put upon us because of the consequences of sin’s existence in the world from the beginning.

Jesus recognizes the fact of undeserved suffering, Job 1:8, 13-20. Mat. 7:25. Bad things happen to good people, but will good people gain God’s strength for His glory in bad circumstances? God is waiting to see if we make the right choice in our suffering. God does allow Satan to throw terrible tragedies into our life, for apparently no fault of our own. Will we choose to reach out to God for His strength and wisdom to carry us through trials, or will we choose to negate God’s love and ability to help us in our tragedies?  We often face this choice, and it relies on our faith to determine whethor Jesus is light or not.

Jesus is the light of the world, Jn. 1:6-9. Giving enlightenment to a person who didn’t have the physical means to see, is beyond amazing! It’s obviously a lesson to us all, that without Jesus, we cannot hope to see the Kingdom of God, we simply do not have the ability. Our sight of and understanding of truth, rests upon His grace and power to help us see it, Eph. 1:18. God says through  Isaiah 60:1, Arise, shine; for the light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.  See 1st Jn 1:6-7.The pool of Siloam is in the S.E. corner of old Jerusalem. It derives it’s water from the Gihon spring (2Kg. 20:6, 20), which King Hezekiah (701BC) strategically situated for the city to have a secure water supply. It did become a ‘sacred place’ before the days of Jesus and according to rabbinic tradition it was used during the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) to draw water from and into a golden vase, then it was carried in procession to the Temple, a reference to this is in John 7:38. Perhaps it’s name is derived from Genesis 49:10 (tribute, right, allegiance) where Messianic hope is spoken of as “Shiloh”, and repeated in Isaiah 8:6. The Judaic Royalty of Kingship lay in this prophecy, and perhaps Jesus was using this place as helping Him give His disciples and this man, insight into the type of King and Kingdom he desired to bring into the world. Lk. 17:20-21.“How can a man that is a sinner do such things?” 9:16, 10:19-21. The Pharisees were the strongest party in the Sanhedrin. They quickly moved to suppress ideas of deity in Jesus and make opposition to the public’s view of Jesus. But obviously, enemies of Jesus were divided among themselves as to what exactly happened on this occasion. Before and after this event, we can see the Jewish rulers were beginning to feel division amongst themselves, John 7:43, 10:19. Perhaps this is the origin of Joseph of Arimathea giving Nicodemus (Jn. 3:1-2) support in the burial of Jesus.  The argument within the Sanhedrin was explosive because the truth was too obvious to refute, and it’s consequences were disastrous for Phariseeism. The man who was healed had won over people to Jesus, because of the way God uses truth in our lives, see 1st Cor. 3:19-21. But not even Joseph of Arimathea was bold enough to follow Jesus openly, Jn. 19:38, so who could criticize the Parents in the way they pointed to their son for confirmation of the truth?  Spiritual blindness is a far worse problem than physical blindness. Jesus brings this to the Pharisee’s attention in v39-41.


Jesus came to give us an abundant life, John 10:10. We should all be wanting to grow His fruit, especially in view of John The Immersionist’s warning, God says through John, “And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10) God wants to grow the best in us, from the very beginning, mankind has been too keen on an alternative fruit, which is seen in Adam & Eve eating the forbidden fruit. We certainly do not want to live lives that make other people think we have grown fruit, but inwardly, we know we are empty. We need to take this seriously because of the way Jesus treated the fig tree. One “day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. (Mark 11:12), later on “When evening came, they went out of the city. In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered! “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered., Mark 11:19-22. If we have faith that God will provide fruit in our lives and quit trying to give ourselves or other people the false impression that we are fruitful spiritually, then God will bless us, strengthen us and help us enjoy being a Christian, so that others may become Christians too. Jesus hates hypocrisy, and He killed the fig tree which gave a false impression. It was “in leaf” but it was the wrong time of year to be “in leaf” and ready to pick fruit from, so when Jesus cursed it, he cursed it for it’s false hypocritical impression. Since this is the only record of Jesus killing something, we should make every effort to be honest with ourselves, God and others, when it comes to showing and using the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.So let us choose to give God everything we need as He wants to grow the fruit of the Spirit which can only be found in Christ. There are five passages in the New Testament which describe His fruit, they are Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 5:9, Hebrews 12:11, and James 3:18, herein we find 12 words God uses to describe His singular fruit.. It is interesting to note that in Revelation, upon seeing all the glory of the end product of Christians in Heaven, the Tree of Life reappears and behold it continually bears 12 different kinds of fruit.. We may suggest that as we are born in Christ, we bear His fruit which is described as singular in several passages of the New Testament, but after we have been transformed and fully delivered in Heaven, we will see all these characteristics of Christ’s fruit, in their full glory, perhaps this is what the fruit on the Tree of Life in Revelation 22:2, represents. So let us learn all about the different parts of the Holy Spirit’s fruit to grow in our heart in this abundant life Jesus wants to give us here and now.

