Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Adversity Brings Blessings

Chuckle: "The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public." --George Jessel
Quote: When you think of the blessings of God, remember one child's description of an elevator: "I got into this little room and the upstairs came down." --Unknown Author

"The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus" (Acts 5:41 NLT). "God blesses the people who patiently endure testing" (James 1:12 NLT).
Have you ever thought of blessings being the outcome of persecution and suffering? It is alien to the world's way of thinking to say that adversity and suffering could be reasons for rejoicing. However, sometimes the greatest blessings come out of difficult times because these experiences can serve to deepen your relationship with your Lord and dependence upon Him.
Our passage is referring to the beatings Peter and others had suffered. This was the first time any apostles had been physically abused for their faith. But to them such abuse was reason for joy. They fully understood how Jesus had suffered on their behalf and praised God for allowing them to share in that suffering -- to be persecuted for their Lord.
When I think about blessings coming as a result of trials and troubles, I'm reminded of the beatitudes. "Blessed (happy) are those who mourn, are persecuted, are insulted." To be happy and blessed when everything is going wrong requires viewing life from God's perspective. Such blessings come solely from our relationship with Jesus Christ.
The rewards from having Christ in your life can make all the adversity and trials of this life appear as insignificant compared to the joy of belonging to him. For blessings to come from adversity, that adversity must be the result of our faithfulness to our Lord. If trouble comes to us because of our sinful actions, there's no way God can bless us. However, when we suffer trials, persecution, or other hardship because of our loyalty to Christ, He will be with us all the way.
"Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad -- because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world" (I Peter 4:12-13 NLT). Be happy if you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God will come upon you . . . it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his wonderful name" (I Peter 4:14, 16 NLT).
The apostle Paul puts joy and praise into perspective because of God's blessings for his people. "How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ" Ephesians 1:3 NLT). Paul wrote in Philippians 3:10, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, . . ." Someone has said, "A brook would lose its song if God removed the rocks."
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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