Sit with Me in My Suffering

Read Job 2:1-13.

When Job’s three friends… saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud… Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. Job 2:11-13.

Job is considered by many to be the model of patience and faith in the midst of suffering. In the Old Testament book that bears his name, Job suffers greatly at the hand of Satan, but with the permission of God. He loses his property, his children and then his own health. He does complain about his experiences, but he never loses his faith. He rebukes his wife when she tells him to curse God and die.

Three of Job’s close friends come to visit him when they learn of his misfortune. For most of the book, the three friends talk to Job and say all the wrong things. Even though they say the wrong things, they do two things that are absolutely right. They come to see him, even though they seem to think that he is responsible for his own fate. And they sit with him in silence, just being there when he needed them.

We often know people who are experiencing terrible suffering and heartache. We may be tempted to avoid them because we are afraid that we will say the wrong thing. But we can take a cue from Job’s friends. Go be with them. Don’t say anything. Just sit with them in silence. Sometimes there is nothing you can say that will help, but your presence, even in silence, will be a comfort and support to your hurting friends.

God is always with us in our suffering, even though we may not feel His presence or hear His voice. Sometimes His presence comes through the willingness of His people to be there in His name.

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC

What is the Gospel?

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:2

What is the gospel? In the church, we talk about believing the gospel. We talk about sharing the gospel so that others may hear and believe. What are we supposed to believe and share?

The opening verses of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 provide a brief summary of the gospel according to the great Christian apostle Paul. He indicates that he received this gospel and passed it on to them. Paul makes the point in another letter, Galatians, that he received the gospel message directly from Christ, not from any other apostles or teachers.

The elements of the gospel, according to Paul, are:

“Christ died for our sins.” This first part of the gospel message contains two important truths. In some way, the death of Jesus on the cross paved the way for the forgiveness of our sins. This implies the second of these truths. We sin and we need God’s forgiveness.

“… according to the Scriptures…” Paul is talking about the Old Testament scriptures in these verses. In other words, this death of Christ that brings forgiveness was God’s plan all along.

“… the he was buried,” In other words, Jesus was really dead. Which is important to know because…

“…he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.” Jesus was really alive again after he really died. The death and resurrection of Jesus are both a part of the gospel. As we trust in Him and the work that He did when He died and rose again, we receive salvation.
There is no substitute for the gospel. Jesus fulfilled God’s plan for saving humanity. We participate in God’s plan for our lives by receiving His salvation when we trust in Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Earlier in the First Corinthian letter, Paul reminds them that some people like the Jews he knew seek signs from God and some like educated Gentiles seek special wisdom, “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23).

So don’t put your trust in any other ideas about God or salvation. The gospel is good news. Hold firmly to it and pay attention to Paul’s warning not to believe in vain.
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC

Position Me, O Lord

Read 2 Peter 1:1-11.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
As a kid, I was a huge comic book fan. I had a lots of comics. I begged mom to take me to the B & B Market each week on the days when the new issues would arrive in the store. I devoured the adventures of Batman and Daredevil and most of the other famous superheroes put out by Marvel and DC.

In those days, those of us who loved comic superheroes were always excited to see a TV show or movie that portrayed our heroes. But often, those attempts were disappointing. The special effects of movies at that time had not advanced enough to make the action look realistic.

So I will never forget the first time I saw the preview to the second Fantastic Four movie and the flight of the Silver Surfer. Finally, the effects had arrived at the place where the movies looked like I always imagined the comic book reality to be!

Many advances (and failures) lay between the beginnings of motion pictures and that amazing flight of the Silver Surfer. And many more advances are certainly yet to come. Those intermediate steps were necessary to be able to make the movies that are made today.

And so it goes in the life of faith. We pray for God to show us Himself and tell us His will and keep us from temptation. Sometimes it seems that our prayers are not answered, at least not fully answered. But sometimes, God has to carry us through one stage in our lives to get us to the next stage, and finally to the place where He can answer our prayer.

We may be praying that God will help us with a problem. We may not be able to see the many steps God needs to walk us through to be able to help us deal with that problem. God may see some other part of our heart that needs changing.

So, we continue to pray because we trust God to provide for us and help us. If we allow God to move us along His path for us, we will get to where He has promised us we need to go.
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC