ON PERSECUTION AND SUFFERING
readings these past 3 days have been consistent
in talking about persecution and suffering. These
are God’s words to us. They direct our path.
6 – 2 Tim 3:12 “In fact, all who want
to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
June 5 – 2 Tim 2:8-9 “such is my gospel,
for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains,
like a criminal.”
June 4 – 2 Tim 1:8,12 “bear your share
of hardship for the gospel with the strength that
comes from God. ….. On this account I am suffering
and carrying the cross are the ways of a true disciple.
are some of these sufferings? The fulltimers who
resigned/retired from CFC-GK are not being given
their benefits (for some it will be almost a year
already), and are in dire need, for daily sustenance
and for coming education expenses. Our intercessors
are being viciously attacked spiritually, to the
point of physical suffering. Our seniors throughout
the world are being maligned and attacked personally.
GK beneficiaries who align with us are being threatened.
A brother was even ousted from the golf committee!
is no let-up, and in fact the attacks are intensifying.
Look at their blogs (I myself do not, but hear about
their content), their anonymous emails, the newspaper
attacks, the continuing disinformation (quoting
even the Vatican out of context).
is God doing? God is forming us in order
to prepare us for the glorious years ahead.
is a time of purification. SO REJOICE!
The extent and the intensity of the persecution
and our suffering are directly proportional to the
glory that God intends to accomplish in and through
His holy remnant.
is teaching us and forming us. We should not focus
on crying out for relief or for His judgment on
those who persecute us, but we should be entering
more deeply into understanding His ways and allowing
these to be embedded deeply within our very being.
5 – Ps 25:4-5 “Make known to me your
ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me in your
truth and teach me”
June 6 – Ps 119:157,159-160 “Though
my persecutors and foes are many I do not turn from
your decrees. ….. See how I love your precepts,
Lord; in your kindness give me life. Your every
word is enduring; all your just edicts are forever.”
what are these continuing and intensifying persecutions
they help purify us. So praise God for this
great way to grow in holiness. Without
such trials and crosses, we would not be as holy.
4 – 2 Tim 1:9 “He saved us and called
us to a holy life, not according to our works but
according to his own design and the grace bestowed
on us in Christ Jesus before time began”
they teach us, in a painful but blessed way, how
we are to be as Christians (pain is inherent in
the process of purification). They prepare us for
our relationships (with God, with brethren, with
others) for the work of the future. Given what we
are enduring, we must learn not to fall into such
Do not lie. This will include such things as half-truths
and distortions (such as reporting only the good
and hiding the bad).
Do not just speak about love but actually love.
Do we still harbor grudges against each other?
Are we unable to forgive? Do we look down on others?
Do we look to the interest of our brethren first
and foremost? Are there brethren we have not fully
accepted with the love of the Lord?
Do not be tampuhin (onion-skinned). This is a
sign of great immaturity. This shows we do not
have the heart of a servant.
Look to serving God and not man. We look beyond
the shortcomings of those over us. As we do so,
we see Christ, who is the one we are actually
Do not malign others. But speak the truth in righteousness.
It is the truth that sets people free. But let
your speech be gracious.
Love your enemy. It is God who will judge them.
Pray that they will be converted so that they
will not be judged harshly.
Be at peace with all.
God is giving us the privilege to be directly invested.
There is no other way to truly transform us. We
know all about suffering and crosses, but this cannot
just be a vicarious experience. Unless we ourselves
experience them in a personal, concrete and significant
way, the impact on our lives is limited. God loves
us so much and is preparing us for so great a future
that He is prolonging and allowing the intensification
of our suffering.
what do we do?
and again, REJOICE! We are worthy to suffer
even just a little bit of what Jesus suffered—false
accusation, betrayal, abandonment, insults, ridicule,
painful blows, hatred. The fruit of such little
suffering will be tremendous and awesome.
continue to learn the lessons of Lamentations.
This is not just for 2007, but forever. At least
once every year, preferably during Lent, read and
meditate on the book 40 Days of Lamentations. Look
to suffering and pain and the cross as God’s
blessings (if we have not acted unrighteously).
Meditate on the very many passages in the Bible
that speak of this (Mt 5:10-12; Acts Acts 5:41;
Acts 14:22; Jas 1:2-4; 1 Pt 1:6-7; 1 Pt 2:19-21;
1 Pt 4:12-19; 2 Cor 1:3-7; 2 Cor 6:3-10; 2 Cor 12:9-10;
Phil 2:5-8; Col 1:24; Heb 12:1-13; many others).
But always remember, Lamentations is about hope
let go and let God. Many times this will
entail not just a spiritual assent, but actual physical
or material loss. For example, while the fulltimers
should fight for what is legally and morally due
to them, they should not be focused on the money
(no matter how great their need) and even at some
point be willing to suffer material loss as they
go about the Lord’s work. Let go of money,
of reputation, of employment, of friends (because
of them, not because of us), even of golf. But in
all things, be blameless. And trust in God.
us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
4 – Ps 123:1-2 “To you I raise my eyes,
to you enthroned in heaven. ….. so are our
eyes on the Lord our God, till we are shown favor.”
us continue to recognize our own sinfulness and
look to God’s mercy. Let us always
consider the plank in our own eye and not the splinter
in others. Let us humble ourselves,
and allow the Lord to raise us up.
5 – Ps 25:8-9,11 “Good and upright is
the Lord, who shows sinners the way, guides the
humble rightly, and teaches the humble the way.
….. For the sake of your name, Lord, pardon
my guilt, though it is great.”
us follow Jesus’ (and Paul’s) teaching,
with all that these entail.
6 – 2 Tim 3:10-11 “You have followed
my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience,
love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings”
June 5 – Ps 25:14 “The counsel of the
Lord belongs to the faithful; the covenant instructs
us continue to put our faith, trust and hope in
6 – 2 Tim 3:11 “Yet from all these things
the Lord delivered me.”
June 5 – Ps 25:6-7 “Remember your compassion
and love, O Lord; for they are ages old. Remember
no more the sins of my youth; remember me only in
light of your love.”
us remain faithful to God, to His ways, and to our
covenant. Let us fear the Lord in His awesome
majesty. This is the way to being blessed.
6 – 2 Tim 3:14 “But you, remain faithful
to what you have learned and believed”
June 5 – Ps 25:12-13 “Who are those
who fear the Lord? God shows them the way to choose.
They live well and prosper, and their descendants
inherit the land.”
us rejoice, for the victory, in God’s time
and in God’s way, is at hand.
console, sustain, strengthen, and bless you all.
June 6, 2008
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CTIONS ON PERESECUTION AND SUFFERING -
June 06, 2008 [PDF]