Category Archives: Suffering

For A Little While

Blog_ThumbnailHas someone ever come up to you and said, “Well, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. Which do you want to hear first?” I know that I prefer a different alternative. Can I just hear the good news? If not, how about neither? None of us like to hear bad news.

Last time, I talked about the living hope that we can have through Jesus Christ. Through the work of Christ, God is the source and foundation for that hope. It is a hope that is eternal, and one that God Himself secures for us. This is a great assurance and one that we can hold onto and rejoice in. The apostle Peter says as much, in the words that directly follow these promises. “In this you rejoice…” However, he then continues with words that we may not be so thrilled to hear:

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

Peter has just spoken of the wonderful hope we have in Christ. But, for those to whom he is writing this letter, he also knows that they have been going through some very hard times. This passage recognizes the reality of trials in our lives. It also shows how God works through the trials in our lives.

Trials result in grief and suffering. There is no way around it. Trials bring aggravation, struggle, grief, and pain. They are not pleasant. Peter mentions this regarding those who will be reading this letter. They have been grieved by various trials. One of the things I love about the Bible is its truthfulness. Not only is it the Word of God, without error and completely reliable, but it shows people and situations for who and what they really are. Suffering is not fun, and the Bible does not say otherwise. But at least we are not just left with that.

Trials are temporary. “Now for a little while…” Right now, things may be hard, but it will not last. There is no guarantee of when a given trial may end, or even that it won’t get worse. But it will not last forever. Even if it lasts a lifetime, that is a brief moment in view of eternity, where God has prepared a glorious inheritance for those who are in Christ. So, we can rejoice in our living hope, even in the midst of suffering, trusting in the Lord and holding fast to His promises and purpose for our lives.

Trials are used by God. “If necessary” notes that there is purpose in the trials that God has allowed in our lives. Trials serve the purpose of revealing the genuineness of our faith. They demonstrate where our true hope lies and what we truly value in life. Is my faith real or am I just pretending or going through the motions? I am afraid that my trials often reveal that I have a long way to go in becoming like Christ. My focus and the things I value are frequently shown to be selfish and temporary. And it does not take a very severe trial to reveal this.

Our faith in Christ is priceless. Peter says that our faith in God is more precious than gold. The faith and trust that we place in Christ is highly valuable. It does not say this specifically, but I think that this means that our faith is highly valued by the Lord Himself. It is precious to Him when we place our trust in Him. I think it is also valuable because God uses our faith to demonstrate the wonder of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Trials refine us to be more like Christ. I think there is a reason that Peter uses the comparison of our faith to gold and the process of testing by fire. I heard the following illustration years ago and it has stayed with me as a reminder of how God work in our lives. It described the process for refining silver or gold, back before all of our modern technology was developed. A silver or gold smith would take the raw ore that contained the metal and heat it to a very high temperature. They were careful not to heat it too hot, because that could result in the destruction of the valuable metal in the ore.

As the material began to melt, the dross, or less valuable materials, would rise to the top. The smith would scrape off the dross and repeat the process. After a while, they would scrape off the dross and look into the pot. There, they would begin to see a dull reflection of themselves. As they continued, each time, their image would be a little clearer. In much the same way, God uses the “fire” of trials to help us become for Christ-like. As we trust in Him and allow Him to work in our lives, God sanctifies us, causing us to become more like Jesus. Our lives begin to better reflect the image of our Savior as we allow Him to scrape the dross out of our lives.

Trials result in praise, glory, and honor. As we become more like Christ and the genuineness of our faith is revealed, the result is celebration and glory being given to God. Also, we rejoice in the victories that God gives by bringing us through our trials and presenting us before His throne at the coming of Christ. Our genuine faith, more precious than gold, will be celebrated as we rejoice before the Lord for all eternity.

So, if we see this through the eyes of God, there is really no good news/bad news situation here. We have a living hope. We do have struggles and trials. However, if we allow God to use those in our lives, He can use them to transform us more into the image of His Son. So, when He looks into our lives, He sees a reflection of Himself. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

In the end, trials remain only for a little while. Compared to eternity, and the joy that awaits us, these are but momentary struggles. For a little while, we are tested. Forever, we will enjoy and celebrate the love and glory of our God and Savior.

Together for His glory…

Not Home Yet

In the beginning, the apostle Peter did not get it either. When Jesus was revealing who He was and the nature of His ministry and kingdom, Peter did not always understand. Peter would make great declarations, such as “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:16). Then, he would proceed to feel the need to correct Jesus, when Jesus stated that He would suffer and be killed, which resulted in this response from Christ, “Get behind me Satan!” (Matthew 16:23). Peter did not yet fully understand that Jesus’ kingdom was “not of this world,” and that there were certain things that would not find fulfillment until Christ’s final return in glory.

Now, years later, Peter finds himself in the position of reminding the readers of his letter that they are not home yet. This earth was not their final resting place and the fulfillment of all their earthly and eternal desires. From the text of 1 Peter, it is apparent that the letter recipients were undergoing persecution. There was probably discouragement among them, as they struggled to understand their circumstances and why things were sometimes so hard or just did not make sense.

So, Peter starts off his letter by addressing these brothers and sisters in Christ as “exiles.” (1 Peter 1:1). An exile, in this sense, refers to someone who is living in a foreign land. They are a stranger or pilgrim in a place that is not their home. They are living among a foreign people who may not understand them, may see them as very different, and who may even hate and despise them. That can be a very tough place to be.

Peter’s letter is written to help them understand this and to also offer them hope. It is given to help them keep life in perspective – that this life is temporary, as are the struggles that come with it. There is an eternal hope and a glorious inheritance that awaits those who follow Christ. And that they can know the grace and peace of Christ in the midst of these temporary struggles on this journey in a foreign land.

As followers of Christ today, we are all exiles as well. As we strive to live a life that honors God, we are faced with many obstacles, pitfalls, and struggles as well. We face many struggles that are common to all who live on this earth. At other times, we go through suffering and persecution because we follow Christ. However, there are also times when we find ourselves too at home in this temporary place. We become too enamored with temporary trinkets and pursuits that do not draw us closer to God and may even pull us further away.

These are the things, among others, that we will find presented to us in this journey through the book of 1 Peter. We will be offered hope, and also called to humility. We will be reminded to be at home in Christ, while we walk in a land that is not our home. We will be reminded that we have a living hope, here and now, and also waiting in eternity. That “the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11)

Together for His glory…

Suffering For No Apparent Reason

I once knew a guy who thought God had it out for him. Everything in his life was going wrong. The problem was that he was responsible for most of things that were happening to him. When you get ticketed for driving on expired driver and vehicle licenses, this is usually your fault. Especially when they expired a year prior and were from a different state than where you have been living for a year. This was one example of many things. When I suggested that he might be the one responsible for the bad things happening, he was shocked.

Let’s get one thing straight at the start here. No one is perfect. My list of failures, blunders, and stupidities could wrap around the world a few times. Apart from the grace of God, there is no way I would still be standing today. If we are honest, we know this about ourselves. And yet, there are times that this life does not seem to make sense. Suffering and hardship seems to come when it should not have or when we would not have expected it to.

I know someone who finds themselves in a very difficult work situation. She has been teaching for about 20 years. She used to love her job. She works in an area that is tough economically and where many students drop out or don’t succeed. But she looks at these kids as if they were her own and works hard to help them, not only in her subject expertise, but in other areas of life. It is no surprise that many former students still contact her years later. In spite of all this, she is enduring suffering within her profession. Recently, an administrator sat in on one of her classes for 5 minutes, then departed, and then proceeded to give her a substandard teaching review. This is in her permanent record. Unfair? Yes. Infuriating? Absolutely. Immoral? Probably. One would only have to talk to former students and parents to know that this kind of review is not accurate or fair. And yet, there it is. What do you do?

