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Finding Lasting Joy

[Neh 8:10 NKJV] 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for [this] day [is] holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

[Psa 21:1 NKJV] 1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The king shall have joy in Your strength, O LORD; And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

[Hab 3:18 NKJV] 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

[Psa 35:27 NKJV] 27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”

[Isa 29:19 NKJV] 19 The humble also shall increase [their] joy in the LORD, And the poor among men shall rejoice In the Holy One of Israel.

[Jer 15:16 NKJV] 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.

[Mat 25:21 NKJV] 21 “His lord said to him, ‘Well [done], good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

  • Neh 8 – Take JOY from God’s STRENGTH.
  • PS 21 & Hab 3 – Take JOY from your SALVATION.
  • PS 35 – Take JOY from the fact that it pleasures God to PROSPER you.
  • Isa 29 –Take JOY from your HUMBLENESS.
  • Take JOY even when you are POOR.
  • Jer 15 – Take JOY from God’s WORD.
  • Mat 25 – Take JOY from your FAITHFULLNESS

Conspicuously absent from this list, is praise. There is only a  couple of verses where JOY and Praise is found together in the same verse. None of these verses say or even imply that praising God will bring you JOY. In fact the Psalms seem to imply the opposite:

[Psa 42:4 NKJV] 4 When I remember these [things], I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

[Psa 43:4 NKJV] 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.

These imply you need to ALREADY have JOY when you GO to praise God!

Maybe this is because praise might at best bring TEMPORARY happiness or because God wants your praise to be filled with JOY from the start. We should not praise to GET our JOY, we should show and GIVE our JOY with our praise…

LASTING JOY comes from:

  • Neh 8 – God’s STRENGTH
  • PS 21 & Hab 3 – Your SALVATION
  • PS 35 – God’s pleasure in PROSPERING you
  • Isa 29 – Your HUMBLENESS, irrespective of your circumstances
  • Jer 15 – God’s WORD
  • Mat 25 – Your FAITHFULLNESS

Note how satan attacks us in these areas:

  • Neh 8 – He makes you doubt God’s STRENGTH and mightiness
  • PS 21 & Hab 3 – He make your doubt your SALVATION
  • PS 35 – He convinces you that God does not want to PROSPER you
  • Isa 29 – He breaks your HUMBLENESS, and inflates you pride
  • Jer 15 – He interrupts, postpones and steals your time from God’s WORD
  • Mat 25 – He kills your FAITHFULLNESS, and increases your doubts.

In all these areas He steals, kills and destroys your JOY and makes you MISERABLE!

So whenever you feel miserable, determine in which area(s) satan is busy attacking you. Then speak His promises / Word over your situation, pray about it, get edification and support from fellow believers or renew and transform you mind (Rom 12:2) in these areas:

  • Neh 8 – Increase your meditation and understanding of God’s STRENGTH and mightiness
  • PS 21 & Hab 3 – Increase your understanding of what your SALVATION means, what it cost God to bring it to you, what rewards you will receive in heaven
  • PS 35 – Increase your convictions that we serve a GOOD God, that takes PLEASURE in PROSPERING you in all areas, not just materially
  • Isa 29 – Work on cultivating your HUMBLENESS – God cannot stand pride, this is the number one sin that leads to so many others and is what made satan fall. Note it explicitly states the MORE humble you are, the MORE your JOY will INCREASE!
  • Jer 15 – Increase your study of God’s WORD, the more you daily live and eat of His Word, the more JOY you will have.
  • Mat 25 – Increase your FAITHFULNESS, kill any doubts and build your faith. Surround yourself with people that will build and edify your faith. The more you doubt His mightiness, His Plan and His faithfulness, the less JOY you will have.

This creates a lasting JOY, sufficient to carry you through any hardships here on earth.

Do not let satan steal your JOY – and when you catch him doing so, use the above to get it back!


How should a Christian respond to Enemies?

Sunset Before Easter Sunrise

What should a Christian’s response be to attackers and enemies?

I think the Bible is quite clear on this. It’s such a pity we do not often see these core virtues of our faith displayed in the world out there.

Pray for them:

Mat 5:44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
Mat 5:45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Mat 5:46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that.
Mat 5:47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

Bless them:

Luk 6:27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.
Luk 6:28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.

Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

1Pe 3:9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

Forgive them, and commit judgment to God:

Luk 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

Act 7:60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

1Pe 2:23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.

Respond by doing good:

Rom 12:20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Rom 12:21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.



How do I receive God’s blessings?

Seldom in scripture, do you find such a clear declaration on what you need to do, to receive God’s blessing as in Matthew 5 – often called the beatitudes. Lets look at it verse by verse:

Mat 5:3-12 NLT – 3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

Isa 25:4-9 NLT – 4 But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, 5 or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled. 6 In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. 7 There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. 8 He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken! 9 In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”

Isa 30:18 NLT – 18 So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.

Isa 66:2 NLT – 2 My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the LORD, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.

So if you want God’s blessing you need to realize your need of Him. This means realizing your dependence on Him. How often do we trust in ourselves to fix all our problems – and how often do we fail. If you want His blessing, you need to need Him! And notice the promise when do you this – The KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is theirs. So simple yet so profound – just by realizing your need of Him – you will receive the Kingdom of Heaven!

Jam 2:5 NLT – 5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?

Mat 5:4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Psa 40:1-3 NLT – 1 For the choir director: A psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. 3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.

Isa 61:1-3 NLT – 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. 2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. 3 To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

Eze 9:4 NLT – 4 He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.”

Jhn 16:20-22 NLT – 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.