  1. Love, Gal. 5:22
  2. Joy, Gal. 5:22
  3. Peace, Gal. 5:22
  4. Patience, Gal. 5:22
  5. Goodness, Gal. 5:22, Eph. 5:9.
  6. Faithfulness, Gal. 5:22
  7. Kindness, Gal. 5:22
  8. Gentleness, Gal. 5:23
  9. Self-control, Gal. 5:23
  10. Holiness, Romans 6:22
  11. Righteousness, Ephesians 5:9, Hebrews 12:11, James 3:18
  12. Truthfulness, Ephesians 5:9

In the field of Reproduction and Botany, scientists have learnt that fruit is distinguished from vegetables as any flowering growth from the plant that has it’s seeds inside. This is why tomatoes as well as apples are often classed as fruit. Botanists have given fruit 12 different general characteristics or parts.
The following parts are around the seed.
1. Exocarp (outer skin)
2. Mesocarp (flesh of fruit)
3. Pericarp (flesh around seed, usually higher in fructose)
4. Endocarp (material around seed) in peaches it is the stone.
5. Pedical (part of stem which goes inside the fruit)
The following parts are all inside the seed
6. Endosperm
7. Scutellum
8. Cotyledon
9. Plumule
10. Hypocotyl
11. Radicle
12. Coleorhiza

There are over 300,000 species of flowering plants that bear fruit, the majority have these 12 parts in them. This is the result of a Designer. We believe Our God, who made physical fruit also grows spiritual fruit. He designs both kinds with 12 parts and so desires each Christian be benefited with growing His spiritual fruit which contains all 12 parts described in the New Testament. Let us put our full faith in God as Creator and powerful enough to create His characteristics in our lifestyle, as we read His word and pray about His will to be worked out in our life. It is no coincidence that Jesus portrayed the word of God as the seed of the Kingdom. Notice how many parts of the fruit is inside the physical seed of fruit and how complex and necessary it is for the fruit’s existence and reproduction. This benefits everyone who enjoys the fruit. Are you growing and enjoying the fruit of the Spirit, which God wants to grow in your life?

Let us consider these twelve words from the Biblical list above:

1. LOVE: This is not the kind of love ‘rock stars’ sing about, but rather, it is a kind of love that multitudes have sung about over centuries and a love that will spring future generations into song for as long as time lingers into eternity. God is actually described as this kind of love. An eternal life giving love, which is patient and kind, never showing envy or boasting; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, (1st Corinthians 13:4-7). Actually this kind of love is not really human, it’s divine. We should praise God for making us in His image, an image that can taste His love and imitate it. God’s faithful children of centuries past did this and reflected it in the Psalms. All they could do was taste it and try to emulate it, but now, Christians get it poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, (Romans 5:5). His love is everflowing into our hearts and it is up to us, as to how it grows and shows. The old TV show, “love is a many splendored thïng” may be just a cliche for alot of us, but the truth is, the many splendored love of God yearns to be shown off from within our hearts. The nature of God’s love is to share and render service to people who don’t deserve it. This is done in many different and wonderous ways in our daily life, (or should be…).

Perhaps that is why Jesus calls his disciples to be lights in the world, having a love which shines brighter in all directions. Peter and Jesus had a discussion which highlights the aim of God’s love. John 21:15-17 records Jesus using the word ‘love’ in the divine sense (agape) as described above, in a question to Peter about his love for Jesus. Peter always uses a different word for love (phileo) in reply to the question Jesus asks over and over again. Peter ends up feeling frustrated that Jesus persists in talking about agape love, insinuating that Peter’s love is lacking something. The ingredient Peter lacked was a devoted decision to feed God’s sheep, pending any problem, Peter needed a courageous love in order to do the work Jesus had planned for him.

