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Suffering

August 21st, 2015

“What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later.” Romans 8:18 NLT.

Job’s story was written to show God’s faith in Job, not Job’s faith in God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “suffering.”

First let me say, I do not presume to know all the answers about suffering. But this I know, God sorrows when we suffer. For any of us, suffering presents more questions than provides answers. In the Bible, a whole book is about the suffering of Job, a man the God described as, “blameless, a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” Job 1:1 NLT. Very few, if any, have experienced the breadth and depth of loss and pain that Job suffered. Read Job 1:13-2:10 NLT.

And therein is the dilemma for most of us. We assume suffering is the natural result of our own wrongdoing or the fault of others. Admittedly, those often do cause suffering. But how do you explain suffering where there is no fault to be assessed? Amid the pain of suffering there are questions and uncertainties. In the truth of God’s Word and His righteous character, you will find rest for body, mind, and soul. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, [produces] character; and character [produces] hope.” Romans 5:3-4 NIV.

This week, a pastor and friend, Dennis, shared an inspiring insight about the sufferings of Job. Let me share an excerpt with you. “The patriarch Job had lost his possessions, family, friends and health, Satan himself tried to take his mind. Chapter after chapter, Job anguishes over the hopelessness of his life. He asked the question we all ask, ‘Where is God in all of this?’ Unlike you and me, Job really had lost everything. He really was hopeless. Even his wife and friends’ advice was, ‘Give up, curse God and die.’ So where was God?

You have to go back to the beginning of the story. The devil had presented a challenge to God, saying he could destroy the faith of God’s servant. God accepted the challenge and allowed Satan to attack everything that Job had, except his life. Read Job 1:6-12 NLT. In a nutshell that is the story.

But underneath the story is a truth that is missed by most. A casual glance would say that God was testing Job’s faith to see if he could stand in the crisis. That is not the case. Job’s life-story was not written to show his faith in God, but written to show God’s faith in Job. Think about it. Satan challenged God that he could destroy the righteous believer’s faith. God chose one man to be tested, Job.

In essence, God places all of His faith in that man to stand in the day of trouble. God believed the very best in Job – in fact, He believed in Job more than Job believed in himself. Since God has faith in you, maybe it’s time to put your faith in Him.” Dennis Gallaher, ActLikeMenBlog.

If you could hear the conversation about you in Heaven, you would not doubt your strength in Christ to persevere. This is the perspective God honors, “What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later.” Romans 8:18 NLT. Your story is being written to show God’s faith in you, not your faith in God. Stop trying to have faith that impresses God. Start living a life that pleases God; give God reason to have faith in you. “Praise be to the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles.” Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-10 NIV.

Here is Peter’s perspective on righteous suffering, “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:19-21 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to persevere in suffering, assured of the character and faithfulness of your God.

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Being Worthy

February 19th, 2014

“God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God.” Matthew 5:10 NKJV.

The magnificence of God’s blessing will outweigh your pain.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being worthy.”

Unfortunately, maltreatment is not uncommon in a hurting and unkind world. Don’t be shocked when it happens. It happens with strangers, friends, or even family, in public places, at work, in your home, or even at church, regrettably. On some occasions, you will feel ignored, slighted, overlooked, misunderstood, ridiculed, blamed, or mistreated. Your tendency will be to cause harm because of your hurt. Momentarily, doing so may feel better but only exacerbates the problem.

In our examination of Jesus teaching in the Beatitudes, we have discussed, “Being real, compassionate, submissive, satisfied, merciful, authentic, and peace-full.” Let’s dig deeper. (8) “Being Worthy.” To those who suffer unfairly, their reward will be magnificent. “God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is yours . . for a great reward awaits you in Heaven.” Matthew 5:10/12 NKJV. Persecution seems a strong word to use for the slights we experience when people around the globe live in the pain of religious, political, or financial suffering. But unfairness and mistreatment hurts whatever its source or severity.

First, take your pain and tears to Jesus. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:5 NIV. See 1 Peter 4:12-16 NIV. Talk to Him before you speak to others or about them.

Secondly, respond in grace rather than out of hurt. ”Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 NIV. What was done to you was not right, but what you do in return must be. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:14 NIV. See Matthew 5:43-45 NIV.

Thirdly, persevere; the magnificence of God’s blessing will outweigh your pain. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in Heaven.” Matthew 5:10-16 NIV. Jesus spoke of reward for your righteous response when others do awful things to you without cause.

These words of wisdom were found on the wall of Mother Teresa’s room in Calcutta, India, “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

My prayer for you today is that you walk worthy of the One whose name you carry.

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