Sharing in His Suffering

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19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called,because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. — 1 Peter 2:19-21 NIV


As we look back and honestly assess the hard times in our lives, we can attribute most of them to bad decisions that we have made.  Those decisions may have involved unkind words that we spoke causing ill feelings and anger between us and others.  The decisions may have been based on our fleshly desires and caused us to commit acts that we should not have committed.  The decisions could have been bad financial decisions we made because we did not want to wait until we were able to afford certain things.  We get no credit or praise for enduring those times that were brought on by our own wrong doing.  I cannot recall one time in my life when I had to suffer because of a good deed that I had done.  I read the horror stories of our brothers and sisters being abused and persecuted for the good deeds they have done and are doing and I pray for them.  Those events seem so far away and foreign to me.  And I wonder what my reaction to that kind of treatment would be.  Would I stay faithful to God and endure the pain?  We are called to and warned to be ready for such acts.  We have the examples of those in the Bible and in our daily news of those who do endure.  They are the ones who make up the “cloud of witnesses” that surround us.  I shed tears of grief as I listen to their stories and I feel so small and unworthy knowing that the tears they are shedding as they tell their stories are tears of joy, the joy of sharing in suffering with our Savior.  

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-26-2018

Refocusing Our Thoughts

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.


7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ​ 8 Finally, beloved,[a] whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about[b] these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 7-9 (NRSV)
Matthew 12:43-45: 43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”
We can’t just stop thinking wrong thoughts and leave our minds empty. As Jesus pointed out in the passage from Matthew, if we don’t fill our emptiness with something, when the evil spirit returns, he will bring companions with him, take up residence and our end is worse than the beginning. So, what do we do? Paul suggests that we focus on the things he mentions above. Think honorable, just, pure, commendable thoughts. We need to put each thought to a test to see if it fits in one of the categories he lists. If not, we need to cast out those rebellious/evil thoughts. We are not alone in this battle, we have the peace of God that guards our hearts and our minds. But we must keep practicing “right ” thinking to keep the peace of God.​
Post 12/10