Those who suffer the same things from the same people for the same Person can scarcely not love each other.
C. S. Lewis
Suffering — the soil of spiritual growth
The Bible does not promise that Christians won’t suffer. In fact, the Scriptures give much evidence that we can expect to suffer, given the evil that is in the world around us and the sin that is in us.
What God does promise is that our suffering can become the catalyst for new growth. God promises to redeem our suffering into his glory.
What griefs are you currently suffering? Can you entrust them to God, confident that he will use them to bring new growth into your life?
The worst kind of suffering is that which we experience alone. When we suffer with another person who is sympathetic to our problem, the suffering is easier to bear. Throughout history, God has sympathized with suffering people. He hears our cries. How would your life and outlook be different if you become convinced that God never failed to respond to your pain?
From the TouchPoint Bible with commentaries by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 538, 479
Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.
Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT
Two years ago on the morning of August 18, 2009, our lives were changed forever! I suffered a mild heart attack, and later that day an elevator door closed on Donna, injuring her permanently. Some people may think we hit a stretch of bad luck, while it may seem that way; it has been a journey for us as a family. We have learned we are not alone, and God has been there with us each step of the way. We have so much to be thankful for, our family, friends, and especially our relationship with our Lord & savior Jesus Christ. We are stronger in our faith, and understand God has a plan is using us as a family to do his work.
We are blessed!
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, I ask you to pray for us. Pray first that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. Pray, too, that we will be saved from wicked and evil people, for not everyone believes in the Lord. But the Lord is faithful; he will make you strong and guard you from the evil one.… May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and the endurance that comes from Christ.
In order to be effective on the battlefield a soldier must be both well trained and properly equipped. The warrior must be alert for surprise attacks. So it is in our spiritual battle with Satan. Determined to destroy our faith by leading us into sin and discouragement, Satan attacks with blatant temptation and deceptive lies. The Bible teaches that the best weapons for this warfare are the Word of God and prayer.
The faith of the Thessalonian believers was being tried by persecution. Undoubtedly some of them were wavering, even failing, as the surrounding evil put them to the test. This was an important time for Paul to remind them that, no matter what happened, God’s faithfulness would prevail over evil and strengthen them so that they could endure.
From the TouchPoint Bible
Not the real thing
Wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness; you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right; but no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty was wrong—only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him. In other words, badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself; badness is only spoiled goodness.…Evil is a parasite, not an original thing.
C. S. Lewis in Mere ChristianityWhat do I do when Satan attacks?
Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.
James 4:7-8 NLT
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During his life, Harry Houdini had a standing challenge that he could escape from any jail cell within an hour. A small town in the British Isles had just constructed a new jail cell they thought was escape-proof, and they wanted to put it to the test. Houdini entered the cell and immediately went to work. After two grueling hours—an hour past his deadline—Houdini finally withdrew his file from the lock and leaned against the door in exhaustion. To his amazement, the cell door swung open.
The jailors had tricked the great magician by closing the jail door but never bolting the lock. He was free all along, he just didn’t know it.
Satan has the same strategy, doesn’t he? His greatest weapon is to make us think that we are trapped, when in reality the cell door is always open. Satan can’t bind us, so he tricks us into making us believe the cell door is locked.
How can I defend myself against Satan’s attacks?
Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be to stand firm against all the strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT