The Idol of Comfort (Worship Series Part 4)

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we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you…2 Corinthians 4:7-12.

Today’s topic is one I’ve struggled with the past few years. I grow tired of trials and crave comfort. Following Jesus isn’t always comfortable. It is not wrong to desire peace. It is an idol when we want to be comfortable above doing God’s will.

I’m okay with sleeping in the Amazon Jungle with little to no amenities. I’ve done this before on several mission trips to Brazil. I’m okay with the basic nuisances of life. I don’t love constant trials-the ones that test your faith and patience. Especially when it’s seasons of fiery trials. After many years of on and off suffering, this soldier longs for vacay (vacations from trials).

I also don’t love continually being called outside my comfort zone. As an introvert, I don’t love God asking me to lead Bible studies, socialize with lots of believers, nor do I love public speaking. Give me God, some books, art, my guitar, music, and a way to write. I will enjoy my time without people and be blissfully happy. It takes God’s love, grace, and power for me to do any kind of ministry that involves constant socializing. I’m just not wired for extroversion. Yet God continually calls me to minister to other believers and socialize with all kinds of people.

Apostle Paul went through many trials and horrible situations, yet tells us to rejoice when we are in those situations because God is working something for good.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always see the good or feel the good in the middle of trials and storms or being called out of comfort zones. Sometimes my heart cries out, “God make this more bearable or comfortable.”

The idol of comfort says, “Don’t take that risk. Don’t go the extra mile. Don’t persevere in faith. Don’t lay down your life !”

All idols want to place the focus somewhere or on something other than Jesus.

The problem with this idol in particular is that it hinders growth and fosters selfishness.

A seed and a butterfly both go through some pretty challenging experiences to become who they were created to be. We too must go through some uncomfortable things in order to become who God called us to be. Without growth, which is often painful, there’s no beauty.

Though I love when the sun is shining, everything is going well, and it’s like heaven on earth-the times of deepest intimacy with God have occurred in seasons of what I’d consider a taste of Hades. I found great love and comfort in God in those seasons when I had no clue how the miracle was coming. Those seasons taught me things about God no one can take away.

Losing my mum to cancer after seeing many people healed, taught me the great comfort of God.

Serving under a manager who harassed & created chaos for 4 years taught me the grace of God to not retaliate. It built something in me. Human resources did not help, there was no rescue. God simply walked me through it. Day in and day out-relying on His strength. By the way she eventually gave her life to Christ. 🙂

Watching both my parents battle cancer while I was young, taught me to trust God as Father and Mother. So many tearful nights while my friends were enjoying life. Jesus became my best friend.

Facing death quite a few times taught me that my life is in God’s hands. Painful, unsettling, yet comforting to know no one can pluck me out of His hands.

I won’t tell you my entire life story, these are just a few examples. Though the road behind me has been paved with seasons of suffering, they taught me more than a text book ever could about God. When you have your own experiences, it deepens relationship. Reading about a person and encountering them are two different things.

That being said, the devil, sin, living in a sinful world, and sometimes our choices cause suffering and discomfort. God will work all things together for good. It doesn’t always feel good, yet He works things for good.

No matter what you’re facing, know if God doesn’t provide instant change-He will provide His comfort, love, grace, and power to get you through! Knowing Him is worth it all.

Sweet friends, may we want God more than we want to be comfortable. He’s worthy of being first. If Jesus chose comfort over God’s will, where would we be? God’s ways are perfect and though He doesn’t deliver us from everything-He will give us strength to get through the discomfort. He’s able.

God bless,

Erin

Photo credit:Microsoft Clipart

Remembering John (Operation God is Love)

You were born with the ability to change someone’s life. You don’t know when you’ll see someone for the last time. One of the greatest missions on my heart is to get Jesus the greatest reward possible from my life.

Love and faith are active. They are not passive. We cannot claim to believe and those beliefs not change the way we live. Every member of Christ’s Body has a role to play. My part may not be yours. Nevertheless, we are all important parts of God’s story to bring heaven to this planet. Hope this story about John, a man I won’t soon forget fuels and activates your faith. Every day people are dying in their sins or living without hope. We can’t help everyone. We can daily be on the lookout for one.

God=Love

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Whatever you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done unto Me,~Jesus.

Operation God is Love is a street ministry I started this Spring. The objectives are to take the Gospel into the city, to pray for people, to share Jesus, and be instruments of love. I am drawn to people no one loves. They are too dirty, broken, messed up, and outcasts of society. I look into their eyes and my heart cries out, “I see you. You are loved.”

This ministry is small. It’s me and two other women who pack up supplies and hit the city month after month. We never know who we will see or what God will do. What we do know is that God is good. God is all powerful. God is love. God has empowered us to go into all the world and make disciples! The Great Commission was…

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Iron Sharpens Iron

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Taking a mini break from the worship series to talk about relationships. Hope this blesses you.

Part of Godly relationships is correction and accountability. We don’t love those words, yet they are a part of the Gospel.

Who in your life is pointing you to Jesus?

Who is using the Bible as a grid to help you make decisions?

Who is praying for you and investing in your walk with God?

Who is willing to gently pull the thorn out of your eye?

As a Body we are called to grow and help others grow.

I led a women’s group long ago and one of the ladies said, “We don’t want you telling us when we do something wrong. You think you’re better than us.”

Well, as a leader, God held me accountable for the people under me. To watch them habitually sin and say nothing would have led me to be accountable. I’m also very open to having people speak truth into my life. When done in the Spirit of love it helps us greatly. We aren’t the sin police. The heart is to see people right with God and others. There’s no true life apart from God.

If I saw you ready to jump off a cliff and instead of grabbing you and saying, “Don’t go that way!” And instead said, “I’m praying for you,” and let you die….would you call me loving?

I hope not.

We are not the Holy Spirit, yet we are called to help each other and watch each other’s back. We are all strong where another person is weak.

What’s the big deal….let me live my life!!!!

The wages of sin is death. Our choices have consequences. A person who really loves you won’t let you plummet to your death to be nice. That’s the opposite of nice. Obedience to God leads to blessings. Disobedience leads to torment and for some eternal separation from God.

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven,~Jesus (Matthew 7:21).

God deals with the eternal consequences of our sin when we repent. We still have some earthly ones to deal with.

I’m thankful for the few bold enough to point me to the Gospel. I’m open to Godly correction. Without it, there’s limited growth. We all have blind spots. God speaks to us, and He also speaks through others…that’s why we are called to be in a community of believers.

My prayer is to know when to speak, when to listen, and not to allow fear of man to stop me from being used by God. We are called to help one another grow into the likeness of Christ. I hope you do too! The people in your life need you to watch out for them. 🙂

Erin