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I read 2 Corinthians 1 (Select vv. NIV)

All of us, at times, will experience troubles, heartaches, or disappointments, or we will face rejection, criticism, or mistreatment from others. We will meet people in this world who will like us, and then there will also be people in our lives who won’t care for us at all, who may even hate us, and who will want nothing to do with us. Now, this may be because of some flaw in our personalities or in our character, but it may also be because of our walks of faith with Jesus Christ, and because of our commitments to his service.

Sometimes relationships begin well, and we have the hope that this person or this group is going to be different from the others, and so we let our hearts be vulnerable again, and we share openly from the depths of our beings some things about our lives, our beliefs, or our thoughts, and we let people see inside us, who we are, and concerning our hopes or our dreams. We share openly concerning our faith in our Lord Jesus, and the things he is teaching us from his Word, and initially, we may be received well.

But, then the bubble bursts. The world wasn’t ready for us, after all. But, not just the world, but the church, i.e. our fellow believers who are supposed to love and encourage us in our walks of faith. They weren’t ready. We weren’t who they thought we were, or who they thought we ought to be. Everything was good, or seemed to be, until we said that one thing that triggered it all; that one thing that upset their “sacred cows,” i.e. their traditions, their theologies, their culture, their upbringing, their lifestyles or their practices.

Maybe it was because we challenged the pledging (vowing) of allegiance (fidelity) to the US flag (government) that it ruffled their feathers. Or, perhaps, it was because we questioned a particular teaching, examining it to see if it was biblical or if it was man-made. Or, it could be that we said that we did not believe in Santa Claus, and we, in fact, believe that he is a false god to whom his creators erroneously credit the attributes of Almighty God.

Or, maybe it was when we shared the belief that we must repent of our sins and that we must walk (in lifestyle) in obedience to our Lord, if we want the assurance of eternal life with God in heaven, that it did not set well with them. And, just possibly it is because we love the Lord God with all our hearts, and we desire him above all else, and we truly love our neighbors as God loves us, and gave himself up for us so that we could be free from addiction to sin, and be free to now walk in his righteousness, that we are being hated, rejected and are being called upon to suffer for HIS name.

In Our Comfort (vv. 3-7)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Jesus Christ, when he lived on this earth, faced much rejection, hatred, false accusations, and persecutions, and for many of the same reasons as what I described above, i.e. that he stepped on people’s “sacred cows,” or he told them that they had to turn from their sins and that they had to walk in obedience to God. They didn’t like him because he challenged their man-made teachings and their human traditions and religious and hypocritical rituals and ceremonies, and because he didn’t follow them, too. They, as well, thought his teaching was “too hard” when he told them the true cost of being one of his followers (John 6:35-66). And, many turned away from him.

Jesus said, that if we are to be his followers, that we will be hated as he was hated, and that they will treat us like they treated him, and for many of the same reasons. So, our goal in life and in ministry is not to be popular or to be well liked by humans, not that we go around trying to be difficult, but that if we are being like Jesus, and we are doing what he did, and we say the kinds of things he said, not everyone is going to be our friend. Our goal should not be to see how many “likes” we receive, or how many comments we get, or how many followers we can attain, but it should be to love our Lord and to follow in his ways, and to obey him in being and doing and saying what he has for us to be, do and say, all in his power and strength.

Then, when we suffer persecution and mistreatment, it will be because we were following in our Lord’s footsteps. And, then his comfort will overflow into our hearts and lives as he encourages us and he moves us to keep on keeping on, even if people do reject us or hate us or speak evil against us. And, then, too, we learn endurance, holiness, patience, forbearance, and compassion for others who are suffering like we have suffered. And, we learn, too, that we cannot rely on our own strength or willpower or thinking to get us through these troubled times, but our dependency must be fully in our Lord, thus we must surrender to his will, and follow in his ways.

Our Conscience Testifies (vv. 12-14)

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.

You know, there are always going to be people in this world, and inside the church, who have their own ideas of what a Christian should look like or act like or talk like. Now, their opinions may be based in the truths of God’s Word, and if so, that is a good thing. But, their opinions may be, instead, founded in the flesh of human thinking and reasoning.

Some of these people (the latter) will try to influence us to be more like them and less like Jesus, because they think that being like Jesus Christ, in reality, is just a little too weird, i.e. it isn’t “normal.” Now, they may not actually equate our words and actions with those of Christ, because they have a skewed idea of who he really was and did, so they may not think of it exactly in those terms, but, in reality, they often will reject us because we are being just like Jesus, and it is because they truly reject him, too.

But, I’m not really talking about the people who make no claims of faith in Christ here, but I am speaking about those who profess faith in Christ. Remember who Jesus’ fiercest opponents and critics were? They were the people of his own faith, of the temple of God, and many of them were in positions of rulership (or leadership) within the temple. And, some of our fiercest opponents and critics will also be within the walls of institutional Christianity, and may even be among the pastors or elders. Some of them, in reality, will reject us truly because we have conducted ourselves with integrity and with godly sincerity with regard to the teachings of God’s Word and his calling on our lives.

But, we can’t let this discourage or dishearten us. We must rest in the knowledge that it is God’s will that we suffer for righteousness’ sake. We must commit our lives to him, surrender to his will and to his sovereignty, and we must continue in the work to which he has called us, knowing that God is using us for his praise and glory in the lives of other people to show them the way to eternal life with God. And, one day, when Jesus returns, we will be able to rejoice with one another for the way in which God used us in one another’s lives to lead us to live holy and godly lives, pleasing to God.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Adelaide A. Pollard / George C. Stebbins

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!


Monday, November 13, 2017, 10:02 p.m.
 
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'Sacred cows' or is it golden calf?

Jesus wasnt really hurt by the Pharisees as they didnt really have faith. They were self righteous hypocrites sure but they were sincere about their religion. And most of they time they were just ignorant.,,Paul admitted he did things out of ignorance and unbelief. Generally rejection is something everyone learns to handle at some stage in their lives to realise not everyone will like you or what you have to say. And thats fine people are free to make their own choices.

I think Jesus was hurt most by Judas who PRETENDED to follow Him and got quite close to Jesus. Dishonesty and betrayal can do more damage than people who sincerely believe something erroneous.

Judas really only followed Jesus cos he could make money out of him. I think being betrayed or lied to is harder to handle than rejection.
 
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