For the Glory of God

Photo by Matilda Vigerova

Photo by Matilda Vigerova

Recently I have had the saying “God never wastes pain” be shared with me. To be honest, I had never heard that before. A friend asked me to blog about that topic and then I read it in a card someone hand-wrote to my sister. My first thought on that is “God doesn’t waste anything, but we do.”

Forgive me if this post seems to ramble as I’m not really sure how to address this topic. There are different kinds of pain: physical, emotional, and spiritual. We can experience one or all of them in our life times because we live in a fallen world. Sin has contaminated every aspect of creation and mankind. Therefore, pain and trouble are a normal part of this life.

However, the Bible gives us many assurances that God the Father made the way for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ and Jesus promised He would never leave us or forsake us. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in us as proof that He’d never leave us or forsake us. (And that He is coming back for us!)

So what in the world does this have to do with the phrase “God never wastes pain”? Let’s look at a few scripture verses.

16 Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (HCSB)

9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (HCSB)

Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world. 10 Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. 1 Peter 5: 9-10 (HCSB)

10 It would still bring me comfort, and I would leap for joy in unrelenting pain that I have not denied the words of the Holy One. Job 6:10 (HCSB)

Again, I’d not heard the saying the “God never wastes pain” until recently. I believe God allows each believer to choose whether or not we will trust in Him during our pain so as to glorify Him in our suffering.I believe that, regardless of the type of pain we face, God will redeem our pain so we may grow in our faith and be conformed more into His image while He is glorified IF we let Him.

There have been times in my life that I wasted some pain that God carried me through by not using that time as a means to point others to Jesus. But when I repented of my selfishness and self-pity, God redeemed that pain to be used for His glory.

He redeemed that pain that by allowing me to minister to others who were going through pain similar to mine. He has given me opportunities to share my story with others so they could know they were not alone in that particular pain.

I’m not alone in this. I’ve seen God redeem believers pain again and again when they allowed God to use them to minister to others. I’ve seen physical pain redeemed by our Great God when believers grow in a more intimate walk with Him due to that pain.

Our lives, as believers, should be lived for the glory of God. That means every aspect should be for His glory, our pain included.

One of the main ways we move from abstract knowledge about God to a personal encounter with him as a living reality is through the furnace of affliction.
— Tim Keller

There is HOPE for You

Photo by Aaron Bruden

Photo by Aaron Bruden

Have you ever felt hopeless? I have - even as a Christian. But Jesus reminded me that my hope is in Him and in Him alone.

I remember one particular presidential election I wouldn’t watch the polls to see who won. My son, not knowing I wasn’t watching, texted me the results. After replying to him, I cried myself to sleep.

It’s true. I was so convicted the next morning! It was as if Jesus were sitting across the kitchen table from me saying, “So you said your hope is in Me, but maybe that’s not quite true…” I repented then and there. Shortly after getting to work, someone stepped into my office downcast about the election and I was able to remind him that our hope is not in the American president, but in Jesus Who is on the throne above all mankind. He agreed and both our spirits were lifted.

There was even a time that I was so hopeless I couldn’t see why God still had me here. Let me tell you, that was a dark time. I’m so thankful I had someone praying me through those very dark days. Again, Jesus spoke to my soul reminding me that my hope is in Him and Him alone!

I don’t know what you may be going through. I don’t know if you have surrendered your life to Jesus yet or not. But one thing I do know is that Jesus loves you and He is your HOPE!

My sister told me of a sermon she’d heard at her church and one thing that really stood out to her was a comment the pastor made. He said something to the effect of, “Jesus paid the debt for EVERY person and those who go to hell go there with their debt totally paid for because they did not surrender to the One who paid it.” What a sad truth.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (HCSB)

He also said, “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10 (HCSB)

And the way to have that life - For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13.

Trust me when I tell you there is nothing you can do to make Jesus stop loving you! You see, He is God and He knows everything. He has known all about you and me long before we were born-even all the horrible stuff we were going to do - the stuff that makes us think He really didn’t mean to include us. But He loves you. He paid your sin debt to God. He wants to save you - forgive you - restore you. Yes, you!

Christian, if you’ve lost your way, repent and come back to Jesus.

Friend, if you’ve never surrendered to Jesus, today is the day! He is waiting with open arms.

He loves you. He is your HOPE!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (HCSB)

With All Your Heart, Soul and Mind - Love

photo by leighann-renee

photo by leighann-renee

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
— Matthew 22: 36-40

What comes to mind when you hear the word -love? Some of us think of warm fuzzy feelings. Some think of chocolate or other favorite treat. Some of us may think of someone. Love is a choice. It’s an action.

