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Posts Tagged ‘Suffering with Christ’

angel wings
Wednesday I was scheduled for surgery. I had originally thought this surgery was fairly simple and would take about an hour. But a few days before, I found out it was a little more complicated than I thought and would take closer to four hours. I became a little nervous even though the surgery was a procedure routinely and successfully done. I have never had surgery except to fix a broken nose back in 2000 and so this was major for me.

I have been under a huge spiritual battle due to some major shifts in my spiritual walk with God and fighting hard to take and maintain new ground. People everywhere all have different opinions about God, and in these days you really have to anchor yourself firmly in the solid rock of Jesus Christ. You have to know that you are hearing and following what HIS voice is speaking to your heart, and not another. Because we are on a battlefield right now and the battle is raging and in a battle, their in much confusion.

So prior to surgery the thoughts came that I could possibly die and since people all around me are questioning my position before God because of these changes I have made in my life, it has had an affect on my mind even though I fight hard against it. If you tell a smart person they are stupid, over an over again, after awhile, they will come to believe it. You can convince someone of anything. The mind is a powerful thing.  The apostle Paul says in  2 Corinthians 10: 5, concerning the mind,  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

I asked two of my dear friends in Africa to pray for me and they were so earnest in their affections toward me and their Christian love and zeal was so fervent in my behalf. They told me they were going to be in prayer and fasting while I was in my surgery and assured me that God was already with me. I had such peace that morning. Then I put out a last minute prayer request on FB and many others added me to their prayer list.

I came out of surgery cradled in Gods arms. I was literally being borne on Angels wings. My husband said to me he has never seen someone smiling so much coming out of surgery. God was talking to me too. He was holding me in the most beautiful heavenly light I have ever known and I was full of peace and happiness and he was assuring me that I was his child and he was speaking a special message to me that I will not particularly speak of now. I could not help but smile. I was in heaven with God. It was incredible. The following poem began to form in my heart and this morning I finished it.

God also witnessed to me later that I was to pass through more trials and testings and the heavenly witness was given to me to strengthen me. Very soon after I was severely tried and wounded so much so that my heart despaired. But this morning I took my pen in hand and went back to the place of God and finished my poem and I am encouraged. God is my helper ~ therefore I will not fear!

 

Borne Up On Angel’s Wings

Cradle my heart, great God of mine
Upon Thy bosom , so soft divine;
Thou hast borne me up on Angel’s wings;
While heavenly choirs softly sing.

Raptured on wings, gentle and warm;
Cradled like a child,
Safe from all harm;
Embraced in your glory,
 Loved clear and bright;
Speaking to me
Your truth with delight;
Upon my heart you’ve written the call;
God is love! God is light!
In Him is no darkness at all!

For heaven came down and visited me
And Jesus has talked with me personally;
I understand now why nature joyfully sings
For I have been borne up on Angel’s wings!

Written By, Elizabeth Ann Van Cleve

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leave it behind

Matthew 18:

21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars.  25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars.  He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

I have written in my Bible, next to this passage of scripture: “WARNING: DO NOT HOLD GRUDGES – YOU WON’T MAKE IT TO HEAVEN!”

In the “Vines Complete Expository Dictionary” forgiveness is defined as to release, to completely cancel, remission of the punishment due to sinful conduct, complete removal of the cause of offense.

Forgiveness is a hot topic of debate- how and when  and under what conditions it should be applied. But one thing is for certain. Forgiveness is the single most powerful action that if applied in its purest form can change the world. Forgiveness has the power not only to absolve someone of guilt and punishment, forgiveness can renew lives, tender hardened hearts, rebuild shattered relationships and bring hope back into hopeless situations. Forgiveness sets people free. Not just the people who are guilty, but the ones who carry the hurt and animosity.

However, forgiveness, like any other precious treasures, does not always come easy. Our human heart that has been injured, sometimes severely, does not always just pick up and go on. And depending upon how deep and severe the injury, sometimes a person has to work through the hurt.

Christ offers forgiveness to all, but that forgiveness does have some conditions upon it. The conditions are confession and repentance. (Matt, 18:15-17) Why would Christ expect us to uphold a higher standard than himself? We can have a ready heart to forgive someone for an offense, and even go to that person as Christ admonished us to do, but if they will not own up to their wrong and repent- be sorry for the harm they have done to us, what are we to do with our forgiveness?

I recall that when Christ was on the cross, there were with him two criminals, but only to one of them was forgiven of sins and admission into heaven promised. It was to the contrite thief.  The one who railed on him lost out. Yet Christ did not retaliate. He left the judgement in God’s hands.

But then too, I also recall that as he hung there, completely and humiliatingly naked . . .

A Sacrifice

as he writhed in suffering and agony while men gaped upon him and mocked at him with no sense of pity or compassion for his very life being unjustly stripped from him, he cried out these words, “FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.”

So the other day as I was struggling with forgiveness for a certain individual who has done much harm to me and has cause me life-long emotional pain and scars, I was praying and asking God to help me with forgiveness within my heart. I think I have this forgiveness thing settled and then the memories come up or the offense is there and the unacknowledged wrongs done to me are still there. My mind then began to turn to this individuals own life and I began to sympathize and feel sorry for this individual; this is the pattern I often turn to in my mind to “help me forgive.” But this time God stopped me. This time God spoke to me and said, “Liz, the only way you can do this is to set your eyes on JESUS! You must LOOK at the CROSS of CHRIST And when you forgive, forgive not because you feel sorry for what the individual has gone through. That is like trying to find a reason that they deserve forgiveness. You don’t need a reason. Forgive for CHRIST’S sake. Look upon HIM who loved YOU and gave HIMSELF for YOU! And for HIS SAKE!  forgive!.”

And suddenly, GRACE! AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL, PEACEFUL, WONDERFUL, HEARTFELT, GRACE! Came pouring into my soul and filled me with all the love and forgiveness I could ever need or want or hold and it was not anything from myself. It was all because of CHRIST. The beautiful sacrifice of Calvary. The glorious, victorious, Lord and savior of the world.

Christ taught us to forgive seventy times seven in just one day. Sometimes the offenses can come at us just that many times. Especially when whole groups of people are raised up against you as they were in the case of Christ and Stephen. And sometimes you can be misjudged by the multitudes and nothing you do or say is right in their eyes and seventy times seven times a day thoughts of these misjudgments come to rankle within your heart and pierce your heart like a million knives being stabbed into you. And you wrestle against the tide of bitterness that wants to overwhelm your soul and the enemy is ever watching your every move so he can have occasion to accuse you and say, “AHA!”

And so God says, “turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in his wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.  (Hebrews 12:2-3)

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carved woman

Yesterday as I sat in a doctors office waiting for an appointment, directly across from me stood a two foot, beautiful carved wooden Native American woman. Her eyes seemed to pierce right through my soul and my imagination got the best of me. The artwork so cunningly worked, I had to avert my eyes away and I shifted in my seat, feeling uncomfortable beneath her constant stare. Curiostiy pulled my attention back to her again and these scriptures came to my mind:

“He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. “ (Is. 40)

“Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? .  .  .   He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.  Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.  He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:  And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.  (Is. 44)

I have never been exposed to an idol worshipping religion and so reading these scriptures in the past and thinking about people worshiping carved images has always seemed like such foolishness to me.  But now, as I sat here  in the office under the realistic and intense glare of this artistically crafted wooden woman an understanding came into my heart that had not been there before; And I always praise my Jesus for these precious moments of insight, for the door of understanding is a door of freedom and growth, first for oneself, and then to share with others.

I began to feel the strong hold that such an idol could take on a people who did not know the one and only true God. It has been said that the imagination is the stongest nation and that is why the apostle Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 10: 4 & 5  when he says, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; “

But even beyond that, another lesson came through to my heart. The Lord spoke to me clearly and said that if a wooden idol could have such a pull and quickly take such a strong hold of fear on the imagination of a vulnerable soul, how much more a man or woman that has life energy flowing out of them. When they stand behind a pulpit, high above the rest of the people and take an “authorative” position, how great an influence does that have on vulnerable souls? Now add to that, a man or woman that shouts, gets angry, pounds on the pulpit or stomps; What an impact!

