Tag Archives: suffering for Christ

1 Kings 2; 1 Chronicles 29; 2 Corinthians 11; Psalm 95

It is the end of David’s life, and he gives final instructions to Solomon. He advises him on future, and he reminds him of betrayals of the past. David started as a hard-working shepherd in the fields. He died a king.

26 So David son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. 27 He reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 28 He died at a ripe old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth, and honor. Then his son Solomon ruled in his place (1 Chronicles 29:26-28, NLT).

Solomon had a kingdom to rule. His reign would not be without testing. First Kings 2 includes details of some of Solomon’s challenges, and how he established his rule.

Paul was Saul before his encounter with Christ. A man who once persecuted followers of Jesus, now devotes his life to truth–whatever the cost. While this passage speaks of Paul’s hardships, it is a boast of God’s faithfulness in Paul’s weakness.

I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm (2 Corinthians 11:23-27, NLT).

I pay attention to these stories. I note the challenges, the hardship, the betrayal, the legacy. But central to it all, all these stories and struggles, is the Lord.

Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
    for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
    the flock under his care (Psalm 95:6-7, NLT).

Lord, I am grateful for truth. It is worth protecting and preserving and honoring.

Courtney (66books365)

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Gen. 5; Matt. 5; Ezra 5; Acts 5

This whole Christianity thing?  Not for the faint of heart.  The Bible is replete with examples of the Divine courage it takes to profess a belief in Jesus as Lord.  Take the apostles, for example.  They were imprisoned, they were beaten, and they rejoiced in every minute of it, because they were working under the Highest of orders.

“’Leave these men alone! Let them go!  For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.’  His speech persuaded them.  They called the apostles in and had them flogged.  Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”  (Acts 5:38-40).

I am convicted here of my chicken-heartedness.  If I’m being honest, the only thing I’ve ever really suffered in the expression of my faith is an eye roll or a knowing look.  At its worst, a friendship becomes strained.  And yet my eternity remains secure.  My personal investment is so far outweighed by His great reward to me.  And yet He loves me anyway.

Like the apostles, I am called to a divine purpose.  I know, because my failures are always due to my activity of “human origin.”  Human origin.  As in, “not omniscient.”  As in, “flawed.”  I can imagine God’s view downward upon us, the miniscule specs of humanity, moving our life’s pieces on a tiny planet, thinking we know how everything is supposed to work out, when in reality, the Divine Design guides every move.  I’ve been known to try shoving a square-peg decision into a round hole outcome because I want it so bad.  I’ve tried to shoe-horn, fast-track, kick-open.  And then I’m surprised when it doesn’t work.  That’s because it’s all me.  There is no God in it.  But when the Lord puts the hint of an idea in my heart, when I feel the hem of His garment as it passes by and there is a happy marriage of desire and success, I am emboldened.  I cannot be stopped.  I have courage enough to face imprisonment, or worse.

Mostly.

May I always rejoice in being counted worthy to endure whatever comes my way, suffering included.  May I remember God’s purpose does not – cannot – stop.

Sarah Perry

Guest today on 66 Books, and a wife and mother of three children ages eight and under. She received her J.D. from the University of Virginia, and in addition to numerous webzine articles and short stories, Sarah is the co-author of “When the Fairy Dust Settles: A Mother and Her Daughter Discuss What Really Matters” (Warner Faith 2004).  Sarah has served in youth ministry for over ten years, and is currently writing for www.ChosenFamilies.org where she uses her son’s Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis to encourage other families living with disabilities.

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament