Don’t Waste Your Sorrows

 

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These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing.”

2 Cor. 4:17, CEV

“Before God could bring me to this place He has broken me a thousand times.”                                   

Smith Wigglesworth

 

As we move toward maturity, over time and through circumstance, we will start to develop exciting new ways of thinking.  We engage the Word and combined with our relationships with people we start the work of God.  We soon learn that the Kingdom of God flows through relationships, almost exclusively.

Pain and sorrow are some of the more intense ways the Lord reaches down and into our lives.

Rick Warren has written, “God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others.” 

 

I think that as we dwell on this we will start to see the hand of God, moving things around in our complicated lives.  As we attend class in this school of the Spirit, we learn things that will change our life and ministry.

But we must consider that we can waste our pain and sorrows by not engaging the issues properly.  Will I submit, or will I grow sullen and cynical? Will I worship through my tears?  Surrendering to Christ is not a once-in-a-lifetime event.  It is a daily, and even hourly process.  I regard any kind of cynicism though, as a hungry predator who is hunting me.  Very dangerous, and I am highly suspectable.

Pain is the way the Father reaches me, he isn’t too concerned about our comfort (it isn’t the real issue, after all.)  When I hurt, I invaribly look for Jesus.  And that cannot be all bad.  Through the trials and pain I begin to reconnect with my Father.  Without the trials, I doubt we would ever call out for His help.

“Don’t waste your sorrows.”  It is easily said but seldom done.  We start to stagger by the weight of our personal issues.  Overwhelmed by the pain we start to panic and grab things, and throw them overboard, to lighten the load.  We can be confused, and will do whatever we must do to stay afloat.  But unless we take these sorrows well, we are just short-circuiting God’s intentions.

C.S. Lewis once commented on our issues,

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn—my God do you learn.”

The darkness intends to absorb us.  Satan uses our own bitterness and frustration to do this.  Our discipleship is no longer valid if we commence doing our own will and desires.  Even though we get “flaky” the Father will always love us. But we dare not waste our pain, it comes at too big of a price.

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Apples of Gold

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“The right word spoken at the right time
       is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl.”

Prov. 25:11, New Century Version

I’ve been thinking about this particular verse for years.  I had an older translation and I couldn’t decipher it.  It is really good to understand what you have just read.

This verse tells us that there is a certain cadence– a timeliness for just the right word.  There is a proper sense, a beautiful art in making the situation perfect. The wisdom comes in a conversation, and suddenly everything makes sense.  There is a elegance that’s shared by everyone, and a dignity that the Holy Spirit bestows on our words. We only have to ask Him to bless what we say (or write.)

People speak wrong words as well.  Rather then edifying, they tear down.  Thirty years ago a Christian girl I was working with would always try to counsel me.  Soon, I had enough of it.  I walked up to her desk and said, “Becky (name changed), God has given me a word for you!”  She looked up at me and smiled. ‘It’s Judges 16:16’, she got out her Bible to read the verse I just had given her. Tears welled up in her eyes.

“With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.”

I absolutely crushed her spirit.  I had used the Word to assault her like a blunt instrument.  Tears welled up in her eyes.  It would be a time before I sought her forgiveness.  I was hard and brutally used the Bible to purposefully hurt her.  I do not suggest that you do this.  I will never forget what I did. Oh man, did I ever learn.

That day I would learn the awesome power of my words— for good, or for evil.

Let us also decide that our words will bring life to those who we meet today– wise and encouraging words!

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Harmless Doves, [Opting Out of Cynicism]

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cynical, (a definition)

sinikəl/adjective

1.  believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity. Contemptuous; mocking.
        “her cynical attitude”
        “he gave a cynical laugh”

2. concerned only with one’s own interests and typically disregarding accepted or appropriate standards in order to achieve them.

Dictionary.com

I want to speak from my heart. I woke up this morning intensely cynical about the world. I hate to think I’m becoming critical or judgmental, but whatever it is I must take it in prayer to Jesus. I feel like I’ve been bit by a snake– a venomous one at that.

