Category Archives: Discipleship

Persecution and Suffering…For What?!? (Part 6)

The first questions…”Why am I suffering?” and “Where does it say in Scripture that there will be persecution and suffering in a true believer’s life?”  and “Why is it that those who do what is right are the ones who are treated with the most hatred and anger?” are very good questions for today.  We will address these three questions at the same time as they are interlinked together.  There are several reasons for a true believer to suffer!  The reality is that in the midst of suffering, we should be growing spiritually and becoming more like the Lord Jesus Christ.  If you have found that you are NOT growing and even becoming bitter over it then it might be time to check up on your salvation to see if you are in the faith or not.  Here are some very Biblical reasons why you might be suffering or going through persecution:

  1. Those who live godly lives will suffer persecution.  2 Tim. 3:12, Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (See also Jn. 15:18-20;  17:14; Php. 1:28-29; 1 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pt. 2:21; 4:13; 1 Jn. 3:1, 13.)
  2. We learn how to comfort those who are going through what we have gone through.  2 Cor. 1:4-7, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.  And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.  And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.(See also Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 4:10, 15.)
  3. The Lord purges us.  Jn. 15:1-, I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (See also Jn. 17:17; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:22, 24-25; Col. 3:9; 1 Pt. 1:22.)

These are just 3 reasons for us to understand that we will go through persecution and suffering.  God does not leave us without hope because our hope is in Him.  Here are a few verses that will uplift you during this time of persecution and suffering you might be going through.

Is. 40:31, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Ps. 27:14, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Ps. 62:1, 5, “<<To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.>> Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

Ps. 130:5, “I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.”

Is. 25:9, “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

These are just a few of the verses that tell us to wait on the Lord’s direction.  As we wait, we begin to see how the Lord uses persecution and suffering to change us as long as we are doing it patiently.  Eventually, the Lord does give us a short breathing space so we can prepare for the next onslaught so we must wait for His salvation.  Remember that at no time are we promised an easy time if we are saved.

There is always a price to pay.  We can pay it now or we can pay it later.  When you pay it now, you go through times of persecution and suffering for the Lord.  Throw yourself on HIM and let Him bring peace in your heart and soul during the hard times!  Make the Lord your all-in-all during this hard time!  When you pay it later, you will find things go great for you now but one day there will be a time of suffering and persecution but it will last forever!  Pay the price, one way or another!

To Be Continued…

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Persecution and Suffering…For What?!? (Part 5)

As we have seen in the previous posts, it is becoming the last days!  We can know this due to what we see from Scripture and what is happening in our world today!  Things are growing worse, people want teachers who will only tell them what they want to hear because they really don’t want to hear the truth.  We have people claiming to be Christians because they said a prayer, they go to church, they think they’ve kept the 10 commandments, they’re good and moral people, they’ve given to charities, they’ve become a social gospel missionary, or they simply think that God has to accept them because they think their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds.  They don’t read the Bible and don’t really know what the Bible says and don’t want to know what the Bible says!

Everyone quotes the worn out mantra of, “Don’t judge lest you be judged,” when you try to tell them what the Bible actually says, little realizing they have just judged and the Bible does give true believers leeway of  “judging righteous judgment,” and, “by their fruit you will know them (speaking of whether or not a person is judged to be a true believer).”

As we continue on, it only gets worse in our country as well as elsewhere.  People don’t want to hear the truth about themselves because they are lovers of themselves more than lovers of God.  They tend to think more highly of themselves then they ought so we will continue to see things grow worse towards true believers.  The Bible even goes on to say in Philippians 1:28-29, “and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.   For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”

As we see the persecution and suffering intensify, the questions need asking:

  1. Why am I suffering?
  2. How should I respond in times like these?
  3. Why is it that those who do what is right are the ones who are treated with the most hatred and anger?
  4. What should be my response during a time of persecution and suffering?
  5. It’s so easy to become bitter and angry at the Lord while I am going through this time.  How can I keep from doing that?
  6. Where does it say in Scripture that there will be persecution and suffering in a true believer’s life?
  7. I’ve been told over and over again that God has a wonderful plan for my life if I just accept Him into my heart, how do you justify your beliefs with Scripture?
  8. Why is it that Christians tend to persecute other Christians or that’s what it seems like?

