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In the last two posts, we have talked about two primary issues. The first was, “When terrorists strike, are they doing God’s will?”

The answers provided were “no” and “yes.”

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Like Jesus, Paul linked the idea of being a servant with suffering: “We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:3–10).

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Christians are often taught that we are God’s children and “fellow heirs with Christ.” It sounds good, and it is good. It lines up with the biblical truth that He has given us everything we need to live our lives with Jesus and that He will continue to do so, often beyond our ability to comprehend it.

However, there is this interesting thing that Paul says in Romans 8 that I think we too often ignore. Look carefully, if you would, at the last part of verse 17:

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Our trip to India was challenging, a reality check, tiring and—wonderful.

Challenging, because—at least in the cities we visited—there are no physical reasons for one to live there. These two cities are dirty, polluted, and kind of scorched-earth urban poor—where there wasn’t concrete.

A reality check because of the above challenges and because the relational, cultural and political issues we face there are complex, and there are no easy fixes.

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From Voice of the Martyrs’ January 2009 issue:

“On March 21, 2007, Christianah Olluwasesin looked forward to the ending of school that day. That’s because the Christian teacher was to leave the government high school in Gombe, a city in Northern Nigeria, and be reunited with her husband, Femi. But first things first, she had to give her female students their final exam. The exam would test the students’ knowledge of Islam.

To prevent cheating, she collected the book bags of each student and brought them to the front of the class. One of the students began to cry. She told the class that there was a Quran in her bag and by touching the bag the Christian teacher had ‘desecrated’ the Quran inside it. Tears turned to outrage and anger, and soon the class was shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’—God is great.

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img_0127One of my wonderful blog friends sent an inspiring email to me. It’s one of those slideshows accompanied by music and encouraging statements and words of wisdom. I loved it. In fact, it’s one of the few pass-along emails that I’ll actually pass along. (For those of you who send such emails, take note. I’ve found almost nothing that I find worthy enough to put into a friend’s mailbox.)

There was one statement in this presentation, however, that I disagree with, and I related that to my blog friend. It was, “Time heals everything. Give time, time.”

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Tragedy in San Diego. I wept as I watched the CNN video of the interview with the husband and father, Don Yun Yoon. This man is an amazing, wonderful Christian, who deserves all our admiration—and prayers.

Here’s the link:

I encourage you to watch the video, to watch Christianity in action.

Or perhaps if you’re from another persuasion, this is another example of how Christians are a blight on our society.

“A Korean immigrant whose family was killed when an F-18 crashed into his house returned home to survey the rubble and said he doesn’t blame the military pilot who survived the accident.

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I met with a pastor yesterday who is struggling. He’s what is called “bi-vocational,” which means he is trying to start a church and work at a “secular” job at the same time. He’s doing this in one of the poorest parts of our city. I admire him for this.

Regardless of this admiration, his bank account is suffering. He feels like he’s not taking care of his wife as he should. He told me that he has dishonored God.

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From Andy Stanley’s Louder Than Words, on character in the life of a Christian.

“Our common sense tells us that pursing character is great for the blue-sky days, but storms are a different matter.  Storms are an exception.  When life becomes turbulent, it’s every man for himself.  In times of crisis, we decide that pursuing character may not be in our best interest.

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