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The devil is a schemer who takes advantage of our weakness and ignorance. The bible declares that every good thing comes from God above. Because of His nature of love it would be impossible for God to sent calamity from heaven to us. Yet many have labelled disasters that occur in this world as ''acts of God''. This is the mind-set which the devil wants us to have and unfortunately we have taken the bait. To the contrary, it is Satan who, if he had the power, would want to annihilate mankind in one swipe. Unfortunately the Spirit of the Lord in mankind (i.e believers) has always been here on the earth and that has proved to be an unmatched obstacle to fiend's machinations. The combined effort of Christians can stifle the operations of Satan. Acts 12:5-11 is one example where the prayer of saints conquered Lucifer's plot to cause the untimely death of Peter at the hands of Herod. In a similar way we can apply this truth in our lives as individuals, families, church etc. Psalms 82:5-6 talks of us as walking in darkness and without understanding, yet the Lord declared that we are ''gods'' sons of the Most High. And Ecclesiastes 10:7 says I have seen beggars on horse back while princes go on foot like slaves. We have been mentored to feel hopeless and yet we wield the power. When Christ triumphed over the devil by coming back to life he conquered the evil-one on our behalf. It means that the ''grip'' which the devil had to cause calamity over our lives had been undone and that by the guidance of the Holy Spirit in us, we now have the ability to avoid the trouble spots of the enemy. Kings who walked with God in the Old Testament inquired of the Lord always before engaging in a battle of war. At times our rushed decisions into something can cause untold suffering and we then find comfort in blaming God in that he ''allowed it to happen'' and yet we never consulted him in the first place. Yes, the christian can face challenges, but because of the power from on high (Holy Spirit) which he has been endued with, he is also able to overcome same just like his master Jesus.
Thank you Michael and if I might add this one thing about bad things happening to believers who because of the work of the Holy Spirit are formed by God with a new a good heart. Because our perception of "good" whether its about ourselves or how we think things should be is not naturally in accord with the true and ultimate absolute good of glorifying God. This is the case even after we are saved. At best we are a mixed bag. Our remaining sin is the same evil stuff that completely dominates the unbeliever. It is the most dangerous and deceptive when it is thought by us to be good. The example I wish use to illustrate this is Peter. Peter was loved by Jesus and was even one of the inner circle. Peter like us wanted to believe he was loved because he was worthy. The bad thing that Jesus is going to get to is the delusion Peter has about his own goodness and loyalty. When Jesus had told the apostles they would be scattered. Mark 14: 27 Then Jesus said to them, “ All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered. ’ 28 “ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to Him, “ Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” 30 Jesus said to him, “ Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” Peter wasn't pretending to be loyal and devoted he could not have been more sincere. But on the other hand he could not have been more wrong. Jesus according to Luke's account even gives to Peter a behind the scenes view of what is really going on and even this doesn't shake his confidence in his own goodness. Luke 22:31-34 31 And the Lord said, “ Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” 33 But he said to Him, “ Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “ I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” The one thing that made the difference between Peter and Judas is "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me." Notice that Jesus did not pray that Peter not fail but that his faith not fail. It is only because Jesus is the Author and finisher of Peters faith that this is happening for Peters good. Jesus is getting at the bad stuff, Peters proud self reliance to establish Peters better self the new man in Christ who will has hope only in goodness and mercy of God because he knows that in himself that is in his flesh dwells no good thing. Good and bad things happen to us every day. If God has begun a good work in you it can only work together for your good. When you fail does it humble you and turn your face toward Jesus in brokenness and shame this is grace. When you are faced with something that seems to destroy the very foundation of your perception of yourself or God or how you thought things were supposed to be cast yourself upon the mercy of as Job did. If you abandon Jesus where can you go? The greatest atrocity that has occurred in history is the brutal crucifixion of the King of Glory this was setup and orchestrated by God to display His Wisdom power and goodness. Acts 2:22-23 “ Men of Israel, hear these words:Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know — 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; If that most evil atrocity that has ever occurred is the source of the greatest good that infinite Wisdom could imagine then lets trust Him with with our very souls!
