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"ELECT" ANGELS

Posted by pastorsloan on August 25, 2014 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

1 Timothy 5 mentions the "elect" angels and I was asked about that.  Here is what William Hendrickson says about it.


"These are God's elect angels, in distinction from the angels 'who did not keep their position' (Satan and his demons; cf Jude 6).  In his sovereign, inscrutable degree, which transcends all human understanding, God from all eternity decided that to these angels (here called elect) would be given the grace of perseverance, so that they would remain standing.  Being elect, they are of course also beloved. (For the doctrine of election of men, as taught by Paul. ...


It is not strange that the apostle mentions alse these angels.  He wants Timothy to obey the all-important charge concerning the discipline of elders; that is , he wants him to resemble the angels in obedience.  Besides, these angels are spectators of Timothy's actions and will accompany Christ at the final judgment when everything that hidden will be revealed ..."

SAVED UNTO GOOD WORKS

Posted by pastorsloan on May 29, 2014 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

SAVED UNTO GOOD WORKS

A group from our church headed to Biloxi, MS to do hurricane recovery work.  This is the devotion that I delivered in Biloxi.

 

Ephes. 2:1-10 (ESV)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

[2] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— [3] among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. [4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— [6] and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [7] so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

Why do we need Jesus Christ?

1. We are disobedient enemies of God and children of wrath. (2:1-3)

 

2. God’s extends His mercy, love, and grace to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. (2:4)

 

3. It is in Jesus Christ that we are made alive, forgiven of our sins, and spared from the wrath of God to come. (2:5-7)

 

4. We come to Jesus Christ by grace through Faith and receive the benefits of His death and resurrection. (2:8-9)

 

Do we come to God just for salvation without wanting the rest?

 

So often the Good News of Jesus Christ is presented in a way that forgiveness of sin and escape from the wrath of God is seen as the end. Even eternal life is seen

as a by-product.

 

We fail to see what we have been saved unto. Our God has saved us and spared us from wrath for specific purposes.

 

The Purposes for Our Salvation

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism says “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

 

1. To bring us into Fellowship with God (enjoy Him forever)

of the great love with which he loved us (2:4)

 

so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (2:7)

 

God has saved us to be continual objects of His love, kindness, and grace.

 

1 John 1:3-5 (ESV)

that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. [4] And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

[5] This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

 

2. To do good works (Glorifying Him)

 

[10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

John 14:12 (ESV)

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

 

We leave behind the evil works of our former ways.

 

We leave behind the supposed good works we have done that can not save, in which we have tried to boast but can not.

 

We go on to those good works that God has prepared before hand for us to walk in.

 

We are here to do this good work in His name. God has prepared this good work for us in advance.

 

And these good works are to the glory of God.

 

Col. 1:10 (ESV)

so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

 

What kind of fruit do you bear? It is real fruit or it is fake fruit.

 

Conclusion

Why do we do our good works?

To impress?

To earn God’s favor?

To do something good?

Because God has a work for you to do?

 

Examine your heart to see if you are living according to what God has saved you unto to.

THOUGHTS ON FASTING

Posted by pastorsloan on February 5, 2014 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Will you please explain in detail the biblical view of fasting?  Why, what motives should we have, what are we trying to accomplish by doing it, etc?  Besides someone with a medical condition who cannot fast, should every Christian fast and when?

Matt 6:16-18

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But whenyou fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And you rFather who sees in secret will reward you.

 

“ First, fasting is an expression of humbling oneself before God. It is to humble yourself before God. … The second thing that fasting is, is an expression of buffeting one's body, bringing your body into subjection. …The third definition of fasting is, it is the expression of seeking the grace of God. Seeking the grace of God!” (David Legge, http://www.preachtheword.com/sermon/sotm15.shtml


WHEN SHOULD WE FAST -Jonathan Edwards

1.  Under special difficulties, 2. or when in great need of,  or great longings after, any particular mercy,for yourself or others,  (Ezra 8:21- 21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.)

