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Dale Porter, USA
Thanks for this blog. I am a born again Christian but to tell the truth I do not like pain or suffering. I want the bed of ease. I am a new ministry leader (3 different ministries) and many times I just want to "throw in the towel". I deal with "attitudes/spirits" that are ungodly. But I read an excerpt dealing with growing strong in Christ. How can we grow if we don't have "growing pains"? The pains are part of learning and stretching our christian muscles. I want to see others grow and if I leave (disappear to do other things) I will not obtain the gift God has for me when the suffering is over. Even if there is not a gift, the love of Christ has been bestowed upon another human being. Thanks so much for just putting words to what the Body of Christ needed to hear.
Fred Wachtman, USA
How much this message is needed today. We must be on the verge of last day troubles. Few Christians are prepared for the suffering waiting us. We need to consider the last beatitude carefully and with sincere consecration. My own pastor is still preaching the prosperity gospel when he should be preparing us for trouble ahead. At my suggestion he has just now begun after a personal failure when persecuted for righeousness at which he got angry. Jesus said to rejoice at such persecution. May we learn to sincerely pray for our persecutors. God help us.
Richard Brown, United States, Haiti
How can I shout AMEN loudly enough for all to hear?! A theology of suffering is so missing in our churches in America that I was asked after the Haiti earthquake, Why don't you wait until everything is cleaned up before you return? I could not believe my ears. As our brother from Nigeria says, we are misunderstood and sometimes even looked down upon for not making riches our priority over ministry to the needy and Kingdom building. Everytime I have opportunity to teach and preach I bring up this matter of "groaning" during the birthing of righteousness as Paul writes in Romans 8. Thank you for your courage in ministry Ajith and for your accurate teaching on discipleship.
hanna collison, australia
I'd love to send Libby a note of encouragement and want to thank her and her family that she obeyed God and experienced His staying power in a country where very few would stay to help. Libby you encouraged me. I know that your own suffering now with the death of your husband is just an extension of what you have suffered fo years with your Afghani friends and that God will use that too for his glory. May God be your very steadfast companion and may the Holy Spirit comfort you and all who are so deeply touched at this time, I love you, my Christian sister, so far away, in Christ Hanna Collison
When I read the article, I cried in my spirit. But at that same time, I could see how Jesus encouraged you to face such sufferings for bringing some one to christ. Though you undergo painful situations, the hand of Jesus is with you always. Immanauel..
Ephrem Hagos, Ethiopia
It is apparent that there is still little or no Christian curiosity whatsoever in the cross, as the "tree of life" or the divine means of perfect and transfigurative death of Christ's self-revelation in his divine identity and authority (Matt. 16: 13-18-28: 26: 63-64; 27: 50-56) once well known in apostolic times (Acts 1; 2; Rom. 6; 1 Cor. 1: 18-31; ... Rev. 5).
Gloria Marsolais, Canada
Libby, your words have become my prayer for you and your family and friends and those of the other martys as my heart aches for you. "May the fruitful door of opportunity to embrace suffering in service ...and embrace those who are suffering, remain open for the sake of your kingdom." and Father forgive us who know nothing of this level of commitment and cost for our petty complaints when things do not go easy or how we would like them and open our eyes and hearts to real service, real love. God's peace and comfort.
Ananda Kumar, USA
Ajith's point is consistent with the words of Jesus in John 15:2b, which says "every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." Rev. Tim Keller in one of his sermons says that there exist within Christians residual enmity with God. Suffering is God's way of often exposing and removing the vestiges of our enmity with God so that we become cleaner vessels appreciating His love, grace and forgiveness in a new way!
Glyn Carpenter, New Zealand
Ajith's words are filled with wisdom, grace, and truth. I know this wrong attitude to suffering which he describes exists in my country, not least because I wrestle with it myself.
When the stress of work impacts health, when there are no visible results, when there are offers to do something different which offers the prospect of more immediate results, - how long should we keep going?
The obvious answer is "until God says to change". But this must be based on a clear revelation and relationship with God, otherwise we delude ourselves and baptize our "man-made" decisions with "God-talk". Meditating deeply on the life of Christ and those who followed him, is a vital part of knowing God's will.
Samuel Escobar, Spain
It has been a rich and edifying experience to read Ajith's paper and the responses from three different parts of the world. I have the privilege of knowing all of the authors except Mrs. Little, and this has added a note of authenticity to what they have written. May the Lord in a special way comfort and provide strength to Mrs. Little. Thank you brothers and sisters!
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