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Posts Tagged ‘pain’

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Are you going through a tough time right now? Does it seem while others have been celebrating a new start in a new year, you carry the same weight as you did last week?

Our troubles have all different details to them but in many cases, they have similar underlining themes – loneliness, finances, rejection, and at times … others are choosing to cause us hurt and harm.

David found himself in this kind of situation in I Samuel 23. In a season where the king, Saul was jealous and threatened; David found himself on the run for his life. Even though he was anointed by God to be the replacement of Saul someday, he did not want to do so by his own hand so he hid during this season of oppression and hurt.

While he was hiding, those around him saw an opportunity to put themselves in good graces with the boss by stabbing David in the back (Ever happen in your office?). They went to the King and offered to bring David to him.

During this time, David wrote a Maskil. We call it Psalm 54 in the Bible.

This is how it goes…

“O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen against me;ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them.


With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; 
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.”

There our several things I love about David’s worship.

– He has no problem being honest about his hurt, pain, and struggles before God.

– He claims truths about God and states them. When he does, we see his focus moves from the circumstances to God.

– Then he busts into praise through faith knowing that God has the victory (We can have the same in our own prayer/ worship times).

At the same time, this specific psalm has some key points that you might want to reflect on if you are going through some struggles and want to have the same deliverance and peace that David had.

This psalm assumes you are a follower of Christ. While this phrasing is a “church age” one since Jesus had not come yet in David’s time, it is evident that David was a follower of God. So much so that even though he too was a screw up at times, even God called him “one after my own heart”

Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? The One who is the way to God? The One who offers grace, love, and purpose? If not, you can become so today by acknowledging Jesus as leader in your life, believing in your heart that he forgives you through his death and resurrection, and then following him. For more on that, please touch base with me at tom@theshepherdsfellowship.org

This psalm assumes the struggle you are going through is the fault of others who have evil intent. Our struggles are not always the fault of others. It can be our own bad choices. It can be a season God is leading us through to grow or discipline us through. Spend some time examining the cause so you know how to pray and act through them.

This psalm assumes you are leaning into the Lord for the solution. You can’t say a quick prayer and then go out swinging trying to get your way. Sometimes we need to give up our desire to get our way and submit before God and go His path.

This psalm assumes you are holding on to God’s promises. David was able to submit by holding onto the facts that God will end this issue, that God will deliver him from trouble, and that God will triumph. Are you holding onto these truths and following His lead to the fulfillment of them?

This psalm reminds us that the final outcome is not about us getting our way but to bring glory to and worship to God. The psalm ends with worship to what God has done and so will your story if you lean into Him today.

It may be a path but it is not a wall. You’re story continues today! What will the story look like tomorrow?

If we can help you in any way, please touch base with me or stop by and visit us at church. Blessings!

Pastor Tom Hypes
theshepherdsfellowship.org

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Many of us are dealing with different struggles and situations that overwhelm us. We try to pull ourselves up by our boot straps and forge on but some days are just tougher than others.

For those of us that are Christians (have accepted Jesus as Leader and Forgiver in our lives by acknowledging with our mouths and believing in our hearts that He is the Son of God who died and rose again for us and have repented of the old life and now following Him), there is some encouragement in those days in some writings of King David.

(If you are not a Christian and want the hope and forgiveness of Christ in your life, touch base with me and we’ll chat more…. 740-382-3500)

King David was not born royalty. In the early days, the rest of the world just considered him a nobody kid who, at best, had good potential as a shepherd. God saw much more and through years of trials and situations, raised David up to be king. As we learn more about David’s story, we know it wasn’t all money and power for him. There were many seasons of pain and persecution from others. There were days that would knock most of down but God saw David through.

It was in such a time that David wrote Psalm 56 and I wanted to show you what David found that might encourage you as well.

Psalm 56: 1-4 says “Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;all day long an attacker oppresses me;my enemies trample on me all day long,for many attack me proudly.When I am afraid,I put my trust in you.In God, whose word I praise,in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.What can flesh do to me?

At first glance, you might think just how strong David appears to not worry about his struggles. You might even be tempted to think you are so weak for not being like him . Look again.

He starts out with “Be gracious to me, O God”. To me, he’s struggling. It seems that he is saying I am hurting, I am afraid, and I am overwhelmed. I wish I was stronger Lord and I feel like I’m letting you down. Be gracious to me. Don’t be upset with me. I am but a mere mortal. He admits he gets afraid. Maybe you have been there.

But he doesn’t stop there. He goes into stating truths to recenter himself in God. I praise you God in midst of this trouble. I trust in you and what can flesh do to me? He goes from “when I am afraid” to “I shall not be afraid.”

Now that’s enough to make you feel a little encouraged and maybe even give you a second wind. A reminder to claim on to the promises of God and give it another shot. However, David goes on….

All day long they injure my cause;all their thoughts are against me for evil.They stir up strife, they lurk;they watch my steps,as they have waited for my life.For their crime will they escape?In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

You have kept count of my tossings;put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?Then my enemies will turn backin the day when I call.This I know, that God is for me.In God, whose word I praise,in the Lord, whose word I praise,in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.What can man do to me?” (56: 5-11)

This is not a one time hit where you claim God’s promises and then life is all rainbows and unicorns. The problems did not change. This even hints that after claiming hold of God’s promises that David is struggling still emotionally at times. However, He keeps coming back. He keeps claiming the promises. He is not playing the victim card. He is holding onto the Victor.

If you are going through tough times and sleepless nights, don’t add to your burden by trying to be “Super Christian” and feeling like your failing. Keep coming back to the well for nourishment. Keep coming back to the promises for reassurance. Keep thanking Him for His grace and talk honestly with Him about where you are today.

And what else do you do as you walk through this path with Him?

I must perform my vows to you, O God;I will render thank offerings to you.For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before Godin the light of life.” Psalm 56: 12-13

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I have explored in the last couple posts the fact that God calls His children (those who have accepted Jesus as Leader and Forgiver and who follow His way of living instead of the world’s ways) to live in freedom. We have seen that through salvation, we are released from the bondage of this world. The truth is being locked back up by guilt, stress, or fear are not His desire for us yet somehow we keep falling back into the trap.

The simple fact is this world will try to suck us back in. Satan will try to rob from the grace and deliverance that is ours in the Lord. On certain days, it can just be overwhelming.

Today’s Psalm invites us to see how David dealt with such a time. It gives a real time experience of one of the heroes of the faith and how he modeled to get “refocused”.

Here’s the Psalm….

Psalm 10

“Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
    he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
13 Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

You’ll notice I left the verse numbers in. This was on purpose to make the following easier to reference because I believe there is a pattern here from the man that God said was “after God’s own heart” that we can find freedom in.

Verses 1-11 – David calls out his concern with no holds barred. He knows God is a strong Father who can handle the load. He knows God is a caring Daddy who wants to hear his child’s heart. David unleashes the hurt, pain, and confusion of the unfair situation in front of him from his overwhelmed, human vantage point.

Verses 12 – 15 – David starts to refocus. He moves his attention off of the circumstances that are blurring his view to focus in on his Deliverer. He aims backs towards the One who has proven Himself faithful time and time again. He cries out for God to move as David also moves into the protection of his God.

Verses 16 – 18 – Here is the result of that refocusing…. PRAISE! There is no other way I can see to explain this last paragraph. David has moved from complaining about the circumstances to claiming the truths of the strength of his God! His perception has changed (even though the circumstances have not…yet) and He has a firm foundation of truth to stand strong on.

What are you going through today?

First, check yourself and make sure you are in a place of righteousness. If you are not a child of God through accepting Him as Leader and Forgiver in your life, that is the place to start to have his grace, mercy, and firm foundation. (Romans 10:9-10; John 3: 1-21)

If you find that your situation is the result of an area where you are not living in righteousness, get some forgiveness and change your ways to match God’s ways.