I have been in the valley it seems more than on the mountain top. It is the only way to learn to trust the Lord. I have been to the place where I totally gave up and told the Lord I just can't do this any more. He already knows that and He comes right back and says "My grace is sufficient for you. Now, are you ready to trust in My righteousness or your own". His ways are not our ways, and our ways are not his ways. Once we become a child of God through faith in what Jesus did on the cross for us, He will never let us go. NO MATTER WHAT. We may "feel" abandoned, but we are not. It is His commitment to us, not our commitment to Him. Jesus said I will never leave you or forsake you. We can take that check to the bank and cash it everyday. Me--But Lord, I need to know what to do right now. The Lord,- "Just trust me." Me-OK Lord, what else have I got. Who else can help me. All my hope is wrapped up in You. But Lord, Help me with my unbelief.
This is to: Why, when I pray, do bad things occur in my life? I pray before any decision I make in life and pray for others. I always end my prayers with 'Thy will be done'Yet, I have lost my job. Repeatedly had my heart broken. I read scripture concerning my finances and guarding my heart. How can I possibly spread the Gospel, when deep in my heart I know that future Christians will go through so much pain and unanswered prayers. Yes, I know that God's way are not my ways. At this point, why should I bother to pray? It feels like I am being punished even though the Bible reads my sins have been forgiven. I am really afraid to pray any longer. I feel so left out of the abundant life I am suppose to have. Dear Wondering Child of God... I too have felt as you do...it is the devils plan to dishearten you from pursuing God and His Will. Life is a learning and refining process for us to learn, grow, mature, and rely more on God and His Word. It is our process of becoming more like Christ and knowing Him intimately. The Christian walk is not always easy, but as you grow in faith, love, knowledge and wisdom of our God and Savior, your eyes will be open to His truth, grace, mercy, and love in ways that will totally astound and amaze you. And you will experience a peace and joy that not only sustains you in every circumstance and earthly trial, but provides for you beyond your expectations. Not necessarily the way you may imagine, but you will be grateful because you will see God IS caring for you always. You have to want God above yourself, and be willing to turn your will to His in ALL things. You can't sit on the fence about your relationship with God! Right now the devil has you right where HE wants you..the crossroad of Faith in God or surrender to him (devil) and earthly desires. God will provide all your needs, but are you truly on board as part of, and subject to, HIs Plan for your life, or are you just secretly hoping He will just give you what you want and life here will be better for you? Jesus said, "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30 NKJV) This is TRUTH when you totally trust and rely on God. This may be your personal crossroad for eternity, it is your choice which way to go. Your Christian walk may be a difficult and sometimes painful journey but it is SOOOO worth it! Don't let the devil win the battle for your soul, keep fighting for your faith and relationship with God, and you will reap Eternal Rewards! Once you can begin to see and recognize God's earthly blessings from your struggles, you will see the this earthly journey is well worth it too. God Wins...choose wisely!
The answer that is hard to hear, but necessary, to receive the Good News is that in God's eyes; though He loves us very much; no one is good, only His Son, Jesus Christ. Michael answered this thoroughly, so I want to add about the suffering and persecution that may come to the Christ follower that the New Testament warns us about. It may look like bad things happening to good people. Frequently, I see really passionate followers of Christ that may die young, experience health or relationship disasters, or as they share the gospel and give their testimonies of Christ's transforming work in their hearts and lives, may experience suffering and persecution. I always remember Joseph's story of what was meant for evil, God used for good for the saving of many people (Genesis 50:20). God is sovereign! We are to count the cost of following Christ (Luke 14:27-28) and trust in the Lord with all our hearts instead of being fearful of our circumstances. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Usually, just like the disciples of the early church, the more vocal we are about Jesus (Romans 10:17), the more opposition we will face (Satan hates us), but though we even may face death in parts of the world (just as the disciples and Paul did), we will be rewarded in heaven. For a young, godly person who was serving the Lord who dies early-- Isaiah 57:1-2 "Good people pass away, the godly often die before their time, but no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is PROTECTING them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die." I have also seen in the deaths of young Christ followers that many, many come to salvation from the impact these youths have had on their campuses/communities. Their funerals are used to glorify God, share the gospel and show the public that Christians are different in truly having eternal hope. (Romans 3:5-6) For the rest, a true, saving knowledge (John 17:3) of Jesus Christ will result in suffering/ persecution that will be rewarded in eternity while may be very difficult here on earth. We should pray fervently for these believers and encourage. There are many amazing stories of faith, forgiveness and walking as Jesus walked on websites such as Voice of the Martyrs. In Revelation 6:9-11 the martyrs who died for Christ have a special place under the throne of God and Christ. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17 We rejoice when we suffer for being Christians because we know that doing so is making us more and more like Christ which is the goal of every Christian, and we are given the opportunity to "die to self" and serve the Lord wholeheartedly because we love Him since He first loved us. There are many verses about this suffering-- 2 Corinthians 1:7, 2 Corinthians 4:8-12, Philippians 1:29, Colossians 1:24, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5, 2 Timothy 1:12 (the song- For I Know Whom I Have Believed), 2 Timothy 2:3 (we are soldiers in a spiritual battle), 2 Timothy 4:5, Hebrews 10:32-33, 1 Peter 2:21, 1 Peter 4:19, 1 Peter 5:9 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:12-13 This list doesn't even include the persecution verses that Jesus promised we would have like Mark 10:29-31. There are many false teachings- prosperity gospel or cheap grace gospel which you can read about on www.gotquestions.org. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:10 Philippians 4:13! Blessings.
