Issue #34

Small Sufferings, Peace and God's Will, Gen Z's Questions about Sexuality, and more...

Issue #34
Photo by Sunguk Kim / Unsplash

I've been dealing with a cold for the past few weeks, so the Hebrews Bible Study is taking a short break and will be back soon! As of this writing, I'm feeling much better, but these letters are usually a few weeks ahead, so it will take a little bit to get back on track. In the meantime, I have some short reflections for you.

The Victory of Suffering in Small Ways

Read these words of church father Augustine of Hippo:

Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We actually progress by means of trial. We do not know ourselves except through trial, or receive a crown except after victory.
— Augustine, Commentary on the Psalms

So much of our lives are built around trying to escape from suffering and difficulty, and largely, modern Western society has been successful. It leaves us only with the small sufferings: boredom waiting in line or a fussy child, for example. Even these small sufferings we try to soothe away with Twitter feeds and television.

Yet Augustine is echoing our Messiah in his words,

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
— John 16:33 (CSB)

How did Jesus conquer the world? Through his suffering and death (Hebrews 2:10). It is through the bearing of the cross that we become like Jesus.

My challenge to you today is to look at what small sufferings you try to soothe with time-wasting technology. What small sufferings can you endure for a purpose? While waiting in line, can you read a passage of scripture, or ask someone else about their day? When dealing with a fussy child, can you press through your tiredness to engage? How can you meet others in their sufferings today?

I challenge myself as I write these words because I will be the first to admit that this is not a strength for me. Will you join me in praying for God to give us his eyes to see the opportunities to suffer the death of our wants for the sake of others?

Read and Reflect 📖

9 Things You Should Know About ‘Christian Science’ | Joe Carter 📃 →

The Christian Science group (which is not Scientology), is a cult of Christianity born out of the 18th century that is kind of like a hyper-prosperity gospel mixed with some other heretical beliefs. Like Mormonism, they believe in the Bible, but they also add additional texts to scripture.

Generally, their fundamental belief is that sickness and pain are an illusion that can be cured through faith, belief, and prayer in mechanical terms (the “science” of “Christian Science”). There are “laws” to spiritual healing that, once tapped into, guarantee that sickness will not affect the believer.

They also deny the Trinity and deity of Jesus and teach that sin and evil are mere illusions to be overcome through belief. Read through Carter’s article for a deeper look at this group. Understanding the cults of Christianity is important because we are called to discern the real thing from the false gospel. By making the “main” thing about the “illusion” of sin and sickness and overcoming those things with the power of belief, they have left the core of Christianity: that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus bought us a hope and a future that we could not earn and do not deserve.

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