Morning Musing: Hebrews 10:32-34

“Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way. For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, because you know that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things Jesus made clear over the course of His ministry is that following Him was not going to be easy. In fact, it was going to be hard…really hard. When we give our lives to God’s kingdom, the authorities of the kingdom of this world aren’t going to take the loss of their power over us lightly. To the extent they are able, they are going to make our lives as difficult and miserable as they can. The obvious question here is why anyone would sign up for this. Because there’s more to life than this life. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 2:10

“For in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God – for whom and through whom all things exist – should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How do you make something better? You have to work it and work with it. Great improvement doesn’t come overnight. Not even small improvement does. It comes one step at a time…often one hard step at a time. Sometimes, the harder a road something has been through, the better it has become. This isn’t a guarantee my any means, but perfection doesn’t often come without suffering. This applies to just about everything…including Jesus according to the author of Hebrews here. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Romans 5:3-4

“And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How do you handle it when things don’t go your way? Are you the kind of person who can pretty much just roll with it, or are you more of a worrier? The fact is, sometimes life doesn’t go our way. And while those departures from expectation are usually fairly minor and little more than inconveniences, occasionally they are far more bothersome than that. Sometimes these setbacks take the form of various trials and tribulations; they appear as painful persecutions. What do we do then? Paul offers some counsel here that sounds really odd, but in the context of a relationship with Jesus makes perfect sense. Let’s talk about it.

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More Like Jesus

As we draw near the end of our series, Standing Firm, this morning we set our sights on what is the end goal of our efforts to remain rooted in Jesus in spite of the culture’s attempts to pull us up. Any time we are on a long journey, it’s helpful to know where we are going. Peter gives us one of those points here. Let’s talk today about how we can become more like Jesus.

More Like Jesus

Have you ever arrived before? Now, you’re probably sitting there starting to think I’m just a bit off…okay, some of you were probably already thinking that, but this just confirms your suspicions. Of course you have arrived before. You arrived at church this morning and here you are. Duh. But that’s not what I mean. I’m thinking a little bigger than that, like when we finally arrived at my folks house a few weeks ago after having been on the road for almost 36 hours. I can’t remember a time I’ve been so thankful to be out of a car.

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No Good Deed

As we continue in our journey through 1 Peter, we get a reminder today that even though our best deeds often don’t go unpunished, that shouldn’t slow us down on our journeys after Jesus. Instead, the suffering we face for doing good is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to advance the Gospel in ways we won’t otherwise get. Let’s talk today about suffering and serving Jesus.

No Good Deed

I heard a news story the other day about a man named Paul Gaylord. Ever heard of him before? I hadn’t either. That’s okay, though, because he lives in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Paul has a cat named Charlie. Back in 2014, Charlie went missing for a few days. Now, if you have cats that are not strictly inside cats, you know that’s not so unusual. Cats do their own thing. Outside cats occasionally grace their owners with their presence, especially if they are hungry, but otherwise can sometimes vanish for a little while. Eventually Charlie came back. Unfortunately, Charlie was not quite in the same condition as when he left. His face was swollen up and he was clearly having some trouble breathing. Being a conscientious pet owner, Paul jumped into action. He forced open Charlie’s mouth and eventually figured out that there was a dead, rotting mouse lodged in his throat. I know…gross! Well, Paul got the mouse out, but as a reward for his troubles, Charlie bit him on the hand and broke the skin.

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