Every family has headaches and heartaches. Because human depravity runs deep, it is impossible to rear our children from infancy to independence without encountering times that call for straight talk and tough love. While we love our children no matter what, parents cannot escape those occasions when wills clash, rebellion reaches an impasse, and things get downright impossible.More Information
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Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
In yesterday's post, we were introduced to four common struggles all servants of God deal with. Really, they're consequences. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 we read them: afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down.
The first word, translated "afflicted," comes from a Greek term that suggests the idea of pressure. This is stress brought on by difficult circumstances or by antagonistic people. In other words, when servants are "afflicted," they feel under pressure, harassed, and oppressed. The Greek verb, thlibo, is a strong one, meaning at times "to treat with hostility."
Paul goes on to write there are times when servants of God become "perplexed." Interestingly, the combination of Greek terms that comprise the original word means "without a way." It is a picture of confusion—not knowing where or to whom to turn for help. Included in the meaning of this word would be such perplexing predicaments as being without necessary resources, feeling embarrassed, and in doubt so far as procedure is concerned. We have the phrase "at a loss" which adequately describes that uncertain feeling. There is more.
Originally, the term persecution meant "to run after, pursue." It's the idea of being chased, having others "on our case," we would say. It is an active, aggressive word conveying everything from being intimidated to being assaulted, actually attacked. Servants will suffer persecution. You may recall Paul's words, written to Timothy: "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). Persecution is one of those painful consequences, along with affliction and confusion.
Finally, he names one more consequence—rejection. That's tomorrow.
Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
Jesus forgives sin and secures salvation for all who believe (Colossians 1:13-14). Believe in Him, be forgiven, and be saved. Jesus forgives the sins of His followers (1 John 2:1-2). If you have sinned, confess and ask Him to forgive, cleanse, and restore.
When facing tragedy or enduring long months of drought, it’s easy to shut down and go through the motions until you don’t feel so vulnerable. Instead, take a page from Jeremiah and give it to God—tell Him everything (He knows it anyway) and trust Him to water your soul. Because that’s how you grow deep roots. That’s how you find peace when it doesn’t make sense.
If there’s a “won’t” in your life that you’ve been calling a “can’t,” talk it over with God. Use any or all of these short passages to help you find God’s perspective as you pray: Psalm 105:4, Isaiah 43:18-19, Habakkuk 3:19, and Hebrews 10:35-39.
I hear Christians ask, “Sin is sin, isn’t it?” as they think about judgment and consequences. The answer is yes and no. Insofar as every sin, whether taking a pencil or taking a life breaks God’s law, it is sin. But the consequences for life, judgment, reward, punishment, and eternity are not the same for all sins or for all good works.