Why Christians Suffer-
Continued from Part 4… This entire eight part series will be listed under the category entitled Devotionals/Inspirationals.
3)Suffering Makes Us More Like Christ
God allows us to suffer to accomplish the ultimate purpose for which He has called and chosen us. The purpose of God in choosing and saving us is to make us more like Jesus Christ. Jeremiah was called the “weeping prophet.” We are to be conformed to the image of His Son. Jesus was called the “man of sorrows.” Is it any wonder that we will experience affliction, pain and grief as He did? Hebrews 2:10 “For it became Him, for whom are all things… in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Following Jesus means tasting Calvary and the Garden of Gethsemane, it means darkness and suffering. Paul said in Philippians 3:10 “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death.” Wherever He leads, I will go.
4)Suffering Makes Us Appreciative
We do not appreciate our blessings until we lose them. How can a day be beautiful unless we have stormy days to compare with it? I never cherished my good health until I got pneumonia. I was so weak that I could not move my little finger. I then learned how to lean on the Lord, how to pray, and how weak and feeble my body really was. This happened just after I came to Christ – after our “born again” experience, God often chastises us or allows us to suffer so we can grow in the Lord.
…to be continued
Blessings, Pastor Steve
Our Daily Bread
Jesus’s teaching about absolute ideals and absolute grace seem contradictory.
Jesus never lowered God’s perfect ideal. In His response to the rich young ruler, He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). He told an expert in the law who inquired as to the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (22:37). No one has completely fulfilled those commands.
Yet the same Jesus tenderly offered absolute grace. He forgave an adulteress, a thief on the cross, a disciple who had denied ever knowing Him, and a man named Saul, who had made his mark persecuting Christians. Grace is absolute and all-encompassing, extending even to those who nailed Jesus to the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” were among the last words He spoke on earth (Luke 23:34).
For years I felt so unworthy when considering Jesus’s absolute ideals that I missed any notion of His grace. Once I understood this dual message, however, I went back and found that the message of grace gusts through Jesus’s life and teachings.
Grace is for the desperate, the needy, the broken, those who cannot make it on their own. Grace is for all of us.
Father, Your all-encompassing grace washes over us and astonishes us. May we live today as people who enjoy Your complete forgiveness and a restored relationship with You.
Jesus fulfilled the perfect requirements of the law so that we may enjoy the perfect peace of His grace.
INSIGHT: The life of the apostle Paul is another example of God’s grace. Because of Paul’s past, he considered himself the most undeserving recipient of God’s mercy and grace (1 Tim. 1:13–14). Although he was chosen to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul also gave another reason he was chosen: “God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life” (v. 16 nlt). God had you and me in mind when He saved Paul—an awesome thought. If Paul, the worst of sinners, could be saved, then there is hope for everyone else. No one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace.
Suffering is a doctrine that is found throughout the Word of God. The Emerging Church totally ignores this teaching. What would Job say if Joel Osteen said to him: “Have your best life now?” God builds us up through trials and tribulations, not through creature comforts and living on easy street. Following are ten reasons why Christians suffer. The list is not conclusive. A couple of them will be mentioned in this posting with more to come.
Why Christians Suffer –
1)Suffering Silences Satan
The best example is the story of the patriarch Job. When God pointed out to Satan what a good man Job was, the devil accused Job of doing it only for gain and profit which came to him materially because he feared the Lord. In order to prove his point, God allowed Satan to take his possessions, health and family. The result was that Satan was silenced. Instead of murmuring, complaining, and becoming bitter, Job praised God and said: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
How wonderful it is to see people love the Lord and smile while suffering. The next time you feel like complaining, read the diary of Ann Frank.
2)Suffering Enables Us To Glorify God
The eleventh chapter of John tells us about the death of Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus. Jesus could have healed Lazarus, but allowed him to die in order to teach a lesson to Lazarus and his two sisters. Jesus said in John 11:4: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified by it.”
….to be continued
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. | Feb. 19, 2017
“Their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:17-18)
Many Christians decry the citing of actual names of those Christian leaders who teach heretical doctrines, saying that such an act is “unloving.” Paul, however, considered it an important evidence of true love to warn against those who would “overthrow the faith of some,” realizing that generalities would be useless.
Not only did Hymenaeus and Philetus make Paul’s list, but so did Demas (2 Timothy 4:10), Alexander the coppersmith (2 Timothy 4:14), the Cretians (Titus 1:12), another Alexander (1 Timothy 1:20), and even Peter (Galatians 2:11-14) when he began to teach legalism. Likewise, John warned against Diotrephes (3 John 1:9) and the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:6).
On the other hand, Paul was much more generous with name recognition when he was giving out commendations (e.g., Romans 16:1-15; Colossians 4:7-17). We undoubtedly need to follow his example in appreciating by name those who are faithful in teaching and living the truth.
