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Our Suffering = God’s Gift

This photo is my daughter up with me from 4am to 6am today… Oof! We listened to God’s Word from Hebrews 11 to 1 Peter 5… Really refreshing spiritually… though I’m sure I’ll feel the need for some mid-day coffee! Amelie sat on the counter and enjoyed some delicious blueberries!

Here are some highlights:

For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

– 1 Peter 2:25

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

– 1 Peter 4:1-2

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.

– 1 Peter 4:12-13

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

– 1 Peter 4:19

May we as followers of Jesus LIVE FOR THE WILL OF GOD! When we say we live for something, it’s an all-in manner of living. People might say,”I live for love!” Or, “I live for soccer!” We get all-consumed, overwhelmed with passion for something. How doubly pleasurable to direct such a fixation upon the God Who made Himself flesh and suffered the death we deserve so we can have not only the life only He deserves but relationship with this very same God!

What an all-consuming calling, to LIVE FOR GOD, to LIVE FOR THE WILL OF GOD. It’s no small thing to live for God’s purpose in this world, to make disciples, followers of Jesus. There are many trimmings of God’s will that are important, like the limbs and eyes and fingers and hair of a person, yet the heart of God’s will is very, very clear in Scripture:

Love God and love neighbor

Make followers of Jesus first by being one and then by walking alongside those desiring to encounter and follow Jesus as well…

Our men’s growth evenings in Thursdays have been cool. We are seeking to know God together, and we all have different perspectives and experiences of God’s faithfulness. What we all have within our grasp is God’s Word and relationship with Jesus, the God-man, the ransom-paying Redeemer Himself. We practiced “one thing” studies last night where we opened to John and looked at the first chapter.

Mike pointed out how God reveals Himself through His Word, His living, breathing, active Word as the light and life we so desperately need. He was excited by the truth being alive and shared a beautiful illustration of driving in the fog and feeling God’s presence and comfort protecting him. The fog here in the Valley in Cali is really bad at times. My father-in-law used to drive 45 minutes each way to work in the Fresno area from Clovis to Raisin City and back. The fog was his least favorite part of his commute. Yet he too would be comforted by chewing so-to-speak on God’s Word.

As we encounter the truth of God’s Word as God’s will revealed, we are less and less worried about “what we should do” in a big decision sense and more concerned with what God has made clear in His Word.

God reveals His will through our suffering in many respects, so my prayer is that we would embrace our circumstances today as God’s method of reminding us of our need for His presence and His promises. May we recall His promises more often than we would have if all was smooth-sailing.

May we also see our suffering as our gift to others as well, realizing that we can more effectively comfort others because of the ways in which we can identify with each other’s needs and dependence upon the goodness and provision of our God, especially as that need reminds us of our deepest need, our need for eternal salvation from the judgment to come, available in the GRACE of Jesus’ death in our place!

GRACE = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

Praise God for His awesome kindness in and through our lives! This is God’s will! May we LIVE FOR HIS WILL!

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