If you have other questions about persecution and suffering feel free to ask them or if you have anything you would like to add that follows what Scripture has to say.  In my next posts, I will be addressing these questions and anymore that might be added!

To be continued…

Persecution and Suffering…For What?!? (Part 4)

2 Tim. 3:4-5 continues on with, “traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

In our culture, we see so many people that are traitors both to our country as well as to friends.  It’s so easy to turn on someone who seeks to be a true friend by giving godly counsel.  Headstrong is the next word which gives the idea of rash.  How many people rashly do something and end up in serious trouble?  We see in the news how people, who have never been in trouble with the law, suddenly end up in jail because they have done something without thinking it through.  Impulsive seems to be the in thing now because impulse gives way to thinking things through or seeking godly counsel.  We have a nation of impulsive people that get themselves in trouble due to this.

Haughty is the next word and the meaning is the same thing as proud!  Pride is what caused Satan to fall and what causes us the most problems.  Most sins committed stem from pride.  The Bible is clear that pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall!  Beware pride!

The next on the list is “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”  This is definitely true of our nation.  How many people would rather go running, watch football, watch tv, do whatever on Sunday instead of go to church to worship Christ with other believers?  Church is not just there for our benefit!  Church is there for us to serve other believers, to encourage other believers and for all within the church to enjoy the fellowship of other believers based on the TRUTH of God’s Word!  We not only have a nation full of people that love pleasure on Sundays but even a lot of so-called Christians please themselves throughout the week  then put on a face when they go to church on Sundays as if they were the best Christians ever lived.  How hypocritical and yet that is being a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God!

This progression is going downhill and now we have someone who has a form of godliness but denies it’s power.  How is this possible? you might wonder.   Let’s look at the average church and see what the Lord is doing within the hearts and lives of believers.  Is anyone changing and becoming more like the Lord Jesus Christ?  Unfortunately, we have a nation of so-called Christians who are not changing because they’d rather please themselves.  Let’s look at a couple of  the big name pastors.

What about Rick Warren’s church?  This is the man that prayed at the inauguration of our new president and prayed for God’s blessing on a man who is not saved.  This is also the same man that met up with a homosexual not too long before the inauguration.  He refused to give out the gospel to an unsaved homosexual man!  He used to take a stand against homosexuality and now he condones it because he was given the opportunity to pray at the inauguration!  This is contrary to the Word of God but most churches model their church after Rick Warren.  This is also the same man that is now saying that unbelievers should give Jesus a try for 40 days and if they don’t like it  they will receive a money back guarantee!  This is blasphemous!   Jesus doesn’t have a money-back guarantee!

How about Mark Driscoll at Mars Church?  This is the man that uses sexual inuendoes and swearing in the middle of his preaching!   This has become the norm rather than exception to the rule!  Pastors are stealing from the churches or have become men-pleasers because they are afraid of losing their paycheck!  If the sheep don’t see the pastor living a godly life, then why should they do it?  Not only that, but if people are getting a diet of only a little bit of truth mixed with error then they will begin to believe a lie instead of the truth.  These are the ones that we should be turning away from.

When we were in England, there were many times we had to take a stand for truth and we lost many friends through this.  When a pastor has to take a stand for truth and eventually has to use church discipline because someone within the flock has done something wrong and refuses to make it right, it is our responsibility as the flock to back the pastor!  If church discipline has been enacted then whenever we meet up with that person, we should be willing to share with them that they are in sin and need to repent.  It doesn’t matter whether we want to or not, or hope they will come back to the church.  We are commanded by Scripture to do this, whether we like it or not!!!  A church that is not willing to enact church discipline whether by the pastor or the members will DIE or will become one that has a form of godliness and denies it’s power!  These are the churches, the pastors, the people that we should turn away from just as the Word of God commands.

Let us make sure we continue seeking and striving to serve the Lord in every area of life!  Let us make sure we are becoming more like the Lord Jesus Christ today then we were yesterday!

To be continued….

Persecution and Suffering…For What?!? (Part 3)

2 Timothy 3:3 goes on to say, “unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good.” How many times in our culture and all other cultures have we seen or heard about this. Women kill their own babies, a dad kills the children then kills himself, children kill their parents or their siblings, etc. Their is no natural affection and most families don’t care about each other, they only care about what they can get from the family! There is lack of forgiveness within the cultures of this world. Go to the news and find out how many families seem to hold grudges against each other and how the family closeness is lacking even in Christian families.

People LOVE to slander other people especially if other people are taking a stand for the truth all in the name of love. Doctrine divides and will do so as long as there is sin on this earth.  The unity thing is not based on whether or not we all just ignore sin.  Unity is based on the TRUTH of God’s Word and if someone is not willing to follow the truth of God’s Word then it is important that there is someone in place who will take a stand.  God always brings men to the forefront who will be willing to stand regardless of the cost!   There is so much slandering going on in our country!  Our news media started off as a way to bring the truth to light but our news media has turned it into a biased liberal opinion!  If a person doesn’t agree with them then they accuse that person of being biased.  The reality is that they are so biased for sin that the truth doesn’t matter to them.  They even go so far as to say there is nothing set in stone as far as what is right and wrong so they slander the person who takes a stand for truth.

Not many people in this day and age have or use much self-control.  In fact, if a person has self-discipline or self-control they are normally laughed at, considered the odd one out, or even considered a legalist (if they are in church).

Brutality seems to be encouraged within most cultures.  Look at what is put on television and the regular diet of brutality that most children watch!  There is very little gentleness encouraged within our culture or even the cultures of other countries.

We also see a LOT of people who despise what is good.  This could include and does include even churches within our society.  If you do what is right then you are despised because you don’t have some kind of bad habit.  A few years ago, I watched a movie about a boy that was a robot.  I don’t remember the whole gist of the movie but I do remember how this boy robot was being very good and helping out others and basically being very kind and loving towards others.  Someone took him to the side and told him that he needed to be bad at some point because parents “need their children to be bad!”  What kind of nonsense is this?  We don’t need our children to be bad.  Our children are already bad because they are depraved sinners.  You don’t have to teach your child how to lie or steal as this comes automatically due to their depraved nature!  They need to be taught how to be good and how to love the Lord!

Go talk to someone who is an evolution  fanatic (just about anyone who is not a creationist fanatic) and she will make it very plain where she stands and how creationists are freaks and crazy to boot.  People don’t care about what kind of problem you have but if you start serving the Lord with all your heart, then suddenly they have problems with you because you are “no longer kind and loving.”  Funny, isn’t it?

As we continue on, we will see just how far we have come in our societies but we will also see what the Bible says about persecution and suffering!

Persecution and Suffering…For What?!? (Part 2)

The next things are, “…lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers…”  These things are prevalent in our society, and not just ours but also other societies.   Even in churches it seems money rules the day.  The health, wealth, prosperity gospel has set the church up to be greedy.  Pastors hate the truth and would rather be wealthy than to preach the Word of God.  This is a blight on the church as well as those in leadership positions.  It isn’t just the church that has this problem but if you look at our society, people elect those to leadership in hopes of monetery gain.  Look at how Clinton was able to become president.  He addressed the economic situation and there were loads of people that thought Clinton would be the one to set our economic situation right!

Please notice that boasters, proud and blasphemers all go together.  The person that boasts has pride in her heart and also the person that blasphemes the Lord also has pride in her heart.  The boaster thinks she has gotten to where she is on her own merits so therefore she can boast about what she has done, never realizing (or purposefully seeking to forget) that God is the one Who gave her the very life she has.  Since all things come from God, the very breath we take does not belong to us, it belongs to God.  Any ability we have comes from God as does the money, the material possessions, positions of authority, etc.  So where are we allowed any pride?  We’re not!

Disobedient to parents, unthankful and wicked are part and parcel because if we allow our children to be disobedient to us then the lack of thankfulness becomes evident as does the wicked behaviour.  This wicked behaviour grows worse as the child gets older.  Things we laugh about when the child is a toddler such as talking back, being very independent, speaking with the wrong tone of voice, ordering the adults around, as well as many other things show forth their depraved nature.  Our children start off as little heathen that have to be taught about the things of the Lord.  We have to share the gospel with them and disciple them in every area of life.  Our little girls need to be taught how to be godly young ladies while our little boys need to be taught how to be godly young men.  This means consistency in discipline, godly examples on the parents’ part, continued daily discipleship, training in the things of the Lord, overall showing our children love the way the Lord shows us love.   We see from Dr. Spocks teaching of how to raise children has brought forth adults that know nothing of discipline!  This is part of the reason why our society has such wicked people.  They were allowed to grow up being disobedient to their parents.  They lack the thankfulness that should be an integral part of our lives as adults.