Likewise, we need to be ready and willing to name those individuals, churches, schools, and other organizations that are denying biblical inerrant authority, compromising the doctrine of special creation, requiring humanistic works for salvation, or bringing in other heretical doctrines. We obviously need to be sure of our facts when we do this and also to bring such charges only if motivated by genuine concern for those apt to be led astray if we don’t speak out. But then we must, indeed, “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). HMM
Him That Cometh to Me
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)
In this verse and the verses to follow, we find Christ using a marvelous teaching technique. Several times He makes a general, generic statement but quickly advances from the general and impersonal to the particular and personal.
“He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. . . . and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” (John 13:4-5)
Praise of the Generations
“That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children.” (Psalm 78:6)
God Is Able
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
- Love and the Heart
- The Only True God
- The Golden Scepter
- The Fear of the Lord
- Abel’s Timely Testimony
- That Goodly Mountain
- Everything We Need
- Beware of Balaam
- Working by Faith
- The Pattern in the Mount
- Joint Heirs with Christ
- God’s Presence in Flood and Flame
- We Soon Fly Away
Budapest – Day 2
Our mission team noted that the sun came out only one time during the entire trip, and that was for an hour or two prior to sunset one evening. Some of the sights we saw as we braved the frigid temperatures in Budapest were the Danube River, St. Stephens Basilica, St. Matthias Church, the Hungarian Parliament Building, the State Opera House, Hero’s Square, the Slzechenyil Spa, the outdoor winter ice skating rink (largest in all of Europe), the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Great Synagogue.
I learned that Hungary was once five times its’ present size, when it was part of the famous Hapsburg Dynasty along with Austria. A gentleman who later translated for me (Chip), explained that Saxons were hired to ward off the Islamic invasion from the east (Istanbul), and they settled east of Romania. After living there for some time, they eventually formed a powerful nation.
The city displayed Jewish artifacts that spotlighted the World War II holocaust. There were old suitcases making a monument of sorts, rocks that represented those who died, and innumerable personal effects that were shown at scenes, in order to remember their tragic years in Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The history of Budapest goes back to ancient times. There are buildings, archeology, and history commemorating the following: The Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, The Hapsburg Dynasty With Austria, The Ottoman Turk Invasion (The Turks allowed Christianity), The Mongol Invasion, Genghis Khan, The Nazi Occupation, The Jewish Holocaust, The Soviet Communist Occupation, And The Insurrection / Rebellion Of 1956. There Is A Statue Of Ronald Reagan The Liberator. There are many Catholic Churches in Budapest, and the local kings were esteemed and magnified in the Catholic Churches in Hungary. The history is voluminous, profoundly interesting, overwhelming and very detailed.
Later on, the British evening news and CNN called Donald Trump the greatest threat facing Europe. They speak incessantly about Trump. I have not heard English Prime Minister Theresa May even mentioned. These liberal European news stations spoke a lot about Brexit as well.
…to be continued
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
We construct beautiful buildings for worship, then struggle to get people in. We have eloquent preachers but often no unsaved are there to hear them! We seem to have things back to front. The Lord’s final message before He ascended was “Go ye.” Use your feet to go into all the world to preach the gospel. He is saying to the church today, “Go ye into the high street and market; go to the homes and playgrounds; go to your friends and neighbors. Whatever else you do please go. I am waiting to make you a blessing if only you will go.” A conference held some years ago was entitled, “Go Out or Die Out.” How true. Is yours a dying assembly? -David Croudace
Go then and tell them of Jesus, it was for them He was slain
Give them, O give them the Gospel, let not their cry be in vain! -O. Smith
There were nine people on our mission team, and all were native Texans except for myself. Seven of us preached the Gospel all week. The Romanians are not a people who respond to altar calls. Their emotion and response is demonstrated by saying “amen,” pronounced “ameen.” When under conviction, they will raise their hands and their pastor will follow up after the service. The Romanians are easy to preach to however, and they love revivals and the Word of God the way we enjoy Christian music concerts. Oh that the fires of revival would once again touch our sin sick nation!
The Lord prepared me for the coldness gradually. We had a “cold snap” in south Florida whereby the temperature hung in the 50 degree range prior to our departure. Our connecting flight was in London, England, and the temperature was about 46 degrees. When we exited the airplane in Budapest, Hungary, the weather was in the teens. The beginning of our mission trip featured sight seeing in Budapest, which is a great way to unwind after our long journey to Eastern Europe. I was part of another mission team to Romania in 2005, and touring Budapest was scheduled at the end of our trip. I was taken ill and never able to see the city, hence I was very glad to have this opportunity now.
Budapest yokes together two formerly separate cities: Buda and Pest, on opposite sides of the Danube River. Buda, on the West side of the river is hilly and semi-suburban, and has winding, narrow streets wending their way up into the hills. Pest, on the East side of the river is typical flat Hungarian real estate. We will tour the city tomorrow, and observe the Stephen Church Basilica, the Parliament Building, the Court Building and much more. We will learn of the Nazi occupation, the Soviet occupation, and their freedom which came under the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
You can stay at an ornate hotel for about one hundred dollars a night in Budapest. I took advantage of a huge bathtub that had a rail to hold reading material, and piped in television for the evening news. The people we met were all very gracious and more than hospitable. If my wife and I decide on a trip to Europe, a stopover in England for a few days and Budapest, Hungary would work for me. It is a beautiful and historic city.
