Help For You When You Are Hurting


Selected Articles From the Pentecostal Evangel Magazine
shared with you by

Kraig J. Rice

Bread On The Waters (BOW)

TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these internal links will move you down this page)

Questions for God By Hal Donaldson
Bad Things Happen To Good People By Opal Reddin
Behold the man By Richard Dresselhaus
Four Words of Encouragement By George O. Wood
Defeating the past By Carl D. Keyes
More articles to help you when you are hurting

Questions for God
By Hal Donaldson

SPRINGFIELD, MO.
"Life doesnít always turn out the way we think it should. A business deal goes bad. The car breaks down. A relationship turns ugly. A well-paying job is lost. A physical condition produces pain. We lose a loved one.

Certainly life has its share of disappointments. Often itís during times of difficulty that we ask God questions:

ē Why did this happen?
ē Why me?
ē What did I do to deserve this?
ē God, are You angry with me?
ē What good can possibly come from this?
ē Why do the wicked prosper?
ē Will You punish those who hurt me?
ē How long will I suffer?
ē Am I under a spiritual attack?
ē What can I do to end this ordeal?
ē How should I pray?
ē God, are You still there?
Some believers feel ashamed when they pose these kinds of questions to God. They assume it demonstrates a lack of faith. But God is not offended by our questions. In fact, He welcomes the conversation, because our questions often reflect our level of reliance on Him rather than our unbelief.

Jesus implied a question prior to the Crucifixion: "Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me." And, on the cross, He asked, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

God knows our hearts. He understands how our minds work. And He knows, ultimately, that our trust rests in the promise of
Romans 8:28: "In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (NIV).

We shouldnít feel guilty for asking questions of our loving, merciful God. Itís when we resort to mind games, denial, disobedience and silence that we distance ourselves from Him.

God wants and waits to hear our voicesó in the good times and the badó because He loves us."

This article comes from the web at:
http://www.tpe.ag.org/Articles2003/4637_journey.cfm

Bad Things Happen To Good People
By Opal Reddin

"Innocent people seem to suffer a lot. Why do bad things happen to good people? And why do so many bad people seem to have it made?

My godly mother was beaten and left for dead by a young prison parolee. Mother lived five more years, faithfully praying for the manís salvation. Many asked, "Why would God allow such a good woman to suffer such a bad thing?"

God has not given one simple answer that will satisfy everyone, but His Word has given us all we need to know in order to live victoriously
(2 Peter 1:3,4). Being all-powerful and all-loving, He absolutely works all things for good for those who love Him
(Romans 8:28).

Christians are subject to common calamities. If God protected His children from all storms, disappointments, poverty and plagues, people would be tempted to serve Him for selfish reasons, as Satan falsely accused Job of doing
(Job 1:10,11). Good people have no insurance against physical death; even innocent children and babies die. Heartbroken loved ones can be comforted by Godís promise that He sometimes takes the righteous one away "from the evil to come"
(Isaiah 57:1).

When believers sow to the flesh, they reap bad consequences;
Galatians 6:7 was written to Christians. God chastens His children
(Hebrews 12:5) to correct wrong attitudes and prevent sin. Paul suffered a painful infirmity, "a messenger of Satan" to keep him from pride
(2 Corinthians 12:7).

Fiery trials come to purify our faith
(1 Peter 1:7). Tribulation is essential to perseverance, and these produce character, the only thing we can take with us into heaven for eternity
(Roman 5:3,4). As believers, we share in the "fellowship of his suffering"
(Philippians 3:10). The same world that hated Him hates us
(John 15:18-21); all who are godly will suffer persecution
(2 Timothy 3:12). The sufferings of Christ abound in good people so they can know the comfort God gives. Thenó and only then ó are they prepared to comfort others
(2 Corinthians 1:3-6).

Why do the wicked prosper? Job wrestled with this question
(21:7-15). Psalm 73 tells how Davidís steps nearly slipped because he was envious when he saw the prosperity of the wicked
(verses 2 and 3).

Jesus explained why bad people prosper. He said the world loves its own
(John 15:19). Satanís people help each other. From the far-reaching Mafia to local scams, bad people shrewdly cheat others out of wealth
(Luke 16:8). Abraham reminded Dives (the rich man) that in his life on earth he received good things
(Luke 16:25).

For the present, God allows the devil to be "the god of this world"
(2 Corinthians 4:4). He can give the kingdoms of the world to whomsoever he will unless God overrules
(Luke 4:6).

