10/23/08

Pain is an Opportunity


Scriptural Basis:

“He will wipe away 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.” Revelation 21:4

Pain is the bane of human existence. Its very presence can completely reverse the joys of life, quickly changing your outlook from delight to misery. Just think of the many things in life which bring joy and laughter to body and soul; then, add pain, and suddenly, what once was satisfying no longer is. Even death becomes preferable to unrelenting pain, whether physical or emotional. Hence, the prevalence of depression and suicide; or Job’s anguished request for God to crush the life left in him; or even more, the cry that it would have been far better if he had never been born. There is nothing that lays one so low as pain in the body or misery in the heart.

The last few days I have witnessed severe physical pain in my wife as she recovers from major back surgery. We both have spent countless hours beside beds and in hospitals with spouses who eventually died of disease after experiencing excruciating pain throughout their illness. I have borne the emotional pain of a parent in the death of a child and in war the death of men I led into battle. We all are familiar with pain in body and in soul, some more severe and unrelenting than others, but, nevertheless, pain!

God’s Word is not reticent in warning us of pain in this life. It says it is not only normal, but expected. There are few days that pass without some form of pain. Peter tells us not to be surprised when “we experience painful trials, as though such suffering is strange.” Instead, he says, we are to “rejoice that we participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (I Peter 4:12)

Now you may consider such Scripture references as referring solely to the pain received when specifically doing something to proclaim the gospel, or verbally standing up for Christ and for truth in the public arena; the pain of persecution from skeptics or enemies of God. So you may tend to dismiss any correlation when you bang your thumb with a hammer, stub your toe, break a leg, or suffer a periodic headache, or even a more severe migraine. You may think that suffering the painful ravages of cancer endemic to your family or any other sickness is not really applicable to the concept of “suffering with or for Christ.”

Such thinking is wrongheaded! Peter writes in I Peter 4:1, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude.” This refers to pain in Jesus’ body, whether the terrible agony of the cross or the weariness of walking along a Galilean road. You are doing something that displays who Christ is to you and in you by your response to a sliver in your finger. Because of His world-view of the present and His expectation of the future, what was His attitude, His visible and internal response to pain? You are a witness of His glory as you lay suffering pain in a hospital bed, or experience a painful accident before a watching world, even when your watching world may be but a few family members and some medical personnel. The presence of pain provides opportunity for the stretching of faith, the crucible of developing character, the earnestness of discipline.

When pain strikes it is difficult to think of anything else, but may I suggest thinking of these four truths: (1) Jesus is your colleague in pain, every pain (Hebrews 4:15); (2) Your present pain is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in you (Romans 8:18); (3) Every instance of pain, even private, is an opportunity for witness of who you really are (Romans 12:1-2 and Hebrews 12:1). (4) Use every incident of pain to remember the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

Encouragement:
“Abba Father, I know my pain can make or break me. Use it to conform me to Him who suffered that I may one day be free from all pain.”

by Stephen Leonard

10/17/08

Make-A-Wish

There are very few parts of my job that I enjoy. This just happens to be one of them. I was contacted by Make-A-Wish to build a train for a little boy named Tyler. I am not going into detail of what his issues are but I can say that he did deserve my company to do this for him.

Every time an employee got to work on Tyler’s train they had a smile on there face and it was fun to see there enthusiasm, not something that I see very often around here.

I think the one that got the most pleasure out of doing this is my office manager, Janessa, she is the one in the photo with Tyler. She got him a conductor’s uniform and the entire family matching shirts and hats.(She even went around begging companies to donate emblems, shirts and hats). She also delivered the train and met the family and was videoed by two news crews that were there for the occasion.

What a blessing to be able to do this for such a deserving young man. Praise God! Enjoy Tyler!!!!!

10/14/08

My First Award

My first award, thanks Sue for the thoughtfulness. I’m glad I can make you laugh.

Like Sue said, over at My Road As I Travel It , there are no rules for me to follow but if I find the time to pass it along I definitely will.

Seems fitting that my only reader gives me an award. Trying to make me feel better? It worked ;)

10/7/08

Tom the Baptist

Matt. 18:4-5
'Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes
a little child like this in my name welcomes me.'
Tommy's Mother looked out the window and noticed
him 'playing church' with their cat. He had the cat
sitting quietly and he was preaching to it.
She smiled and went about her work.
A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing
and ran back to the open window to see Tommy
baptizing the cat in a tub of water.
She called out, 'Tommy, stop that! The cat is
afraid of water!'
Tommy looked up at her and said, 'He should have
thought about that before he joined my church.'

Prop me up


Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old deacon who always prayed, 'Lord, prop us up on our leaning side. After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently.

He answered, 'Well sir, you see, it's like this.... I got an old barn out back. It's been there a long time; it's withstood a lot of weather; it's gone through a lot of storms, and it's stood for many years.

It's still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit.

So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn't fall.

Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. I've been around a long time.

I've withstood a lot of life's storms. I've withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I've withstood a lot of hard times, and I'm still standing too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, because I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times.

Sometimes I get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward a prideful heart, leaning toward a lot of things that I shouldn't . So we need to pray, 'Lord, prop us up on our leaning side, so we will stand straight and tall again.

If you stare at this barn for a second you will see who will help us stand straight and tall again.