Tag Archives: suffering

Jeremiah 8-10; 2 Corinthians 11

If I were to sum up a theme in these readings, it would be a warning about false teachings.

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (2 Corinthians 11:4, NLT)

What of the false teacher? What is deceit’s disguise?

14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, NLT)

A deceiver knows how to disguise and hide. Some disguised themselves as apostles of Christ. That’s tricky. Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. We are told this for a reason. Bad intentions can sport good appearances.

But what of truth? Shouldn’t truth have an easy road? After all, it is right and pure. If Paul’s story is any example of trying to bring truth to light, that road is far from comfortable. For example, he:

  • worked harder
  • was put in prison more often
  • was whipped times without number
  • faced death again and again
  • 5 different times the Jewish leaders gave him 39 lashes
  • 3 times he was beaten with rods
  • he was stoned
  • 3 times he was shipwrecked
  • he spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea
  • he traveled on many long journeys
  • he faced danger from rivers
  • he faced danger from from robbers
  • he faced danger from his own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles
  • he faced danger in the cities, and in the deserts, and on the seas
  • he faced danger from men who claimed to be believers but were not
  • he worked hard and long
  • he endured many sleepless nights
  • he was hungry and thirsty
  • he often went without food
  • he shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep him warm (from 2 Corinthians 11:23b-27, NLT)

I read the account again, and this time, I imagine standing next to him. Working. Whipped. Shipwrecked. Facing danger–again and again. Exhausted. Hungry. Thirsty. Cold. And when I read it again, I look into the eyes of other prisoners, assailants holding whips and rocks, intimidating authorities, forceful robbers, a shunning community, even the ones who claimed to be believers. Paul’s not telling a passing story of what he did over the weekend. He’s telling a story of how he faced the extreme pressure to abandon the truth and abolish his faith.

I am ever more grateful for these words in my hands. Grateful for all the people who came before me, speaking and preserving truth, so that I could know Jesus and live. I will never know all that it cost them. But I know if they hadn’t persevered, my ignorance would have cost me my life.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Corinthians, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament

1 Samuel 17; Romans 15; Lam. 2; Ps.33

“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul.  “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied.  “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”  But David persisted.  “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said.  “When a lion and a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from it’s mouth.  If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death.  I have done this to both lions and bears , and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!”  The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from the Philistine!” 1 Samuel 17:32-37 NLT

I have pictured David’s time as a shepherd being fairly easy.  I never thought of him rescuing lambs and killing lions and bears.  He didn’t know at the time how God was preparing him to fight Goliath. David was ready.  He didn’t let Saul’s lack of faith deter him from what God wanted him to do.

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand , and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength and character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:2-4 NLT

Like David, I usually can’t see how my faith was strengthened by a trial until God brings me into another one.  I can look back and draw strength from how God brought me through in the past.  It can be hard for me to find joy in the midst of my pain. I want to  scream, cry, run or avoid it at times.   I am thankful for a God who understands my emotions. I can run to him and  find comfort in knowing that he with me and doesn’t leave my side.

“For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.  He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.  The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes.  But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.  What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.  But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.  He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine.  We put our hope in the Lord.  He is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone” Psalms 33 NLT

Dear Father,  Thank you for your unfailing love.  I rely on your strength when I am weak.  Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit.  I praise you for who you are.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Samuel, Lamentations, Psalms, Romans, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 1; Romans 1; Jeremiah 39; Psalms 13,14

“Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.  And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you.  He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.  I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord.  I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.  Now I am giving him the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.” 1 Samuel 1:10&11; 26-28 NLT

I can understand Hannah’s desire for a child.  And the hopelessness I felt after having two miscarriages.  Now we have a total of four kids.  There have been other times when I didn’t understand what God was doing.  I’ve prayed prayers like the one that David did in Psalms…

“O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle in my eyes, or I will die.  Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.  But I trust in your unfailing love.  I will rejoice because you have rescued me.  I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.” Psalms 13:1-6 NLT

Waiting on God can cause me to get weary.  I am grateful for others that encourage me in my faith, even when I don’t realize I need it. A friend stopped by the other day and dropped off a note and a gift she made for me. Her thoughtfulness lifted my burden and gave me the strength to get up again.

