Finding Strength in Persecution and Affliction

Enduring Persecution and Affliction

afflictionPaul was concerned about Timothy because the Roman Emperor Nero was bringing persecution against the church, particularly the church leaders. Christian leaders began to disassociate themselves with the church to avoid persecution. Nero hated Christians. By historical accounts, Nero was a crazed emperor who was rumored to have set fire to Rome. In order to stop the rumor, Nero falsely charged Christians and punished them with the most heinous tortures. This created an overwhelming fear in the Christian leadership. While many Christian leaders were turning away from their faith, Paul was writing Timothy to encourage him to be strong and maintain his faith in the face of the worst of persecution. Paul gives Timothy reminders of living a godly life and the rewards that are associated with living a his life for Christ. Continue reading

Is Your Suffering a Source of Joy? Lacking Nothing?

Lacking Nothing: We Are Able To Suffer Trials With Joy

This is the first part of a series on the topic on how we need to face suffering/persecution in our lives.

The letter of James begins by telling us we need to have joy in something that normally will bring distress and anxiety. James says as Christians we are to expect and even welcome the trials in our lives.

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

We as Christians probably question how can we actually find joy in suffering. After all, the two words seem like an oxymoron. To suffer does not bring joy and to know joy there is no suffering. So how does this make sense?  Continue reading