This Sunday we had John Bevere preaching, primarily on why we have trials, difficulties, and when we are doing everything we think is right we have opposition. His argument is that we need to have the character to be effective before we find ourselves in a situation of great ministry and success.

Because then the opposition will be more fierce. Because then you will be tempted, and if you have not refined away your weaknesses you will fail, and bring down many with you.

I have seen those failures take down movements and churches, interestingly, just as they move to being effective and changing their city. It has come from financial scandals, theological compromise, and sexual sin.

His example was Joseph, who started off with visions, being arrogant, and a tattle tail. He was enslaved, and therefore lost his inheritance from Israel. He was then jailed -- for honouring his master by not allowing himself to be seduced by his master's wife.

And then he was pulled from the dungeons, became the lord of Egypt, and had the oppurtunity to get revenge on the brothers who had enslaved him. They had every right to fear him. But the suffering had changed Joseph.


Genesis 50:15-21

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” 16 So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” ’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

18 Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.”

19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Joseph did not learn to be merciful because he was shown mercy soon. He learned it after decades of suffering. God's timing is perfect: do not hurry it.

At times you are in pain, in difficulty and doors are shut. At times this is needed, so you become the man or woman of God you need to be. There are too many people who are trying to take short cuts to get to Godliness and Heaven. I don't think they exist. God is not mocked. We will be refined in his timing and for his purpose and for his will.

So accept this now: the enemy wants you despairing, giving up, and converging with the spirit of this age, which is frankly and openly antichristian.

That spirit will oppose every good work you will do: the work you were called into Christ to do.

And you will never know the power of your witness under suffering in a world that worships nothing but its pleasure and ease.

For I know this: we are not called to be like them.