John said of Jesus: “He is greater than i – He must increase and I must increase.” In October, Pastor G is talking about just a few of the ways that statement is true when it comes to his life. His hope is that it will inspire you to consider the same thing in your life as well. This week Pastor G shares how “God Is Greater Than My Pain and Suffering.”
Biblical Faith is the confidence that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He has PROMISED to do. Hope is a subset of Faith, dealing with the future.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1
By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. ~ Hebrews 11:3
A closer examination of man-made hope reveals mere wishful thinking – a dreamscape of humans playing God… Unless is it bottled in heaven, earthly hope will eventually be revealed for what it is: a fraud. ~ Pastor Francis Anfuso
… set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. ~ 1 Peter 1:13
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.” ~ John 16:33
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. ~ 1 Peter 1:3-6
Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. ~ 2 Peter 3:8
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Romans 5:1-5
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and He saves those whose spirits have been crushed. ~ Psalm 34:8
He was hated and rejected by people. He had much pain and suffering. People would not even look at Him. He was hated, and we didn’t even notice Him. ~ Isaiah 53:3
I want to know Christ and the power that raised Him from the dead. I want to share in His sufferings and become like Him in His death. Then I have hope that I myself will be raised from the dead. ~ Philippians 3:10-11
My confident hope is that I will in no way be ashamed but that with complete boldness, even now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether I live or die. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. ~ Philippians 1:20-21
For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the coming glory that will be revealed to us. ~ Romans 8:18
Now as Jesus was passing by, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?” ~ John 9:1-2
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him. We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” ~ John 9:3-5
As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day. ~ Genesis 50:20
But He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9a
So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist anymore—or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.” And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” Then He said to me, “Write it down, because these words are reliable and true.” ~ Revelation 21:4-5
ALOHA GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
READ: Hebrews 11:1-3
1) Pastor Greg differentiated between Biblical faith and hope and the way many in the word tend to use the words faith and hope. He shared the thoughts of Pastor Francis Anfuso as well. Do you agree or disagree with Pastor Francis and Pastor Greg on this subject? Explain your answer.
READ: 1 Peter 1:3-13 and Romans 5:1-5
1) Are you able to be full of hope and joy even when you are experiencing pain and suffering? Why or why not?
2) If you were explaining to a non-Christian why Christians are still full of hope and joy even when they experience pain and suffering, what would you tell them?
READ: Psalm 34:8 and Isaiah 53:3
1) How are these two verses related? Do you see why the Lord can empathize with (be close to) the brokenhearted? Have you ever been brokenhearted or had your spirit crushed either by circumstance or by a hateful person? Did you sense the closeness of the Lord in those times? Can you share an experience with the group?
READ: Philippians 1:20-21, Philippians 3:10-11 and Romans 8:18
1) Paul has a desire to experience suffering that he refers to often. Does this make Paul a masochist? Why would anyone want to experience suffering in the way Paul is referring to it?
2) When Paul says “to me, living is Christ and dying is gain” what does he mean? How would dying be a gain for him? Do you feel the same way as Paul? Why or why not?
READ: John 9:1-5
1) Does the idea that God may intentionally allow or even cause some pain and suffering in order to bring about a greater good bother you? Does this make you see God as not all-loving? Why or why not?
READ: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
1) God tells Paul that His power is made perfect in weakness. Do you believe that? Why or why not? How does that happen? How does weakness make God’s power “perfect?”
2) In response Paul says he will now boast about his weaknesses and be content with all weaknesses, insults, troubles, persecutions and difficulties. Why would he feel that way? Are you able to boast and be content with all these things in your life? Why or why not?
3) Paul says “whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” What does he mean? Can you relate? Do you have a testimony about this you can share with the group?
READ: Revelation 21:4-5
1) Do you believe this passage? Why or why not? If you believe it, how does having the hope of this promise of Jesus equip you and empower you to make it through each day’s pains and sorrows? If you were speaking to a non-Christian who was going through tremendous pain and suffering how could you use the hope given in this passage to lead them to a relationship with Jesus as their Lord and Savior?