Godís goodness toward the sinner is intended to lead him to repentance; if he spurns Godís mercies, he stores up greater wrath for himself at the final judgment
(Romans 2:4,5).

Godís final answer to these questions is in the Cross. Jesus used the ultimate "bad thing" to crush the serpentís head
(Colossians 2:15; Genesis 3:15). Soon Godís people will be in the only place in the universe that is totally free of all bad things; all who follow Satan will have lost all that is good forever."

This article comes from the web at:
http://www.tpe.ag.org/Life_QA/Bad_things.cfm

Behold the man
By Richard Dresselhaus

"Does anyone really understand?" you may ask.

For Pilate it was a pesky problem. Rabble-rousing opponents of Jesus wanted to vent their anger and frustration on a seemingly innocent Man. A good Man. A teacher. A worker of miracles. Finally Pilate said it: "I find no basis for a charge against him" (John 19:4, NIV).

Then Jesus appeared wearing both a crown of thorns and a purple robe. At this sight Pilate said: "Behold the man!"
(John 19:5, KJV). To him it was a polite invocation; to us it is a revelation of life-changing truth.

Does anyone understand? Godís answer is, "Behold the Man!" This is the One who alone understands. This remarkable God-Man tasted pain, sorrow, and grief for us all. His suffering at all points credentials Him. Now we can say, "No one understands like Jesus."

This truth was built into the fiber of my life from earliest days. There were times when friends, teachers and parents did not understand, but I knew Jesus did. He is a safe harbor in which I find refuge in turbulent times.

But how? He was born 2,000 years ago, raised in an Eastern culture, and exposed only to a simple and nomadic life. Untraveled. Provincial. Isolated. Yet He understands.

It is not "Behold the Son," the invocation of deity. Or "Behold the Lamb," the salutation of redemption. Or "Behold the King," the celebration of royalty. It is the invitation, "Behold the Man," that assures me He understands.

"Behold the Man!" When grief coagulates and takes your breath away; when loneliness stalks your soul; when pain squeezes your ability almost beyond endurance; when sorrows like sea billows rolló behold the Man.

He is perfect in His humanity. Jesus is not only God, He is also Man. He is the convergence, personification and embodiment of all that is humanity. He is the authentic representation of our race.

Think of it this way. You have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, and in just 20 generations potentially more than 1 million progenitors. You and I are more the product of man than of our immediate families. I am more man than Dresselhaus. I celebrate first my humanity.

So it is and more with Jesus. He is the very expression of our race, our humanity and our identity with mankind. Someone said: "In Him all the lines of our common humanity converge."

That Jesus is perfect God and perfect Man is well attested in the Scriptures. The genealogies speak of it:
Matthew 1:1-17 traces the royal line of Jesus back to Abraham;
Luke 3:23-38 traces the natural line back to Adam. Here is clear recognition of deity and humanity finding one expression in Jesus.

Jesus called himself Man: "You are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God"
(John 8:40, NIV). Others called Him Man. "For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did Godís grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!"
(Romans 5:15).

Notice that Jesus possessed all the attributes of humanity.
His soul sorrowed. (See John 11:33.) He hungered. (See Matthew 4:2.)
He thirsted. (See John 19:28.) He grew weary. (See John 4:6.)
He was angered. (See Mark 3:5.) And He wept. (See John 11:35.) In all ways Jesus was perfect in His humanity.

Strip away His humanity, and I have no one to understand and no one to stand in my place. Strip away His humanity, and I am lost and have surrendered my Savior.

Jesus is ideal in His example. Listen to the idealism expressed by the writer to the Hebrews: "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted"
(Hebrews 2:18). "We have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we areó yet was without sin"
(Hebrews 4:15). Ideal in His example.

In what ways are you tempted? To think more highly of yourself than you ought? To covet what belongs to another? To indulge yourself, surrendering to urges, appetites and cravings? To parade your goodness to be seen by others? To explode in anger, retaliation, dominance and control? Jesus knows. You may say, "But my temptations are unspeakable, insurmountable, shameful, perverted and disgusting." Maybe. But Jesus knows all about them.

"Pastor, you have no idea of the power behind my obsessive, addictive and compulsive behavior." Maybe not. But Jesus has gone through those temptations exactly and fully. And He did it without sin.

The pull of alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, pornography, lust, greedó it is all familiar to Jesus. I do not know when, perhaps in the wilderness confrontation with Satan, but Jesus stood in your place. Experientially. Existentially. Vicariously.

