Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Joy of Knowing Christ

Chuckle: "From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put." --Winston Churchill
Quote: "Gratitude and faith are brothers, and their children -- optimism and enthusiasm -- are first cousins." --William Arthur Ward

"We can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God -- all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends with God." (Romans 5:11 NLT).
We should be grateful for what God has done for us rather than grumbling because He has not done enough. I suspect each of us has no problem finding something to grumble about if we really try. If we lose sight of the miraculous relationship we have with God through Christ, we become susceptible to feeling sorry for ourselves when we face even minimal hardships.
Just think about it; through Christ you are not only a child of God, but a friend of God. Jesus said to His disciples, "I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it -- the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. You are my friends if you obey me. . . . Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me" (John 15:12-14,15b NLT).
Because Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, He has every right to call us servants; but forgoing that right, He chose to call us friends, and He laid down His life for His friends. As children and friends of God, "then we are heirs--heirs of God and heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory" (Romans 8:17 NIV). Yes, we can grumble and complain when we experience disappointments and hardships; but if we really understand our amazing relationship with Almighty God, the joy we experience should far outweigh any suffering we may be asked to bear.
Believers in the first century suffered extreme economic and social persecution. Some were even tortured and killed. These same types of persecution are being exacted on Christians in parts of our modern-day world. Yet, like the first century Christian, those being persecuted continue to experience great joy because of their relationship with our Lord. "However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name" (1 Peter 4:16 NIV).
The next time you feel like grumbling, reflect on your eternal relationship with the Creator of the universe and the love He has shown you. This reflection should convince you to be praising Him rather than grumbling because things are not exactly like you would prefer. Our hardships are nothing compared to the sufferings of our Lord which made our inexplicable joy possible.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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