Posts tagged ‘sanctuary’

February 5, 2013

Trials Make You Stronger

by pastortimfowler


I know its been a while and the blogs are further in between this year so far. Things have been very hectic and very trying in this first part of 2013. While I was planning on blogging through the Bible, I have found it hard to find the time to do as much as I originally planned. Today as I was preparing for my men’s Bible study on Thursday nights, I was reading in 2 Thessalonians and was inspired and encouraged by Paul’s words to this early bunch of Christians. 2 Thessalonians 1:5 … Your suffering proves that God’s judgment is right and that you are considered worthy of his kingdom.
I am not comparing my suffering to that of a martyr or even that of the early church, but I have learned that anyone’s sufferings are real and challenging to them at the time. As I told you a while back, our church had a fire that smoked out a whole side of our building that included my office. My office is my sanctuary for study and thought and prayer and I do a lot of planning for our church there. Not being able to use it makes me feel like I am out of touch or at least out of sync with the church. That and the fact that dealing with insurance and contractors can be enough to challenge anyone’s faith, has made it a long 3 months.

Spiritual warfare comes in many forms. It can be as simple as strained relationships and as complex as attacks on one’s faith. It seems that mine have been on many levels. During this time I try to keep a smile on my face and my focus on helping others, but the smiles seem to be forced more than natural and the faith of knowing I am doing God’s will has been challenged with each decision. I have to continually remind myself that I am fighting battles that are not about people or me, but about people’s souls. The strained relationships cause tensions that make it hard to show love and feel love. Although I know love is not about one’s feelings, I also know that without the feelings it must be continually reminded in order to not forget who you love.
God has promised us victory over our enemies. He has promised to be with us in every situation and that His love is greater than my love. My challenge is to depend on His love when mine is weakened. Showing love is not always about a smile. It can be about difficult circumstance that makes happiness depend more on joy and peace rather than good times and good feelings.

So as I was reading this, I was reminded that suffering for Christ of any kind is part of being worthy of God’s kingdom. Worthy only because of what Christ did and never because of what I do and what I feel. That makes me feel better.
So if you find yourself feeling down and out or like you can’t stand anymore in the face of the attacks that are surrounding you, remember that Christ suffered for doing no wrong. He suffered for my wrong and your wrong and gladly bore our sins on the cross so that we could be forgiven and made righteous and worthy of His kingdom.

I thank God that my feelings do not mean I am not loved. I thank God that He feels the same about me regardless of my feelings and that His feelings for me are pure love and unchanging. I thank Him that I am counted worthy to suffer for His cause and that I am in the battles that mean so much. Even if I fail, He will not. And if I fail while loving and serving Him, then I am ever bit as worthy of His kingdom and will never be condemned because of Christ’s work and not my own. Trials make you stronger because the Bible says when we are weak, then He is strong. Thanks God. I await your strength and thank you for the trials.

August 29, 2011

Laughter Is Good Medicine

by pastortimfowler

I had a really great weekend. Although it was very busy, I had time to go see a comedian Saturday night with my wife and a few friends. It reminded me of this scripture; Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but depression drains one’s strength. There is just something about laughing that makes you feel better, unless you are my wife who complained that her side and head hurt because she laughed so hard.
We all need to laugh. The world has become a far to serious place and people live on the edge with their feelings stuck way out, waiting to be hurt. When did we get to be so serious? Everyone gets offended at the slightest thing and we have to watch what we say even when what we say is meant to be light-hearted.
This comedian said a few things that stuck with me. I have always heard that comedy has to have truth in it for it to be funny, otherwise it is just being mean. A good comedian knows how to look around and just speak to the simple truths that we take for granted. This guy said that all you need to do is open your eyes and you can see what it takes to make people laugh.
This weekend the whole east coast was dealing with Hurricane Irene. Every channel had breaking news, but the problem was that they were no longer taking a break to tell us what was happening, they had to take breaks from telling us what was happening. I heard estimates of how many billions the storm was going to cost, how many lives could be lost, and how bad this was going to be on the economy, all while they were still trying to determine the exact track of the storm. Every report was about how horrible this would be and yet each one included a downgrade of the storms winds and hurricane category. I know that news people have a job to do, but wow, this was over the top. Easy for me to say because I was not there nor were any of my relatives. Add to all this, the fact that the east coast had an earthquake last week and the people went crazy!
So I got to laugh this weekend. I laughed a lot and I laughed hard. For about an hour nothing mattered. The only time I thought about anything serious was when I was being made fun of by the comedian. Even then I was only thinking seriously about how I could make my church laugh about the things I was laughing about. I realized that there are things that happen that are just not worth getting upset about and that somewhere there might be a comedian getting material from those of us who do.
All ready, only a day after the big storm, I have heard of churches and other organizations rushing to help those who did suffer from this hurricane. Some things can be handled right now and other things will need some time, but either way, people are helping. Prayers are being made for those who are suffering and the seriousness of our world is never-ending. Right now, without a hurricane people are going through things that are shattering their world. I went to visit a friend in the hospital last night and as I was leaving I saw woman all alone, crying in the hallway. I walked over and introduced myself and she told me her mother was dying. All I could do is prayer for her. My friend tweeted about a family that lost everything in a fire but the clothes on their backs. Many are rallying to help them. It never ends, the needs of others.
So, I will rejoice in the short time that God allowed me to take this weekend to laugh and hang out with friends. I will not feel bad about leaving the insanity of the real world to enter into a sanctuary of laughter because it did show that even in this crazy world we live in, there are things that we can laugh at and it is okay.
This was Christian comedian so much of the jokes were about church and church life and pastors. I am so glad someone was finally laughing with me instead of at me, or were they just doing both? I don’t care. It was good medicine.