What is your first response to pain?
In the span of just one week, several of my close friends experienced heavy losses. One friend was betrayed by someone close to her. Another dear friend was faced with the emotional pain of feeling unloved in primary relationships. When a third friend broke her foot in a roadside accident on vacation, I spent a number of hours with her in the ER, hoping to relieve her physical pain.
In each case, my first response was compassionate action: I reached out as best I could with prayers and practical help.
I know for a fact, though, that when I am the one in pain, my first response is very different. When hurt increases, compassion vanishes. I have a new goal: avoid that pain at all costs!
I had a powerful dream this morning which was so evidently from the Lord that I felt compelled to write it down and share it. This dream revealed the Father's heart for healing the next generation, our youth, and could not be ignored. The reason? The children of today are both the most anointed and the most assaulted of any previous generations. Even in their schools, the places where they should be receiving mentoring and training, they are not safe. The enemy sees the call of God on this generation and is trying desperately to take them out before they can step into their destinies as miracle-working, revival-awakening instruments of God.
The crucifixion of Christ is a reminder that all of us have to deal with times of death in our lives. We may have to face the death of a loved one, or the death of a dream, or the death of a hope we hold dear. At some point, we all come to our tombs, as Mary did in the resurrection story, and we have to confront the harsh realities of our mortality.
I have prayed for people in some difficult situations lately. I’ve talked with people who are struggling with significant changes in their lives that leave them wondering, ‘What now? Did I do something wrong?’ Life suddenly threw them a curve ball; something unexpected sent them spinning, wide-eyed, into what felt like a dusty, dry, desert season.
One of the reasons why I began writing His Inscriptions was to strengthen believers - especially Christian leaders - who are weary and exhausted for various reasons. You may be feeling that way today. It is not uncommon, in an increasingly hostile world, to feel tired or discouraged. Once we are weary, it becomes harder than ever to maintain the good habits we have of connecting with God. Self-discipline eludes us and our communication with God ebbs at the time we need it most.
What makes one person thrive while another barely survives? Why do some people seem to live almost effortlessly, while others go through life hanging on by their fingernails? Even Christians are not exempt. We cling to the Gospel's wonderful hope of heaven. But is that all there is? What about the problems in this present life? What do I do between now and eternity?
I believe there is a key difference between survivors and those who thrive in life. Or for Christians, between the survivors and the revivers! It's not just a difference between rich and poor. It's actually a different state of mind.
To describe this, let's look at the law of the jungle.
There's a big lie that the devil has promoted among God's people since the beginning of time. It is so big, and so successful, that his strategy really has not changed much over the years. From Genesis to Revelation and right into the present day, Satan and his minions have invested untold amounts of time and energy into marketing this lie. Do you know what it is?
It is this: "Did God really say...?"
One of the enigmas of Christian life seems to be the dichotomy between what we are promised in the Bible and what we actually experience on a daily basis. If you have ever wondered why you haven't been healed (even though you believe the Word says healing is for today), or why you still struggle with problem areas of sin (despite Jesus' promise of abundant life), you're not alone. For many of us, the source of this conflict is a mystery, and we have resigned ourselves to daily living within the "status quo."
Many people think of faith as a noun: something that we have. True faith, however, acts more like a verb than a noun. Biblical faith holds mountain-moving power on earth when applied. 2 Timothy 3:5 cautions us not to be like those who "hold to an outward form of godliness but deny its power." Real faith requires both confession and action, not just a passive acknowledgement of God's guidelines. Faith without works accomplishes nothing (See James 2:17).
"What are you afraid of?" This was the question asked of approximately 150 women one weekend at an amazing women's ministry conference I attended in New England. What is keeping you confined within the current borders of your everyday life, that you fear you cannot overcome? Depression? Abuse? Unforgiveness? Finances? Your need for comfort and security? In Christ, there should be no fear of any kind that holds you back from fulfilling your destiny (1 John 4:18). The limits are off!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.