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Perfect Through Suffering

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The age-old query of suffering and hardship has surely been pondered by most of mankind.  But often it’s in suffering that we see the ways of God more clearly.  If we never had tribulation, we would take everything good we have for granted.  The devotional I read this morning, is a perfect illustration of why hardship is sometimes necessary, yea, even vital, to our survival.  It’s up to us whether we will allow hardships to embitter us or to better us.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  Romans 8:18

I once kept a bottle-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth for nearly one year. The cocoon was very strange in its construction. The neck of the “bottle” had a narrow opening through which the mature insect forces its way. Therefore the abandoned cocoon is as perfect as one still inhabited, with no tearing of the interwoven fibers having taken place. The great disparity between the size of the opening and the size of the imprisoned insect makes a person wonder how the moth ever exits at all. Of course, it is never accomplished without great labor and difficulty. It is believed the pressure to which the moth’s body is subjected when passing through such a narrow opening is nature’s way of forcing fluids into the wings, since they are less developed at the time of emerging from the cocoon than in other insects.

I happened to witness the first efforts of my imprisoned moth to escape from its long confinement. All morning I watched it patiently striving and struggling to be free. It never seemed able to get beyond a certain point, and at last my patience was exhausted. The confining fibers were probably drier and less elastic than if the cocoon had been left all winter in its native habitat, as nature meant it to be. In any case, I thought I was wiser and more compassionate than its Maker, so I resolved to give it a helping hand. With the point of my scissors, I snipped the confining threads to make the exit just a little easier. Immediately and with perfect ease, my moth crawled out, dragging a huge swollen body and little shriveled wings! I watched in vain to see the marvelous process of expansion in which these wings would silently and swiftly develop before my eyes. As I examined the delicately beautiful spots and markings of various colors that were all there in miniature, I longed to see them assume their ultimate size. I looked for my moth, one of the loveliest of its kind, to appear in all its perfect beauty. But I looked in vain. My misplaced tenderness had proved to be its ruin. The moth suffered an aborted life, crawling painfully through its brief existence instead of flying through the air on rainbow wings.

I have thought of my moth often, especially when watching with tearful eyes those who were struggling with sorrow, suffering, and distress. My tendency would be to quickly alleviate the discipline and bring deliverance. O shortsighted person that I am! How do I know that one of these pains or groans should be relieved? The farsighted, perfect love that seeks the perfection of its object does not weakly shrink away from present, momentary suffering. Our Father’s love is too steadfast to be weak. Because He loves His children, He “disciplines us . . . that we may share in his holiness” (Heb 12:10). With this glorious purpose in sight, He does not relieve our crying. Made perfect through suffering, as our Elder Brother was, we children of God are disciplined to make us obedient, and brought to glory through much tribulation. From a tract.

Hebrews 2:18 (KJV)
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

WELCOME LITTLE SIMON

On November 25, our third grandchild, Simon Richard Mester, made his entrance into the world.  Weighing in at 8LBS 5 ounces and 20 inches long, this little bundle of joy has already won our hearts.  It was love at first sight.  His siblings, Malachi, and Adelaide, are now enjoying the roles of big brother and big sister.  They are excited to have a new member in the family.  Thank God for a healthy baby boy.  Mother and baby are doing well.

Thought For the Day

If you’re full of your own plans,  you can’t hear God’s.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The Rock Church Easter Drama, “For What Purpose” was a huge success.  Over 3,000 lives were touched with the message of the gospel.  Hallelujah! Jesus is alive!  Here is a photo posted by one of our church members.  To see more, go to http://www.forwhatpurpose.net .

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Quite some time ago, I came across this article in my inspirational bible. Although it was written a long time ago, its message is timely in any generation. May it speak to all of our hearts to convict and inspire us to be all that the Lord wants us to be.

The Root of the Righteous

By: A.W, Tozer – 1955

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been
taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7

One marked difference between the faith of our fathers as conceived by the fathers and the same faith as understood and lived by their children is that the fathers were concerned with the root of the matter, while their present-day descendants seem concerned only with the fruit.

This appears In our attitude toward certain great Christian souls whose names are honored among the churches, as, for instance, Augustine and Bernard in earlier times, or Luther and Wesley in times more recent. Today we write the biographies of such as these and celebrate their fruit, but the tendency is to ignore the root out of which the fruit sprang. “The root of the righteous yieldeth fruit,” said the wise man in the Proverbs, Our fathers looked well to the root of the tree and were willing to wait with patience for the fruit to appear. We demand the fruit immediately even though the root may be weak and knobby or missing altogether. Impatient Christians today explain away the simple beliefs of the saints of other days and smile off their serious-minded approach to God and sacred things. They were victims of their own limited religious outlook, but great and sturdy souls withal who managed to achieve a satisfying spiritual experience and do a lot of good in the world in spite of their handicaps. So we’ll imitate their fruit without accepting their theology or inconveniencing our-selves too greatly by adopting their all- or-nothing attitude toward religion.

So we say (or more likely think without saying), and every voice of wisdom, every datum of religious experience, every law of nature tells us how wrong we are. The bough that breaks off from the tree in a storm may bloom briefly and give to the unthinking passer- by the impression that it is a healthy and fruitful branch, but its tender blossoms will soon perish and the bough itself wither and die. There is no lasting life apart from the root.

Much that passes for Christianity today is the brief bright effort of the severed branch to bring forth its fruit in its season. But the deep laws of life are against it. Preoccupation with appearances and a corresponding neglect of the out-of-sight root of the true spiritual life are prophetic signs which go un-heeded. Immediate “results” are all that matter, quick proofs of present success without a thought of next week or next year. Religious pragmatism is running wild among the orthodox. Truth is whatever works.  If it gets results, it is good. There is but one test for the religious leader: success. Everything is forgiven him except failure.

A tree can weather almost any storm if its root is sound, but when the fig tree which our Lord cursed “dried up from the roots” it immediately “withered away.” A church that is soundly rooted cannot be destroyed, but nothing can save a church whose root is dried up. No stimulation, no advertising campaigns, no gifts of money and no beautiful edifice can bring back life to the rootless tree.

With a happy disregard for consistency of metaphor the Apostle Paul exhorts us to look to our sources. “Rooted and grounded in love,” he says in what is obviously a confusion of figure; and again he urges his readers to be “rooted and built up in him,” which envisages the Christian both as a tree to be well rooted and as a temple to rise on a solid foundation.

The whole Bible and all the great saints of the past join to tell us the same thing. “Take nothing for granted,” they say to us. “Go back to the grass roots. Open your hearts and search the Scriptures. Bear your cross, follow your Lord and pay no heed to the passing religious vogue. The masses are always wrong. In every generation the number of the righteous is small. Be sure you are among them.”

Proverbs 12:3 (KJV)

A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved..

Proverbs 12:12 (KJV)

The wicked desireth the net of evil [men]: but the root of the righteous yieldeth [fruit].

And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. Isaiah 37:31

Ephesians 3:17-19 (KJV) 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MALACHI


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