What a Savior I
Wonderful Counselor, part 1

Monday, December 2, 2019

Beginning this week, we will take the next few weeks to look a bit more closely at each of the descriptive names Isaiah used as he tried to communicate all that the coming Messiah would be. Our text, based on Isaiah 9:1- 7, will more specifically look at the descriptive names Isaiah uses as he tries to help Israel (and us) understand what the Messiah would be like.


As I looked over those descriptions, again, all I can say is, “What a Savior!” And that will be the overarching title for this Advent series. 

As we get started, let’s read from Isaiah 9:6-7: “For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: "Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” and “Prince of Peace. 7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” NLT. Isaiah prophecies about the coming of the Lord, the Messiah. He speaks of His first coming, telling of His humanity, “For to us a Child is born...” and of His divinity – “... to us a Son is given...”

As most of us know, Jesus is the “Only Begotten Son...” that we read about that in John 1:14 & John 3:16. His “only begotten-ness” means there was, is, and never will be anyone else like Him. He is the God -man; the unique Person of the universe.

Isaiah speaks of the Messiah’s Second Coming – “... the government will rest on His shoulders.” Then we see this theme being built upon and further amplified by the prophet in verse 7. 


It’s almost as though Isaiah is standing, looking over a mountain’s peak, and seeing two other mountain peaks. The first peak is the first coming of Christ; the second is the Second Coming of Christ.  

Isaiah prophecies about the Lord’s character. In the Scripture, especially on the Old Testament, a person’s name often indicated something about their character. That is why when one had a life altering experience with God they would often take a new name, much like Jacob, meaning deceiver, whose name was changed to Israel, meaning prince with God.

Likewise, the prophet Isaiah in seeking to tell us something about the character of the coming Messiah employs the use of names to tell us about Him. But in doing this he lets us know that a single name is not nearly enough to sum up what we need to know about Jesus, the Messiah.

As we continue through this series, we will be take time to consider each of the names given by the prophet to Jesus. The first one we will be considering is, “Wonderful Counselor.”


Continued tomorrow

What a Savior I
Wonderful Counselor, part 2

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

As we consider why the prophet would be inspired to describe Jesus as, “Wonderful Counselor,” there are two thoughts we can glean from Scripture.


Jesus is the “Wonderful Counselor” because...

  • He is our Advocate1 John 2:1-2 “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.


  • He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins — and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

The Scripture tells us that Jesus ever lives to “make intercession for us” in Romans 8:34. As Intercessor, He is our advocate, our counselor, our defense attorney – when it comes to defending us against the accusations of the evil one (Revelation 12:10) who is constantly seeking to convince God that those who have trusted in Christ are not worthy of eternal life.

I want us to see three things we are told about our Wonderful Counselor, our Advocate:

1) He is a present Advocate – “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks... in our defense...” John says we HAVE an Advocate. Jesus is ready to take on your case! If you simply name Him as your defense attorney here on earth, He will begin representing you before the Father in heaven (Matthew 10:32).

Jesus, our attorney, knows everything about your case and mine. Some lawyers don’t have all the facts, but He knows all and still chooses to represent us because the case is rock solid. It’s not based on what we have done but on the finished work of Christ.

I love the way Romans 8:33-34 explains it, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”  

2) He is a positioned Advocate. What does that mean? The scripture says “... we have one who speaks to the Father…” Jesus, as our Advocate, is positioned at the right hand of the Father. Jesus literally sits at the Father’s right hand, always ready to make your case or mine whenever you or I will choose to give it to Him.

3) He is a perfect Advocate. “... Jesus Christ, the Righteous One… is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” John shares with us two reasons why Jesus is a perfect Advocate for sinful men and women. He is a perfect Advocate because of His approach to defending us: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins...”  


Continued tomorrow

What a Savior I
Wonderful Counselor, part 3

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

While the devil seeks to accuse us of being unworthy of salvation and guilty of offending the Law of God, Jesus, unlike an earthly attorney, doesn’t plead our innocence. Instead, He admits our guilt - but He also acknowledges our acceptance of His provision, which is more than adequate to cover our sins and make us acceptable to the Father, the Judge of all the earth.

Satan constantly reminds God of our sin, day and night. I can just hear what he is saying now, “God, they are nothing more than vile, wretched sinners and according to the law they must die. You said yourself that “...the wages of sin is death...” so make your good on your word and put them to death.”

