Posts tagged ‘suffering’

“And War Broke Out in Heaven” – The Lasting Implications for Mankind

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Did you know there was a war in Heaven?
It’s true, and some of the details of this incredible event are revealed to us in the Bible and have lasting implications for mankind.

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven,”
Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death”.
“Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” 
(Rev 12:7-12 NKJV)

Lucifer was said to be the angel who reflected God’s glory. He wanted to be God and tried to overthrow God. One third of the angels followed him in this revolt. It is recorded in the Bible in Isaiah 14.

 “How you are fallen from heaven, 
O Lucifer, son of the morning! 
How you are cut down to the ground, 
You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 
‘I will ascend into heaven, 
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; 
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation 
On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, 
I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, 
To the lowest depths of the Pit. “Those who see you will gaze at you, 
And consider you, saying: 
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, 
Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world as a wilderness 
And destroyed its cities, 
Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ 
(Is 14:12-17 NKJV)

The implications for mankind from this event have lead to the fall of mankind from relationship with God and the change from an innocent nature in mankind to a moral consciousness of right and wrong.
That also means we have become responsible for our actions, impure, and unable to know our Holy perfect God in our current state.

This happened in the Garden of Eden when the disobedience of first man and woman occurred after Satan tempted the woman saying, “You will be like God,”, the same prideful ambition Satan succumbed to.

And to bolster these claims we also know that the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job, also portrays Satan as our accuser as he is referenced here, “the accuser of our brethren”, and the unseen reason for many of mankind’s sorrows and trials.

Satan appears to be desperately appealing to every possible scenario to prove that he has been unjustly judged by God as he awaits his sentence to be carried out.

But we have an advocate with Father God who is Jesus Christ His Son. He came from God to be one of us. He alone lived a perfect sinless life. He willfully died a cruel death to pay for our sins. He rose from the dead to defeat death and offer life to all who believe.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” 
(John 3:16-18 KJV)

Jesus said;
“In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. ”
(John 16:33)

Trust Him as your Savior today.
Rest in Him for all your tomorrows.

Discovering that God is Love While in a Nazi Concentration Camp – Viktor Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning”

Deutsch: Viktor Frankl

Deutsch: Viktor Frankl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vitor Frankl was a psychologist who was trained in Vienna.  and was imprisoned in Auschwitz, and other Nazi Germany death camps, as well as his wife and family.

Even though the Nazi prison camp meant facing death, and surrounded by constant threat and hatred, Victor Frankl found the meaning of life there.

From  “Man’s Search for Meaning”- Experiences in a Concentration Camp”

“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honorable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words,

“The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”

Viktor Frankl

1 John 4:10

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ – from “The Bible” Series on the History Channel – 4 Minute Video- An Easter Reflection

This video from the History channel series ,”The Bible”, depicts Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross.

It is my hope and prayer that each of us can see God’s love through the suffering Christ endured for us.

He died so that we can live.

But death could not hold Him.

Sunday is coming.

 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

(John 3:16 , The Bible)

Why? – Jesus and Innocent Suffering

The question of suffering is one of life’s biggest questions.

Any loss, loss of livelihood, health, loved ones is shocking to us, as it should be.

 

suffering4U

 

The unspeakable tragedy of loss is compounded by the loss of innocent life and the suffering of innocent people.

Men, women and children needlessly suffer and die amidst violence, cruelty and neglect.

We are left to ask,”Why did God allow this to happen?”

When we experience loss,”Why!”,is the first thing that comes to mind.

There are no pat answers,… but we can find deeper reason and comfort in knowing we are not alone.

God chose to experience loss for our sakes.

God came down to us in the personage of Jesus Christ and suffered and died for us to spare us eternal suffering.

God the Father turned away from Christ on the Cross, prompting Jesus Christ to cry out,”My God, My God,WHY have you forsaken me?

God as the man Jesus Christ felt the agony of loss and asked WHY?

