Every once in a while, I will go back and read through my grandfather's old Bible. He was a pastor some years before I was born. He was a passionate preacher and evangelist but had resigned from the ministry before I came along. As I was reading though his Bible I came across a sermon he had preached nearly 50 years ago.
These were the words that he penned, "Our Lord has been glorified and the great gift to the church is the Holy Ghost and the one answer to your problems and needs and my needs and that of the whole family of God throughout the whole world is the Holy Ghost.
Oh Breath of Life come sweeping through us,
Revive thy church with life and power.
O Breath of life, come, cleanse and renew us,
Equip Thy Church to meet this hour.”
Let this be our prayer as well. That the Breath of Life would sweep through us church and equip us for this hour.
Has somebody ever done you wrong?
What a dumb question for me to ask! I know that everyone can say a good hearty yes to this, but let me tweak the question just a bit. Was that person who hurt you someone close to you? Someone that you had blessed? Most often it is those that are closest to us that hurt us. Why is that? Because we leave ourselves more vulnerable to those who we are closer to.
Look at the life of King David who could really never trust those closest to him. His own son, Absalom sought to overthrow the kingdom. David ministered to King Saul and Saul tried to kill him. Sound familiar? David wrote in Psalm 35:11-14 we see David's frustration with this problem. He writes, "Fierce witnesses rise up; They ask me things that I do not know. They reward me evil for good. To the sorrow of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself in fasting; and my prayer would return to my own heart. I paced about as though he were my friend or brother. I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother. But in my adversity they rejoiced."
David had sought God for the others when they were down and out. He had fasted and prayed for them and mourned with them only to see them turn their back on him. Life is not fair is it? Maybe this is your life story. Maybe you are the one who is there to bless others...to minister to others needs only to see them turn against you in your most vulnerable moment.
Our first reaction is to fight back. Speak against them and lash out at them with our tongue. This is a natural response to hurt. That is why churches today have so much conflict. Because there is so much hurt. When there is alot of hurt, people react by hurting others. Many times people are threatened by the other party and that causes them to turn against them. What are we supposed to do? Fight Fire with Fire? It was Jesus' disciples who were ready to call down fire from heaven to consume their enemies but Jesus stopped them.
David's response was verbal but not in a negative way. In verse 17 of the above text he asks God to take care of them. He says, "Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue me from their destructions, my precious life from the lions. I will give you thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people."
The answer can be summed up in the "two p's". Pray for the offenders and Praise God in the midst of your hurt. By doing these things you make yourself better and not bitter. Pray that God would handle the situation and heal your hurts. Pray that God would touch their hearts and that He would change them.
Then put on a shout of praise. Nothing makes you feel better in the times of loneliness and hurt than to just give God praise. As you lift Him up, He lifts you up. This will cause you to focus on God and not on those who have hurt you.
Friend, hurts in life are inevitable. Life is hard and your spirit will be wounded. You do not have to live with the pain. God will fight the battle for you. Make a decision today to pray for those who hurt you and then give God your highest praise. It will make you feel better.
Danny and his wife, Sonya, have been lead pastors at Rogers First Assembly in Rogers, Arkansas since 2008.