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Form of Sound Words (2 Tim 1:13)
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Reaction or Response
Now Playing: What do we do when we are mistreated by someone ?
Topic: Suffering
"And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate." (Mark 15:1)

A converted Hindu woman had suffered much at the hands of her unsaved relatives. One day a missionary asked her, "When your husband is angry and persecutes you, what do you do?" The Hindu woman replied, "I just cook the food better and sweep the floor a little cleaner. When he speaks unkindly, I answer him mildly, trying to show him in every way that when I became a Christian, I also became a better wife." Although that husband had resisted all the efforts of the missionaries, he could not resist the sweet silence of his Christian wife. The Holy Spirit used her to win him to Christ.

How do you react when you meet antagonism? When you are mistreated or wrongly accused, do you harbor resentment or seek revenge? Do you attempt to retaliate or verbally abuse those who have abused you?

Jesus had been led away to the high priest. His agony in the garden had been interrupted by His betrayal. To make matters worse, His primary disciple, the Apostle Peter, had denied Him three times. Our Lord had endured both physical and verbal abuse all night long. "And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate" (Mark 15:1). As the Sanhedrin gathered early on the morning of Jesus' crucifixion, they attempted to make the trial official. Yet their single purpose was "to put Him to death" (Matthew 27:1).

Jesus was falsely arraigned, falsely accused, and falsely abused. Yet to all of the trumped-up charges, to all of this pseudo evidence, our Lord made no reply. When the chief priests continued to accuse Him falsely of many things, Mark records that the Lord Jesus answered nothing. So uncharacteristic was it for a person falsely accused not to rise to His own defense that Pilate asked in astonishment, "Answerest Thou nothing?" But the narrative repeats, "Jesus yet answered nothing." It was nothing short of remarkable that Jesus would not retaliate or lash out against those who had treated Him so cruelly and unjustly.

A young sergeant was serving the British army in Egypt under the Highland Regiment. This soldier was an effervescent and shining Christian. When he was asked how he came to know the Lord Jesus as Savior, he recounted his conversion by saying, "There is a private in this company who was converted in Malta before the regiment came to Egypt. We gave that fellow an awful time. On one terrible night he came in very tired and wet. But before getting into bed, he knelt down to pray. My boots were soaked with water and covered with mud, and I let him have it with one on the side of his head, and I struck him with the second on the other side. But he just went on praying. The next morning I found those boots beautifully polished and standing by the side of my bed. That was his reply to me, and it just broke my heart. I was saved that day."

Our response to those who lie against us must never be to lash out against them. As we arise early in the morning, perhaps after a day in which our character has been slandered and our conduct has been slashed, we must arise with a commitment to live a life like the Lord Jesus who, when He was reviled, reviled not again. Only then will we live happily in a world filled with unhappy people.

MORNING HYMN

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood-

Sealed my pardon with His blood:

Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

(selected from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr8 at 3:52 PM EST
Updated: Friday, April 1, 2005 9:55 AM EST
Friday, October 8, 2004
Thorn in the Flesh
Now Playing: How do we react to our own
Topic: Suffering
The Thorn

This discipline is suited and adapted to each several soul. This is not, that all speculations as to what was the nature of Paul's thorn in the flesh, end in nothing. God has wisely seen fit to leave it untold. Were it made known, we would have perhaps settled that it was not ours, and then have left it there.

To have left it untold, gives us to see that there was a great principle of God's dealings, seen in this man's case, but applicable to all. Each would have his suited" thorn? The very thing that would counteract his natural tendency; and SO act as to strip him of every pretension to power, and break any fancied strength of man.

We see this on every hand, we see it better in he reason why, I doubt our own soul's history. For it is not always that another is permitted to know the secret thorn which rankles in the breast, such as that we would give the world to remove, ere we know the "end of the Lord." He presses home the "stake " which pins us to the earth, as it were, in very powerlessness.

You see this at times, for instance, in incongruous marriages. The soul is worn away, especially in a sensitive, spiritual mind; and there is no earthly power which can change the sorrow, and heavenly deliverance is withheld. Again, there is a child whose conduct breaks the heart of a parent: every measure fails to deal with him, and the ` I thorn " rankles deeply in the wounded heart. It may be that some disgrace is permitted, as to which the soul feels that death were easier to bear. It may be that slander has stung the soul with deeper pain.

There may be, too, some human weakness, which renders the afflicted one an object of pain to those who love him, or of ridicule to others. Such as these, and the many sorrows of the way are used of God as the "thorn" to curb the energy, to break the strength of "man." Circumstances, friends, relations, health, good name, all are touched by Wisdom in this holy discipline of the soul.

These things in the hand of God are like the river banks which on either side guide the stream of waters which flow between them; rendering the waters useful and fructifying, which, if flowing onwards without these guides, would devastate all around, in-stead of bearing a blessing on their bosom. How often have we not thought what good Christians we might have been if circumstances were different; in short, if the banks which carry the river were broken down. Nay, these are the wise dealings of our God to keep us just in the channel and path where we are, to shine and glorify Him.

Like Paul of old, when the " stake " was driven home, we may cry to God, even thrice, as he: Take away this thorn, this terrible hindrance to the work of Christ, this feebleness of the vessel, this sapping of energy, this hindrance to service, this cruel "stake " from which the soul struggles in vain to be free. But no, there it remains, until we find, in the acceptance of its bitterness, the occasion of a strength, which is not of man, but the emptying us of fancied human power.

We learn our powerlessness, we feel that struggling is but in vain. ` Yet here the secret of strength is found: but not of man, not our own. The Lord comes in. He finds the vessel bereft of strength; pre-pared for that power with which He can wield it. He finds that condition which it is His to use. " And he said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest ("tabernacle over") upon me:" The surpassingness of the power is of God, and not from us."
F.G.Patterson

Posted by dondegr8 at 3:25 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 8, 2004 3:26 PM EDT
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Suffering
Now Playing: How do we react to what God allows?
Topic: Suffering
Almost none of us are comfortable with pain or suffering. We want a comfortable chair, well-fitting clothes, a cozy bed, a luxurious car, & a warm house, especially in this weather. Anything uncomfortable has some remedy, for a high enough price. And for any physical pain there is usually medication in some form or another. But Christians must not allow ourselves to be deluded by the popular culture. Paul could write from his prison cell, "Ye, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). He also informed them, "(v.9) Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. (v.12) If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us" (2 Timothy 2:9,12). He also reminded the believers at Thessalonica, "For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know" (1 Thessalonians 3:14). And to Timothy he could encourage him, "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

We have many examples of suffering and exhortations on how to respond. Paul told the Romans, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). "(v.5) For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. (v.6) And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. (v.7) And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation" (2 Corinthians 1:5-7).

Of Moses it is recorded, "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25). Of the Lord Jesus the Hebrews were told, "(v.10) For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (v.18) For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:10,18). We are reminded, "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26).

The apostle Paul was told after he was converted, "For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my Name's sake" (Acts 9:16). Those at Colosse were told (concerning Paul) to "Rejoice in my (Paul's) sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the church" (Colossians 1:24). Paul also wrote to Philippi, "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:29). And in chapter three, we find (v.8) "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. (v.10) That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death" (Philippians 3:8,10).

The apostle Peter instructed, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin" (1 Peter 4:1). " (v.20) For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (v.21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2:20-21). "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:13). "(v.14) But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (v.17) For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing" (1 Peter 3:14,17). But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you" (1 Peter 5:10). May we accept the suffering the Lord allows in our lives!

Posted by dondegr8 at 2:46 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 10:07 AM EST

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