3 Lessons from a Secret Christian

Some people are secret Christians. For whatever reason, the are afraid to identify with Jesus.

Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple. Maybe it was because of his position as a member of the Jewish Leaders (Sanhedrin). Maybe it was because he was successful and rich and to follow Jesus would cost Him too much.

Joseph is one of the few people mentioned in all four gospels. But he is not mentioned until after Jesus’ death. Along with Nicodemus (another secret disciple and Jewish leader), he prepared and buried the body of Jesus. It was Joseph’s new tomb in which Jesus was buried.

You can read the story in Mark 15:42-47.

Have you ever wondered what motivates a secret disciple? Why do they keep their faith hidden? What motivates them to ‘come out of secrecy’? I discovered three life principles from the story of Joseph.

The cross has power to overcome fear and failure.

Joseph acted contrary to the other disciples, especially Peter. Peter spoke out boldly before Jesus was arrested, but soon denied Him. Joseph was a secret disciple, but he became bold.

What made the difference in Joseph’s life? The cross! The cross did for Joseph what even the life of jesus could not do. Jesus had said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32).

Many things make people fearful about confessing Jesus openly: pressures from family and friends, co-workers and classmates or weak faith. Take courage from Joseph’s example to stand and speak boldly. If you feel fearful, look to the cross. It will give you strength and courage.

Doing right sometimes means risking it all.

When Joseph demanded the dead body of Jesus, it was an immensely dangerous and risky move.

First, Pilate was still smarting from being manipulated by the Sanhedrin into killing Jesus. He could have easily implicated Joseph under the charge of treason.

Second, by making this request, Joseph was running the risk of being expelled from the Sanhedrin and coming under the scorn of the common people for identifying himself with this false, failed Messiah.

Third, Joseph would himself be touching the corpse during hte hours of preparation for the Sabbath. This would make him ceremonially defiled.

Fourth, all this risk and there was absolutely nothing in it for Joseph. Jesus was dead. The dream was over. Why should he risk it for a dead man?

Obedience to Christ and ‘over the top’ love for Jesus means to risk our reputation, our pride, and our even our life. But following Jesus is always worth whatever risk we take.

Love Jesus even when you’re disappointed and defeated.

If it were me, I don’t know if I would be in any mood to care for the body of the guy who turned out to be such a sham. I think I would have had a lot of doubts, coupled with a mixture of devastation and anger.

After all, this was not he way any of the disciples (secret or not) imagined it all happening. Maybe they felt Jesus had let them down. Maybe they felt He had lied to them. Maybe now they second-guessed everything He had ever said. That’s what we do when we are hurt by someone we love don’t we?

But somehow in the midst of all this disappointment, Joseph found a way to love Jesus anyway. He loved Him enough to care for His body and gently lay Him to rest. Even having no idea He was actually going to be resurrected, He loved Jesus anyway.

We know the end of the Easter story. We know Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb. He didn’t stay dead. But Joseph loved Jesus before Good Friday was good.

Sometimes I feel hurt or disappointed with God. Events, even life, don’t turn out like I thought it should. I suppose most of the time I’m disappointed because i don’t know what I don’t know now. In other words, I think I’ve been hurt, cheated or gotten the short end of whatever stick, because I don’t know the whole story. I don’t realize how wrong I am.

It reminds me of the only survivor of a shipwreck when he was thrown on an inhabited island. He built himself a hut, in which he placed the little he had saved from the wreck. He prayed to God for deliverance and watched the sea for any passing ships. He was horrified when he came back from a search for food to find his hut in flames. It was a horrible day. But he had to have this horrible day before he could have his victory day. The next day a ship arrived to save him. “We saw your smoke signal”, said the captain.

I want to love Jesus like Joseph did. Even when I can’t see beyond my own hurts and disappointments, I want to find a way to love Him anyway.

There is one thing I have learned about being a secret disciple. You can’t remain a secret disciple. The reality of knowing Jesus finds its way to give us courage and opportunity to share our faith. Like Joseph, it may take a momentous event. But a true disciple will eventually reveal the reality of his faith in Christ.

You can read some of my other articles about showing love to Jesus: An Extravagant Love for Jesus, Don’t Walk Away from Jesus, The Cost to Follow Jesus.

Nicaragua Missions Day 6, 7 & 8: Finishing Strong

When the work ends, the fun begins…. sort of.