Which of these things are in our hearts?  What needs to be changed in our lives?  May we all be willing to seek forgiveness for every area of sin within our hearts and lives.

To be continued…

Persecution and Suffering…For What?!? (Part 1)

In my last post, I shared about President Obama and the possibilities that lie ahead of us.  There is a very real possibility of persecution and suffering for Christians in the near future.

“For what?!?” you are probably wondering, while confusion races through your mind.  After all, isn’t the new president the answer to all of our problems?  Even the media is talking about him being the saviour of America.  His inauguration speech was upbeat and he’s going to be the one to bring about change to America!  The question is, will it be good change or will it be bad change?  I guess we will have to see what happens next.

1 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

We are seeing these things happening even today.  Let’s take these things one by one and ask ourselves how WE stack up with the description of those people that are in the last days.  After that we will discuss what the Bible says about persecution and suffering.

It starts off saying, “…men will be lovers of themselves…”  This is quite explanatory in that people will become very selfish and love themselves more than anyone else.  According to the world’s standards, we have all come to the point where our humility is at the very peak.  No one loves themselves enough anymore and it’s time for us to learn how to love ourselves before we can love anyone else.  Even more interesting is that we are at such a point in our society that we must forgive ourselves before we can forgive anyone else.  In fact, in some circles we are in desperate need to forgive God before we can move on and begin to love everyone around us.  This is worldly philosophy and is of the devil himself.  Nowhere in Scripture does it say we must love ourselves, forgive ourselves, or even forgive God before we can move on with life and learn to love other people.  It is a fact that we automatically love ourselves.  This, of course, probably comes as a shock to some.

“How can you say such a thing that we automatically love ourselves?  What about those poor people who commit suicide?  Or those people who never bathe themselves?   What about people who bully others?  Or even those who are on drugs?  I could understand you talking about all those people who dress nicely, buy things for themselves, live a great life, etc., etc., etc. but I don’t understand why you are picking on these deprived people who despise themselves.  If they loved themselves they would take care of themselves but these people don’t take care of themselves and I KNOW they have poor self-esteem!”

I will restate again,  ALL people love themselves more than anyone else.  No one NEEDS self-esteem as it is already an automatic part of us, according to the Word of God!

Think about it…the person that commits suicide is VERY selfish in that he/she leaves someone behind who is devastated over the suicide, even if it’s only an acquaintance.  That is the ultimate in selfishness.  The person who refuses to bathe is selfish in that the odour permeates and affects those around him/her!   Bullying is one way of thinking more highly of oneself and looking down on the other person.  They are satsifying the flesh through bullying — that also is selfishness.  Taking drugs is another way of showing forth love of self.  The flesh is being satisfied through the drugs so no one else matters.

Yes, our nation has become a nation of self-lovers, but even more than that, if you look at the other countries of the world you will see the same issues!  In the end, due to our depraved nature, we can say that mankind are lovers of themselves.

To be continued…

Women in the Church (Part 2) — CAL.VINI.ST

Here is the continued part 2. Hope this helps to explain the role within the church! It has been a great encouragement to me! Thanks for part 2, Nathan!

Introduction

“As discussed in Part 1, there is much controversy in the modern church regarding the role of women. This series is briefly examining the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 as it is a passage that deals directly with the issue at hand. Part 1 explored vv. 11-12 which gave Paul’s prohibition in regards to the role of women in the church. That is, in the formal assembling together of the saints women are to remain “quiet” (v.11a & v.12c). Paul defined “quiet” as “receiving instruction” (v.11a) rather than “teach[ing]” (v.12a), with an attitude of “submissiveness” (v.11b) never “excercis[ing] authority over a man” (v.12b).

“Paul’s clear prohibition in vv.11-12 is sufficient to establish the limitations upon a woman’s role, and prevent a woman – based solely on her gender – from becoming a Pastor and Teacher within the church. However, Paul continues in vv.13-14, giving explanations for his prohibition, and it is these explanations that we will briefly examine today.”

Read here to finish the rest of the post!