Tag Archives: suffering

March 7

March 7. Here it is again. I am sure I am not the only one with a day. A day is only a day in your eyes. As the world sees the day, it is very different from your vantagepoint. A day is filled with scars, with unanswered questions, with tragedy, with depth, with decisions, with memories that don’t quite add up. Today is my day.

When this day first became my day, it was a moment when my life forever changed. I had such dreams of what could be in my life; however, I found that life isn’t a Hallmark movie and what I had hoped would be my prayers answered and my white picket fence and my happily ever after became something different—something raw, uncontrollable, unsatisfactory to my plans. It was a day that began a long journey trying to process what was truth, what was the new normal, and what fears needed to be overcome to navigate the new waters. It took years to heal many of the scars, some of which went unnoticed for a long period of time. It required me to let God into the broken areas, to freely move, to reveal to me things I never wanted to see—so that He could repair—so that He could make new.

This was 2004. Every year since, I have celebrated this day. I rejoiced this day not because of what was lost and because of what I so desperately wanted to be truth back then. I rejoiced this day not because I lost my white picket fence and had to face reality. I rejoice because through the years I have been blessed to see God move again and again for my family. I have seen Him move mountains in my life. I have seen Him part waters when there was not a way to pass. He has provided me strength, comfort, and He has protected and provided for my family at every turn.

Today it was hard to celebrate. As I drove to the office knowing that this day was again another end to a season, I cried out the Lord. The brokenness and heartache that I felt back in 2004, has long since faded. I am not that same person. And the pain I felt that day is very different than the pain of today. It was strange as I was on my morning drive to consider that God knew even back in 2004, what would happen today. He knew when I was putting my hand to the plow, that this day would come.

But this day was different. In 2004, I didn’t have a real choice of anything. I had to get up off the floor, dust myself off, and press onward. It was either that or wallow for a time. But this day was a choice, a step forward that I have taken even knowing some of the brokenness that would follow. Sometimes we can see truth and we know it is truth, but we don’t want to receive it and be bold in faith. Sometimes we see truth but ask why God won’t change things so the truth could be different. Sometimes we are faced with the option of trusting God, stepping forward, letting go, and trusting that out of the brokenness He is still making all things new.

As I neared the office, and continued to seek comfort in Him, knowing that after today, so much of what was a huge part of my life is going to be changed, even seeing glimpses of those changes these past few weeks, Lauren Daigle’s song “Trust in You,” began to play. The lyrics reminded me of the battles over the years, reminded me of how things often make little sense when I’m faced with a road to take. It was in that car ride to work that I could continue to do what I’ve done each year on March 7th—celebrate Him! Not everyone will understand what I feel on this day. Not everyone will know all the hours of prayer leading up to this day. Not everyone will be excited for this day.

Even still, I rejoice. I rejoice in knowing that God is still God. I rejoice in knowing that He has a great plan, beautifully orchestrated. I rejoice in knowing that He is still Lord of my life, my Savior and King. I rejoice in knowing that He will still see me through these murky waters. Long ago, He gave me this calling to preach His Word. Following in faithful obedience to this calling led me up to this very day, and this very decision. As 1 Timothy 4:16 says, I must keep watch on my life and keep watch on my teaching and then in doing these things, may the hearers be saved. May I continue to be faithful to His calling upon my life. The Word will go out as He leads!

As this day, March 7thslowly ends, I question my verse for this season. The verse, 1 Chronicles 4:10, speaks of blessing and enlarging the ministry—praying that there would be no pain or harm allowed. None of these words make sense to me today. This doesn’t seem like the season I’m currently navigating; it seems like polar opposite. But so often, we do not know what He has planned. That is why it is called faith.

This is not a devotion. This is not a sermon. This is not a Bible study. This is not a poem. This is my day. This is my heart. This is my reality. May this testimony point to the One who is greater than I, to a Father who has never left my side, a Savior who paid something I could never pay, the Spirit who continues to reveal to me that I have a lot of growing yet needed.

Look to Him. Draw near to Him and watch how everything changes!

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Scaling Walls Outline

Scaling Walls 1-22-17

{Overcome obstacles through God}

 

“In Your strength I can crush an army;

with my God I can scale any wall.”

