Not

2 Corinthians 4:8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – What a blessing. God will not permit us to go through things that will crush us, or cause us to despair. He may allow persecution, but He will not abandon us. We may be struck down, but not to the point of being destroyed.

My Advice – Don’t give up and don’t give in. God will see you through.

Beyond Our Ability to Endure

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 We do not want you to be uninformed about the hardships we suffered…far beyond our ability to endure. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – While Paul did not have the ability to endure, we know that he did until he was martyred. During all this he learned to rely on God.

My Advice – Learn from hardships. Learn to rely on God. He will never fail you.

Adversity Into Advantage

Romans 8:28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – This verse does not say that all things will be good for God’s children (the “called” who love Him). It is certain that they will not. But it is also certain that “in” all things God “will” work for our good. God turns adversity into advantage.

My Advice – When you are going through a rough patch, don’t let it get you down by focusing on the trouble. Instead, start looking for the good things that God is working out for you through the trouble, it will give you a lift.

 

What Becomes of Suffering?

Romans 5:3-5We also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us. (NIV 1984)

My Musings – It sounds perverse at first reading. Rejoice that we suffer? But that is not what it says. Rejoice in suffering. The suffering itself is not something to rejoice about. But in the suffering, we can rejoice about the permanent improvements it is making in us, involving our ability to persevere, the development of our character and our capacity for hope.

My Advice – Persevere through suffering. There is hope at the end. And once you come through it, your character will be further developed.

But Take Heart!

John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We have to live in this world, so we will (not may) have trouble. But as believers, we are also in Christ so we can have peace. Why is this possible? Because Christ has overcome the world and if we are in Him we are overcomers too.

My Advice – Do not be surprised when problems arise. Jesus warns that they will come. But He also promises that you can have peace despite the troubles. If you do not have peace it is either because you are out of fellowship with Him or you are not trusting Him enough. Take care of these, and you will get the peace.

Leaving All, Receiving Many Times As Much

Luke 18:28-30Peter said to Him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and in the age to come, eternal life.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Few have to make these kinds of sacrifices for God, but when they do, it is a comfort to know that they will receive back many times over.

My Advice – Do not fret over things sacrificed for God. After all, they were only temporary anyway.

Because of Him

Mark 13:13 – “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – There are a lot of reasons that people may hate us, but being hated because of our relationship to Christ is nothing to be ashamed of or to fear. Rather we should stand firm in the face of such opposition and not compromise to gain favor.

My Advice – Do not try too hard to gain the world’s favor. It is likely that you will be subjected to a certain degree of dislike or ridicule because you profess to know Christ. Do not be ashamed of this. Be proud of it.