Should we “fill our body with affliction”? – Colossians 1:24-2:5, Part 2

In the previous post Paul reminded us that we can learn to rejoice in the Lord, even amid difficult circumstances.  But as we continue to trace his teaching in Colossians 1:24-2:5, Paul writes something that seems bizarre to me. In fact, it seems wrong. Paul writes that he fills up in his body what isContinue reading “Should we “fill our body with affliction”? – Colossians 1:24-2:5, Part 2″

Is rejoicing in suffering a bad idea? – Colossians 1:24-2:5, Part 1

How should we respond to suffering? Maybe you’re suffering somehow, and you’re sick of it. I’ve had heel pain for the last few months, and though I will admit to being very inconsistent in treating it, I’m frustrated with it. I want it to be healed. I am not rejoicing in this suffering. Rejoicing? IfContinue reading “Is rejoicing in suffering a bad idea? – Colossians 1:24-2:5, Part 1”

God is in control? [False ideas Christians believe about…God’s involvement in our lives. Part 3]

If God is in control, why does the world seem totally out of control? In the previous post in this series, I referred to three reasons bad things happen. Christians struggle to make sense of evil and pain in the world, just as anyone does. Why would God allow it? Why did he create ourContinue reading “God is in control? [False ideas Christians believe about…God’s involvement in our lives. Part 3]”

A Christmas Surprise [Fourth Sunday of Advent]

Today we’re going to meet shepherds.  But as I studied these passages, what emerged was something surprising, something unexpected!  During Advent, we have been following the readings in the Lectionary, and our first passage is Micah 5:2-5a. Micah gives us in verse 2 a prophecy of a future ruler who would come to rule overContinue reading “A Christmas Surprise [Fourth Sunday of Advent]”

Two surprising ways to respond to suffering

Being surprised or scared can be a horrible feeling right?  Even when the surprise is a good surprise, there are some people that hate to be surprised!  Do you know anyone who makes you promise that you will not throw them a surprise birthday party?  Why? When you are in a groove, a routine, andContinue reading “Two surprising ways to respond to suffering”

The surprising weapon followers of Jesus arm themselves with

One of the biggest questions followers of Jesus ask is: how much should we be in the world, exposing ourselves to the world, participating in activities or behaviors that are considered normative in the world? And by contrast, how much should we remove ourselves from the world? Which behaviors should we stop? How much shouldContinue reading “The surprising weapon followers of Jesus arm themselves with”

Reflections on perseverance in difficult times

This week, I’ve been reflecting on suffering and salvation from 1 Peter 1:6-12. In verses 10-12 Peter takes a moment to talk about this salvation.  He says that prophets in past spoke of this salvation.  The Spirit of God, he said, was at work in these prophets.  In verse 11 the Spirit of Christ inContinue reading “Reflections on perseverance in difficult times”

4 pieces of advice to those who are suffering

Have you ever suffered specifically because you are a Christian?  I don’t know that I have, at least not in ways that would be considered significant suffering, or suffering that led to bodily harm or loss of opportunity or privilege.  Yesterday, I related a story from author Scot McKnight who counseled a teenager who didContinue reading “4 pieces of advice to those who are suffering”

Satan did not break my lawn mower

Are any of you suffering?  Any of you going through a hard time? How does it feel?  Lonely, right?  Maybe you feel people just don’t understand.  Or your suffering might be ongoing, and you feel you are a burden to the people around you.  You worry about that, and your worry only compounds the suffering.Continue reading “Satan did not break my lawn mower”