Posts Tagged ‘Pain’

Are You Making a Cross for Yourself?

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” Luke 22:42

A cross is composed of two pieces of wood. The shorter piece represents your will–and the longer piece represents God’s will. Lay the two pieces side by side–and there is no cross; but lay the shorter piece across the longer one–and you have a cross.

Just so, whenever our will falls across God’s will–there is a cross in our life. We make a cross for ourselves . . .
— every time we do not accept Christ’s way,
— every time we murmur at anything He sends,
— every time we will not do what He commands.

But when we quietly accept what He gives, when we yield in sweet acquiescence to His will, though it shatters our fairest hopes, when we let our will lie alongside His–there are no crosses in our life, and we have found the peace of Christ.

“My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it–may Your will be done.” Matthew 26:42

I delight to do Your will, O my God!” Psalm 40:8

God is your refuge – and underneath are the everlasting arms!

Monday, February 6th, 2017

“The eternal God is your refuge — and underneath are the everlasting arms!” Deuteronomy 33:27

If we are held in the clasp of the everlasting arms — we need not fear that we shall ever be separated from the enfolding. “Underneath.” They are always underneath us. No matter how low we sink in weakness, in fainting, in pain, in sorrow — we never can sink below these everlasting arms. We can never drop out of their clasp!

God’s love is deeper than human sorrow. Sorrow is very deep, but still and forever, in the greatest grief — these arms of Divine love are underneath the believing sufferer.

God’s love is deeper than death. When every earthly support is gone from beneath us, when every human arm unclasps and every face fades from before our eyes, and we sink away into what seems darkness and the shadow of death — we shall only sink into the everlasting arms!

Drop your plummet into the deepest sea of sorrow, and at the end of your soundings: “Underneath are the everlasting arms!”

What abiding consolation! What all-embracing, never-failing strength!

~J.C. Pittman, 1917

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Be Thankful in All Circumstances

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

One day, Johann Tauler of Strosbourg met a peasant and greeted him, “God give you a good day, my friend!”

The peasant answered briskly, “I thank God that I never have a bad day!”

Tauler, astonished, kept silent for a moment. Tauler then added, “God give you a happy life, my friend.”

The peasant replied composedly, “I thank God that I am never unhappy!”

“Never unhappy!” cried Tauler bewildered, “What do you mean?”

“Well,” came the reply, “When it is sunshine — I thank God; and when it rains — I thank God. When I have plenty — I thank God; and when I am hungry — I thank God. Since God’s will is my will, and whatever pleases God pleases me — I am never unhappy.

Tauler looked upon him with awe. “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am a king!” said the peasant.

“A king?” Tauler asked, “Where is your kingdom?”

The peasant smiled and whispered softly, “In my heart!”

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow — are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips — so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.

J.C. Pittman, 1917

What is Truly Important?

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Over the triple doorways of a European Cathedral, there are three inscriptions spanning the splendid arches.

Over one is carved a beautiful wreath of roses, and underneath is the lettering:
“All which pleases us — is but for a moment.”

Over the other arch is sculptured a cross, and there are the words:
“All which troubles us — is but for a moment.”

But on the great central entrance to the main aisle, is the inscription:
“That alone is important, which is eternal.”

If we always realize these three truths, we would not let small things trouble us; nor would we be so much interested in the passing pageants of the hour. We would live, as we do not now — for the permanent and the eternal.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!” 2 Corinthians 4:18

J.C. Pittman, 1917

Two Wolves

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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The Year Before Our Eyes

Friday, January 6th, 2017

“As your days’ so shall your strength be.”
Deuteronomy 33:25


The year before our eyes may hold in its bosom, events which may deeply concern and affect us. We do not know what is to come. What personal trials, what family trials, what providential trials may await us – we do not know. Every year hitherto has brought its trials in its train; and how can we expect the coming year to be exempt?

