Abundant #Joy

This is an excellent post by Sarah Walton of Set Apart: Hope on the Road Less Traveled.

Abundant Joy is Found
in the Presence of Christ,
not in the Absence of Pain

“Oh Lord, for years I have prayed for answers, healing, and understanding in this suffering you have allowed. Yet they have seemed not to come. Many have prayed to you on our behalf, as we have sought wisdom from the doctors you provided, and have longed for redemption of what’s been lost. By your grace, we have persevered through trial after trial, trusting  that you would uphold us and bring forth good from all our pain.

Yet, many answers we have hoped for haven’t come in the ways we desire. The world’s solutions to our pain have left us discouraged, confused, and fighting hopelessness, while the trials, burdens, questions, and uncertainties remain the same. 

I have longed for, cried, and pleaded for you to bring us out from under the pain and heaviness of these trials into a place of abundance. I have asked you to lift these crushing burdens, and carry us through the pounding waves and the raging fire that threatens  to consume our hope, testimony, and lives. 

However, in my desire for answers, I have missed something wonderful. You have answered our prayers – though different than I expected. You have been near, intimately working deep within our hearts as we have laid down our hopes and desires of this world. While you have chosen not to remove the heartache and overwhelming circumstances from our lives, you have done something greater. You have brought us into a place of abundance. For while I have been waiting for this place of abundance to come in the form of relief, you have instead brought it in the midst of the very trials I desired to be freed from. 

This place of abundance has been found in the presence of Christ, not in the absence of pain. 

Read the rest here.

Sharing the Gospel in Spite of Personal Difficulties (CMI Reblog)

First published at Cataclysm Missions International (CMI) on March 26, 2016  

By Anna Popescu

Please visit CMI to see how you can become part of a team
to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world!

Sharing the Gospel in Spite of Personal Difficulties

SharingTheGospelDifficulties

Awhile back, I read an article titled “Telephone Difficulties with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”1 As a person who lives with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, this article helped me understand why I often have trouble with telephone and even one-on-one personal communication.

When you’re on the phone, you don’t get any of the non-verbal cues that come with face-to-face conversation. Communication experts agree that most of communication is non-verbal, and when you remove all those verbal cues, your brain has to work harder to comprehend what’s being said. Our foggy brains may not be able to muster the level of focus.¹

This also holds for me many times during personal conversations with people. I will either completely blank out when trying to pull a specific word out of my brain or I start talking about something completely different than I intended, hoping it will help me remember what I was going to say.

I have learned to lean heavily on my computer, tablet and phone to keep in touch with people. I do much better if I can type out what I want to communicate because it gives me the time to correctly compose what I want to say—oh, do I ever love my delete and backspace keys!

I can quietly sit and wait for the intended word or phrase to come to me, without feeling the stress of frantically trying to drag it out of my memory. Typing also allows me to look up synonyms of the word I’m trying to come up with, which leads me to the word in question or to another, better word.

I love to share the Gospel message with people, but I am often homebound with several chronic illnesses. Another big plus of interacting socially online means I can take better care of myself by doing it only when I’m feeling up to it.

Social interaction takes energy. I didn’t understand that when I was healthy, but now I know it all too well. On low-energy days, I really try to avoid the phone.¹

These difficulties when trying to communicate personally can also be a part of several other chronic illnesses. Dealing with chronic pain severely depletes energy, and that means we need to make the most of the bits of time when we’re not sleeping or resting.

Most of my days are now “low-energy days,” so I heavily rely on my personal electronics to make contact with people all over the world. Using various forms of social media, I am able to reach out to those who so badly need to hear about the saving mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.

Even if you do not have the limitations of illness, you can still opt to reach out to the world through your electronic devices. If that works better for you, your lifestyle and preferences, go for it! What matters most is spreading the Gospel message, not how you do it. God uses everything; He wastes nothing.

¹ Telephone Difficulties with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

 

Suffering According to God’s Will

HospitalSick-Joni Eareckson Tada-sm--AMP

Suffering According to God’s Will

by Joni Eareckson Tada


“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will
should commit themselves to their faithful Creator
and continue to do good.” 

