Suffering, Bible Studies

Hold Fast !Premium Content

Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. Revelation 2:25


Jesus asked, "when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8 Sometimes, as we look around us, we wonder if He will. There are so many - individuals, congregations, denominations - who haven't held fast anything, but have piece by piece or wholesale given away the most precious truths in the universe, exchanging the Word of God for a bowl of weak, watery, unsatisfying something.

Jesus has called us to hold fast what we have. We don't know everything about God's will, His plan, His purpose, or His activity, but what we do know, we are to cling to. We have His Word - I could reach out my hand from my chair right now, and touch or pick up 15 separate copies of the Bible, plus what's on my computer - and we are to hold fast to it. And this isn't merely the physical printed Book. As wonderful as it is to be able to own 15 copies of the Bible (there are places in the world where a single copy, or a single book of the Bible, has to suffice for an entire congregation), it's not enough to own them, or even read and study them. Someone who's drowning in Bibles, yet lets what it says slip through the fingers of his mind as water slips through the fingers of his hands, might as well never have seen a Bible in his life.

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When You Feel Like Giving Up - Hang in TherePremium Content

There are times (though they are fleeting) that I feel like giving up on everything and everybody. That includes me and even God. Thankfully Heavenly Papa doesn't take me seriously. And neither does He issue me a citation for going too far out of bounds from His Watch Care, Grace and Love. David said,

If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon,
you'd find me in a minute - you're already there waiting!
Psalm 139: 8-9, The Message

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Reigning Through SufferingPremium Content

...it is both sin and Satan that we contend with, and our daily handling of suffering will directly determine how much sin and Satan will prevail.

Absorbing the Evil

Evil propagates itself by a chain reaction. It is like a bad coin, which is passed on from one person to another until it reaches someone who will put it out of currency by absorbing the loss. If one man injures another, there are three ways in which evil can win a victory and only one way in which it can be defeated. If the injured person retaliates, or nurses a grievance, or takes it out on a third person, the evil is perpetuated and is therefore victorious. Evil is defeated only if the injured person absorbs the evil and refuses to allow it to go any further. It is this kind of victory which Paul describes when he says that Christ died to sin.1

G. B. Caird has given us a brilliant insight: the defeat of evil is often determined by the injured person! How? It is that person's choice to absorb the evil through longsuffering, meekness, and love. When people do this, they prevent their personal injustice to percolate and transform itself into something they take out on another. The sin stops with them.

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Life's Challenges: Pointless or Pointillism?Premium Content

When I was in high school, my saintly art teacher tried her best to give us rural hooligans some culture. The jury is still out on the results. But, in the study of different styles and artists, we learned about pointillism. The definition reads as follows:

A late 19th-century style of painting in which a picture is constructed from dots of pure color that blend, at a distance, into recognizable shapes and various color tones.

The artist, George Seurat is one such artist who incorporated pointillism. His famous work, "Sunday Afternoon On the Island Of La Grande Jatte," has made its way into popular culture, as well as into the Art Institute of Chicago.

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In Times of Stress and Struggle

Proverbs 17:24 NRSV
The discerning person looks to wisdom,
but the eyes of a fool to the ends of the earth.

These are dire times. In most cases, regardless of the time of life or the circumstances surrounding us, these are dire times. There are few days of rest and relaxation, many days of concern and emotional buffeting. And in those times of stress and struggle, we often wear ourselves out looking for solutions to our problems rather than simply laying those problems at the feet of our Savior. In illness, we search for medicines and doctors and treatments. In financial distress, we search for jobs and loans and money. In emotional distress, we search for friends and relationships and happiness. Scripture tells us that "the discerning person looks to wisdom."

Wandering in the Wilderness? Keep a Proper Perspective

We all wander in the wilderness to some extent. No one on earth has "arrived." Anxieties, fears, worries, depression, pain afflict us all.

Just because someone is saved does not mean that bad things no longer happen or that we cease to be confused at times. The difference is Who we choose to carry us when we can no longer carry ourselves.

We all have a choice to make. Are you going to be the Lord of your own life and insist on going it alone? Will you look to other people, places and things to carry you? (This is
idolatry). Or will you look to God?

Need Strength? Our Sure Resource!

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble! Psalm 46:1

God intended Himself to be the great fountain of supply to His creatures. All are to be dependent on Him--and to look for their supplies from Him. Just so, the believer is to apply to God for all. Ample provision is made--but it is only in Jesus. Promises are given--but they are to be fulfilled by Jesus. He possesses all fullness, and as such He presents Himself to us as His needy dependent creatures--and says, "Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other!" Isaiah 45:22

This is the business of faith and prayer--to look to Jesus, and apply to Jesus for all that we need. Let us consider these words as spoken unto us every day--as calling us away from dependence on the creature, and as directing us how to act under all circumstances. It is Jesus who speaks. Jesus, as God. Jesus, as the Savior. Jesus, full of sympathy and power. Let us therefore listen to--and act upon His Word.

Trusting in the Promises of GodPremium Content

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and theLORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. Genesis 21:1-2 NKJV

God is always faithful to His promises. His word is absolute truth, so we can invariably be assured that, just like we are told in Isaiah 55:10-11, God will not see His word return to Him void when He sends it out to achieve important purposes in our lives: As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Have you given up hope in a promise that God has made to you because you have not yet seen its fulfillment?

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When Things Look Bleak, Do You Still Trust God?

Genesis 50:10-20a NRSV
Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good."

The story of Joseph is always amazing to me. I keep coming back, again and again, during different experiences in my life, to this particular verse and to the reality that was Joseph’s. You see, I’ve heard many preachers extol the honors that Joseph received, how he went from a slave to becoming Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. But that’s not quite the entire story.

Is Your Protection Truly the Lord?

    Psalm 89:17-18 NLT
    You are their glorious strength. Our power is based on Your favor. Yes, our protection comes from the Lord, and He, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king.


How much should we defend ourselves?
Perhaps the question should actually be, how much do we allow the Lord to defend us? Is our protection truly the Lord? Do we allow Him to work in situations and to take care of us? Do I?

I often wish that life would just stop for awhile and let me rest, that I could go through a few days without some kind of crisis. I would love to be able to get up, live the day, come home, go to bed, and simply breathe, rather than having to deal with the problems that come from living in a sinful world. I sure that many other believers have the same desire.

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