 

 HOW SHOULD WE FAST

set apart a day for secret prayer and fasting by yourself alone; and let the day be spent,

1. not only in petitions for the mercies you desire,

2. but in searching your heart, and in looking over your past life, and confessing your sins before God, not as it wont to be done in public prayer, but by a very particular rehearsal before God of the sins ofyour past life, from your childhood hitherto, before and after conversion, with the circumstances and aggravations attending them, and spreading all theabominations of your heart very particularly, and fully as possible, before him[Jonathan Edwards, "The Young Professor"].

John Calvin

This consists in three things — viz. the time, the quality of food, and the sparing use of it. By the time I mean, that while fasting we are to perform those actions for the sake of which the fast is instituted. For example, when a man fasts because of solemn prayer, he should engage in it without having taken food. The quality consists in putting all luxury aside,and, being contented with common and meaner food, so as not to excite our palate by dainties. In regard to quantity, we must eat more lightly and sparingly, only for necessity and not for pleasure. [John Calvin, Institutes ofthe Christian Religion 12:18].

I speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep,but of real fasting; not merely an abstinence from meats; but from sins too.  For the nature of a fast is such, that it does not suffice to deliver those who practice it, unless it be done according to a suitable law.

I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting,but that we may honour fasting; for the honour of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially disparages it. Dost thou fast? Give me proof of it by thy works! Is it said by what kind of works? If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him! If thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him! If thou seest a friend gaining honour, envy him not! If thou seest a handsome woman, pass her by!

In regard, then, to the discipline of which we now treat,whenever supplication is to be made to God on any important occasion, it isbefitting to appoint a period for fasting and prayer. Thus when the Christians of Antioch laid hands on Barnabas and Paul, that they might the better recommend their ministry, which was of so great importance, they joined fasting and prayer (Acts 13:3). Thus these two apostles afterwards, when they appointed ministers to churches, were wont to use prayer and fasting (Acts14:23). In general, the only object which they had in fasting was to render themselves more alert and disencumbered for prayer. [John Calvin, Institutes ofthe Christian Religion]

Acts 13:3- 3 Then after fasting and praying they laidtheir hands on them anmod sent them off.

 

A holy and lawful fast has three ends in view. We use it either to mortify and subdue the flesh, that it may not wanton, or to prepare the better for prayer and holy meditation; or to give evidence of humbling ourselves before God, when we would confess our guilt before him (Daniel9). . . In regard, then, to the discipline of which we now treat, whenever supplication is to be made to God on any important occasion, it is befitting to appoint a period for fasting and prayer. [John Calvin, The Institutes ofChristian Religion].

The first thing is constantly to urge the injunction ofJoel, “Rend your heart, and not your garments” [Joel 2:13]; that is, to remind the people that fasting in itself is not of great value in the sight of God,unless accompanied with internal affection of the heart, true dissatisfaction with sin and with one’s self, true humiliation, and true grief, from the fear of God . . . There is nothing which God more abominates than when men endeavour to cloak themselves by substituting signs and external appearance for integrity of heart. [John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion].

There are different types of fasts:

1. Partial fast – Daniel 10:1-3.  Abstaining from certain foods for the purposeof devotion.

Daniel 10:1-3

1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. And the word was true, and it was a great conflict. And he understood the word and had understanding of the vision. 2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. 3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.

 

2. Normal fast - no food only water.

3. Absolute fast- no food or water.  Moses did this – Exodus 34:28-29.  Very dangerous

28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. 29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai,with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.

 

4. Non food fast - television, video games, or other thingsthat we enjoy.

1 Cor 7:5 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

 

 

PROPITIATION

Posted by pastorsloan on April 18, 2013 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:25, ESV)


Propitation is a word that has fallen out of favor these days.  Too bad.  It's a great word with a great meaning behind it.  Propitiation means to appease an offended person.  Who is the offended person in the relatioship between God and man?  God is.  Why is He offended?  Because we are sinners, and offense to His holiness.  Because of this we are objects of God wrath.  But just as Paul puts it Jesus was put forward by God - the offended party - to satisfy His own wrath toward us.  What amazing lengths and heights God goes to in order to put us in good standing with Him.  AND WE DON'T DESERVE IT.  How awesome!  We are the offenders, but God does the work to restore the relationship.  And He does so in such a way that His wrath is satisfied forever.