I know a family. They love their children. They do everything that they can to provide for their kids. Life together started “normally.” They were married and in the next few years, their children started coming along. That is when things began to change for them. You see, all of their children fall on the Autism spectrum. Two of the kids are much more significantly impacted. I understand very little about autism, other than how I see that it impacts people, both those with the diagnosis and their families and friends. One diagnosis would be difficult. Three just seems like a kick in the teeth. What happened? Did God blink or something? Does He not care? Why would this level of hardship be allowed to reside with one family? As this family loves, works hard, struggles for solutions, and tries to do what is best for their kids, the many questions seem to go without answers.

I am reminded of the question Jesus was asked. “Who sinned?” (John 9:2). In other words, whose fault is this? We want to find some way to explain why these things happen. Jesus’ response was “no one.” Okay, that’s great, but what about the suffering? What about the hardships? Why does it seem like some people coast through life and others get dumped on, without any relief on the horizon?

In the Bible, there are examples of many people who suffered. Much of this suffering seemed undeserved. Two examples that come to mind are Joseph and Job. Both men endured suffering that they neither understood nor deserved. In Joseph’s case, God’s ultimate purpose was revealed. In Job’s case, it never was, that I am aware of. Job lost everything, except for a nagging wife, who told him to curse God, and friends who blamed Job for his own demise and gave him terrible and inaccurate advice. In the end, God restored Job and rebuked Job’s friends, but there was never an explanation provided. And I am sure that the scars, both physical and emotional, were a reminder throughout the rest of Job’s life.

Suffering is a tough issue to deal with. The very presence of suffering in the world is what causes some people to reject the existence of God altogether or to not want anything to do with a God that would allow such things to happen. And yet, if there is no God, suffering becomes even more terrible to deal with, in my mind. If there is no God, there is no hope beyond what we can achieve and survive in this life. There is no ultimate justice in the world. Many things will come to with an end without a satisfactory or just solution. I find that possibility a far worse option.

I have been recently reading in 1 Peter 2:13-25, where Peter is instructing believers to be subject to those who God has placed in authority over them. This included the emperor, like Nero, who persecuted and had Christians put to death. It included masters, who may have treated their servants cruelly. In this age of always defending our rights, this seems so contradictory. Why would Peter say this? He states the reasons. “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:15

Okay, I can mostly get this. By doing good, it is a testimony to others by our obedience to God. But what about unjust suffering? This is where it gets more difficult. Peter continues, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 2:18-20

God seems to clear up at least one thing here: there will be unjust suffering in this world. Peter goes on to say that when we endure in the midst of unjust suffering, it is a gracious thing in the sight of God. What does this mean? The ESV Study Bible suggests that this is an indication that God’s people will receive a reward from Him for enduring suffering righteously. In addition, it could also mean that patient endurance of suffering is evidence of God’s grace at work. So, regardless of the “why,” the suffering does not escape God’s notice. When we suffer and patiently endure, it is evidence of God’s grace at work in us and, in addition, that we will be rewarded by Him.

Following Jesus can mean so many different things. But here, Peter goes on to say that something that I don’t necessarily like to hear. We have been called to follow in the steps of Jesus. And in the context of this passage, that means following through suffering. What? “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21. In the context of this passage, I don’t think this can mean anything else. However, I don’t think this means that we go out looking for a life of suffering. I think it is meant to instruct us on our perspective to suffering. There are several things we can take from this.

First, this is a broken world. There is no way around this fact. The results of sin and a fallen human race are evident all around us. There are evil people who will cause suffering for others, whether on a small or large scale. In addition, the impact of sin has corrupted God’s beautiful design for His creation. Disease, disorders, and disabilities are not God’s design. These have come as a result of a broken world that rejected God’s perfect will. And until He renews and restores it at the culmination of history, we all will suffer the impacts of sin on creation.