[2 Samuel 22:30, Psalm 18:29]

“Vault the highest fences” [MSG]

 

David wrote this Psalm. He killed a lion & bear (see 1 Samuel 17:34-36). He killed many troops. He understood obstacles. He overcame obstacles.

 

Romans 5:3– We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.

James 1:2– Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it anopportunity for great joy.

David strengthened himself in the LORDwhen people wanted to stone him (see 1 Samuel 30:6).

Recognize you are weak. Only then can you humbly accept God’s power.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (see 2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

Recognize He gives you the strength to complete all He has called you to do for His purpose. (Philippians 4:13)

God gave us His word to equip us [2 Timothy 3:16-17]

God gave us Holy Spirit to help, to encourage, and to reveal His Truth [John 14:25-27]

 

Ephesians 6:10Be strong in the Lordand in His mighty power.

 

When faced with obstacles, we must be strong in the LORD and recognize…

NOT BY MIGHT NOR BY POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT [Zechariah 4:6]

 

Zerubbabel faces overwhelming task of rebuilding Temple

Oil – God’s Spirit

2 Olive Branches – Zerubbabel the ruler, Joshua the priest

Do not despise the small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10) – the work is just beginning

 

GREATEST OBSTACLE to accomplishing God’s work – SIN

Flying Scroll & Woman in Basket are a challenge to Israelites to repent (see Zechariah 5:1-11)

 

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – MLK

 

In 1985, Super Mario Bros arrived on the scene. Life forever changed.

Buzzy Beetleand Koopa Troopa– jump on shell & toss them to help you; shell was an obstacle that helped your progress in the game

  • Obstacles in your life do not hinder your relationship with God; they grow your relationship with God and increase your faith.
  • PRAISE GOD FOR THE OBSTACLES!! They are opportunities to grow deeper in Christ.

 

He has trusted you with the obstacles. These obstacles will bring you closer to Him and bring Him the greatest glory.

  • If you are suffering, praise Him for it.
  • If you are facing mountains before you, thank Him for it.

Ruth 1 Outline

Advent Week 1 – My Redeemer Lives: A Painful Providence – 12-3-17

INTRO: Holiday season is often a time of…. Pain / Suffering / Grief / Loneliness

PROVIDENCE: “To provide” – God directs all things toward His purpose—God is preserving and governing all things

RUTH – MY REDEEMER LIVES

Advent – the Coming of Jesus… Through RUTH, we can be reminded… a baby is coming through Ruth’s suffering that will lead to Jesus Christ Who will redeem the world!

We all can relate to Ruth and Naomi, to their loss, their pain… and we can be reminded of the hope and the joy that comes from Jesus alone!

During Advent, let us celebrate the birth of our Savior and boldly declare to everyone – My Redeemer Lives!

SUFFERING OF RUTH

Ruth 1:13… The Lord’s hand turned against me

Ruth 1:20-21….. the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty….. the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?

Was she really full?

YOU HAVE NO FULLNESS APART FROM GOD

Elimelech name means “My God is King,” yet they didn’t live like He is King. Left Bethlehem (“House of Bread”) during famine.

Matthew 2:6 – And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel.” [HCSB]

Ephesians 3:19– May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. [NLT]

Colossians 1:17– He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [NIV]

Hebrews 1:3– And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. [NASB]

YOU ARE NEVER OUTSIDE OF THE CARE OF GOD

Matthew 10:29– Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. [NIV]

Proverbs 19:21– Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. [ESV]

Ephesians 1:11– In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose ofHim who works all things according to the counsel of His will [ESV]

YOUR “BAD” IS USED FOR GOOD

Acts 4:27-28– For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. [HCSB]

We see that most evil act of all – killing Jesus on the Cross – is most loving act of God

Romans 8:28– And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [ESV]

YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO RETURN TO GOD

Ruth and Naomi respond to the painful providence by seeking refuge in God

Acts 17:26-28– From one man He created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him–though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist.As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ [NLT]

Jesus will meet you where you are!

