How is your spiritual love connection?

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Your Laughter Sounds Like Tears

Long before God got my attention, I laughed a lot. Thing is, I was a mess.  I was trying desperately to hide the emotional scars from verbal, physical and sexual abuse, and I was not successful.  You’ve probably seen some who are like I was who cried on the inside and seemed to always laugh on the outside.  My abusers taught me that I was not worthy of love or attention unless I performed the way they wanted.

How different from God, who loved me through that time and many years later to this day.  He taught me that being who I am is good enough for Him.  However I am:  upset, happy, whatever.  He taught me that I needed to learn to love, to appreciate myself and see myself as He does.  It’s taken years, but His love and approval are all I need.  People tend to want me in their boxes, and God wants me to be, well, me and to be authentic.

I am damaged and unable to shed tears even though I feel deeply.  God is okay with that. I hope you are, too.  God has taught me to be love as He is, and I can authentically rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.  God is my everything, and throughout this hard life I’ve had to live, He has always been there, especially at times when others abandoned me.

There are a number of astounding miracles in my life, not the least of which is my relationship with God.  You might think that because of abuse, my ability to relate  to God as Father and Protector would be compromised.  Believe me when I say that when I asked Jesus into my life as Savior, I also asked Him into my life as Lord.  Every area of my life has been yielded to Him to transform or use as He sees fit.  Nothing separates me from His love.

Let’s pray:  Father God, please let these words that flow through me make a difference in the lives You have in mind.  May all be encouraged that there is no situation, no mindset that is forever hopeless, for You are the God who transforms minds and hearts to receive You when You determine it’s time to do so.  May You grant to all who read these words the encouragement and compassion needed to live Your love.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

2 Corinthians 1:3 (NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

 

Romans 8:35-39 (NKJV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Psalm 145:9 (NKJV)

The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.

 

copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

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Heed Jesus, not people

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Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready?

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Wars and rumors of wars. These things must be.

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God comforts us so we can comfort others

Have you ever thought about how God created a comfort chain?  First He allows you to endure hard times and then comforts you.  He doesn’t stop there, though.  He works through you so that you can comfort others in their affliction.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4(NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

 

Have you ever wondered why God does this?  One reason may be that He wants us to learn to be comforters like He is.  Another reason may be to initiate a spiritual “pay it forward”: that the comfort He gives you will be passed on to someone else who needs it, and so on.  Comfort is part of spiritual love.  It’s spiritual compassion.  That kind of love enables a person to keep moving forward spiritually regardless of what’s going on in life.

Now here’s something to spiritually meditate and focus on as well:  God adds salvation to the comfort mix through Paul.

 

2 Corinthians 1:6 (NKJV)

Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

 

That’s a wow!  Here’s a spiritual leader letting those he shepherds know that his suffering has a purpose, and that purpose is both to console the brethren and place that comfort towards their salvation.  In other words, it’s not about Paul.  It’s about the brethren.  Your hard times are not about you but about what you can give to others who are hurting.

How, you might ask, does comfort and affliction of others affect my salvation?  Every spiritual leader wants those God places in his care to endure to the end so that they can be saved.  Sometimes, life can be so hard that we become discouraged and need encouragement to move forward spiritually.  It is encouraging to know that others have endured hard times and moved forward.

Spiritual family, Pastor G and I hope that these verses have helped you in your time of affliction.  We pray that these words are comforting and encouraging along with being very real.  Christ told us to take up our cross and follow Him.  He did not promise that life would be easy.  He did promise that he who endures to the end will be saved. We’d truly love it if you will be there with God for all eternity.  Live God’s love.  Be blessed.

 

copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

 

Posted in Bible Study, Christian Coping and Living, christian love, Christian Meditation, Christian Teaching, encouragement, Endurance | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

God, Spiritual leader compensation and you

Image result for 1 timothy 5:17-18 plus image

There are a number of congregations out there who insist that the needs of the building where they meet are more important than the needs of their spiritual leaders.  Many promise to contribute to the spiritual leader’s necessities after buildings are repaired or improved.  Providing for spiritual leaders’ needs is biblically mandated, as you can plainly see.  If you have been thinking wrong, stop and do what God wants you to do. God forgives those who have made the mistake of doing what seems right to them as opposed to doing His will.

Some misunderstand the following verse and use it as an excuse not to pay their spiritual leaders:

Matthew 10:8(NKJV)

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

What this verse means is that Jesus doesn’t want us to expect payment for providing the spiritual services mentioned in this scripture.  That said, there’s nothing wrong with asking for donations where appropriate.  This verse in no way absolves believers from their responsibility for providing for spiritual leaders’ needs and giving them double honor.

A few weeks ago, a colleague in Africa shared that a community wanted him to participate in a three day event.  They would provide food and housing but not expenses like travel or time off from work.  My colleague is dedicated to being and doing what God has for him to be and do, so our prayer was that if it were His will, for God to make a way for him to go.  It’s wonderful that these believers saw how powerfully God works through my colleague.  He has delivered those afflicted with demons and healed those who are sick.  They need to value him enough to ensure that his needs, all his needs, surrounding the event have been met.  What if he loses his job? How will he provide for his family?

Just what needs to be the standard for the spiritual leader’s provision?  God values spiritual leaders so highly that He wants them paid doubly.  Does this mean all spiritual leaders should live in mansions, drive current late model cars or have private jet planes? Of course not. Let God the Holy Spirit guide your giving in this and every case.  He knows what is needed.  What these verses mean is that a spiritual leader needs to be free and available to perform his or her role without the stress or distraction of working outside the ministry.  In the Old Testament, God set it up so that the Priests and Levites would be blessed with the financial support of tithes and offerings and all the responsibilities attached to that provision.

Sadly, many spiritual leaders have to be bi-vocational.  Pastor G is one of them.  He works in a major supermarket so that our personal needs and ministry needs can be met.  Do we live lavishly?  No.  We live in a 55+ senior mobile home park and drive a 2002 Buick LeSabre. (That’s a 15 year old car, folks!) We follow God’s lead and support community needs as well as some of the needs of spiritual leaders globally because their congregations have refused to follow God’s mandate.  It is our heartfelt prayer that posts like this will make a huge change in how brethren esteem those God has anointed and ordained to be their spiritual shepherds.

 

copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

 

Posted in Bible Study, Christian Choices, Christian Coping and Living, christian focus, Christian Obedience, Christian Teaching, Following Jesus, spiritual conscience, spiritual leaders | Tagged , , | Leave a comment