“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.  For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.  It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes-the Jew first and also the Gentile.  This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.  This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.  As Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Romans 1:12-17 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for your faithfulness.  For hearing my prayers.  Help me to listen to your prodding, to encourage someone else when they need it.  Give me the courage to share my story with those that need to hear it.  Amen.

“Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When the Lord restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.” Psalms 14:7 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Samuel, Jeremiah, Psalms, Romans, Uncategorized

Deut 21; Psalms 108,109; Isaiah 48; Rev 18

“She bought great quantities of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth; things made of fragrant thyine wood, ivory goods, and objects made of expensive wood; and bronze, iron, and marble.  She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flur, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, wagons, and bodies-that is, human slaves.  “The fancy things you loved so much are gone,” they cry.  “All your luxuries and splendor are gone forever, never to be yours again.” Revelation 18:12-14 NLT

Reading through this list of luxuries, I think about the wise men giving the frankincense and myrrh to Jesus.  I look into my own heart.  How is it like Babylon? What am I grasping onto for myself?  Am I looking to others for what they can do for me? Or am I genuinely loving them like Jesus?

“This is what the Lord says-your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.  Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.  Your descendants would have been like the sands along the seashore-too many to count!” Isaiah 48:17-19 NLT

What am I looking to for fulfillment? I don’t want to miss out on spiritual blessings, because I am so consumed with the things of this world.  And hold on to them so tightly that it becomes an idol…forgetting that it is all His anyway.

“My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart! Wake up, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song.  I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.  I will sing your praises among the nations.  For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.  Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.  May your glory shine over all the earth.  Now rescue your beloved people.  Answer and save us by your power.  Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless.  With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.” Psalms 108:1-13 NLT

Dear Father, I want to have a grateful heart.  Thank you for all the ways you have provided for me.  I desire to be a good steward of your gifts.  Give me eyes to see your beauty all around me.  Help me to have an eternal perspective.  You get the glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Psalms, Revelation, Uncategorized

Numbers 12,13; Psalms 49; Isaiah 2; Hebrews 10

But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let us go up at once and take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”  But the other  men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them, they are stronger than we are !” Numbers 13:30-31 NLT 

Caleb was standing up for what he believed.  His trust was rooted in God alone.  This is convicting for me…when I think about times that I’ve let comparison and self-doubt rob me of my purpose. And cloud my vision.  Just like the Israelites, I’ve made decisions based on my limited perspective. And not on the promises of God’s word.

“Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches…But as for me, God will redeem my life.  He will snatch me from the power of the grave.  So don’t be dimayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid.  For when they die, they take nothing with them.  Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.  In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success.” Psalms 49:5, 15-18 NLT

Am I investing in eternity?

“Israel is full of silver and gold; there is no end to its treasures.  Their land is full of warhorses; there is no end to its chariots.  Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their own hands.  So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low-do not forgive them.  Idols will completely disappear. On that day of judgement they will abandon the gold and silver idols they made for themselves to worship.”  Isaiah 2:7-20  NLT

Anything I put before God is an idol.  What am I letting control me? What am I relying on, instead of God?

“Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terribble suffering.  Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things.  So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord.  Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will.  Then you will receive all that he has promised.  “For in just in a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.  And my righteous ones will live by faith.” Hebrews 10:32-38 NLT

In my bible study group we were grappling with the question, “Why do we have to suffer?” Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to go through hard trials.  Even though, I know that God will use them to increase my faith…to bring me closer to Him…to strengthen my prayer life…to help someone else.  In the middle of my pain, I can get frustrated and weary.  When I start to lose hope, I have to remember God’s promises. And I am thankful for others who can lead me back to Him. 

Dear Father, Thank you for loving me despite my fear, doubts and questions.  For always meeting me where I am.  For being a Good Father.  Help me to surrender my idols to you.  Thank you for suffering for me on the cross, so that I can have the hope of heaven. I love you.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

1 Comment

Filed under Hebrews, Isaiah, Numbers, Psalms, Uncategorized