Sunday, August 14, 2016

Thoughts for a Thinking, Feeling, Suffering, Persecuted Believer

Those of us who are disturbed and concerned about the embrace of evil and sin our culture has taken, and especially the tragedy that our church congregations and members of our own families have taken this direction also, have a wonderful opportunity to turn to the Lord. That is actually the most important thing to do.

We empathize with those who have poured out their hearts to us in frustration and disillusionment. We totally understand. We are with you. But, as a wise friend said, those who are complaining are the ones with the most pressing problem. Yes, when we are feeling frustrated and disillusioned, betrayed and perplexed, unsupported, persecuted, and even shunned, we are the ones with the most pressing problem. It's not a problem for our enemies. They don't care. They are full of themselves and completely deceived. We are the ones faltering. Lack of faith is a weakness, a sin in and of itself. If we were perfect we would never falter in our faith. So here we are, ourselves weak and sinful. As such, this is an amazingly clear opportunity to repent and show whose side we are on. It's an amazing opportunity to turn to the Lord, trust fully in him, put our whole reliance on him.

This doesn't mean we won't get discouraged sometimes. It doesn't mean we won't feel sorrow for loved ones and others who have sold their souls to this world and its wickedness; Jesus himself was a man of sorrows. It doesn't mean we won't see what's happening and what will inevitably follow. But it does mean that we continually turn to the Lord, that we wish the true best for everyone, that we choose God first, that we exercise faith in God's plan and Jesus Christ as the only way, that we bear our own small crosses out of love for the Lord, that we live our daily lives looking forward with hope for eternal life. In this way our joy will outweigh our sorrow.

We find it helpful to keep the Word of God close. One way is to memorize scriptures so as to have them at the ready in our hearts and minds at any time. Here are some good ones to memorize and ponder and apply, to, if we must coin a word,  applonderize.


We are troubled on every side,yet not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Or this particular favorite:

. . . let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 123:1-2

Of course there's:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6

Maybe the best:

And now my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock or our Redeemer, who is Christ , the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty wind, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless woe because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. Helaman 5:12

There are seemingly endless terribly lovely truths to choose to hold in our minds. And that is what we must do.

Flannery O'Connor said (and we paraphrase) that any dismay at the wickedness of the world or the inefficiencies of the church is a sign of our nearness to God. There is nothing much we can do about the powers that be here on earth. We mustn't worry about it. Our primary job is to preserve and grow our own personal faith, and that's a difficult enough job for anybody nowadays. Now is the time for followers of Christ to do what they say they believe, to live out the gospel in their minds and hearts and actions. And by the grace of Christ miracles may occur, the greatest miracle being the change in a hard human heart --- including our own.

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