Saturday, March 24, 2012

Do not be surprised…

1 Peter 4:12 – “Dear friends do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering…

While in the Air Force, I was a team chief for a group of men who installed electronic equipment.  We worked under trying circumstances, heat, power disruption, sickness, typhoons, earthquakes, and political unrest in the countries where we worked.  We were taught to be prepared for every kind of unexpected disruption; in other words, be prepared so you wouldn’t be “surprised” by anything.  Success was measured by how well we dealt with surprises.  We were judged on how well we responded to any kind of predicaments.  We had to keep the project on schedule and under budget.  The atmosphere was tough; we were expected to accomplish (succeed??); there was no room for excuses.

Today as Christians, I don’t think we are prepared for much of anything disruptive or challenging.  We are surprised when life throws us a curveball and in the face of trial, we struggle to keep our head.  Peter warns us about life trials and sufferings—Don’t be surprised when they come.  It’s part of life.

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—that we have painful trials.  Why?  Because Peter said so.

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—the time when Christ’s glory is revealed, we will be overjoyed.

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—we are getting older, slower, and more forgetful.  John 21:18 says, I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—when we mature in the faith, we should become more like the place we are going.

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—we are challenged to live productive lives.  Titus 3:14 says, Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—1 John 3:1-3“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—1 John 3:16-20“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—there is a time for everything.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—the bottom line is Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 --  “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—or, is the bottom line 2 Timothy 4:6-8?  (“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”)

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—2 Timothy 4:17-18 -- “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—and we should be prepared – 1 Peter 3:15-18 says "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—that in this life we are called not to have a miserable life but to have a “painful” life.  If we believe this, life is much easier—1 Peter 4:19 says, “So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—be prepared for whatever comes; prepare and be ready for Christ’s return.  1 Peter 5:8-9“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—1 Peter 5:10-11And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—to him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Be prepared; don’t be surprised—In all situations, keep your head.  2 Timothy 4:5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship,1 do the work of an evangelist,2 discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

John 3:7-8 says You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

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