November 27

Today's Bible Reading
     I Chronicles 23
     I Peter 4
     Micah 2
     Luke 11
''Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happen ed to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." (I Peter 4: 12-13)
Do bad things happen to good people? They certainly do, and some of the worst things seem to happen to some of the best people. That is the theme of the Book of l Peter - Christian suffering. He majors on that here in chapter 4.   .
There are many Bible examples of God 's people facing incredible suffering. Job, of course, is the best example, but there are many others - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three Hebrew children who were cast into a burning, fiery furnace; Daniel, Joseph, Moses, etc. These Bible personalities suffered greatly, but it did not stop with people in the Bible. Salvation is free, but discipleship costs. The early Disciples had the lion's dens and catacombs. It is easy for us in this opulent, materialistic America with our media Christianity, cushioned pew s, stained-glassed windows, and air-conditioned buildings to expect things to be easy. We forget about Jim Elliot in Ecuador, Paul Carlson in the Congo, Bishop Luwum in Uganda, and many others who continue to lay down their lives for the faith.
There are many reasons that Christians suffer, and I'll mention only a few of them here.
   1.   Because they are human. If Christians did not suffer the same human problems that others do, there would be multitudes rushing to Christianity, not because of a sincere commitment, but to escape the afflictions of this life.
   2.   Because they deserve it.   Many times, this is God's chastisement, correction, and discipline on Christians  who are out of fellowship.
   3.   There is no Christian fall-out shelter. It is wise that Christians are not exempt from suffering. It has already been made too easy with cheap Gospel and surface re ligion for people to become ''Christians'' in our modem society.
   4.   To keep the Christian humble and on his knees. Suffering will cause a Christian to seek the face of God like nothing else.
   5.   To teach the Christian patience. God 's Word tells us that ''tribulation worketh patience." Some of us cannot learn patience without difficulty.
   6.   That God may be glorified. In I Peter, this book about suffering, is the phrase, ''The glory of God'' 16 times. His glory comes about through suffering, and it is through the suffering of the Christian that the glory of God is experienced.
  • Fannie Crosby was blind, yet she wrote many classic Christian hymns:
  • Ken Medema, the blind singer, turned physical blindness into Christian celebration and joy.
  • John Milton wrote the immortal Paradise Lost as the result of his shattering experience of blindness.
  • David Brainard, missionary to the American Indians, and Robert Murray McChane, the famous Scottish clergymen, were both afflicted with diseases and died before the age of 30, and yet they made incredible impact for Christ The best is truly yet to come.
In most Third World countries and developing nations, a group that must be touched with the Gospel are the millions of street children who are a part of these countries. One example of this is the developing country of Honduras. The intense poverty in this country has led many children to live on the streets without a home. Pray for the people seeking to protect and reach these impoverished children of Honduras who number more than 20,000.
''Do a deed of simple kindness, though its end you may not see; it may reach, like widening ripples, down a long eternity."
Joseph Morris