We All Have Stuff

He Comforts Us
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NIV

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We, as followers of Christ, all go through stuff in this life. For some, it is one thing, and for others, it is something else. We all have our crosses to bear. Yet, we are not all the same, and as such, we won’t all have the same experiences, but we all have “stuff.” Just some of us may have a whole lot more than others, but God gives or allows each of us what he has predetermined for us (See: Ps. 139; Jer. 1; Job 1) in order to accomplish his purposes in our lives, and to make us into the people he wants us to be.

So, when we go through hard times, difficulties and troubles, we must know that God is still on his throne, he is still completely sovereign, and he is absolutely still in control over all that he has made. He even allows evil to exist and to prevail, for a time, in human hearts, to accomplish his purposes, which is mainly to draw people to faith in Jesus Christ. For, when we go through times of suffering and persecution, at the hands of evildoers, it has a way of moving us to call on God for help, and in those moments is when God is able to move us to submission to him and to his will.

Yet, when we go through these tough times, our Lord will comfort us. But, his comfort is not just a pat on the back to make us feel better about ourselves, but it includes instruction, counsel, guidance, encouragement, hope, healing, and perhaps even some correction, for he allows these things in our lives that we may share in his holiness, that we might become like him in his death, and that we may comfort and encourage others, who are going through like circumstances, with the comfort we received from God.

The Great Troubles
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NIV

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Have you ever noticed that, if you are going through a physical hardship, such as a financial setback, or a sickness, or the death of a loved one, that it is perfectly acceptable to talk about these things, and even to ask for prayer of the body of Christ? But, if your spouse (or a parent) is abusing you, or if he or she has a problem with addiction, which is causing you harm and great suffering, no one wants to hear about it? Why is that? Or, if they do listen, that they do not lift a finger to help, but they just abandon you?

Yet, Paul said here that he did not want the body of Christ to be unaware about the great troubles he was going through, but he wanted to inform them so that they could pray with him for his deliverance.

Why is it we can be so sympathetic to people of other countries who are being persecuted, ill-treated, and who are suffering greatly for their testimonies for Jesus Christ, and yet turn a deaf ear to those of our own nation who are suffering for the same reasons, thinking that their suffering is so much less by comparison?

What If?

And, let me introduce one more thought here. What if, by God’s divine providence, he placed us with the one to whom we are married, in order to be a divine instrument of God to lead that person to salvation or to lead a wandering saint back to fellowship with God? Isn’t that the same as Paul going these places and subjecting himself to torture in order to win people’s hearts to the Lord? Sure it is!

And, what if, by God’s divine providence, he places us with a particular spouse, not just for their benefit, but to make us into the people of God he wants us to be, and so we can then comfort others with the comfort we received from God during our times of suffering? Should we then accept human counsel which tells us to leave that spouse, and perhaps, in the process, stop the work God is doing in his or her life, or in our lives, or through our lives, which God is accomplishing because of what we are going through or have been through?

And, if we do not accept that human judgment on the matter, should you then abandon us because we made the conscious decision to stay and to wait on the Lord to intervene on our behalf? Wouldn’t that be just like abandoning all servants of the Lord whom the Lord has placed in difficult circumstances, which the Lord might use to advance his gospel and his kingdom? Sure, it would.

It would be like counseling Paul that he should just stop sharing the truth with people who won’t listen, and who persecute him, and that he should go somewhere that is more comfortable, where everyone accepts him.

So, instead of stopping up our ears and refusing to hear of the legitimate sufferings of others, which they are suffering for the cause of Christ and his gospel, or making them feel like they should not be telling others of their suffering, we should pray with them and for them and for the ones who are doing them harm that God would rescue them in his way and in his timing, and that in the meanwhile, God will use these circumstances for his purposes and for his glory.

And, too, we, as the church, should reach out in love to the abused to encourage their hearts, and to also take the responsible and biblical approach with the offending party, especially if he or she is one who claims Christ as Savior.

F.Y.I.

Just so you know, sexual idolatry is a HUGE problem within today’s church here in America which is largely being overlooked, hushed up, and nothing much is being done within the church to correct it. And, that is largely because so many of the offending parties are those in leadership within the church, or else they are big contributors to the church.

So, instead of correcting the one who is doing the wrong, and making him or her accountable or to pay the consequences for the wrong they are doing, the church is all too often coddling the offenders (abusers) while their spouses are being encouraged to suffer in silence and to say nothing about what is going on. This is one of the reasons why this is such a HUGE problem within the church, because the church doesn’t want to acknowledge the problem exists and so they shove it under the rug to hide it so no one knows, but God knows, and he has a day of judgment coming, too.

Our Conscience Testifies
2 Corinthians 1:12-14 NIV

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.

I can tell you assuredly that there are many spouses of abusers who are godly people who are staying with abusive spouses because they believe God wants them to remain in order to lead those spouses to faith or renewed faith in Jesus Christ, and because they know God is working in their lives and through their lives for his purposes and for his glory because of what he is allowing them to suffer for the sake of his gospel.

Yet, they need to be able to share their suffering with the body of Christ and not feel ashamed. And, they need to be able to share, too, their situations with regard to an abusive spouse, in particular, if he makes a claim to being a Christian and yet he is doing wrong, so that the church can pray, and so that they can intervene biblically on behalf of the abused.

And, then the church needs to support the abused and hold the abuser accountable for his or her actions, instead of just ignoring the problem. You see, the church has it all backwards. They often lift up and pamper the abusers while they make the abused feel ashamed if they have the courage to come forward.

But, God has a day in court planned for all these who do evil within the church, for all these church leaders and heads of households, in particular, who are living in adultery, and who are treating their spouses with disdain, abuse, manipulation, tricks, and with anger, hatred and even violence. God is going to cleanse his temple one day soon, I believe, and he will expose all these wicked deeds and doers of evil who now hide what they do in secret, thinking no one sees, and so no one knows, but God knows.

And, you know who else knows? People in positions of power and authority in this world who are tracking our every move, and who are reading our posts, our emails, our texts, and who are listening to our phone calls, and who are monitoring which internet sites we go to and what all we purchase on our credit cards. They know what we are doing, what we are saying, what we are buying, and what we are watching, and one day all that is going to be exposed, just like the Bible says it will, and everyone will have his day in court. And, our consciences will testify either for us or against us.

So, just be aware. Don’t let your pride make you think no one knows and that God will do nothing about it, just because he hasn’t yet. The truth will be revealed.

My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Thursday, March 8, 2018, 5:01 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these lessons from your word. Bring these truths home to our hearts I pray. Amen!

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