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Wednesday: Surviving Through Hope — 7 Comments

  1. Paul wasn’t short on life’s experiences. We know all this because he wrote about it himself.

    They say they serve Christ? But I have served him far more! (Have I gone mad to boast like this?) I have worked harder, been put in jail more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again and again. Five different times the Jews gave me their terrible thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I was in the open sea all night and the whole next day. I have travelled many weary miles and have been often in great danger from flooded rivers and from robbers and from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the hands of the Gentiles. I have faced grave dangers from mobs in the cities and from death in the deserts and in the stormy seas and from men who claim to be brothers in Christ but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food; often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 2 Cor 11:23-27

    Was Paul trying to tell his readers that he had earned his salvation? Are pain, suffering, trials and persecution a prerequisite to a place in heaven? I don't really think so. I think that Paul was interested in survival. 2 Cor 11 and 12 need to be read together to see what Paul is driving at. Read what he has to say at the end of Chapter 12:

    I suppose you think I am saying all this to get back into your good graces. That isn’t it at all. I tell you, with God listening as I say it, that I have said this to help you, dear friends—to build you up spiritually—and not to help myself. For I am afraid that when I come to visit you I won’t like what I find, and then you won’t like the way I will have to act. I am afraid that I will find you quarreling, and envying each other, and being angry with each other, and acting big, and saying wicked things about each other, and whispering behind each other’s backs, filled with conceit and disunity. Yes, I am afraid that when I come God will humble me before you and I will be sad and mourn because many of you have sinned before and don’t even care about the wicked, impure things you have done: your lust and immorality, and the taking of other men’s wives. 2 Cor 12:19-21 TLB

    Paul's message of salvation was about living and surviving in the present.

  2. Pastors and Leadership in Christian church's by God's standards should embraces bodily suffering, along with many other forms, as the necessity of a leader in the Jesus’ way.

    Jesus shared our suffering and death, that was caused by our sins and Satan's lies, to reconcile all issues to his Father's divine nature of Love, Mercy and Justice (God can't deny his own nature) and Man's fall from it's intended purpose s.

    Today, we may seek to become leaders for a salary, prominence, and authority over people. In Roman times leadership was linked to patronage aka —to avoid suffering.

    Qualifications for church leadership is sharing in the sufferings of Christ as like the Paul to the gentiles and the other apostles to the Jewish covenant people, that ended in 70AD when the temple was destroyed.

    Paul understood leadership ..
    Paul says, I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.
    Job wanted to be a priest for his family, but failed to see it, in his suffering.

    Pray for Spirit led leaders, that share in Christ's inflictions for the body of believers around the world.

    Colossians 1:24-26

  3. Maurice, I agree to what you mentioned, also your closing sentence „ Paul´s message of salvation was about living and surviving in the present.“

    This is confirmed in 1 Cor. 15:32: KJV

    „If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.“

    How natural it is to hold on to life while we‘re at it, yet maintaining the faith, that if we die, there is still hope in the resurrection.


  4. As today's lesson illustrates, Paul had cultivated the practice of seeing his circumstances from a larger perspective. That perspective was that Paul's situations and circumstances were located within a Great Controversy between the powers of good and evil. While evil unfortunately must have space to be expressed for now, God is at work in and amongst that necessity to ultimately work/orchestrate all things together for good (Romans 8:28). As part of that working all things together for good, Paul knew and accepted that his own growth and development in reliance upon God was needed and that God and His Way's would be glorified by the witness of Paul's growth and development in reliance and God's corresponding faithfulness in response to that reliance. This awareness of the bigger picture beyond the immediate situation helped Paul endure. Might it also help us endure?

  5. My 7 year old daughter taught me a saying from her teacher yesterday, "You get what you get, and you don't pitch a fit."

    Having an attitude of acceptance can help us through the circumstances of our lives and when there is no other way out of the situation that is when we can rely on God the most.

    Philippians 2:14-16

  6. What can we learn from Paul that can help us keep from falling into self-pity amid our own struggles?

    We can learn to lean on Jesus through difficulty, thus avoiding self pity. John Stalings said it so nicely.

    I'm learning to lean, learning to lean,
    Learning to lean on Jesus.
    Finding more power than I'd ever dreamed,
    I'm learning to lean on Jesus.
    The joy I can't explain fills my heart,
    Since the day I made Jesus my King;
    His blessed Holy Spirit is leading my way,
    He's teaching and I'm learning to lean.
    There's glorious vict'ry each day now for me,
    Since I found His peace so serene;
    He helps me with each task, if only I'll ask;
    Ev'ry day now I'm learning to lean.

    So true and apropos with what Paul experienced and is teaching us.

    But those who wait(lean) on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
    Isaiah 40:31 NKJV

  7. The graphic image in the study certainly shows sympathy and empathy with our brothers and sisters.

    However, the apostle Paul said he was leading a vicarious life in the priesthood of Christ on earth.

    As follows:
    Paul says, I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.
    Colossians 1:24-26.

    Have you ever wondered in your pain and suffering, that God is equiping you to help someone very soon ?
    Job overlooked vicarious suffering !


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