Work

Don’t Waste Your Pain

macbook pro displaying group of people

I heard a preacher say, “God never wastes our pain.” The moment I heard this, it resonated in me. This statement is true. And, as the way God works, I had just finished reading:

But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. – Acts 14:19-20

Suffering

The apostle Paul suffered much for the cause of Christ. Most of his Christian life, he was a man on the move. I relate to that. During my career, I traveled all over America and around the world. I can’t tell you how many times I would be someplace and longed to share it with my wife and kids, but they were home, and I wasn’t. Sorry, that’s a rabbit trail.

The apostle Paul suffered. He was a man on the move, ministering in places that had never even heard of Jesus. Paul wrote:

and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him will see,
    and those who have never heard will understand.”

– Romans 15:20-21

The Prison Epistles

Paul was a man on the move, but God locked him up in prison. Can you imagine how painful this must have been for Paul? No longer could he get back on the road to visit and encourage the churches he planted. So, from prison, Paul wrote. And from Paul’s pain came Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Without these four Prison Epistles, we would not have:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Ephesians 2:8-9

Now let’s turn our attention to you. If you’re a Christian, what pains do you have? Now name one. “I have a broken marriage.” “My child hates me.” “I have cancer.” Now that you’ve pulled your pain out of the clutter in your mind, pray, and ask Jesus to show you how to use your pain. Ask Him to give you opportunities to use your pain for the good of others.

Let God use Your Pain

Yes, ask our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, to heal the cause of your pain, but don’t let your pain be wasted. This same preacher said, “Do what you can with what you have where you’re at.” If you have pain, then that’s what you have. Ask God to use your pain.

Be bold in your faith in Jesus. It’s okay to say, “I’m a Christian. I have MS, and I’m scared.” But don’t go on that journey alone; don’t waste your pain.

Talk to people, go to support groups, and say, “I know Jesus is with me and He cares for me. I’ll pray for anybody that’s scared.” Put yourself out there. The Holy Spirit lives in you. Life is in you, even if you’re dying. God will use your pain to point others to Jesus, to pour hope into people that desperately need hope.

Don’t linger in your pain, but until your pain is gone, let God use it to help people.

You may like: Wasted for the Lord

Are You A Project Person?

project

My wife is a project person. At any one time, she always has two or three projects that she’s doing, and that doesn’t count the people-projects that God gives her. We’ve been married a long time, and she’s never run out of projects.

Project People

Nehemiah was also a project person. One day he heard about the distress of his fellow Jews in Jerusalem as well as the condition of the city itself. When he heard this news, God called him at risk his own life to tackle the restoration of the people and the city.

As soon as Nehemiah hears the need, we see Nehemiah fasting and praying “for days” for God’s guidance (Nehemiah 1:4). Next, when Nehemiah understands that God has laid this work upon him, we read, “…And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” Nehemiah 2:5

God gave Nehemiah a project. For Nehemiah, it was a massive project, and one larger than he probably understood, at first. Nehemiah’s assignment is how God works. And if you have placed your faith in Jesus, then God will have projects for you, too. How do you know when God has a project for you? It usually starts in your heart.

A Burden from the Lord

Old-timers call it a burden from the Lord. It’s a heaviness in your heart and a reoccurring thought in your mind. When you become aware of it, you begin to take it to the Lord in prayer, and you find an unusual receptiveness; access to God that may not be typical for you.

When you receive an assignment from God, you should keep at least two things in mind. First, God shares His glory with no one (Isaiah 42:8). All the honor and praise for your work belongs to God, alone. Secondly, where God guides, He provides. This second statement can promptly be confirmed by reading the books of Nehemiah, Ezra, and Esther.

Will you be a Project Person?

As you go about your daily life, keep your spiritual ears open. I do not doubt that our Lord Jesus will speak to you by the Holy Spirit and give you projects to advance the kingdom of God.

Photo credit: VFS Digital Design on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/god-loves-you-no-less/

A Yoke is a Tool for Work

a yoke of oxen

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)

Matthew 11:29 seems to be a key verse for me. I’ve written several devotionals about this, I’ve even preached this a couple of times and taught this in Sunday School classes. I find so much value in this one verse. Today I’d like us to consider the first four words, “Take my yoke upon you.” 

A Yoke is a Tool

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a boss that was a pleasure to work for, but I was blessed with one. I took a job at a new company so I had a new boss and it was like a breath of fresh air. My boss knew what he was doing.

In my previous job, every day was filled with blaming, politics, and crises. With my new boss, we still had our share of problems, but the attitude was different. We focused on solving problems rather than finding scapegoats. I think this employment experience has helped me to better appreciate Matthew 11:29.

We Still Have Work

Notice in this verse that Jesus didn’t say, “Take your old yoke off and go play in God’s pasture.” There’s no intent from our Lord that  His followers will be free to wander wherever their hearts take them.  We still have work to do!

We still have a yoke, we still have a Master, and we still have our Master’s work to do. Christ’s promise is that He will not be a cruel taskmaster, He will be reasonable and understanding, and He will ensure that we won’t be chasing our tails; we won’t be exhausted from futility; we won’t be burdened with responsibilities while being withheld from the authority and tools to fulfill our assignments. Jesus will equip us for the work He gives us.

How wonderful Jesus is to those that are His. We find rest for our souls in our work for our Lord. It’s kind of like getting a new boss that’s really good at taking care of His people.

Photo by GUNJAN BHATTACHARJEE on Unsplash

You may like:
https://www.rockexcavationservice.org/craftsmen-at-work/

Fathers

Fathers

What I shared last Sunday, “Happy Husband’s Day” was what I felt God wanted to be said. It might have only been for one person, but Our Father works in the details, not just with grand plans. Anyway, today I’m sharing my devotional about Fathers.

I grew up surrounded by tools. Plows, bush hogs, and rakes for farming, crescent wrenches, ratchet sets and spark plug gap gauges for auto repairs, saws, rasps, and drill sets for carpentry, wire strippers, screwdrivers and pliers for electrical work, slide rules, multi-meters and IBM FORTRAN books for teaching. Just about anything I wanted to make, Dad had a tool for it.

fathers tools
Electronics

If I couldn’t figure out how to use the tool, then he’d teach me. (Nearly) Always I was encouraged to master the use of these tools. Along with tools for building “things” Dad gave me tools to build my character, to bless others, to build a family, and to build my life founded on Jesus Christ.

Why all those tools, you may ask? Because the role of fathers is to “beget.” One of the definitions of “beget” is “to bring into the world.” Dad’s tools “brought into the world” countless things, both seen and unseen. That’s what a good father does. That’s what I’ve attempted. So, we should be encouraged by 2 Corinthians 6:18 (ESV)  where God says,

and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.

Now that’s good news!


You may also be interested in our devotional: “Craftsmen at Work”

Photo by Carlos Irineu da Costa on Unsplash
Photo by Nicolas Thomas on Unsplash

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