The original question 'Why does it seem that things get worse instead of better when we begin to pray' is very different from 'Why does bad things happen to good people'. Prayer is very much misunderstood and It's understandable why. We're told to pray without ceasing 1Thess 5:17, that the prayers of the righteous man has great power James 5:16, and that God would give much more to His children than we evil people would give to ours if His children would simply ask Luke 11:13. These scriptures make prayer sound like a walk in the park on a sunny day. It is anything but that. But it isn't the beginning of bad fortunes for the persons who give themselves totally to it. When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you Matt 6:6. This has caused many to believe that this is a formula to a quick answer to prayer, praying in secret. 1John 5:14,15 says that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us, and if we KNOW that He hears us we KNOW that we have what we have asked. Therein is the confusion begun: "Lord can you hear me? It can seem that God has turned away His ears from listening and when we pray we're only making a wish. But the key to answered prayer is to rejoice in the act itself not a perceived outcome. To be heard by the Creator of all life is to have what you've requested: To Be Heard By Him. Anything else is not of faith and causes delay in the settlement. Prayer is a guarantee of being heard by the Lord and that's enough for a person with faith in Him. The Pharisee who said the Lord doesn't listen to the prayer of a sinner didn't know what he was talking about John 9:31. If that was true we couldn't get help from the Lord until we got saved. Pray without ceasing. Ongoing intimacy with the Lord is the prompt, not begging for all we can think of. Psalm 27 explains it. The songwriter says that God is his help in all the circumstances he finds himself in, but he has to wait on Him. He just needs to get a prayer through: One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple Psalm 27:4. He just wants to be free to call on the Lord. The rest he leaves to Him.
We need to remember that everything happens for a reason. We should continue praying, praising, and trusting God no matter what happens to us. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Psalm 34 says "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Finally, we should remember Romans 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." It doesn't say all things are good, but that all things work TOGETHER for good.
By God's standards(which moral perfection by the way) there is no such a thing as a "good" person. You could never merit heaven on your own righteousness because our righteousness is like filthy rags to God. Even the most morally upright righteous person on earth would not be good enough for him. Life is often full of up and downs bad things happen to everybody however just because one moment in your life is full of sorrow doesn't mean it isn't going to get better. People tend to focus on the negative a lot.
The Bible says: Gen 1:26 – God created man in His own image. So, creation explains why we are capable of great good. Gen 2:8, 16, 17 – God put our first parents in a perfect environment with everything they needed. (Remember that naturalism says, if we just had a perfect environment, everyone would be good.) He gave them a command to obey. God didn’t want robots. He wanted creatures who chose to have fellowship with Him. Gen 3:1-24 – Man disobeyed. We see their guilt (Genesis 3:7). We see that the world was affected Genesis 3:17-18). The result was immediate spiritual death and eventual physical death. Because of the fall, the image of God was corrupted. And the Bible teaches that Adam’s sin was passed on to the whole human race. Rom 5:12 says, “So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned.” In Ps 51:5, David says, “Look, I was prone to do wrong from birth; I was a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.” So, the fall also explains why man is capable of great evil. Rom 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. Otherwise, the penalty for sin is death (Rom 6:23) So, man sinned, but God provided a way to make things right by sending His Son to die and pay the penalty for sin. So we started out being good but turned bad. Bad things happen to bad people. Life is a test to see if we will still choose God even after bad things happen to us. And I really love that famous quote/image: "Why do bad things happen to good people? That only ever happened once, and He volunteered. ~ R.C. Sproul, Jr.
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