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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

December 18, 2015

Those called will be tested

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

In the parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus said that persecution often arises when people begin to turn to God. The same thing occurred in the apostle Paul's life. Paul had an active role in the persecution of Stephen and the early Church (Acts 7:58; 8:1, 3).

While Paul was traveling to Damascus to continue his persecution against the Christians, God miraculously appeared to him. Paul was blinded and didn't eat or drink for three days. After Ananias laid his hands on Paul, he regained his sight and was baptized to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:1-18). With baptism, conditions quickly changed.

When Paul ceased being the persecutor, he soon became the persecuted. Paul immediately began to preach "that this Jesus is the Christ. Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him" (verses 22-23).

The reality is that the people of God have always faced trials and persecutions. It comes with being a Christian. As Paul explained, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). (Interestingly, in the long run everyone, whether Christian or not, will be tested. Revelation 3:10 says there will be an "hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.")

Though temporarily unpleasant, trials help us establish and solidify our faith (1 Peter 1:6-7). God is with us, every step of the way, through all trials (Romans 8:35-39; 2 Corinthians 1:4). The same comfort and help God gave the first Christians is available today to all who are faithful to God's instructions. As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

God promises to help those whom He calls. He will either remove our trials or give us the strength to bear them.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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