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Faithful Suffering

My typical response to suffering is surprise and dismay. I want a comfortable life of ease, and I’d prefer to avoid suffering altogether. But as we think about our suffering, two responses should dominate: 1) If we are practicing sin, we should respond to our suffering with repentance. In this case our suffering serves the same purpose God had for sending Israel and Judah into exile, as a warning to return to God. 2) If we are practicing repentance, we should respond to our suffering as an opportunity to share in the sufferings of Jesus and to glorify God in Him. God has a purpose in every suffering, no matter how much it hurts. Our responsibility is to consider our suffering carefully and respond to it as God desires. Where I tend to fail in this is in my trust in God. I want my trust in God and His sovereignty in my suffering to exceed my desire to be comfortable. May suffering continue to change me and all of us! Read More

The Messiah's Divine Protection

Living in this world can discourage us about the probability or possibility of God fulfilling His promises. We see our culture suppressing God’s truth and turning further and further away from Him. How can Christ build His church in such an environment? Will God really finish the work He started in us? Why does it feel like God has forsaken us, in spite of His promise? These and other questions haunt our minds and tempt us to doubt. However, when we look at the Scriptures and history, we are reminded that God has always accomplished His Word in spite of opposition. In Christ’s day, God preserved His Messiah in spite of Herod’s raging. In the first century, the church thrived in spite of persecution. In the middle ages, God preserved a remnant of pure faith in the midst of growing corruption in Catholicism. Why would God do any differently in our day? God is faithful; His Word will accomplish His purpose; and we can trust Him. May His faithfulness drive our trust in Him regardless of the circumstances. Read More

The Messiah's Conflicted Impact

It will always remain a mystery to me why some people choose to suppress the truth that can be known about God while others choose to submit to God’s truth and trust the hope of the gospel. Even in Jesus’s day, as His promised coming arrived, people like Herod and the Jewish leaders, who had incredible opportunities to know God’s truth and submit to it, rejected the clear signs of His arrival. At the same time, magi from the east, whose exposure to God’s truth was far more limited, chose to travel probably hundreds of miles to worship Him. We live with blessings similar to Herod and the Jewish leaders with solid Bible teaching abounding and freedom to worship as we please, but we often respond as Herod and the religious leaders did. We take God’s Word for granted and fail to respond in submission as we ought. May God’s Spirit convict our hearts to respond to His truth, rather than suppress it, so that we might glorify Him. Read More