Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5.10
Suffering. Nobody likes it. No one wants to suffer. Sometimes when a person becomes a Christian, they think that their suffering is over. Life is going to become a bed of rose petals. Yet the Bible teaches differently. Mathew 5.11 teaches that a person is happy or blessed when they are persecuted for righteousness. Persecution is suffering. God allowed Satan to take everything from Job: his family, his wealth, and his health. That is suffering. In Acts 5.17-41 we read where the apostles are put in prison and eventually beaten. But they left the council rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of Jesus. James tells us in James 1. 2-4 that the testing of our faith (suffering) produces endurance and endurance helps us to mature and be perfect or complete in our faith, not lacking in anything. Whenever we are suffering, our attitude should be one of joy. We should search for the lesson that we are to learn and grow from the situation. Did you notice what happens after you suffer for a little while? God will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. That is cause for rising joy!
#risingjoy #1-Peter #suffering
“For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people.”
1 Corinthians 4.9
The unregenerate man thinks of titles, positions, and privileges in a given group or setting. Jesus calls the “best and brightest” to become the rejects and oppressed.
God calls us all into an eternal covenant whose major characteristic today is suffering. To reject the suffering of Christ, with Christ, is to reject the covenant and all its promises.
#votd #1-Corinthians #suffering
“Gideon said to him, ‘Pardon me, but if the Lord is with us, why has such disaster overtaken us? Where are all his miraculous deeds our ancestors told us about? They said, “Did the Lord not bring us up from Egypt?” But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.’”
Gideon had difficulty in reconciling Israel’s situation and the Lord’s promise of blessing for his people. A common expectation is that God only blesses.
In the new covenant, the Lord’s blessing is spiritual, not material. Suffering is part of the work we do. Especially today such questions as Gideon’s are inappropriate.
#votd #Judges #suffering
“For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing.”
What an apostle is called to, so are all the people of God. The faith is for all, as is suffering for Christ. We find solace in knowing that others face the same spiritual conflict.
We suffer for Christ not only to live for him but to proclaim him. Together, we learn to trust in the Lord. We pray together, for one another, and rejoice in following the Lord’s path.
#votd #Philippians #suffering
“This saying is trustworthy: If we died with him, we will also live with him.”
2 Timothy 2.11
Five times in his letters to evangelists Paul uses the phrase about trustworthy sayings. It indicates an essential truth. Some think verses 11-13 were taken from an ancient hymn. To die with Christ is to accept any suffering so that people can be saved, v. 10.
Christ died to save others. So do we. His task is ours. We embrace hardship for his mission. This is the calling of every follower. Are you willing?
#votd #2-Timothy #suffering
By: Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT — They had just placed membership, but were very infrequent at church. I wondered what the situation was with this family that had just moved into the community. After some investigation, I learned they moved into the Middle Tennessee area so they could be closer to Vanderbilt Hospital.
The father of the family, Greg, had a terribly bad and rare disease called, Syringomyelia, which was best treated at Vanderbilt Hospital and by their specialists. “Syringomyelia is a condition characterized by a fluid-filled cavity or cyst known as a syrinx that forms within the spinal cord.” Up until the time of his death, he was in the hospital for approximately eight months solid being treated for this condition. As the evangelist in the church they worshipped with, I would make regular visits to Vanderbilt Hospital to offer words of encouragement and support. Little did I know that I would be the one edified by this family who was about to endure the suffering of the family patriarch. Continue reading
“All this has happened to us, even though we have not rejected you or violated your covenant with us. We have not been unfaithful, nor have we disobeyed your commands.”
At some point, the nation of Judah is afflicted, but not for lack of faithfulness. The center of the psalm laments the nation’s suffering, vv. 9-16, and ends with an appeal for help, vv. 23-26.
“We should learn to make trouble and perplexity drive us to our God not away from him”. —J.A. Motyer, “Psalms” NBC21, 514.
#votd #Psalms #suffering
“This is evidence of God’s righteous judgment, to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which in fact you are suffering.”
2 Thessalonians 1.5
“This” refers to the “persecutions and afflictions”, v. 4, that the Thessalonians were suffering. Suffering in this way is not evidence of God’s indifference or injustice. Rather, it is evidence of his righteousness and goodness.
Do not doubt God in whatever you are called upon to suffer. Show perseverance and faith in such moments. What is the goal God has in mind for you?
#suffering #divine-judgment #VOTD
“As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name.”
James points to the need for patience until the Lord’s return. He mentions the OT prophets as examples. They spoke God’s word of repentance to Israel for years under most trying circumstances.
Christ’s people also speak in his name and face suffering because of it. What other parallels with the prophets can be made?
#patience #suffering #VOTD
Do you ever feel alone? When we feel that way, we’re probably not really alone. Feelings don’t do a good job of reflecting reality. They’re a result of our interpretation of events and situations. Since our views of reality are often skewed, our feelings seldom reflect what’s really happening.
But let’s say, for sake of argument, that there are times when we’re really alone. Isolated. Estranged. Closed off from people. What would that be like? How would we really feel? Continue reading
By Sean Ashberry
The Bible is not casual about evil and suffering. The Bible in fact is brutally honest about pain, misfortune, and the challenge it presents to faith. The fact of suffering continues to stand as one of the greatest challenges to the Christian faith. Its distribution and degree seems random and unfair. People have always asked how one might reconcile this reality with God’s justice and his love. Those are fair questions. Continue reading
Word has it Mel Gibson wants to follow up his movie on “The Passion of Christ” with a film on his resurrection. But a film that nobody will make is one about the passion of the Christian—passion in this phrase meaning “suffering.”
I’m doing a series in the Urbanova congregation on Sundays about the pains of the disciple of Christ. They include the pains of growth, service, persecution, God’s discipline, and Christ’s suffering.
These pains do not overwhelm the joys in Christ nor the peace of God. But they are real and ought to be shared ahead of time with those who are considering discipleship of Christ. Let there be no surprises upon becoming a Christian.
Jesus was, after all, the Suffering Servant, and his followers will be as well.
Sometimes I wonder if the book of Job is not so much about the man after whom the book is named, as it is about his friends. Or about his discussions with his friends as he maintains his integrity and defends a proper vision of God, although he himself is in the midst of intense struggle and suffering.
Yes, you’ll probably accuse me of making even the book of Job into a book about evangelism. And you will not be far from making a just accusation.
The lessons of the book are many for those who seek to influence others for Christ: Continue reading
Did God’s plan of redemption make Jesus suffer, or did it know that he would?
Is it one or the other, or is it both?
From the prophecies of old to the sweat soaked prayer in the garden, aspects of each avenue can be seen.
Regardless of the answer to the above question(s), Jesus chose to suffer for us. He chose to lay down his life so we could have our life (John 10:15-18).
Some stumble in the face of such questions while others grow closer to God through it. But how should we react according to the suffering servant himself?
“Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)
Please keep this upcoming event in your prayers:
|Tickets Available for Kyle Butt/Bart Erhman Debate
The Christian Student Center of the University of North Alabama will be hosting a debate between Apologetics Press author Kyle Butt and University of North Carolina professor Bart Ehrman. Professor Bart Ehrman has written more than 20 books, including the New York Times bestsellers Misquoting Jesus, Jesus Interrupted, and God’s Problem. He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is a self-avowed agnostic who claims that the pain and suffering he sees in the world make it impossible for him to believe that the Christian God exists. Thus, the debate will be on the subject of suffering and the existence of God. Ehrman will be affirming: “The pain and suffering in the world indicate that the Christian God does not exist.” Kyle will be denying that proposition.