The Bible tells us God did this because He loves us.He became one of us, struggled like we do, tempted in every way as us yet without giving in to sin.

And He suffered to a degree that we have not, and can not, for He alone was perfect and worthy to carry all the sins of our entire human race.

Christ paid for the sins all mankind from Adam to the last of our kind who will be born.

Christ carried every sin ever committed, or that will be committed, by every victim and by every perpetrator, who ever lived or has yet live, upon Him on the cross.

And the punishment of us all was upon Him.

“Surely he took up our infirmities
    and carried our sorrows, 
yet we considered him stricken by God, 
    smitten by him, and afflicted. 
 But he was pierced for our transgressions, 
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
    and by his wounds we are healed. 
 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, 
    each of us has turned to his own way; 
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.”

(Isaiah 53:4-6)

Because of Christ we know that the reason suffering exists can NOT be that God is insensitive to our condition.

Perhaps part of the reason is to make us what C.S.Lewis called, “Free Lovers.” We love God not for what He gives , but simply for the sake of whom He is.

If , like the old testament figure from the Bible, Job, we can love God regardless of total tragedy and loss, then our love for God will be like the love God has for us! Unconditional.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

(1 John 4:10)

God’s love is Unconditional love.

Tim Keller uses the illustration from the Book of Job in the Bible to show that Satan tried to make God question Job’s love for God. Satan accused Job of conditional love.“Take away everything you have blessed him with and he will curse you!”, he said to God.

And God permitted Satan to take all of Job’s children, possessions and wealth.

When Job still blessed God, then Satan insisted if God allowed physical suffering then Job would curse God.

Job did become very bitter, but did not curse God.

…”Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship  and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart. 
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; 
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

(Job 1:20-22)

It really is all about Love.

Satan tried to convince Job that God did not unconditionally love him, just as Satan tried to convince God that Job didn’t unconditionally love God.

And perhaps then our suffering, like Job’s, has profound reason and eternal purpose.

To refine our love into the kind of love Christ has for us.

For He loved us before we knew Him.

Unconditionally.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

(Ephesians 2:8,9)

Related Sermon by Dr. Tim Keller of Manhattan Presbyterian Church Manhattan N.Y.- 

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/suffering-if-god-good-why-there-so-much-evil-world

You Shall Love The Lord Your God

“Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.” ~MartinLuther~

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:3-6)

We are commanded to love God.

The command is actually the context for the Ten Commandments.

As Martin Luther pointed out,“We do not disobey any of the other commandments until we first disobey this, “You shall love the Lord your God.”

God gave this command in the old testament. God gave Christ, the ultimate reason to love Him, in the new testament.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. ” John 3:16

If an all-powerful, all-knowing God would give everything for, why would you not trust Him and love Him?

He knows suffering, because He suffered.

What more could He do?

Cling to Jesus Christ.

Suffering: If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world? A Audio Sermon By Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church Manhattan N.Y.

Suffering is one of the biggest questions facing the human race.

Why does God allow evil and suffering?

The why of suffering is also the biggest accusation for atheists who claim God is indifferent to the plight of mankind.

The cross of Christ proves that God cares and has intervened on our behalf through Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross to pay for our sins and save us from an eternal state of suffering.

The book of Job is considered to be the oldest book in the Bible, yet it is about suffering and loss, and the struggle to maintain hope and belief that God really does loves us despite loss.

The biggest question we should ask is, “do I love God for what is in it for me?”

Or do I love God regardless of if I get anything out of  the situation?”  Isn’t that how God loved me?”

Unconditional?

Isn’t that Grace ?

So suffering is the worst kind of teacher, but also the best kind of teacher, because if we can say that even after suffering the bitterness of loss that we still love God, then our love is truly mature and free, and full of the deepest meaning.

We love Him because He first loved us.

Click on the link below for a 30 minute sermon on this subject by Dr, Tim Keller.

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/suffering-if-god-good-why-there-so-much-evil-world

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