VIDEO The Holy Suffering of the Saint, Dos and Don’ts

Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will— even if it means you will suffer— is something very different. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses God’s will, just as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. And no saint should ever dare to interfere with the lesson of suffering being taught in another saint’s life.

The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. But the people used to strengthen us are never those who sympathize with us; in fact, we are hindered by those who give us their sympathy, because sympathy only serves to weaken us. No one better understands a saint than the saint who is as close and as intimate with Jesus as possible. If we accept the sympathy of another saint, our spontaneous feeling is, “God is dealing too harshly with me and making my life too difficult.” That is why Jesus said that self-pity was of the devil (see Matthew 16:21-23). We must be merciful to God’s reputation. It is easy for us to tarnish God’s character because He never argues back; He never tries to defend or vindicate Himself. Beware of thinking that Jesus needed sympathy during His life on earth. He refused the sympathy of people because in His great wisdom He knew that no one on earth understood His purpose (see Matthew 16:23). He accepted only the sympathy of His Father and the angels (see Luke 15:10).

Look at God’s incredible waste of His saints, according to the world’s judgment. God seems to plant His saints in the most useless places. And then we say, “God intends for me to be here because I am so useful to Him.” Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Am I getting nobler, better, more helpful, more humble, as I get older? Am I exhibiting the life that men take knowledge of as having been with Jesus, or am I getting more self-assertive, more deliberately determined to have my own way? It is a great thing to tell yourself the truth. The Place of Help, 1005 R


The Dos and Don’ts of Suffering – 1 Peter 4:12-19 – Skip Heitzig

The Power of Encouragement

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done.

Acts 15:12

When he was a young boy, Benjamin West attempted to draw a picture of his sister, but he succeeded only in making a mess. His mother saw his creation, kissed him on the head, and remarked, “Why, it’s Sally!” He would later say that it was that kiss that made him an artist—and the great American painter he would become. Encouragement is a powerful thing!

Like a child learning to paint, Paul didn’t have much credibility early on in his ministry, but Barnabas affirmed his calling. It was through Barnabas’s encouragement that the church accepted Saul as a fellow believer (Acts 9:27). Barnabas would also encourage the fledgling church of Antioch, helping it to become one of the most influential in the book of Acts (11:22–23). And it was through Barnabas’s encouragement, as well as Paul’s, that the Jerusalem church embraced the gentile believers as Christians (15:19). So, in many ways, the story of the early church is really a story of encouragement.

The same should apply to our own lives. We might think encouragement is merely saying something nice to someone. But if we think that way, we fail to recognize the lasting power it possesses. It’s one of the means by which God shapes our individual lives as well as the life of the church.

Let’s thank God for the moments we receive encouragement and strive to pass it along to others.

By:  Peter Chin

Reflect & Pray

How has encouragement shaped your life story in some way? Who encouraged you, and how did they do it? How will you encourage someone in your life this week?

Father, help me encourage others as You have encouraged me.

The Patient Path

1 Samuel 24:3-7; 26:8-11

Do you desire God’s best for your life? Unfortunately, many people miss out on blessings because they are unwilling to wait for His timing. Scripture encourages believers to be patient.

David was a good example of this virtue when he refused the use of violence to take the throne that he knew would eventually be his. King Saul—who had become envious of the shepherd’s ability, anointing, and popularity—planned to murder the young man. Twice during this time of pursuit, David had been within arm’s reach of Saul and easily able to kill his pursuer. But in both instances, he chose to wait for God’s timing. He was unwilling to take matters into his own hands, even though ending Saul’s life would have provided much relief.

Thankfully, David was patient. Notice the attributes that allowed him to wait for the Lord’s timing. First, he had strong faith and believed that God would gain victory in the right time and with the right method. Second, he had the correct values: Killing a king would violate his conscience. Third, discernment helped him realize that assassination would mean stepping out of God’s will. Fourth, strength played a role in the decision. How difficult it must have been to resist taking action that would result in freedom and possible royalty.

Patience is refined in trying times, when you’re frustrated with the waiting and tempted to act outside of God’s will. Always seek His wisdom, and follow the instruction you receive. Remember that “those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength” (Isa. 40:31).

