Archive for the ‘Christian suffering’ Category

The Hammer and the Chisel

Watched a great movie tonight entitled “The Heart of Texas” It is a great work on forgiveness and the life of suffering and tragedy that often times besets the believer. In the movie is a wonderful quote by A.W.Tozer. I share it with you praying that it may speak to your heart as it has mine.

Piles of Ashes

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. –Hebrews 12:11

If God has singled you out to be a special object of His grace you may expect Him to honor you with stricter discipline and greater suffering than less favored ones are called upon to endure….

If God sets out to make you an unusual Christian He is not likely to be as gentle as He is usually pictured by the popular teachers. A sculptor does not use a manicure set to reduce the rude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.

To do His supreme work of grace within you He will take from your heart everything you love most. Everything you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be.


Watch this movie – cry, grow, learn and love…I dare you!

…following…

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John Piper – The Christian Life is Marked by Suffering, Not Prosperity

Dont know how Joel Osteen would respond -but I think I know how Jesus would!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

There is a move afoot in evangelical Christianity that recognizes the call of the gospel and the power of the gospel as being central to our well being as Christ followers. For years we have heard that God has a wonderful plan for our life, and although this may have some reality to it, we have certainly interpreted incorrectly. What we have said is that God has a wonderful plan for my life and that plan is that I be peaceful and happy and all the fluffy good stuff that comes with it. NOT SO! Gods plan has never changed. Gods plan is HIS PLAN. His plan is simple. We are called to make disciples of the Nations. Our convenience and well being is of no consequence. His glory and His renown are to be our only desire. A very different message that is being preached by the masses today. May God grant us the desire and the willingness to take up our cross, forsake our own life, and FOLLOW Him…no matter what…no matter where…

…following…

Set aside to suffer

A great montage from a message by John Piper on the Christian and suffering. Could it be that the American dream and the prosperity gospel preached and believed by so many is robbing the gospel of its power and the church of her place in our culture.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Piper does an excellent job in demonstrating that scripture is filled with the call to suffer by those who are followers of Jesus Christ. My next post will deal with several of the texts that Piper referred to.

…following…

The place of suffering in the life of the follower of Christ

A while back I made the statement that at times ministry could be tough. Well it can; however, it is not that ministry itself is tough,yet often times the simple circumstances of ministry.

Ministry in its basic component is demonstrating the life of Jesus to people throughout the stages and events of their lives. There are often times that involve seasons of suffering in the lives of those you love and serve. I cannot ‘minister’ to people when I myself am not exhibiting Christ likeness in my daily walk and my daily life. They need to see Jesus in me and not me myself, in fact, I really have little to offer. This past week has certainly given me the opportunity to do just that. I am not going to go into it and those close to me will know what I am talking about, but there has simply been many in our church and in my life that are undergoing a time of suffering. Now suffering defined is simply

an individual’s basic effective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm or pain of some sort.

Suffering however for the Christian, although not necessarily exempt from the above definition, encompasses so much more. Suffering for the follower of Christ is that place where we experience the hurt and pain of life, but for the believer it is always through the shared experience of our Savior. Jesus was a man who suffered. He suffered through the pain of incarnation. He suffered in his life. He was born in a time of great suffering. He suffered from rejection. He suffered in the garden. He suffered at the effects of the thorns and the whip. He suffered with the pain of the nails. He suffered on the cross. He suffered separation from His Father. Jesus was a man of suffering. What is ironic is that through His life of suffering Jesus also was a man of joy. Somehow Jesus in the midst of suffering found a place of joy and peace .

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.—Hebrews 12:2

I am known for saying, “We are never more like Jesus than when we suffer” and I mean it. However, who in the world WANTS TO SUFFER?  It is like David Crowder said in one of his songs; ‘Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die’ Amen!

Yet, in many ways I believe the follower of Jesus is called to suffering. I do not believe we go out and find it. I believe it will find us! As I have said, this has been true this past week for me as I have come face to face with suffering in the lives of people who are followers of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that I have not shrunk from the reality and necessity of it, but that I have helped them take it head on through the love of God, the wisdom of His Word and the fellowship of His people.

My next few posts are going to deal with suffering in the life of the believer. The various aspects it can take and maybe why we in the western church do such a poor job in responding to it. I hope to address suffering in other nations, the persecuted church, and suffering here in America. When I am through I hope we will have a new and fresh approach to suffering in the life of the believer. Suffering, hurt and pain…we do not need to go and find it, however we need to know that eventually, one day, often when it’s least expected… it will find us.

And that’s ok…

…following…