When I minister to alcoholics, I am only partially successful. As quickly as possible I refer them to our support group which reaches out to persons dealing with substance abuse. Friends in the group have been where the alcoholics are, and they know.

But Jesus need never refer. Not only that, but "He is able to help those who are being tempted"
(Hebrews 2:18). His is not only an expressed empathy; He possesses in himself a transferable power and authority. You can lay your indulgences, cravings, urges, addictions, obsessions and appetites at His feet. He is able to help.

His perfect humanity and His ideal example open for us a new level of motivation in our devotion to the Father. We are drawn by the passion of Jesusí obedience: "I have come... to do the will of him who sent me"
(John 6:38). By His relentless call to prayer: "Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you"
(John 17:1). And by His spirit of resignation expressing itself ultimately at the cross: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit"
(Luke 23:46). Jesus showed us how man should love God.

Do you have a strong heart after God? Do you hunger and thirst for Him? Is the passion of your heart to know Him in power?

"Behold the man!" You will find His devotion to be irresistible in its challenge.

It is wonderfully and gloriously true: No one understands like Jesus."

This article comes from the web at:
http://www.tpe.ag.org/Articles2003/4641_dressel.cfm

Four Words of Encouragement
By George O. Wood

"On September 11, 2001, disaster and death flew into the World Trade Center in New York City and the hearts of all Americans.

Perhaps an airplane of a different kind has recently flown into your life and exploded. Youíve lost a loved one, a family member is on drugs or alcohol, a son or daughter languishes in prison, youíve been laid off from your job, or just learned you have cancer. Someone close to you is dying from AIDS or an affliction of a different kind. Your spouse walked out on you. Or, your retirement fund has disappeared in investment quicksand. Your Christian faith has not met with approval from others.

No matter what your disaster or difficulty,
Romans 8:18-39 provides four great encouragements for every believer walking through dark valleys or along lonesome trails. These encouragements show why it is always the right decision to trust God!

The apostle Paul wrote the Roman letter to believers who, within six years, would be crucified by the Roman Emperor Nero, their bodies doused with pitch and set afire to illuminate Neroís gardens by night.

Paul writes to them and to usó to every believer who, despite faith and fervent prayer, finds that God is not delivering them from their adverse circumstances. Paul uses words like these to describe our frailty in such moments: "sufferings"
(verse 18, NIV), "frustration" (verse 20),
"groaning" (verses 22 and 23), "weakness" (verse 26),
"trouble" and "hardship" (verse 35).

COMING GLORY OUTWEIGHS PRESENT GROANING
(Romans 8:18-25)

Think of an old-fashioned pair of scales. Put groaning on one scale and glory on the other. Which one is heavier? Which one tips the scale?

We load up groaning on the first scale. Itís so heavy. We think nothing could ever outweigh more than our present load of sorrow. We notice weíre not the only ones groaning. Even nature groans! All around us, plant and animal life is dying
(verse 21).

Surprising, isnít it- to find the word "groaning" ascribed to Spirit-filled believers? Have you noticed? The apostle Paul tells us that not only is nature groaning, but we ourselves
(verse 22). Lest we think he mistakenly used the term, he repeats it again, "We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly"
(v. 23).

But, wait! The groaning is the groaning of a mother in the pangs of childbirth! Thatís a different kind of groan. Itís not the groan that comes when something terrible is to follow; itís the groaning that comes before the great joy!

So, Paul says, "Look at your scales again. Youíve put your groaning on one side, and itís tipped the scale downward. Now, take from Godís truth about the future the word Ďglory.í Glory! That five-letter word sums up all the wonder that awaits us as the children of God: the resurrection of the body, eternal life, our home in heaven, reunion with our saved loved ones, our joyous appearance before the throne of God. Glory! Take glory and put it on the remaining empty scale. Now, watch the scales tip. The glory will outweigh the groaning."

Thatís our first great encouragementó donít lose sight of the glorious future!

The late Christian writer Joe Bayly told about losing his three sons: one as a baby, one at the age of 5 from leukemia and the last at age 17 from an auto accident. Sometime later he darted out of his house on a cold winter day in Chicago to get his mail. As he stood by the mailbox on the side of the road, he quickly scanned the correspondence until he spotted a Burpee Seed Catalog on the bottomó bright zinnias on the cover and huge tomatoes on the back.

He said, "For a few moments I was oblivious to the cold, delivered from it. I leafed through the catalog, tasting corn and cucumbers, smelling roses. I saw the freshly plowed earth, smelled it, let it run through my fingers. For those few brief moments, I was living in springtime and summer, winter past. Then, the cold penetrated my bones and I ran back to the house."

