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Friday: Further Thought ~ Extreme Heat — 7 Comments

  1. We have largely looked at the issue of pain and suffering through the eyes of committed Christians this week. While that is a valid viewpoint, we need to expand our view and understand that Christians don't hold the title deeds on pain and suffering. It's scope is much wider than that. Growing up as a Seventh-day Adventist I read stories about the persecution of the Waldenses and Huguenots and gained the impression that the Papacy persecuted the true believers. As I studied history more I found that the Papacy was not nearly as discriminatory as that. It persecuted Jews, Muslims, heathens, and even one another with equal ferocity. Today, I see suffering and discrimination affecting many people irrespective of ethnicity, creed, gender and so on. Nothing much has changed.

    Perhaps that should lead us to think very carefully about our theology of pain and suffering. While I accept that as Christians we have the potential to grow and develop from crucible experiences, we also need to recognise the pain and suffering of those who are outside the horizon of Christianity. We should be sensitive to the needs of others in their pain as well. That is what Christians do.

    Another notion that creeps into our minds from time to time is that pain and suffering makes us fit for Heaven. If we pass the torture test we are in! The underlying notion that promotes this idea is that Heaven is a reward for passing the test. I have even heard it said that if you are not persecuted you are not living a Christian life and you are still entertaining sin in your life. I think this idea is wrong.

    It is important to understand that salvation and living in the Kindom of God is more than just a future hope. As I have often said, it's happening now. Crucible experiences are not preparation for heaven in the future; they are about living salvation now.

    I am reminded that the big criticism of the Hebrews in the Old Testament, was their treatment of those who were facing their own crucible experience; the widows and orphans, the oppressed and poor. Our crucible experiences should lead us to be more sensitive and empathetic to others who are going through their own crucible experiences.

  2. This week's lesson began back at Sabbath asking two questions:

    "Why do you think God is willing to risk being misunderstood by those He wants to know Him and love Him? How much do you think God is willing to be misunderstood in order to mold you into the “image of his Son”?

    Throughout scripture, it is presented that we each and all as humans have 2 options (eg Deuteronomy 30:15-20). We can either live in a way that fosters and results in true life or we can live in a way that fosters and results in pereshing/death. God is and always has only been about promoting life for all who are willing (Ezekiel 33:10-11). And that is why He wants to rebuild us back in harmony with the "image of His Son" - because that is the reality that is necessarily essential to actually live. Satan is and, since his fall, has always been about fostering pain, suffering and death for all he can deceive into being out of harmony with what would instead result in true/abundant life (John 10:10).

    The way of true/abundant life, and therefore God's Way, is the way of living to benefit others (Philippians 2:3-8). It is inherently community focussed. We live to give and, in doing so, life is perpetually built-up and maintained. The way of death, and therefore Satan's way, is 'existing' to indulge self-seeking. This way is inherently self-consuming. We exist to take and, in doing so, 'life' is exploited, depleted and ultimately extinguished.

    Understanding and keeping this big picture/reality in mind helps us also understand what God is trying to do and why. God's desire and preference is that no-one would perish and therefore that no-one would choose the way that leads to (self)destruction. This is why He works tirelessly, trying to give everyone every opportunity to be restored back in harmony with The (only) Way of Life (2 Peter 3:9; John 14:6). And part of that 'every opportunity' includes God inviting us to each and collectively join with Him in relating to and treating others in such a way that they too may see the way of life and be drawn to wanting to participate in it.

    I too would propose that living to give so that others may authentically benefit - including be drawn to wanting to do the same - is theology in action. And theology in action is the whole and true purpose of theology (John 13:35).

    • Hello Phil,

      Love in action is the whole and true purpose of Christian theology, per your citation of John 13:35.

      I appreciate your encouragement to understand more deeply the Word of God.


  3. Study says:
    He sees that some have powers which may be used in the advancement of His work, and He puts these persons upon trial; in His providence He brings them into positions that test their character … . He shows them their own weakness, and teaches them to lean upon Him … . Thus His object is attained.

    I have been waiting TV episodes of *The Green Planet* presented by none other than *Mr. David Attenborough*.

    In a recent episode he shows how plants and trees use strategy, deception and and feats of engineering in order to survive the challenges posed by the different seasons.

    One of his subjects was the the Baobab tree, known also as the *Tree of Life*.

    Appatently it got its name as the *tree of life* because of its endurance under very extreme weather conditions, and subsequently it can supply Water, Food and cleansing to animals, birds and anything in its ecosystem.

    Jesus is our tree of life, he was tested in all ways through his vicarious life, as the second Adam, and became our high priest, mediator and Tree of *eternal life* to a family of Sons and Daughters, desired by his Father.
    John 1:4
    Ephesians 1:11-14

    Subsequently, his kingdom consists of a priesthood that are also tried and tested on earth to supply Jesus's life to others as they conform to his image
    1 Peter 2:1-12
    Revelation 22:1-5

    Let's be priests, salt and light!
    Come Lord Jesus !

  4. What have I discovered from this week's lessons?

    We have been created to give glory to the LORD in the good and bad times.

    What is our choice? Either accept the LORD as the Supreme Ruler in our life and let Him transform us into His image or follow the devil's ways.
    Jesus said the essence and priority of His message is for us to love and serve the LORD with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength.

    Isa 43:7; Matt 5:2-10,16; Eph 1:3-14
    God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

    Mark 12:29-31; Deut 10:12-13

  5. Wow we are survivors through the crucibles. God makes me better not bitter, when I continue to trust in Him through the tests and trials, whether they are brought to us by God or Satan. Through His strength He will see us through, if we like Job, Paul, and Abraham stay with and totally rely on God. We have the choice. But He gives us the desire and power to prevail to do His good will. Philippians 2:13. Genesis 32:28.

  6. In closing this week, a special friend several years ago gave a powerful answer to Jim Williams query. "I am making it through it all because of Jesus, if it were not for Jesus, I would not make it. Yes Inge that answer is the crux, of the Great Controversy, and the plan of redemption. God provided a way and reason to trust in Him totally. If I were to pick another point vital point, He is able to resurect us, giving us total reliance on Him. 2 Corinthians 1:9.


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