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Greetings my fellow Christian brothers and sisters, I love to speak the truth and I have very serious questions that I think many believers would like to know the answer to. Can you tell me please why does God's word promise so much and yet fulfils so very little to nothing in the lives of many devout Christians, in terms of, for example: long life, health, peace, joy and happiness, etc? Instead, I've seen many atheists who live very healthy, prosperous and happy lives and they obviously don't believe in keeping God's commandments. Doesn't the Bible lose credibility in this way? Isn't this part of the reason why many people don't take God, His commandments or the Bible seriously? In other words, why do not all devout Christians live long lives and have optimum health as countless scriptures promise, such as: Psalms 84; 90, 91; 103; Pr 10:27, etc? There are many scriptures about healing: Exodus 15:26 - I am the Lord who heals you. The scripture in John 10:10: states: "... I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Doesn't this scripture mean that God desires for us faithful Christians to be in optimum health? Only when someone is healthy can he or she have life to the full. Not when our bodies are incapacitated or debilitated by pain, sickness or disease. Psalms 103:2-3 - Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases. The verse in Proverbs 4:22 refers to God's word and states: "for they are life to those who find them and health to ones whole body." Many other scriptures state that God wants us healed and whole: For example: Isaiah 53:5 - But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Jeremiah 30:17 - I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says the Lord. 1 Peter 2:24 - "He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. Romans 8:11 - And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:32 - He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? There are many examples of miracles and healings as recorded in the bible. Here are just a few scriptural examples: Leper in Galilee (Mt 8:1-4); Paralytic (palsy) at Capernaum (Mt 9:2-8); Man with a withered hand in Galilee possibly Capernaum (Mt 12:10-13); Women with issue of blood (hemorrhaging) healed at Capernaum during first preaching tour through Galilee (Mt 9:20-22); Two blind men at Capernaum (on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee) (Mt 9:27-31); Two Blind Men Departing Jericho (Mt 20:29-34), Jesus raises a dead girl and heals a sick woman (Mk 5:21-43); and many others as we read in: Mt 4:23-24; Mt 8:57, 16-17; Mt 9:6-7; Mt 15:30; Mt 20:34; Mk 3:1-5; Mk 5:25-29; Mk 10:49-52; Lk 4:40; Lk 6:19; Lk 7:12-15; Lk 13:11-13; Jn 5:5-9; Ac 10:38, etc. Psalm 107:1920 - Lord, help! they cried in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He sent out His word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Psalm 91:3 - For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. 3 John 1:2 - Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. Here is another example: Psalm 91: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowlers snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, The Lord is my refuge, and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. The promise of blessings, including: peace, protection, happiness, healing, long-life and prosperity is not just in the Old Testament (Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16; Ps 34:12-16; Pr 22:9), but reaffirmed in the New Testament (2 Cor 9:10; Eph 6:2-3; 1 Pe 3:9-10). Innumerable scriptures promise peace, joy, strength, protection, provision and prosperity. Here are just a few: Ro 5:1 - Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Ps 1:1-3 - Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither whatever they do prospers. Ps 4:8 - In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Ps 12:5 - Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise, says the Lord. I will protect them from those who malign them. Ps 16:11 - You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Ps 29:11 - The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Ps 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 105:37 - He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes. Ps 119:165 - Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. Ps 138:7 - Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. Pr 10:22 - The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. Pr 22:9 - The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Is 32:17 - The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. Is 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Jer 17:8 - They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Php 4:7 - And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Php 4:19 - And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Ro 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor 9:8 - And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor 9:10 - Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Thess 3:3 - But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 3 John 1:2 - Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. My mother and I both repented, lived holy lives, with clean hands and pure hearts. God was first love and first priority. We prayed for at least 3 hours each and every day, and studied the Bible for at least 1 hour every day. Prayer was the very first thing in the morning. Our faith was very strong. We strove to obey God's commandments, including keeping the Sabbath day holy. We attended Sabbath services. We served God. Preached the true gospel. We both practiced abstinence, self-sacrifice and self-discipline, so we didn't spend money on holidays, restaurants or other pleasures. We were truly faithful disciples of Christ, by striving to live according to His word. Out of the little that we had, we