Shared Struggles – Still Human!

Shared Struggles
group prayer
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. —NLT Galatians 6:2

April 25, 2015, marked the 100th commemoration of Anzac Day. It is celebrated each year by both Australia and New Zealand to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought together during World War I. It marks a time when neither country had to face the dangers of war alone; soldiers from both countries engaged in the struggle together.

Sharing life’s struggles is fundamental to the way followers of Christ are called to live. As Paul challenged us, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2 nlt). By working together through life’s challenges we can help to strengthen and support one another when times are hard. By expressing toward one another the care and affections of Christ, the difficulties of life should draw us to Christ and to each other—not isolate us in our suffering.
Difficulties in life can draw us to Christ & to each other.

By sharing in the struggles of another, we are modeling the love of Christ. We read in Isaiah, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isa. 53:4 nkjv). No matter how great the struggle we face, we never face it alone.

Thank You, Father, that I don’t have to walk my life’s journey alone. You are near.

Read more about the nearness of God in The Lord Is My Shepherd at discoveryseries.org/hp952

We can go a lot further together than we can alone.

By Bill Crowder
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Still Human!
Bible rocking chair

…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31

In the Scriptures, the great miracle of the incarnation slips into the ordinary life of a child; the great miracle of the transfiguration fades into the demon-possessed valley below; the glory of the resurrection descends into a breakfast on the seashore. This is not an anticlimax, but a great revelation of God.

We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, “What a wonderful man of prayer he is!” or, “What a great woman of devotion she is!” If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time.

We want to be able to say, “Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!” But to do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us. To be utterly unnoticeable requires God’s Spirit in us making us absolutely humanly His. The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life. We tend to set up success in Christian work as our purpose, but our purpose should be to display the glory of God in human life, to live a life “hidden with Christ in God” in our everyday human conditions (Colossians 3:3). Our human relationships are the very conditions in which the ideal life of God should be exhibited.

To read the Bible according to God’s providential order in your circumstances is the only way to read it, viz., in the blood and passion of personal life. Disciples Indeed, 387 R

Oswald Chambers

Wandering From the Word

Psalms 119:9-16

Jim bought his grandchildren a new toy. After a brief glance at the directions, he set the booklet aside and got busy building. A few frustrating hours later, Jim humbly opened the instructions again and followed the steps to put the toy together. Soon he was done, and the grandkids were playing happily.

Jim knew that the manufacturer had a plan for assembling the toy. But he’s a smart fellow and assumed he could figure it out on his own. Many people take the same approach to Scripture that Jim took with those directions. Instead of treating God’s Word like a manual to live by, they glance at it only when they aren’t sure what to do next.

The Bible is like the Father’s diagram of Himself. He teaches believers who He is, what He thinks, and how He acts. Knowing the ways of the Lord ensures that we can make wise decisions that honor Him.

The Bible is also God’s instruction book for living. I emphasize that it should be read every day because believers cannot be spiritually successful or victorious without it. In today’s passage, we read that if a person wants to be righteous, his or her life must comply with scriptural principles. Of course, the only way to know what those principles are is to read, study, and meditate upon the Word.

God’s Word is our most valuable possession. Casting it aside is as foolish as tossing away a wallet full of money. Among the Bible’s riches are stories teaching us how to serve the Lord and principles about pleasing Him. It also contains a wealth of instruction for building a righteous and meaningful life.

Business Structure: Servants

“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” (Colossians 3:22)

Most of the world accepted slavery as ordinary social strata for much of recorded history. Slavery was certainly normal during the time of Roman domination and therefore public routine when the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian church.

The most common term (and the term most often used by the apostles) is doulos, a bondslave, purchased by an owner and viewed as property under the legal system of Rome. Many of the biblical instructions are given to the doulos of a household or business enterprise.

The English word “employee” of today is essentially the same as the servant of biblical times. The “master” of today purchases service with wages rather than buying the life of the “servant” from a slave broker. The biblical instructions to employees are just as valid today as they were to the doulos of Bible times.

– “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers” (Ephesians 6:5-6).
– “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour” (1 Timothy 6:1).
– “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward” (1 Peter 2:18).

All similar commands insist that a godly doulos should give the same effort and same quality to his employer as he would to the Lord Jesus. “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). HMM III

He Lost His Temper

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. —Proverbs 25:28

Some people have a temper. We blame it on our Irish grandfather or on something else; but it’s a plague spot. I remember a man who had a very high spiritual testimony and became a leading pastor in his denomination. One night at a board meeting, he lost his temper like a mule driver and after that, nobody believed in him.

One time, a man I thought was a fine Christian had a new car and somebody came along and dented his fender. He blew like a little bomb. I never believed in him again. Whenever I see a man blow his top, I never believe in that man unless I know he has gone to the Fountain that cleanses and gotten delivered. No man has any more right to go around with an uncleaned temper than he has to hold a rattlesnake in his jacket pocket. He has no more right to do that than he has to leave untreated a cancer on his tongue, because it will destroy his ministry. He can pray and testify, give and labor, but if one day he blows up, nobody will believe in him after that.

Lord, deliver me from any tendency to an uncontrolled temper. Keep me from the loss of credibility that can do irreparable harm to my ministry. Make me a pure vessel. Amen.

The Devotional Life Is Almost Crowded Out

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business… That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without…. 1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12

We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity!

Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible, multiplying distractions and beating us down by destroying our solitude.

“Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still” is a wise and healing counsel, but how can it be followed in this day of the newspaper, the telephone, the radio and the television? These modern playthings, like pet tiger cubs, have grown so large and dangerous that they threaten to devour us all. No spot is now safe from the world’s intrusion.

One way the civilized world destroys men is by preventing them from thinking their own thoughts. Our “vastly improved methods of communication” of which the shortsighted boast so loudly now enable a few men in strategic centers to feed into millions of minds alien thought stuff, ready-made and predigested.

The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today. Even the majority of Christians are so completely conformed to this present age that they, too, want things the way they are.

However, there are some of God’s children who have had enough. They want to relearn the ways of solitude and simplicity and gain the infinite riches of the interior life.

They want to discover the blessedness of what has been called “spiritual aloneness”—a discipline that will go far in making us acquainted with God and our own souls!

Authority in Preaching

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2 TIMOTHY 4:2

Because we are Christians who believe the inspired Word of God and because we believe that the Holy Spirit is the abiding third person of the Trinity, there should be more divine authority in our preaching ministries.

A preacher of this gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ should have the authority of God upon him, so that he makes the people responsible to listen to him. When they will not listen to him, they are accountable to God for turning away from the divine Word.

A preacher under God’s unction should reign from his pulpit as a king from his throne. He should not reign by law or by regulation or by man’s authority. He ought to reign by moral ascendancy!

The divine authority is missing from many pulpits. We have “tabby cats” with their claws carefully trimmed in the seminary, so they can paw over the congregations and never scratch them at all! The Holy Spirit will sharpen the arrows of the man of God who preaches the whole counsel of God!

Lord, I pray that the pastors in our churches will be freshly filled with Your Spirit, enabling them to preach Your Word with power and authority from on high.