Friday, May 19, 2017

To Know Him

“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”  Philippians 3:10


I heard it said recently that we read this verse forwards, but we experience it backwards.

    • I am conformed to His death through denying myself and taking up my cross.
      • Through this death I fellowship in His sufferings.
        • Because I know His suffering and His death, I can then find the power of his resurrection.
          • Through these things I come to know my God more.

The word for know is ginosko in the Greek, and it signifies an intimate knowledge and acquaintance.  I want to know my God intimately.  How does this happen?  Through death, suffering, and resurrection.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of when fall inot the ground and die it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”  John 12:24

This dying to self brings me into a more intimate fellowship and acquaintance with Him.  As I go through the pain and suffering of crucifying my old nature, I get a sliver of a glimpse of the Savior’s suffering me on Calvary.  But this death also puts me in a place to experience His resurrection power.  The dynamite power which Christ from the dead is mine.  To find resurrection I must first die.  All of these things put me into a closer knowledge and more intimate experience and understanding with my Savior, allowing me to say, “I know Him.”

Would I know His goodness if He were not good to me in the bad times of life?

Would I understand His nearness apart from walking through desperately scary times where I just needed to feel His presence?  (The valley of the shadow of death…”")

Would I be as thankful for His plan were I not put in a situation where my plan availed nothing?

Would I have endurance for this Christian race without being placed into a long-standing trial?

Would I know my God answers prayer without having to wrestle with Him over some hard matter?

That I may know Him.  Death is required. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My God is Good

One of the things I have struggled with most recently is knowing that God is there, hearing my prayer, and working out a good plan.  It seems that my prayers are going unanswered and that nothing is working or happening on our behalf regarding housing on our mission field.  With each delay and difficulty I have questioned “How can this be good?”  When these emotions surge I am learning that I must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  One way I do that is by placing Scripture Verses all over my house, so that I can see them and be reminded of God’s true Word, even when it doesn’t “seem” to match my experience.  This is one set of signs that I have recently placed on the wall I see first when I wake up in the morning.

My God is Near  My God is Good  My God has a Plan

Download printable PDF files here,
My God is Near // My God is Good // My God has a Plan

or JPG files here.
My God is Near // My God is Good // My God has a Plan

Friday, May 5, 2017

For the Sake of His Name

holzfigur-980784_1920I’ve been doing a study recently on suffering and trials and why God allows them into our lives.  Today I came to a Biblical example of these things: the Apostle Paul.  2 Timothy 3:11-12 says that he endured persecutions and afflictions at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra.  We know that he battled a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12), and a couple of times he actually enumerated his physical sufferings for Christ.

1 Corinthians 4:9-10 tells us that Paul suffered

  • Hunger and thirst
  • Nakedness
  • Beating (“buffeted”)
  • No home (I can identify with that one!)
  • Hard work
  • Reviling
  • Persecution
  • Defamation
  • Made as “the filth of the world and the offscouring of all things.”

2 Corinthians 11:23-27 gives us an even more in depth look into Paul's sufferings:

  • In Labors
  • Stripes (beatings) above measure
  • Imprisoned frequently
  • Close to death often
  • Beaten five times with 39 stripes
  • Three times beaten with rods
  • Three times shipwrecked
  • One time stoned
  • Spent a day and a night in the sea
  • Frequent journeys (deputation anyone?)
  • In various perils – from water, robbers, his own countrymen, the heathen, in the city, in the wilderness, from false brethren.
  • Weary
  • In Pain
  • Sleeplessness (“watchings”) often
  • Hungry and thirsty
  • Fasting often
  • Cold and nakedness

Yet this same Paul declared that he suffered theses things because he was appointed as a preacher, teacher, and apostle to the the Gentiles, “nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persudaed that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2 Tim. 1:11-12). 

This same Paul said that he said that he suffers trouble as an evildoer, but will “endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Jesus Christ with eternal glory.” (2 Tim. 2:9-10).

This same Paul declared boldly in 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 that he will gladly bear these infirmities and trials, even glorying in them, so that the power of Christ can rest upon him.  He uses these words, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

This same Paul referred to his afflictions as “light” in 2 Corinthians 4:17, and taught us that suffering is but for a moment, and is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

This same Paul told the Roman believers that he has added everything up in his account book (“reckon”) and can see that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).

Sometimes I feel crushed under the weight of my trials and tribulations.  It seems as if there is no end in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel, no break in the pain.  And I have not suffered anything close to what Paul endured, and he called it all “light”. 

If I could see with eternal eyes, I would realize like Paul that what feels bulky, and heavy, and crushing to me now will be like a drop in the bucket compared to the weight of glory that it will be some day.  I would be able to suffer and endure more easily because I would realize that this affliction is just for a moment, and it cannot compare to the glory which is coming.  I would be able to declare truthfully that I rejoice when suffering comes, because I know that the weakness I am enduring is putting the strength of Jesus on display. 

Lord, help me to see with eternal vision today.