Let us Rejoice in Sufferings! The Gospel of Suffering

[Romans 8:17] – “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

Suffering on Earth (especially for Jesus namesake) has a direct affect on our glorification! The more suffering, the higher degree of glorification!

[Romans 5:3-10] – “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

[James 1:2-4] – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

[Romans 8:18] – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

[1 Peter 4:12-19] – Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

https://www.openbible.info/topics/suffering

https://web.archive.org/web/20170918191811/https://www.openbible.info/topics/suffering

https://archive.is/mkyOA

Coming back into God’s Grace

When we sin, sometimes God disciplines us by being farther away from us, letting us feel the pangs of depression and isolation as a punishment for a particular sin. We have 2 ways to respond to this (actually 3, but I don’t consider running away from God an option), 1) wait it out, or 2) run towards God. While you can wait it out and eventually you may feel better, I feel the better option is to run towards God, and he will run towards you! You can do this by a couple of ways

  1. Praising God through words or singing
  2. Reading the bible
  3. Be involved in Church related activities
  4. Connect to a Christian friend, reveal your sin to him and have him pray over you. If done with multiple friends, I found the effect is quicker, God lets go quicker and you are back into the feeling of his grace

God’s greatest gift to us is himself, the holy Spirit, and Jesus. I feel that we are either in or out of God’s grace, and personally I feel a difference. Without God’s grace, the depression runs deeper and I feel more isolated. In God’s grace, I feel the spirit of living water well within me. Of course, you can wait it out, because I believe God doesn’t hold long term grudges, but what he really wants if for you to run back toward him and repenting fully.

The good news is, God’s grace is unfathomably deep, there is plenty of it to go around for everyone.

 

 

Covered by the blood of Jesus

I had a weird dream last night. I was in a group of people being taught by an old man academics. The dream started alright (fun+weird) but slowly started to get more evil, with the old man becoming perverse. At a certain point in the dream, I turned everything around me blood red, the walls, roof, and floor. The blood of Jesus covered everything. Then the dream was exposed as being created by an evil spirit, come to harass me in my sleep. I got the reminder that “I am covered by the blood of Jesus” and fought the thing directly. I keep getting reminded that I’m “covered by the blood, covered by the blood.” Then I eventually woke up.

I think God wanted to show me I am truly covered by the blood of Jesus for all my sin, and that the power of evil will not prevail against me, and I have no reason to fear it, as I did not feel fear in my dream.

Just thought I’d share.

What Did Christ Mean By Saying You Must Hate Your Own Family?

What Did Christ Mean By Saying You Must Hate Your Own Family?

What Did Christ Mean By Saying You Must Hate Your Own Family?

Jesus Christ wants us who’d like to follow Him to truly understand the cost of discipleship.

There’s in fact a number of seemingly bizarre statements that Christ made during His earthly ministries that sound very unhuman and unreasonable. That’s why those who are unsaved who cannot grasp what Christ truly meant label Him as an extremist, or someone who has lost touch with reality. While these statements may not make any sense at all from a humanistic perspective because they are inconsistent with how we operate in this world; however, they do possess powerful spiritual truths hidden into them that transcend human understanding. 

Whatever statement that Christ made has a unique context and meaning, so the ideal way of getting at the bottom of a particular statement in order to get a clear insight regarding its initial meaning and context is through figuring out why, who was being addressed, what was going on at that time, and what was the pervasive mindset or system that was in place when such statement was made. So let’s read that Scripture verse found in the book of Luke where Christ declared a hatred that should be aimed at our very own family members as well as our own life if we really want to become His disciple.

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:26).

There are several ways this verse can be interpreted, but we’ll look at it through the lens of the Judaism system which was so prevalent during Christ’ ministries. To a large extent this statement has a strong connection to the Judaism system that had long been established very firmly. So people were so engulfed by it to the extent they were even willing to put to death anyone who even attempted to challenge it. That’s the key reason why Christ found Himself in a huge conflict with such system all throughout His ministries.

