Archive for January 28, 2012

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 2)

Last week I introduced you to the concept of your suffering not only being permitted by God but even promoted to an end that is beyond our normal understanding. Make note that I am not saying that God is causing your suffering, in fact if it were not for His grace and mercy that hold back the tsunami of evil,  an unlimited flood of affliction and suffering would come at you with full assault and devastating fury. No, a thousand times no, God is not the orchestrator of evil and wickedness in the world but He does use it for His purposes and can pinpoint its application by just withdrawing His protective hand. What results we experience is but a small taste of what would happen were it not for Him.

So get this straight. God is not evil, and does not tempt anyone. God is Sovereign and as such all the activity that happens in the world is allowed by Him but not necessarily caused by Him. We are really good at bringing on our own pain and suffering. It was Adam, our great grandfather (about three hundred generations ago) that unleashed sin into the world. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Rom. 5:12. And we have been busy about perfecting all the nuances of it since then. If you want to blame someone for sin in the world go to the nearest mirror and you will find one of its chief proponents. Don’t get that, “Who me?” innocent look, “Yes you.” Apart from the saving grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit living and abiding in you and yielded to by you, you are in the business of profuse sinning.

I said all this to prevent us from heading down the trail of what a “Good God” would and wouldn’t do. Lets just say, “Let him who is without sin, throw the first stone.” You are not “good” but He is, so don’t even go there trying to judge God. By the way, it is the prerogative of God to do whatever He wants to do, whether we like it or not. I am thankful that He is a Good God. Consider the alternative. That settled, God can do whatever He wants and He chooses to use suffering for His purposes. What purposes?, you might ask.

To name a few:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Gen. 1:26

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace.” Gal. 1:15.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Rom. 8:29.

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” Philip. 2:10.

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Heb. 2:10.

“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” Eph. 3:10.

God made man (you and me) to show “the principalities and powers in heavenly places” “by the church (those called out ones)”, “the manifold wisdom of God.”

You see, certain angels were not at all excited about God’s plan: “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.” In fact they got more than a little miffed about the whole thing and set out in a rebellious rage led by one notorious Lucifer. This act of rebellion was in essence a challenge as to God’s suitability to lead heaven and earth based upon His choice of man to be His sons, the recipients of His Love and co-heirs with Himself.

Now of course God could have just unleashed a bolt of divine correction, frying the whole lot of them bringing about the “end of discussion” but what fun is that? Instead, because of the Good God we know and serve, He has set up a stage on earth to play out in realTime the unveiling of His wisdom.

So how does one go about being like his or her heavenly Father in cases where your integrity and righteousness are in question. You let it play out in Time. You do not have to prove anything. Wisdom is proved right by her children. In other words, right choices yield right results. Time will tell. It always does… eventually.

All the world is a stage, and you and I may very well be put on display if we, in fact, are the true sons of God. Thats what happened to Job, unbeknownst to himself. Job had an opportunity to show his quality through the things he suffered.

“For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” 1 Cor. 4:11.

More next week.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Spiritual Things Must Be Discerned Spiritually Each word of the Scriptures must be read with the same spirit in which it was written. Thomas aKempis – The Imitation of Christ circa. 1420 © 1999 Bridge-Logos Publishers
Run For the Roses, As Fast As You Can Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24) Entering the race does not make you a winner only a contestant “to all who received him, to those who believed in His name (e.g. contestants), he gave the right to become children of God (i.e. winners)” Every aspect of your life: physical, soulical, and spiritual has its battle. The physical battle will determine if a man is healthy or diseased. The soulical battle determines whether a man is moral (e.g. rigtheous) or immoral (e.g. unrighteous). The spiritual battle will prove those who are holy and those who are unholy and the prize is none other than eternal life. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forcerful men lay hold of it. Make no mistake you are at war. Tom Van Hoogen
Worldly Attitudes vs. Beattitudes This world has its own idea of blessedness. Blessed is the man who is always right. Blessed is the man who is satisfied with himself. Blessed is the man who is strong. Blessed is the man who rules. Blessed is the man who is rich. Blessed is the man who is popular. Blessed is the man who enjoys life. These are the beatitudes of sight and this present world. It comes with a shock and opens a new realm of thought that not one of these men entered Jesus’ mind when he treated of blessedness.
— Ian Maclaren
F. W. Boreham – The Heavenly Octave: A Study of the Beatitudes, Copyright 1936 by F. W. Boreham
Walking the Thin Line of Christianity Therefore, St. Paul, in this letter, teaches us in order to comfort us and to confirm us in the perfect knowledge of this most Christian and excellent righteousness, for once we lose our belief in justification, all true Christian doctrine is lost. There is no middle ground between righteousness of the law and Christian righteousness. Anyone who strays from Christian righteousness must fall into the righteousness of the law; in other words, when people lose Christ, they slip back into reliance on their own works. Martin Luther – Commentary on Galatians – circa 1520; Crossway Publishing © 1998 by Watermark
Beauty, A Reflection Of Grace All lovely sights tend to keep the soul pure, to lift the heart up to God. The senses filled with the delights and splendor of creation reveal to us hints of His majesty, goodness, and love. What ever is beautiful is of God, and it is only ignorance or a low condition of heart and soul that does not prize what is beautiful. George MacDonald – The Best of George MacDonald © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries.
Vengeance Grows in the Dark While You Sleep Vengeance is the most deeply rooted passion in the human soul, and the impersonation of it is the devil. The devil has an absolute detestation of God, an immortal hatred of God. Satan s sin is at the summit of all sins; our sin is at the base of all sins. If sin has not reached its awful height in us, it may do so unless we let God alter the springs of our heart. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
He’s Everywhere, He’s Everywhere The carnal mind sees God in nothing, not even in spiritual things, His Word and ordinances. The spiritual mind sees Him in everything, even in natural things, in looking on the heavens and the earth and all the creatures. — Robert Leighton Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
Fighting Will Only Make it Worse A cross which comes from God ought to be welcomed without any concern for self. And when you accept your cross this way, even though it is painful, you’ll find that you can bear it in peace. But when you receive your cross unwillingly, you will find it to be doubly severe. The resistance within his harder to bear than the cross itself! But if you recognize the hand of God, and make no opposition to His Will, you will have peace in the midst of affliction. Happy indeed are they who can bear their sufferings with this simple peace and perfect submission to the will of God! Nothing so shortens and soothes suffering as the spirit of non-resistance. Fenelon – Let Go, circa 1690, copyright 1973 Whitaker House
The Word, Divides Soul and Spirit We may say that it is quite customary in the church today to work by psychic means. How often psychological methods are used in ministry meetings to attract people! How psychic ways are engaged in believers meetings to stimulate the audience. By observing the methods used, one can judge what kind of work is being done. Let me say frankly that many sermons can only help people’s souls, but not their spirits. Such messages are merely spoken out of the soul, hence they can only reach man’s soul and afford him a little more mental knowledge. We ought not labor this way, because such work never penetrates into man’s spirit. Watchman Nee – The Latent Power of the Soul, circa 1939, copyright 1972 by Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
Get Your Daily Bread Bread must be eaten daily, and the same is true of God’s Word. This psalmist wrote, “Blessed is the man… [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2); “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). To secure a strong and powerful spiritual life, an intake of God’s Word every day is indispensable. Andrew Murray – Andrew Murray 365 Day Devotional, © 2006 Whitaker House.
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