donated money to charities and helped homeless people. We were never ever involved in occultism. My mother was totally faithful to my father in marriage, although he was very abusive towards her. Although, she forgave him many times, the abuse didn't stop. On the contrary, the more she forgave, the worse the abuse became. It reached a point where she had no choice but to divorce him. From then on, my mother never remarried. She lived the life of a widow for twenty years. We lived a very modest and quiet life. We practiced celibacy and sexual abstinence. Our lives resembled those of nuns. My mother was very protective of me and she taught me to pray since I was two years of age. While parents usually read fairy tale stories to their children, I slept with the Bible under my pillow, which I took with me to the private school that my mother enrolled me in, and I learned about God. We put so much faith and trust in God and I feel like He has really let us down. The verses in Psalm 103:1-5 state: "Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefitswho forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed." My mother suffered from colorectal cancer which spread to her liver and kidneys, heart failure, pulmonary edema and anaemia, including numerous other medical issues. I was completely shocked, devastated and heartbroken when my mother passed away at an early age, and I read her long medical report, which went on and on. She was in terrible pain and had near fatal falls on a few occasions. Despite praying to God continuously, from early morning until late at night, with fasting and begging for my mother to be healed, my prayers returned unanswered. The more I prayed and fasted, the worse her health became. It deteriorated so much that she was bed-ridden for one year and couldn't see the light of day. None of these illnesses run on my mother's side of the family. We both took care of our health by drinking fruit and vegetable juices, exercising and more importantly, absolutely NO smoking, drugs or alcohol. While other people were celebrating Mother's Day with gifts like cakes, chocolates and flowers, as well as dining with their mothers at restaurants or taking them on luxury cruises, my mother was in the morgue awaiting cremation. God's people are plagued by an entire series of extremely serious illnessesincluding a number of leading people directly involved in the work. During the 1980's there was a huge number of ministers wives that were stricken. It has always been a fact that wives of so many ministers and church leaders have been stricken by cancer. In 2016, Cornerstone Contact Centre pastor Don Cameron died at the age of 45 years, after a battle with cancer. Jeffery Largent, pastor of Culver flock passed away in 2016, at the age of 59 years, after his second battle with cancer. Church of the Highlands Greystone Campus Pastor Keith Lindsey passed away in 2016 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Kara Tippetts, wife of PCA church pastor Jason Tippetts of Westside Church, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a devout Christian mother of four, who had stage-four breast cancer and passed away at the age of 38, in 2015, after a long battle. In 2014, Steve Hill, the evangelist of the Brownsville Revival, passed away at his Alabama home Sunday after fighting a long battle with cancer. He was 60 years old. LaKisha died in 2014, at the age of 40 after an 18-month battle with breast cancer. She was the wife of Pastor Breonus Mitchell of Greater Grace Temple Community Church. A Wesleyan pastor, Daniel Danny Eiler, age 30, passed away in 2014, after battling leukemia. He served as senior pastor of The Springs Community Church in Ringgold, Georgia. David Landrith, senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, died at age 51. Landrith was diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer known as colorectal melanoma in 2013. In 2009, founder and pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Billy Joe Daugherty's battle with cancer took a turn for the worse as he fought an infection at Houston's M.D. Anderson Hospital. He passed away at the age of 57 years. The list goes on and on ... My mother's faith was very strong right to the very end when she passed away, and I wish to point out the fact that I even called for the elders of the church to anoint my mother with olive oil, as the following scripture states in: James 5:14-15 - Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. The scripture obviously wasn't fulfilled in my mother's life who was a faithful Christian, and the lives of many other faithful Christians. As stated previously, God's promises are not just found in the Old Testament, but reaffirmed in the New Testament, as we read in James 5:14-15 as well as many other scriptural references that I've already quoted previously. At the beginning of the chapter in 1 Cor 12, we read that Paul is addressing brothers and sisters. "Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed." Verse 7-10 mentions: "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines." One of the important ministries of the Holy Spirit to believers today, is His bestowal of spiritual gifts on Christians at the time of their conversion. Ephesians 2:10 mentions: "For we are Gods handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." The only way we can do good works is if our bodies are not incapacitated or debilitated by pain, sickness or disease. If gifts of healing and miracles are operating in the lives of Christians in these churches, then there would be NO sicknesses, suicides, and crimes such as murder happening there. Suicide is happening at an alarming rate in the Churches of God with so many pastors committing suicide. Living Church of God - Joplin, Missouri pastor Karl Beyersdorfer killed himself on 5/27/2016. Others who committed suicide in the Worldwide Church of