C.S. Lewis (Problem of Pain) said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Only through pain in Christ will pain have purpose

Psalm 119:25My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to Your word! [ESV]

Psalm 63:8– My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. [ESV]

Romans 11:36– For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. [NIV]

Privilege to Suffer

Suffering is never on our to-do list. We don’t leave our homes in the morning saying, “I really hope I suffer today.” We are not looking for opportunities to suffer. We run from suffering and when we undergo suffering, it is painful and we usually appreciate when it ends.

Paul writes of the privilege of suffering. The privilege of suffering. This is a phrase that sounds like an oxymoron, but if you are in Christ, then you realize that Christ Jesus promises suffering would come. As His representatives, it’s guaranteed. It’s going to happen. It is a privilege because He has allowed us to be His representatives. It is a privilege because in the suffering we grow deeper in Christ. We grow in our love of God and others. We grow in our revelation of God.

Today, in whatever comes your way, embrace suffering. Thank God for the opportunity. Remember, it is a privilege.

“For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him.” – Philippians 1:29 [NLT]

Very Glad

Suffering is not fun, hence the reason it is called suffering. Suffering is when you are undergoing pain or hardship. It’s surely not fun. But Peter tells us to “be very glad.” Throughout the Bible we read that we should rejoice in our suffering. When we are insulted because of the name of Jesus, we are considered blessed (v. 14).

When we suffer, Peter says we are “partners with Christ in His suffering.” As we press forward, we are reminded that we “should serve with the strength God supplies” (v. 11 NIV). We shouldn’t be surprised when we have fiery trials (v. 12). Jesus told us it was guaranteed (John 15:20).

Paul told Timothy that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12 NIV). Continue to live a godly life in Jesus. Rest in the confidence that comes from living in the Lord, and remember that blessed is he who is persecuted. One day, we “will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” Eternity we will have with Him.

“Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” – 1 Peter 4:13 [NLT]

Prosper in All

Blessed are those that “delight in the law of the LORD.” The Bible says that “they prosper in all they do.” For some, this may be seen as success, a success that brings anything and everything desired. But do not misunderstand what the Psalmist is sharing. The person will “delight in the law of the LORD.” This means that a blessed person is one who delights in God’s Word, in the commands of God.

In delighting in the law of the LORD, a person follows the law as best possible. In doing this, “they are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.” Because all of their actions are directed by God, “their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” This prospering does not mean they are prospering apart from God’s will. This prospering means that they are blessed because they follow the commands of God.

The people of God are crowned with success. Yes, crowned with success! But don’t think it’s a smooth ride and lots of riches. With the crowning of success, a child of God endures loss, trial, and suffering. The blessing is to come. The day will come when every child of the King will be crowned. And guess what, we will throw our crowns at the feet of the King. We will worship the King. “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things, and they exist because You created what You pleased” (see Revelation 4:10-11).

“But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” – Psalm 1:2-3 [NLT]

 

Pollen Attack

The pollen levels have been out of control the past few days. My normal allergy medicine has not been enough to combat the problem. Then the officials called for a Code Orange warning, which signifies poor air quality that will thereby impact those who are “sensitive.” This means people who are losing their allergy battle with pollen, people who have asthma, etc., should proceed with caution.

As I was walking the dogs, I was having intense breathing issues from the pollen. My great hope was the medicine that I would take after I finished walking the dogs. As I continued to drag my feet a mile, pollen from a tree blew right into my eye. Pollen 2, Tania 0. I spent the rest of the walk trying to get my watery eye to expel the bits of pollen, only able to walk with one eye open.

Life usually is full of struggle after struggle, whether small or large. It seems when we think we cannot handle anymore, something else is piled on top to cause us more of a burden. Sometimes it appears as if the world is against us. Truth be told, we aren’t meant to carry all this burden alone. Remember, we are not in this alone. Also, the world is against us. If we are living for Jesus, if we are not of this world, then we are standing against the world and the world will always be against us. Thankfully we know this world is temporary. God’s Word tells us that heaven and earth have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The world may be against you – but God is always for you!

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:13 [ESV]

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31 [ESV]

More Than You Can Handle

Does God ever give you more than you can handle? That is something people debate often. Many times I hear that God will never give you more than you can handle. This is often said when we are going through something tough in life like a loss of loved one, a painful illness, or an employment layoff. As we suffer and look to friends with our tear-stained faces, we hear the somewhat comforting words, “God never gives us more than we can handle. You’ll get through this.”

