Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Overflow": Both Suffering and Comfort.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance [overflow], so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. (2 Corinthians 1:1-6)


As we walk through this life as Christians, we don’t go looking for trouble; we don’t have to, it finds us. Many days I cry out to God “Why?” I ask for an answer to the “why’s” of others sufferings, or more often, the “why’s” of my own. Let me share some thoughts written by Linda Belleville from her commentary on 2 Corinthians on the above verses.

Linda writes:

The Christian is not promised release from trouble but help in the midst of it. The implication is that if we are serving Christ, we will encounter hardships. This is a given of the Christian life, as it was a given in Christ’s life. As Paul puts it the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives (v. 5). The Greek verb translated “to flow over” means “to exceed the measure.” Not only does God not deliver us from suffering, but he actually permits suffering to brim over into our lives. Yet this is not just any suffering but specifically the suffering of Christ. What does this mean? It does not mean that we somehow complete what Christ failed to finish on the cross. The idea is, rather, that to identify with Christ is to identify with the suffering that was an essential part of his earthly ministry. What Paul articulates here is in essence what Jesus taught his disciples—to wit, that all who would come after him must deny self, take up the cross and follow him (Mk 8:34) Suffering overflowed into Christ’s life; suffering overflows into ours. This is a hard truth for many of us to accept, and the Corinthians also had a problem in this area. In their case, they thought that they had “arrived” and had conquered the frailties of human existence (1 Cor. 4:8-10). As a result, the sufferings that Paul underwent tended to discredit him in their eyes. In response, Paul attempts to drive home in verses 3-5 that both the gospel ministry and the lot of the Christian involve suffering.

Paul’s purpose in this eulogy is not merely to praise God for personal comfort received or to discuss the nature of the gospel ministry. His primary concern is to show the Corinthians [and us] that their lives are inescapably intertwined, so that what impact Paul impacts the Corinthians and what impact the Corinthians impacts Paul. It is for their benefit, he says, that he encounters trouble. For, if we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort (v. 6). Whatever he experiences, be it suffering or comfort, the Corinthians personally benefit. Paul then goes on to state an important but often neglected truth. Service to the body of Christ results in personal gain rather than personal loss. The experience of comfort received and imparted produces patient endurance (v.6). The net effect is the ability to endure the same suffering we suffer (v. 6)—that is, hardships and trials experienced in the course of proclaiming the gospel.(pp55-56)

So the point that I am trying to get across with this passage, is that to remind myself ( and you) that if we are truly walking with Christ; we’ve all got a ‘tough row to hoe.’ Although not every day is a trial; we will gain in the end…not just in the ‘sweet by-and-by’ but in strength, patience, and love poured into us by Christ’s strengthening us…for us to be ‘conduits’ of His love and grace…to overflow to others.

L. Belleville, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: 2Corrinthians (1996, Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Sunday Comics" From Robin

Here are a few Sunday Comics from the wonderful drawing board of Robin Jensen.




If you would like to see Robin's original artwork go to his web page "Jazz-Art Jauntin"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Undesigned Coincidences" in the New Testament

Here is an introduction of the idea of "Undesigned Coincidences" which is being re-introduced and expanded by Dr. Tim McGrew, philosophy professor at Western Michigan State.  Cris Putnam designed this video to explain an over-view of how this works.


You can visit Cris' blog Logos Apologia here.

And you can visit Tim McGrew's blog Library of Historical Apologetics here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Some Thoughts on Forgiveness

The next time you think that you can never forgive someone for the awful things they put you through.


And you think “I wouldn’t want to be in heaven with them!”

Remember this:

From the cross, Jesus spoke these words “Father forgive them, for they do not understand what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)


It is clear that many of those who heard Peter preach at Pentecost were the very crowd who cried “Crucify Him.” Or is it possible that in the crowd were some of the Pharisees who were in the Sanhedrin the night Jesus was condemed; the ones  who punched Jesus in the face (see Matthew 26:67 & Mark 14:65). It seems from history that many of the Pharisees were among the first Christians, and were a large part of the early church (Remember Nicodemus).


“What can we do to be saved!” they cried.


Peter said “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of you sins…” (Acts 2:38)


These same people who cried for Jesus’ crucifixion are in heaven with Him.


God gives forgiveness.


God is the one saving.


God is the one doing the changing...renewing hearts and minds.( see Romans 12:2)


Remember “…that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (1Timothy 1:15) And who said that?

...and how many years did it take him to get squared away in his mind?
 
(Acording to the records, somewhere around 14 years!)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Peter Scheibner "A Pilots Story"


I'm not really sure how to intro this video; so I won't.  But please watch it through to the end.  We all should live our lives "To the Glory and Honor of God!"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Franciscan Benediction from "Beautiful Feet"

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships – so that we may live deep within our hearts. May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people – so that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war – so that we may reach out our hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in the world – so that we can do what others claim cannot be done, to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor. Amen. (Franciscan Benediction)

This posted at "Beautiful Feet"




Friday, October 7, 2011

"Are Biblical Laws Imoral?" (video)

I posted this video on my facebook page; but I decided to also post it here...partially because I wanted to see if I could...and partially because there are some followers of this blog who are not my facebook 'friends'.  You will note that at the end of this video, Brett gives a great plug for Paul Copan's book "Is God a Moral Monster", which I also reviewed on this blog.

Thank you Christiana S. for originally posting this on her blog "In Defence of the Christian Faith"( go here) 


You see, God never changes...But what does change is how we as finite, fallen humans, understand God.  We are the ones that do the changing. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Swans

Swans,

birds that make no sound.

Yet,
according to legends,
will sing a most beautiful
Song,
at the time of their death.


There was another
who spoke
lyrics to the
Ultimate Song,


that changed the world.


Surrounded with darkness
and blood—“It is finished!”


Changed history,
Changed the world,
And can change your eternity.


But only if
you—forfeit;
will,
pride,
vanity,


and take up your cross.


If only you—like swans,


Sing.