My pastor often talks about EGRs. That’s people in whom “extra grace is required”. He goes on to say if you don’t know an EGR then perhaps you are one. Of course, this brings a lot of head nodding and laughter. But truth be told we all know people that we feel some extra grace is required to be around. (And we may very well be one of those EGRs to some other folks.)

I thank Jesus every day that He gave the extra grace required for me and you for salvation! He loved us while we were still sinners. He loved all mankind KNOWING that most wouldn’t give Him a second thought as to the gift of salvation He paid for us.

The greatest commandments are at the top of this post. Love God with your whole being and love people like you love yourself. Sounds simple. Sounds easy. But is it?

When we look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 it’s a little harder to practice the choice, the action of love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (English Standard Version)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (New International Version)

Just being patient and kind is hard enough but then add in not to be envious and don’t brag! If that’s not the most of it, love is not proud or rude or irritable or resentful nor keeps a record of wrongs. Love isn’t glad when evil happens, but instead love rejoices with the truth. Love protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never fails.

That, my friend, is hard to do! But God (two of my favorite words) doesn’t leave us alone to do all that! He gives us the Holy Spirit to live IN us. And with God, nothing is impossible! Hallelujah!

How will the lost and dying world - let’s be more specific - how will our family member or friend or coworker ever know our Jesus’ salvation unless we LOVE them? Jesus loves them. What about the believer - our family member or friend or coworker - how with they come to know the healing power of forgiveness unless we LOVE them? Jesus loves them.

Yes, Jesus loves sinners. Where in the world did we get the idea that once someone is saved they are suppose to be “perfect”? Just before Jesus was betrayed by Judas He told ALL of the other eleven disciples that they all would abandon Him. And they did. After they had given up and went back to fishing, there was Jesus on the shore waiting on them with breakfast cooked - loving them.

Without love, we’re just a clanging cymbal. Without love, we’re nothing.

You’ve heard the old adage that “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” It’s true and the only way to show folks that you care is to love them…and for some a little “extra grace is required.”

What to Do with God's Calling in the Now - Managing Life's Demands AND God's Calling

Nathan Dumlao

Nathan Dumlao

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
— Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV

As a new Christian I worried over what the will of God was for my life. After all, preachers said they knew God’s will was to be a preacher. Missionaries the same. It seems so holy to be called into such a vocation.

But what about the rest of us? Let’s take a look at some people in the Bible. Peter was a fisherman. Jesus made him a fisher of men. Lydia was a seller of purple goods and she helped Paul in his ministry (gave him lodging) and I’m sure shared her faith in her daily life. Joseph from the Old Testament answered God’s calling as a slave for much of his life! (Before he became second in command after Pharaoh.

We are called to serve Jesus where we are…in the now. In our vocation, we should be honest and hard working. When asked why, be ready to share the gospel of Christ. In our home, we should be a steward of God’s gifts - serve our family and others. That may mean opening your home like Lydia did. Maybe is caring for those in need with the things you have or can produce from your home. I’m specifically thinking of sharing material things and cooking meals for others, etc.

But what if you feel called to be a ___________? You fill in the blank. God’s calling is not a mystery.

Christ wants a personal relationship with you and He wants you to love Him and love others. It is God’s will that we love Him, love others and be obedient to His Word.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22: 37-40 ESV

.Christ commands that as we go about our life we are to make disciples.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28: 19-20 ESV

Whatever your vocation or station in life - Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. As you are doing that, share the gospel and make disciples.

We all are to do this as we live our lives. Jesus took time for people - all people. We should do the same. Jesus served others. We should do the same.

One way I feel I can share my faith in Jesus Christ is by writing this blog. No one sponsors me. I put my faith out there and slowly people are reading and sharing the blog with others.

One way I share my faith is by helping when I see a need that I can do something about. That may be taking a meal to someone who is sick or giving money to a cause a believe in or giving my time and/or sharing my home when I can.

One way I share my faith is by telling someone my personal testimony and sharing scriptures on how to be saved. God has even allowed me the privilege of leading a few souls to Him!

While you are living in the NOW of your life, you are to be living God’s call on your life. Nothing you do will compare with the relationship you have with our Lord. God does the EXTRA in our ORDINARY lives. He began that good work in you when He saved you and He’ll be faithful to complete it!

Share with me how God is using you in your now. I’d love to hear from you!