Suffering: Your Future Credentials

Your personal experience in pain and suffering will be your credentials that grant you access to many hearts who are struggling greatly.

Let’s not underestimate the future value of today’s experiences of pain and suffering that we endure. The comfort we receive from God through it all will be transferable to others!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

📖 2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-5‬

See you at the altar of prayer. And may we never forget what it was like to suffer in the past, so that we may empathize deeply with those who suffer currently.

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✝️ #PastorsTip

God Has The First & Last Word

God had the First Word in the universe when He spoke it into existence. He will also have the Last Word in EVERYTHING!

If you are in a tough situation (as a follower of Christ), the situation will be finalized when God speaks the Last Word in that situation and resolves it!

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

📖 Revelation‬ ‭22:12-13

See you at the altar of prayer where we will hang-out until God speaks the Last Word in our trial.

✝️ #PastorsTip

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Rejecting The Counsel of Pain

Pain — especially chronic pain — can drive a person to seek temporary or even permanent relief that is just flat wrong. The pain counsels us to try this or that, even when this or that is completely illogical and morally wrong.

Pain tries to be both our torturer and our counselor as well. But pain’s counsel is not in our best interest nor in the best interest of bringing glory to God.

The counsel of chronic pain can lead a person to suicide, even though that really does not solve anything. The afterlife for suiciders is not pain-free.

The counsel of chronic pain can lead a person to do things or try things that they never would have imagined they would ever do. Nonetheless, they are counseled, they are tempted, and some sadly cave-in to the counsel.

As a person who lives in bed and in chronic pain I can testify to the “counsels” of the pain, the “advice” that might set me free from the pain, either temporarily or permanently.

If you too are in a minute-by-minute battle with chronic pain (physical and emotional), you too have heard the “counsel” of the pain.

Let’s agree to wholeheartedly reject the counsel of chronic pain, and hold firmly to the counsel of the scriptures and the Holy Spirit.

Yes, we are in a war… a war of life and death! Let’s choose life and those things that will result in our lives bringing glory to God. Our perseverance is a tremendous testimony!

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

📖 James‬ ‭1:12‬

See you at the altar of prayer, my fellow pain warriors! Not only can we survive, we can thrive in our spirit even as we persevere!

✝️ #PastorsTip

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Pray Until Heaven Invades Your Situation!

In my personal opinion, we have yet to discover the depths to which God has sovereignly chosen to wait for — and rely upon — the deep-hearted, earnest, persevering prayers of His people before His answers are dispatched from Heaven to Earth.

Elijah was an outstanding prophet of God in Israel’s history. He was a man through whom God poured great measures of His divine power to accomplish great signs and wonders to confirm and affirm God’s messages spoken through him to Israel.

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

📖 James‬ ‭5:16-18

Let’s be people who devote ourselves to developing our prayer life, and to discovering the depths to which God intends that we earnestly pray.

See you at the altar of prayer, the place where God pours out His power and effectiveness from Heaven and into our situations.

✝️ #PastorsTip

Sometimes… Do Nothing But Pray

Sometimes God does not want us to do anything, except pray and then watch. This was one of those times for Israel.

“‘Our God… we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.’

… This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…. You will not have to fight this battle.

Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’

… and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites… stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”

📖 2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:12-19‬

See you at the altar of prayer where God gives to us His instructions… where SOMETIMES He issues the decree: “Just stand still and WATCH what I am going to do!”

✝️ #PastorsTip

 

When Darkness Approaches

Do you have a raging, dark storm quickly approaching you?

Do not be afraid.

God doesn’t only reveal Himself to us in wonderful worship services where even the impossible seems like child’s play for God to accomplish.

Most of the time it is in the midst of extreme danger and darkness that God reveals Himself to us. In these times He intends to test us, to show us what is in our hearts. He already knows what is in us, but He wants us to see for ourselves what is in us.

The storms of life are intended by the devil to “kill, steal, and destroy” us, (John 10:10) but it is God’s intention to reveal to us what is in us. He also wants to reveal to us what is in His heart, His love for us.

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear

Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’

The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.”

📖 Exodus‬ ‭20:18-21‬

See you at the altar of prayer, located in the center of that coming storm. Get ready to have a lot of revelation, of self and of God.

Do not be afraid.

