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Archive for the ‘Suffering’ Category

Note: This is a guest post since presently I am overseas.  This is by “pray2christ.”  His blog be found here.

Suffering and death in the Christian Life

A wise man once said; If any gospel does not warn people of the coming struggles, but only focuses on having a blessed life, this gospel has been cheapened.  The recipients of this gospel message may not be ready for hard trials, and could fall away.

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A few months ago I wrote Why Apologists Should Read Biblical Counseling Books.  This is another one that I recommend for everyone for those going through suffering and those counseling those who are suffering…and also for apologists to be more balanced.

Paul David Tripp. Suffering: Eternity Makes a Difference.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, April 1st 2001. 31 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Westminster Amazon

This is a biblical counseling booklet on suffering written by the Biblical counselor Paul Tripp.  It is a part of a series called “Resources for Changing Lives” printed by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing that I highly recommend and have found very beneficial for my own personal spiritual growth and also as a resource in pastoral ministry.  I recommend this booklet for those who are going through suffering, those who are ministering to those who are suffering and those who are Christians…because we will all go through suffering in our lives.

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Here are two Christian booklets I read towards the end of this year.

William P. Smith.  When Bad Things Happen: Thoughtful Answers to Hard Questions.  Greensboro, NC: New Growth  Press, September 1st 2008. 22 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Westminster Amazon

This was a helpful and edifying booklet.  It is a “minibook” that is part of the “Resources for Personal Change” series published by New Growth Press.  The author William Smith is an adjunct faculty in the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation has written an excellent resource for those who are going through trials and asking the question of why God allows bad things to happen.  It is an excellent resource for Biblical and Pastoral Counselors to give the counselee and have them read and highlight/underline for study and meditation.  For my own use I read this title along with a church member I was discipling and counseling as a pastor.

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This was our Sunday series on our blog from a few weeks back.  It was an exposition on Romans 5:3-4.  The three part series was on the topic of suffering.

Here are the links:

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Hope in Suffering Part 3

Romans 5:3-5

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Purpose: There are three truths we need to know in order that we might not be crushed during suffering in our lives so that we would have hope in our suffering.

  1. We need to know that we all will face tribulations (v.3a)
  2. We need to know that God is working within us (v.3b-4)
  3. We need to know that God loves us greatly (v.5) 

Previously we have looked at the first two points:

We need to know that we all will face tribulations (v.3a)

We need to know that God is working within us (v.3b-4)

Today we will look at the third point:

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Hope in Suffering Part 2

Romans 5:3-5

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Purpose: There are three truths we need to know in order that we might not be crushed during suffering in our lives so that we would have hope in our suffering.

  1. We need to know that we all will face tribulations (v.3a)
  2. We need to know that God is working within us (v.3b-4)
  3. We need to know that God loves us greatly (v.5) 

Last time we went over the first point, “We need to know that we all will face tribulations (v.3a)

Today we will look at the second point:

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Hope in Suffering Part 1

Romans 5:3-5

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Purpose: There are three truths we need to know in order that we might not be crushed during suffering in our lives so that we would have hope in our suffering.

  1. We need to know that we all will face tribulations (v.3a)
  2. We need to know that God is working within us (v.3b-4)
  3. We need to know that God loves us greatly (v.5) 

Let us begin with the first point:

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free-ebook_620_08Aug2014-SurprisedBySufferingLigoner Ministry has made available for free R. C. Sproul’s book on Suffering for the month of August!  Here is the book’s description from their website:

In Surprised by Suffering, R.C. Sproul argues that we should expect pain and sorrow in this life. Some are actually called to a “vocation” of suffering, and all of us are called to undergo the ultimate suffering of death. God promises in His Word that difficult times will come upon us, but He also promises that He allows suffering for our good and His glory, and He will never give us more than we can bear with His help.

Surprised by Suffering offers biblical counsel and comfort for those undergoing suffering and for those who minister to the suffering, counsel that can help believers stand in times of trial with faith in a God who is both loving and good.

You can get download the book in the following three format:

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NOTE: The following is a handout for a topical message/discussion on the issue of suffering, an important pastoral/counseling/apologetics issue that is best addressed before someone goes through tough times and trials in their life.