After Satan has finished his argument, God, the Judge, responds, “Is there anyone here in their defense” and up steps our Advocate, Jesus. He says, “Your Honor, everything that he has spoken is true. They are nothing more than sinners, and he is right that the penalty for such a crime is death. I am not here to argue that they did not commit the crime. I am here to offer up evidence that the penalty has been already carried out. If I may, I would like to present four exhibits to prove my case.

Please note -
      Exhibit A: my nail-scarred hands,
      Exhibit B: my spear-scarred side,
      Exhibit C: my nail-scarred feet, and if that is not enough I offer,
      Exhibit D: my very own blood.
You see your Honor, the penalty for their crime has already been carried out, it is paid in full, because I offered myself in their place.”

After the arguments have been made, as always, the great Judge of heaven and earth declares that the charges against us are to be dismissed. And He does so, because of our Advocate’s ability to deliver us (“... and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”)

Through His sacrifice, Jesus has provided enough grace and forgiveness to cover the sins of the entire world - much less yours or mine. The grace provided through the cross is sufficient to meet your every need and Satan’s every accusation.

John Blanchard noted, “For daily need there is daily grace, for sudden need there is sudden grace, and for overwhelming need there is overwhelming grace.” And I would say, it is no wonder the prophet called Him, “Wonderful Counselor!” But not only is Jesus our Advocate…

He is our Adviser – John 14:16-18 “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans — I will come to you” NLT.  

Through the person of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has come into our lives to guide us and enable us to live lives that are pleasing to the Father. 


Continued tomorrow

What a Savior I
Wonderful Counselor, part 4

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Interestingly enough, the word translated “counselor” here in John 14:16 is the same word John uses in 1 John 2:1 to speak of Jesus’ work as our Advocate before the Father’s throne. The word literally means; “One called along-side.” The point that we need to see here is that our Savior is a Wonderful Counselor, not just because He is in heaven to speak for and defend us, but also because He is in our hearts to speak to us, to guide and direct us.

There are two thoughts that John shares with us here concerning Jesus’ adequacy to advise us in our daily life:

First, His counsel will always be relevant. Jesus promises to be in us and with us through the person of His Spirit forever. This means that He is walking in our shoes, seeing what we see, hearing what we hear, and feeling what we feel. His advice is always relevant because He knows right where we are and what guidance we need.

A former director of the George Muller Foundation tells an amazing story God’s awareness of our every need. The Foundation had been requested to begin a new child-care project which would require a great commitment in time and resources. The trustees decided they couldn’t go ahead unless they received clear direction from the Lord and so they committed the need to God in prayer. The day came for a decision to be made but no definite leading had been received.

Then on the day of their meeting, a substantial sum was received from a donor, earmarked for just such a project. What was more remarkable was that the gift had been designated more than 20 years earlier, but because of legal problems over the estate, the funds had just become available.

Secondly, His counsel will always be reliable. Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as “The Spirit of Truth.” In other words, the advice we will receive from Jesus, who by His Spirit lives within us, will always be truthful not sugar-coated or condescending. He will always “tell it like it is.” He will be truthful in convincing us about what we should do and He will be truthful in convicting us about what we should not do.

Jesus your Adviser is seeking, in countless numbers of ways, to speak to you, to guide you. What you and I must be willing to do in order to be in a position to hear and discern His guidance, and then to follow and benefit from it, is to surrender our lives to Him. 


Continued tomorrow

What a Savior I
Wonderful Counselor, part 5

Friday, December 6, 2019

Many years ago, executives of the Time-Life publishing organization discovered that the company’s profit margin had shrunk to an alarmingly low level. Consequently, they began an intensive effort to try to cut costs. Efficiency experts looking into the situation suggested that a substantial savings could be effected in the “Renewal Department.”


There were 350 people working full time sending renewal pleas to readers whose subscriptions were about to expire. In any case, enormous quantities of these letters were being prepared manually. It was calculated that if a machine could be found to replace the manual labor, millions of dollars in overhead would be saved. In time, IBM came to the rescue with a computer-run system, which was bought by and installed at Time-Life.

The name of each subscriber was put on a separate little plate and run through the vast machine. Whenever a nameplate came along that was within six weeks of expiration a series of dots and dashes at the top of the tab triggered an electronic impulse that caused it to drop into a slot. The name was then affixed to one of the renewal appeal letters which was then folded, stuffed into an envelope, labeled stamped, and dropped down a chute to the basement, where a Branch Post Office was set up -all without a single human hand touching the operation.