When I think of our Lord’s example, it helps a great deal. He who knows every man’s heart and motives and that didn’t discourage him. He knew when he came what each of us had done, and was capable of doing.

There was this incident at the Temple:

2Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

John 2:23-25, NIV

People can’t be trusted. Our motives and our desires, although hidden from men, are clear to God. And yet He loves us deeply. And love, “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5.) In his humanity, Jesus was tempted in every way. Discouragement and despair over the sin of men was resisted.

We can become cynical and jaded over the wrongs of others– it’s easy to do. There can become a ‘coarsening’ and a hardness of heart. That is dangerous. It requires a touch from Jesus. It means its time we get on our knees.

dove_peace_black_white_line_art_christmas_xmas_peace_on_earth-1979pxWhen Jesus sent out his disciples he encouraged them, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16.) He knew the hostile human heart had its own agendas– people would be like wolves. But though they would see first-hand the deceitfulness of many, they were to be wise, and be completely harmless.

The Holy Spirit will keep us close as we seek his victory in this matter. We will be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Exchange your attitude with His. He will strengthen you. We can renounce the spirit of judgmentalism that is so pervasive. We will love the way he loves.

I know there is much more to say about this. But now the Spirit is prompting me to pray through this issue myself.

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Scorners Have a Certain Power

 

I finally broke through and realized that I am a consummate scorner.  I have cultivated this for many years, and especially the last five.  I will tell now, I am to scorning as Tiger Woods is to golf.  I have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, a durmoid brain tumor, lung issues with a chemical accident, manic-depression requiring extensive hospitalization, and a low thyroid requiring meds.  And, on top of this, the death of a newborn daughter.

My faith has been extremely challenged through all of this.  I have pastored a church and taught classes at a local Bible college, all with a lot of enthusiasm and purpose.  My students and my congregation were being blessed.  But all of this pretty much disintegrated around me and I found myself with a whole lot of nothing. 

Scorn has never been anything I gravitated to.  But it has ‘seeped’ into my thinking, through a slow and steady presence.  It works like mercury poisoning.  It has touched me as a gradual toxin, slowly sickening me with its constant contact.  I haven’t been connected with the light as I should have.  But over an extensive amount of time, a venomous and noxious filth has been introduced into my heart and my thinking.  It must be like watching someone die from ‘radiation sickness’.

To scorn means to become ” ‘competous’, disdainful, scornful, to mock.”  I never, ever dreamed I would be brought to this point.  But life has continuously rolled over me, and I find I just can’t make it work anymore.  I definitely do understand the promises of God.  But I definitely do not understand God’s grace on me.  But you might as well try to explain the color ‘blue’ to a blind man.

I am Bryan, the scorner.  I am also ‘a spiritual beggar’, with a significant mental illness.  I should be on the streets pushing a shopping cart and drinking cheap vodka.  When I start to scorn, I get mean and cynical.  I’m contemptuous and I sneer at whatever crosses my path that day.  I hear voices and ‘tune in’ radio stations.  All I lack is a ‘tin-foil’ hat, which I have seriously considered.

My depression molds my thinking, and my despair rules the rest.  The promises of God are not for me, and they seem to always be out of my reach.  In many ways, I am an ‘unbelieving’ believer (there are many people like us).  My own frosty coldness and hardness never seems to amaze me.  I don’t want to be this way.  God, help me please.

A defining word, for people like me is this: “self-forgiveness“.  I consider myself above average when it comes to forgiving others.  I look forward to forgiving others.  But, I just cannot forgive myself.  I simply can’t let myself  ‘get off the hook’.  At times I do sense a comfort and a peace over these sins, but very soon they begin to rub me raw.  Like blisters, or ‘a stone in my shoe’, I begin to limp again. They are incredibly persistant.

This is not self-pity.  I am not looking for any manner of attention or warm hugs.  I do though want to open up my darkness so the light gets in.  I must learn to forgive myself, if I will ever walk clean.  This is imperative.  The adulteress who fell at Jesus’ feet and wept managed to forgive herself of a great deal of sin.  Those of us with mental illness/addictions have to come to this same point.  Is Jesus’ love enough to cover me?