3 Kinds of Suffering

August 25, 2021 (Post #62)

(From Journal #9:  April 2, 2007)

I listened to a sermon today that, quite frankly, didn’t fully align with my spirit.  It was about suffering.  Lord, none of us will ever truly understand how much You suffered for our sins, and I cannot begin to express my gratefulness for what You did on the Cross.  Any suffering we experience in this world is not worthy to be measured.

Yet, I’m conflicted about some parts of the message.  I think there’s a difference between suffering for the glory and purposes of the Kingdom vs. suffering at the hands of the enemy or from our own bad choices.  Some people assume everything that happens to us must be Your will.  You are sovereign and in Your sovereignty, You gave us free will.  Honestly, Lord, this seems like a “cop-out” for not accepting responsibility for the consequences of our sin and bad decisions, or for not using the authority Jesus has given to His children to stand against the enemy.  This seems to make it easy to just blame You for everything, which doesn’t require much faith, fight or personal accountability.  This is how I see the “categories” of suffering and if I’m wrong, please help me to discern the error of my thinking.

Kingdom Suffering:  You told us that in this world we will have trials, tribulation and persecution.  We live in a fallen world full of evil and the people of God are a target.  Christians all over the world are persecuted, even to death.  Just by living out our faith and standing for Jesus, suffering does happen.  It doesn’t mean we did anything wrong.  We glorify You by how we walk through adversity standing on Your Word. 

Matthew 5:10-11:  “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

John 15:20   “…..If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…”

2 Timothy 3:12:  Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Demonic Suffering:  You tell us in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy” the people of God and we can suffer terribly if we are not aware of his attacks and fight against him.  He attacks us with fear, sickness, anxiety, deception, and danger. This is why You tell us to put on the Armor of God, be alert, and to stand against this kind of suffering.  You are always there to help us, but You told us to resist, stand, and fight.  I don’t think You “gave” me cancer.  Sickness is part of this fallen world. With every stripe You bore, You healed us. I didn’t knowingly do anything that could cause non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  It’s the enemy whose plan is to kill us.  But You take the things the enemy means for harm and use it for good.  As I fight this disease, my prayer is that I glorify You in the battle, and that I’m a good witness of Your healing, grace, mercy, and faithfulness.

1 Peter 5:8:  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Ephesians 6::11-12:  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

James 4:7:  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

People-Induced Suffering:  So much suffering in this world is a direct consequence of sin and bad choices, either made by ourselves, or from others whose decisions impact our lives in devastating ways.  People have addictions and bad habits that cause physical and emotional suffering.  People make sinful decisions that not only destroy their lives but cause suffering to their family and loved ones as well.  It is never Your will for us to sin and make bad choices!  You are merciful and willing to offer forgiveness if we repent, but that doesn’t always mean the consequences go away.  But You are there to walk us through if we seek You with all our heart.  

Galatians 6:7-8:  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

James 1:5:  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Deuteronomy 30:19:  This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…

1 John 1:9:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The “Waking” Hour

May 24, 2020 (Post #41)

(From Journal #3:  January 8, 2006)

For the past several nights, like so many times before, You’ve wakened me at 3:00 a.m., inviting me to spend time with You.  I don’t know the significance of this hour, but it seems to be “our time.”  It’s as if You and I are the only two in the world awake, and I have You all to myself.  Even though I am tired, the quiet time is so special and I am not distracted.  Some of the biggest revelations you’ve taught me have been in these early hours. The Creator of the universe loves me and wants to spend time with me.  Forgive me for the times I chose sleep over time in prayer with You.

I am glad I have not drawn back from You during this health battle.  No matter what has come against me, I have not run from You, but to You. That is the victory. Running to Jesus is always a victory!  You are my protector and I thank You.  Without You, fear is an enemy; but with You, fear is cast down and defeated.  I will not fear!

During our time this morning, I read a scripture in Isaiah I’ve read before and highlighted.  In the margins I’d written, “Lord, I want a teachable spirit.”  How true. I do want a teachable spirit.  I confess and repent for all the times I have stubbornly resisted being taught, or for refusing to change.

Isaiah 50:4-5:  The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the Word that sustains the weary.  He wakes me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.  The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back.”

Matthew 26:40-41:  Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What?  Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Do it Like Daniel

March 28, 2020  (Post #33)

(From Journal #3:  September 17, 2005)

I read a scripture in Daniel this morning that I’ve read many times, but today I noticed something new.  It’s when Daniel had prayed and it took the angel of the Lord 21 days to arrive because he’d been fighting a demonic spirit.  I’ve always seen that the Lord heard Daniel right away and answered his prayer immediately, but sometimes there’s a lapse of time between God’s hearing and ordering the answer and when we receive it.  But today, I saw more.

