Archive for the ‘Job’ Category

Hurt and Pain

Hurt and pain are magnified during the holidays. Loved ones who no longer gather around the Thanksgiving turkey; friends and family who have been crossed off our Christmas card list because of hurts they have caused. Gifts we can no longer afford because of economic setbacks. A home lost, a spouse or child gone, a family fractured by conflict all serve to remind us of pains and hurts that lurk in the darkest corner of our heart.

Having counseled many different people, I can attest to the sadness and depression prevalent during the holidays.  I know several people who dread the holidays. They seem to fall into a depressed dark hole around mid-November and slowly emerge in January.

Americans: self-absorbed with our feelings

Our spoiled American society is self-absorbed with its own feelings. Many people take pride in seeing themselves as victims and demand special tolerance, favors, and gifts. Americans too often give into their hurts and setbacks and expect someone to baby them or rescue them. We have our hands out far too often.

When we allow our heart and mind to be overwhelmed with our painful experiences, rejections, or emotional hurts, overwhelmed to the point of obsessive concern or depression, we cast aside any healing and deny the growth which can and should occur.

We find comfort in our emotional state, accepting it as a bandage, afraid to peel it back and apply healing ointment to the wound. Many cling to their emotions because they provide special “handicap” privileges, and they use their pain to justify what they believe, say or do. The pain is accepted and protected, but it is a demonic delusion that only perpetuates immaturity and denies the transformational power of Christ’s freedom and forgiveness.

Pain is designed to teach, transform and mature us, not box us into the darkness. Hebrews 2:10 says Christ learned by the things He suffered. His pain was His teacher. This is why He began his ministry by reading Isaiah 61:1, 2:

[God]…has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Jesus Christ came to free us from our pain and hurt, and to transform our lives to become the “planting of the Lord.”

…to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

The Transforming Power of Christ

Our painful experiences highlight the contrasts between this earthly life and the glorious life for which God is preparing us. However, the truth is, God wants us to experience this glorious life NOW, as we overcome the pain and suffering through faith in the power of Christ.

The power that Jesus provides for those trapped in pain is miraculous:

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. (James 1:2-4, Phillips translation)

Jesus Christ reigns over every situation, even the ones of our own creation. He is the transforming power, but we must let go of the pain and through faith allow Him to be in control. We have to believe in the quality of endurance He will build in our lives!

A mind focused on pain will speak pain

The sad reality is that a mind that focuses on pain will most often speak pain, and, if left unchecked, will drive others away. Sharing a painful experience with a trusted friend is empowering and emotionally bonding, but continually sharing it with anyone who will listen deludes us into thinking that it is good for us when it is actually a kind of psychosis. Preoccupation with personal pain denies the presence of the power of Jesus Christ in your life. It produces no peace or love or joy. It is a faith killer.

Proverbs 23:7 teaches, “For as [one] thinks in his heart, so is he. Jesus shed further light when He said, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (Matthew 15:18). When we possess and obsess the pain and hurt, it will defile our heart and it will destroy our relationships.

It is easy to get caught up in life’s painful experiences, especially when you have more than your fair share. Paul (while himself suffering imprisonment) wrote, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Consider Job, who suffered more pain and loss than any man on earth. Job did not receive healing and restoration until he prayed for his friends.

Job 42:10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

The best way to put aside pain is to care for the needs of someone else. The best way for your inner healing to take place, is to realize Jesus Christ experienced your pain so that you can experience His freedom. Rather than wallow in pity and despair at the suffering before Him, Jesus set His face like a flint to Calvary, and endured the pain for the joy that was set before Him.

Jesus promises us that His joy, the joy that got Him through the crucifixion, is OUR JOY!

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Holidays often bring pain and hurts to the forefront of our thoughts. When someone asks, feel free to express some of the painful events in your life as long as you are doing so in expression of the freedom you have experienced in Jesus Christ. And do not forget to show interest and concern for their experiences, and offer them the encouragement and freedom that only Jesus Christ can give.

