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UPDATE: After a disastrous sleep study about ten days ago, I am finally recovering. The polymyositis affects my lungs. The muscles get too weak to work the lungs properly. That’s why I must have a BiPap to sleep at night. It did not happen. And I lost a whole nights sleep. May not be much in your world. But in mine. .disaster. My nurses came and gave me my 1000mg Prednisone infusion Fruday eve ending. Running like a top today, even if I did need an extra BiPap session. I share my journey so you can understand me and hopefully be understanding of others going through problems.
What are you going through? Are you having relationship problems, financial, work, friends?
Our studies of the Apostle Paul’s prayers shows us how much he had to deal with all of these things just like we do.
1 Corinthians 1:4–9 “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
So much here! But how in the world does this verse relate to suffering? Well, that’s why we have the categories of prayer. Just to remind you. . . these are always found on the homepage but we’ll put them here as a help.
1) Simple things: like the desire to go see people he loves, bringing his cloak, and for people to get along with each other. Earthy stuff
2) Relationship with God: Straying from God, getting closer to God, tools to have a better relationship with God, and evangelism – people coming to know God through Jesus.
3) Abstract things: Internal mental and spiritual things such as being happy in hope, being patient in tribulation and constant in prayer.
4) Big picture: Paul prays for us to get the big picture. This is a top down view from God’s viewpoint, eternity.
As you can see, these verses fit quite nicely into categories two and three. So let’s unpack it. A lot of suffering can be prevented by understanding the principles here.
PRINCIPLES OF PREVENTING SOCIAL SUFFERING (in these verses)
1st A thankful attitude
2nd Understanding God’s grace and using it in our lives (Matthew 5)
3rd Dealing with people through grace in our daily conversations
4th Having knowledge of God’s Kingdom principles in dealing with people
5th Look to the future. (Get your eyes off yourself)
There now that wasn’t hard was it. It only took me two weeks to figure that out.
A thankful attitude for difficult people can only come from God. We are studying suffering so I won’t go into how extraordinarily horrible the people in the Corinthian church were.The Romans used to call people Corinthians as a swear word for low life. You get the picture. Anyone like this in your life. So how can we be thankful for them? The same way Paul could do it. I often shock my classes by telling them that “We cannot live the Christian life. It is utterly impossible.” As a mere human being I certainly cannot love people like this. I need God living inside me to do it. Jesus Holy Spirit living His life of LOVE and grace in me and through me is the only way.
This brings us to the grace of God. What exactly is grace?
Definition of grace: God loving us, helping us, and caring for us when we are His enemies who do not love Him back. The Bible (Paul writing) says:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
See! It’s not by ourselves that we enter the life of God, or live it.Itbus a gift from Him that we simply have accept. Knowing that God has a plan for us gives great inner peace which then enable us to be kind, loving, and peaceable with the obnoxious people in my daily life. But Paul also says that we need knowledge. Knowledge of what? What kind of knowledge? The Apostle Paul has a lot to say about the knowledge needed for a life with God.
As the apostle Paul warns, knowledge without discernment and Christ-like love becomes arrogant, literally, puffed up or inflated, and fails to fulfill the will of God (cf. Col. 2:18; 1 Cor. 8:1).76 If our knowledge of the Savior and our life in Him does not lead to the practice of genuine love, we are nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). (bible.org)
Colossians 1:9a For this reason we also, from the day we heard, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
And there we have it. Spiritual wisdom and understanding. Where do we get this wisdom and understanding? At the library? Possibly, but if you have a Bible, reading Paul’s writing to the Ephesians, Philippians (easy one), or the Colossians is a treasure trove of the stuff. This wisdom cannot come apart from the Word if God. We cannot live the life if God if we don’t know what it is. We cannot use this wisdom and knowledge in our personal relationships, either.
The Apostle Paul is grateful that these Corinthians have made some progress in these categories. Here is another proven principle when dealing with difficult people. . . find good things to say about them. It’s incredibly disarming. Puts you in charge of the conversation. He is going to chew them out up one side and down the other. In today’s terms we might call it a intervention. This is necessary if the people are going to make any progress. If you are in a management position or in HR, you have to make some difficult decisions. If you are a parent, or a pastor, you have to use tough love from time to time. Write the main points down or put them in “notes” on your tablet. . . somewhere you can refer to them frequently.
Now on to part two.
Looking to the future gets us out of ourselves. Paul wants them to look to the ultimate future at the end of time. Looking to when Jesus will come, He will end war, He will end personal strife. It is only through Jesus that we all will make it to the end. They were not lacking anything that would help them live the life of God (Paul’s reference to their spiritual gifts). But they had to understand that progress is made by the faithfulness of Jesus living His life in us through the Holy Spirit not by their own efforts. This is God’s grace in action.
We do not save ourselves. People in AA understand this principle very well. The first step to acknowledge is “I am hopeless and helpless to help myself.” Jesus taught this in Matthew 5. Let’s ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit right now.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, prayer needs, or just receive help and hope from this page. Yiou can use the comments section below or contact me on Facebook.