When I hear these words, I consider 2 Corinthians 1:8, where it says that the people were “crushed and overwhelmed beyond… ability to endure.” They were suffering. They believed they would not live through it. I consider Job, who lost it all—family, financial resources, health. Could you handle this? Would this be more than you could handle? I know some were not able to make it through. I know some who could not take it anymore. Why do we think we should be able to face all of this, that we can handle anything thrown our way? It is not that easy. We shortchange ourselves believing it is that easy. Instead, cling to the Father.

The Bible does not say that God will not give you more than you can handle. The truth is this world is a dark place and you may find yourself drowning and unable to cope. What the Bible does says is that God “will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.” In 1 Corinthians, it says that God “will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” This is talking about temptation, not about pain and suffering. This is saying that when we are tempted, there’s always a way to not succumb to the temptation. We saw this demonstrated. While Jesus was in the Wilderness, He responded with the Word of God when faced with each temptation.

Today, you may be facing something very difficult. You may not think you can make it through it. Whether it is too much to handle or just getting the best of you, know that you have a Heavenly Father Who is the Comforter. Cling to Him. Remind yourself of His promises. Surround yourself with those strong in the faith and be in continuous prayer. This great burden is temporary my friends.

“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” – 2 Corinthians 1:8 [NLT]

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 [ESV]

More Than a Story: Compassion

[The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37]

Compassion – Deep awareness of the sufferings or misfortunes of another with a desire to relieve it.

Verse 37 – And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” [NASB]

Mercyeleos (el’-eh-os) – pity, mercy, compassion, tender mercy, kindness

Samehomoiós (hom-oy’-oce) – In like manner, similarly, in the same way, equally

Psalm 86:15“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” [NLT]

CompassionRachum – (rakh-oom’) – compassionate, full of compassion

Jesus expressed compassion to:

  • Weary (Matthew 11)
  • Tempted (Hebrews 2)
  • Helpless (Mark 9)
  • Sorrowful (Luke 7)
  • Multitudes (Matthew 15)

 Zechariah 7:9“Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another.” [ESV]

Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” [HCSB]

“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer

Bible Study Questions:

1) Before the Parable was told, Jesus was tested by a lawyer. The lawyer answered correctly about the Law (v. 27). He knew what God’s Word said. Jesus said, “Do this, and you will live.” What was the “do this”?

2) The lawyer intended to justify himself and asked, “Who is my neighbor”? In the last verse of the passage, Jesus asks him who was his neighbor. Which fellow from the Parable was the neighbor? What did he do for the man?

3) What did the compassionate fellow do for the man that can remind us of the unfailing, unending compassion of our God? (See verse 35)

4) What do you think it means to be compassionate toward someone? Was there a time in your life when you did this to another? Was there a time when someone showed compassion to you?

5) Jesus showed compassion to all people, and these people each lived in various circumstances. How can we show compassion to the

  • Weary –
  • Tempted –
  • Helpless –
  • Sorrowful –
  • Multitudes –

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Glory and Suffering

Too many people still believe that if Christ is accepted, it means that from that time onward life is smooth sailing. If you are a Christian, everything is rainbows and butterflies. I think part of the blame for this ideology goes to those people in the past who were not transparent. So many people showed the world only what they wanted it to see, and they did not show that they were sinners, they suffered, they struggled—that things were not peachy.

We are all going through something right now. Everyone is suffering in some way. The world is not as God intended. It is broken and only when Christ returns will everything be restored and made new. There are people who are very open about their suffering, and there are other people who suffer in the dark.

Paul, Timothy, James, and Peter spoke of suffering. They understood that we share in the suffering of Christ. They understood that suffering could be used for God’s glory. Suffering produces endurance. Suffering is bad but God uses it for His good purpose. These great men understood that along with suffering, we also have a promise. As you and I continue to suffer today, remember this: “NOTHING (compares) to the glory he will reveal to us later.” Nothing!

“And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” – Romans 8:17-18 [NLT]

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