fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Sweet Hour of Prayer: to bless or to curse?

Sweet Hour of Prayer: to bless or to curse? by Julie McAllen

blue blessing and curse

 

Jeremiah’s Prayer

You who know, O Lord,
Remember me, take notice of me,
And take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away;
Know that for Your sake I endure reproach.
Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.
I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers,
Nor did I exult.
Because of Your hand upon me I sat alone,
For You filled me with indignation.
Why has my pain been perpetual
And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream
With water that is unreliable? (Jeremiah 15:15-18)

I love the prophet Jeremiah, the poor guy.

“Take vengeance for me on my persecutors” says the weeping prophet. Have you ever cursed someone in prayer? Doesn’t it seem wrong since we are taught to forgive and pursue peace? But even Jesus didn’t hesitate to denounce some people. He didn’t labor in prayer to bless them or spend all His time counseling those readily recognized as sons of their father the devil. Jesus knew exactly when to curse a sinner and when to bless another. Of course, none of us want to be guilty of denouncing people for whom God wants us to pray or show compassion, but at the same time if we’re called to speak the hard truth we can’t afford to quench the fire of the Spirit.  The discernment we need is to do only what we see our father doing. The perfect son of God had this insight, but Jeremiah, like us, had to learn it through his trials.

When Jeremiah was called at a young age, he basically doubted it. Ya know, “God, I’m not your man.” But God assured him that He would be with Jeremiah and give him words to say in his mission territory which was the people of Judah. Tall task.

Why does God have prophets? Because even as He observes our sins, He loves us and seeks to bring us to Him. Jeremiah was called as a prophet and therefore filled with God’s thoughts toward Judah. The first call to order was to confront their sin. Yes, confront their sin, not pray. Jeremiah is told what to say to them and naturally is not well received. Think about that. God calls this young man to represent Him and continually must reassure him to “have no fear for I am with you” but basically throws him to the lions. He has no friends, no family and no respect from the religious community to whom he is sent. God didn’t just comfort Jeremiah in the absence of finding a wife, He expressly told Jeremiah not to look for one! God WANTED Jeremiah lonely. It kinda makes God look like a big meanie if you ask me. But what would’ve happened to Jeremiah if he had the support of family and community? Perhaps the fiery gift of justice in this prophet would have been quenched by the balance of a close relationship. Imagine Jeremiah about to go out the door to pronounce judgments against Judah and a sweet wife pleading with him to “calm down and be nice.” She might even use the standard blessing verse so many love to quote and tell Jeremiah that God has “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope ” (Jeremiah 29:11).  It’s rather amusing how often people single out this one verse from the book of Jeremiah to bless a friend when Jeremiah himself did not even have a pleasant life as a favored man of God. The plans God had for Jeremiah brought forth a prayer to curse the people to whom he was sent. Do you ever look at a guy like that and think to yourself, “Dear God, please don’t ever put me in that position. Can I please just have a normal life and I promise I will praise you all my days.” I know I have.

So here is Jeremiah, filled with God’s Holy Spirit and compassion toward Judah. And what happens? The reality check of it hits the prophet first with tears. He weeps and mourns for Judah. Their sin becomes his own sin. Have you ever noticed that among the prophets? They always plead something like Jeremiah’s words at Jeremiah 14:7, “our iniquities testify against us, O Lord, act for Your name’s sake!” The prophet is caught up in God’s concern for Judah at this point. He feels the love of God and His desire for them to return to Him. He is interceding in their behalf with an earnest prayer of repentance as he carries their sin as his own. Wouldn’t God delight in this? You’d think so wouldn’t you? But notice God’s reaction to Jeremiah who was led by God’s Spirit to pray in the first place.

“Do not pray for the welfare of this people” (Jeremiah 14:11)

Huh? I was just as perplexed as Jeremiah who argued with God and defended their waywardness based on the false prophets which misled them. I thought how this relates to my own prayers for those who are misled by false prophets. In prayer I cry the tears of Jesus remembering my own blindness as I ask for his mercy. I cry out that it’s not really their fault, they are in darkness and therefore I intercede. Jeremiah is basically arguing this same point with God. And God remains firm telling Jeremiah to give up these prayers and pronounce judgment not just on the leaders but all the people. I feel Jeremiah at this point. I wonder if Jeremiah saw God as heartless as I did when He said,

“Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let them go! And it shall be that when they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then you are to tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord:
“Those destined for death, to death;
And those destined for the sword, to the sword;
And those destined for famine, to famine;
And those destined for captivity, to captivity.”’
I will appoint over them four kinds of doom,” declares the Lord: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag off, and the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. (Jeremiah 15:1-3)

Ouch! God is pitiless toward Judah yet He has called a weeping man to confront them! God’s already appointing them to doom. Does He even desire repentance? It’s almost as if Jeremiah has more love toward Judah than God at this point. What a quandary for the prophet. It could have caused him to see himself as being wiser and more compassionate than God. I’ve no doubt this is what brought him to despair wondering about this God who called him. His own faith was being tested in this awful commission as evidenced in his remorse and regret at ever having been born!

