Suffering Hardship Even in the Kingdom of God

There’s no doubt that our nation — and our world — are both going through some tough times. Yet hardships are a part of life — even the lives of Christian believers. Jesus never said that once we become born-again, saved believers that life would be smooth and wonderful. In fact, we were warned several times in the New Testament that we would go through trials, hardships and tribulation.

The Beginning of Sorrows

Locust plague in India.
Locust plague in India.

There’s also no ignoring the fact that we are living in the Last Days. Yes, there are many preachers out there who would debate that, but I’m convinced we are living in the times that Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13. I cover those in detail here. So, folks, it’s going to get worse, before Jesus comes back for His saved, born-again believers in the Rapture.

Jesus said…

“But all this is only the first of the birth pains (or sorrows), with more to come.”

Matthew 24:8 NLT

Jesus also told us…

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NLT

Take Joy in Our Trials — Say What?!

When I suffered through 2 years of unemployment, these passages helped get me through…

Paul writes…

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:3-15 NLT

I used to say, “When all this is over, I’m going to have great character!”

James writes…

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

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.

James 1:2-12 NLT

And Peter tells us…

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

A Call to Holy Living

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 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.”

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;
    their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.”

1 Peter 1:6-24 NLT

How You can get the Hope and Assurance…

How do you feel hope when you’re going through a trial? For me, when I was unemployed, I used to think, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Then imagine that scenario and at the point that you decide, “No way!”, you have no where to turn to, but to God.

Living in Phoenix, AZ, my worst case scenario was having to sell my car, all my furniture and move back to Puerto Rico to live with my mom. Then I remembered the last time I was there and how I hated driving in that craziness and I told myself, “No way!” That’s when I fully surrendered my life to Jesus. Before that, I was still trying to live with one foot in the Kingdom of God and one foot in the world. Boy, that doesn’t work at all!

My loyalty was divided and that’s what James wrote in the passage I read previously. Jesus wants you to give up your whole life and live solely for Him putting Him FIRST above all else. That’s not easy to do, but it’s what’s expected of us.

COVID-19, the Pandemic, Shut-downs, Mandates, Earthquakes, Locusts, Riots, and the Economy

March and April 2020 were tough months for me. There was a huge uncertainty hovering over my life as to if I would have a business in a few weeks or not. Things turned around big time in May, praise God, and I still take it day by day, praying constantly. I’m also obedient in my giving to my church and to special ministries because God loves a cheerful giver! I give not because I have to or I’m told to. I give because I am grateful to God for giving me Jesus as my savior and for providing for me.

We are living in the end times, folks, and the best thing that you can do to gain hope and assurance is to surrender your life to Jesus. He surrendered His life for you, that’s all He wants from His flock in return.

We are going through a tribulation right now, but it’s not the Great Tribulation as some preachers may claim. That will be a thousand times worse! However, we are going through the “birth pains” — “with more to come”. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever!

26“People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory.28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Luke 21:26-28 NLT

I don’t know about you, but thought of Jesus coming surfing on a cloud, then a trumpet sounding and all of use, His born-again believers, will be caught up in the air and escorted to Heaven on the wings of angels. My heart fills with joy just thinking about it. It’s truly is something to look forward to — our living HOPE! That, my friends is the Rapture! And you don’t want to be left behind, because then you’ll have to go through the Great Tribulation. God warned us in the Book of Revelation.

If you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation and a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven and that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
  • Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…

  1. Start reading the Bible daily to get to know God. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great Bible studies.
  2. Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
  3. Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!

“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” ‬‬

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:14‬ ‭NLT

Jesus Christ is coming back soon! Are you ready?

Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!