2 Corinthians 1 , 14
THE REASON FOR SUFFERING
The Apostle Paul has always seemed to me to be such a strong character. It seems that no matter what happened to him or what he came across, he was able to face it for the Lord with absolute strength, joy and confidence. But today I learned that hardships and sufferings did get him down. He doesn't tell us exactly what he faced in Asia, but we do know that they "were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death." The hardships, pressure and suffering that Paul and Timothy faced made them want to die! Why would God allow people like Paul and Timothy, who were so devoted, so enthusiastic and active in God's service, to suffer like that? It just doesn't seem right. Looking back on it, Paul saw a reason. "But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead." If Paul and Timothy suffered so that they could learn to rely on God, then any suffering that we go through will probably be for a similar reason. Let us learn from our suffering, give our lives to God and trust in him.
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Conflict: A God Perspective
We have been married for 55 years in May and have always tried to follow Paul's advice whenever we have had a disagreement, ie. "do not let the sun go down on your wrath", (Eph 4:26). The sun may sometimes have gone down but we have always kissed each other before going to sleep.
Paul and Elisabeth
This is the first of a series of Marriage Moments on Conflict in marriage. We thought we would start with God's perspective on conflict. There are many more verses than the ones quoted below, but hopefully these will help stimulate your thoughts and actions.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our recent question about how you deal with conflict in marriage. We will share some of those thought with you in future Marriage Moments.
The God Attitude
Matthew 5 v 44. But I tell you: ... pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
Philippains 2 v 2. Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Matthew 6 v 14. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Matthew 7 v 1. Do not judge or you too will be judged.
Matthew 7 v 12. Do to others what you would have them do to you.
James 1 v 19. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
James 3 v 17 - 18. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
James 4 v 1 - 3. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
John 13 v 34. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Philippains 2 v 3 - 4. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1. Take time to refresh yourself with God's word again, and see his principles in the light of your marriage.
2. Pray that God would help you absorb his commands and help you put them into practice in your marriage.