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A Heart For God: Prediction of Suffering

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Prediction of Suffering

Journey to the Celestial City #50. In our continuing look at John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," today we find the man, Christian, along with his companion, Faithful, having given leave to Talkative, they are now come upon by Evangelist. It is a most delightful reunion to meet their good, old friend and counselor once again. "How hath it fared with you?" Evangelist asks Christian and Faithful. And the two men go on to recount their whole journey to him. It hasn't been without difficulty that Christian and Faithful have made it to that place. But they have passed the test and Evangelist rejoices in the hearing of it. He responds, "My sons, you have heard in the words of the truth of the gospel, that you must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of heaven." And then Evangelist speaks further predicting the challenge that awaits both travelers in the next town. In the end, one or both will lose his/their life/lives. And trials are just a part of the package for the man/woman following Jesus. A watered-down and sugar-coated, 21st-century and Americanized gospel says, "It ain't so." Tell that to first-century Christians given as food to lions by a Roman Emperor. " None of us is exempt from suffering. Not a one. "[Simeon prophesied to Mary as regards her Son's crucifixion, 'A]nd a sword will pierce even your own soul.'" (Luke 2:35) "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, 'For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:35-37) More to come in the next blog post. Check back soon. (To read this entire blog post series, scroll down to "Pilgrim's Progress Series" in the left sidebar.) pp 78-80

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