“Patiently Endure Testing”

12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. — James 1:12 NLT

James 1:12-16 NLT

Why do Christians have to endure trials and persecutions? I suppose people have been asking this question since the first century. The disciples never quite understood why Jesus had to suffer and die until after the Resurrection. God does not allow us to go through suffering so that He will know where we are on our journey, He allows it so that we will know. He allows it so that our “I can” will turn into “No, I can’t but God can”. “No pain, no gain” applies to spiritual growth as well as physical. Would understanding the “why” really make the pain any less real or painful?  I am sure that since Jesus was in on the plan of redemption, He understood the why, but that didn’t keep Him from asking His Father if there might not be another way. As he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”Matt. 26:42 NIV

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

Post 11-02-2019

Show Mercy

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12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” — Matt. 9:12, 13 NLT

This statement by Jesus is in answer to the Pharisees who were complaining about Jesus and His disciples eating with sinners. Jesus had just called Matthew to come and follow Him.  Matthew had  invited Jesus and His disciples to his home to have dinner with him and some other tax collectors and disreputable sinners.  The Pharisees had referred to the group as scum (verse 11).
Jesus knew that the Pharisees would not accept Him and His teachings because they thought they were righteous already.  With whom do we spend our time outside the church building?  Do we, as the disciples of Jesus, spend all of our time with other Christians or do we seek the lost and minister to them?  Do we have a missionary mentality or is it “We four and no more”? Jesus was sent to seek and to save the lost.  Because He did that, He was rejected, offended, persecuted and eventually hung on a cross.  He commanded us to do the same and gave us the authority to do just that.  When we do that, we stand the chance of being rejected, offended and criticized for “eating with scum”?  Suffering these things puts us in the same group with Jesus and God is pleased with us.  Which is better, to live a lifestyle that pleases God and lay up eternal rewards or to live a lifestyle that pleases men gaining worldly rewards but losing our own souls?

20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 
— 1 Peter 2:20,21 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-25-2018

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

Keep Doing Good

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 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – Gal. 6:9 NLT
 

While Jesus was hanging on the cross, He was mocked by the crowd, the soldiers and even one of the thieves that was hung with Him mocked Him. That thief died and went to hell. The other thief asked for forgiveness and ended up in paradise with Jesus. This is a glaring example of immediately reaping what we sow. Just as God spoke the world into existence, we can speak words that create and build up or we can speak words that destroy. Let us be sure that we are speaking words that edify one another and that our actions prove the words that we speak. We will not always receive immediate punishment for bad words and deeds nor will we always receive immediate rewards for good words and deeds. But if we are faithful in doing good works, we have a reward laid up in heaven. So, let us continue to do good works, not for earthly rewards, but because we love our Lord and Savior.
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”—Luke 9:62 (NIV)
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.–2 Tim. 2:12a (NIV)

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

Post 01-19-2018

WHY?

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12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. — James 1:12 NLT
Why do Christians have to endure trials and persecutions? I suppose people have been asking this question since the first century. The disciples never quite understood why Jesus had to suffer and die until after the Resurrection. God does not allow us to go through suffering so that He will know where we are on our journey, He allows it so that we will know. He allows it so that our “I can” will turn into “No, I can’t but God can”. “No pain, no gain” applies to spiritual growth as well as physical. Would understanding the “why” really make the pain any less real or painful?  I am sure that since Jesus was in on the plan of redemption, He understood the why, but that didn’t keep Him from asking His Father if there might not be another way. As he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.
 

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”–Matt. 26:42 NIV

 

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

Post 04-10-2017

Shout and Sing!

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21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:

“Give thanks to the Lord;
his faithful love endures forever!”  — 2 Chronicles 20:21 NLT

2 Chronicles :20:17-24 NLT

When we look around us and we see that we are facing troubles and trials above and beyond that which we are capable of handling because of our human weaknesses and frailties, that is the time that we must muster all of our faith and courage and trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and minds. God has a reason for every trouble that He allows satan to bring into our lives.  Sometimes it is to bring us closer to Him, to increase our faith in Him and to teach us that we can never live independently from Him.  Sometimes, it is discipline for bad decsions we have made either in our speech and/or in our actions.  Either way, our repsonse should be the same as the people of Judah here in this passage.  When the circumstances and situations say there is no hope,  we must turn to our Hope.  The times that we don’t “feel” like praying, praising and singing are the very times that we need to pray, praise and sing the loudest.   This lets us, satan and the world know that we have placed our faith in the one and only true Living God and that we know He will deliver us.  Our part in the battle is to be obedient and praise the Lord, He will win the battles for us.  Fighting with satan is a battle that we can’t win, but we serve a Lord who can’t lose.  So, when satan comes against us, we need to stand, sing, shout and watch as Jesus wins the complete victory.
Post 06-02-2016

Gift After Gift After Blessing

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16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. — John 1:16 NLT
16 Because he was full of grace and truth, from him we all received one gift after another. — 1 John 1:16 NCV
All the blessings and gifts that we receive while we are here on earth are because Jesus was and is full of grace and truth. There is nothing we can do to earn these blessings.  If we could earn them, they would not be called gifts.  Every blessing and every gift is given for one purpose and one purpose only.  They are to be used to further the works of the Kingdom of God.  We do not need to be worried or concerned that God will run out of blessings and gifts.  No matter how much He gives, there is always more to be given.  As we use these blessings and gifts to further God’s work, we lay up our rewards in heaven.  God has given us everything we need to live a Godly life here and has given us promises of an eternity with Him.  The fulfillment of those promises is the hope that helps us to endure persecutions and to share His Divine nature while we are here on earth.
Let us be thankful for all of the blessings He pours out for us and rejoice that we can share in His goodness every day.
Post 5-6-2016