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Sunday: A Companion in Tribulation — 8 Comments

  1. I used to be a bit of an audiophile back in the days when I had a lot better hearing than I have now. In those days I had a Thorens turntable with a Shure cartridge and a hand-crafted Class A amplifier. The amplifier had been made by an ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) audio technician. It was a beautiful amplifier and I thought it had much better sound than those cheap commercial Class AB Push-pull amplifiers. True, it ran hot. You could fry an egg on the heat sinks but the sound was pure.

    And occasionally it would break down and I would be in audio tribulation. The thing that was really comforting was that I could always take the amplifier back to its creator. And he took such pride in his work that he would fix it for free.

    And the spiritual lesson from this illustration is ...

    Read Psalm 51 if you need a little help.

  2. AMEN! Thank you Maurice for reminding us about Psalm 51; it’s a good dose of medicine. The best.

  3. On November 30th, 2021, a teen shot and killed 4 people at his high school, and wounded 7 others. An hour or so before he did this, his parents had been called to the school. A math teacher had seen troubling messages on his test review sheet and took a screen shot as a record: this 15-year-old had written the words "Help me", "blood everywhere", "the thoughts won't stop, help me", "the world is dead", "my life is useless", along with pictures of a gun, a person with 2 bullet holes, and drawings of bullets. The student had scribbled out a lot between the math classroom and guidance office, so that by the time school counselors showed the sheet to his parents, the sheet also said: "I love my life so much!!!!", "harmless act", "video game this is", "we're all friends here", and a laughing emoji.

    There is a theme through many of these shootings, and through the suicide epidemic happening, especially among teens now. People "of Babylon" don't know their value. I've shared that my own best friend's teen daughter has been struggling for years with the question, "What's the point of it all, Mom?" When children ask or think, "Why am I here?", "What's the point of being kind?", "What should I believe?", the parents and adults in their lives don't have the words or the modeled life choices that provide real answers. And worse, kids are seeing modeled the lies. People pretending that they are OK. People acting confident and carefree. People drugging themselves with cannabis, drugs, alcohol, work, sex, sports, entertainment, etc. to keep their moods up. Parents frustrated with their own lack of direction and boundaries, feeling overwhelmed and taking it out on their children. This boy turned murderer who scribbled out his true feelings to hide, who tried to cover over his struggles with what the adults would want to hear, is common, figuratively, for most. When asked, "Hi, how are you?"...how often is "Good, thanks" a lie? The world without God is crying out in pain.

    Today's lesson points out that the apostle John had hope in exile because He knew and lived the answers to these questions of personal meaning. He knew why he was there, he knew where he came from, and he knew where is was going. Most importantly, John KNEW he was a beloved disciple. Actually, he often referred to himself in his writings as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23, 19:26, 21:7). I used to think this was a bit arrogant of him until I realized that he was modeling something we ALL can say. Our true human identity is found completely in the fact that we are created and forever loved by God. The gospel message we are meant to share brings others comfort and peace by helping to reveal to them the depth of their value in God's bottomless heart.

    The Comforter is called “the Spirit of truth.” His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. Desire of Ages, page 671.1

    • Dear Esther,

      These are your words,

      "Our true human identity is found completely in the fact that we are created and forever loved by God. The gospel message we are meant to share brings others comfort and peace by helping to reveal to them the depth of their value in God's bottomless heart."

      These words sound so rich and meaningful to me indeed. True meaning in life cannot be found anywhere other than within the true source of life, God the Almighty.

      Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts with us.

  4. I am experiencing one of the blessings associated with getting older – I have more ‘free’ time. I am discovering that it is a good thing to take ‘time’, live life slower, to permit myself to reflect on the Word of God more deeply and hear its spiritual message of Truth more clearly; when reading familiar passages again, they appear to bring new insights to heart and mind.
    Being called upon to worship God in Spirit and Truth requires from us to commune with the Holy Spirit in the ‘quietness of our heart and mind’ - without distractions or pressures on our time; Maurice might call these distractions 'white noice, or background noice'.

    John, on his mission to spread the Gospel, was severely persecuted to 'shut him up'; but he survived. I see John’s forced isolation on Patmos as a blessing by our heavenly Father who works in mysterious ways. Now he has the time to focus his love for God inward, like Daniel, and God responded to him seeking His presence by choosing him to reveal the Truth about the end of time.

    It appears that the greatest persecution falls on those who go about openly to spread the Word of God. They find themselves at the frontline of the battle, attacked by the enemies of the living Word of God. Both sides recognize the Power vested in the Living Word of God - Jesus - to change lives, and the enemy of God cannot permit this. He can only succeed as he suppresses the dissemination of Word of God’s Truth and persecutes even those who express God’s Truth in love – Eph.4:15.

    Matt.13:1-23 - The parable of the Sower sowing the seeds shows that not all people who hear the Word of God are able to absorb its spiritual nourishment. “But he that receives the seed into the good ground is he that heareth the Word and ‘understandeth' it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty – v.23.
    We become each other’s companions in these tribulations as we produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit having fallen on good ground.

  5. "If faithful servants of God, like John, face suffering and tribulation, what makes us think we, ourselves, won’t face trouble either?" I suppose one sign that we are as faithful as John is if we are as persecuted as John.

    • I was thinking that actually the faithful suffer more, because God knows they can endure what others couldn't. Job shows us that.

  6. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. (1 Peter 4:14–15)

    What an Ethics lecture, saying a lot with so little! If the Son of God was troubled, and even died, because of His true and loving convictions, why wouldn't I too? What are your convictions today?


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