Son, as a Trail Life boy consider suffering as a Christian

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Dads and boys in a Trail Life USA troop build a raft of bamboo, inner tubes and twine. (Photo David Tulis)

Dads and boys in a Trail Life USA troop build a raft of bamboo, inner tubes and twine. (Photos David Tulis)

After building their raft, six "trailmen" float across the green waters of Soddy-Lake. (Photo David Tulis)

After building their raft, six “trailmen” float across the green waters of Soddy-Lake. These boys are brought up in Christian homes so they might resist the claims of God’s enemies.

[Here’s my devotional at a Trail Life meeting July 26, directed at a dozen sons and their dads in Chattanooga, Tenn. — DJT]

Boys, the world is filled with injustice and abuse. Now there are two kinds of abuse.

One kind can be accounted for by the fall and that men are wicked and warlike and belligerent because they are sinners and do evil things.

By David Tulis

The other kind of abuse, according to the scriptures, is that special variety directed against one because of his Christian faith.

Evidences of the fall

Let’s look at the first kind of wickedness or abuse — sin, crime, violence of a general nature quite apart from whether you, the sufferer, are a believer in our Lord Jesus.

➤ You are of the wrong tribe or people and are destroyed. In 1994 the Hutus of Rwanda, over 100 days, slaughtered nearly a million Tutsis, a rival tribe in that country.

➤ You are on the losing side in a war. Nearly a million German soldiers who were American prisoners were allowed to starve and freeze to death in 1945, hated as they were by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, according to James Bacque’s 1989 book, Other Losses.

➤ You are the wrong color or you speak a different language than those around you. And for this reason you are enslaved and forced to toil for others without reward.

➤ You can suffer loss, threat, violence and death because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, in the wrong circumstance. Think of victims of terrorism. Think about being in a bank just as a robbery is occurring. You are hostage of the robber who has a pistol against your temple and a blade against your throat and is scrambling to get you into his car so he can make a getaway. Your life is in the providential hand of God.

➤ Your high or low legal status can bring you trouble. Today, a prolife activist named David Daleiden was freed from false accusations made against him for his work as a journalist under the protection of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This provision allows for a free press. He had been criminally accused for exposing the evils of Planned Parenthood, which destroys millions of boys and girls. He was hounded, and harassed and accused for his status of a free man shielded under the constitution. Exercising your rights under the law brings you into conflict with the state.

Scourgings as Christians

Peter is making the distinction before us today — between hard times generally and hard times as a Christian. He refers to the sorts of violence I’ve just mentioned.

“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters,” he says in his first epistle, chapter 4 at verse 15.

Now we come to this other treatment directed against the Lord’s anointed. “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” He goes on to say “if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” (1Peter 4:12-14, 16)

Peter’s letters provide his immediate reader consolation amid “the fiery trial which is to try you.”

God gives His people to be reproached, harassed, debarred, hounded, arrested, charged, jailed, lost in a bureaucracy, fined, slain, forced to flee — not because He is indifferent to them, but because He sovereignly decrees these things for their benefit, and His glory.

With persecution for the name of Christ comes a special blessing for “the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”

So avoid the sins that bring wrath and judgment. But stand firm in our Lord Jesus Christ, who saves all of His children, and honor and fear Him. That way, you will be able to act confidently and not in fear of men when you are tried for your faith.

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