Medical Trip Summary.

We ended our ministry in El Rama on Tuesday evening. It was a good week. Many of us wished we could have stayed another day. So much to do and so little time.

We ended up seeing 707 patients and giving out 1,900 prescriptions which is about 40,000 pills. This does not include all the ultrasounds, minor operations, and counseling. We gave out 13 mattresses and 48 food baskets. We made 12 water purifying systems to be passed out next week with more mattresses and gravel for flooring for the homes to help with future flooding. It was a great week.

Travel, Fun, & Volcano.
IMG_4496Wednesday was a full day of travel. Not much to report on but we saw some beautiful scenery on the 8-9 hour trip to Montelimar, a resort area on the Pacific Ocean (west Nicaragua). We stayed here for two nights. Some went horseback riding. Some went 4-wheeling. Some got massages, And all enjoyed the pool and the all-you-can-eat buffet. It was a wonderful time to relax after a stressful week. Remember, even Jesus took time away after a stressful ministry season.

On our last full day, Friday, we traveled to Masaya Volcano. It’s an active volcano that had a minor eruption last week. We were able to look down and see the hot lava boiling. National Geographic scientists were there. We also got some souvenirs for our loved ones back home.

Thanks to all who helped on our Missions Trip.

Max & Jennifer Kennedy have been so good to us. They got us a motel for the day so we could rest for our fight at midnight tonight. I’m up writing while the guys are sleeping. Many of us got sick for a day or two. (I wasn’t so good yesterday) Max ended up getting the Zika virus. I think we’re all tired and ready for home.

I wonder if that’s how Jesus felt when He spent His last 10 days on earth (between the resurrection and the ascension). He needed to do a great work but wanted to go back to His Father. Sometimes I feel that way. I get weary in serving the Lord. Sometimes it’s just hard, difficult exhausting work. And I want so much to go to Heaven and rest. But not today.

Luis (our driver) and Pastor Denis.

Luis (our driver) and Pastor Denis.

God has a mission field for all of us. For some of us, we got to travel for a week and minister with and to people we will probably never seen until Heaven. Our bus driver, Luis, was such a wonderful man. He never lost his cool, even when our bus got stuck. Pastor Dennis & Denis were great leaders. We couldn’t have done the work without the translators. The church from Midway had a great team. It seems we just get to know each other and have to say goodbye.

But we are headed back to our mission field – Michigan. My prayer is that we will be able to minister to the people who love Jesus and those who need Jesus just as we did down here.

Find your mission field and be Jesus where you are. Help the hurting… there’s plenty of them. Do what you can – it might not be much but at least its a start. Get out of your comfort zone and do what Jesus wants you to do.

You can read about all the other days at: Nicaragua Missions Trip 2016.

Nicaragua Missions Day 5: Last Medical Day

You’d be surprised what you can accomplish in three days. Jesus resurrected in 3 days. We ended our 3rd and final day of ministry in La Rama. It started kinda rough, but ended up wonderful!

Mud, Mud, Mud!

IMG_4655The day actually started with a power outage. Power, lights, and fans finally came on about 2AM and we had a short night’s sleep. Then the rain when I woke up at 5AM. It was just getting dry.

Thinking we could back the bus into the village, we ran over some newly placed gravel and giant stone. However, it was muddier than expected and the bus rear tires got stuck. We tried to push it, but it was too bad. We went back to the church, had a short devotion (you can read my devotion ‘She Did What She Could”), prayed and got on the internet to ask all our friends to pray. Within a few minutes missionary Max Kennedy came to tell us that the bus got stuck without a truck’s help. God answered prayer.

The entire day was completely muddy. I’ll tell you about traveling around town later.

Healing the Sick.

IMG_4457We came for a medical missions trip and in spite of a stuck bus we were going to have a great last day! We started a little late, but eventually we got our medical team together.

Because this was the last day, the crowds seemed to be greater. Many people came from far away. Here’s some of the patients seen:

  • A girl with a growth in her mouth caused her tongue to protrude through her lips.
  • A baby had an abscess on his forehead and Dr. Mike drained it.
  • A lady came in to and saw she had gall stones through the portable ultrasound.
  • One girl came in with post-partum depression and was suicidal. Dr. Cherfan was able to talk to her about the peace that Jesus can give (all through translator). The pastor’s wife was able to led her to trust Jesus Christ as Savior.