"'The doctrine of the propitiation is precisely this that God loved the objects of His wrath so much that He gave His own Son to the end that He by His blood should make provision for the removal of this wrath... (John Murray, The Atonement, p.15)

 

ASCENDED/ASCENSION

Posted by pastorsloan on April 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The word today is ascended or ascension.  This comes from Acts 1:6-11


So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, jwill you at this time krestore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, the was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will acome in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”


The ascension of Christ refers to that day when Christ, after having been resurrected from the dead and spent several days with the disciples, "in the sight of His disciples, was taken up from the earth into heaven,and continues there in our behalf until He shall come again to judge the living and the dead." (Heidelberg 46)


It is good thing that Christ has ascended to the father. First, He is pleads for us and defends us in the presence of His Father in heaven. Second, because He is there in the flesh we know that we will be there one day in renewed flesh just like Jesus.  Third, for ther He sent us His Spirit as an pledge, by whose power we seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God, and not things on the earth. (Heidelberg 49, paraphrased)


 

Let us be grateful for the ascended Christ, and look forward to His coming again.

 


WORD of the DAY

Posted by pastorsloan on April 18, 2013 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

We have been doing our devotional time with Jacob as "the Bible Word of the Day."   I  thought that these might minister to others as well.  So I will be posting them here as I have opportunity.  I hope you are blessed.


Pastor Howard

4 Way to Respond to the Gay Community

Posted by pastorsloan on April 11, 2013 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I found the following brief article to be helpful.


4-ways-to-respond-to-the-gay-community/

BOILING A GOAT IN ITS MOTHER'S MILK

Posted by pastorsloan on April 3, 2013 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 

One of the most puzzling passages in the Bible is found in Exodus 23:19 as well as other places.


“You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk. (Exodus 23:19, ESV)


The issue we want to wrestle with immediately upon reading such a passage is that of meaning.  What does this crazy prohibition mean?  Why is it there?  Let's look at what John Gill says in his commentary.

Dr. Cudworth has produced a passage out of a Karaite author F9, who affirms,

``it was a custom of the Heathens at the ingathering of their fruits to take a kid and seethe it in the milk of the dam, and then, in a magical way, go about and besprinkle all their trees, fields, gardens, and orchards, thinking by this means they should make them fructify, and bring forth fruit again more abundantly the next year:''

and the Targum of Jonathan on ( Exodus 34:26 ) seems to have respect to this, where, having paraphrased the words as here quoted above, adds,

``lest I should destroy the fruit of your trees with the unripe grape, the shoots and leaves together:''

and if this may be depended upon, the law comes in here very aptly, after the feast of ingathering, and the bringing in the first fruits of the land into the Lord's house" 


Many believe that this passage is a prohibition of taking on or continuing in pagan customs.   If this passage is a related to pagan sacrifices as many suppose, then what does it mean for us?  One point of application is that we must avoid bringing the world, as well as other religion's, practices into the church.  We as the Body and Bride of Christ are to be separate, 'a holy people."  Holy people don't look like the world.  Our worship should be distinct from the world and from other religious practices.  This requires a cross-centered, Christ-centered theology of worship.  Worship is about worship.  It is not about rite and ritual.  It is not primarily about instruction, although that does take place.  Worship is not about being "seeker friendly."  Worship is about worship - the rendering of praise and thankgiving to the God of our salvation.  It is sweet fellowship with God and with His saints. 


Of course this kind of paganization can happen in the preaching of the word as much as in our worship practices.  When the preaching of the word resembles a pep rally, a self-help talk, or stand-up comedy, God is not honored.  When preaching becomes Christless, moralistic, relativistic, or politically correct, we might as well roll out the kettle full of milk and bring in the baby goat. 


