Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

When Troubles Shower You


Today’s sermon was titled, “Out of the Whirlwind.” It was presented by a guest pastor, Rev. Carol Shellenberger.  As is my habit, I listened to the message and took notes poetically. The message was based on Job 1:1, and 2:1-11. Through my filters and personal experience, here is what I heard her say:

Job was faithful and blameless.
He was upright, loving and kind.
God was praising him to Satan,
“Job’s the most respected man you’ll find.”

Satan told the Lord, “Job is protected;
He has everything and is richly blessed.
If you take it all away from him,
He will curse you to your face like all the rest.”

So God allowed Satan to do whatever
Against all he owned, and eventually to him.
For 37 chapters, Satan took his health and wealth.
Job’s life was gruesome; he felt doomed and grim.

Finally in the 38th chapter, God spoke to Job.
Essentially His message was, “I am God, you know?
Where were you when I made the earth?
Who are you to talk so much and question so?”

It wasn’t God telling Job not to complain.
It was God setting boundaries and establishing power.
God is indeed all-powerful, The Omnipotent.
Job responded, “No one can oppose your mighty shower.”

It is alright to shout and complain
When life showers you with troubles galore.
God doesn’t promise you freedom from trouble;
He promises you PEACE and so much more.

I know my notes only partially reflect the message the preacher intended today. But, I think I caught the flavor of her message. Job has always been a troublesome book for me. It doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of God. Not the loving, compassionate God I want to turn to in time of trouble! So, when troubles shower you, how do you find comfort in studying Job? Misery loves company? Job survived it so I can, too? Nothing is so bad that with faith and perseverance, we can’t endure it?

I have a friend with a brain tumor. Her pain is so intense some weeks that a shower is not possible. The water hitting her body hurts too much. There is no cure. It’s inoperable.

Another friend who was the caregiver for her mom who had pancreatic cancer, lost her five-year-old daughter in an accident just weeks before her mom died. A month later my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A cousin whom I dearly love has been through the trauma of bankruptcy. She and her husband lost their home and their business in the recent economic downturn. From a position of wealth, security, and family harmony, she suddenly was homeless, broke, and facing marital difficulties as a result of the financial strain.

You have friends or loved ones, family members, neighbors who struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds, too, don’t you? How do they cope? Some take seem to manage better than others. What makes the difference? Job cried out to God, but he never lost faith. He complained bitterly, but he never stopped believing. In the end, God replaced his home, his animals and crops, his wealth and his health. The family he lost could not be replaced, but he found new love and he found peace again.

When troubles shower you, the message of Job is this: do not let the sorrow overtake you. Do not let the shower wash away your faith in God. Keep your conversation open with God. Complain bitterly, question His motives, ask WHY as often as you want – but in the end, know God is God. He will not forsake you. Heaven awaits.

The bulletin at church had a very meaningful Prayer of Confession followed by an Assurance of Pardon. Let me share it with you.

“Redeemer God, we like to see ourselves as Job saw himself – blameless, upright and God fearing. We would like to present ourselves before You, worthy of Your bountiful love and care, but we know we are not. Some of us avoid all news that is bad. Some of us imagine that there is little news that is good. Some days we exchange places with each other.

Forgive our customary silence that says nothing and does less. Forgive our usual despair that dreams of shadows and hopes for night. Forgive our lingering doubt that wonders where You are. Help us to hear You calling us in the whirlwind, reminding us to whom we belong. Come, Spirit of God, to inspire our speech, our vision, and our trust.

God’s hope is more tenacious than our despair;
God’s joy is more resilient than our grief;
God’s love is more compelling than our disgust.
By grace, we are gathered to God.
By faith, we rest in God’s promises of forgiveness and restoration.
Friends, believe the Good News.
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.”

God is with you.

By God’s Omnipotent Power, be at peace.

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Sharing Your Faith Journey


Sharing Your Faith Journey with

Yesterday I met Lois Olmstead. She shared her faith journey with me and a group of my friends who are Senior Companions in my part of Montana. I was so inspired by her and her message that I checked out her website today and ordered a couple more copies of her book, EnJOYing the Journey. She is a humorous, genuine, authentic, inspiring Christian lady who has survived breast cancer and has lived to tell her faith story. The sub-title of this one (of three) of her books is, “90 spirit-lifters for the potholes of life.” Check out this link and fall in love with our Lord all over again as you fall in love with “Time Out With Lois.” She has a gift – – – and she shares it so beautifully!

Let Us Pray


In the wake of the horrendous events in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday, the Rev. Jean Johnson in Ennis, Montana sent this prayer to her friends. Thoughtful and well-written, it is worth sharing.

Let us pray…………
Loving God,
you are nearest when we need you most.
In this hour of sorrow we turn to you,
trusting in your loving mercy.
Your love cares for us in life
and watches over us in death.
We bless you for our Savior’s joy in little children
and for the assurance that of such is the kingdom of heaven.
In our sorrow,
make us strong to commit ourselves, and those we love,
to your unfailing care.
In our perplexity,
help us to trust where we cannot understand.
There are days when the burdens we carry are heavy on our shoulders and weigh us down,
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies gray and threatening,
when our lives have no music in them,
and our hearts are heavy with pain
and we have lost courage.
Flood the path with light,
turn our eyes to Your promises,
tune our hearts to brave music;
gives us a  sense of companionship and community;
quicken our spirits
that we may be able to encourage all who journey with us on the road of life.
Write Your blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart,
there to remain so indelibly engraven,
that no prosperity,
no adversity,
shall ever move me from Your love.
Be to me a strong tower of defense,
a comforter in tribulation,
a deliverer in distress,
a very present help in trouble
and a guide  through the many temptations and dangers of this life.
In the name of Jesus the Christ we pray………….   Amen.

Looking for Tranquility?


Sermon by Pastor Jean Johnson
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
Based on scripture – Mark 10:35-45
Notes by JanBeek –  October 21, 2012

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Are you looking for tranquility?
Is the church your source of peaceful speech?
Is Jesus Christ the answer to all your troubles, friend?
If you itch or hurt, can the church’s arms reach?

Jesus’ disciples, James and John, believed
Sitting at Christ’s side was their goal.
Rubbing elbows with God would produce
Peace and comfort to fill every hole.

Jesus told His disciples they were clueless.
They didn’t understand the pain He’d endure.
They told Him, “Yes, we can drink of Your cup.
We can be baptized with You, oh sure!”

Were they really able to share it all?
Like them, we need to understand:
Following requires sharing the suffering,
Living with the pain discipleship demands.

To proclaim the Good News is to tell
The Truth of what God’s message includes.
Walking and talking like Jesus means
Nails and the cross, as well as the love He exudes.

Are you looking for tranquility?
Is the Peace of Christ what you need?
Remember that path is rough and tough.
But the pain is worth the cost –  indeed!

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