Passing out Relief Baskets.

IMG_4419We passed out some baskets of food that will feed a family for 7-10 days. We walked through muddy ‘streets’ and paths to houses that were little more than shacks. Doghouses in the U.S. are in better condition than these homes.

It was such a blessing to bless these people. They were all very grateful and friendly. It is amazing to see people who have every right to complain and be down, but are happy and upbeat. Even in the rain, they were still in a good mood.

IMG_4440We were able to see where the floods came in. This community is right by a major river. Max said that it rained hard for about 8 days straight. When the river came over its banks, these people had nowhere to go. It is still the rainy season but we’re praying that nothing like this happens again this year.

While we were passing out baskets, David Ross and Jim were putting together water purifying units. This is a 2 gallon bucket with a spigot at the bottom leading into a filter. It can take about any kind of dirty water and filter to drinkable water. Of all the things we did, this will probably lead to better health for the entire community than anything else we did. All their water comes from a pump that does not have drinkable water. A dozen were put together and will be passed out during the next group mission trip.

Everyone was a little sad to leave. We left all our left over medicines, a foot locker full of candy, and lots of games. We even left our muddy boots at the end of the long driveway. By the time we drove away, the boots were gone to a person who needs them very badly.

IMG_4463Soon our muddy footprints will be gone, the food will be eaten, our medicines will be used up, and even those boots will wear out. But the friendships we made and the conversions we witnessed will last for eternity. We may not see them on earth, but I pray we will see many of them in heaven. One young mother we will see for sure.

You can read about all the other days at: Nicaragua Missions Trip 2016.

Nicaragua Missions Day 4: Power Outage

People need the Lord and medical care!

Today was in many respects a frustrating day! We were not discouraged, but had to realize the pace and resources available. Living in the U.S. we are accustomed to going down the street to a Lowe’s or Home Depot to get supplies. We have available hospitals in case of emergencies. And I can get just about anything in 2-days with Amazon Prime. But not in El Rama.

IMG_4387Medical Emergencies.

The Medical Team saw 260 patients today. The word got around the community, so we started the day with a crowd. Fortunately, we had a local physician come and help us. It not only provided an extra doctor, but we did not need a translator.

We saw many of the same type of illnesses. However, several patients came in with foot fungus due to living in the flooded conditions. It is similar to what the WW1 soldiers developed in the trenches of Europe known as ‘trench foot.’ One little boy was so severe, the doctors were removing what they though was mud around his toes and it was actually rotting flesh. His feet were bleeding. Cleaning, disinfecting, treatment and medications and he was a little better. But giving him some new socks and shoes and staying on his feet his feet were further doctor orders. It is very fortunate we came after the flood to treat these types of injuries and illnesses. Had we come before, much of our work would have been in vain.

Dr. Cherfan was able to see many pregnant women. Some were able to get a more exact due date than they thought. There is no hospital in the area. When a woman is to have a baby, she must travel the 3-4 hours on a bus to the nearest hospital to deliver. So an accurate due date is vital. Many just don’t make the trip. The mortality rate is very high.

IMG_4370New Beds (or at least Mattresses).

Due to the flooding, many of the mattresses were soaked and ruined. Many of the homes we saw are still dirt (or mud) floors. They sleep in make-shift hammocks to get off the ground. As I’m writing this, it’s pouring rain again for the third day.

We went to town to purchase 11 mattresses. They really aren’t what you would think is a mattress. It’s about 4 inches of foam rubber with cloth sewn around it. They ended up being about $25 each. We searched many places. We even bought a few off a street vendor.

Delivering these mattresses to the families was one of the most humbling experiences. We gave these ‘cheap’ mattresses to families and they received them like we had given them a thousand dollars. Now they can sleep on a ‘soft’ mattress. But with the rain, you wonder how long these will last.

IMG_4390General Relief Help.

We also put together 48 relief packages of food and staple goods. It was a grocery bag full of rice, beans, oil, soap, toiletries, etc. It cost about $5 for each bag. Tomorrow we will deliver these to the families.

Some of the men (including our own David Ross) helped with some plumbing. The pastor needed a water purifier installed correctly. Had we been in the U.S. it would have been an hour project, including running to Lowe’s to get the simple parts. But here, it was an all day affair, including two trips to the store. The trip into town is 30 minutes (and only 2-3 miles). The roads are horrible. The ‘hardware store’ is just a store front with a few items. These guys got it together and it seems to be working.

Power Outage.

Finished the day of ministry, came back for a cold shower, and ready to go out to eat and…. the power went out. Completely. We walked down the street for some seafood & steak and came back to a dark motel. It was hot in our room before with fans, but our corner room was baking. We laid in bed, dripping with sweat, until about 2:30 this morning when all the lights came on. Fans on and we got back to sleep.

This is just a reminder for me that for many people, this is just normal life. I get to go home to a soft bed, warm shower, and the peace of hospitals and stores nearby. But these people do not. Pray for their condition. Pray for the men and women who bring not only the message of Jesus, but the physical help.

You can read about all the other days at: Nicaragua Missions Trip 2016.

Nicaragua Missions Trip Day 3 – First Day of Clinic

Most people in the world do not have access to all the health benefits that Americans have. If we have a small hurt, we can call 911 and get instant response to just about any illness or accident. But in the part of Nicaragua we ministered today, there is very little medical access.

Medical Clinic Day.

victorToday we were able to minister to 207 people and gave out thousands of vitamins and medicines. Many of these saw a doctor for the first time. Dr. Victor Cherfan is a OB/GYN and brought along a portable ultrasound machine. Eight women saw their unborn baby. The look on their face was priceless.

We had torrential rains in the morning prior to our clinic opening at 8AM (it’s the rainy season in Nicaragua). For a long time, nobody showed up. But after the rains, many came to see a doctor.

When a patient arrived at the clinic they went through six stages. First, they, they were registered under a tent. Second, we shared the Gospel to them under another tent, Third, they were brought in to triage, vital signs were recorded, and any symptoms were noticed. Fourth, they saw a doctor to determine the best approach to help them. Fifth, they were sent to our ‘pharmacy’ where they were given any medications that might help them.

While we were getting ready for lunch, a little boy had a cut on his foot. Dr. Michael Nelson was able to give him a stitch with the help of several of the other doctors and nurses.

One man was so weak he needed help getting to the clinic. There wasn’t much the doctors could do without a hospital. He possibly had heart problems. Though they were not able to help him physically, they talked to him about his spiritual life. He knew Christ as Savior and knew where he would go for eternity. This is the difference between a Christian missions trip and a humanitarian trip. The humanitarian trip is limited and many times reaches its limit. However, when the Christian missions trip hits its limit and cannot help someone one, we can turn them to Christ who will help them. I love missions trips.

Flood Victims.

IMG_4260While these medical professionals were helping people, the others (myself included) visited the church people. They recently underwent a flood. These people live in horrible conditions anyway – dirt floors, holes in the walls, no beds, etc. But with the floods up to 3 feet high in their house, the destructions was unbelievable. Yet, they were smiling, invited us in, and happy to visit with us.

Our two churches are going to raise the money to help these people. We will be able to lay a gravel floor in their house for $18. We can buy mattresses for about $25. We are also going to buy a grocery bag of basic food goods for less than $10 and feed nearly 100 families. Most of us were overwhelmed at the poverty conditions these people were living in.

Nicaragua Church.

IMG_4298This is Sunday and we typically have church on Sunday morning. However, they have their main church service here on Sunday night. It was a great time and we recognized many of the songs (although they were in Spanish). They fed us rice for dinner and came home.

Even though it’s only the first day, all the Americans were overwhelmed with the poverty of this country and the privilege of our country. We were reminded that we should share out of our bounty to those less fortunate.

The missionary, Max Kennedy, opened our day in prayer proclaiming that most people in the world would not do what we are doing this week. If more people would, it would be a better world.

You can read about all the other days at: Nicaragua Missions Trip 2016.

Nicaragua Missions Trip Day 1 & 2 – The End of the Road

IMG_4194Mission work is great work! When you take a week off of your normal routine and spend it on the mission field, it can be overwhelming. So much to do with a limited time to get it done.

Ten of us from Adrian area are on our first missions trip to Nicaragua. For all (but me), it is the first time for a Christian-emphasis missions trip. We have a medical emphasis and have 3 doctors, 1 paramedic and the rest of us are going to build relationships with the area residents.