If you are living righteously, then it’s time to refocus like David did. It’s time to get into the Word and explore God’s promises. It’s time to dig into Christian community with people who will spur you on towards God. It’s time to have a talk with God like David did and let Him change your view.

Being blessed is having joy which is tied to your spirit walk in spite of your circumstances. Be blessed….

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Psalm 3: 1-2

“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.”

Are you going through some tough times right now?

– Bills stacked up high and bill collectors calling?
– Your marriage or relationship is sinking fast?
– Loss of job or can’t find a job?
– Your child has walked away from you?
– Seems like everyone is conspiring against you?

King David in the Bible fully understands. His life was full of all kinds of ups and downs including one time towards the end of his life where his own son had turned against him. Absalom had rose up, gathered the nation around him, and declared himself king. He wanted his father dead and David fled the kingdom and was hiding in the wilderness.

In the midst of this season of threat and betrayal, David started his psalm by stating the issue at hand. The whole world was crushing in on him and he felt alone. There is a possibility that you feel that way today. However, David never stopped right there in the midst of despair. He made the choice to focus on what really matters.
(more…)

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Like most of you, I was taken back when hearing the first reports coming in from the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Like in previous events, these “close to home” attacks suck me in as I watch the reports, hear personal stories, and struggle with the pain of others.

In moments like this, I tend to get people asking me things like “Why does God let this happen?” or “Where was God in all this?” While I see God moving all through the images and testimonies on the screen, many others find it hard to catch a glimpse and I think most of that has to do with understanding how this world works. Forgive me as I give a very brief overview as I am laying the foundation of what is actually on my heart about yesterday.

When we go back to Genesis (the story of how the world came to be), we find that God’s original plan was for us to have perfection. When I say perfection, I don’t just mean the beautiful garden, the lack of work, and lack of pain. I also mean perfection in having nothing between us and Him and the intimacy He desires with us.

That said, to have that level of intimacy, we also needed to have a choice about that relationships. God did not want puppets so to have the real thing; we had to choose it so free will was given to mankind. The kind of free will that leads to worship but also leads to horrible acts like yesterday.

When rebellion first came through the temptation of the serpent (Satan) and the free will choice of man (Adam and Eve), it meant repercussions that continue to ripple through our world today as the rebellion continues.

One thing God said at that first failure was to the enemy. He said in Genesis 3: 15…

“…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

The first prophecy about the coming Messiah (Jesus) was spoken about 4,000 years before His birth from God Himself.

In short, he said there would be hostility between mankind and the enemy that will lead to tragedy and hardship. This very thread is prevalent in every strife in a marriage and struggle with cancer…all the way to acts like 9/11, the Boston Marathon, and to acts of horror that do not happen in the borders of the United States of America. Sin entering the world through man’s conscience choice has brought a challenge upon us that will last until the promise is fulfilled.

What promise? The one in the Scripture above….

The promise that her offspring (Jesus) will crush the serpent’s (Satan’s head). The victory has been won at the cross and the tomb and the day is coming when Jesus will return again, put His feet back on this earth at His second coming, and start the final victory over Satan that will end all the pain, all the hurt, all the terror, and all the tears.

So what is the point I have been heading towards? When I watch explosions on my TV… When I heard of people being killed… When I hear celebration being cut short by cowards with explosives …… I look forward to that day all the more.

 

While I will be comforted by the testimonies of what God is doing in the midst of this situation, there is a part of me that longs for the day to stand in watch as the Son of God crushes the head of the enemy and perfection is returned. When the inheritance of those who accept Jesus’ love and grace are able to rest easy in perfect love and victory with Him.

The enemy has an expiration date. I do not know what it is but I will be there at the completion of his dismissal and I will shout in victory when this madness is destroyed.  It’s going to be a great day!

Until then I persevere in His arms and pray for those who have experienced this attack first hand can do the same.

 

Not much longer now…..

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