Shaped By Suffering: How Temporary Hardships Prepare Us for Our Eternal Home

I think we can all agree that 2020 was one heck of a year. Many of us had to deal with loss and suffering whether that be lifestyle changes, loss of job, or the death of family and/or friends. 2021 hasn’t started out any better with the capital riots, and the strained transition of power between Presidents. As I was looking over my bookshelf, trying to determine what books I wanted to read for this blog, one caught my eye that seemed to be a good resource for the year we just had. Shaped by Suffering: How Temporary Hardships Prepare Us for Our Eternal Home by Kenneth Boa with Jenny Abel was published, rather timely, in February of 2020 by InterVarsity Press, and completes a trilogy of books on cultivating an eternal perspective. Boa and Abel essentially take on the age-old-question, in this book, “How can a good God allow suffering?” By looking at the epistle 1 Peter, they suggest that God uses our suffering for our spiritual formation to make us more like Christ.

Continue reading “Shaped By Suffering: How Temporary Hardships Prepare Us for Our Eternal Home”

The Gospel of John: John 11

Happy Thanksgiving! I know that this time of year might be hard for you with the loss of someone special. I think this week’s chapter is a good reminder that we can still be joyous through pain.

Last week Jesus continued to explain how he is God. He pointed towards testimonies of others, Scripture, and even the miracles he was able to perform. There were many who believed, and still many that did not. This week Jesus shows us that he is in the messiness of life with us. He does not sit above it all and never gets touched. Rather, being human, God experienced the same pain and struggles that we have to deal with on a regular basis. Continue reading “The Gospel of John: John 11”

The Letter to Smyrna

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Today’s message is quite short. Jesus is speaking to the Church in Smyrna. Smyrna is located in what is currently known as Turkey.

Jesus offers them encouragement through suffering about to come their way. Their biggest enemy was going to be the Jews. The is constantly a theme through the early days of the Gentile Church. Not that the Jews were against it, but Paul always speaks against Jewish practices in the life of a Gentile Christian. Jesus says to the Church, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life… He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.” (Revelation 2:10-11, NASB).

What does this mean to us today, you may be asking. Well, it seems to me to burst the bubble of the “Prosperity Gospel”. This is teaching that if you believe in Jesus, life is going to be easy-breezy. You won’t have any hardship or troubles. If you do, than you don’t believe in Jesus hard enough. This teaching is completely against the actual teaching of the gospel. Jesus says that we must pick up our cross daily and follow him (Luke 9:23). He goes on to discuss how suffering is apart of the game. All, but one, of the twelve apostles died a martyr’s death during the first century AD.

But Jesus offers us the same comfort he did to the Smyrnans (I’m not sure that’s what you’d call them, but it works for me). We must be faithful to Christ through the hard times. He doesn’t promise to lead us only through the good times; he’s also there in the bad. ¬†If you are going through rough times, it’s even more important to keep your faith.

Reminds me of a hymn called God Will Take Care of You. Take a listen below