Storm Wikipedia

Don’t Waste Your Suffering (Handout)

Selected Scripture

Purpose: Have a biblical understanding of suffering so that you have hope in Christ when life’s trials come upon you.
FIRST, don’t be surprise when suffering comes

Jesus tells us this: John 16:33

Apostle Peter tells us this: 1 Peter 4:12

Secondly, understand…

1.) God is in control (Matthew 10:29)

 

2.) God uses suffering in our lives for our good (Romans 8:28)

 

3.) You can handle the suffering God gives you (1 Corinthians 10:13)

 

How God uses suffering:

1.) God uses suffering to make us like Christ (Romans 8:29)

 

2.) God uses suffering to produce in us hope (Romans 5:3-5)

 

3.) Suffering shows us the mercy and compassion of God (James 5:10-11)

 

4.) Suffering makes us have eternity in perspective (2 Corinthians 4:17 cf. 1 Peter 4:13)

 

5.) Suffering is a way of relating to Jesus (Philippians 3:10)

 

6.) Suffering is a way of manifesting to others Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:18-20)

 

7.) Suffering allows us to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

 

Responding to suffering in light of God’s truth:

1.) Go to God for comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

 

2.) Be comforted that one day Suffering will be no more (Revelation 21:4)

 

3.) See future glory greater than present reality of suffering (Romans 8:18)

 

4.) Rejoice, since suffering is a gift (Philippians 1:29)

 

5.) Rejoice, since God is completing you (James 1:2-4)

 

6.) Make sure you are saved

 

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Calling all those who want to stand up against Islam’s intolerance (PLEASE POST THIS ON YOUR OWN BLOG ALSO AS WELL), rally for the Rifqa, a muslim turned Christian 17 year old girl who’s been threatened by her father HERE IN THE UNITED STATES:

(NOTE: Here is my backlog entry that provide some background: https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/?s=rifqa)

Be there on Monday, November 16th. Say no to sharia law. Say not to an islamized America. Speak up! Stand for freedom of religion.

PLEASE JOIN ATLAS SHRUGS, JIHAD WATCH, DR. BOSTOM

HUMAN RIGHTS RALLY!

A RALLY FOR RIFQA’S CIVIL RIGHTS
NOVEMBER 16TH
“DORRIAN COMMONS PARK”
ACROSS THE STREET FROM
FRANKLIN COUNTY JUVENILE COURT
11AM – 2PM

Simon Deng – ex-slave from Sudan

Nonie Darwish – Executive Director, Former Muslims United

James Lafferty – chairman of the Virginia Anti-Sharia Task Force

Amal Imani, Iranian dissident and pro-democracy reformer

Jamal Jivanjee – apostate, Pastor and Rifqa’s friend

Patricia Said, mother of Amina and Sarah Said

Honor killing victims’ family members

Geller!

Spencer!

Bostom!

Rally details here.

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Now that the season for Christmas shopping has begun, here’s a good Christian devotional book I recommend: The Cup and the Glory by Dr. Greg Harris.

Dr. Harris is on the faculty with The Master’s Seminary

Here is the website:http://www.thecupandtheglory.com/

Purchase: Amazon

This is my Chapter Summary
Review:
Chapter One was titled “the Wilderness”, opens up with Greg Harris’s personal struggles and how there will be a ‘wilderness’ in the Christian experience.

Chapter two was titled “the Cup” which discusses about the suffering itself is an integral part of the Christian life. In addition, the chapter repeats the question again and again: “By the way, what do you pray for…when you pray?” It’s emphasis is that it is the Christian duty to take the ‘Cup’ of suffering.

Chapter Three is titled “The Road”. Drawing from Acts 16 (see page 41) with Paul’s road to Troas, Harris gives us insight as to ‘disappointments’ and sucess in the Christian experience and how ultimately we must seek to follow Christ before any other goals or anything else for that manner. He also discusses how sometimes we do not know what God’s goal is but we must trust in God for His glory to be fulfilled.

Chapter four was titled, “The gift” and attempted to put into perspective that suffering is a gift from God. The second portion of the chapter discussed about the Macedonian church in the Apostolic period and how the Christian perspective would view this afflicted and meager church is blessed while worldly standard would dismiss this church entirely.

Chapter five was titled “The fellowship” and emphasized the importance of fellowshipping with God and others during the moment of our suffering.

Chapter six was titled “The Footprints” and bases itself on the text of 1Peter 2:21. The chapter exhorts the believer to put things into perspective with insight as to why Chrisitan must suffer is because Christ has suffered for us.

