The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose. – C.S. Lewis
Every one of our sinful actions has a suicidal power on the faculties that put that action forth. When you sin with the mind, that sin shrivels the rationality. When you sin with the heart or the emotions, that sin shrivels the emotions. When you sin with the will, that sin destroys and dissolves your willpower and your self-control. Sin is the suicidal action of the self against itself. Sin destroys freedom because sin is an enslaving power.
In other words, sin has a powerful effect in which your own freedom, your freedom to want the good, to will the good, and to think or understand the good, is all being undermined. By sin, you are more and more losing your freedom. Sin undermines your mind, it undermines your emotions, and it undermines your will. – Tim Keller (HT/ Stand to Reason Blog)
I could be considered a professional grumbler. I complain far to much, but compared to the Jews in today’s reading I don’t complain at all.
The Jews following Moses had seen one miracle after another. These were not miracles like we have today that can be explained away by people determined not to believe. They had been released from slavery, they had endured the plagues of Egypt. They saw the sea part, and that same sea come back together in time to drown the Egyptian Army that was chasing them. God was present to them in a visible way. But yet they grumbled. God had proven to them over and over again that he cared, yet they turned their backs on him at every opportunity.
This challenge that I am posting isn’t just to you the reader but to me as well. Reflect on your life and find one thing you grumble about entirely to much. Challenge yourself to pray about that thing at least as much as you grumble. If you can work on the problem yourself, but ask God daily to help you with this problem.
36 Purposes of God in Our Suffering
March 20, 2012 by Paul Tautges | 2 Comments
Joni Eareckson Tada has given us many books on the subject of God’s tender care for His children in times of suffering. Joni strikes the chord of authenticity with us so well because suffering is the world she lives in 24/7, literally. My personal favorite is When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty, co-authored with Steve Estes, a pastor in Pennsylvania. The following list of God’s purposes in our suffering is from one of the appendices in that book.
Take some time to meditate on the wisdom of God as He works out His perfect will through our suffering. No wonder James, the brother of our Lord, commanded us to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2)!
Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance (Ps 68:19).
God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling (Ps 66:8-9; Heb 2:10).
Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:7-11).
Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent upon God (2 Cor 12:9).
Sometimes when I listen to people who say they have lost their faith, I am far less surprised than they expect. If their view of God is what they say, then it is only surprising that they did not reject it much earlier. Other people have a concept of God so fundamentally false that it would be better for them to doubt than to remain devout. The more devout they are, the uglier their faith will become since it is based on a lie. Doubt in such a case is not only highly understandable, it is even a mark of spiritual and intellectual sensitivity to error, for their picture is not of God but an idol. ― Os Guinness
I am mostly talking to people who have been a Christian for over a year. I will give brand new Christians, and Christians that have not yet entered High School a pass on this one.
Have you ever read the entire Bible from cover to cover, or at very least the entire New Testament? If not, why not? Do you think that God is pleased with your reasons? If you read an average of 3 to 4 chapters of the Bible a day you can read the entire Bible in a year.
If you read just one chapter a day you could read the entire Bible in less then 4 years, and most of the chapters are pretty short.
Yet many Christians I have talked to in the past have never read the entire New Testament even though they have been Christians for numerous years. I have met senior citizens who have been Christians all of their lives and have never read it!
I find this incredibly sad! While the words of humans can help us understand the Bible, we can not rely on just the words of our pastors.
When you start dating someone it would be really nice to have a cliff note book entitled “This is what you get if you date me.”.
For awhile the cliff notes would be enough, but if you actually start to fall in love with the person then you would thirst to know more, then if you get to the point where you want to marry that person, you should know enough to write a small book on that person.
The Bible refers to Christians as being the Bride of Christ. If we are truly to be married to Christ the Cliff notes given to us by our preachers is not enough.
We should be like teenagers in love giddy with excitement, and wanting to know more about our love. But instead many act like teenagers about to take an exam, you don’t have time to read the whole book you want just the cliff notes.