Love, to be real, must cost – it must hurt – it must empty us of self. Mother Teresa

Pain is Temporary! I Dare You to take a little PAIN! At the end of pain is SUCCESS!

Listen to this challenge from Eric Thomas!

Pain is Temporary. I Dare You to take a Little Pain from Jim Tompkins on Vimeo.

job-covered-with-soresThen his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” Job 2:9 (ESV)

Satan knew just who to leave behind to comfort Job. His nagging wife. Obviously shamed by her husband’s appearance and the loss of all that she held dear, she begged Job to let go of his integrity and curse God. She hoped he would then die at the hands of God and she could play the part of the mourning widow. Her honor would be restored and she could remarry, perhaps collect on the insurance policy. As it was now, she shared in her husband’s shame. She was scorned by her friends and neighbors.

She obviously did not know her husband as well as God did. Job’s integrity (innocence, character) was so integral with his life that he could not let go, he could not be separated from it. This is witnessed in his response to the catastrophic loss of his possessions and his children. We would have been on the phone with 911, our insurance agent, our Pastor, and anyone else we depended upon. Job simply tore his robe, shaved his head and fell to the ground, worshiping God.job-worships-god

God knew Job. God knew that early on in his life Job had made a decision to place his life, his family, his possessions in the hands of the God he called “El Shaddai”. El Shaddai is used more than 30 times in the book of Job. It means the God who is Almighty. God knew Job because Job trusted Him with everything he owned, including his family, and his reputation, even his future. And whenever we give something to God, He takes it seriously. Job considered his life, his family, his possessions INTEGRAL with the power of Almighty God. This led him to offer sacrifices for his children lest their partying led them to forget God.

Job and everything he had was integral with the power of God. Integral is defined as “essential or necessary for completeness”. God called Job “blameless” (תָּם tām)in the Hebrew. His wife told him to let go of his integrity (תֹּם tōm). Both Hebrew words are from the word תָּמַם (tāmam) which carries the visual image of being ‘whole, complete’. God’s Word is called ‘(‏תָּמִים tāmîm) perfect, complete, whole, converting the soul. David is described as shepherding according to the ‘tōm’ (integrity) of his heart.

davidDavid was a man after God’s own heart. David’s life and character were integral with the Word of God! One only has to read Psalm 119 to know this. Job had no Word of God, no Pentateuch. Yet within his heart he knew God as “El Shaddai”. Even as he sat amidst the garbage and scraped his sores he proclaimed “I know my Redeemer Lives” (19:25). Job’s integrity and blameless character that even God had remarked upon was based entirely upon the Power of El Shaddai, Almighty God. Job could never, never let go of his integrity. His integrity was integral with the character and Power of God.

God chose Abraham and told him that he would be the father of a great multitude of people. For years Abraham waited, but his wife bore him no children. When Abraham was 99 God appeared and revealed himself as “El Shaddai”; “walk before me, and be blameless (תָּמִים tāmîm). The idea of Job’s as well as Abraham’s integrity and blameless character are seen in this word translated ‘complete’. It too shares meaning with ‘tām’ and ‘tōm’. Abram, in order to become Abraham, had to place every possession, every promise of God, every dream of his heart into the hands of “El Shaddai”. Only when he could trust Jehovah as El Shaddai could God consider him ‘blameless’ and able to start this great Jewish nation.abraham

God has always been “El Shaddai” He is Almighty, All Powerful. Yet He only becomes that to us when we trust Him with our possessions, our family, and our lives. We must be INTEGRAL with Him. When we do we become complete, whole, blameless (תָּמַם tāmam). God then becomes complete with us as well. Without our dependence and trust He is simply El. When He is the Shaddai we depend upon, El becomes Jehovah, our LORD.

Is your life integrally intertwined with El Shaddai? Is this Almighty God your LORD, the ONE who makes your life whole, complete. He will be satisfied with nothing less than all of you, all of your possessions, everything in your life. Our God’s name is ‘jealous’. He will allow no other god’s before Him. Have you made the decision of Abraham, David and Job? Have you bowed before Almighty God and given Him ownership of everything and every person in your life? Is your life INTEGRAL with His?