Woe to me, my mother, that you have borne me
As a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land!
I have not lent, nor have men lent money to me,
Yet everyone curses me. (Jeremiah 15:10)

Jeremiah got a taste of what it is to be called by God. He knows what it feels like to be His spokesman and intercessor. And he just wants to die. It’s no fun, it’s causing him such personal pain that he is even willing to give up his relationship with the one who called him. But from the depths of his soul, he remembers how God’s word filled him and gave him joy. He’s not ready to give up on that, but he questions the hand that commissioned him to this indignation and now asks “will you indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable?” (Jeremiah 15:18)

Whoa.

Can’t you just hear Jeremiah’s bi-polar prayer, “God, I love you so much, I am willing. Send me….. But God… I’m beginning to doubt the words I received. Yes, I ate them with joy, but maybe they are unreliable? How can I possibly be your spokesman when I see only this rotten fruit from my efforts and now you’re even telling me to stop praying for them? I give up.

The prophet was going through the refining fire. The compassion inside this man was now turning to hatred. Jeremiah’s heart became entangled with too much compassion toward a people needing discipline. Where was Jeremiah’s focus? On God or on these people? And this is where God had to step in and remind Jeremiah of his commission as a spokesman.

Therefore, thus says the Lord,
“If you return, then I will restore you—
Before Me you will stand;
And if you extract the precious from the worthless,
You will become My spokesman.
They for their part may turn to you,
But as for you, you must not turn to them.
“Then I will make you to this people
A fortified wall of bronze;
And though they fight against you,
They will not prevail over you;
For I am with you to save you
And deliver you,” declares the Lord.
“So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.” (Jeremiah 15:19-21)

God needed a spokesman not a man on his knees crying for himself or a wayward people. So Jeremiah was strengthened for the task and further set apart as a fortified wall of bronze by focusing his attention on the will of God instead of the reaction of those to whom he was sent. And so, after his pity party, Jeremiah again goes out boldly with the word of the Lord. And something new happens.

Do you remember how Jeremiah repented on behalf of his people when he was first sent but God told him to stop praying for them? Jeremiah questioned it but now he is being aligned with God because after his repeated attempts to get Judah to repent, he’s sick of them too. They’ve made their hate of God known as they seek to kill His prophet. And like any human being under such stress, Jeremiah has hit his breaking point and begins his appeal to God, not to save them this time, but to bring His wrath upon them!

“May an outcry be heard from their houses,
When You suddenly bring raiders upon them;
For they have dug a pit to capture me
And hidden snares for my feet.
Yet You, O Lord, know
All their deadly designs against me;
Do not forgive their iniquity
Or blot out their sin from Your sight.
But may they be overthrown before You;
Deal with them in the time of Your anger!” (Jer 18:22-23)

Uh-oh, is Jeremiah sinning by calling down these curses? The Lord does not rebuke Jeremiah in this prayer. Instead, He encourages him to buy an earthenware vessel and smash it before their eyes as a physical illustration for them to see what God is about to do to them. God confirms Jeremiah’s alignment with His will. Jeremiah is now seeing what his father in heaven is doing.

The lesson for us is contained within the model prayer, “let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  We’re here to announce God’s will and not our own. It’s a pleasure to pray blessings over those whom God has asked us to bless, but from the first calling of Jeremiah, God had in mind a curse toward Judah. His will to curse was set in heaven, but He was looking for someone on earth to proclaim it with authority. God was fed up with Judah and took the time to align soft-hearted Jeremiah with His will. Perhaps evil runs rampant because we all too often resist the Holy Spirit in this area. It’s uncomfortable to confront someone with their sin, but by assigning Jeremiah a stiff-necked people to reach, the faithful prophet came to know the joy, the love, the compassion and also the pain of His God. God held back nothing and Jeremiah came to know his God more intimately because of it.

Sweet hour of prayer: to bless or to curse?

Keep yourselves in Gods’ love, Julie

May 16, 2014 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , | Comments Off on Sweet Hour of Prayer: to bless or to curse?

