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Monday, September 7, 2009

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Colossians 1:24—2:3
Psalm 62:6-7, 9
Luke 6:6-11

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loving to suffer

"Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church." —Colossians 1:24

In our secularized society which emphasizes feeling comfortable, we don't see many choosing to suffer. Yet Paul rejoiced because he suffered for the sake of the Church. He described these sufferings as working and struggling (Col 1:29) in evangelization (Col 1:28) and intercession (Col 1:9).

Are you evangelizing and interceding to the extent that it's causing you suffering? Would you proclaim the gospel even if people might kill you or crucify you as they did Jesus? Would you pray all night if you thought the Lord might use your prayer to lead someone to Him? Would you find your joy in the privilege of suffering, working, and struggling for the gospel?

Paul had a "daily tension pressing on" him, his "anxiety for all the churches" (2 Cor 11:28). His love for the Church and for Jesus the Head of the Church motivated Paul to suffer and to rejoice in that suffering. With love as the root and foundation of our lives (Eph 3:17), we also will be impelled to live no longer for ourselves but for Him Who for our sakes died (2 Cor 5:14-15). We will love to suffer for the Church.

Prayer:  Father, may our hearts "be strengthened" and may we "be closely united in love" with the Church (Col 2:2).

Promise:  "[Jesus] looked around at them all and said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' The man did so and his hand was perfectly restored." —Lk 6:10

Praise:  Brother Rick gave up all worldly goods and only owned that which fit in one backpack for the love of Christ.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 11, 2009

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