Bayly says that later, as he reflected on that experience, it struck him that both Christians and non-Christians feel the biting cold. Yet, there is a difference! As believers, in our cold times, we have a seed catalog, Godís Word. "We open it," Bayly says, "and smell the promised spring, eternal spring."

I think itís this very way of looking at things that Paul has in mind when he encourages us with this truth: The coming glory will outweigh the present groaning.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS HELPING (Romans 8:26,27)

There are some things we know and others we donít. "We know that the whole creation has been groaning"
(verse 22), and "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose"
(verse 28).

Is there anything we donít know? Yes, indeed! "We do not know what we ought to pray"
(verse 26). Does that surprise you? The great apostle Paul saying that sometimes he was stumped about how to pray!

Now, Paul does not say, "We never know what to pray for." His own prayers, recorded in
Ephesians Chapters 1 and 3, tell us his prayers were profound. He gives us a sample of a specific prayer request in
Romans 1:8-15. We also know how to pray as we follow Jesusí prayer of
John Chapter 17.

The "we do not know" applies to situations when we are groaning, when despite our most ardent pleas and exercise of faith, deliverance is not forthcoming. Weíre stumped. How do we then pray?

Paul reminds us that the Holy Spirit is helping; Heís praying through us with unutterable words. Most likely Paul is referring to praying in other tongues (1 Corinthians 14:15), but the phrase can also be inclusive of an inarticulate sigh or inexpressible emotion.

When our daughter, Evangeline, was a toddler I stood at the door of her room late one evening, watching her sleep. I felt overcome by love for her, and began praying for her. I thought to myself, Sheís not aware of my praying for her. Then, I felt the Lord whisper to my spirit, George, neither have you been aware of how many times I have prayed for you.

We are possessed with this wonderful truth: In our prayers, God is helping us. Not only is the Spirit interceding from within us, but Jesus also sits at the right hand of God (Romans 8:34), always living to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25) as our Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1). We therefore have an Intercessor in the heart and an Intercessor in the heavens.

GOD IS WORKING FOR THE GOOD (Romans 8:28,29)

Paul does not say, "Everything that happens to us is good." Some events prove extremely destructive. Rather, the apostle declares, "God works good in all things."

Your feelings arenít whatís at issue here. Some years ago, John F. Kennedy Jr. felt he was piloting his plane through clouds right side up. His feelings led him astrayó the instruments said he was flying the plane downward into the ocean and death.

Paul does not say, "We feel that in all things God is working for the good." Oh, no. He says, "We know."

A missionary friend and his family experienced a horrible trauma on a remote Pacific island that involved a savage attack against them in their home by four thugs in the middle of the night. In later reflection on that terrifying experience and the emotional aftermath, my friend said, "We learned to distinguish our feelings from our knowings."

Note three things about the fact God works for the good in our lives.

1. The comprehensiveness of the working: "All things." Did you ever try eating a tablespoonful of baking soda. Doesnít taste very good, does it? But, put that same baking soda in a chocolate cake mix. The cake wonít taste good without it. Some things, taken by themselves, donít taste good, but when mixed in with other things and fired in the oven, the result is good. God is working to transform all the distasteful ingredients of your life into a final recipe of good.

2. The goal of the working: "for good." Theodore E. Steinway, the late president of Steinway and Sons, once noted, "In one of our concert grand pianos, 243 taut strings exert a pull of 40,000 pounds on an iron frame. It is proof that out of great tension may come great harmony."

In the 1980s a terrible wildfire burned more than 1.2 million acres in the greater Yellowstone area. Several years later foresters discovered the new seedling density was much greater than the original density. The reason? Some lodgepole seeds require fire to open them. Perhaps a fire has burned in your life recently, but trust God to work it for good, that nothing other than the blazing heat of circumstance could produce such an abundance of later good.

3. The limitation of the working: "who love him, who have been called." This encouragement is not open to all humanity. Only those who trust in Christ are able to rely upon the promise of Godís working good in all things.

GOD IS FOR US (Romans 8:31-39)

Who is against us? Sin? Certainly! The devil? Surely! Death and hell? Absolutely! But, not God!

Here are the answers to the five great questions Paul raises:

1. Answer "No one" to the question "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
2. Answer "Yes" to the question "Will he not also graciously give us all things?"
3. Answer "Not God" to the question "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?"
4. Answer "Not Jesus" to the question "Who is he that condemns?"
5. Answer "No one and no circumstance" to the question "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

Itís the very last question, regarding potential separation from Christ, that Paul spends the most time answering. He rejects any one or all of seven adversities that try to separate us from Christ: trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword. Heís convinced that the polarities he mentions likewise have no ability to divorce us from Christ: death or life, angels or demons, present or future, powers, height or depth, or anything else in all creation.

