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Temptation/Troubles and Suffering

“Many think that pain is the exception in the Christian life. When suffering occurs, they say,"why me?” They feel as though God deserted them, or perhaps they accuse Him of not being dependable as they thought. In reality, however, we live in an evil world filled with suffering, even for believers. But God is still in control.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrew 11:35-39)"Temptation comes from evil desires within us, not from God. It begins with evil though and becomes sin when we dwell on the thought and allow it to become action. Like a snowball rolling downhill, sin grows more destructive the more we let it have its way. The best time to stop a temptation is before it is too strong or moving too fast to control.” (Life Application Study Bible, James 1:12-15)

“Who has not faltered? Who has not taken a wrong step, or let pain or trouble steal our peace in Christ?...determine to reject temptations, for they often come in swarms to shake us from the truth of the Gospel; but the outcome in temptation lies within us…Pray to resist when drawn toward actions or offers that oppose our saving Lord and His strengthening truth.” (Dynamis 11/12/2012)

“You may say that no temptation is ever overcome until we stop trying to overcome it—throw up the sponge. But then you could not"stop trying” in the right way and for the right reason until you had tried your very hardest. And, in yet another sense, handing everything over to Christ does not, of course, mean that you stop trying. To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way” (C.S. Lewis)

“The key to lived purity is interior purity.” (Dynamis 11/14/2012)

“In the world you will have tribulation…” (Christ, John 16:33)

“Following Christ does not mean a trouble free life.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 14:28-30)

“Jesus said many times in many different ways that in this world we will face trouble but don’t worry…Admittedly, this can be very difficult sometimes but prayer helps us know and accept this truth with a peace of heart and mind.” (Sacramental Living)

“Some people say that troubles are the result of sin or lack of faith, but St. Paul teaches that they may be part of God’s plan for believers. Our problems can help us look upward and forward, instead of inward, they can build strong character and they can provide us with opportunities to comfort others who are struggling.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 1:5)

“We may suffer for many reasons. Some suffering is the direct result of our own sin; some happens because of our foolishness; some is the result of living in a fallen world…[some] suffering comes as a result of doing good…Our goal should be to face suffering as He [Christ] did – with patience, calmness, and confidence that God is in control of the future.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 2:21,22)

“We may resist a temptation at first because we know that we should and because wiser souls have told us what could happen if we do not. But then it begins to look attractive, and we start to want it. Sense and nonsense switch places in our mind, and we begin to think the opposite of what we were taught. It may be a while before we realize who told the truth and who the lie, and what we thought was solely an act of our own will was actually the press of another upon ours.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“Such is the way with temptation. We resist with no problem one moment and give in the next” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much” (Mother Teresa)

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our consciences, but shouts in our pains/” (C.S. Lewis)

“It is only because of our problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.” (M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled)

“Even those who are especially close to God…have moments when they want to escape their problems and pressures.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 55:6-8)

“God wants us to give or burdens to Him, but we often continue to bear them ourselves even when we say we are trusting in Him. Trust the same strength that sustains you to carry your cares also.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 55:22)

“Sometimes our sense of rugged individualism, self-reliance, or even being intellectually gifted really works against us when it comes to faith.” (Sacramental Living)

“Trials, the world’s oppression, take place by God’s permission [though He is not the cause]. This issue is not trials but our response to them.” (Orthodox Study Bible, James 1:2)

“The point is not to be happy when we face pain but to have a positive outlook…because of what troubles can produce in our life…Tough times can teach us perseverance…Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth…God will not leave you alone with your problems” (Life Application Study Bible, James 1:2, 3)

“We can’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. It’s easy to be kind to others when everything is going well, but can we still be kind when others are treating us unfairly.” (Life Application Study Bible, James 1:2,3)

“Each person must take up his/her own"cross.” The burden in this world is different for each person, and each has been chosen by God to bear certain struggles for their salvation and the salvation of those around them…Commitment to following Christ is not just a one-time event…it is the continual practice of faith and obedience…” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 9:23)"We should never lose sight that God’s love and grace are always available to us, though sometimes we have to go through struggles.” (Sacramental Living)

“Jesus said we must"die to self.” He means we must die to sin and self-will and then we will find our true selves as God uniquely created us to be. Dying to self is both daily work and the work of a lifetime and often involves hardship and struggle as we slowly chip away at our ego.” (Sacramental Living)

“Waiting for God to help us is not always easy…When caught in the storms of life, it is easy to think that God has lost control and we’re at the mercy of the winds of fate…Often blessings cannot be received unless we go through a trial of waiting.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 40:1-3, Luke 8:23-25)

“Every challenge we face, sickness in ourselves or loved ones included, is an opportunity for our growth. This does not mean God causes sickness, it does mean that it is a chance for all of us to invite God into our lives and move toward Him.” (Sacramental Living)

“God can use us in any circumstance to do His will. Even as we pray for a change in our circumstance, we should also pray that God will accomplish His plan through us right where we are.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 6:19, 20)

“When life is calm our foundations don’t seem to matter. But when crisis comes, our foundations are tested.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 6:46-49)

