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Showing posts from July, 2022

Leap for Joy!

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When disciples are persecuted for their faith, they are to rejoice for being accounted “worthy” to suffer for Jesus .  In the experience of the church, the outbreak of persecution is always a possibility, and believers often face hostility from employers, neighbors, and even family members. So, how should they react when the possibility becomes a sudden reality? Fortunately, both Jesus and his apostles left us with clear instructions and examples - [ Photo by Cam Adams on Unsplash ].

He Poured Himself Out

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Christ’s submission to an unjust death is the paradigm for Christian love and service that disciples are summoned to emulate .  In his letter to the Philippians, Paul points to the obedience of Jesus as the model for proper conduct by his disciples. His willing submission to death on the Roman cross sets the pattern for his followers. And his subsequent elevation over all things is the result of that “ obedience to death ,” for exaltation did not precede death, but followed it - [ Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash ].

Suffering and Discipleship

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To follow Jesus means self-denial and a willingness to suffer, and for disciples, persecution is the highest honor – Matthew 5:10-12 .  For disciples, retaliation and violence are NOT appropriate reactions when persecution occurs. Rather than respond in kind, they must meet threats with humility, mercy, and love. That is what it means to “ deny yourself ” and “ take up his cross .” And while praying for one’s “ enemies ” is contrary to the “ wisdom of this age ,” it epitomizes the paradigm of Christ crucified  -[ Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash ].

Day of Wrath

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The day of “wrath” is coming when the wicked will pay the ultimate price for their disobedience to God – Romans 2:5 .  The proclamation of the gospel unveils two forces that are at work in the world - “ righteousness ” and “ wrath .” But they will produce two very different results - “ salvation ” and “ destruction .” One will culminate in the “ day of wrath and God’s righteous judgments ,” the other in salvation, resurrection, and new creation - [ Photo by Dominik QN on Unsplash ].

Wrath in Revelation

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“Wrath” refers to the final judicial sentence of God on His enemies It is not synonymous with “tribulation. ”  In Revelation , the “ wrath of God ” is  NOT  synonymous with “ tribulation ,” nor is it identical with the “ plagues ” unleashed by the series of “ seals ,” “ trumpets ,” and “ bowls of fury .” Despite the latter’s devastations, impenitent men continue to rebel against God. Instead, “ wrath ” refers to the final sentence of God on His enemies - [ Lightning over Warsaw - Photo by Krzysztof Kotkowicz on Unsplash ].

Though He Slays Me

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“Though He slays me yet will I trust in him, and I will maintain my ways before him” – Job 13:15 .  Each of us has asked the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Why, despite their faithfulness and supplications, do many Christians become ill and die from horrible diseases? Why do so many not experience the emotionally satisfying presence of God, see visions, or have angelic visitations? - [ Lighthouse in storm - Photo by Marcus Woodbridge on Unsplash ].

Rescuing Us From Wrath

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Even now, Jesus is “rescuing” his people from the coming “wrath” that the unrighteous will receive when he arrives in glory .  Paul was compelled to leave Thessalonica early by opposition from the synagogue and city officials. He later attempted to return but was thwarted “ by Satan .” Due to his anxieties about the congregation, he sent Timothy to investigate matters. His letter to the Thessalonians is his thankful response after hearing of the continuing faithfulness of the Thessalonian church - [ Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash ].