“Back in the Saddle Again”

My blog posting has been as regular as my flossing (I only floss the 4 weeks before I go to see the dentist, so I hope Dr. Harrell doesn’t read this.). Granted, I have been really busy lately, but there are no excuses since I will always be busy. So this meager post is an attempt to get “back in the saddle again” and at least find something to share with you a few times a week.

Last Wednesday night in our Men’s Bible Study we were looking at Acts 20, and were reminded once again that the Lord has not necessarily promised us an easy life down here below. Paul said to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, “And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.” (Acts 20:22-23) We see two important factors at work: (1) Paul was doing God’s will since it says he was being “constrained by the Spirit,” and (2) and that God’s will included “imprisonment and afflictions.”

Francis Schaeffer often said that America’s gods are “personal peace and affluence,” and I am convinced that he was correct. We want the new heaven and the new earth now, but that is reserved for a later time. Now, we live in a fallen world, with fallen people, and that means that sometimes we are called to suffer. We may face sickness, financial woes, relationship issues, and any number of other trials, but that is life in this present evil age. However, it is always wise to remember what my Bible reading this morning veritably shouted:

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)

As my wife often reminds me, “Clifton, we are not in heaven yet,” but we do have “the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”



  1. Branson said,

    February 9, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    This has been hammered home with Mandy and me especially. We both expected Fort Worth to be the answer to all of our woes in West Monroe, only to find that Fort Worth came with woes of it’s own. For a while I really struggled with whether or not I was in the Lord’s will by coming here. I expected, naively, that being in the Lord’s will meant everything would be right and happy. But the more I study scripture, the more I see that often times being in the Lord’s will bring strife and trials. The peace that the saints of Scripture described having did not come from happy circumstances, but from Christ who sustained them.

    • cliftonr said,

      February 9, 2010 at 4:58 PM

      The last things Christians want to hear is that sometimes we are called to suffer. As Isaac Watts wrote:

      “Am I a soldier of the cross,
      A follower of the Lamb,
      And shall I fear to own His cause,
      Or blush to speak His Name?

      Must I be carried to the skies
      On flowery beds of ease,
      While others fought to win the prize,
      And sailed through bloody seas?”

      Suffering is not pleasurable (Pain never is) but God has purposed it for His glory, and for our good (at least our good in eternity). We will be praying for you.

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