There may be times when we feel that everyone and everything are against us, but there is One who is always for us.

At the end of each baseball season, I review the final standings for each team in the American and National leagues. My theory is that the teams at the top of the standings win more games on the road than they lose.

Iíve discovered, over the years, that about two-thirds of the major-league baseball teams actually win more games at home than on the road, but only one-third win more games away than at home. Simply putó champions consistently win on the road. Losers more easily win at home.

When Paul writes this Roman letter, he addresses all of us believers who are playing an away game. As the old gospel song put it, "This world is not my home, Iím just aí passing through." Paul stated it more elegantly in Philippians 3:20: ďOur citizenship is in heaven."

The real winners, whether in major league baseball or among Christians, are those who do not get distracted by a hostile environment, or become discouraged when the cheers turn to jeers.

The entire Christian life is one long road game, and these encouragements are given to help us win.

At the end of this magnificent section of Scripture, Paul says, "We are more than conquerors." The expression "more than conquerors" translates the Greek word hypernike. Nike comes directly across to us as a modern brand of shoes and sportswear. The word means "conqueror" or "winner." The word hyper attaches to terms like hyperactive and hypersensitivity. It carries the idea of "above and beyond."

When you put the words hyper and nike together, you get the idea of a super-winner. Not someone who wins the race by a whisker, but by a mileó a hyper-winner!

Take these four great encouragementsó the glory will outweigh the groaning, the Holy Spirit is helping, God is working for the good, and God is for usó and win the race of life, not by a hairbreadth but by the margin of a super-winner."

This article comes from the web at:
http://www.tpe.ag.org/Articles2003/4657wood.cfm

Defeating the past
By Carl D. Keyes

"The phone call came at 1 p.m. "George didnít come home last night," the voice said.

"When was the last time someone saw him?" I asked. After 15 minutes of trying to figure things out, I thought for the first time that Georgeís drug habit had gotten the best of him. Eleven days of anguish later, my worst fear came true. My brother of 44 years was never coming home. His wife and friends had called me numerous times over the past three years and begged me to help. Occasionally I would respond with a trip to their home, only to find a remorseful and tortured soul. I felt there was nothing I could do. But after George had left this earth I realized there were a thousand things I could have done.

Guilt and regret. They never seem to go away. Sure, there are seasons of forgetting, times of victory, and even days of denial, but when the truth is told, I still feel like it was my fault. "I should have done more" or "If only": These are the types of phrases that plummet people into the vortex of guilt and clothe them in a garment of regret. It is a place of alienation, loneliness and depression. "I will lift up my eyes to the hillsó from whence comes my help?"
(Psalm 121:1, NKJV). You look, but canít see any help. As I searched the Scriptures for relief, I found an interesting passage in
2 Corinthians 12. I believe God was showing me how He takes "all things [and] work[s them] together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose"
(Romans 8:28).

In the 2 Corinthians passage, Paul had a "thorn in the flesh" ó a harassing pain, an emotional or spiritual difficulty, some relentless and bothersome ache. The Scripture tells us it was a "messenger of Satan"
(2 Corinthians 12:7). When we translate "messenger," it comes up "angel." The words "of Satan" tell us it was an angel of darkness, or a demon. External supernatural forces were at work harassing Paul. They had become a thorn in his flesh and were "buffeting" him. Buffeting refers to the waves slapping against a bulkhead. This relentless assault by a demonic influence drove Paul to speak to the Lord about it three times.

I wonder if Satan was playing on Paulís past. In Acts 8:1 we see that "Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him [Stephen] to death" (NASB). The Scripture says that Stephen,
a man "of wisdom" (Acts 6:3), "faith" (verse 5),
"grace and power" (verse 8), was brutally stoned. Saul, who was later called Paul, stood by and watched. Could this have been the external supernatural force doing an evil work in the life of Paul? This demon who would not let him forget what he had done? A constant reminder of who he used to be?

God was using Paul in a magnificent way. He was giving him special revelations, using him to teach, to testify, and to establish the Early Church, to mention a few things. But this thorn in the flesh that buffeted him kept rising up in Paulís life and ministry. We all anguish over past sins. We all wish we could go back and change a hundred things in our lives. But some memories will not go away.