On my first evening in Budapest, I ordered Hungarian Goolash. Original, eh? It was very good, and it is basically the same as our beef stew, except pepper is used in place of tomato.
Donald Trump’s immigration ban is the talk of Europe. Europe is very liberal and reminds me of the evening news back home. CNN in Europe is mesmerized by Donald Trump, and BBC covers Donald Trump much more than Britain’s own Prime Minister, Theresa May. It struck me on this trip that the British accent is found everywhere. I experienced it in England of course, and even one of my translators (Chip) in Romania had one. My wife and I were on a cruise to the Western Caribbean four months ago and it seemed like every other person had one! For a relatively small island nation, The British have sure had a global impact.
At the end of the day (literally), it struck me that I would much rather go on a mission trip where it is fifteen degrees, than go to Tahiti. This is very true with me. I would much rather go on a series of mission trips than have an outdoor swimming pool, and am grateful for the choices the good Lord has given us, and the responses He has led my wife and me to make.
……to be continued
This trip is now in the rear view mirror, yielding memories and a spiritual impact that will be revealed in eternity. Only God knows all that was accomplished. There were sixty one total professions of faith, as seven American pastors spoke in eight Romanian Baptist Churches in the vicinity of Oradea. A wonderful pastor’s conference followed in Satu Mare, Romania.
The trip ended on an extremely high note for me. Once again, I had challenges at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW). [The first DFW adventure is on this blog site under 2012 Mission Trip To England/Uganda, Part 5]. We left Budapest early in the morning as we commenced our thirty hour journey home. The officials in Budapest would not check my luggage all the way to Florida, which meant I had to retrieve it in Dallas, and check it in once again. I already had little time between flights, and now had luggage to deal with. Add to this- going through Customs, entering security once again, and traveling to another terminal to catch the final flight home. Humanly speaking, I thought I may miss the flight, and prayed about this concern for several weeks. There was a bit of good news in our flight from Heathrow Airport /London to Dallas, Texas. Our flight came in twenty minutes early, which is common with flights that come from “across the pond,” since picking up a tailwind can take time off of the flight. But still, there was too much to do in very little time. I was wondering where my God was at my first check point – Customs. This station was a royal mess in Dallas, with several options that served only to confuse the passengers. I asked a fellow passenger which method would be fastest for an American citizen. He suggested simply having my passport scanned. I went to that station and saw hundreds of people who were “deer in the headlights,” not knowing how to place their passport in the scanner, and of course no one was there to explain how it is done because this was a government operation. I placed my passport in the scanner what seemed like twelve times without success. I was beginning to envision a night in the terminal and catching a morning flight. Then God entered the picture: An airport employee was right next to me and he correctly read my frustration. It was a miracle just to see him, as moments prior to this, absolutely no airport worker was anywhere in sight. He seemed to just materialize. He said: “He would help me.” I had NO IDEA how much he would help me. He scanned my passport in a heartbeat, and I thought that would be the end of it. Then he said: “Just stay with me, and I will put you on your flight, but you must stay with me.” He was helping a handicapped gentleman at the same time that he was assisting me. He then helped a lady with a small child, giving them a place in the line in front of us, as a true gentleman would do. He expedited my obligations, through escorting me past existing lines that I would have been in if I were alone. He explained to me that God gives preference to some, and since I was with him, I was able to receive it. I wholly agreed with him with a grateful heart. By now, I realized he was the answer to my many prayers and I told him so. As it turned out, his name was James Smith, and he was a fellow pastor from a nondenominational church. This is what we call a “God thing.” As we progressed from one check point to another, I was still a bit nervous, with the boarding time rapidly approaching. James said: “Do not worry, I am use to this, and I will get you there on time.” If I were alone, I would have been running, but James Smith’s mere presence cooled my jets and I walked with him. I never met a man like James, and I told him so. [The Texans I travelled with saw the one helping me as they retrieved their luggage. One of them previously offered to drive me to the terminal of my departure, but realized that I was in very good hands. They were amazed.] We came to my departure gate while the passengers were boarding, and James escorted me to the front, and then took me all the way through the tunnel, and unto the airplane. I had no idea that when James said: “I will help you,” to what extent he would do so. No, you cannot make this stuff up. I ask you, what are the odds for circumstances like this to happen to anyone? I will tell you – zero, zilch, nada, forget it.
What is the moral of the story? God told me that if you take care of your mission assignment, then I will assist you with the details over which you have no control. Thank you Jesus. This was a blessing to me because it was also a Divine revelation that I was in the center of His perfect will.
The future entries for this Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip will consist of several parts and give a detailed day by day account of the entire mission trip.
Maranatha and Forever Thankful, Pastor Steve