READ: “For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him” Phil 1.29.

THINK: Suffering for Christ is an experience as basic to the disciple as believing in him. Granted translates the verb to give grace, a positive act on God’s part. (“God has given you a special gift” WE.) He who flees to avoid suffering for the kingdom flees from discipleship, 1 Pet 2.21ff. Suffering as a Christian is our glory, 1 Pet 4.12-19. He who fails to confess/preach Christ for fear of persecution will not be confessed/claimed by him in the judgment, Mt 10.21-39. Continue reading

READ: “Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names stand written in heaven” Lk 10.20.

THINK: The saint rejoices in eternal salvation and in his participation in the sufferings of Christ, Mt 5.10-12; Acts 5.41; Heb 10.34; 1 Pet 4.13. Joy overrides circumstances. Trials are reason for joy, Jas 1.2-4. It is contagious, Rom 12.15. With so many reminders in the Bible, it seems that we easily forget our joy. Heavenly joy over repentance ought to be our joy also, Lk 15. Continue reading

Earlier today, I read a tweet announcing that new annotated Bible is out, something along the lines of “You Can Get Through It Bible.” Notes by a famous writer. The idea seems good at first glace, but it’s woefully inadequate. Seems moderns are wimps. Saints must do more than just get through their personal crises. They must use them for the kingdom.

So the article on Preacher’s Files, also published today, comes closer: “Praising God in Times of Adversity.” Based on Psa 57, Tom Moore writes, “Let we all strive to follow the biblical example of praising God in adversity, remembering how we benefit from such, and how others can benefit from the good example we set.”

And not only from the good example we set, but from what God can do and what he can produce from the depths of our suffering.

A much better perspective, one that follows Christ.

Suffering, the OT teaches, is a direct or indirect result of sin. Either one makes the wrong choices that bring suffering as punishment or one is affected unjustly by the wrong choices of others. Jesus’ suffering, of course, falls in this latter category. He died, “the righteous one for [hyper, on account of] the unrighteous ones” (1Pe 3:18). The sins for which Jesus was punished were not his own. In the immediate context of history, it was the sins of Jesus’ enemies that led to his suffering. In the grand context of eternity, it was your sins and mine that led him to Calvary. —Lawrence O. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, 475