TODAY'S WORD FOR Friday, August 04, 2017:
Feeling pain or hardship; experiencing loss; undergoing something painful or unpleasant whether physical or emotional.
For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. Philippians 1:29.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing Psalms. James 5:13.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
We receive emails from across our world, as well as from here in America, telling us about the suffering that people are facing today. Many are suffering because they are Christians who are standing firm in their faith.
We receive reports of churches being bombed, pastors being martyred, families being tortured, individuals, even children, being beheaded all because of their stand for their Lord. But sadly, only a few of these disasters make the news.
We are living in a world filled with evil people and evil ideas. Satan is really at work and we as Christians must stand firm in our faith. We must also, as believers in Jesus, pray for those who are suffering and giving their lives for Him.
We also hear from families who are suffering for their faith in God right here in America. They are being ridiculed at their workplace because of their faith. Some even are losing jobs because they live by Godly standards and will not compromise their Christian values in order to keep their job. Some are being sued for discrimination and political incorrectness.
Children are being mocked, bullied and made fun of for their faith at their schools. It is heart breaking that a child going to a school has to suffer because he or she has biblical standards to live by and is told they cannot share their faith. Praying and reading the Bible is forbidden today in schools and teaching in our colleges and universities is anti-God.
There is much suffering around our world and the scripture has much to say to help us understand and to cope with suffering.
The author of the book of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 2:10 that, “For it was fitting for Him (God), for whom are all things and by whom all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain (Jesus) of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Jesus was mocked, spit upon, beaten and killed (Mark 10:34). Jesus suffered so that we can have eternal life. He suffered an excruciating death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus, in His suffering, set an example for us to live by when we are faced with suffering for Him while we are on this earth preparing to spend an eternity with Him.
When we as Christians suffer for our faith in Jesus we become partners with Christ in His suffering. What and how we suffer does not compare with the suffering Jesus went through for us. Jesus can comfort us in our suffering because He experienced all the same suffering we have. Jesus comforts us by giving us strength, encouragement and the hope of eternal life which enables us to endure.
Having to suffer is not easy. The author of Hebrews understands this. He is writing to believers whom he knew had endured suffering and would most likely have to continue to endure suffering for their faith. He encourages these believers in Hebrews 10:32 to persevere by telling them to think about how their faith had enabled them to endure in times of suffering in the past.
The author of Hebrews also says in Hebrews 10:32 to those that had suffered for Jesus: “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated (accepted Jesus as Savior), you endured a great struggle with sufferings”. When we look back on times of great distress and suffering, we can see how Jesus was with us and how we felt His presence more strongly.
Suffering can grow our faith and remembering what Jesus has done for us in the past, enables us to trust Him more completely for what He will do for us in the future.
For centuries, some have faced a great struggle as they suffered for the cause of Christ and Christians will continue to suffer until Christ returns. We must persevere for the cause of Christ in spite of suffering.
In the verse from Philippians we have printed above under SCRIPTURE, Paul reminds us that as believers in Christ we will share in Christ’s sufferings.
James tells us how we should respond when we are suffering -- we are to pray. When we pray, God will give us the strength to get through each and every trial and He will comfort and encourage our hearts. No matter what our suffering there is joy in the Lord that brings cheer to our lives. The response to the joy of the Lord we feel in our hearts is to sing praises to God.
In every situation that we face today, God wants us to be cheerful and sing unto Him. He will give us the strength to get through what we are facing. He cares for you, He loves you and He will be with you in your times of suffering. That is why Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God in the middle of the night while sitting in chains in a dark prison.
Our memory verse for this week is found in James 5:16b.
The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
It is my prayer today that You would lead me through any suffering I may face because of my faith in You. Also give me a new burden and a tender heart to pray for those who are suffering for Your sake. Put a song of praise in my heart for all that You have done for me.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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