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I get the sense sometimes that many who claim to be Christians think suffering should not be part of their lives and they ought not to be mistreated by unbelievers. There are preachers who tell their listeners that God wants them to be healthy and wealthy (as many of those leeches are).

Even if they use the Bible, the preaching of these frauds always comes back to that message, no matter where it starts. “Believe God for a miracle.” “If you are not healed, you don’t have enough faith.” “Send your money in and get a prayer cloth.”

Some claim to get messages from God about healings that are going on right there on the spot.

There are dear Christians who get caught up in all this and believe if they only had more faith, if they travel to be in attendance at a meeting, if they send in more money, they would be healed or their financial situation will improve.

How horrific for the sick, the infirm and the poor!

These false teachers can be quite persuasive and play on people’s emotions, making them feel guilty because they didn’t trust God. All sort of anecdotes about themselves and others who have done as they say and been healed and or been materially blessed in some way.

It is all a crock.

But the problem is not just with these devilish hucksters. They know great health and wealth are attractive. Who wouldn’t want perfect health and loads of money? It appeals to our base lusts.

Why do people gamble or play the lottery, spending money that could be saved or spent on necessities for their families? Same basic dream.

My friend, if you really believe your best life is now or it could be now, here in this life, you are either deceived or not a believer in the Lord Jesus, because that is far from what we read in the Bible, let alone the words of Jesus.

On the evening before his crucifixion with all that was on our Savior’s mind, Jesus’ concern was for his 11 faithful apostles who did not yet understand fully who he was, why he had come and what would soon occur. He sought to comfort them.

Read John 13-17 sometime. Here are a few things he told them:

  • 14:27; Christ promised his peace, not this world’s false hopes of peace.
  • 15:18-21; the hatred of the world towards Christ and those who are Christ’s
  • 16:33 is last verse before Christ’s prayer for them, which summarizes the other two passages. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

The root meaning of the word tribulation is pressure or crushing. It is part of being a Christian, but Christ gives us his peace in the midst of it.

The Christian’s hope is not being freed from tribulation in this life (that will not happen), but rejoicing in the great hope we have that Christ will come again, we will be made like him and finally see him as he is. (1 John 3.1-3)

Christian brothers and sisters, your hope in this world of trouble must always be Jesus Christ your Lord, what he has done for you, what he is now doing for you and what he one day will do for you. Let the world seek all the other things. You seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and the Lord will add to you what you need and he will always be with you no matter what.

Charles Fitzpatrick is the pastor of Reibers Reformed Baptist Church near Shermans Dale.

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