Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
     Last week, from God’s Word, we began looking at the blessings of suffering.  Here are a few more:
1.   Suffering can humble us
2.   Suffering can mature us

3.   Suffering can sanctify us
     Suffering and trials serve as a crucible, refining the impurities and imperfections – worldliness and sin – from our lives (see Ps.119:67, 71).  The word sanctify is literally translated “to set apart” and carries the meaning of being dedicated as sacred or consecrated as holy.  Simply put, to be sanctified is to be (made) holy – to remove sin from our lives.  The goal of this refining process is our sanctification, our personal holiness.  Suffering is not the goal, but the means. 
     Would a loving God cause or allow suffering in the life of one of His children in order to get his/her attention and bring them back to Himself?  Absolutely.  Would we not rather go through momentary (in light of eternity) suffering and pain in this life and spend eternity in heaven with God, or go through this life problem-free and spend eternity in hell with no personal or loving relationship with God?  In this, suffering can be seen as a blessing as it creates a dependent and desperate relationship with God (Heb.12:3-11; 1Cor.11:27-32; 1Thess.5:23-24).

4.   Suffering can drive us to pray
     Nothing quite propels us to our knees in prayer quite like suffering.  Suffering and pain, perhaps like nothing else, arrests our attention and awakens our minds to the realization that we are dependent on and desperate for God.  Conversely, prosperity and comfort can sometimes deaden the awareness that we are dependent and desperate for God and lull us into the false notion that we can live independent and aloof without Him.  In times of comfort and prosperity we can neglect the discipline of prayer, and the command to pray (Lk.21:34-36; Rom.12:12; 1Pet.4:7).  When things are going well, we can tend to think that we need God less.  This is never true.
     Like a splash of ice-cold water, suffering will jolt us into the recognition that we desperately need God.  C. S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

5.   Suffering can compel us to be (more) grateful
     It is relatively easy to take God for granted, especially in times of comfort and prosperity.  It is easy for us to think that we deserve blessings from God – that we are entitled to healthy, security and wellbeing.  With this false notion, many people (including many Christians) doubt God’s goodness when they experience trials and sorrows.  Scripture reveals that every blessing we experience is graciously given to us by God (Eph.1:3; Phil.4:11-13; Jms.1:17).
     In the Bible, we are exhorted to give God “thanks always and for everything” (Eph.5:20), and instructed to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1Thess.5:18).  The “always … everything … all” is certainly all-inclusive.  It must be noted that we are not only called to give thanks “in” all circumstances, but also “for” all things.
Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #36):
Numbers 13-16; 1 Chronicles 20-24; Psalm 105-107; Proverbs 22; Joel; John 13-15; 2 Timothy 3-4
Recommended Reading:
“The Power of Suffering” by John MacArthur

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