You see, life is a mystery and the imagination and fear are very powerful. All through history we have untold accounts of brutal genocides all done in the name of “beliefs” or “God’s” or some powerful man that got behind some form of a pulpit and began swaying massive amounts of people. And just like that wooden woman, the people are drawn in, because they are not listening to the true God- the God of love, peace, joy, humbleness, meekness, goodness, mercy, etc… They are unsure of themselves, and unsure of life. This unsurity and insecurity in man leaves him vulnerable to be taken captive by whatever comes along claiming to be the “authority of God.”

One thing I am learning- truth will produce something inside your heart. If you are sinning, it will produce conviction. There may be some fear that you are missing the mark with God. But truth will also produce abundance of mercy. It will pave a beautiful road right to the cross of Christ to have those sins forgiven, removed and cast into the depths of the sea.

Truth will produce love. Truth will produce peace and joy. Truth will set you FREE! Free from the corruption of sin and all its ugly vices. Free from religious forms and rituals. Free to be a child of God and all He created you to be. Free to grow in Christ. Free to have His spirit in your heart teaching you and leading you. Free from all the opinions of men. You now have Christ alone as your head and your advocate.

But if your “faith” is filling you with fears, doubt, confusion, hatred for certain groups of people, if it is drawing you into men causing you to obey voices outside rather than instilling the voice of the Holy Spirit within and helping you to trust and follow that voice, it may very well be you have an earthly idol set up somewhere. It may be a religious system. Religious systems will either cause you to be zealous in a wrong way- usually for their system,  or it will sap you of your spiritual zeal. It may be a pastor- you may be idolizing, worshipping, obeying a pastor or some man that you hold up as a “man of God.” The bible teaches us that in Christ, we are all priests. None of us is above another. Pastors are there for our service and help alone. They are not our rulers nor dictators.  It may be your own life- things you know that God is not pleased with but you are not willing to give up.  God knows and an all loving God can help you understand and conquer it in Christs name.

You see, idols can take an extremely strong hold in our life. I know. I have been battling many of them in my own life, and by the grace of God, He is helping me conquer them. That is how I am getting these lessons- through experience. And let me tell you, “the FEAR of man brings a snare.” Many so called “heathen” people have been mocked and laughed at over their intense fear of wooden idols but so much more do we have to battle the intense fear we ALL have of the fear of men. When we stop bowing before their idols, their systems, their ideas of what thier own imaginations have set up as “God” we will not be liked.

But we can take courage. Because so it was with Jesus. Our Lord Jesus Christ deliberately, carefully, purposefully, openly, broke the rules of the Pharisees! He followed one- the voice within- the Holy Spirit.

“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

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feet washing

The Lord showed me in my sleep tonight, the reason for washing feet- it is not for ritual. It is for a lesson.

Peter asked him, “Lord are you going to wash me feet? No way I will not let you wash my feet.”

But then the Lord replied, “If I do not wash your feet, you have no part with me.” 

Then Peter said, “not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.”

Then the Lord said, “They that are cleansed need not but there feet washed.”

(John 13)

 As long as we are here walking this earth, we will need to be cleansed because we are going to get dirty- our feet get dirty as we walk the earth and they must be washed. This is symbolic.

While we are in this earthly taberbacle we will have human faults and we must be willing to bow to one another and help one another by humbly cleansing one anothers “dirty feet.” We must be willing to humbly help one another in our faults and failings.

 There is a difference of handing someone a pail of water and soap and bending down ourselves and washing their feet. Their feet is the lowest and dirtiest part of their body. But human tendency is to say, “Gross, you wash your own stinky feet.”

It is easy to get lifted up and to look down our noses at one another. Christ does not want anyone to be lifted up higher than anyone else. This is why he gave us this example and said:

Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

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We cannot learn without pain.