2Cr 1:4-7 NLT – 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

2Cr 7:9-10 NLT – 9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

So if you want God’s blessing, you need to mourn – but not the worldly kind of mourning that is destructive – but the Godly kind of mourning which leads to repentance. If your heart is so hard that you cannot feel any compassion then God will have nothing to do with you. This speaks to 2 areas in your life:

a) The people around you

This is fallen broken world we live in, and if we truly love the people around us – we would mourn for the hurt and the pain that people around us experience. We need to be comforters for people in need, because it is in those desperate situations that we can share our faith and gospel best – and when they need the gospel message most.

b) Your own situation

Mourn for yourself – get to grips with the pain in your life, make peace with it and give it to God. Mourn for your own desperate sinfulness and realize your need of a Savior. After God

When God has come through for you, then you are best equipped to really mourn with and comfort others as well. And this is the promise: when you mourn comfort WILL come – if not in this life, then surely in the next!

Isa 51:11-12 NLT – 11 Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness. 12 “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?

Rev 7:17 NLT – 17 For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Rev 21:4 NLT – 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Mat 5:5 God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.

Isa 57:15 NLT – 15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.

Mat 11:29 NLT – 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Mat 21:5 NLT – 5 “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey–riding on a donkey’s colt.'”

1Pe 3:4 NLT – 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

Luk 18:14 NLT – 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Jam 1:21 NLT – 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

Jam 3:13 NLT – 13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

2Ti 2:25 NLT – 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

We need to become Christ-like – He was humble, so we need to be also. We show our love for God and other people through humbleness. Your pride will block and prevent you from fully accepting His Word in your heart. A true faith requires and produces humbleness and it is with this attitude that we need to share the gospel.

So if you want God’s blessing, you need to become humble and then you will “inherit the whole earth” – this last part bothered me. How can we inherit the whole earth? After doing some research, I found this verse:

Rom 4:13 NLT – 13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.

So “inheriting the whole earth” means you become an inheritor of the covenant God made with Abraham – and this only happens if you have a right relationship with God through faith. This means in order for you to be saved, it is an absolute requirement to become humble! You have to be teachable and root out any pride and self-sufficiency left in you. You cannot be your own savior – and God will only be your savior if you are humble. God hates pride I think, because this is the root cause of all sin that made Satan fall in the first place.

Eze 28:17 NLT – 17 Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings.

Mat 5:6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.

Amo 8:11-13 NLT – 11 “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine on the land–not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD. 12 People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it. 13 Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the LORD’s word.

Isa 49:9-10 NLT – 9 I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare. 10 They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun will not reach them anymore. For the LORD in his mercy will lead them; he will lead them beside cool waters.

Isa 55:1-3 NLT – 1 “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink–even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk–it’s all free! 2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. 3 “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

Jhn 7:37 NLT – 37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!

Jhn 4:14 NLT – 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

Jhn 6:48-51 NLT – 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”

Rev 7:16 NLT – 16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun.

Mat 5:7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Mat 6:14-15 NLT – 14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Mat 18:33-35 NLT – 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. 35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

Isa 58:7-8 NLT – 7 Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. 8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.

1Ti 1:16 NLT – 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

If we want to receive mercy – we need to give it.

Jam 2:13 NLT – 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

Mat 5:8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

Psa 24:3-6 NLT – 3 Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?
4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies.
5 They will receive the LORD’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior.
6 Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob. Interlude

Eze 36:25-27 NLT – 25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

Mat 23:25-28 NLT – 25 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy–full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. 27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

2Cr 7:1 NLT – 1 Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

Hbr 10:22 NLT – 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Jam 4:8 NLT – 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

And here is the promise: When we keep ourselves pure, we will SEE Him as He really is:

1Jo 3:2-3 NLT – 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.

So purification is required for Salvation!

Mat 5:9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

Psa 34:12-14 NLT – 12 Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? 13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! 14 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

Rom 14:1, 17-19 NLT – 1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. … 17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

2Cr 5:20 NLT – 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

2Ti 2:22-24 NLT – 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.

Hbr 12:14 NLT – 14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

Jam 1:19-20 NLT – 19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Jam 3:16-18 NLT – 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

And here is the promise, if we work for peace, we will be His children:

Eph 5:1 NLT – 1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

1Pe 1:14-16 NLT – 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

Mat 5:10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Mar 10:30 NLT – 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property–along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.

Luk 21:12 NLT – 12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers.

Jhn 15:20 NLT – 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.

Rom 8:35-37 NLT – 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

1Cr 4:9-13 NLT – 9 Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world–to people and angels alike. 10 Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. 11 Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. 12 We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. 13 We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash–right up to the present moment.

2Cr 4:8-12, 17 NLT – 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. … 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

Phl 1:28 NLT – 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself.

2Ti 2:12 NLT – 12 If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us.

1Pe 3:14 NLT – 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.

1Pe 4:12-16 NLT – 12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 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. 14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!

2Th 1:4-7 NLT – 4 We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. 5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. 6 In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you. 7 And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels,

Jam 1:2-5 NLT – 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Jam 1:12 NLT – 12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Rev 2:10 NLT – 10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.

So, be honest and do a re-evaluation on your faith.

Have your really:

  1. become poor and realized your need of Him?
  2. mourned for and with the people around you?
  3. become humble and teachable?
  4. hungered and thirsted for Him and His justice?
  5. become merciful?
  6. become pure?
  7. worked for peace?
  8. been joyous and glad when persecution and adversity came your way?

It would seem the above is not only required to receive God’s blessing, but is also required for salvation.

God will not bless whom he cannot redeem…

To receive God’s blessing we need to become blessings to those around us as well…