The Art of Suffering: Pt1 – Except Me, Right?

By: Victoria Harrington
 
Suffering is not a message that I expect many of you to read about, but I would be doing you  a disservice if I didn’t share with you what the Holy Spirit has taught me and hopefully we can learn  HOW to suffer together. Welcome to Part 1.
 
Through the teachings of a popular gospel message that obnoxiously chants about prosperity, we have naively bought the lie that suffering is not something we should have to go through. Prosperity is wonderful and we do have promises made to us and to hope for in God’s Word, but to only focus on the one subject is essentially neutering the American church. Her power and authority is then thought to be found only in her wallet and leads to the thought process of “God must only be happy with me when I am financially stable.”

Nothing could be further from the truth, but there are very few teaching on what the Bible says about suffering. Although it is not a popular message it is not something that we as Christians can escape from and Jesus addresses that bluntly in the scriptures.

“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”  John 15:20 NKJV

 He does not want us as his followers to be caught off guard or unprepared for when we do suffer.  We ought not to run away and cower in the face of trial, but to put on our gospel shoes of peace and believe that “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28). All things. Take a look at the book of Acts. The Christians were scattered due to persecution. Jesus made it clear that he wanted the disciples to go out to all the world and minister the gospel. The enemy was attempting to stop this from happening and what Satan thought was a master plan to eradicate the Gospel actually made it spread faster and into many more nations. Imagine for a moment if Stephen would not have been martyred and the persecution in Acts had not happened? The Good News wouldn’t have traveled far out of Jerusalem or had the impact that it did as quickly as it did.
 
“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
 
I think a lot of the times we see the men and women in the Bible as larger than life “characters” who had something we don’t. In reality they real people. Human being with feelings, opinions, and needs. They has all the struggles that we go through and fleshly desires they had to makes choices to fight against. The 3,000 converted by the apostles were the same as you and I. In my humble opinion had the persecution not happened the people who heard the gospel in Acts would have converted, stayed home, and expected someone else to travel and spread the news just like we do with mission work today. They would have not been prompted to leave the comfort of their homes, communities, or countries. Instead God used a bad situation to work His will. In this way we can say that persecution is just a scattering of witnesses and the best thing for us to do is to say aloud,  “Lord I trust you.”
 


Commentary

By: Grace Bejarano
 
Psalm 126:5- They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and signing.  
 
This scripture doesn’t tell you how long you will sow in tears or when you will reap the benefit of those tears. It could be 7 minutes, 7 hours, 7 days or 7 years. It’s a promise you accept and believe by faith. 
 
From personal experience I have reaped the benefit of years of sowing tears and I received the joy and signing as well. Stay the course, pray at the altar, seek the Lord, cry out to the Lord for the injustices we receive, the doubt and fear we experience, the pain and agony of situations we can’t change or have no control over, sow tears over the disappointments that seem to be never ending. 
 
The Lord hears it all, sees all the tears, he will provide the joy and the singing. Lord we wait on you and we expect joy and signing from these situations. 
 
Amen. 


A PERPLEXING QUESTION INDEED 

By Lee Pierce
 

I’ve been reading in the book of Joshua recently and have gotten bogged down in one of the greatest mysteries in the Bible: the time that Joshua prayed and God made the sun and moon stand still for nearly 24 hours.

I don’t know about you, but I find this fascinating, but perplexing, all at the same time.

In Joshua 10, as Joshua is following the Lord’s command to continue the conquest of the promised land, the Bible describes a very unusual event.  The Israelites were contending with the Amorites and the Lord had caused great confusion among the Amorites, and also had slain many of them by causing a great hail storm to fall, killing many. Given that the Amorites were being killed in great numbers, it’s curious that Joshua then prays to God to stop the sun and the moon in place [verses 10:12-13]. Joshua’s stated purpose for this request is so that the army of Israel could complete the conquest of the enemy.  In doing so, they would be obedient to God’s command. Read more…



I JUST WANT TO COME HOME!

By Anita Mondragon
Well…here we are, almost at the end of the second month of 2020.  I made a list of several things I wanted to do differently this year.  Things like:  Changing my diet and exercising more, was of course in there, but other things came to mind as well.  Things like, smiling more, being more kind and humble, really looking at people with God’s eyes and seeing their hurt, sharing Jesus more; then one thing really stuck out in my mind–giving up! Read more…


WORDS UNTO THE LORD-5

By Anita Mondragon

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD.  Isaiah 37:1

In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.  Psalm 18:6


PUNCH HIS LIGHTS OUT!!!!!

By Anita Mondragon

We watched a movie last night, called, “Southpaw”.  It was written by Kurt Sutter. Here’s what he had to say about its origin.

Sutter’s script follows a welterweight boxing champion (Eminem) whose life is upended when tragedy strikes…“In a way, this is a continuation of the 8 Mile story, but rather than a literal biography, we are doing a metaphorical narrative of the second chapter of his life. He’ll play a world champion boxer who really hits a hard bottom, and has to fight to win back his life for his young daughter. At its core, this is a retelling of his struggles over the last five years of his life, using the boxing analogy. I love that the title refers to [Eminem] being a lefty, which is to boxing what a white rapper is to hip hop; dangerous, unwanted and completely unorthodox. It’s a much harder road for a southpaw than a right-handed boxer.”…the real-life element adds a nice layer to the drama.


OUCH!

By Anita Mondragon

For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. –Romans 10:23

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.-Matthew 23:25-28


JUST AS YOU ARE…

By Anita Mondragon
 

“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”
Luke 12:20, KJV

…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”
2 Corinthians 6:2, KJV


WELLS OF PURPOSE

By Anita Mondragon
 

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  John 4:7-10 NIV


BLESS THE LORD, OH MY SOUL!

By Anita Mondragon
 
The following is something my son Micah, wrote while on vacation in Montana.  Turns out…he is an awesome writer!  Enjoy!-anita