Posts Tagged ‘pain’

  

“They replied at once, ‘Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!’So they began the good work.” ‭‭(Nehemiah‬ ‭2:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

In 2003, Austin Hatch and his dad walked away from a 2003 plane crash that killed his mother, 11-year-old sister and 5-year-old brother. Then in 2011, Hatch experienced a sickening case of déjà vu. His dad was flying the family to its Michigan summer house in June 2011, when the small, single-engine plane plummeted nose-first into a garage along a residential street north of Charlevoix Municipal Airport, killing Hatch’s father and stepmother and critically injuring him.

It would be easy to quit life at this point, but not Hatch. He had signed a basketball scholarship with the University of Michigan prior to the accident, and was determined to use it. After a two month coma and two years of rehabilitation, Hatch got to briefly realize his dream: playing basketball for the Michigan Wolverines in the spring of 2015! He had fought back from the bottom to reclaim his life!

Just as Nehemiah helped his people to rebuild Jerusalem from utter ruin, so did Austin Hatch. And so can you! Life was never meant to be easy and rebuilding can be tougher, but God will help you put the pieces back together again. Just try! You are loved today!

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 “I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.” (Psalms‬ ‭102‬:‭6‬ NLT)

In the deserts of the southwestern US and Mexico, Gila Woodpeckers use saguaros—giant, tree-like cacti that may reach 43 ft in height and 10 ft in circumference—for food and shelter. In addition to insects, they eat cactus fruits and berries. Equipped with a thick bill, the Gila Woodpecker plays an important role in maintaining the health of saguaros by removing insects and trimming damaged tissue, which heals the cacti. It thrives where the rest of its woodland cousins cannot. 

In this psalm, the writer is speaking of a desolate and distressed time of life. The imagery of a desert is meant to symbolize pain and loss in this life. And yet, we know that in such a destitute place, there is a thriving life. Where one may call the prickly cactus a horrible and useless plant, someone else calls it Home Sweet Home! The difference is simply perception. 

Does your life seem desolate? Allow God to help shape what you are feeling. You see through the lenses of self’s desires and disappointments, but God sees so much more! Your cactus can become your castle! You are loved today! 

  

“Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭7‬:‭6‬ NLT)

As I sat at the Burger King restaurant last night after church, I was privileged to be hanging out with some special friends, the ladies from Teen Challenge in Russellville, AR. I sat listening to their stories, where they came from, the addictions and past scars they are seeking to overcome, and the scriptures that they are standing on to accomplish it. To me, I was sitting amongst the bravest heroes I had ever met: Those that will truly fight their personal demons!

One of them shared this verse with me and it immediately struck my heart. How many of us sit in our regrets, stained by sin and failure, cultivating and perfecting the hatred we feel for ourselves to the point that we could NEVER see ourselves as treasurable? I would dare say that it would be all of us and probably occurs everyday. 

So here is a word of hope for today! You are truly a treasure to God! Don’t focus on the failed opinions of others or even yourself. Get to know God’s loving thoughts towards you and grow in that beautiful relationship! You are free to be loved today! 

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So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to God.” (1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭19‬ NLT)

As I was commuting down I-30 yesterday listening to the news on the radio, it was a veritable grocery list of human suffering: Ebola virus may be in Texas; ISIS terrorists still butchering people; bad winter coming; people still fighting in Ferguson, MO… It makes me want to grab a bag of chocolate donuts and lose myself in Netflix so I can forget about it! Who needs to suffer?!

The surprising answer is: You Do. Crises of faith serves to make us stronger, much more than warm fuzzy moments. In an article at christiancourier.com (read the whole article, The Value of Human Suffering), we see that one thing is certain: many who have passed through the crucible of suffering will acknowledge that they have found themselves infinitely better for the experience—bitter though it may have been. Robert Browning Hamilton memorialized it this way:

I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chatted all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!

If you are finding yourself stewing away in Life’s crockpot, it will strike you as strange to think that suffering could please God. God does NOT desire for you to hurt, but to grow. Because we rarely grow the simple way, we force ourselves into tight spots. Stop griping and start growing! You’ve made it this far, He’ll see you through to a better end! You are loved!

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Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking. Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest!” (Psalms‬ ‭55‬:‭5-6‬ NLT)

It was just one of the “Perfect Storm” moments. You know, where about 5 stressful, painful situations all came to a head in a day. Any one of these alone were brutal, but all at once?! And there I was, a grown man, sitting on my couch, home alone, with a blanket over my head so I could hide and cry, wishing I could sprout wings and fly away, never to hurt again.

We all reach those breaking points; it’s not “un-normal”. Just as the psalmist desired to run away, we do too. But fear is a cruel task master, one that must be broken or else it will seep like a contagious disease into every other area of our life. No other sin destroys faith like fear, yet nothing pleases the Father’s heart like faith.

So, you have a choice: stay lingering in fear, our take a measured step of faith towards a deliverance. You can’t be brave on your own, you must let God make you brave. As Ephesians 6 says, when you’ve done all you can, just stand still. Then in that place of calm surrender, God will fight your battle and win! Never give up, never surrender! You are strong today!

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A third time Jesus asked him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time.” (John‬ ‭21‬:‭17‬ NLT)

Man, was I guilty. I work hard to be a good Pastor, but perfection has always alluded me. And as the individual on the other side of the phone confronted me, the minor infraction might as well have been a major one for how bad I felt. Even though it didn’t feel good to know I was wrong, I appreciated the grace used to confront me and our resulting relationship was even greater.

Peter may not have enjoyed having his love questioned by the Lord three times, but only a short while earlier, he had denied even knowing Jesus the same number of times. Jesus never confronts us out of anger or condemnation. When He confronts us, it’s always with the desire of drawing us closer by eliminating any failures on our part. By confronting, He shows the greatest of loves by keeping our actions honest and replied to with complete grace.

Have you misbehaved lately? Don’t get upset when God confronts you. Left to ourselves, we won’t repent and may never change. His questioning comes from a love that longs to protect the long-term relationship over our immediate dainty emotions! You are loved today! Make it right!

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Then they called the name of that place Bochim.” (Judges‬ ‭2‬:‭5‬ NKJV)

The Battle of Oriskany, fought on August 6, 1777, was one of the bloodiest battles in the American Revolutionary War. An American party trying to relieve the siege of Fort Stanwix was ambushed and defeated by a party of Loyalists and allies of several Native American tribes. This was one the few battles in the war in which almost all of the participants were North American. It is called “The Place of Great Sadness” by the Iroquois Nation because it set off a civil war among their united tribes.

When Israel disobeyed God while conquesting their Promised Land, God announced that He would not deliver their enemies from the land due to ungodliness. The reaction by Israel was great sadness, to the point of memorializing their sadness by calling this particular site “The Weepers” (Bochim). Israel would move forward, but many of those disputed areas remain in dispute to this day.

Do you have places in your life that represent great sadness? Don’t honor your pain by enshrining it, but let God bring healing to that part of your life. As the Bible reminds us, weeping may endure during the night, but joy comes in the morning! Live past the pain! You are loved today!