✝️ #PastorsTip

 

The Refiner’s Fire & Reforming Hammer

Is your surrendered-to-God life being heated almost to the melting point, and then being beaten upon seemingly without mercy?

Stay on the anvil of God. Your outcome will be beautiful, powerful, and glorifying to Him! He isn’t punishing you, He is forming you into the greatest person that you can be.

He didn’t say that you would love the sculpting process, but you WILL love the final RESULT of His sculpting process!

#PastorsTip

 

Theology is for Everyone

To most Christians, the idea of learning “Theology” is an overwhelming and daunting suggestion. “I’m not a scholar,” or “I’m not interested in working for a Ph.D” is a very common thought process that shuts the door on the subject.

However, Theology is NOT just a scholar’s domain. The learning and the application of Theology to our own heart, mind, and daily life is of the utmost godly value!

“Theology”—though it does include some branches with extremely deep waters—is basically the study of God: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, and how He interacts with humanity. Every believer who is committed to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior needs to know as much as they can from the scriptures about their God.

As attenders of [good] churches, we have a tremendous number of opportunities to grow in our knowledge about God (“Theology”) so that we can also grow in knowing Him personally. Faulty thinking about who God is and how He interacts with humanity leaves us very, VERY susceptible to failures and deceptions.

The writer to the Hebrews (most consider this author to be the Apostle Paul, as do I) was teaching and developing their understanding of God and their walking through life in the Spirit of Jesus. Here is what he summarizes as being the foundation or elementary teachings [of Theology] that every believer SHOULD have well established so they can build and grow the rest of their life.

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”‭‭

( Hebrews‬ ‭6:1-2 )

Unfortunately, there are too many believers who have had their faith in Christ for 10, 20, or 30 years, but their maturity in truly knowing the things of God and living a godly life are at an “elementary” level. Using a school analogy, by now they should be graduates, instead they are repeating the 1st Grade over and over, not having grasped the basics and not yet demonstrated a practical proficiency in godly knowledge, wisdom, and behavior.

To be clear, though I used a school analogy, growing in Theology is not necessarily about formal academics. It is about growing in the personal study of God’s scripture, and the prayerful application of the scriptures to personal and daily life.

“Let us go on to perfection” means to grow in maturity. It means to shed more and more imperfection, and to draw closer and closer to Christ and the perfection He represents.
Most of us will never be “Theologians” in an academic setting with a Ph.D next to our name, but each of us should be growing in our Theology of God. Anything less than our constant growth in our knowledge of God is not part of God’s great plan for our life. Let’s be sure, every day, that we progressively “go on to perfection” in Him.

See you at the altar of Christ as we read the scriptures, pray, and build each other up in the Theology of our great God.

#PastorsTip

Be Nice!

Guys, BE NICE!
Gals, BE NICE!

No excuses, BE NICE!

When you must stand your ground, do so in strength, but BE NICE!
When you must reaffirm your personal boundaries, do so with clarity, but BE NICE!

When you are disrespected, turn the other cheek, but BE NICE!
When you are physically attacked, defend yourself appropriately, but BE NICE!

When it is the right time to express anger, articulate your feelings, but BE NICE!
When someone is almost impossible to deal with, use wisdom, but BE NICE!

When God doesn’t do what you thought He SHOULD do, cry out to Him, but BE NICE!
When you suffer unjustly in body or soul, plead for God’s intervention, but BE NICE!

When you are falsely accused, refute the accusations, but BE NICE!
When your reputation is cruelly trashed, let your consistency in life set the record straight, but BE NICE!

When your anger has been heated by another into a boiling cauldron for revenge, take a deep breath, give the situation to God, allow Him to take care of any and all revenge, and BE NICE!

Being NICE is not a sign of weakness, it is evidence of godly fortitude when you maintain your cool where others might explode.

Sometimes being NICE in response to a very angry person will calm them enough to become cordial. But even if being NICE doesn’t calm them, BE NICE anyway.

Are there times, places, and situations when BEING NICE is not the correct response? Perhaps, but you and I rarely encounter those conditions, so always plan to always BE NICE, especially when your emotions are screaming within your soul.

Our ability to experience a variety of emotions is a wonderful blessing from God, but our emotions were not created to lead us in our actions. Our capacity to reason was created to lead us, and we are to give guidance to our emotions just as a good parent provides strong, loving guidance to a very emotional child.

So, in all things, always plan to BE NICE!

#PastorsTip