God are mentioned in the below article: hwarmstrong.com/suicide-statistics.htm The following verses refer to believers in Christ Jesus: Mark 16:17-18 - And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. The following link displays an article on miracle workers who couldn't heal themselves: bible.ca/tongues-miracles-fake-pentecostal.htm The list goes on and on. The verse in Exodus 20:12 states: Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. It is reaffirmed in the New Testament in: Ephesians 6:2-3 - Honor your father and motherwhich is the first commandment with a promiseso that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. During my lifetime, I've seen mothers who honoured their parents and yet lived short lives, like my mother who honored both her parents and grandparents. On the other hand, mothers who dishonoured their parents and yet lived to ripe old ages of over 80 years of age. There are even criminals, such as serial killers, rapists and paedophiles who live long lives on the earth. While at the same time, a shocking number of innocent people are sentenced to death. One of the ways in which we honor our parents is by having a clean criminal record. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "tells you that a surprising number of innocent people are sentenced to death," Samuel R. Gross, the lead author, said in an interview with Newsweek. "It tells you that a lot of them haven't been exonerated. Some of them no doubt have been executed." The headline on newsweek.com is "One in 25 sentenced to death in the U.S. is innocent, study claims." Do all these convicted criminals deserve to live and my mother who was a godly, holy, righteous mother deserve to die, along with all these other devout Christians? Charles Manson, the convicted American serial killer is still alive today at the age of 82 years. Charles Albright, known as the eyeball killer, is 83 years. The nurse Jane Toppan, a serial killer, lived to be 81 years of age. Edward Theodore Gein was an American murderer and body snatcher. He died at the age of 78 years. Ian Brady, the child killer is 78 years. Robert Hansen, the serial killer died at the age of 75 years. Dennis Rader is 71 years of age. Phillip Jablonski, another serial killer is 70 years of age, and the list goes on and on. Incarcerated criminals enjoy the fresh air and sunshine with fitness and recreational activities, including sports, gym, pool tables and so forth. These prisons are more like holiday resorts. Charles Manson, the ringleader of the killer cult still remains unrepentant even at the ripe old age of 82 years, just like many other criminals. I'm puzzled as to why God allowed all these criminals to live long lives. Was He waiting for them to turn to Him and repent? But God has foreknowledge. We find instead, that they committed more and more crimes, while growing old without any sign of remorse? Psalm 91:16 states: "With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. This verse is supposed to be referring to devout believers. Instead, we see that the criminals are the ones who are living long lives. Why would God want to satisfy scum of the earth with long lives? The Bible also states that God has foreknowledge. Therefore, He knows in advance whether anyone will repent. Isaiah 46:9-10: "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" If God made us for a reason and that is to begin a relationship with, serve and obey Him, then why doesn't He grant long lives to those devout Christians who do good deeds. It is God who decides when we are born and how long we live according to: Psalm 139:16: "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." God is the one who planned the days of our lives in advance, choosing the exact time of our birth and death. This goes for criminals too, as well as many famous atheists who have lived to ripe old ages including: Diana Athill (99), Katharine Hepburn (96), Baba Amte (94), Uri Avnery (93), Julius Axelrod (92), Marlene Dietrich (91), Kai Nielsen (90), Henry Burstow (90), Jorge Amado (89), Eric Ambler (89), Tom Lehrer (88), James Randi (88), Paul Kurtz (87), Edward O. Wilson (87), Larry Adler (87), Mary Adams (86), Jemima Blackburn (86), Michael Martin (84), Philip Roth (83), Steven Weinberg (83), Victor Stenger (81), Robert Altman (81), Woody Allen (81), and many others. The verse in Isaiah 30:18 states that the Lord is a God of justice. "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" Where is the justice? I'm absolutely appalled and disgusted by the injustice not only in the Christian community, but in the world today. I believe these injustices promote and encourage evil all the more. Many devout believers have been martyred who were very faithful to God, like Stephen and all of the twelve apostles who died as martyrs during the first century, with the exception of John, the writer of the Gospel with his name and the Book of Revelation who died a natural death, at 94 years of age, close to the year 100 A.D. A report issued by a Christian organization fighting religious persecution states that a Christian is killed for his or her faith every five minutes across the world. It has escalated dramatically over the centuries, with more Christian martyrs in the 20th and 21st centuries than in the preceding 19 centuries going back to Jesus Christs earthly ministry. The situation is only getting worse. Over 75% of Christians persecuted in North Korea who are subjected to torture, imprisonment and all sorts of punishment do not survive to tell their stories. Currently, more than 200 million Christians around the world are threatened because of their faith. Is God pleased with martyrdom? Does it give Him satisfaction to see many Christians martyred for their faith. Does God consider it a sacrifice that brings glory and honour to Him, thereby pleasing and acceptable? Thank you. God bless you, Rachel Henderson