Second, following Jesus will bring suffering. Jesus said that the world hates Him and, therefore, will hate us. We are living in an age in America where the allusion of a Christian nation is fading away. This world lies in the power of the evil one. It has since the fall of man. The Bible is clear on this. Satan will do whatever He can to destroy the work of Christ. We should not expect the world to stand up and applaud when we follow Jesus.

Third, Jesus suffered more injustice than anyone ever has or ever will. Jesus was completely without sin. God in human flesh. The Creator of the universe walking among us. Yet, He was despised and rejected by those He came to save. He was beaten, abused, cursed, and humiliated. And He bore the complete weight and punishment for the sin of the world. He deserved nothing but glory. He suffered more than anyone in history ever has or ever will. And in the midst of it, continued to trust the Father, who judges justly.

Fourth, because of Jesus’ unjust suffering, we can have hope. We can have hope because His suffering has provided us a way to escape a just judgment. In our sin, we deserve God’s wrath and judgment. Christ has purchased, through His suffering, our forgiveness through His blood. If we receive Christ, we are provided the righteousness of Christ as our very own. This is not justice. This is not fair. This is grace. And this gives us hope, for we can entrust our lives to the One Who judges justly. We can trust Him to resolve all of the suffering, grief, and tragedy that we see in the world and even in our own lives. It has not gone unnoticed. It will not be without reward. It might still be very, very difficult. It might not always make sense. We might doubt and struggle along the way. But our God knows our suffering. He endured it Himself on the cross. He promises to be with us all along the way, until we make it safely home.

“He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:22-25

Together for His glory…

The Cost of the Life of Worship

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11

I have a friend who is a pastor in another country. Their church has gone through difficult times. Because of decisions made, which were based on following what they felt led by God to do, about half of their congregation left the church. To make matters worse, the government has determined that churches like theirs will no longer be recognized as an official church; therefore creating additional struggles for them, logistically, culturally, and financially, as they try to reach their community with the gospel.

However, at the same time, God continues to bless his ministry and the church. God is using Him to reach thousands of people throughout his country and beyond, as he teaches and reasons from the truth of the Word of God. His ministry reaches into his culture and into the theological, academic, and political communities of his country and beyond. Recently, he found out that their church would have to move locations. This could be a hardship on their church. However, he looks on this as God opening the door for ministry, as their new location is in an impoverished area, where there are thousands in need of hope. He is excited about the opportunities this will provide to spread the gospel.

I have another friend who is a pastor. The church he pastors has also gone through some difficult struggles. The economic impact of the past few years has taken a toll on families within the church. Several individuals or families have left the church, either because they feel led to go somewhere else or because they have issue with someone in leadership or something within the ministry of the church. These circumstances, and others, have together impacted the financial situation of the church.

Therefore, to be faithful to manage God’s resources well, decisions were made to cut spending. He informed the congregation of decisions to tighten spending, providing an overall view of the cuts. What he did not tell them was that he, along with the other full-time staff member, agreed to have their salaries cut by 15%. They sacrificed so that the part-time staff would not be impacted financially and so other areas of ministry were not stripped of additional resources. So, they quietly sacrificed for those they serve, at significant financial cost to themselves.

However, the Lord continues to bless this ministry. This pastor continues to faithfully teach the Word of God to his congregation. He continues to pour out his life in service to those in his congregation. And God is blessing this ministry, as he, the elders, staff, and ministry leaders strive to implement the vision that God has provided for growing disciples and reaching the community with the gospel. People are learning and growing in the faith through the impact of the ministries of the church. Over the past months, several people have come to Christ and are now growing in their faith. Other believers, who have been less active within the life of the church, are now fulfilling God’s call to serve His people and spread the gospel. Still others, already pouring out their lives, are giving even more of their time and resources. God is at work, even in the midst of uncertainty and struggle.