Yet there is another issue we must consider, the perspecuity of Scripture.  The Westminster Confession of Faith in section 1.7 states it this way.


All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all (2 Pet. 3:16); yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them (Ps. 119:105, 130).


The Reformers believed that the things of salvation were clear from the Scriptures, but that did not mean that everything was equally as clear.  This passage is a prime example.  The truth is that the full meaning of some parts of Scripture are obscured to us by time, culture, or simply the lack of information supplied by the authors.  Sometimes we do not have both sides of the conversation such as 1 and 2 Corinthians where we only have Paul's letters to them and not their communications with Paul.


Regarding the situation of boiling a young goat in its mother's milk, we are blind to the pagan practices of the world surrounding the ancient Israelites.  We can trust that this prohibition made sense to the original audience, and that should be sufficient for us.  When we may not get at the original meaning with our limited understanding, yet, this should not undermine our trust in the authority or inspiration of the Word of God.  Every word is God's word.  Every prohibition of the law matters.  God's Word is trustworthy even when our understanding is not.

 


WHERE JESUS IS GOING

Posted by pastorsloan on March 13, 2013 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

John 7:32-36 (ESV2011)

32The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him.33Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me.34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.”35The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?36What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not findme,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”

 

Jesus is at the Feast of Tabernacles – the Feast of Feasts.  There was debate about who Jesus was.  How could he teach with such authority?  Was he a demon?  Could he be the Christ?  Jesus continues to instruct them that He has been sent from the Father and is doing the Father’s will.  Still they cannot see that.  The discuss and debate come to the point where  the Pharisees believe they are going to put an end to this (and maybe an end to Jesus as well), but Jesus throws them off by bringing up His destination.


Jesus tells those who have come to arrest him that He is not going to be around much longer, and when He does go they will not find Him and cannot follow Him.  These are brazen words for someone who is facing arrest. But Jesus is doing much more than “catch me if you can.”  Jesus is giving a profound message about his mission and destination.


The Jews thought Jesus was leaving town and going among theJews who lived in other lands.  But Jesus was not just getting out of town, He was continuing His mission.  He was going home.  The Jews could not follow because where He was going would have meant giving up their own lives.   Even then, their righteousness would leave them out of heaven.  Jesus was going to a place which could only be entered by death, and a righteous death at that. 


We should not be surprised that our world today cannot fathom Jesus’ death.  They cannot fathom that Jesus has taken His rightful place at the right hand of God as our High Priest and Advocate.  They cannot fathom that Jesus is even now preparing a place for us.  They cannot fathom that Jesus death opened the gate that we may go where He has gone by grace through faith in His redeeming work.


These words of Jesus are not words to everyone.  They are words to those who stand outside of the grace of God.  Jesus speaks to all who do not embrace Him as the Christ. Then will not find Him.  They cannot go where He has gone.  Only the eye of faith will find Him.  Praise be toGod that we have been granted the eye of faith to see the Christ for who He is and shall be where He is.

 

ANGRY AT GOD

Posted by pastorsloan on November 9, 2012 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Being mad at God is a common response to any tragic situation, but especially when it is of great magnitude or with great frequency.  This is not unlike the reaction we have to our earthly parents when they do something to or for us that we do not like.  The truth is that if we are inChrist Jesus by faith then God is our Father, and we are His children.  So it should not surprise us that we may at times become angry with God.

We can be mad at God over personal situations such as deaths or other losses.  They may be community or national situations like hurricanes or tornados.  They can even be world situations like injustice or poverty.  Our problem is compounded when anger is left unchecked and turns into hatred of God.  It must be dealt with before then.  Let us start at the root of the problem of anger at God.

ANGRY AT GOD: Beliefs About God’s Character.  Sometimes children get mad at their parents because they have certain assumptions about how their parents should act.  Maybe it is based on experience, or just wishful thinking, but they have a set of assumptions about what their parents will do or what they want them to do.  Similarly we get angry at God because we believe that he is supposed to be certain things.  I think there are three areas of God’s character that affect us when we get angry at God: that God is powerful,that God is sovereign, and that God is loving and good.  These are all based in truth, but are distorted by our limited human perceptions.