Feeding God’s sheep is sometimes a burden, and without our hearts obtaining the passionate commitment that is found in God’s love, we will fail. No matter how apathetic people are, we need to speak the truth in love. No matter how abusive people are, God needs us to lovingly turn the cheek. No matter how ignorant people are in the church, we need to patiently and humbly do what ever it takes to attract them to the grace and knowledge of Jesus. This is God’s agape love in action, from our hearts. God knows we cannot emulate His love in our daily life, all by ourself. It is part of the fruit of His Spirit, He must grow in us. What are you giving your heart, to make it good ground for healthy growth of God’s love in your heart?

Paul reminds us that our heart should be rooted in His love. He says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19). We can give our heart good food to grow His love by, in praying this prayer and learning more about it from His word. His love WILL show.

JOY, No one will deny that the world is a beautiful place, neither will anyone deny that it is easier to be miserable in this world than it is to be beautiful. Just because the world may be beautiful, doesn’t mean, we feel beautiful all the time, the fact is, most of the time, the world can be a very miserable place in which to live. Let’s look at some ways Christians can be happy! It is God’s will that we be happy! Philippians 4:4, Rejoice always! This may possibly be the tallest order in the Christian’s life. Part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is JOY, Gal, 5:22-23. God wants to grow this in every Christian’s daily life. He gives us His Spirit in our spirit to be with us and grow the joy of Jesus. What is the joy of Jesus? Jn 15:11, whatever it is, it is something He wants us to KEEP ON enjoying with one another, much like loving one another, Jn. 13:34. It is permanent and absolute. When you GET to do what your Parent wants you to do, you are happy to be around them and be with you, BUT? When you GOT to do what your Parents want you to do, it’s not easy to be happy about it.The Bible is your resource guide on how to live your life, experiencing real satisfaction and happiness. Let’s keep the following principles in the forefront of our minds and at the centre of our hearts.

a. “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them” – (Jn. 13:15-17. Learn a servant’s attitude, serving others, takes your mind off of your troubles.

b. “There is no temptation that has overtaken you, which is not common to man, but God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted above that which you are able to bear, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1Cor. 10:13). Learn that you are not alone, millions & millions of people have and are suffering the same thing and that as a Christian, God will provide a way of escape, as well as help you to find others in the church to help bear your burden, (Gal. 6:1-3). This is worth being happy about.

c. “Now to Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end” (Eph. 3:20-21). Learn that prayer is a real channel of blessing for us to make contact with the power of God that works in us, to do things that we can’t even imagine or ask for. This is a means of communication we must be joyful about! Go through life with the power of God working through prayer in you.

d. “For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no deceit, let him turn from evil and do good, let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1Pet. 3:10-12). It doesn’t get any plainer than this. Speak and live the truth, obey God and you’ll be happy!

e. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). Learn that the miserable part of life is very temporary in comparison to eternity. For the Christian an eternity of joy and bliss awaits those who abide faithful in this life.

f. “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” – Jesus (Jn. 16:33). The Christian has a friend that is closer than a brother, He has experienced pain and misery, Jesus. We have a High Priest that can sympathise with our sin, because he took it on himself on the cross. We have more than fellow mankind to share our burden with, we have Jesus and His Spirit, the God of all comfort. Jesus has overcome the misery of this world and everything in it. Since we are more than conquerors, He wants to suffer with us, Col. 1:24, let us be happy about the love of God in our sufferings.

g. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice” (Php. 4:4). Learn that this is more than just advice, rejoicing is a command. James tells us, if a man be happy, let him sing, (Jms. 5:16). If your happy, God wants you to sing about it! Let’s be happy. God wants it that way, we want it, let’s do it!

Seven principles to happiness as a Christian.

Serve others.

Share your burden and look for your escape.

Pray for power to do good.

Put that power to good effect by SpeakingTruth.!

Believe that faith in eternal glory is better than temporary pain.

Remember Jesus has overcome the world for you, he sympathizes and wins the battle, don’t fight it alone.

Remember rejoicing is a command, sing it! Paul says in 2 Cor. 6:8-10 that the attitude we all have access to, even on a weary monday morning is.., “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”. Paul said, “in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds”, 2Cor. 7:4. Why? Because it is God’s gift, not my own.

3. PEACE, Jesus Christ Himself is our peace. This is easily understood when we accept the definition of the Greek word for ‘peace’, eirene. In Gal. 5:22 & Eph. 2:14.

Peace is a part of Him, which He wants us to enjoy at all times and in every way we can enjoy it, 2Ths. 3;16. Peace is His ability to make friends, overcoming anxiety and conflict between Him and us individually and personally. If it were not for the loving self-sacrifice of Jesus, we would have no hope at all, of ever becoming friends with our Creator, God, the Father and Lord of Heaven and Earth. Because of our sinfulness, we are often enemies towards Him and maybe more often in frustration against His will, because of our own sinful selfishness. The whole passage of Ephesians 2:11-22 needs to be read for a real good grasp of God’s peace in your mind.

When His fruit grows in our heart, we find a friendship with God as Abraham himself had such a continual and growing relationship with Him. Abraham is called the Friend of God, James 2:23, so lets consider the faith of Abraham and make it our own so we can enjoy the same friendship Abraham had. A faith that obeyed God’s word, against all the odds, Abraham travelled on a journey not knowing exactly where he would be finished. When he got there, he found it was famine stricken, but still gave thanks for it, and offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving. For survival he fled to Eygpt and when strengthened he returned to the land God promised and showed to him, that is real faith! Abraham also was patient and waited on the promise of God for a son, for several long years and despite all the odds of old-age, he continued with his barren wife, not forsaking her, but in a normal marriage relationship, she conceived and successfully bore a son in old age, what faith! And then if that wasn’t enough faith, Abraham showed more, when God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham tried, but God’s angel stopped him. Can we faithfully obey God, even when it seems dangerous? Abraham did, so can we. Greater is He that is within us, than he that is in the world. 1John 4:4.

Friendship with God helps us overcome many problems. His peace growing in our hearts gives us strength to overcome anxiety and worry in our daily life. Stress is today’s modern day number one killer, and we Christians fall victim to it, all too often. Philippians 4:4-9 needs to be read, prayed about and memorized by every single modern day Christian on earth, especially in our race-crazed modern lifestyle of push-button work ethics. God did not make human beings to be pushed for every hour of the day in a production line. We need to take to heart God’s word in Philippians 4:4-9 seriously, read it now and don’t stop! Of course it is true, God made us with physical bodies which can work and work hard. Jesus knew hard work as a carpenter and He also worked so hard as a teacher, that one day he was so exhausted he fell asleep in a boat crossing across a 2 mile lake! The apostle Paul taught the Christians in Thessalonica to not be lazy but work, 2Ths. 3:7-9. However, we must ask ourselves the question, ‘what are we working for?’ This may help us balance our work and rest, setting priorities where Jesus would set them. His peace we experience with Him will insure we do not overwork ourselves too often, especially when it matters most, our mental and emotional state of well-being must be kept in good shape if we are to overcome evil with good in this earthly life. Our physical health will eventually be depleted as Paul reminds us, the outer person perishes, but the inner person is renewed by His Spirit. 2Cor. 4:16.

Jesus condemned worry, in Matthew 6:25-34. But we all fall into that type of sinfulness all too often. Why? Maybe we should ask, Why should we avoid it? Firstly, it’s no good for us whatsoever! Secondly, it’s a complete waste of time. Thirdly, if we are worrying, we are not trying to find God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. Therefore, we are lost, without His rule and with out His goodness in our lives. His peace can help us rest on Him for answers and solutions coming at the right time after we have fulfilled His righteousness in our lives and done what is good to the best of our ability. There comes a time in every problem we approach, when we must stop and pray, casting our cares upon Him because He cares for us, 1Peter 5:7. Or do we really believe He cares for us. This may be why we worry too much, because we don’t REALLY believe God does care. If we do believe this, then we are walking in His friendship and are at peace with Him.

Reading Psalm 46, is a great source for understanding peace by God’s definition. The Psalmist makes clear that the mere presence of God can be used as a source of peace. The Psalmist also goes on about finding security for the future is such a reality, he can’t help but praise God in song about it, read Psalm 91:1-16. But no matter how much peace you may experience with God in your own mind, body and spirit, there is always that problem with the neighbors which will not go away. God understands that peace should be practical, and not just beneficial to yourself. Romans 12:17-21 was God’s way of showing us all that He understands what it takes to pursue peace with other people around us and that it is necessary to pursue it for our own satisfaction and other people’s eventual salvation. To implement what Paul teaches about pursuing peace with my neighbour, it helps immensely to have an understanding of a few proverbs God gave us through Solomon. Read Prv. 25:21-22 and remember the reasoning behind the law in Dueteronomy 32:35. Whatever the problem, trying to imitate Jesus is our source for showing what real peace means. Whether we battle with National pride, ethnic superiority, class distinctions, religious bigotry, sexism or ageism, we all have a right to know what God wants us to aim for and pray to obtain it. Are you growing this part of the fruit of His Spirit?

