Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.

Welcome to flight 2023! To be prepared to take off into the new year, we need to be sure we have a positive attitude and be filled with gratitude. If we don’t have a positive attitude, we need to get on our knees and ask God to change us.

I Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

All destructive self pity, feeling sorry for ourself, anger, selfishness, pride, resentment, negativity, hurt, and discouragement needs to be put away. God doesn’t want us to enter the new year with a negative attitude. We won’t glorify God if we have a negative attitude. A person who has a negative attitude always worries. God says to cast all your care on him and continually instructs us to lay all our cares on him. A person with a negative attitude complains, whines, nothing suits them, and they don’t find any joy. They’re often addicted to news that make them feel bad. God wants us filled with his good news. Negative people are easily offended and have lots of drama in their life. God doesn’t want us to complain or find fault.

Everyone will have suffering this new year. Suffering: anything that hurts or irritates, a trial or tribulation, distress, pain, harm, loss, or grief. The word says, all that live godly shall suffer persecution. The scripture says “after that ye have suffered a while.” There are benefits in suffering. It causes us to face things we have inside and might otherwise ignore so we can love and enjoy the Lord forever. Suffering helps us to be humble. Humility: to be lowly, being conscious of our defects and shortcomings, to feel unimportant, to make modest or lowly in condition. God lets us suffer to prove what’s in our heart, and to keep us humble so we rely on him and enjoy his benefits. God let the Israelites suffer so they would look to him.

Deuteronomy 8:2-3…remember all the way which the Lord…led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not…that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord…

Suffering brings a lot of pains. We’ve heard the expression “no pain, no gain.” In the 1980s, hospital beds were manually raised and lowered. It was more difficult if a patient was heavy. In nursing school, Sister Edith suffered injury in her should from work and couldn’t use one arm normally so she went to a physical therapist. He said she’d need surgery or he work on the stiff, damaged area to restore her normal movement. She let him work on the area and it was very painful. Afterward she was whining, complaining, and feeling sorry for herself. She thought about not going back but took a pain pill and felt much better. As she did the exercises the therapist gave she found her arm had more range of movement. She kept going to therapy and completely recovered the use of her arm. Spiritually there is pain in suffering but it results in us enjoying God’s benefits. We should ask God to help us learn from our suffering. Suffering helps us to help others and helps our attitude.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

We can count suffering as joy because we’re going to learn something. We learn patience and let it have it’s perfect work. Patience: capacity to accept and tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. The quality of being patient as we bear provocation, annoyance, misfortune or pain without complaint, irritation, or loss of temper. Hebrews 10:36 says, “ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” God is telling us to let patience have her perfect work. We’re responsible. Stress is an opportunity rather than a hindrance. When we’re stressed or feelings out of whack from what God wants, do we let patience work? Anger is a symptom of impatience. When you’re feeling stressed, you usually have impatience over an issue. Impatient is a symptom of our eyes being turned inward to our self because we’re not getting what we want. If we let patience have her perfect work, it helps us control ourselves to have longsuffering, forbearance, and endurance. Paul was patient but had to learn to be content in every situation. Are we letting patience work so we learn to be content in every situation? We’re strengthened with might so we can have all patience. We want to display godly characteristics. God wants our lives completely submitted to him.

Colossians 1:10-11…walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work…increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

To forebear is to have patience, self control, restraint, and tolerance. God wants us to have longsuffering and tolerance because everyone won’t act just like we do. God wants us to forebear in love. Let patience have her perfect work – it will produce the love of God. Our actions will be longsuffering, patient, and kind. Everything God does is for a reason. He wants to teach us patience so there’s a perfect work in every suffering. We have a choice to trust God or lean on ourselves or our feelings. Having patience is not optional. We may pout, worry, cry, be angry, or get depressed but God still commands patience. We have feelings but God doesn’t want us to go by feelings. We endure by letting patience have it’s perfect work.

I Corinthians 13:4-5 (Amplified, Classic) Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way…not self-seeking…touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done…pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

Job was perfect, upright, avoided evil, and loved God with all of his heart. He was greatest of all the men of the East and very wealthy. We’re all going to be tried and tested to see if we love God with all of our heart.

Job 1:1-3 There was a man…whose name was Job…was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses…the greatest of all the men of the east.

When all Job’s things and his 10 children were taken, he tore his clothes, shaved his head, then fell down to worship God. Do we fall down and worship God if we face suffering? Do we murmur, complain or find fault? Job didn’t blame people.

Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

We don’t have a choice if we’re going to suffer or not. We have a choice whether we trust God to handle situations. All suffering is to prove our heart and see what’s in it. Job chose to not curse God or sin with his lips when he was afflicted.

Job 2:9-10 Then said his wife…Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said…Thou speakest as…foolish women speaketh…shall we receive good at the hand of God, and…not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job’s friends accused him of sinning and he lost hope that he’d ever be better. The scripture doesn’t say “without hope, you can’t please God.” It says, “without faith, you cannot please God…” When Sister Edith was in nursing school, there was a wound being treated with maggots. Maggots only eat dead flesh. Instead of the doctor removing dead tissue, maggots did the job. This is still practiced in areas of the United States, Mexico, and others. Maggots cleaned Job’s dead flesh in his boils.

Job 7:4-6 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning…My flesh is clothed with worms and…dust; my skin is…loathsome.  My days are…spent without hope.

Job had faith to trust in God through the whole situation when he felt hopeless. Job didn’t have one friend but was determined he was going to serve God no matter what anyone else did. Job kept his faith regardless of circumstances.

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Job 19:10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.

Job 19:13-19 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged…kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They…in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth. My breath is strange to my wife …Yea, young children despised me…All my inward friends abhorred me…whom I loved are turned against me.

Job 19:25-26 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Job couldn’t see God anywhere but was sure God knew where he was. He knew God was trying him and he was going to serve God. He had to forebear in patience and with forgiveness even when family and friends condemned him.

Job 23:8-12…I go forward, but he is not there; and backward…On the left hand…but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand…he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold…his way have I kept …Neither have I gone back from the commandment…esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

God turned Job’s captivity when he humbled himself and prayed for his friends. God blessed Job with twice as much as he had before. When you endure your suffering and trials, you’re going to be blessed with a great ending!

Job 42:10-12…Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends…gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and…they that had been of his acquaintance before…and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought…Lord blessed the latter end of Job more…