Daniel 10:10-13:  A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

This shows me that praying to God about problems is different from setting my mind to gain understanding and humbling myself before God.  You showed me that too often my “prayers” are mostly grumbling and complaining ABOUT people or situations rather than truly praying FOR them.  That’s my pride basically telling You what You “need” to do about situations instead of seeing the things in me that need to change.  Forgive me, Lord, for all the times I have not come before You with a mind that wants Your wisdom to understand, or with a heart of humility that truly seeks Your will and ways.

1 Peter 5:5-7  …“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Psalm 25:9:  He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.

Psalm 66:18:  If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

James 4:3:  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Look it Up!

March 21, 2020    (Post #32)

(From Journal #3:  September 16, 2005)

Benign.  How I’ve wrestled with this word ever since the surgery when I know I heard an angel whisper in my ear, “Don’t worry; it’s benign” and yet the biopsy diagnosed cancer?  The “conflicting reports” have had me confused, but I still chose to trust what I heard and asked You to help me understand.  And then today, You gave me clarity.

I was working on something in the office and all of a sudden in my spirit, I heard the Holy Spirit ask me, “What does benign mean?”  My immediate response was “not cancerous.”  And I heard, “Really?  Look it up!”  In obedience, I got out the dictionary and literally looked it up.  And to my surprise:

  1. of kindly disposition, gracious
  2. showing or expressive of gentleness or kindness
  3. favorable; propitious
  4. clement; beneficial
  5. not malignant

Lord, “not cancerous or malignant” is the fifth definition!  It also means a favorable condition, a good omen, a good outcome!  The angel was telling me that things would turn out favorably and they have and continue to.  There is no conflicting report.  It is benign!  Praise You, Jesus!

Matthew 10:27:  “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”

Psalm 5:3:  In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.

The Wisdom of the Wine Fast

(Journal #1: January 23, 2005 Cont’d) Post #10

Still so much to journal after not being on the page for four days.  We’re actually in Scottsdale, Arizona right now at a business conference.  I was in the Word and prayer all that time and now have so much to record that you’ve shown me, Lord.

The day after my birthday I felt led by the Holy Spirit to start a 40-day fast from wine or any type of alcoholic beverage.  I knew I had not abused this at all but I felt like You were showing me how to get ahead of the enemy’s schemes and be ready.  I know the enemy attacks me with fear, and there is so much unknown to me right now.  I will not even allow an opportunity for anything to become a “crutch” for fear.  I will not allow anything to dull my spiritual senses and leave me open to the enemy’s lies that can cause depression or cause me to make negative confessions.  YOU are my source of joy and comfort.  

This is what I heard in my spirit:  “For 40 days and 40 nights, do not drink wine; you lean on Me!”  So that’s what I’m doing, Lord, here at this conference where food and wine abound!

Joel 2:12:  “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

Matthew 6:16-18:  “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Daniel 10:3:  I ate no delicacies, no meat, or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.

1 Peter 5:7:  Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Isaiah 26:4:  Trust in the Lord forever; the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Wisdom of Pearl

September 1, 2019 Post #1

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “pearls of wisdom” and must think I have this backward. Let me explain. My name, Marjorie, means “pearl.” Fifteen years ago, I began journaling to the Lord Jesus my prayers, thoughts, fears, struggles, doubts, desires, questions, and frustrations – in other words, everything.  Through prayer and study of His Word, He has shown me many revelations. These revelations produced “wisdom” to walk through every circumstance. So, what God has shown to me, “Pearl,” I humbly share with you:  Wisdom of Pearl.

I started my first journal in November 2004, right before I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in January 2005. I am currently in my 49th journal, in my 15th year of fighting this health battle, and going through yet another round of treatment.  Journaling to the Lord is now as much a part of my life as breathing. These journals are a record of my “journey of hope.” 

He shows me things every time I join Him.  I talk boldly and candidly to the Lord; it won’t be a surprise to you how much time I spend in Psalms. I relate well to King David.  The Lord always requires me to study Proverbs, and in multiple translations.  The wisdom He has taught me from this is priceless.

For years I thought Wisdom of Pearl was to be a book, but I realized it would be a book that could never be finished.  I wish I could tell you I began this work when God first put it on my heart and gave me the title. I didn’t. I allowed fear and insecurity to talk me out of it and to procrastinate. In other words, I did not obey, until now.  Fifteen years ago I had no concept of doing a blog.  So I pray this is more about “perfect timing” than disobedience.  

What a testimony to the faithfulness of God and the evidence of His mighty hand as I now review these journals and extract all the “wisdom” He has shown to me over these many years, that I might share with you. So, this is my story.  I begin this blog from Journal #1, where I began my personal journey of hope…

I pray you will be encouraged in whatever battle you are fighting and your faith will be strengthened. God shows up in the most amazing ways.

Pray.   Wait.   Watch.   Listen.   Obey.

Matthew 13:45-46:  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.