4. PATIENCE: When we seem least inclined to be patient, that is when we need it moreso than ever, to be patient at the time. We can be encouraged to grow in patience if we look at its benefits in the book of Proverbs. Read Proverbs: 14:29, 15:18, & 19:11. Patience is often called perseverance because of the need to keep going with the truth. Often times we find that patience is best shown, when we are keeping our thoughts focused on the underlying truth, instead of letting our thoughts rush forward on to things that don’t really matter during the moment our patience is being tested. James chapter 5 is an important chapter for us to understand if we are going to grow in persevering patience. Sometimes, the reason we are not as patient as we should be is because we are NOT focused on the right motivating truth, or the correct reason for doing something. If our motives are wrong, we will lose patience and get frustrated in our task, whatever it is. But if we keep an attitude or motive for doing something because we are trying to imitate Jesus in the task, then we will find the patience to keep on going and persevere to the end, tasting personal satisfaction and achievements. Sometimes the need for speed, works against us, when we really should be falling in love with the virtue of slowness. This is real obvious when a driver is on a road that is strange to him, or when his car is not working properly. The driver is struggling to navigate, or keep the car running, and all the other drivers just don’t understand, they get frustrated and disgusted, sometimes causing a wreck and always scaring other drivers. All because of two truths: 1) The other drivers do not know the truth. 2).The other drivers are not patient enough to slow down and value safety as more important than a few minutes extra driving time.

James 1:19-27 has three paragraphs in it, which at first glance may not seem to be connected in theme, but read them slowly and you will see: A-working righteousness. B-doing the word and doing the work. C-practicing pure religion. All of these necessitate patience on our part. One of the best ways to show patience is in the act of forgiveness. Matthew 18:15-35, it takes persevering patience to practice what Jesus demands of us, when we wrong someone, or when we ourselves are wronged by someone else. It is not easy to approach someone who has offended you, and neither is it easy to approach someone you have offended. It is hard for both people to confront eachother in a painful issue, but Jesus says we must do it! Why? Because without one of us finding the strength to go and talk, the weaker person will fester in the pain and even worse things happen in the future. But if the hurt person is patient with the wrongdoer, or if the wrongdoer is patient with the hurt person, then the strength or courage is found to make a confrontation in a way that recognizes the presence of Christ’s Spirit and the process of forgiveness takes place, starts to take place, Matthew 18:19-20.Patience is also needed between us and God. All of us are at loggerheads with God at one point in our life or sometimes quite often. It is usually because of our impatience with any given situation, that causes most humans to get very frustrated with God. Psalm 40:1-5 is a good text to learn why we should wait on the Lord. Waiting on things like a phone call from a friend is just an inconvenience, compared to a childless couple waiting for a child, or a single person for marriage, or a chronically ill person for health or death, or people in dead-end careers for a breakthrough, or people in unhappy marriages for a solution. These kinds of “waitings” often get people on their knees begging for the answer to such a painful question: “How long, O Lord?”. Understanding what kind of hope God puts in our heart is important. Without a real faith in the promises and rewards of God, our hope gets weak and we get confused about our aim in life. Without a real faith in the past blessings and wonderful works of God in the past, and we forget that God is a rewarder and lose patience. Remember Hebrews 11:6 is true for people in the past as well as ourself in the present and we look forward with hope to see how it comes true in our future, no matter what difficult and painful situation we find ourself in. The very end of Romans chapter 8, helps many Christians to keep hoping and waiting and going to the very end! Romans 8:18-28. The ultimate goal and reward is yet to come for each Christian that tries to let God grow patience in our life. We can not grow it ourself, we must wait on the Lord to grow it. This means we must pray for His timing and wisdom, keeping our mind focused on our need for more patience and God will work everything in our life out, for our good. The glory to come and the rewards within this part of life, are worth waiting for, no matter what pain we suffer. Because His glory and rewards we share in, are greater and better and more glorious than any hardship we could suffer here on earth.