~Aristotle

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;~Hebrews 5:8

Many times we go through severe trials and testings that cause us deep distress. We may ask, “Why?” and, “Will this ever end?” We may grow weary at times of even life itself. It is at those most distressing moments in my walk with the Lord, that my eyes become riveted upon the sufferings of Christ, and I am once again amazed how the very suffering I am experiencing, is just a small sip of what Christ went through for us. And I am reminded:

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1Peter 2:21-24

Suffering is not easy to go through, otherwise, it would not be suffering. Sometimes we need to be reminded that Christ taught us very plainly:

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

One of the most difficult forms of suffering a person will ever have to face is persecution from non-believers and even from close relations who may even call themselves a believer. I’ve been meditating on a certain scripture lately in relation to some of the trials I am dealing with:

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. Luke 6:22-23

Christ told us to “rejoice” when others treat us with disdain because of our stand we take for His names sake. I think he knew how difficult it was going to be in our humanity and so he wanted to drive it home- “Leap for JOY!” When I read this, I feel a little bewildered for I certainly do not feel like leaping for joy, but rather crying for sorrow of heart. Yet, the words are a balm for my sorrow. They encourage me that it is going to be okay, because I am living right. And when I am falsely accused, or called names, I remember that so was Christ. They could not find any fault or reason to keep Christ a prisoner, yet they condemned him to death. Christ went before us and goes before us in all our tribulations. He suffered first. He was accused of having a devil spirit:

But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. Matthew 12:24
Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? John 8:48

They called him a deceiver:

And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. John 7:12

No matter what good Christ did, or what miracles he performed, they were not pleased. They sought to destroy him:

And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. Mark 3:1-6

“The herodians” were not even believers in the Jews God.  Herod the Great was responsible for the murder of thousands of little babies in an attempt to destroy Christ in infanthood. And Herod’s son, Herod Antipas, was responsible for beheading John the Babtist. The enemies of Christ will rally anyone they can find to destroy the Spirit of Christ which dwells in His people.

Their motive? They believe deep down inside, that by destroying the people of God, they can still the voice of conviction against their sins. Little do they understand that the seed that dies only multiplies.

In order to destroy Christ they had to lie about him and rally uncouth people to back them up. They had a mob mentality. And they were not content to just put him to death- but they chose the most brutal punishment they had in those days, reserved for the basest of criminals.

A sinner, who is not honest, who has no desire to be free from their sin, will never be a reasonable person to deal with. Unfortunately, these types of sinners many times are cloaked in religious garb. They have a church affiliation, claim to pray and be a child of God- yet the fruit of their lives is not of the Holy Spirit, but rather of the flesh.  They are no different in their living than any other common sinner.  These are they that turn the would-be repentant sinner away from the truth by their hypocritical living, and are filled with unreasonable madness at anyone that would dare to challenge their position before God.

Indeed, the  Lord Jesus Christ had to humble himself to go to the cross. If anyone had a sound defense against the onslaught of ridiculous accusations placed against him, it was Jesus. Yet, he humbled himself.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:3-8

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:1-4

Why did Christ suffer and endure such contradiction of sinners? Why? For their salvation. For my salvation. The truth of the matter is, Jesus Christ loved them, and he loved you and he loved even me,  with a cross.

Christ loved us with a cross- inspite of all He had to endure because of our sins. Cannot I, by the grace of Almighty God, endure the little I must sip of the cup of Christ?  Yes, Aristotle was right when he said, that we cannot learn without pain.

The great lesson of the hour? Love! -Love that transcends the agony of the cross.

The refrain from a popular choir sings:

He loved me with a cross

He loved me with a cross

In answer to the call of life

He loved me with a cross

Though I could not imagine what

Loving me would cost

Jesus went to Calvary

And he loved me with a cross

See the Youtube video: WERE YOU THERE WHEN THEY CRUCIFIED MY LORD

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A common error in Christian discipleship, is the focus on getting a message to the world that says, “Cross on over to my side of the field. I am having more fun and enjoying a better life.” Although, that may be true, that was not the message Jesus sent us to take to the world. The message of Christ to the world is:

REPENT, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2

Repent? Yes, turn away from sin- quit lying, stealing, cursing, sleeping around, fighting, hating, REPENT! Because the Kingdom on heaven is near- and if you don’t repent, you will not enter in. Its a serious message and it takes faithful men and women to carry it out.

