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

The Comforter (Holy Spirit Series Part 8)

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God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted,~Matthew 5:4.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;~John 14:16.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed,~Isaiah 61:1.

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. It’s one of the most beautiful attributes of His character. He fulfills this role so well.

God knew we would need comforting. Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble, but take heart I have already overcome the world.”

One of the beautiful things about a relationship with God is knowing He promises to meet every need, including our need to be comforted. He’s not distant, cold, unfeeling, or without concern for the things that concern us. What matters to us, touches His heart. He bottles our tears.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book,~Psalm 56:8.

God is emotional. He’s emotional about you.

I had an adult I respected tell me when I was a young adult, “God isn’t moved by your tears, He’s moved by your faith.” During that period of my life, I cried quite a bit. Being a preteen was challenging for many reasons. This adult taught me not to feel. I got to a point I couldn’t cry. I felt happy or angry. Nothing else. I learned to be very tough.

It wasn’t until I hit my twenties that I could cry. I just didn’t feel sorrow. During that time my mum died. I’ve never cried more in my life. During that time, waves of worship would invade my heart. I would just worship for hours. God brought a deep comfort I cannot explain. Though I had friends and family, none of them could reach the places God could. When everyone else went back to life, God was there 24/7.

I grew to know God in profound ways during that season. When I look back over my life, or rehearse the stories, etc…I could cry for days. Then there’s God. He’s standing in the midst of every loss, betrayal, pain, seasons of sickness, near death experience,…

What is troubling or grieving you this week?

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His comfort. Surrender every burden to Him. You may cry! He’s not offended or put off by your tears.

God is able my friends to sustain you through the most horrific pain. He’s strong enough! I promise He’s strong enough.

Lastly I will say, God promises to turn your mourning into dancing. He promises to give you joy for pain and sorrow!!! I can say with 100% confidence He keeps His promises. After spending many years suffering-I have overwhelming joy. I wake up some days dancing! I enjoy God. I enjoy being with Him. I enjoy knowing Him. He’s my Lord. He’s also my closest friend.

I have had people call my joy facade, or it annoys them. God is joy. Joy is part of the fruit of His Spirt. There’s plenty to be thankful for. God has blessed me with tremendous joy! Something I never thought possible. I’m young, yet feel I’ve lived 100 years. And through it all I can say, “It is well with my soul.

My friends, I’m praying God floods you with comfort and joy! No matter what you face, God is able. Your Comforter will never leave or forsake you.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Humpty Dumpty (You Can Recover)

The great nursery rhyme says:

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the kings horses and all the king’s men

Could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again….
 
I heard a quote I liked. It said, “Don’t tell other people your problems. Twenty (20) percent of the people don’t want to hear them and the other 80 percent are glad you have them.” God is not like people, you can tell Him your problems, and He will not grow tired. He will lead you out of self pity to victory, but He never, ever turns away those who mourn.

Here’s the truth as I see it.

Life will push you off the wall. People will push you off the wall. No matter what you do, how well you believe, how much you love God, bad things happen to all people. If nothing bad has happened to you, then no offense but you live a very safe and sheltered life. Jesus said, “In the world, you WILL have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” The more ground you are taking from darkness, the bigger the target on your head. That does not mean we should live afraid. We are more than conquerors through Christ who gives us strength. It does mean we can anticipate some bumps along the way.

I have unfortunately and fortunately had to learn most things about God via experience. Those who have known me a long time know that the there have been some hellish experiences along the way. Some I wish to never relive (including car accidents that cost me cars and physical/emotional traumas), three family members to die just this year, more relational trauma than a normal person should ever have to endure, etc….It is only by the grace of God that I am not completely out of my ever loving mind. Our God is able!

The Good News:

The Good News is, God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

No matter how bad it hurts today, He can and will put you back together again! No matter how many pieces your life has been shattered into, God specializes in calling dead things to life and calling something out of nothing. He created Adam from the dust. He spoke the world into existence. The Universe proclaims the splendor of the works of His hands. With one word, one encounter, God can turn your situation completely around! He is not limited by anyone or anything.

Closing thoughts:

There is joy bubbling out of my soul that is unexplainable, and not fully expressible. I know our Redeemer lives, and He is the Healer. There is nothing God can’t do.

Joy is your inheritance. Jesus paid for it! He said: 

For those who grieve in Zion—God will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor! Isaiah 61:3 

God is faithful to His word! No word from Him ever fails, but accomplishes every single thing it is sent out to do!

Blessings and love for your futures…

God knows the plans He has for you, not to harm you, but to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Erin