Suffering, trust and joy… January 30, 2013Posted by Streim in Life Lessons From the Word, Listening To God, Living in the Real World, Seeking Truth?, The Grace of God.
Tags: afflictions, Apostle Paul, Bible, Christian living, Christianity, Encouragement, Exhortation, God's Faithfulness, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Hope, Joy, life, Love, pastors and church leaders, peace, struggles, suffering, teaching, The Truth, trials
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In some of today’s evangelical Christian circles I am finding the teaching that “suffering for the Christian” is an exception and not normal for believers. This teaching expressly persuades their followers to believe that if a Christian does suffer… it is quite possibly because of sin in his or her life. These Christians are immersed in a culture of prosperity. Contrary to this fluffy, happy, prosperous Gospel teaching about suffering, this is what the Bible teaches regarding suffering and the forgiven follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Suffering in the Christian life is the rule, not the exception. Matthew 6:24 says “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ “
When Saul of Tarsus was converted on the road to Damascus is wasn’t a pleasant “warm, sunny experience”. The truth of Scripture tells us God blinded him and left him in that condition for days! In Acts 9:12-16 a servant of the Lord named Ananias was told in a vision by the Lord to go to this blind man Saul “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
Paul did suffer much! 2 Corinthians 11: 24-27 “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness–”
And to add insult to injury God refused to answer his prayer for healing from whatever was ailing him—a thorn in his flesh. 2 Corinthians 12:7 “ And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Paul learned to be content with God’s grace in the midst of his sufferings (Philippians 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5) Paul’s response to his sufferings?
I will glory in the things which concern my infirmities (2 Cor. 11:30).
I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand …henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto them also who love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).
The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (2 Tim. 4:18).
The Christian life is not an easy path to follow and anyone who preaches to the contrary is false! When the Word speaks of the “abundant life in Christ”… abundance comes not from earthly things (it may, I will not disregard that), but there is a joy in the Lord that fills the soul with endless hope, peace and awe at His amazing grace that runs like a thread through every trial or sorrow. We have a choice when this trials come. We can either go patiently to the Word and pray to our Heavenly Father through our Lord Jesus Christ for comfort, guidance, wisdom and help or be filled with fear and start fist shaking at God because He doesn’t provide or fix something immediately. Rest assured that He has “promised” to care for your every need and He will. Keep your eyes on Him, stay in the Word, pray and seek His will and leading. 1 Peter 1: 6-9 ” In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls.”
Be blessed in the Amazing grace of the Creator God through our Lord Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. ♥ Streim
The Glass Blower July 17, 2012Posted by Streim in Life Lessons From the Word, Living in the Real World, Seeking Truth?, The Joy of His Love.
Tags: Christianity, Encouragement, glass blowing, God's Faithfulness, God's love, God's will, Hope, Jesus Christ, Joy, life, Obedience, peace, Psalms, Serving God, Study, temptations, The Truth, trials
Inspired by Kenneth Krell~~ edited by Stephanie ~streim~
**1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Psalm 139: 14-14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ “
Genesis 28:15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.”
Zechariah 13:9 ” I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ “
Trust Him… it may feel like you’re being tested above measure… but it is by the love of our Lord Jesus and Heavenly Father that we are being created into the “new man” daily as we submit to Him! Rejoice in His never failing mercies and grace!
Ready or Not–Here It Comes! Part 1 June 15, 2012Posted by Streim in God's Word~Our Guide Book, Life Lessons From the Word, Listening To God, Living in the Real World, Seeking Truth?.
Tags: Bible, Christian living, Christianity, Exhortation, God's Faithfulness, Jesus Christ, lust, Obedience, pride, Salvation, temptation, The Truth, trials
We’ve all played hide and seek in our childhood years. One person covers his or her eyes and begins to count. The rest of the players scatter and try to find a good hiding place until the person counting yells “Ready or not–here I come”.
Temptation is going to come into our life whether we’re “ready for it or not– it’s going to come”! So, how do we prepare ourselves for the daily temptations we will all face? In Scripture , the words temptation, testing and trials are often used interchangeably. So, let me ask, how should we prepare for a trial or a test ?
Well, if it was a trial we’d get all the facts straight and have a good defense. If it was a test we’d study a lot, retain the information and respond. Some people think they can go into a trial without knowing the facts or having a legitimate defense; then there are those folks who like to “cram for exams”. Neither way is going to be effective. You’ll lose the trial and fail the exam.
There are three ways temptation, trials and tests will come. 1 John 2: 16 tells us ” For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.” I know, as a follower of Jesus Christ you’ve read this Scripture or heard it preached many times before. Please bear with me…as I share what my Lord and Savior has laid upon my heart to share.
Saul was a prime example of how the temptation of the “pride of life “ can take hold and destroy. He was appointed and anointed of God; given a new heart and the Spirit of God was upon him (1 Sam 10: 9-10). Samuel anointed him King over the nation of Israel. The people cried to the LORD for a king and He graciously did so. For two years King Saul reigned; then we read in Samuel 13: 11-14
“And Samuel said, ‘What have you done?’ And Saul said, ‘When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.’ And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue.” What happened?
King Saul was tempted by the “pride of life” .
Of course, at he first tried to blame it on Samuel for not coming to him at the right time, then he blamed the people because they weren’t close to him and finally he saw the Philistines coming and he panicked. He hadn’t prayed about the situation (as he was told to do), so he decided to handle it his way instead of heeding the commandments of the LORD. Result– disobedience to God. Did he fail because he wasn’t equipped? NO! He knew the law and how the LORD delivered the people many times from their enemies; he had a new heart and the Spirit of the Lord was upon him.
HE FAILED AND FELL CAPTIVE TO SIN BECAUSE HE WAS NOT USING THE TOOLS GIVEN TO HIM BY THE LORD! HE WAS EQUIPPED BUT NOT READY.
We are much like King Saul. Through Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of our sin we are given a “new heart”, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and we have the perfect, infallible Word of God as our guide for living.
So how can we be ready?
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
Everyday, as we prepare our bodies to go off to work, school or whatever; we always make sure we’re fed, clean and clothed. Renewing of the mind daily by feeding our souls with the Word of God, relying on God to be our buckler and being full suited in the armor of God… we can be ready.
Scripture references: Psalm 91: 4; Ephesians 6: 11-13; Deuteronomy 8: 3 ; Proverbs 3:5-6 ; 2 Corinthians 5: 17
****to be continued****