We could speak of many others, who live throughout this country and the world, pouring out their time, their gifts and talents, opening their homes, giving away their resources and money, living in the face of opposition and danger, and even giving up their lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are not looking for power, fame, and prosperity. They are looking to a greater blessing, that of knowing Jesus Christ and living for the glory of their God. They have counted the treasures of this world as worthless compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ and the eternal treasure that is Him and through Him, both now and for eternity.

So, this leads me to a question. What does following Christ cost us? If following Jesus Christ does not significantly impact our lives (spiritually, culturally, emotionally, physically, financially, popularity, and availability), then we need to examine our lives and priorities. Does the way we live demonstrate that we treasure Christ? Or do we value our earthly possessions, homes, cars, careers, sex, popularity, success, vacations, entertainment, time, and leisure more than Christ?

Here in the American church, I think it is time for a serious evaluation of our lives. How are we different from our neighbors or the culture? Earlier in the letter to the Philippians, Paul urges the church to shine as lights in the world, as they live in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation (Philippians 2:14-18). How are we doing? Do we shine like stars or do we blend right in? If we are to shine like stars, there should be a significant difference in our lives.

Jesus said that people would know we are His by the way we love each other (John 13:34-35). Frequently, some of the greatest damage to Christians is done from within the church. Churches can be ripe with gossip, slander, lack of respect and criticism towards leadership, bitterness, an unwillingness to forgive each other, rebellion, and more. Who needs enemies outside the church? We do the enemy’s work for him. Why get involved in ministry when I can lob grenades from the sidelines? Remember the words of Jesus. The world will know we are His disciples because we love one another.

We are called to give up the temporary pleasures of sin and to pursue God in holiness, through the indwelling and power of the Holy Spirit. We are to put to death what is earthly in us, whether sexual immorality, impurity, overindulgence, coveting, slander, lying, malice, obscene talk, or any of the other sins that entangle us. We have put off the old self, with its practices, and put on the new self which is being renewed into the image of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:5-10). There is a cost to pursuing Christ in righteousness, forsaking those public and private sins. We give up the temporary, but empty, pleasures. But if we yield to His work within us, we will reap joy and the wonder of becoming more like Christ and enjoy fellowship with Him.

Does following Jesus impact how I spend my money and use my resources? The New Testament is full of examples of those who gave abundantly, sacrificed beyond their means, gave up possessions, comfort, and lived humbly so that they could give to God and support the work of the gospel. Many believers throughout the world today make great sacrifices to follow Christ. They give up much and, many times, have things taken from them specifically because they are Christians. Their generosity and forsaking of worldly gain can put us to shame here in America.

How significantly should following Jesus impact us financially? This is a question that every follower of Christ has to ask themselves. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

When, at the end of days, we stand before Christ, I don’t think we are going to wish we had spent more money on homes, cars, going out to eat, entertainment, the newest electronic devices, or the myriads of other things that flash across our computer or television screens. So, how much do I have to give? If I am asking myself the question in that manner, my heart is not in right place. I think we should pray that God would allow us to give as much as possible. “How much can I give, God? Please help me be able to give more!”

When it comes down to it, the cost of being able to live the life of worship is very expensive. However, the ultimate price is not paid by us. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9.

We cannot pay for salvation. We can only receive it. We can never repay God for what we have received. We can only participate in the grace that we have received, living by His power and wisdom, and by following the example of the One Who gave His life for us. And by valuing the eternal and letting go of the temporary, which will fade away in the end, we bring glory to God and are promised the rich reward of our God.

It may be rough going at times, as we learn to leave the things of this world behind and face the backlash of those who hold onto this world and its temporary pleasures. We will face opposition, sometimes even within the church. But the reward of God is eternal and it will never end and it will never fade away. More on that later.