The system worked flawlessly for a while… until that fateful, hot, humid, sticky day in New York City when one of the nameplates stuck in the machine. A few days later, a lone sheepherder in Montana received 12,634 letters, each asking him to re-subscribe to “Life” magazine.

The sheepherder, who hadn’t received a letter in years, took his knife, carefully slit open one of the mailbags, and began reading his mail. Three weeks later, red-eyed, weary, and up to his hips, in 12,634 opened pieces of mail, he made out a check for $6.00, filled out a subscription coupon, and sent it to the President of Time-Life personally; with the following note: “I give up!”

So let me ask two questions: In what ways is the Lord trying to get your attention today? Is He calling you to allow Him to become your advocate? Martin Luther once said, “While Christ’s death is sufficient for every sin, of every person who ever lived, or ever will live; it becomes effectual only for those who confess their sin, accept the sacrifice, and embrace Christ as Lord and Savior.” Is He calling you to allow Him to be your Adviser… your Wonderful Counselor?

A missionary told about their harrowing journey out of war-torn Yang Chen, China, during the Communist take-over. She said she faced one morning with no apparent hope of reaching safety. A 13-year old girl tried to comfort her by saying, “Don’t forget what you told us about Moses in the wilderness!” To which the missionary replied, “Yes my dear, but I am not Moses.” The young girl replied, “Yes, but God is still God.”

Friends, it is still very true, God is still God, and He desires to guide you through the difficulties of life - if only you will allow Him to be your Wonderful Counselor.  END

Collateral Damage, part 1

Monday, November 25, 2019

April 2020, will mark the 25 year mark of the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Timothy McVeigh, a Gulf war veteran, set off a bomb whose blast killed 168 people, including 19 children. He was eventually convicted and put to death. This was the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil up to that point (of course, we all know now that the 911 attack was much worse, especially in terms of death.)


McVeigh made a statement that I found hard to believe when he was asked about the children that were killed in the attack. He coldly, and calmly said, “They were just collateral damage.”   

“What is collateral damage?” Collateral damage is defined as “any damage incidental to an activity.” Have you ever wondered how a person can become so calloused as to refer to the death of innocent children as merely, “incidental” to his act of terrorism? To be able to merely state that 19 children being killed was simply “to bad,” in my opinion, has shades of Satanism. 

Did you know that the term “collateral damage” is considered a Euphemism? A euphemism is an inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive. In this case “collateral damage” sounds nicer than, “killing children,” doesn’t it. Political correctness is all about, not saying it as it is, in an effort to keep us from dealing with truth, which ultimately forces us to look to God. 


This week we are going to be looking into Acts 21, starting in verse 8 which talks about some of Paul’s travels.

Acts 21:8-11 “And on the next day we departed and came to Caesarea; and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. 10 And as we were staying there for some days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, ‘This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”

Paul ends up going to Jerusalem even in light of this prophecy and he is taken captive and beaten just as Agabus the prophet predicted. Acts 21:30-32 “And all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together; and taking hold of Paul, they dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.”

They take Paul and thrash him. This was the fulfillment of the prophecy given. Paul knew it was coming. So the question needs to be asked, “Why did it happen?” If Paul was such a godly man, if the Spirit of God was upon him to the point of being able to raise people from the dead, then why couldn’t he have been spared from this beating? Paul came into a phase of his life after this that he didn’t ever fully come out of. After this he is either hurried from one place to another, or he is simply neglected, first in one prison and then in another, he can neither be tried nor bailed in most of his situations. And that’s kind of a description to the end of his life and ministry.

Paul was seized in the temple. At one time, he had been well known in the temple, but now he had been gone so long in his travels abroad that he had become a stranger there. He is apprehended, where he should have been protected. He was violently seized by those who wanted to kill him. Here he was in the temple where he should have been welcomed as one of the greatest ornaments that ever had been there since the time and visits of Jesus Himself.


Continued tomorrow

Collateral Damage, part 2

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Paul was suffering collateral damage. Some of you might say, “How could that be considered collateral damage because he was suffering as a result of his own preaching?” Not really, he was preaching because of Jesus’ action on the cross. Paul really wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was just preaching the Gospel. However, he was preaching about the actions of Jesus while He was on earth. So in this sense Paul’s damage was incidental to the activity of the crucifixion of Jesus.  

Let’s go back even further and ask ourselves why Jesus would allow us to suffer as a result of something He did? Well, what is it Jesus did? He died for us. And the reason He died for us is, because we sinned. So actually the very first one to suffer collateral damage was Jesus. Our actions forced Him to the cross. Collateral damage is suffering, because of the actions of someone else.   

