Monday, March 1, 2010

Suffering, trials, opposition, pain.. got some of that and wonder about it some? I have before. Hey, chin up. Things will get better, believer. Comfort is on the way.

Come and suffer with us. Contrary to popular belief, Christians do suffer, but God has a great plan to address this. 

So join the Lord and us His Church, but not for lovin' or wantin' suffering's sake. Do it for Him. None of us really like pain and trials.. or will have it forever. 

"Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble." ~Job 14:1

"The Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered My servant Job?'" ~Job 1:8

Why is there so much suffering in the Lord's beautiful world? Here are some reasons to consider and a handful of verses to take with you:

- What mere mortal man can escape the laws that govern this universe we are in? None that I know. We need such things as gravity, weather, and fire to survive, but these things can lead to unbelievable tragedy (See Matt. 5:45). Fire is good to cook on or to keep you warm, but an out-of-control fire can kill gobs of precious people.

- We are a social race that appears to be growing more socially networking these days. Our lives are so intertwined with many, so we sometimes have problems or even suffer when the sin or foolishness of others spreads trouble in our direction (See 1 Cor. 12:26).

- Sin brought a heavy duty curse on the earth and its people. I get wondering if all these killer earthquakes with subsequent tsunamis are birth pangs—I think they are. But this sin-caused curse includes sickness, disease and death (See Gen. 3:15-24). Can hardly wait 'til it's all behind us.

- Suffering should awaken real compassion and even rescue efforts. Jesus taught us to care for the lost and for those who suffer in poverty and degradation. We are called to be His partners if you will, in helping the less fortunate (See Luke 10:33-35).

What did effective personal and mass evangelism if you will.. mean to the Apostle Paul?

Suffering.. plus.

Many Christians today think it means nothing but lavish upwardly-mobile living with all the amenities included, but Paul was excited about the "plus" part so he didn't quit spreading the Message.

"..Paul was dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul." ~ Acts 21:30-32, nkjv

Now what did Paul do to deserve such harsh treatment? Was he lacking faith or being unwise with his actions? No, he lovingly obeyed God.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.." ~ 2 Timothy 1:8, nkjv

What kind of Spirit has God given us? A "Holy" Spirit! Does this Holy Person control you daily with Christ's holy love?

"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ." ~2 Corinthians 1:5

Does Christ's comforting grace go from you ..out to the hurting? Want this to happen more?

"Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator." ~1 Peter 4:19

Many believers and unbelievers avoid suffering at all costs.. sucking down too much bud lite etc for solace, but could it be that there is some suffering in the direct will of God for you? Could it really be that God allows our pain and trials for a purpose ..yeah, "willing" the ultimate good that can proceed from us in them unto God's glory; while still inviting our full trust?

Does this seem slightly ironic?

"For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." ~1 Peter 3:17

Huh, rejoice? With all due respect, please give me a break. This seems way too odd.

"I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the Church." ~Colossians 1:24

But suffering and trials aren't ever in vain in Christ. So don't waste your sorrows. Pray, pray pray! 
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." ~ Romans 8:18

Which could be revealed …or shall be?

"Let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to Him [God]." ~1 Peter 4:19

According to God's will? Well, He can keep you through it all. Keep your eyes on the Reward! Let's just make sure that if we are hated or suffering that it is not because of our own wrong beliefs or idiocy.  

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." ~1 Peter 5:9

You ain't alone in it—so don't' think it's kinda weird or strange for believers. There is an enemy who literally hates your guts and wants to take you out (not on a date) completely off the scene early as possible. If you are lost, He wants to kill you wanting your company for eternity. Will you response to Christ's Gospel? Jesus is your only Option for age abiding Life minus all suffering.  

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you." ~1 Peter 4:12

How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe, I have fled to my Refuge and breathed out my woe; how often, when trials like sea billows roll, have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul. ~Cushing

What are you ready for?

"What are you doing weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready to die in Jerusalem for the name of Jesus." ~Acts 21:13

You remember how Mr. Nero lopped off Paul's head. Paul looked like the loser to many I'm sure. But now a days there's zero honor or respect with that murderer's name. How many name their kids Nero or Hitler? Some parents name their vicious pit-bull and Doberman guard dogs out on the lot, Nero or Hitler, but they still name their sons, Paul. He is in Heaven with no more pain! So don't be myopic with your vision holding only to a temporal view instead of an eternal view of things.

Prosperity gospel--want that instead? Don't. Stop that. Let's go with the real Gospel--the Bible one. Let's just keep laying up treasures in Heaven! Need prayer?
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