Knowing God through Suffering
There is a cancer update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
HAITI RELIEF: Please send a generous contribution for Haiti's earthquake relief. If your trusted friends, church, or denomination can't help you with the choice of an agency, I would be happy to make a suggestion. There are lots of good options. email@example.com
INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN WORSHIP LECTURES THIS WEEK AND NEXT
Andrew Peterson, Author, Songwriter, Performer, February 25-26, 2010
Do times of personal suffering draw you closer to God, or do they cause you to doubt God's greatness and goodness. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from a little book that probes what is sometimes called "the frowning providence" of Almighty God. The author is John Murray.
KNOWING GOD THROUGH SUFFERING
Sufferings teach us lessons that we cannot learn in College. We may have been to College or Seminary and have a string of letters after our name; we may have read all the great classics in theology and be able to argue on the finer points of divinity; and yet our knowledge may be largely theoretical. It is one thing to know about God; it is another thing to know God. The essence of eternal life is "that they may know thee the one true God" (John 17:3). Paul's ambition was "that I may know him" Philippians 3:10).
Many Christians can testify that they have learned more about God in the furnace of affliction that in all their previous experiences. Job is a classic example. The Lord said of him, "There is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil" (Job 1:8), so God put on display one of the trophies of His grace. Satan is given leave to afflict Job. The real question is: What kind of a person is Job? Does he fear God for nothing? (Job 1:9). Is his religion only one of self-interest? Ignorant of the battle going on in the heavenly realms, Job has many questions to ask. The interesting thing is that he does not get specific answers. What he gets is a revelation of God which at length brings him to confess, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear but now my eye sees thee. Therefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6).
There are areas of the Word of God that we cannot comprehend until we have experienced suffering. For thirty years of my Christian life I neither understood nor was particularly drawn to the book of Job. Along with a particular time of suffering came the help to understanding it. Martin Luther had a similar testimony:
"Affliction is the Christian's theologian";
"I never knew the meaning of God's Word
until I came into affliction";
"My temptations have been my masters in divinity";
"No man, without trials and temptations, can attain
a true understanding of the Holy Scriptures."
— John J. Murray, BEHIND A FROWNING PROVIDENCE. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth Trust, 1990, reprint 2005, pp. 17-18. ISBN 0-85151-572-X. John Murray is retired minister of the Edinburgh Congregation of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4 (Ron Man):
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
Thanks again for praying for my cancer treatment and for my healing.
More detailed journal entries and some new photos about my cancer treatment are available at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam (click on "journal" or "photos").
This is a chemotherapy week for me. Yesterday was a long morning drip of RITUXAN along with some steroids. Today and tomorrow are treatments of BENDAMUSTINE and CYTARABINE. Towards the end of March, they will do another PET scan to see how the lymphoma is responding. At that time, if there is still not a perfect match from the registry for the transplant, we will discuss the various risks of using a mismatched unrelated donor or one of my unmatched siblings. Each of those options has a different set of risks--mostly with what is called Graft vs Host disease. (Certain cures can kill you, the nurse told us.)
BE THE MATCH—CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE:
In conjunction with the national BE THE MATCH FOUNDATION, and with the help of some former students (now good friends), we have launched the CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE. Please take a look at the site: (www.carlstam.org/stemcelldrive). Distribute that link widely to anyone who might join us for one of the on-site drives or the virtual drive in order to SAVE LIVES. On February 11 in Louisville, we collected over 500 new samples for the national registry. There are upcoming drives in Chapel Hill on February 28; and at Notre Dame on March 18 and 19. The web site includes a three-minute video in which I explain what is involved with the process. Cell donors must be 18 to 60 years of age and in relatively good health. The site will help you get all the information you need.
Keep praying; and don't forget to care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment.
In Christ's perfect love,
WORSHIP QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
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