Bless the Opposition

 Bless the Opposition by Julie McAllen

“I don’t need this!” Who hasn’t blurted that out in some form or another when faced with a hardship? Everything was going just fine until THIS came along. If it would just go away, all would be blessed, or so we think. We all encounter opposition: financial burdens, physical disabilities, difficult people in our lives, and recurring negative habits of our own. Somethings we may have a measure of control over, other things simply must be endured.

When Moses was first called to task, his immediate response was to talk to God about his own imperfection. He admitted he was not a good speaker and questioned God’s choice to make him a spokesman on behalf of Israel. Though the Lord promised He would help by including Aaron, a perplexing character trait of God is revealed in the passage.

The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (Exodus 4:11)

God MADE Moses to be slow of speech and tongue and yet in this God-given imperfection, he was called to do a great work. If God needed a spokesman, why didn’t He simply create a radio announcer type of fellow and use him? Why Moses? Furthermore, as Moses and Aaron went forth to Pharaoh they encountered opposition. If God wanted Pharaoh to “let His people go,” don’t you think He would’ve paved the way and made it simpler for poor stuttering Moses? God had not blessed his task with an immediate submission on Pharaoh’s part, to the contrary the account accredited God Himself as the one who hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 10:20)!

Note how God used the opposition in the case of Moses.

9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.” 10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.” 12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the LORD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said. (Exodus 8:9-15)

Moses showed fine character in leaving Pharaoh the honor of setting aside time to pray for him and his officials. Do we consider it an honor to pray for those who oppose us? And look at the result. God heard and sent the relief Moses prayed for on behalf of Pharaoh. Though Pharaoh’s heart was unchanged, what do you suppose this did for Moses’ faith? One answered prayer, two responses.

Did it get any better?

25 Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both men and animals… Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Pray to the LORD, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” 29 Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the LORD. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the LORD’s. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the LORD God.”….. Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the LORD; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the LORD had said through Moses. (Exodus 9:25-35)

Another plague, another prayer. This time we see Pharaoh having some faith in what the prayers of Moses can accomplish. He even admits his sin. Yet when the hail ends, Pharaoh’s hard heart is once again revealed but Moses continues to have faith in God. Do you suppose he was perplexed at this point? Do you suppose Moses wondered if his efforts with Pharaoh were a waste of time? Do you ever wonder if he got weary praying for this obstinate man’s heart?

Plague after plague, prayer after prayer, the story was played out in Exodus and in the hearts of Moses and Pharaoh.

9 The LORD had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country. (Exodus 11:9-10)

Moses was even told by God that Pharaoh would refuse his efforts. That is disheartening, especially for someone like Moses who wasn’t exactly custom-made for preaching in the first place. But he was also given wisdom as to why. This is key. In James chapter one where we are admonished to find joy in our trials, it also encourages that if we lack wisdom, we ought to ask God (James 1:2-5). Moses was a man like us, I have no doubt he had frustrations in this calling God gave him. He must’ve sought God many times before he understood it wasn’t just about him and Pharaoh’s stand-off, it was greater than that. It was that God may be glorified in Egypt. And through this, God created out of humble Moses a new man, a leader.

As if the opposition of Pharaoh and his officials were not enough, even the people whom Moses was defending and rescuing began to turn on him. Had Moses not sought God’s wisdom and understood the greater purpose, he might have given up his leadership role, which was not about glorifying Moses, but in leading the ones being rescued to glorify God!

10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:10-14)

Moses knew the One who called him. It is fitting that Moses was not a born leader when he was called. There’s no bravado here. His faith is evident in the face of this opposition from pursuer and rescued. He’s against what looks impossible and hopeless and he knows the wonders he performed earlier were not of himself but of God. He has nothing left to rely on but faith in this same God who called him in his imperfection and that is why he could say to this imperfect people “stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.” Without having all the answers and the map laid out as to how that would take place, he trusted in God’s deliverance. It looked hopeless, but Moses had learned to cry out in prayer and also learned to listen and obey.

15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” (Exodus 14:15-18)

I chuckle at how this might’ve been said in modern terms.”Stop praying already, I heard ya! Now MOVE IT! Don’t argue, I know it sounds silly, but stand there and hold up this stick!” Sometimes we have to be against an approaching army and the sea before we’ll stop arguing with God and do the uncommon thing He advises. Moses could’ve gone back to the fleshly way he responded when God first began to dialogue with him. He could’ve brought up all his imperfections or pointed out the sins of these people grumbling against him when they ought to be thanking him. He could’ve thrown up his hands and said, “impossible!” He could’ve cursed at God and yelled, “a stick?! That’s your answer?! Hold up a stick?!” But I believe it was through the trials and opposition he incurred with Pharaoh that Moses became the man God knew from the start he would be…despite what Moses thought of himself. And what of God? We all know the story don’t we? Did He show His power to all of Egypt and His people Israel also? The exodus is well-known right down to us, those who believe and those whose hearts are hardened. We still know the story. May God be glorified.