John’s Creator Savior

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)

It is remarkable how many names and titles are associated with Jesus Christ (meaning “anointed Savior”) in the first chapter of John’s gospel. In verse 9, He is called “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” He is “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” in verse 14, and “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father” in verse 18. John the Baptist called Him “the Lord” in verse 23, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” in verse 29, and “the Son of God” in verse 34. The disciples then called Him “Master” in verse 38 and “Messias” in verse 41, as well as “Jesus of Nazareth” in verse 45. Nathanael acknowledged Him as “King of Israel” in verse 49, and Jesus called Himself “the Son of man” in verse 51.

But the very first title ascribed to Him by John, as he introduced his gospel, was simply “the Word” (v. 1), from a word hard to translate in its fullness. In the New Testament, it is rendered by “word,” “reason,” “communication,” “doctrine,” speech,” and many others. With reference to Christ, it tells us that He is always the One who reveals, speaks for, manifests, explains, and incarnates the Heavenly Father.

John 1:1 even takes us back before Genesis 1:1, where we learn that the pre-incarnate Christ created all things (cf. Colossians 1:16). “In the beginning” He was, before He created! All things were made by Him. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6).

As the eternal, omnipotent Word of God, the pre-incarnate Christ spoke all things into being. Jesus Christ is the Word; and the Word is God! HMM

Be At Ease While the World Burns

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

—2 Corinthians 5:20

The fall of man has created a perpetual crisis. It will last until sin has been put down and Christ reigns over a redeemed and restored world.

Until that time the earth remains a disaster area and its inhabitants live in a state of extraordinary emergency….

To me, it has always been difficult to understand those evangelical Christians who insist upon living in the crisis as if no crisis existed. They say they serve the Lord, but they divide their days so as to leave plenty of time to play and loaf and enjoy the pleasures of the world as well. They are at ease while the world burns….

I wonder whether such Christians actually believe in the Fall of man!   RDA, Jan. 17.

I’m too often at ease and consumed with my self-interests, Lord. Open my eyes to see the tragedy of friends and acquaintances on their way to a Christless eternity. Do it for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

 

Make me to go in the path of Thy commandment

Make me to go in the path of Thy commandment for therein do I delight.—Psalm 119:35.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.—John 14:27.

 

Then may Thy glorious, perfect will

Be evermore fulfilled in me,

And make my life an answering chord

Of glad, responsive harmony.

Jean Sophia Pigott.

 

Christ is the embodied harmony of God, and he that receives Him settles into harmony with Him. “My peace I give unto you,” are the Savior’s words; and this peace of Christ is the equanimity, dignity, firmness, serenity, which made His outwardly-afflicted life appear to flow in a calmness so sublime. The soul is such a nature that, no sooner is it set in peace with itself, than it becomes an instrument in tune, a living instrument, discoursing heavenly music in its thoughts, and chanting melodies of bliss, even in its dreams. We may even say, that when a soul is in this harmony, no fires of calamity, no pains of outward torment can for one moment break the sovereign spell of its joy. It will turn the fires to freshening gales, and the pains to sweet instigations of love and blessing.

Horace Bushnell.

 

He Lowers Us to Raise Us

“The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.” 1Sam 2:7

All my changes come from Him who never changes. If I had grown rich, I should have seen His hand in it, and I should have praised Him; let me equally see His hand if I am made poor, and let me as heartily praise Him. When we go down in the world, it is of the Lord, and so we may take it patiently: when we rise in the world, it is of the Lord, and we may accept it thankfully. In any case, the Lord hath done it, and it is well.

It seems that Jehovah’s way is to lower those whom He means to raise, and to strip those whom He intends to clothe. If it is His way, it is the wisest and best way. If I am now enduring the bringing low I may well rejoice, because I see in it the preface to the lifting up. The more we are humbled by grace, the more we shall be exalted in glory. That impoverishment which will be overruled for our enrichment is to be welcomed.

O Lord, thou has taken me down of late, and made me feel my insignificance and sin. It is not a pleasant experience, but I pray thee make it a profitable one to me. Oh, that thou wouldst thus fit me to bear a greater weight of delight and of usefulness; and when I am ready for it, then grant it to me, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

 

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