Monday, April 18, 2011

Daily Devotional April 18 - Christians have troubles too

"Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 2 Corinthians 11:24-26

I hate to be the one to break the news, but as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, along with the many blessings and benefits, you will have troubles, and not a few. Natural disasters are one thing that all of us can tolerate, because we know that nature takes no captives. We expect nature to deal a heavy blow at times. We understand that nature can be harsh and unforgiving and can come to any of us unknowingly. I think we all agree that the troubles that come with nature are not person specific.

But when your own friends, those that have sat beside you in church, those who have eaten with you and maybe even watched your children; when they become a Judas, it is devastating. When those that you trusted with privy information and those who you relied upon, that you lent your trust to for a season, when they lie about you and steal from you, it is very difficult to understand and sometimes it takes us a long time to get over it. Paul was abused, misused, beaten, lied about, accused falsely and suffered great emotional pain and loss of integrity because those in whom he trusted became turncoats.

I hope you have never experienced the pain of a fellow church member, so-called Christian, deliberately taking advantage of you and trying to destroy you. I have. There are some people that want what you have so badly they will do anything to get it. There are some people that when they really get just how much you love the Lord, they fall to pieces and set out to do wicked things against you. Jesus brings out the best and the worst in people. Those who love the Lord, the best. Those who love themselves more, the worst. Paul was simply trying to tell people what he saw with his own eyes and experienced in his own heart. It was his life-long friends and co-workers in the synagogue that did most of the terrible things to him. But along the way he made enemies also. Along the way when you serve the Lord you are likely to make some enemies.

I just want to encourage you. What others do to you isn't of much consequence in the big picture. God will have his way. What others took from you , God will return multiplied. What others said about you will come back on them, not because God will have to do anything about it, it is part of the consequence of reaping what you sow. What others did to you that caused you to lose ground, and maybe even lose faith in yourself for a time will be renewed like the wings of eagles. Look up to God and thank him that you are worthy to suffer. I am not saying that there is any pleasure in suffering. I am saying that if you continue in the Lord, God will have his way with you at least as long as others have had their way with you. That's something to look forward to.

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