Prayer: Lord, enable me to trust You with my life and everything I have or ever want to have. Give me grace to trust You as my “El Shaddai”. May my life be INTEGRAL with Yours!

broken-clay-potI am really struggling with how Jesus Christ REALLY impacts the everyday life of normal Christians. It seems to me that most Christians see Jesus as just the doorway to God. Sunday is the day we go to meet with this God whom we met by asking Jesus into our life. That seemed to be the case yesterday. I went to a really BIG church yesterday in Houston. Over 20,000 people attend at five different locations. The choir and special singers at the location I was at sang beautiful songs to a God who seemed awesome to them. They sang about how this God can get them through tough times. Then a preacher appeared on an overhead video screen. I guess he was preaching somewhere, just not there.overcome He was preaching on Job and how he overcame tough times. He was able to job-covered-with-soresovercome because he kept on hanging on to this God. The preacher took a clay pot and just threw it down, breaking it all over the stage. He said that’s what this God did to Job. He smashed his life to pieces, and then this God bet Satan that Job would hang on to Him! That seemed a bit wierd to me, but I could see the point of the preacher. In fact, most people could get the point. After all, we all get dealt a few lemons from time to time. Some more than others. We can let the lemon sour us or we can learn to make lemonade. Right? The message was very simple, compassionate, and made sense. BUT DID IT BRING LIFE?

Jesus Christ said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is MY Way, MY Truth and MY Life. He also said that I could never come to this awesome God unless I come through HIM.

i-want-to-see-jesusI understood the message about holding on to God, about letting Him make sense out of all the broken pieces, but I did not see Jesus. I want to see LIFE! And Jesus told me I must see Him to see LIFE. I want to do more than just hold on to God. I want to do more than get advice for how to handle problems. I want to have Life! I want to have His Life! I want to know His way, His truth, His Life. That only happens as I discover and embrace the Life of Jesus in the mundane, every-day events of life.

Jesus told Mary & Martha “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11) He wanted them to know Him, but they only cared about what He could do for them. In verse 32 they said, “If you had been here Lazarus would not have died”. So Jesus wept (vs. 33), because they did not understand it is not what Jesus does for us that impacts our lives, it is WHO HE IS! He is our LIFE! We can have no life apart from Him. He is not just someone to introduce us to God. He is not just someone we casually mention at the end of an opening and closing prayer. Jesus is our LIFE. We can not pretend to know Him on Sunday and NOT EXPERIENCE His Life on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… Jesus is our LIFE, and His Life is meant to be as effortless as breathing.

hold-on-to-godSure, anyone can get through the tough times simply by holding on to God. But NEVER limit yourself to a survivor mentality. That is not Jesus Christ! Jesus is so much more! He is not a Survivor, He is a THRIVER! Jesus is our resurrection as well as our life! His resurrection means we can REIGN with Him. We are reigning over our problems and difficulties. We are reigning even while simply driving to work! Instead of simply trying to hold on to life, Reign with His Life living through you! Jesus is the Lord of every situation, from success to failure, from health to disease. The only way to encounter His Life and allow His Life to be Our Life is to LET GO! Let go of what you think you need to do to survive. See Jesus as your life. Allow Him to reign over every situation in your life. Jesus is Life, and we must allow Him to be our life. The power of His resurrection will flourish in our hearts. Regardless of the pain and suffering and difficulties we encounter.job19_25

Job himself realized this as he wrote in Job 19:25,26 – “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God.”

Even in the midst of his sorrows Job did much more than simply “hang on”. He thrived because his Life was totally tied up in the life of his Redeemer!

jesus-the-way-the-truth-the-lifeDon’t survive, THRIVE! Jesus is LIFE! His Life can be your life. Anyone can find the strength to hang on. How many of us have the strength to let go and trust Him? Let go of your situation and let Jesus be your life. He says “I am Your Way, I am Your Truth, I am Your Way!” If you want to overcome the difficulties of this life, let go and let ME be your life!