Unjust Suffering

Unjust Suffering

The Bible gives us notice in numerous passages that followers of Jesus Christ will experience unjust suffering.  We are told that any suffering that we go through is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us!  (Rom 8:18)

Christ suffered for us, and He left us this as an example, so that we would follow in His steps—being forewarned.  (1 Pet 2:21)

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.  (1 Pet 2:19 NIV)

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.  (1 Pet 3:14a)

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  (2 Tim 3:12)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  (Joh 16:33)

In all situations of life, we can never be separated from the love of God for us.  (Rom 8:35)  God promises to comfort us in all of our troubles.  (1 Cor 1:3-4)  These passages of the Scripture are meant to support us and to encourage us when we suffer.

Our perseverance in suffering, holding on to our faith in Christ, proves the genuineness of our faith according to the Word of God.  (1 Pet 1:6-7) 

We are told to count it a joy when we face many and various types of trials. (Jas 1:2-4, see also Rom 5:3-5) 

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Mt 5:10-12)

Prepare your heart, mind, and will to follow Jesus in every circumstance; and when you arrive in eternity, you will be filled with rejoicing and extreme thankfulness that you did.

Walk Worthy of God

Walk Worthy of God

The Bible calls us, as believers, to “walk worthy” of God and of our calling.  Here are some examples:

. . .  who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well . . . (3 Joh 6)

. . . that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.  (1 Thes 2:12)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called . . . (Eph 4:1)

. . . that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God . . . (Col 1:10)

We are called to walk in a way that corresponds to and is in harmony with the glorious nature of our Savior God, whom we serve.  He is loving, kind, merciful and forgiving.  We must use His nature as our example.  We must see the blessings of our salvation and realize that our calling is to share them with as many people as we possibly can.

Our own value is not in question here due to the fact that the Lord has already demonstrated our extreme value by sending His own, beloved Son to be our Savior.  Jesus came to suffer, die, and to be resurrected in order to reconcile each one of us to God, the Father.  We have already been reconciled to God!  Hallelujah!

Here is a wonderful insight into this topic by Ed Elliott:

“Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus while he sat in a Roman prison. He didn’t identify with being a prisoner of Rome. He saw himself as a prisoner of the Lord. He was locked in God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Paul walked worthy of the Lord by knowing whose prisoner he really was.” – Ed Elliott (referring to Ephesians 4:1)

Pressing On

Pressing On

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 3:12-14 NIV)

The definition of press on is:  to continue moving forward in a forceful or steady way; to continue to do something especially in a determined way.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians (passage shown above) encourages all believers to continue moving forward in their Christian life.  He especially wants us to have a sense of determination because there is a definite prize ahead of us that we long to receive.  Our hearts must be resolved so that we will stay the course.

Our prize is eternal life with Jesus Christ in heaven.  There is no arriving at the destination without understanding that Jesus is the Way.  Eternal life is truly the gift of God which we obtain through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

And we will encounter road blocks, challenges, tribulations, and trials along the way.  At these points we need to seek the Lord, and to change whatever is necessary in our lives in order to continue on our way.

In a very real, spiritual sense, we need to pursue Christ with fortitude because in doing so we show our resolve to claim Him as our own Savior and Lord.  We surrender all and follow His example, His footsteps, and His teachings in order to attain eternal fellowship with Christ.  Glory to God!

Predicted Perilous Times

Predicted Perilous Times

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come . . .  (2 Tim 3:1)

For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!  (2 Tim 3:2-5)

Many of you already know that the Bible repeatedly mentions the last days.  This is a term that typically is understood to refer to a period when historical events would reach a final climax.  Whether or not theologians disagree on the terminology, we can all agree that we are living in perilous times. The Scripture passage shown above in 2 Timothy 3:2-5 describes what types of behavior we would see in the last days

If we are very honest, we have to admit that yes, we do see all of these behaviors in evidence in our world today.  So how should we respond to our perilous times?

The Bible shows us the way:

  • Read the Bible. (Josh 1:8; Neh 8:3; Ro 10:17)
  • Obey the Bible. (Joh 14:23; Jas 1:22)
  • Understand that Christians will at some point or other suffer persecution. (Mk 10:30; 2 Tim 3:12)
  • Follow Christ’s example in all things. (Joh 13:13-16; Lk 9:23; 1 Cor 11:1)
  • Allow the Scriptures to read you, correct you, and to transform you. (Heb 4:12; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Rom 12:2)
  • Love your enemies; pray for those who hurt you or abuse you. (Lk 6:27-28)
  • Resist the devil. (Jas 4:7)

Let us be obedient to the Word of God, and followers of Jesus, our example.

Be Tenderhearted

Be Tenderhearted

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  (Eph 4:32)

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous . . . (1 Pet 3:8)

. . . because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord.  (2 Chr 34:27)

Tenderhearted means kind, gentle, compassionate, or sympathetic.  We don’t often consider this, but tenderheartedness is an attribute of Jesus.  This is why He was reported to have wept over Jerusalem.  (Lk 19:41)  He saw into their future, and He had compassion for all of the people who lived there.

So, too, the Lord wants us to be tenderhearted toward others.  He wants our compassion and gentleness to move us to help others and to be merciful to them.  Someone who is tenderhearted would never rejoice over someone else’s calamity or misfortune.  Rather they would be moved to have sympathy for them, and to pray for them and consider how they might be able to help them.

And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He [Jesus] said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.  (Mk 3:5 – parenthesized word added)

Jesus did this miracle deliberately even though He knew that the scribes who were in the crowd were silently critical of His actions.  Their hardness of heart angered the Lord, but He determined to continue to minister His love and mercy in spite of their doubt and criticism.  He demonstrated His tenderheartedness to the man with the withered hand.

Let us always have a tender heart towards ALL who need salvation, healing, and mercy.  Jesus gave us His example to follow by ministering to those who were hurting, in pain, or impoverished due to a sickness or disease with which they had been afflicted.  Jesus came to bring salvation to mankind, and He tenderheartedly fulfilled His assignment.  Hallelujah!

Out of the Mouth

Out of the Mouth

Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth [words], this defiles a man.  (Mt 15:11 NKJV – parenthesized word added)

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. (Mt 15:18)

If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1 Cor 3:17)

The definition of defile is:  spoil, sully, impair, debase, or degrade; to desecrate or profane something sacred.  The words that come out of our mouths are capable of defiling us!

From the verses quoted above, we understand that our words can displease God, because we are His holy, sacred temple.  He never wants us to speak words which would degrade us.  Words are the heart’s reaction or response to people or circumstances.  He wants us to respond to all things as He would—with love and mercy.

Jesus is our example in all things.  (1 Pet 2:21-24; Jo 13:13-16)  He has called us to follow Him, as He leads and shepherds us. 

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good . . .  (Lk 6:45a KJV)  Let us encourage ourselves to speak forth only words which are good and edifying—which bring glory to God and blessings to mankind.