Suffering, trust and joy…

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 measurePaul 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

 

Watch Where You’re Going!

We often hear stories of someone who was using his/her cell phone to text a message while driving and it resulted in an accident.  Living in this age of “techno-everything”, thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have created laws prohibiting texting while driving.  Some states prohibit drivers from using cell phones or other hand-held devices at all while driving.  In the most simplistic sense, laws serve the primary purpose of providing a sense of order to protect people from being harmed or harming others.

Our Almighty LORD God  set all things in order from the creation until now.  However, we humans seem to think sometimes that we have a better way than our Father and Lord Jesus.  In the long Psalm (as some refer to it) 119 we find so much, but today I’d like to just examine the vital “precepts given from heaven”.  The importance of the Word to guide us in our everyday walk with the Lord.

Psalm 119: 100-106 “I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts (**laws, rules, guidelines**).  I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.  I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me(3).  How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.  Your word is a lamp(1) to my feet and a light to my path (2).  I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules.

Imagine yourself on vacation in a beautiful countryside resort.  You had a pleasant day with the family and go to bed thankful for such a relaxing day.   Suddenly you’re awakened by a loud clap of thunder followed by a fierce storm.  The wind roared, the rain poured but all seemed well until the power went out. There you were in complete darkness!   You stumbled out of bed , tripped over your own shoes by the side of the bed and banged your shin on a table in the middle of the room before you found the door.  Finally, some light… or so you thought.  Nope just darkness!  No outdoor light, no stars or moon and you had no idea which way lead to the resort’s office.   You stood there in dark silence thinking “If I only came prepared and brought a flashlight and a lantern with me.”

It’s impossible to see in the darkness without light.  It’s impossible to pay attention to where we are going when we distracted by texting on a cell while driving. 

I envision the Word as a  flashlight in one hand and a lantern in the other hand.  The flashlight to keep my attention on where I step (1) and the lantern to light the path ahead (2).   But I must pay attention to where I am going at all times (3).

 

“This book (the Bible) will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.” 

Dwight L. Moody

Friday’s Favorite

There is only one certainty in this life and that is we live in the “now”.  We can’t go backwards to repair damages and we have not the knowledge of the future.  With that in mind, I give some Biblical truths to think upon.  The video is meant to motivate all of us to…

“Do God’s will for our own life today“.

  • In Matthew 5: 39-45 Jesus said   “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.  And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor  and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
  • 2 Timothy 4: 2-5 ” Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.  But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.
Billy Graham