I realize it has been quite a while since I did any posting, so I thought it was time to start making up for that!
My wife and I have been busy settling into a new church fellowship. It is a small, somewhat rural church with a faithful gathering of believers who have done much to make us feel welcome as part of the church family. Revisiting our former church family this past Saturday evening served to validate our decision to move on — although we miss some people there and were happy to see them again. Between the new church, my job and the Spring improvement projects we’ve undertaken, my focus has shifted to some degree from my writing to other matters
3 And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; 4 and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. 5 Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. -Romans 5:3-5 (AMP)
The pastor at the church we attends now has been focused on suffering the past couple of weeks. Certainly not a topic that most Christians wish to engage in or practice! Nonetheless it serves us well, in terms of building ourselves up in Christ as His followers and children of the most high God. Sometimes, I think that people in countries that persecute Christians can be better off. Why? I know that, for me, I am closer to God and more thoughtful of Him when things aren’t going the way I want them to. More than once has fear and anxiety driven me to the throne of God for help. When things are going well, it is easier to buy into the flesh — which tells me that all that matters is right here and now (in front of me and material in nature) and that I deserve some credit for what I have or have accomplished. It is such thoughts that drive me from the foot of the cross to the threshold of the enemy. That I must always be on guard against.
The God of Comfort
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction,[a] so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. -2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (HCSB)