Together for His glory…

The Struggle of the Life of Worship

I don’t get to go fishing as much as I would like. I love to get away from the city, especially in the Fall, when the weather is cooler, and listen to the sound of the wind, water, and leaves. It is very refreshing. I am not a great fisherman, but I still love it. Most of the time, the bait we buy is not the best. The worms have probably been in the container for quite a while. When you pull them out of the dirt, they don’t put up much of a fight.

However, on those rare occasions when the worms are lively, it can be a challenge to get those things on the hook. And once the hook goes through the first time, they really start to fight, thrashing wildly. In these cases, it is not uncommon for the hook to end up in my finger instead of the worm.

When we decide to follow Jesus Christ, we embark on a journey where we will experience victories and defeats. As we grow in our faith, we find new freedom and strength. However, we also find struggle and conflict. In Romans 12:1-2, the apostle Paul implores us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, this being our spiritual worship. The problem with living sacrifices is that they are not dead. We can squirm around and fight back, much like a worm trying to be put on a hook. Pain is not pleasant. We don’t like it and we often resist it.

But Paul is not just talking about pain here. I think he is talking about dying. This refers to the dying that takes place when we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. I was recently reminded of this and the role that sacrifice plays in the Christian life. In World Magazine, the recent article titled “Fixing the Sinkholes,” by Andrée Seu Peterson speaks to this. I recommend the magazine and the article.

The writers of Scripture speak about death, but many times they are not referring to physical death. They are speaking of sacrifice and death to self. Think of Jesus, on the night He was betrayed. The brutality and suffering that awaited Him were immense. He was sitting at a table with His closest earthly friends. Every single one of them would abandon Him. One of them would betray Him. He knew this and, yet, He served them. He washed their feet. He continued to teach them. He prayed for them. He prayed for us. He showed us the way of true worship.

True worship is the abandoning of ourselves to God, giving our lives to Him as a living sacrifice. It means living in the manner that Jesus lived. Jesus was willing to endure suffering for the sake of others and the glory of God. Jesus was willing to be wronged for the sake of others and the glory of God. Jesus was willing to give up His rights for the sake of others and the glory of God. How quickly do we rush to our own defense, standing up for our own rights, harboring the bitterness of wrongs done to us? How often do we pick up our toys and go home when we don’t get our own way or when others don’t do things exactly the way we think they should be done?

Jesus died to His desires. Jesus died to His rights. Jesus died that we might live. Jesus embraced the will of the Father, despite the knowledge that He would bear the full weight of God’s wrath for our sin. Even when He knew He would be abandoned, betrayed, and sacrificed, He continued to love and serve those who would dish out the rejection and send Him to the cross.

How different would our marriages, families, friendships, churches, and communities be if we would simply be willing to suffer rather than take offense and tenaciously hold onto our desire for our preferences and rights to be fully acknowledged and satisfied? Even more, to realize that these afflictions and “thorns” could very well be God’s discipline in our lives, to bring transformation in our lives and make us more like Christ (Hebrews 12:3-17).

What relationships would be transformed and reconciled if I was willing to die to my preferences? I am not talking about denying our convictions that are grounded in the Word of God. I am referring to those things, not essential, that divide us in our relationships. What if I was willing to die to my pride and serve, even if I am rejected or humiliated? What if I humbled myself instead of trying to be vindicated or acknowledged? What if I loved and served those people who drive me crazy and just get under my skin? What if I saw irritating circumstances and people as one of God’s means to make me more like Jesus?

So many people just view worship as an experience or something that we participate in. However, true worship is lived every moment. True is worship is a complete giving of our lives to God. It is living life in the trenches, pressing on to be transformed into the image of Christ in midst of life, not in spite of it. The life of worship is not a cakewalk. It can be filled with many difficulties and struggles, victories and failures. I know I have a long way to go. But God has promised that these struggles are momentary and light, in view of eternity and the glory that awaits and the joy we find in Him. Jesus died so that reconciliation could take place. We are called to follow in His steps. Are we following, or are we seeking an easier way through?

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10

Together for His glory…