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Why God Allows Your Pain

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Wishing I was the Wind – Testimony

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Wishing I was the wind

Remember back in 1956 the song “The Wayward Wind?” I loved that song! Okay, so some of you weren’t even born at that time and I’m aging myself. But that’s okay.

I remember sitting on the school bus, alone on the leather seat, looking out the window, and feeling totally alone. The words of the song would play through my mind and oh how I wished I could be that wind. How I wished I could just blow across the land and not have to encounter the abuse at home. As the wind, I could go wherever I wanted. I could be strong, so strong I could blow over houses or gently tilt a flower low to the ground. As the wind I would have the power to move mountains or ripple a stream.

I wasn’t living next to railroad tracts, as depicted in the song. I wasn’t grieving the loss of a lost lover. I was grieving a lost childhood. I was grieving the lack of love from a dysfunctional family. “Raise a child in the ways it is to go” wasn’t even thought about. I was being taught all the wrong things about who I was and who I would be. I was taught guilt, shame, anger, frustration, and filled with emptiness. I was taught what I was worth – nothing!

Sadly many people’s perception of their self worth derives from many different circumstances, people, society, families, jobs, how many friends we have/don’t have, etc. For me, actions speak louder than words. Don’t tell me you love me while choking me or punching me. Someone’s actions can relay a message of worth. We all know “that look” from Mom, Dad, husband, or wife.

If we claim our worth by how much money we have/ don’t have, our position at work/ executive or janitor, our weight/ to fat or to skinny, race, beautiful or ugly, harsh words or negative actions, or status in life we are being deceived. Magazines and T.V. commercials all have a message that we’re not good enough.

I remember when I confronted my Dad about the years of abuse, I’ll never forget his words. “You were my tool.” I don’t think anything he could have ever said that could have hurt more. You see he was a diesel mechanic. He had hundreds of tools. All shapes, all sizes. All had a specific purpose. They were placed in a big bright red tool box, inanimate objects that he used and put aside until needed the next time. Their only value was deemed in what they could be used for. images[2]

“You were my tool.” Little did I know that perceived self worth was established way back in the early years of my childhood. In my case it was, “Your good for only one thing.”

It was when I became a child of God that I learned God saw me worth more than a ten dollar screw driver or a fifteen dollar pair of pliers. He saw me as more than a vessel for sex or a punching bag. I was so valuable, “more than silver or gold,” that He adopted me as His daughter! His Son died on the cross that I might have life more abundant, forgiveness of my sins, and that I could spend eternity with Him.

My Dad saw me as a tool, to be used and thrown to the side until needed at another time. God saw me as a precious child who needed a Father. imagesCA7OM3L4

I was received and valued by Christ “…with the precious blood of Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1Peter 1:19

Our worth does not come from others, positions, status, or world worth. Our worth is based upon what God created. If He didn’t think we were worth creating He would not have created us! He would not have come to earth as a man, Jesus, to save us from an eternity in hell. He would not seek us out as a lost sheep and carry us back into the fold to love and protect us.

If you had been the only human being on the face of the earth He still would have gone to the cross for you. That’s how valuable you are to Him!

Don’t sell yourself short of how valuable you are. Your alcoholic mother, drug buddies, abusive father, parent that abandoned you did not determine your worth! God and God alone is the only one who determines our value. God see’s you valuable enough to die for you and adopt you as His child. “For you are all sons (daughters) of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:26

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“And because you are sons, (daughters) God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Gal. 4:6-7

* note: I added (daughters) so no-one feels left out.

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Blessings to you.

 

Fear God

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Harry Emerson Fosdick - Angels by Grace - July 1997

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FEAR PARALYZES

WHILE FAITH EMPOWERS;

FEAR IMPRISONS

WHILE FAITH LIBERATES.

 

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Blessings to you.

 

Will faith carry you?

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We have all faced times of trouble, of sorrow, of events that have tested our faith to the limits. So how do we rise above those down times, those times when God and His Son and Holy Spirit seem to be off somewhere in the distance that we feel we cannot reach?

Scripture says that faith comes through hearing. (Ro. 10:17) To me that doesn’t always mean through a preacher behind the pulpit. It can be through others who have walked similar paths as we have. It can be through reading the scriptures in the Bible, music, or that small still voice that comes from deep within us.

As Christians we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He is with us constantly. There is never a second that we are alone and He will not remain silent as long as we tap into the Source. We build our faith by praying and listening. By crying out to God Almighty and believing that He hears us and cares.

Being in an abusive environment can destroy hope and faith. We hope things will get better and they don’t. At times they only get worse. How is faith to grow when it seems nothing we do has any impact on our circumstances? It’s a tough life and without hope we seem to disappear into a sea of pain and hopelessness. But hope is there because we have a loving and merciful Savior.

We have a Savior that bore our pain when He was nailed unmercifully to a cross. He looked out over humanity and love swelled in His heart as He said, “It is finished.”  (John 19:30) There’s our hope! We have a Savior that took our sins with each dying breath he took.