It was December 30, 1981. My two-year marriage to Donna was racing to an end. My poor state of mind, constant drinking, drug use, drug trafficking and the mental abuse I inflicted on my wife were leading us to divorce. A friend invited us away for a weekend and, as the Lord would have it, two days later we were standing at an altar in Augusta, Maine, giving our hearts to the Lord. New Yearís Day 1982 I was totally delivered of drugs and alcohol addiction and never had the smallest desire to do them again.

We set our sights on a new life. I heard Dr. Mark Rutland say that "there is no greater patriot than a refugee." How right he is! Donna and I now have two boys, Matthew and Ryan, and have been married 23 years. We pastor a wonderful church in mid-town Manhattan.

On the other hand, my brother Georgeó the best man at my wedding, the first to come and help when someone was in need, the first to take his last dollar and give it awayó struggled with a drug addiction that eventually killed him. You see, he also received Christ, but was not totally delivered as I was. He was terrorized by a cocaine addiction every waking moment of his much-too-short life. I was set free of a lifestyle that eventually would have gotten the better of me. And George battled it out at the altar of his church every Sunday. Iím alive with a beautiful wife and two fine young men for sons. George left behind a wonderful wife and two boys, ages 2 and 4. Talk about guilt.

So, why was I delivered and George wasnít? I donít know. But there is one thing that I do know. Life isnít fair! God never promised us fairness; He promised grace. Guilt and regret will not go away until you hear and receive the word of the Lord. "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness"
(2 Corinthians 12:9). Yes, there will be difficulties. Yes, you will have regrets. Yes, you will have guilt heaped upon you as if Satan himself placed it there. But God has given us the power to overcome these feelings through His wonderful grace. Grace poured out on us through the blood of His own Son. Grace so great and love so wonderful that no "thorn in the flesh," no "messenger of Satan," no relentless "buffeting" of the enemy can rob us of these gifts. And when we ensconce ourselves in these tools of the enemy we give our victory away and deny the power of Godís grace.

King David suffered with similar symptoms of guilt and regret. When the prophet Nathan pointed his finger at David in
2 Samuel 12:7 and said, "You are the man!" conviction fell upon him and he repented. But the guilt was eating him up on the inside. He allowed himself to be cursed and scorned by Shimei in
2 Samuel 16 and walked away from his God-given calling as he dealt with his failures as a king, as Godís servant, as a husband and as a father.

David cast himself out of the society God had placed him in. He felt worthless, empty and contemptible. He had dishonored his position and his people. He had reached the bottom. Now the only place to look was up. David worked his way through his anguish and, somehow, through the clouds of his despair, he encouraged himself and once again saw a glimmer of his merciful and forgiving God. Needless to say, God never gave up on David. He saw a redemptive quality in him when David could see nothing but his own failures.

Eventually, in Psalm 32:5, David mentions three important actions:
(1) He acknowledges his sin,
(2) he does not hide his iniquity, and
(3) he confesses his transgressions.
Afterward David comes to the understanding that God not only forgave him, but He also released him of "the guilt of [his] sin." The power of Godís grace is greater than the guilt of our sin. Now this is worth rejoicing about! In verse 7 David says, "You shall surround me with songs of deliverance" (NKJV). Then in verse 10 we read, "But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him" (NASV). David finally sees his value in the Kingdom, even with his shortcomings.

Looking at ourselves in a guilt-ridden manner is not the way the Lord looks at us. He thinks so much of us and loves us so much that it was worth the life of His Son. His love is without end and without boundaries. We are the ones who limit Godís grace and love by not receiving all that He has for us. We must reach down deep inside ourselves and begin to see ourselves as God sees us.

God invites you today to see yourself as He sees you. Look deep into the eyes of the Savior and you will see the reflection of your own beauty. The apostle Paul did it. King David did it. I did it. You can do it too."

From Trusting God, compiled by George Wood, Hal Donaldson and Ken Horn (Springfield, Mo.: Onward Books, 2003). Reprinted with permission.
Available from Gospel Publishing House (item #036890).
This article comes from the web at
http://www.tpe.ag.org/Articles2003/4666_keyeslead.cfm

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  • More encouragement when you are hurting

  • The 7 I Wills that God has promised you

  • How to overcome discouragement

  • Keep looking to God for deliverance

  • A Bible Study About Miracles
    Do you need a miracle to happen in your life? God still works miracles. Maybe He has one for you...

  • Testimonies
    Here are various testimonies that will help you with your faith.

  • You are the apple of God's eye


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    As of November 16, 2005