Jesus admitted that in this life we too would have trouble, and the Bible speaks often of human suffering as well as persecution, so we shouldn’t be surprised. But what’s the point? Why? Can anything good come from trials, suffering or opposition?

We come to God when we’re at the end of ourselves. Often it’s those trials that push us to the edge where we can no longer place blame on anyone else or the circumstances, and we are left to examine our own faith in God’s promises and in the character He is desiring to birth in us.

It’s not about the world around us then, it’s about the perfection God is creating in us. So, consider it all joy as you undergo trials. God isn’t finished with us yet. Just as Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered here on earth, so we do also (Heb 5:8). Will we give up or see the glory of God?

In a New Testament account, the disciples ask Jesus about the condition of a blind man wondering if his disability can be attributed to his own sin or that of his parents. Jesus’ reply echoes the statement Jehovah gave to Moses about his stuttering.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. (John 9:3)

Who makes a man deaf, mute or blind? Both these accounts agree that the Lord is the Author of Life, even life imperfect. Our disabilities were written into our stories.

And just as Moses and Aaron went to confront the opposition of Pharaoh, the blind man was interrogated and opposed by the religious leaders of his day. Isaiah was sent to preach and within the same breath told no one would listen to him (Is 6:9-13)! It was decided upon in his mother’s womb that Jeremiah would be sent as a prophet to Judah and no one listened after 23 years of proclaiming the words God gave him (Jer 25:3). The blind man, Pharaoh, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the captivity of Israel. All were written into the story. And what about Peter’s denial of Christ? The betrayer Judas? And Christ’s death on a cross itself. All written in advance. Trials, suffering, opposition…..of God? Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? Who makes the blind and the deaf? We can’t blame our Pharaohs. We can’t always blame the devil. Dare we blame God?

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory (Ro 9:14-23)

It does not depend upon our desire or our effort, yet He sends us out. He even hardens whom it pleases Him to harden for the sake of displaying His power. I am humbled to realize that if I have any shred of faith, it truly is a gift. I am an object of His mercy. In this, God has taught me to pray mercy toward others and not “change them so I can have a nice day.”

When Jehovah called His people Israel as His witnesses, He did not say their testimony was to make converts, rather He declared that by giving a witness THEY would know, believe, and understand who He was (Isaiah 43:10). And yet, as many miracles as they witnessed, the Lord did not give them a mind to understand (Deut 29:2-6).

And when many of that nation rejected the Messiah, even then in Paul’s anguished cries for their salvation, he was given wisdom of God’s sovereign choice as noted in Romans 9. He came to understand that a remnant of that nation were chosen by grace while some were given a spirit of stupor–similar to Pharaoh’s hardened heart.

5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.” (Romans 11:5-8)

As written, they were warned within their own scrolls that understanding and wisdom would be sealed (Isaiah 29:9-12). No amount of reading would unlock it. Jesus himself quoted the scriptures that proved their fulfillment. Still it was hidden. Paul strove earnestly using the scrolls and his background as a Pharisee to reason with his brothers, yet they remained hardened while the elect received mercy and grace.

Paul understood that wisdom is not found merely in the black and white letters found in ancient scrolls. Wisdom comes from the Spirit.

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10)

As we encounter opposition and see no results, what does it do to our faith? Moses continued to trust in the Invisible though the situation appeared hopeless. He focused on the big picture of God’s glory. Paul gave his life to ministry while understanding many would never hear, never see. He knew it was completely dependent upon God’s mercy to reveal anything by His Spirit. He also understood the big picture as to why there had to be given a spirit of stupor–for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. The script was already written. And regarding Israel’s continued obstinacy, Paul said, “because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.” (Ro 11:11)

God had a reason for hardening hearts back then, do you suppose He does now in whatever opposition we are facing?

Paul also understood that the persecution against him was for the advancement of the kingdom. Could this be the case in our suffering too? His focus was continually on God’s glory rather than his own suffering. Could this be our attitude too?

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. (Phil 1:12-14)

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. (Phil 1:27-30)

Wisdom from the Spirit revealed a purpose in the opposition God allowed. So how are you handling your opposition?

44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:44-48)

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. (Phil 2:14-16)

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Pe 4:12-19)

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

April 27, 2011 Posted by | Expressions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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