Reports on what God is doing through Bible believing evangelical Christians in Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, India and Ecuador. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7).
SELAH! Pause - reflect- just think of that!
Blessings out of Sufferings
Blessings out of Sufferings
What is your response to suffering? There is no escape from intense pressures in this life, but it helps when we get God into the picture.
The apostle Peter wrote to a group of suffering Christians with words of encouragement. “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).
“After you have suffered for a little,” says Peter. The suffering is temporary, in contrast and comparison to the eternal glory that is in store for the believer.
Before God blesses us there come times of trouble, distress, grief and pain. We can rejoice knowing the suffering is for a short time, but out of the suffering comes blessings that cannot be had any other way.
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Our suffering is temporary, but it produces in us character that will last thought out eternity.
God equips believers for His service through suffering. He strengthens character in the fires of pressure.
“After you have suffered for a little while,” indicates the blessings come only after we submit to the refiner’s fire. We cannot disregard the sufferings.
Who will bless us? “The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ . . .” He is faithful and consistent in the way He treats us. He is the “God of all grace.” Everything He does will be consistent with His eternal glory. Whatever He begins in His grace will lead to His glory. What He begins He will see through to completion. One day He will say, “Come to Me you blood-bought sinners. Come unto My eternal glory.”
We have been called, not just to eternal glory, but God “called you to His eternal glory in Christ.” He called you and me, sinners saved by His manifold grace, to His eternal glory. He called us to that very glory and honor in which the LORD God invests Himself forever. Yes, we who have “sinned and come short of the glory of God” are called into His holy presence dressed in His robes of righteousness.
The promise is “in Christ,” and to His glory. Everything comes through Christ. He is the atmosphere or climate of the whole Christian life.
He gives us grace to meet every situation in life (Heb. 4:16). The standing invitation is “Come unto Me all you that are weary and heavy laden.” Come you who are persecuted for righteousness sake; come you who are weary, tired, hurting; come you who are suffering for the cause of Christ; come you who are ravaged by a terrible disease. He gives out of His infinite grace. God gives us His strength to meet the demands of life.
He is the God of all grace—quickening grace, pardoning grace, cleansing grace, believing grace, sustaining grace, sovereign grace. The God of all grace, manifold grace, has a storehouse that never runs out. It is infinite, boundless, limitless, amazing grace.
Out of that constant supply of saving and sanctifying grace God does a marvelous work in us. His goal is to “perfect” us. The word for “perfect” in the original means to equip, to adjust, and to fit together, “to put into order, to mend, to make whole.” It is also used for mending of torn fishing nets, and the “setting a broken bone.” Everything that happens in our Christian life is used to conform us to Christ. Whatever God has begun He will complete in the day of Christ. God will make us just like Christ. Shall God fail in His eternal purpose? Never. And He will not in your life or mine.
You cannot be perfected except by the refiner’s fire. God uses the rod to chastise His children. Nothing but the rod will remove the foolishness in our lives. The Holy Spirit uses these fires to remove every corruption within. How is God restoring your broken nets, and setting your brokenness?
God uses stress to set up, fix firmly, to establish and strengthen the believer. “Confirm,” or “establishment” is to make solid like granite. God tempers us in the hot fires of suffering. Sufferings make us steadfast. It secures and stabilizes us and makes us mature believers. Suffering has a way of focusing our eyes on Christ, and off of ourselves. Pressures in our lives force us to rest upon the Rock of Ages. Our hope is fixed upon His blood and His righteousness. We cannot be established on the solid foundation without suffering.
Peter also prays that the suffering will produce a solid foundation for spiritual growth. Suffering also strengthens us spiritually. We gain new strength by wrapping ourselves around the Lord. He gives us strength to bear up under incredible suffering. When we depend upon God’s grace our suffering will glorify God. The Christian learns to face life with the sense that God is all he really need. Watch the Christian who has God with him.
Moreover, God strengthens His people as they undergo suffering. He gives us grace and power in time of need. As we submit to Him, He gives us the grace we need for the moment.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.""Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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