Somewhere along the line of life we have heard of God. He says no one has an excuse not to believe. (Ro.1:20) His Majesty is all around us. The blue of the sky, the trees that sway in a wind that we can not see yet can feel. The first cry of a new born baby. Every breath we take is ordained by God. His presence is everywhere. We just have to believe and have faith that God is on our side.

We should never allow circumstances, what people have done to hurt us, the hurt we feel, or past sin to stand between us and our loving, compassionate, caring, and merciful God. Our relationship with Him is the most important relationship we will ever have in this life time. Have faith. He loves you.

 

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Blessings to you.

Holding onto the Shield of Faith

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In Ephesians 6 God tells us to put on the Full Armor of God. He has given us the tools to fight the enemy of God.  One of those tools is the Shield of Faith.

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Eph. 6:16

The Lord, through His prophets, have been warning us that we are facing terrible times ahead. We shake our head in wonder now at the things that are taking place in our society and the world and wonder what is going to happen. Do we focus on the senseless slaughtering from ISIS, the attempt to destroy the sanctity of marriage through the homosexual agenda, the slaughtering of millions of unborn children, attacks against Israel, or Ebola? Although these are important do they strike a note of fear in us? Do they consume our thoughts?

Our focus is to be on God! He is calling us to repentance. He is wanting to hear our heartfelt prayers and our praise and worship. We are not to focus on the world or the events that are happening in the world. We are to look beyond and above the world to eternity. Our eyes are to be on Him not the events of the world that can leave us shaking in fear.

We are to cling to God through His Son Jesus Christ through our faith in Him. We pray without ceasing and in addition to the other pieces of armor we take hold of that piece, the shield of faith, and hold fast!

Gary D. Kinnaman, in his book, “Winning your Spiritual Battles” discusses the various pieces of God’s full armor and gives an account of what each Biblically means and how we can be protected. Mr. Kinnaman states that in the New Testament there are four different shades of meaning of faith.

1. Saving Faith – We trust that Christ saves us from sin and the consequences thereof. Ro. 10:9, Ro. 4:3

2. Faith to Receive – Faith in our daily trust in God for His provision and help.Heb. 11:6

3. Power faith, gift faith, miracle working faith. – Faith in a general sense – faith to be saved and faith to walk with God. 1Cor.12:9, Gal. 5:22-23, 1Cor. 12:7-11,  1Cor.12-14, Heb. 11:6

4. Enduring faith – Faith that does not quit. It is the persistent, resilient belief that God’s Word is true, over and against every problem, wrong thought, or demon. Endurance is active faith, deflecting persistently the fiery attacks of Satan.

So how do we endure? One day at a time! In 1Peter 1:3-9, “Through faith {you} are shielded by God’s power.” (verse 5) “The shield of faith is God’s power and presence protecting and energizing us in spiritual warfare.”

“Faith in the sense of perseverance shields all the other armor. Truth must persevere to prevail. Righteousness must persevere to prevail. We must persevere in peace-making in order to prevail.”

In these troubling times God is calling us to persevere. We must have enduring faith if we are going to “run the race” and receive the prize. Grab your shield of faith and hang on tight, it’s only going to get worse.

“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Rev. 2:10

A prayer for Holding up the Shield of Faith:

“Heavenly Father and mighty God, shield me with Your power as I trust in You. The flaming arrows of the enemy have burned my soul. Heal the pain inside, and give me the strength to resist.

I am committed to enduring to the end of this trial, regardless of how long it lasts. I am not a victim. I am a victor, more than a conqueror through Christ.

My faith, Lord, is in You. I renounce my own abilities, and I confess that unless Jesus builds up my life, everything I do is in vain. Only when I trust You completely am I completely protected from the fiery darts of the wicked one. I hide myself in the fire of Your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

41K3383MY0L._AA160_[1]Winning Your Spiritual Battles – How to put on the full armor of God. Gary D. Kinnaman

Available at http://www.amazon.com

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Blessings to you.

The Great Sculptor

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As I counsel hurting believers week after week, pain is often the common denominator in their lives. Why does God allow pain and suffering in the life of the believer? In reading, “When God Weeps” by Joni Eareckson Tada, I found several reasons why we go through suffering. I would like to share some of her thoughts with you.

Hebrews 5:7-9 states, “…although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what he suffered and made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.” This is good news for the suffering soul. The Son of God did not exempt Himself from affliction but lived through it and learned from it. Once the process is complete, He became the source of help for all who obey Him.  Should we suffer? “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.” (Matt. 10:24-25)

Suffering fashions us into a “holy and blameless” image of Christ. (Eph.1:4) much like a figure sculpted out of marble. An artist in Florence, Italy once asked the great Renaissance sculptor Michaelangelo what he saw when he approached a huge block of marble. “I see a beautiful form trapped inside.” he replied. “and it is simply my responsibility to take my mallet and chisel and chip away until the figure is set free.”

The beautiful form, the visible expression of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is inside Christians like a possibility, a potential. The idea is there, and God uses affliction like the hammer and chisel, chipping and cutting to reveal His image in you. God chooses as His model His Son, Jesus Christ. “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” (Rom. 8:29)

God continues to chisel, chipping more away. “To keep me from becoming conceited…there was given me a thorn in the flesh.” (2Cor.12:7)  God works deeper, carefully fashioning every hidden crevice, even our temperament: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who…made Himself…nothing He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross!” (Phil. 2:5-8)

God uses suffering to purge sin from our lives, strengthen our commitment to Him, force us to depend on grace, bind us together with other believers, produce discernment, foster sensitivity, discipline our minds, spend our time wisely, stretch our hope, cause us to know Christ better, make us long for truth, lead us to repentance of sin, teach us to give thanks in times of sorrow, increase faith, and strengthen character. It’s a beautiful image!

And it’s an image like no other. When Christ is unveiled in me, it’s a unique sculpture. It’s what patience, self-control, endurance, gentleness, kindness, as well as a healthy hatred of sin, looks like on “Joni.” That’s different than the way sensitivity and self-control look on my husband or anyone else. My particular affliction is divinely hand-tailored expressly for me.

Yielding to the chisel is “learning obedience from what we suffer.” Our circumstances don’t change; we change. The “who” of who we are is transformed, like a form unfolding, into His likeness with ever-increasing glory. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2Cor. 3:16-18)

I cannot afford to focus on the hammer and chisel. I cannot look around me and bemoan what God is chipping away. Turn your focus on Him, trusting that He will never cut or gouge too deeply. God is not a casual or capricious Sculptor. “For I know the plans I have for you, ‘ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)

James Eubanks – Grace Ministries

Angels by Grace -June 1998

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Blessings to you.

IF ONLY…

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“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Gen. 3:13

All the way back to Adam and Eve “If only…” has been used to excuse our sins. Eve used the serpent as her excuse, Adam used Eve as his excuse. “She gave me… and I ate it…” (Gen 3:12) In other words “if the serpent hadn’t…” and “if Eve hadn’t offered me…” What would have happened if none of these “if only” excuses had not happened? What would have happened if the “if’s” were used in other ways?

All through the years people have pondered the “if’ only.” We usually use the “IF” for blame. In David A. Seamands book, “IF ONLY” he calls this “the Great Blame Game.” How true that is for even today! No-one wants to take responsibility for their choices or their behaviors. We always blame someone else or something else. The “IF” is complaining, regretting, or blaming.

I’ve done it myself! “If I hadn’t been abused…” “Lord, if you hadn’t given me these parents…” “If he hadn’t told me…”How many times we use the “IF” in complaining or as our excuse for our attitudes and/or behaviors! The Lord said that He can take what is meant for evil and turn it to good. (Gen. 50:20) Complaining, regretting, and blaming is not faith, it is sin.

Take for example the story of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. Martha says to Jesus when He arrives, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John. 11:21) Sounds like an accusation and complaint to me. Can we relate? “They abused me and now I…” “If only God had stopped it…”

Did Jesus beg Martha for forgiveness? Did He look at her with an expression of, “Are you kidding me!?” Did He say, “If only it hadn’t been so far and my feet didn’t hurt I would have been here sooner?”  No! He turned that “If” into a challenge. “Jesus said to her, “‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)

In one of my counseling sessions, it was pointed out that the Lord knows my pain and in great frustration, I blurted out, “But Jesus wasn’t sexually abused!”

So how can He relate to our pain?

*He was betrayed by those He loved. In my post, “What is sexual abuse” I stated that 90% of victims know their abuser.

*Jesus was beaten, spit on, and belittled. Sexual abuse also can involve being belittled by the abuser. Physical abuse is also involved. (I may discuss that later)

*He was hung naked on the cross. Crowds of people staring at Him. How humiliating is that!? Didn’t we feel humiliated?

*His friends fell asleep when He asked them to stay awake and pray for Him. They didn’t listen. Many of us have told someone what was happening and they didn’t listen.

Jesus knows your pain!

So how can we go from blaming, complaining, and regret to healing? First we must look at the past for what it is – the past. We are not being sexually abused now. We must choose to remain a victim or to be victorious. If guilt, shame, anger, hatred, bitterness and un-forgiveness is still a strong part of your life, you have remained a victim. Yes, you survived, but the bondage of victimization is still there. It’s time to let light in. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8)

IF we believe, we will see His glory.

IF we believe the Lord is our Counselor, we will see healing.

IF we believe, He will meet us where we are.

IF we believe, we shall walk in freedom.

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Suggested reading: 51GOmvLGASL._AA160_[1]  It is available at Amazon.com

Discussion: Has starting a healing journal helped you? If not, why?

Assignment:

Ask the Lord to bring to mind the “IF”s” that you have used. List them.

Ask Him to shed His light on each “IF” you listed. What did He say? Write it down.

 

If you have confidential questions/comments feel free to e-mail me at: elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you and I hope to see you next week.

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