“God calls us to commitment, not to comfort. He promises to be with us through suffering and hardship, not to spare us from them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Acts 9:15, 16)

“At points in our lives we all ask ourselves or someone asks us"why do bad things happen to good people?” …The understanding and acceptance of the answer to this question is often the"make or break" decision point for many of us as to believe in God as a loving God or a harsh God, or to believe in Him at all.” (Sacramental Living)

“God can handle our doubts and He welcomes our questions…Only as you face your doubts honestly can you begin to resolve them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 7:18-23)

“In Christianity we are taught sin is a condition of the world and the cause of human suffering. We are also taught Christ defeated sin and redeemed suffering through the cross and now our suffering can be transformative. Many of us reject this because it is not the answer we want to the condition of evil and suffering. Who would want this answer? Who wants to suffer or see someone suffer? Most of us want a world without pain…but at the same time, we need to be careful of not falling into the mental trap of thinking reality should work according to our will. There is something bigger going on and we find greater peace in accepting our part and limitations as we strive to be as loving and good as possible in Christ.” (Sacramental Living)"God doesn’t promise to eliminate challenges; instead, He promised to give us strength to meet those challenges. If He gave us no rough roads to walk, no mountains to climb, and no battles to fight, we would not grow.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 18:32-34)

“… everything in nature requires friction to bring about change - a moth to a butterfly, a match and surface to bring about fire - the examples are endless. We human beings require friction as well. …. Yet why is friction actually good? Friction is good as long as we understand it in the context of spiritual struggle and growth…So we need to make a commitment in our heart to stick with our struggle.” (Sacramental Living)

“We may not like it, we may want a God who is more like a Grandfather than a father ,who will gather us together at the end of time and say"and a good time was had by all.” (C.S. Lewis) But it doesn't work that way. Christianity never, ever promises otherwise. It does promise growth and comfort during struggle and suffering because Christ transformed suffering on the cross and made it a means for our personal growth…. Every challenge we face, sickness in ourselves or loved ones included, is an opportunity for our growth.” (Sacramental Living)

“Our suffering can make us much more sensitive to the servants of God [others]. People who have known pain are able to reach out with compassion to others who hurt. If you have suffered ask God how your experience can be used to help others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 2:10)

“Our perfection requires a growth that is manifested in suffering.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Hebrews 2:10-11)

“Let us recognize that a large fraction of suffering and that of our fellow human beings is brought about by what we do to one another. It is humankind, not God, that has invented knives, arrows, guns, bombs and all manner of other instruments or torture through the ages. The tragedy of a young child killed by a drunk driver, the innocent man dying on the battlefield, or a young girl cut down by a stray bullet in a crime-ridden section of a modern city can hardly be blamed on God. After all, we have somehow been given free will, the ability to do as we please. We use this ability frequently to disobey Moral Law. And when we do so, we shouldn’t then blame God for the consequences.” (Francis S. Collins, The Language of God)

“The bottom line is that suffering such as terrible sickness or near death experiences of ourselves or our loved ones, has been transformed into something that can be a gift in the sense that it awakens or reawakens us to God who is always reaching out to each one of us. That is why after tragedy or near tragedy you may observe people going to Church or starting to ask questions about faith. For some, this becomes a permanent commitment to God while for others it only lasts until the horror of the terrible experience fades. Either way, the reaction points to the truth of our need for God whether we know it or not.” (Sacramental Living)

“If we only want God’s comforting messages, we may miss what He has for us. Listen whenever God speaks, even when the message is hard to take.” (Life Application Study Bible, Micah 2:6,7)

"It takes intense heat to purify gold and silver. Similarly, it often takes the heat of trials for the Christian to be purified. Through trials, God shows us what is in us and clears out anything that gets in the way of complete trust in Him…So when tough times come your way, realize that God wants to use them to refine your faith and purify your heart.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 17:3)

“Just as fire refines ore to extract precious metals, God refines us through difficult circumstances. When we are tested, we can complain, or we can see how God is stretching us to develop our character.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 22:1)

“During the life of the Christian there are hours of inconsolable sorrow and sickness, when it seems that the Lord has completely abandoned and forsaken him, for there is not the least feeling of God’s presence in the soul. Such are the hours in which faith, hope, love and patience of the Christian are tried. But better times will soon come to him. Soon the Lord will turn him again to joy, so let him not fall when tempted in this way." (St. John of Kronstadt)

“The purpose of testing is to strengthen our character and deepen our commitment to God in His perfect timing.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 22:7.8)

"...despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt." (J.R.R Tolkien)

“In our gloom and despair, we feel that our sorrows and troubles will never end. But we can take comfort in this certainty: Although the Lord may not always spare us from troubles, if we follow Him wholeheartedly, He will lead us safely through them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 9:1)

“Even the strongest people get tired at times, but God’s power and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to help and listen. His strength is our source of strength. When you feel all of life crushing you and you cannot go another step, remember, that you can call upon God to renew your strength.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 40:29-31)

“Never entertain any thoughts from the enemy that the Lord does not know what is going on in our lives. Our gracious God is wholly aware, even if it does not seem as if He knows or is present.” (Dynamis 4/6/2013)