With no sleep, we left Detroit about 5:30AM on Friday. In Houston, we met up with a team of 23 from Dallas, Texas area. And together we arrived in Nicaragua with a lot of medicines tucked in our suitcases. We have 30 different types of medications. We have 18,000 vitamins and about 10,000 other medicines. We even have an ultrasound machine that will allow pregnant mothers to see their babies. Most have never done this.

IMG_4193Day 1 was spent traveling 7-8 hours to El Rama. It is literally where the road ends in Nicaragua. To go beyond this area you need to take a boat to the Caribbean. This is one of poorest areas of Nicaragua with very little medical attention.

Once we settled in our rooms, we traveled to the church where we will hold a 3-day clinic. We are expected to see thousands of people in 3 days. The area has recent major flooding, so we had to walk much of the way because our vehicles couldn’t make the roads.

IMG_4181We were divided between Medical Staff and Evangelism Staff. The Medical Staff set up a pharmacy, created examining rooms, and divided responsibilities. The Evangelism Staff set up two tents in the church yard and made connections with the neighborhood children.

It was a long day. We got up at 5AM and we are still in the room getting ready for bed at 10PM. Tomorrow will be the first day of clinic. It will start at 8AM and last until church in the evening. We should be done by 8PM.

Every missions trip is different. I’ve never been on a ‘medical’ missions trip. But this will give us all an opportunity to meet some of the poorest people we’ve ever encountered. We’ve already met some great Christian brothers and sisters.

You can read about all the other days at: Nicaragua Missions Trip 2016.

 

Nicaragua Missions Trip 2016

Faith Baptist Church sponsored a Missions Trip to Nicaragua July 29 – August 6 2016. We had ten people participate: Greg Burdine, Victor & Zane Cherfan, David, Maureen, and Danielle Nelson, David & Sue Ross, Philip Walker & Gage Hammang.

We teamed up with missionaries Max & Jennifer Kennedy. They are currently ending deputation and will begin language school soon.

The emphasis of the trip is medical relief. We will hold a 3 day clinic outside a city called El Rama, ministering to thousands. We are meeting with another church team from Dallas, Texas area. We have over of 33 people on this trip, including 5 doctors, 7 nurses & paramedics.

I blogged during this trip so people can follow our adventures.

Day 1 & 2: The End of the Road

Day 3: First Day of Clinic

Day 4: Power Outage

Day 5: Last Medical Day

Day 6: Finishing Strong

What does it mean to ‘Carry the Cross of Jesus’?

On Amazon you can find over 280,000 entries for cross necklace. The most expensive is an 18K gold 10 carat pink sapphire diamond cross pendant necklace that costs $17,000. It’s beautiful!

Many like to wear a cross as jewelry. But when Jesus told His disciples to ‘take up his cross and follow me’ (Mark 8:34), it was not a popular choice. A cross was a symbol of crime, punishment and death.

The first person to literally obey this command was Simon of Cyrene.  He was probably visiting Jerusalem for the Passover. As Jesus was on His way to Calvary, He was too weak to carry His own cross. So they forced Simon to carry it the rest of the way. You can read this event in Mark 15:21.

We, too, must carry Jesus’ cross in the world we live in. That’s why we were saved! We can’t repeat the atonement. That was something only Jesus could do – die for the sins of all mankind. But we are to carry the cross.

What does it mean to carry the cross of Jesus? It means to be so identified with Jesus, that we suffer what He suffered. People begin to treat us like they treated Jesus. People see Jesus in us and we feel honored.

There’s something unique about carrying a cross:

1- Carrying a cross is noticeable. You can’t hide a cross. It’s too big. And when you really follow Jesus in your daily life, people will see it. Some will appreciate your conviction and passion. Others will mock and hate you. But all will notice.

2- Carrying a cross is uncomfortable. Jesus’ cross was heavy and rough. The longer Simon carried it, the heavier it seemed to get. If we ‘yes’ to the cross, we say ‘yes’ to some uncomfortable situations – changes will need to be made in our conversations, decisions and lifestyles.

3- Carrying a cross is personal. This isn’t a group decision that might have personal implications. It’s a personal decision that leads to a difference in our relationships, friends and families. You can’t depend on your parents or friends – you’ve got to do it yourself.

4- Carrying a cross is public. The biggest decisions you make are made in public. The biggest decision you can make is following Jesus – to decide to carry His cross and all that it means to be identified with Him. It will impact your family, change the way you pursue your career, treat other people and even spend your time and money.

Jesus did not die to make this life easy for us or prosperous. He died to remove every obstacle to our everlasting joy. And He calls us to follow him in His sufferings because this life of joyful suffering for Jesus’ sake (Matt. 5:12) shows that He is more valuable than all earthly rewards that the world lives for (Matt. 13:44; 6:19-20).

If you follow Jesus only because He makes life easy for now, it will look to the world as though you really love what they love, and Jesus just happens to provide it for you. But if you suffer with Jesus in the pathway of love because He is your supreme treasure, then it will be apparent to the world that your heart is set on a different fortune than theirs. This is why Jesus demands that we deny ourselves and take up His cross and follow him.

How does the cross feel?

You can read some of my other articles about the words of Jesus on the cross: The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross

Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross

The cross of Jesus Christ is the central theme of Christianity. This is because all believers depend on the cross for all the blessings of eternal life. As Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, He communicated separate seven times.

I used these seven sayings as a meditation before we conducted our communion service. Arthur Pink has some wonderful insights into these words. I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed his ideas.

These words of Jesus while on the cross reveal the character and heart of the suffering Jesus. These words inform us of the purpose, meaning, sufferings and sufficiency of His death.

Below you will find a link to each of my pre-communion meditations…

It Hurts To Be Jesus

“Follow Jesus and you will be happy!” Really? Sometimes following Jesus hurts, because it hurts to be Jesus.

As we follow the life of Jesus, we discover that He often suffered, especially in His last days. If you choose to follow Jesus, it is inevitable that you will suffer some of the same hurts.

Let’s look at Mark 15:16-20 and uncover some of the hurts that Jesus suffered…

Jesus suffered Pain.

Following the scourging (Mark 15:15), Jesus continued to be brought physical pain from the Roman soldiers. They put together a ‘crown of thorns’ in mockery of his kingship and smashed it onto his head. And then they hit Him on the head with a stick, driving the thorns deeper into his skull.

For many followers of Jesus in our world, physical pain is a reality. It literally hurts to be like Jesus. According to CNN, Christian persecution reached a record high in 2015. It is estimated 100,000 Christians are killed every year because of their faith, which amounts to 273 per day, or 11 every hour. This does not take into account those who are being tortured, imprisoned, exiled, threatened, excluded, attacked and discriminated.

Jesus suffered Isolation.

Once Pilate gave the order to be crucified, the soldiers took Jesus away and gathered the a whole group together. A ‘cohort’ consisted of 600 men. However, because of the festival days and the fact that Pilate probably had been accompanied by a large contingent of soldiers from Caesarea, the number could have been far greater. Jesus was surrounded by a crowd but felt all alone.

Christians often suffer in isolation. At school, at work, in the neighborhood, even in many homes, Christians are surrounded by those who do not want to obey God’s Word. Maybe you feel like you’re the only one in your environment. But remember, Elijah felt this way too. But God reminded him that there were hundreds just like him. You are not alone. For one thing, you have Jesus. And I am sure there are others that only need a little encouragement to be strong. Stand up for right, righteousness & Jesus and you’ll often find others who will stand with you.

Jesus suffered Mocking.

This is the second time Jesus is humiliated and mocked. The first took place before the Jews. The Jews made fun of Him because for claiming to be their Messiah. The Romans made fun of Him as the king of the Jews.

They put a purple robe on him (royalty), placed a crown of thorns on his head, gave him a stick for a scepter, and bowed their knee in worship. And they spit on him.

Has someone ever made fun of you because of your relationship with Jesus? It hurts, especially when it is someone you love or respect. Some people just don’t understand us. But take note of what Jesus did… actually what He didn’t do. Jesus did not retaliate or mock back. It’s easy to get angry or run from people.

I love David’s attitude when Shimei cursed him. He said, “Leave him alone; let him curse…. perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.” (2 Samuel 15:11-12).

Sometimes it hurts to be like Jesus. But just as Jesus rose from the dead and lives in Heaven for ever, so will all who follow Jesus. Follow Jesus!

You can read some of my other articles about the hurts of life: What not to do when bad things happen, Looking for the ‘perfect’ church? Try the persecuted church.