This addresses the question of why good people suffer from time to time. It’s not always because of something they did wrong; most of the time it’s collateral damage. It’s paying the price for the shortcomings of those around you. Parents understand this. Many parents have suffered because of the sinful activities of their children. However, just as many children have suffered because of the sinful activities of their parents. Collateral damage is not a respecter of persons. It’s an equal opportunity sufferer.  

That still brings us back to the question of why. Why did Paul have to suffer for doing good? I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not there are times when suffering is the doing of good. Suffering itself is not good, no one wants to suffer – but it could be the doing of good. When Jesus suffered on the cross – was that good or bad. The suffering was horrible, but the doing of it resulted in the greatest good any of us will ever experience – our own salvation. What if Jesus would have taken an attitude and said; “you guys got yourselves in this mess called sin – you get yourself out of it – I’m not suffering one bit for you.” 

Suffering has to be viewed from a greater world perspective than we typically have. We tend to think that suffering has only to do with the one suffering. That’s very small minded. Do you think that Paul did not have the greater good of the Gospel in his mind when he was suffering? If Paul did not understand the cause of Christ then he certainly could have sat in some cold, dark dungeon and said, “I don’t understand this, what did I do wrong?” From what I read in the Scriptures, Paul never once even examined himself to see what he did wrong. He understood the principle that, life comes through death. 

Salvation is available to all people today because of the suffering and death and resurrection of Jesus. Paul operated on that principle. He understood that it would, "cost him," to preach the Gospel because people are still in a sinful condition. And their sinful condition is going to cause them to revolt against Jesus and that revolt is going to damage the bearer of truth, either directly or incidentally. 

The answer to the question of “Why?” is “sin.” Sin is why we suffer collateral damage. We certainly can suffer because of our own sin, but we can also suffer because of the sin of others. Our world is full of single moms, trying to raise their children alone, because of the sin of their husbands (I realize this is not true of all cases). They are often suffering collateral damage – and so are their children.


Continued tomorrow

Collateral Damage, part 3

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

This issue of collateral damage is huge in the church and in the world for that matter. How many people are out in the world today because of the wrong doings of the church? How many people have given up in their faith because of the moral failings of those who call themselves Christian? For the last couple of decades, the church has tried to brush its own failures under the rug, but it can no longer hide them. Too many people are suffering collateral damage because of a worldly church.


Look what happened (is happening) to the Catholic Church: it tried to ignore those who suffered collateral damage because of the sin of their own priests molesting young boys and girls. Now it’s a much bigger problem than they ever thought it would be. (Please understand, I am not bashing the Catholic church, just using them as an example. It could happen in any denomination or church.)


Now the question is, “How do we handle it?”


If you are suffering from collateral damage it can be devastating because of the perception people have of those who are suffering.

Acts 21:37-38 “As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, ‘May I say something to you?’  ‘Do you speak Greek?’ he replied. 38 ‘Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago?’”

As Paul is being taken away he speaks to his captor and says, “May I say something to you?” This apparently took the soldier by surprise so he responds by saying, “Do you speak Greek?” It’s not so much that he asked Paul that question; it was more of a rhetorical statement. He was completely taken by surprise that Paul even had an education. “You speak Greek! I thought you were that rebel that started a revolt a few years ago. How do you know Greek?”  

Isn’t it strange how we tend to think of those who are suffering as being less of a person than those who don’t suffer! Somehow our society has been able to put those who suffer in a lesser category than other people. For some reason we think the single mom does not have the brain-power to handle an executive position - when in reality it may merely be impossible for her to take that kind of responsibility and still raise her kids by herself. Her suffering is not a statement of her self-worth, especially when it’s collateral damage. “Do you speak Greek?” would be like a potential employer expressing his surprise at a single mom’s level of education. “You’re educated – but I thought you were a single mom! You know how to manage an office, work with spreadsheets and graphic design? That’s just the type we are looking for.” 

Just think of how they made fun of Jesus while He was suffering on the cross. Because He suffered, it was assumed that He must not really be anything of importance. They ridiculed Him; they made a sign that they put over His head, which read in mockery, “The King of the Jews.” They gambled for His clothing at the foot of the cross as they waited for Him to die. Because He was suffering they considered Him to be less than themselves.  

So how do we handle such situations? We speak to it. In the midst of his suffering Paul said, “May I say something?” We must speak to the problem, we must speak of it, and we must deal with it. Never let collateral damage keep you from talking about what you are going through. Keep in mind that collateral damage is that of suffering because of the sinful activities of others, not yourself. There is no shame in collateral damage.  