Sickness may attack our bodies, death enter our families, difficulties beset our circumstances, trials and temptations exercise our minds, snares entangle our feet, and many dark and gloomy clouds, make our path one of heaviness and sorrow.

If, indeed, we are His, whatever our trials may be – His grace will be sufficient for us.

He who has delivered – can and will deliver.

And He who has brought us thus far on the road, who has so borne with our crooked manners in the wilderness and never yet forsaken us – though we have so often forsaken Him – will still lead us along; will still guide and guard us, and be our God, our Father and our Friend – not only to the end of the next year, if spared to see it, but the end of our life.

Blessed with His presence – we need fear no evil;
favored with His smile – we need dread no foe;
upheld by His power – we need shrink from no trial;
strengthened by His grace – we need panic at no suffering.

Knowing what we are and have been when left to ourselves – the slips that we have made, the snares that we have been entangled in, the shame and sorrow that we have procured to ourselves – well may we dread to go forth in the coming year alone. Well may we say,
“If Your Presence does not go with us do not send us up from here!” Exodus 33:15

J. C. Philpot
1802-1869

A New Beginning

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 King James Version

Someone reminded me of a bad decision I made a few years ago.  For a few minutes, satan tried to discourage me and then God brought our Scripture verse to my mind.  This is why it is so important that we hide the Word of God in our hearts.  When we repent of our sins and ask God to forgive us and the blood of Jesus Christ is applied to our hearts for the forgiveness of our sins, we have been forgiven.

We have a new life and a new beginning and when we say to God “Remember what I did several years ago?”  He will say to us “I don’t know what you’re talking about because I don’t remember that.”  Does this mean that God has a bad memory?  Of course not, it means that He makes a choice to forgive and forget and never hold it against us again.

May God help us to love others as He loves us.  We also need to make the choice to forgive people and then forget about it and never hold it against them again.  However, many times we harbor unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness in our hearts instead of letting it go.  I am so glad to know that when I fail God, and I do fail Him just like you do, He forgives me and forgets it.

Don’t let people put you under guilt because of something you did in the past.  If you asked God to forgive you, let it go.  It is important, however, that occasionally we think about our past just to remind us how far He has brought us.  Praise and thank Him for His mercy, grace, forgiveness and unconditional love for you. Thank Him for all He has done for you.

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JoanneCopyright by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission.
http://joanne-freedominjesus.blogspot.com/
http://christians-in-recovery.org

New Year’s Motto: Look Up!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!” Luke 21:28

We are entering upon a new year, we shall have
new toils,
new trials,
new temptations, and
new troubles.

In whatever state, in whatever place, into whatever condition we may be brought this year–let us seek grace to follow our Lord’s loving advice, and “look up!

Do not look back–as Lot’s wife did.

Do not look within–as too many do.

Do not look around–as David did.

But “look up!” Look up to God–He is your Father, your Friend, your Savior. He can help you. He will help you. He says, “Look unto Me, and be delivered–for I am God!”

Look up for light to guide you–and He will direct your path.

Look up for grace to sanctify you–and the grace of Jesus will be found sufficient for you.

Look up for strength to enable you to do and suffer God’s will–and His strength will be made perfect in your weakness.

Look up for comfort to cheer you–and as one whom his mother comforts, so will the Lord comfort you.

Look up for courage to embolden you–and the Lord will give courage to the faint; and to those who have no might–He will increase strength.

Look up for endurance to keep you–and the God who preserves you will enable you quietly to bear the heaviest burden, and silently to endure the most painful affliction.

Look up for providence to supply you–and the jar of flour will not be used up, and the jug of oil will not run dry; but God shall supply all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Look up in faith–exercising confidence in the Word of a faithful God.

Look up in prayer–asking for what God has graciously promised.

Look up in hope–expecting what you ask in the name of Jesus.

Look up with adoration–and adore the sovereignty, righteousness, and wisdom of God.

Look up constantly–let nothing daunt or discourage you! Rather say, “Our eyes are on the Lord our God–until He shows us mercy.”

Look up–for this will keep . . .
the head from swimming,
the heart from sinking,
the knees from trembling,
the feet from slipping, and
the hands from hanging down!

It is impossible to say what will happen to us, or what will be required of us this year–but “Look up!” This direction, if properly attended to, will . . .
procure for us all that we need,
secure us against all that we dread, and
make us more than a match for all our foes and fears!

Fellow-Christian, are you fearful? “Look up” and hear Jesus saying to you, “Do not be afraid–I Myself will help you!”

Are you discouraged? “Look up”–and your youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s, and fresh light, comfort, and courage shall be given to you!

Are you desponding? “Look up” for Jesus never breaks the bruised reed, nor quenches the smoking flax.

Do not look too much at your sin–look at the infinitely meritorious blood of God’s dear Son!

Do not look too much at self–but look at Jesus, who ever lives to make intercession for you in Heaven.

Are you stripped of your comforts, your props, and your goods? Then look up! He who stripped you–loves you! He will be more than all these to you! He will . . .
bind up your broken heart,
calm your perturbed spirit,
cheer your drooping mind, and
fill you with His own peace and happiness.

Look up . . .
for all that you need;
from all that you fear;
through all that would obstruct your way.

Look up every day, saying with David, “In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You–and will look up!” Psalm 5:3

Look up in every trial, saying “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence comes my help: my help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and earth!”

Do not look at your sin–it will discourage you!

Do not look at your self–it will distress you!

Do not look at Satan–he will bewilder you!

Do not look to men–they will deceive, or disappoint you!

Do not look at your trials–they will deject you!

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us–looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!” Hebrews 12:1-2

Look only, look always, look intently–to Jesus!

Run looking, work looking, fight looking, suffer looking, live looking, and die looking–to Jesus, who is at God’s right hand in glory.

Oh, look, look, look to Jesus!

James Smith, “A New Year’s Motto” 1865

Labels as Excuses

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Are you “one of those people who …”?

I lived in schools for about fifty-two years.

K-12, four years of college, and thirty-five years as a teacher—52 of my first 58 years, interrupted by brief stints to build houses (which I enjoyed) and rehab from my injury (which I enjoyed a lot less). Toss in some nights and summers doing a Master’s degree, and it all adds up to a lot of time in schools.

When you live in schools, you learn about labels. Geek. Nerd. Jock. Goth. Skater. Gangster. School’s all about labels. The only worse fate than being labeled and stuck in a group is NOT being labeled and stuck in a group.

Jocks and gangsters get to walk down the middle of the hallway, crowds parting before them in a confused mixture of adoration, disdain, and fear. Geeks and nerds slink along the walls.

In college I took a class called “Adolescent Psychology.” The professor’s opening line: They’re all crazy!

We learned that kids group themselves as a way of separating from parents and developing an identity, that’s it’s normal for them to try out different costumes and roles. Colored hair, odd clothing, mimicked behaviors—it’s all just part of growing up and figuring out who they are. One of the many paradoxes of adolescence involves the need to discover one’s individuality by identifying lock-step with a group.

And we learned that it’s a phase, that eventually we grow out of our need to define ourselves by the group(s) to which we belong.

That professor was mostly right. They ARE all crazy, which explains my love for them as co-conspirators. They do try on identities like costumes, which makes them fun as long as you don’t take it too seriously. There’s something refreshing about a young lady with pink spiked hair and holes in her jeans intently solving an equation, especially when she shows up after Christmas break with beautifully curled hair and a flowered skirt.

The adolescent labeling process makes developmental sense, bringing humor and pathos to a difficult, confusing stage of life. But I always felt less comfortable when adults insisted on placing kids in much less temporary categories.

During my career I taught classrooms filled with “gifted” students and others identified as “special needs.” I often wondered whether Christian parents believed some kids weren’t gifted by God, or whether ANY parents thought their kids weren’t special.

In the same room I’d find kids who were creative and artistic, lazy and driven to achieve, lethargic and hyper-active. Some were inquisitive, some wanted to read everything in sight, and some were fascinated by technology. Some struggled to focus as they worried about issues at home.

And of course it’s obvious which group I just described, right?

I think the professor missed an important point. I don’t see much evidence that we grow out of our adolescent need to define ourselves with labels. When you live in a wheelchair you get really sensitized to labels. People slap them on my forehead (which has plenty of room) like bumper stickers. But you don’t need paralysis to see the harmful effects of labels.

Last time I discussed labels as averages.  Today I’m thinking about labels as excuses.

Labels excuse laziness.

    No need to actually invest in getting to know the person and really understand his perspective. Just slap on a label, toss him in the right bucket, and you “know” all you need to know about him.

Labels excuse marginalization. She’s one of “them” and “they” just can’t do certain things. Of course we’ll be nice to her, but we can’t expect her to really participate. We’ll make a spot on the edges where she can watch without getting in the way.

Labels excuse unacceptable behavior. If you attach the “enemy” label to someone, you don’t have to treat them with respect. So it’s suddenly okay to demonize and shout at the person with different political views. There’s nothing wrong with gossiping and spreading rumors about “bad” people, right?

Labels excuse divisiveness. Why would we support that “evangelical” church down the street? And that one over there that doesn’t condemn our notion of “unbiblical” behavior, or the one around the corner that’s “right wing?” Just label them and the walls magically appear.

Of course, labels don’t really excuse any of these, but they certainly provide convenient excuses. When I hear adults using labels in such hurtful ways, I wonder how much we’ve really progressed since eighth grade.

I can chuckle when a kid with baggy pants will only associate with other kids that have the same brand of baggy pants. They’re learning, and next year they’ll all have short hair and khakis.

It’s a lot harder to find the humor when adults use a label based on behavior, belief, appearance, or perceived ability to justify including or excluding an individual.

And if you’re tempted to think it’s really not that important, that labels are just words, that “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” I’d offer an alternative view.

Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can break my heart.

Broken bones are easily treated; no surgical procedure exists that can mend a broken heart.

Do you see examples of labels as excuses?

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Dixon
Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Adversity And Christmas

Friday, December 16th, 2016

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” [John 14:1-4]

What’s the ultimate adversity?

One week before Christmas, adversity may boil down to long lines at the mall or difficult weather conditions for holiday travel. My wife’s scrambling to prepare for a party and receiving little help from a spouse who’s glued to the keyboard—that’s adversity. But I’m thinking along the lines of something a bit more elemental.

One of my best friends is dying.

It’s not the Christmas gift we hoped for, but there it is. The conclusion of a courageous battle with a terrible enemy finally approaches, and we’ll soon have to accept the loss of his physical presence in our circle.

Death doesn’t fit nicely into the Christmas story. Birth and lights and gifts proclaim a priceless promise of hope and beginning. Tinsel and glitter prompt smiles and celebration. Christmas isn’t the time for sad farewells.

Except …

My friend has been on a true journey to faith over the past couple of years. His struggle to reconcile old wounds and personal failure has been replaced with an understanding and acceptance of healing grace. I know that Jesus lives in his heart.

So I grieve the impending loss of a friend and the pain of his family. I’m sad for the large circle to whom he’s been mentor and courageous example. I cry for the empty space his passing will leave in so many lives.

But next week I’ll celebrate the event that assures me he’s approaching a new beginning rather than an end. I’ll hold the paradox of sadness and joy in my heart. I’ll trust that God will help me experience them fully, mix them with grace, and give me His peace.

I pray that each of us, in the midst of life that isn’t always happy, can discover the spirit at the heart of a truly Merry Christmas.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. [John 14:27]

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Dixon
Copyright 2009 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com