And Christ actually came in order to revolutionize the whole system since it was incomplete and insufficient in order to grant man favor and acceptance from God. According to the gospels’ accounts, that very system tried to kill Jesus in several different occasions due to their constant unwillingness to accept His claims about Himself.

Furthermore, it was pretty obvious that parents in this day raised their children to follow that very system. Having said that, anyone who has made a choice to follow Christ would have found himself being profoundly at odds with that system. Let’s put that within perspective, if you were living in such system with your parents and siblings, and have made a choice to give your life to Christ, your parents would have had a very tough time accepting that decision since you’re forsaking the very system you were raised to believe in.

You would have also run into serious troubles with your siblings since the new life you would have to live would literally bring a massive conviction upon them. Consequently, they would have never been comfortable with you. The truth about this passage is to enable us to understand the cost of discipleship.

What Christ Actually Meant by Declaring That You Must Hate Your Parents And Siblings.

First, this statement isn’t meant to be taken literally because Christ wasn’t really saying that you must hate your parents along with your siblings in the context of hating the person. However, what He’s saying is that you have to hate their own ways, their mindsets, their false belief systems, and their attitudes and behaviors when it comes to them becoming a major stumbling block that stands between you and Him and His cause. The way Christ wants us to see it is when it comes down to Him and us there cannot be anyone or anything right between, regardless of how dear and precious someone or something may be to us.

In fact, God has never told anybody to direct any form of hatred toward an individual in a literal manner, which means hatred must be directed toward how a person behaves. You love the person and hate their sinful and rebellious ways. In other words, you love the person but hate their sins.

There is also another vital interpretation that can be applied to that passage because the word hate according to numerous contexts it’s used in Scripture can be defined as ‘Love less’. It’s very important for us as believers to realize that Christ must always come first in our lives. We must love Him above everything else. We must value Him more highly than the very people whom we love on this earth. This is something that Christ requires of us because nobody else can ever do what He’s done for us. And no one is able to give us what He has given us.

Whomever we allow to decide how we should serve Him, whomever we allow to become an obstacle concerning us responding to His calling and purpose for our lives gets to occupy the place that He Himself should have occupied in our lives. Christ must be preeminent in everything we do since He is our Savior and Lord.

What Christ Meant by Declaring That we Must Hate Ourselves.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me (Matthew 16:24).

The fundamental of following Christ and living for Him alone is built on self-renunciation. This is where the concept of dying to self comes heavily into play (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:5; Romans 6:11). Following Christ is no longer us trying to do things according to our own ways but His ways. Following Christ is all about us forsaking our old ways by embracing His own unique way of life. In other words, we give up everything by embracing everything He gives us.

By the way, Christ has given us a very powerful example regarding how to live a life pleasing to God by always putting His Father and His cause first. He didn’t come to make a name for Himself, to glorify Himself, and to live a life according to His own ways but to please and glorify His Father in everything He does. He lived a life based on total submission and humility to God the Father.

So the essence of the Christian life is humility and submission. That’s the kind of life that Christ wants us to live in response to what He has done for us. Hating ourselves means hating our own ways of doing things, hating our own sinfulness to the extent we want to starve it by ceasing to follow its massive impulses. Additionally, hating ourselves means laying aside our own ambitions, our own personal interests, our own mindsets, and whatever pertains to our sinful nature.

Conclusion

That hatred has to do with anything that can stand between Christ Jesus and us. Anything that can potentially become an impediment concerning us taking up our cross. Anything that can keep us from ever be whom He wants us to be in Him. Lastly, anything that can keep us from committing ourselves fully to whatever assignment He has called us to.

Christ understands that following Him isn’t an easy undertaking since His requirements defy how we want to operate as human beings in a realm in which we need relationship with our fellow human beings. Nonetheless, He’s calling us to hate, reprioritize, or abandon anything deemed precious to us, or anything sinful that we have a strong attachment to.

Even if our relationship with our loved ones as well as our friends is something that we need, but He desires for us to place Him first by valuing Him more. Why? What matters is Him, His will, His calling, and His purpose, not our relationships with our fellow human beings. Lastly, our human relationship has no eternal significance.