There is Purpose in your Pain

Is there a redeeming purpose in pain? A good question. This blogger has some answers. What he says is worth consideration.

Cory Lebovitz

I was reminded again this weekend of the power found in our story.  God is able to take and redeem the most difficult of experiences and situations and bring about something beautiful amidst the pain.  If you have experienced pain, loss, disappointment – that experience is not void of purpose. Understanding the journey of pain wont solve your pressure in this moment.  It will perhaps reveal something of God’s leading in your life and how God might use you down the road.

There seems to be a process to our pain: Pain – Sadness – Comfort – Redemption. Each of these have a season where they become prominent in our lives. Knowing the process of pain does not make suffering any easier. It simply gives vision for what is to come.

Pain is the first and most obvious stage in the process.  Whether it comes in the form of trauma or…

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Whom Should You Follow?

Whom Should You Follow?

Read 1 Corinthians 1:10–17

After a two-week vacation with his family, Pastor Dave returned to the pulpit. It didn’t take long for negative reports to filter in. Some members stayed away from services because Pastor Dave was not preaching or they didn’t think his associate should perform the baptismal service during his absence.

Obviously, people have personal preferences and loyalties—there’s nothing wrong with such things—but following one person’s ministry exclusively while rejecting others can lead to divisions in the church.

What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:12, 13).

We are not saved in the name of a gifted evangelist, nor baptized in the name of our favorite pastor. Although church leaders are important, we should not center our attention upon them. Rather, we should focus on the Lord.

Challenge for Today: [Next Sunday] don’t dwell on the qualifications of the speaker, open your heart to receive from God.

—Charles Earl Harrel

Pray that God would give you a deeper understanding of the Bible.

God’s Word for Today © 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

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Sifting and Winnowing

Another great blog post by Karen. Perhaps we all need to go down to the Water for some sifting.

WordServe Water Cooler

Photo/KatenJordanMy heart pounded as I braved my re-entry into my writing space. I simply did not want to work on another uninspired blog post. Why, I didn’t know. But I knew I needed to identify the source of my resistance to what I’m passionate about—writing.

From my office chair, I scribbled a few forced phrases—those anticipated first and necessary words. The ones I demanded myself to write. It was a painful hour.

Even though they were interesting, they weren’t satisfying. And I grieved once again for inspiration that would give me life—meaningful thoughts flowing from a grateful heart. But the words I produced were stale and stodgy. Would anyone be blessed by reading them? I thought not.

The next morning, I awoke to another day of blank pages. So I confessed to my husband, Dan, “I’m really struggling with the blog posts I should have already written.”

“Why? What’s the…

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The God We Draw Our Readers To

Sara’s blog post hit the mark, at least for me it did. Those of you who are Christian writers and authors can benefit from her comments.

WordServe Water Cooler

“Your book really helped draw me closer to God.”

Are there any more thrilling words for a Christian author to hear? That is, after all, our ultimate goal, isn’t it? To point our readers to God?

That is certainly the reason I write. Because God gives me the stories and I want to be obedient in writing them down to the best of my ability and to do what I can to get them into the hands of readers. Not for my glory, so they can know me better, but for His glory, so they can know Him better.

So yes, that feedback thrills me like no other. And it also terrifies me like no other. Because it compels me to ask myself: Is the God my story has just drawn someone closer to the one true God? Or have I allowed my incomplete, in-a-mirror-darkly comprehension of who God truly…

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DESIGNED WITH PURPOSE

DESIGNED WITH PURPOSE

by Laura Lee Harrel

From Proverbs 6:6 NIV:  “Go to the ant . . . consider its ways and be wise!”

Something caught my attention as I read outside the tent in our campsite. A white morsel moved steadily past me. Curious, I put my book aside and followed, hoping to discover the final destination of the potato chip and the ant that carried it. From his perspective, the course must have looked challenging as he climbed over rough terrain and large boulders. Traversing around tall grass and forging through lush foliage, he struggled to haul an awkward load, three times his size.

My vantage point in life is similar to his. I only see the things just before me. If the ant had seen his course from my perspective, the challenge might have discouraged him, causing him to set his burden aside. However, he didn’t seem to mind the difficulty or the length of his journey. He was on a mission and would not be dissuaded. His determination pushed him on. A driving force placed within, stirred him to persevere until he reached his goal. God created the ant this way—designed with purpose—filled with passion and tenacity.

Our heavenly Father designed us as well. He watches as we sojourn over life’s rugged terrain. His Spirit gives us the same ant-like determination to overcome obstacles in our path. We also have an inward strength that compels us to complete our journey. God created us in that way, with purpose, and when we reach our goal, He is glorified. Therefore, like the ant, we must press on.

Lord, when I face difficulties, help me to remember that You will accomplish Your purpose for my life if I persevere—for when I am weak, You make me strong. Thank You! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

—Copyright © 2008 by Laura Lee Harrel. Used by permission.

The Best Water of All

The Best Water of All

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Revelation 7:17).

Scripture: Revelation 7:9–17

Song: “Springs of Living Water” (by John W. Peterson)

One afternoon, while hunting for a new camping spot in the Mammoth area of Central California, my father drove his truck into an alpine meadow. It was beautiful. The meadow offered the perfect place for pitching a tent, with level terrain and ponderosa pines to offer shade. However, one essential thing was missing—fresh water. After setting up our campsite, Dad hiked up the canyon to search for a mountain spring. In a few hours, he returned with a grin on his face, carrying a canteen of spring water.

With each new trip, the path to the springs became more established and easier to traverse. In a few years, others were following the trail my father had blazed. Many campers now enjoy this meadow because someone first led the way to water.

One day, Jesus will lead His sheep to a heavenly water source. Much like the tree of life in Revelation, these precious waters have eternal properties. The springs are pure, limitless, and spiritually refreshing. At the springs of living water, we will always find safety, peace, and contentment—no tears allowed.

God and Father, not only is Your Son my shepherd in this lifetime, He will shepherd me throughout all eternity. I can hardly wait to see Lord Christ in person and drink from the springs of living water. A long, satisfying drink will be worth the wait. I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord. Amen.

“The Best Water of All” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2011 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

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You May Bend, But You Won’t Break!

Neat Imagery. Powerful Word.

FAITH | LOVE | SOUL

ChaleneJohnson_KeyPriorities_PalmTree.jpgGrowing up in Florida, I have experienced many powerful hurricanes.  Depending on their category, these hurricanes can carry very strong winds, some as strong as 156 mph. Watching this kind of power can be very frightening, to say the least!

One thing I’ve always wondered is how palm trees withstand these big, angry storms? While pieces of houses and large trees are tossed around like toys, palm trees are able to survive!  But what’s their secret?

PALM TREES ARE DESIGNED TO BEND!  When the storms come, palm trees can bend quite a lot, EVEN to the point of being horizontal to the ground.  BUT THEY DON’T BREAK! 

During the storm, you might look at the palm tree flattened to the ground and think it’s a goner.  But after the storm passes, the palm tree will be able to stand upright again.  And when the storm is over, the palm…

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