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What Do You Expect From God?

No Charmed Life The blood-stained record of the first Christians, then, squashes any idea of a “charmed” life for the people of God. Incident upon incident reveals Christians arc often subject to massive pressures in some form. Many church leaders apostles. even - were executed. There was severe persecution, illness, robbery, looting, hunger. and poverty. Some were dragged through the courts by rich and oppressive landlords. There was opposition from the state, from heathen neighbors - even from religious leaders, family and friends.

And. ..all died from one cause or another - just like every human being before and since.

So far, then, we Christians don’t seem to have much going for us! As Paul sums up: “If for this life only we Christians have set our hopes in Christ, we are the most pitiable people in the world” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

my sake, he will find his true self. What will a man gain by winning the whole world, at the cost of his true self?” (Matthew 16:24-26).

Personal safety, worldly achievement, wealth. acclaim

  • -

    none of these perhaps worthy ends reflects the true

essence of real Christianity. In sum, we are called by our heavenly Father to face and to share trials and difficulties.

We are very much a part of the human race!

Why become a Christian? Because that is the purpose of our existence. God - who is love - seeks to share His being with His creation, both in this life and for all eternity following our resurrection into His Kingdom.

We now ask, is there a difference between the child of God and a child of this world in regard to suffering and pain and sorrow and struggle?

In other words, not only do we suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in common with all mankind, but we have the “extras” of persecution for our desire to follow God’s way.

Why Become a Christian? Quite a bleak picture. So why become a Christian?

For many, Christianity is seen as a path to financial success. Or freedom from illness and pain. Others look at the prophetic warnings about the awful times that lie ahead for mankind if he persists in his present course. And they see Christianity as an ark of safety. Indeed. various Christian groups cling to a notion of a “place of safety” from the coming tribulation. This is even the initial attraction for some.

God’s Monitor Indeed there is. For Christians don’t face life alone.

The apostle Paul explains: “So far you have faced no trial beyond what man can bear. God keeps faith, and He will not allow you to be tested above your powers, but when the test comes He will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Here we begin to focus on the vital difference between one in whom dwells the Spirit of God and the individual who hasn’t vet made the change necessary (i.e., repentance Acts 5:32) to receive that Spirit.

Simply follow God (or a particular leader) and you will prosper. east off your financial problems. have security of employment, be healed, escape the tribulation, and, it seems, all but live forever in an earthly paradise.

Notice two linked aspects in Paul’s words. First, we won’t have to endure a trial beyond our ability to cope. An second. God will provide the inner strength that enables us to cope with such trials as we encounter them.

But, as we have seen. it never has been quite like that. Said Jesus. “If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind: he must take up his cross and come with me. Whoever cares for his own safety is lost; but if a man will let himself be lost for

You have probably seen in action the TV director’s batten of monitors each bearing an image cabled from a different camera. Usually. one image at a time is selected for screening. Yet the director has be- fore him a panoramic and comprehensive view of all the action.

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