The soldier that Paul was with thought that he was a particular Egyptian. There apparently had been an Egyptian man who rebelled and led a bunch of terrorists into the desert. Look at how Paul answers him. Acts 21:39 “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”


Continued tomorrow

Collateral Damage, part 4

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Paul really understood who he was. Paul is the one who later wrote in the book of Romans that he was an heir of God and a co-heir of Christ Jesus. Paul informs the soldier of who he was, in essence he says; “I’m not a vagabond, a scoundrel, or that rebel Egyptian, who could give no good account of himself. I am a man who is a Jew by birth and geographical location - and not an Egyptian - but a Jew both by nationality and religion. I am of Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, of honest parents and a high education, and, besides that, a citizen of no ordinary city.” Whether he means Tarsus or Rome is not certain. 

Even though the chief captain had put him under suspicion as an Egyptian, Paul kept his temper, did not break out into any passionate exclamations against the times he lived in or the men he had to deal with, but mildly denied the charge, and owned what he was.  

What Then???

Regardless of how you see yourself, Jesus sees you as a child of God. If you have made Jesus your Savior, if you have asked Him to forgive you of the collateral damage you put Him through, then you are a blood bought child of God. You are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus. Don’t let suffering speak to you – you speak to it. 

Dale Pollard has written a book called, “Man of the Spirit.” It’s all about allowing the Spirit of God to gain more control of our lives. In it, he talks about demonic voices. “These voices come from another source. I think they are demonically derived. Their content can be very troubling. Some examples are; “You are not going to make it,” You’re going to mess up. You’re no good, They are out to get you, and you are going crazy.”  

Living in the Spirit requires one to turn away from these troubling thoughts, unwanted images, and demonic voices. The Spirit cannot speak clearly and unequivocally without these intrusive events being brought under the Spirit’s control.” I believe the most immature infant child of God has the power (through the Holy Spirit) to refuse to listen or look. We can deny their attempt to enter into our awareness.


Paul had just been beaten by an angry mob. He was down. I would imagine the devil was trying to say all sorts of negative things to Paul. Do you know what he did about that? He said, “I need to speak to this. I’ve got some things to say. I’m not who you believe me to be. I’m a child of God. I’m an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ Jesus. Devil, accuser, you are a liar. I am going to make it, I’m not crazy."   

Let’s look at that verse. Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”

First of all, it says that the Spirit testifies. The Spirit speaks. God has always used both the written Word and the spoken Word as His primary means of communication. The Spirit of God speaks to our spirit and says, “Regardless of what they say about you, I say that you are a child of God, you are an heir of God, you are joint-heirs with the Son of God Himself.”  


Continued tomorrow

Collateral Damage, part 5

Friday, November 29, 2019

We are children of God regardless of our physical condition here on earth.  However, if you want to make your current situation better, then there is something you must do. Along with speaking to the issue and setting the record straight as to who we really are, we must share in His sufferings. If we will do that – then we will share in His glory. Sharing in His suffering relates to your heart attitude more than anything else. It’s not a matter of accepting your suffering as much as it is seeing your suffering as the means to share the Gospel. 

Paul was imprisoned many different times in his life, but his spirit was completely free. He may have been bound with chains but his world-view was much bigger than just him.


Do you know when Paul wrote the letter to the believers in Philippi? It’s when he was in bonds in Rome. So here he is suffering, look at what he wrote to the Philippian believers.  Philippians 2:5-9 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name..."

Jesus made Himself nothing. He basically says that only those who believe they are equal to God struggle with the idea of suffering. Those who have humbled themselves realize that they have a wonderful opportunity to show others what Jesus is like. 

Philippians 1:12-14 “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”

Paul didn’t see suffering as anything other than an opportunity to show others what Jesus really is like. Because of his chains – most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly. This statement goes right back to the prophecy of Agabus. After the prophet warned him he was going to suffer all the people around Paul begged him not to go. Paul said that he must go – and now look at what has happened. Jesus has become more real to the whole palace guard and the brothers are speaking with a new boldness. 

Paul was willing to share in the sufferings of Christ subsequently; he now shares in His glory. There is something about suffering and the human nature that works together. In Exodus 1:12 it says, “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied.”

The principle embedded in this account is this: Try to suppress or destroy the Church, and it will multiply. The same principle can be applied to us as individuals. Typically, suffering causes us to go deeper with God. It may not always work that way, but most often it does. END