24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.
2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.
5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.
Mustard seed and growing Mustard trees in Napa Valley
I'm not sure I want to suffer. This passage is difficult.
Paul tells us he exactly knew and was told his fate to run this race for Jesus. And this was difficult. He was not told this would be a quiet life. And Paul has a very good Idea about the fruit of His Work for Jesus Christ. Think about the vast number of places named Paul for this Paul, man of God. Especially where we know from Scripture where Paul spoke for Jesus. Many, many places are named St. Paul for his work.
And with that in mind, we can see that if Paul could see what his struggle, his race, his prayers, his belief would accomplish - then indeed, he would rejoice saying these present sufferings are not worth mentioning compared to the Glory of Jesus Christ.
For us, most suffering would be just plain and simple overcoming. The joy of sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away, and realizing all the overcoming has left an ability to sort the joy from the imperfect and find His Joy.
I've lived past family suicide, family divorce, loss of two generations - expected, yet painful. And the birth and death my daughter Isabelle and various friendship, relationship suffering. And I find that in my 5th decade of life, one could see a slope of despair coming with more illness and old age and suffering - instead - I believe I will trust Jesus Christ to make my burdens livable and my blessings multiply. Seeing living parables, human examples today, of overcoming aging with joy in each day and Jesus.
We can pray like Paul.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Christians in Christ believe He hears prayers and all of life is not suffering. Believing Jesus changes circumstance and cares with us.
The Salt and the Light of becoming who He wants you to be. Realizing we all are different and giving HIM the place to work in all we love.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that
the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
The Life of Jesus gives us all the Promises of God.
Is this pie in the sky by and by?
For some people, yes. Even Hebrews 11 lists miracle and astonishing God over and over. We would miss out on the adventure and quest for life if we say this eternal life begins over there. When we look each day for His Treasure and Blessings - we will find them.
2 Thessalonians 2:16
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
1 John 4:9
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
We discover again each day was we want to please God, that we do please God by wanting to. Father God builds the universe, we please Him with faith.
Our universe building skills are remarkably wobbly even to the top - the presidential debates dwindle into arguing one law over thousands of others. And if we should have stayed home and employed 'do not render evil for evil' and build up our schools, roads, highways and lowered university costs. And then we talk about if we would as a nation shoot down Russian Airplanes. Not even the Leaders of the Free World wanna bes are consistent with their could do's from month to month and hindsight. So I'd say with complete freedom - we please God with faith and not getting weary of good deeds.
Instead of wobbling over yesterday, we daily, again, discover the path. God says, Jesus says, Paul says - we all struggle. And we celebrate the times when life is providing peace and joy. Not failing to give thanks.
Father God, no doubt, has given us Jesus to be righteous and worthy, to have His face shine upon us.
With His Grace, we can say to Father God with complete confidence in Jesus Christ
Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
You saved Your son and Your children from bondage of slavery, harm and the harm of giving our lives to weak servitude of serving foreign gods in Egypt. By the use of Your miracles.
So many times You have astonished many people with planting redemption, renewal and victory. You clear the ground for these things when we do not even know this.
Even mountains are created by You, and You prayed on top of mountains, seeing further than us in these difficulties and we long to rest in Your abilities, Love, comfort and branches. Your vision not only sees the great horizon ahead, but why all of this happens and You work this to good. You Move those Mountains and we will all witness Your Glory.
Let Your hand rest on the mankind at your right hand, with Jesus, the son of man You have raised up for Yourself.
We will not turn away from You; Your Will is good even in difficulties, revive us, and we will call on your name. Jesus, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †