Suffering

Keep Going (While Going Through Hell)

I love Winston Churchill's sentiment:

"If you're going through hell, keep going."

Life is tough. Sooner or later, we'll experience a trying situation which feels like hell. It isn't actual hell, thank God. Nevertheless, the power of that notorious situation/trauma makes us feel tortured with pain, despair and hopeless evidence. Eating disorders, addictions, compulsions, loss and grief are just a few examples of things which can feel like hell, if, indeed, torture is its calling card.

It's painful and almost impossible to see future, life, possibility or God. We can, instead, much more easily see ourselves as failures, weak, forgotten and ruined. It's, therefore, inevitable we come to a screeching halt; we stop in the mire and can only feel ourselves sinking…down to where? Greater depths of hell and torture?

But that's not God's truth about us. Even in the middle of hopelessness, God is there… living… loving… working…

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" Jeremiah 32:27

It can be tempting to believe that

Prayer for Those Who Struggle with the Holidays

Abba...this is a really hard time of year for so many.

Some are experiencing the first round of holidays and feasts without a loved one...
whether through death or a need for reconciliation.

Some are going through serious illness.

Some are experiencing great financial hardship.

Some are locked into bondages and/or addictions.

Abba, please touch each one, especially those who are reading this prayer and their loved ones.

I lift them all up to You, Abba.

You can bring healing...

where no one else can.

You can touch hearts...

Abused? God has victory for You!Premium Content

There are many of us out there who have been bullied and abused.

Whether we've been beaten verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually by a family member, have been teased, thrown in lockers or picked last for teams as kids or, worst case scenario - all of the above - it certainly is a challenge to live through that, let alone, overcome it.

Many of us are underdogs, the forgotten, the least likely.

And that is precisely why one of the things that I love most about God is His viewpoint on that status. God's "M.O." is one of championing the underdog, encouraging him/her, and exalting/promoting that individual, not just in spite of the odds, but quite often, because of them.

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We Shall Overcome: Embracing an Attitude of BraveryPremium Content

Helen Keller once said: “The world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming it.”

Perspective plays a role in how we view our current physical, emotional, spiritual, and attitudinal situations. Is the sum total a barrier or an opportunity? Like a kaleidoscope, we can tweak the patterns of what we see, what we feel, how we respond via our perspective.

For Helen Keller she chose to see the human situation of suffering and seized every opportunity to overcome suffering. When we stop and think about it, overcoming is a lifetime decision. We can either wrap ourselves in a cloak of suffering to insure our self pity and woe is communicated clearly and heard by the masses, seeking sympathy with “poor me. No one knows the trouble I bear.” Or we can embrace an attitude of bravery in Christ—overcoming the suffering.

There are many tough, life-impacting decisions in our lives, but choosing to wallow in the mire of our pain and be satisfied with a life of self pity just doesn’t seem like a healthy life decision. In fact, that’s not why God created us.

First and foremost, God created us to have a personal loving relationship with Him. Hmmmm.... Based on my personal research, Bible study, and life experiences, this means a two-way relationship, including a:

-A relationship with God
-Freely inviting God into every aspect of your life.

No sloughing off here, because God wants every part of you in this relationship. Your mind, soul, spirit, body, and heart. Don’t hold back, or you’ll end up back at that pity party, and we don’t want that do we?

John 10:3-5 gives a relationship view for us to strive for:

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Discipline Or Regret: Which Pain Do We Embrace? Premium Content

I don't know who said it, but there is a quote which goes something like:

"You either embrace the pain of discipline or you embrace the pain of regret."


Yes, I know, it's a festive one.

Nevertheless, it is a reality check, especially for those of us in recovery from any particular thing which has seized our pleasure centers, all in an effort to escape pain. We desire pleasure to soothe, numb or obliterate our pain. We believe the lie it will happen. Furthermore, we also believe there can be no good thing which comes from denying our indulgences for it.

Therefore, as we stumble and relapse, we often choose to embrace the pain of regret concerning our addictions and the harmful consequences which can follow.

It's not to shame anyone. Rather, it's, again, to provide the reality check that none of us are immune from relapse and bad decisions. We are all vulnerable.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalms 103:14

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

It's acknowledged in the first two Twelve Steps:

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The Ultimate Therapist

I came across a humorous post on the internet:

"Someone's therapist knows all about you."

It made me laugh… and think. I thought back to many therapy sessions I engaged in, talking about certain individuals and their impact of my life, disorder and state of mind. I talked about my mother, my dad and my childhood bullies. Believe me, I had A LOT to say. So, yes, even though my therapist never met them, she knew all about these people.

But this humorous post touched on something bigger. It wasn't just about the acquired knowledge a therapist gained when his/her patient ranted about their issues. It had to do with God - the ultimate therapist-and His role in our lives as we struggle, hurt and encounter recovery.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12>

Cue the heart, therefore:

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

But this heart issue is not a passive thing, ignored by God. Quite the contrary, in fact.

"…the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

In other words…

Reclaiming What Satan has Stolen from YouPremium Content

Satan has managed to convince many unbelievers, that he is not real, even though he has been influencing their every day lives abusively, in all manner of ways. Satan is a material, emotional, mental, and spiritual abuser. And if you have experienced abuse on any or all of those levels, he is at the root
cause.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4

Confronting and facing up to evil, is never easy. As humans we are inclined to go into denial, rather than confront evil for what it is. This is why so many addictions, addictive behaviors and systems continue relentlessly; enabled by ordinary every day people, until the pain brings them to their knees.
I find it a little sad that we humans still need the use of pain and suffering, to remind us to worship the living God!

Those of us who have experienced abuse and addiction, can testify to the truth of the Bible, that Satan and his demonic influence are indeed real, because we have experienced and witnessed his effects in our lives.

I have found it helpful

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How are Praise, Surrender & Worship Connected?

Perseverance for me is essential because the alternative is defeat and loss of faith. Defeat and loss of faith is totally different from surrender.

Surrender] is knowing that God is Lord of lords, King of kings. It is knowing that I must and need to depend on Him totally and completely at all times.

\0/ praise .....
it is so easy to praise God when all is going well in our lives. We are happy, joyous and free but then the you know what hits the fan and our lives become unmanageable. We find ourselves totally powerless. fear creeps in and anxiety rules.

It is time to ....
/0\ surrender

Life Doesn't Have a "Re-do" Button

All our steps are ordered by the Lord;
how then can we understand our own ways?
Proverbs 20:24 NRSV

Over Christmas break, the son of one of my fellow teachers was killed in an auto accident. Both of his parents work for our school district and are loving, wonderful people. Their younger daughter was in one of the plays I helped with. It was a devastating loss for our small community.

When it happened, I tried to get my head around it. Oh, not the fact that such a young person had died and the reason for it, but rather simply that it had happened at all. I began to think about games, in particular computer games, and the ability to "redo" a game when the outcome wasn't what I wanted (in effect, when I lost). I began to wonder if his parents wished that they could "redo" those few hours before he died, keeping him at their home rather than allowing him to drive several hours to his house and subsequently dying.

I think that all of us, at one time or another and for one reason or another, wished that life had a "redo" button, wished that we could relive a certain situation in order to change the outcome. When Proverbs speaks of the Lord ordering our ways, some in the Christian community would see this as confirmation that God has predetermined everything that happens to us and that we don't have free will. I personally don't agree with that view. But what I see this as is the Old Testament version of Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes everything to work together" for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (NLT)

Matthew Henry writes:

Running from Suffering

Who can say, "I have made my heart clean;
I am pure from my sin?" Proverbs 20:9

Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.' . . . Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:13-16, 22-23 NRSV

I am an Army mom. My wonderful son is a combat MP who has served in Iraq and who, with his company, is returning there this summer. Being an Army mom wasn't something that I chose for myself, but it is something that I embrace because it is what the Lord has chosen for my son. When my first son was away on his first tour, I met many other military moms who were intensely worried for their children's lives. Many asked me how I could be so calm when my son was in harm's way.

Now, I'm no saint (except for the wonder of being a follower of the Lord Jesus). But I am practical and I try to embrace the heart of God as much as I can. So, I am able to walk calmly when my son is in Iraq or my husband is working hurricanes for FEMA because there are certain realities of life which American society has tried to erase and unfortunately which the Church has pushed away.

The first reality is that the only guarantee in life is death. Everyone dies.

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