First we believe that God is powerful, which is true.  This comes into play because we believe tha tGod had the ability to change or stop the tragic event.  God could have done something.  He could have stopped a death or ahurricane.  So why didn’t he?

The next aspect of God’s character is that He is sovereign.  This is related to God being all powerful, but is a belief that God has control over tragic events.  Not only that He could have stopped something, but that He had the right to stop something.  No one could have told God not to.  So why didn’t he?

The final belief is that God is loving and good.  Again this is true.  This relates to our judgment of the event itself.  We believe that the tragic eventis an unloving and cruel thing that a God of love and goodness could never do or allow.  A good God would have stopped it.  So why didn’t he?

What we fail to take into account are God’s purposes and perspective.  It is true that God is powerful, sovereign, loving and good, but there is more to His character.  He is omniscient, which means He sees thingsand knows thing from a completely different perspective from ours.  He is also wise, which means that He has a plan behind everything He does or allows. Still, there is another deeper reason we become angry with God.

The Bible reveals to us that it is in our nature to hate God.  Humans were not always that, but once sin entered the world, it was part of who were are to hate God.  Let me show you one place where the Bible makes this clear.

Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.

That is each one of us when left to ourselves. We are by nature hostile to God.  We cannot and do not do the things God wants of us.  So we should not be surprised that anger at God rises up in us.  It is in our nature because sin entered the world.  But since sin (disobedience toGod’s will and decrees) has entered the world and affects each one of us, there is a far great issue than our anger at God.

GOD ANGRY AT US 

It is true that God is a loving and good God, but He is also a just God.  He can not look upon our rebellion and disobedience.  As a matter of fact, it leaves God angry at us.  It is anger that the Bible describes as wrath.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Romans 5:1-3 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

God sees us as objects of His divine wrath because of our sin and rebellion.  We must understand how God deals with His anger toward us if we are to ever learn how to handle our anger toward Him.

DEALING WITH THE ANGER: God deals with this anger toward us in Christ Jesus. 

In order for God to deal with His anger toward us, He had to satisfy His wrath and His justice.  He could not simply overlook our sin.  He must do something about it.  Sin deserves punishment.  So God did what we could not do ourselves, He sent His son Jesus.  God in Human flesh to satisfy that wrath. Look at how the apostle Paul puts it.

Rom 5:6-10 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

God satisfies His wrath toward us in Jesus Christ.  But how it is that we receive such pardon?  The first step is faith or belief in Christ as the one who has purchased your freedom,

John 3:16-18“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

We trust in Jesus Christ as our all sufficient savior who has fully paid for all our sins, but we also repent of our sins.  We turn away from those things that have caused us to be objects of God wrath in the first place, and turn to God.  Once the barrier of God’s wrath is removed we can deal with our anger at God in a whole new light.

We deal with our anger at God through eternal perspective.

God wants us to develop that same kind of perspective that He has on things: eternal perspective. Once we understand that God’s priorities are on heavenly things and the things that will last beyond our life here on earth, we can get a grip on the things of this world.  God deals with His anger toward us because it has eternal consequences for us.  Without it, we would spend an eternity separated from God.  Those of us who have been spared from God’s wrath in Christ can think differently about what happens tous.  The apostle Paul understood this.

2 Cor 4:7-18  But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.  Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe,and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

When we take to heart that our afflictions in this world are small in comparison to the glorious eternity that we are made for, we have hope and faith to see us through whatever God may bring into our path.  The afflictions are not removed, but they are put into perspective.  God’s power is once again seen.  God’s sovereignty is properly understood.  God’s love and goodness are bigger that we had seen before when looking at the circumstances alone.  May your anger at God be resolved in Christ Jesus, the one who took God wrath for you.

 

Rev. Howard Sloan is the pastor of St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Bedford, PA.

 

 


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