Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Cross, No Crown

I t is tempting to the Christian to want to live a life free from cares and problems here below, but it is not realistic. Even in lands where churches are well established and Christianity is socially acceptable, the believer must expect to find himself repeatedly buffeted and pilloried as he lives to Christ and witnesses to him. If the afflictions and pains are less outward and more inward they are not the less real and lively to his experience. There is a cross to be carried which cannot be seen by any eye but God's. There is a fiery trial which still must be felt inwardly by the mind and soul. Even if does not consume the body it may consume the heart. In our tolerant democracies where there is no martyr's bonfire there may be situations which roast God's people with fiery fears and stretch them on a bed of nails. We are in the apostolic succession if we sometimes experience, 'fightings without' and 'fears within' (2 Cor 7:5).

The Christian and Christian churches are usually at their best in times of suffering. God sent afflictions have a health giving effect upon the believer's soul. They clear his eye sight so that he recognizes this world as the wicked godless place that it is. Afflictions, when blessed by God, are the medicine used to purge the soul of its worldliness and its love of life's vanities. Those who have been in the crucible have lost more of their scum. They who have been in the fire with Christ have felt the sweetness of his presence, as few others have. When we are in trouble the promises of God's Word are more precious to us than gold. So too the church's suffering times are often her golden ages.

There will to the very end be trials in this life for God's people. Our ultimate comfort lies in this, that all Christ's promises will outlive this short life: 'In this world ye shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world' (John 16:33).
~ Great God Of Wonders by Maurice Roberts

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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1