Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hurt Versus Suffering

Has God ever asked us to hurt? Has He asked us to suffer? I've never really thought of this before prayer time with a friend yesterday, but there is not a scripture where God tells us to hurt. There are plenty of scriptures where he warns us that we will suffer. What's the difference?

I started a word study this morning on "hurt" versus "suffer." The Hebrew and Greek words for hurt are tied to evil, distress, calamity and adversity. Most of the verses that have "hurt" are actually God telling us that He will protect us against hurt. Luke 10:19 says, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” In the Old Testament when the three Hebrew boys in exile would not bow their knee to the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone to worship, he had them thrown into a fiery furnace. It was then reported to the king in Daniel 3:25, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (emphasis mine)

Scriptures that warn us that we will have to suffer have a more eternal perspective. There are actually quite a few Greek words for "suffer," but the one used the most often is "pascho" which means - to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo. Jesus tried to tell the disciples before his crucifixion that he would have to suffer. He had to feel pain for us. He asks us if we are willing to share in that suffering so we can be more sensitive to the pain of others. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” (Phil. 1:29) Our problem is that our finite minds get stuck on the suffering instead of the end result. When God asks us if we are willing to suffer for Him, the destination is not the pain. The destination is that JOY of eternity with Him on the other side of suffering!
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:16-18

I challenge you to do your own word study on hurt and suffering. There are so many more scriptures on this subject. Next time you experience some pain, ask God for His perspective. When you learn to "dwell in the secret place of the Most High" during a time of pain, the enemy will not be able to hurt you. (Ps. 91) You will start experiencing a deeper level of intimacy with God that you would not have had without the time of suffering. God will prove Himself Faithful and True!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Word Check!

This morning I was woken from a deep sleep stirred to pray for some dear friends and their marriage. As I sought the Lord on how to pray for them, I was prompted to go on a journey through the scriptures about abiding in His Word. My prayer is that this husband and wife would each have a tremendous desire for God's Word that will penetrate through the temptation to focus on the bleak outlook the enemy has for their marriage.

The book of John has so much to say about the pros of abiding in God's Word and the cons about not making room for His word. In John 8:31-32, Jesus tells us that if we abide in His word, then we are disciples and we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. If that's true (and we know it is!), then why are so many Christians walking around defeated? Could it be that the truth we know to be right is being choked out by the cares of this world? I think of the parable of the sower and the seed. The seed that fell among the soil with thorns got choked out. Jesus said that the seed was the Word of God. He said that "he who received the seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful." (Matt. 13:22) I don't want to be an "unfruitful" Christian. No fruit means no harvest of souls, but first it means no fruit of the Spirit in my own life that would in turn lead to a harvest of souls for His Kingdom.

So, today I challenge you to do a Word check. How much love do you have? How about joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Faith? Gentleness? Self-control? If any of these are lacking, then you need to pray for a deeper desire to abide in His Word. Is it possible to have all these in the midst of adverse circumstances? Absolutely! I call it being in a God-bubble! It's like that movie from the 70's, "Boy in the Plastic Bubble." John Travolta played a boy that could not go outside of his house because the germs he could acquire in the world could kill him. Finally, they made a suit like a space suit he could wear so he could go out in the world and be protected from all the germs. If you start abiding in God's Word and allowing His Word to abide in you, you will find yourself in the midst of all the mess of your life, but it will be like you are in a protective bubble. Instead of despair, depression, or anxiety, you'll have faith, hope and love! I dare say that you will also start seeing that the circumstances that once weighed you down will start changing. Instead of the state of the affairs of your life influencing you, your new out-look will start influencing them! Relationships will be restored! Bills will be paid! Bodies will be healed!

Lord, thank you for your life-changing Word! I pray for a deeper desire for Your Word. Help me to abide in Your Word today. Even when I cannot stop to physically pick up the Bible to read, please remind me of a verse to meditate upon. I pray that Your Word will take root deep in my heart, in Jesus' Name! Amen!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Lighten Up! Going Deeper! report

God truly showed up and showed out at the Lighten Up! Going Deeper! women's conference this past Saturday! What a kick off as the first conference Legacy Ministries has ever put on. Boy, did we ever have obstacles leading up to the conference! The enemy sure did not want it to happen! He lost, though! BIG TIME!!

Reports from attendees are starting to come in. One lady told me that she did not know what to expect, but she is so glad she went. She said that everything led to the next. Every song, speaker, testimony, etc. kept building up to the next thing all for God's purposes. Another said, "Your conference was awesome the whole day. Sometimes I get bored at other women's conferences, but not this one!" Yet another said,
"It took me a while to understand the "lighten up" part of the conference but once I did I think a shed a few spiritual pounds of judgement! Your style of communicating what God had given you was relaxed and oozed with love for God and His women. I would highly recommend this conference to those that are thirsty for more and want to experience freedom from past hurts and prejudices."

I am going to post some pictures on my website. You can get there by clicking on the title to this blog entry. If they are not there yet, check back. If any of you attended the conference, please leave a comment to this blog. I'd love to read what God did for you!