Chapter seven was titled “The Suprise” and previewed mainly 1 Peter, while providing the background of who Peter was, especially his interaction with Jesus before CHrist went to the cross. Also, continually in this chapter there is the reference to the greek word peirasmos, as temptation or testing with the intention of one to fail. This chapter discusses how the Christian ought not to be suprise, yet we often are, about suffering.

CHapter eight was titled “The Blessing”. THe Biblical narrative of Jacob’s wrestling moved on to a discussion about wrestling in the spiritual realm and how testing is a real part of a Christian blessing as taught by Peter and James. In essence, the chapter’s message is that the Christian must endure suffering, and that the CHristian is already blessed in the suffering.

CHapter nine was titled “The Agreement”.

Chapter ten was titled “The GLory”. This is a good chapter that focused about the glory that is to come, that though it is mysterious in some sense, yet it is something that supercede the suffering of the present. THe chapter discusses the transfiguration experiences, and the impact on JOhn and Peter.Quote-right

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THe price and consequences of sexual immorality is high,  for those who practice the Homosexual life style as contrast to Christian abstinence:

“Gay and bisexual men accounted for 7 percent of syphilis cases in 2000 but more than 60 percent in 2005, CDC experts estimated.”

(SOURCE: Syphilis rise in gay, bisexual men cause worry)

And equally disturbing,

“More than a third of British homosexuals who are infected with the AIDS virus continue to have unprotected sex, according to a survey published on Tuesday.”

Most of the volunteers also provided a saliva sample for HIV testing, and the results showed that among those with the AIDS virus, only a third knew they had been infected.”

(SOURCE: Alarming Rates of Unsafe Sex Among HIV-infected British Gays)

And we are not even talking about the spiritual and conscience aspect of the devastating impact on an individual

If you are surfing by this blog and found this to be offending, I encourage you to read Romans Chapter One, beginning with Verse 18.

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Last weekend I was memorizing another Fighter Verse, 1 John 2:15 while running on an exercise machine:

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

But it wasn’t until today God gave me understanding of this verse. I’d rather not have cancer. I’d rather not be afflicted with pain and suffering. But if I were to live a healthy fifty years, in a nice home, with a good job, and lavish riches- but find myself in Hell, it’d be fifty years of futility. If I were to graduate from college, find the most wonderful wife on the planet but weep in the darkness of death, a college degree and 50 year marriage are a loss.

I understand the feeling behind Paul’s words in Phillipians 3:7,

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Count good health as a loss, if it means you will persevere in death. Imagine the tradgedy of escaping cancer, but being caught in hell. Loving life, yet weeping upon death. Pain-free on earth, yet tormented by our own sin.

Another amazing thing about suffering is God’s confirmation of our salvation. Romans 5:3 says,

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

The suffering we go through confirms the origin of our hope and faith in Christ. If our faith perseveres through suffering, we know that our faith was God-given. If our faith does not persevere, we know that our faith was man-given.

That’s why Jesus explains in Mt 13:18-23 that the Christians who fall away (i.e. hears the word and receive it immediately with joy) after tribulation or persecution fall away because “he has no root in himself.” And additionally the Christians who fall away after the cares, deceitfulness of riches choke the word.

Let us examine ourselves, and know that we are saved. For if you doubt your salvation, make sure you do not cling to the world or the things of the world. Only then can the Holy Spirit give you understanding that everything is a loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus.

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1_GoArmyLogoHigh.jpg

Here is a description of the New and ‘Improved’ Modified Boot Camp on the news today from an article titled, “Army Tone Down Drill Sergeants”:

That means “less shouting at everyone, in essence, which some of you may remember from an earlier generation as being the modus operandi,” he said.

The changes started about a year ago, as defense officials looked for ways to make drillmasters more effective, said Lt. Col. Mike Jones, head of Army National Guard recruiting.

(QUOTED FROM: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061010/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/nice_drill_sergeants)

For those that are afraid of being yelled at and wash out in boot camp, it might be a better thing than to go to Iraq and find bullets flying instead of Spit.

Likewise, this should be an analogy as well for our Christian faith: If we don’t follow him and pick up our cross and be willing to suffer for Christ, you have to wonder about your faith and your service to him.

One Verse sums it up:

“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2Timothy 2:3)

–GIDEONRECON

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