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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Comfort in Sufferings


1 Peter 3:16

King James Version (KJV)
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
   Sometimes we are reviled and hated for standing in our faith. The accuser is always on the look out for hole in our faith where he can insert discouragement, resentment, and fatigue. 

   Having enough faith does not guarantee that we will not suffer...contrary to that, we are more prone to rejections because of our faith in God. In the meantime, we must remember that  the dominant spirit in this world is evilness. We can not be too comfortable in this temporary life.  In fact, we must rejoice whenever we suffer because of Christ. 

Consider this passage from 1 Corinthians 4

9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!
11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.
12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure;
13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.

   Daily doses of temptations and trials are spices that we must live with. To think that by observing all the Laws and Commandment of God will save us from physical suffering is false security. Anything that lead us to focus more on the material is not from God...

   Faith, is not a faith unless it is being tested and put to practical used. A chunk of coal will never be a diamond if it does not undergo extreme process of heat and pressure. Gold must pass the acid test to distinguish its carats. 

   There is a false notion that a person is more blessed because he is wealthier and healthier...comparing your situation to another Christian this way is dangerous. It can lead a person to false hope and might overwhelm us when surges of heavy trials emerges in front of us. 

   It does not mean that if your brothers and sisters in Christ can give more offering to God, is that they are more blessed or near in God's heart. 

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

   We have the confidence to follow God even if we are suffering terminal diseases. We trust in God even if we have little food on our table. We rely on God's salvation even if we are stranded in the middle of a typhoon. We hope in God even if we have limited resources. 

   Faith always requires waiting and patience...our trust that God will fulfill His promise no matter what. Even if it seems a dead-end road, we have the assurance that God will find a way...He will fulfill because He said so:
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill” (Num 23:19)
    Faith needed some exercises too. Like our physical body that must be fitted with rigorous activities our spiritual self needed some test of faith too. Test or exams determines our level of faith. Do you think you deserve an "A" on your spiritual life? How do we measure that faith without an examination...without actual test, faith only rest inside our head. 
   Faith will only become real in our heart when we had suffered.

   Whatever comes out of you is your level of faith. Meaning whatever you confess with your mouth is your faith. 
  What comes out of your mouth during your time of distress? Do you curse the situations you are in or do you give encouragement to people who are breaking down? 

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

While we wait for Jesus Christ return, there will be sufferings...but we can stand firm on the world of God who said that those who endure will be greatly rewarded. 

 Check assurance written for us from 1 Peter
3:14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled."
4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

   Also, Suffering is not just a one time event. Suffering sometimes lingers and persistent. It is like planting crops...after working hard and patiently waiting for harvest time, swarms of locust attack your field and devour everything. You had enough faith, to be discourage so you plow the field again and start the process all over again...but once again, the locust came and ate everything.
   Now, the question...will you still have the same amount of faith the third time? Your response on this is the level of faith you had. 

Read the life of Job once again, do you think you can match this person's faith?

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