In times past, and in some parts of our world, it was/is a serious thing to be called a Christian. It could cost you your very life and the lives of your children. It could mean prison, torture, being a social outcast. Those who made that decision did not take it lightly. To REPENT- means to QUIT, once and for all- the life of sin- to turn to Christ for atonement and for the infilling of his Holy Spirit, that we would have POWER, to live HOLY!

The true message of Christianity? It has never changed- Read your Bible- from the Old Testament throughout the New, God is calling people everywhere to REPENT!

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Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great. Job 3:11-13

I think often about Jobs comforters who have been notorious examples of what not to do when trying to help one through a terrible grief and heartache. Yet these friends had every good intention in their heart when they came. They sat with him for seven days, saying nothing. That is commitment. But what happened? I believe the answer is very important to us in so manyways.

My first thought is that it was not their pain. They could see his grief was very great, but they had no idea how it felt. And so in their minds seven days should have been sufficient to see a shift in his grief and a “beginning to put it behind him.” But instead, something completely different happens. Sitting with him those seven days had not diminished his grief at all as we see when Job finally speaks:

After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. And Job spake, and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein…[read more]

It was after Job spoke, that his friends began to speak and to upbraid him for not handling his trial better and eventually accusing him of sinning and bringing it all upon himself. What happened? Where did that first initial care and concern go?

Job said, “To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14

I believe they became weary of his trial. They wanted to speed it along. They did not want to sit any longer with him in this misery. They forsook the fear of God- the fear that they themselves could at any point be in this same position, that “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”

I see this as a very human tendency in all walks of life. That is where phrases such as “misery loves company” and philosophies such as “its all your attitude” have been born- born of ones who had not the patience to allow the work of true healing of a broken heart.

When the Good Samaritan took the one who was beaten to an inn, he told them, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” He knew that injured man was not going to heal overnight.

How many broken hearts are unhealed because of the impatience of others. And even,  as in the case of Job, are broken further by thoughtless advice. Why is that? The sacrificial love that Christ showed must be born by the strong and those that are able. It means that we must suffer– we must get out of our comfortable lives and suffer with the suffering. Not many are willing to do that. The Bible tells us that Christ was touched with our infirmities. He felt them. That is why he came, so he could be a compassionate intercessor. He had to feel the affliction- and it did not feel good. He was willing to suffer.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matt. 25:34-40

We all pray for a revival. But how earnestly do we want to see the world saved? Christ wanted it badly- so badly, he had not where to lay his head. So badly, he was willing to be beaten, mocked, and crucified. So badly, he commanded us “go out quickly into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in…” [Luke 14:23]

Sacrificial love. True warmth and affection. Revival. All beautiful words that ring sunshine into the soul. But do you know these things begin in the wilderness of temptation and end in a crucifixion?

Are we willing to find the thirsty, and give them a drink? To notice the hungry and share our bread? To not know somebody very well, yet take them in and care for them? Do we clothe the naked? or like Noah’s son Ham, are we just going to exploit them to others? There are a lot of sick people, heart sick, spiritually sick and physically sick,  that need someone to visit them, and many are imprisoned with chains from years of sin. Are we going to go to them?

We sing, “We need eachother brethren, for only love will carry us through…Lord give us true warmth and affection, when one fails help us rescue his soul, he’s not heavy for he is my brother, let us cry as we carry his load.”

We need to pray for more true warmth and affection, more sacrificial love, more longsuffering. I believe as we do and as we being to rise and see the harvest- the poor, maimed, blind and halt, and put our shoulder to the plow, not looking back,  a revival will come speedily and powerfully, and “The Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.”

These are thoughts that God has put on my heart in the midst of my own very grievous battles. They are challenging me so I thought I would share them.

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