—1 Peter 4:19

All suffering is within God’s sovereign will. There is not a sparrow that falls without His knowledge or a soul lost for eternity without His tearful purpose being accomplished. In the midst of the expanse of the sovereign will of God is one kind of suffering initiated by us that God not only allows but rewards.

There are many ways to suffer in this world, where things happen to us. But the kind of suffering referred to by Peter is suffering we experience by choice, through obedience. Such obedience may result in mockery, beatings, discrimination, trials, and temptations. It’s the price one pays for having our bodies in the world and our spirits in the kingdom. Like being on a rack, we can’t escape the torture.

My wheelchair is a suffering that came from the sovereign purpose of the glory of God. And since that time twenty-five years ago, I’ve also suffered things that have come upon my spirit as a result of being in the kingdom. I have chosen to flee temptation, to drag my body from church to hospital, to endure the scorn of those who don’t know God. And I have suffered as a result. Such is the will of God for my life.

The common suffering He comforts. The godly suffering He rewards. Exchange neither for anything. We can “entrust our souls to a faithful Creator.”

Lord, grant me strength to endure the common sufferings of life and the willful sufferings of Your kingdom. In all these, may Your presence sustain me and Your glory be made known.

Taken from Diamonds in the Dust.  Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada.  Used by permission.  Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

 

Still Here!

Blog-Break

I put myself on a blog break last month, which you can read about here, but I think I tried to come back too soon and too strong. Our summer monsoon season has started, and for me that means constant migraines—yes, I mean 24/7 quite literally. So for about another month, I’ll continue to lay low to conserve energy for other things, but you’ll still hear from me here once or twice a week as my energy allows.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people,
and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people,
and God himself will be with them and be their God.
 
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
Then he said, “Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true.”
—Rev 21:3-5

 

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Day by Day Renewal

Saturday

On this Sweet Saturday, please remember that although we may lose heart during very trying circumstances, God does not lose heart with us. He is always ready to enfold us in His everlasting arms and remind us that through the pain we are being renewed day by day.

Day by Day Renewal

2Cor4-16-18


“Coffee Break: Recharge Your Brain”
read an Internet headline and could I ever relate to that! I am definitely a coffee drinker and very thankful that its pick-me-up properties help ease me into my day. I awaken foggy brained most days, but after an hour or two of java sipping, I feel better able to face whatever the day holds.

JustPourTheCoffeeAfter reading that headline, it occurred to me that if coffee can boost our energy levels, how much more could we be recharged by diving into the Word of God?

In this particular Scripture passage Paul is urging us to not dwell on our present circumstances and trials, but rather to focus on God’s grace in our lives.

I am always impressed by how often Paul—who continually praised God in the midst of the many trials, persecutions and imprisonments he endured—encourages us to look outwardly to God rather than inwardly focusing on our daily concerns.

What an example Paul is! He never lost heart over his dire circumstances and in fact urged his followers to use these situations to draw closer to God in order to be spiritually and emotionally renewed. Paul’s close relationship with the Lord gave him the confidence to rely on the Holy Spirit’s strength when things were toughest for him.

Beloved, we can do the same thing! During those times when we feel we positively cannot go on, let’s not let fatigue or pain keep us from drawing closer to God and renewing ourselves with His refreshing spiritual nourishment.
…..

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Oh, the pain…

mish mash

This Mishmash Monday is brought to you by the pain I live with every day. There are several things I’m going through this week that will make it difficult for me to work on my blog regularly for the next couple of weeks, so I’m scheduling several inspirational image posts to remind you how much you are loved by Jesus Christ, the One who loves us so much He died for our sins.

Even though I endure pain on a daily basis, I always look to my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, for “the peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). And I absolutely “consider it all joy…when [I] encounter various trials” (James 1:2).

How is this even possible? Because I know where my true joy lies: in the knowledge that one day I will no longer be in any kind of pain as I enjoy life in my new heavenly home.

So, here’s my mishmash of images that describe (in a way) how I feel on any given day.

CycleOfChronicPain

My term for de-conditioning is “payback”

Fibromyalgia

fibro1

This is how I should look because of how I normally feel

This is how I should look because of how I normally feel

Migraine head

Migraine head

what_is_chronic_pain

If you have trouble viewing the Casting Crowns video above, here are the lyrics to the song, “Praise You in This Storm”:


I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus:]
And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus]

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

AnnaSmile