Illustration results for affliction
Wade Hughes, Sr
Why do people wear masks?
Several years ago, I had a nightmare, it was terrible.
For many days my spirit was greatly troubled.
In a dream, I saw one of my most serious workers at
church dying a terrible death.
As my church worker was dying,
I saw a battle going against my member.
I was broken beyond belief, as I saw this dedicated
Christian worker die and the Devil was grabbing the
individual and taking the soul to hell.
The smell was terrible, I could smell the enemy and
hell. This was so real.
In the dream, I started screaming, this is a terrible
No way enemy, you can’t have this worker!
I have counted on them to do many things to build
They have touched many people and led many to the
I am a better pastor because of this individual, and
the church is a better church, after all the hours
and efforts this family has invested in the church.
The enemy was slowly dragging my church member toward
the lake of fire and great torment.
We could hear the horrible sounds coming out of hell.
The smell was so real and horrible, I shall never
I was thinking, maybe there was secret sin, and they
were playing Christian games.
This was not the problem. I tried to fight for my
dear friend and the enemy kept slowly pulling my
member towards hell.
The fight was very painful.
I said, this is a good person.
This family paid their tithes.
They were faithful to church.
I could count on them.
What is going on here?
Jesus help me? What is going on here?
With tears in His eyes, Jesus came to me,
and said, I have tried and I have tried to change the
events of this day.
I have personally sent messages through you to warn
I have sent radio messages to expose the sin?
I have given the words to television preachers, and
they watched with zeal, but My words were unheeded.
This person has cassette tapes that has warned them,
but they have not heard the message I have spoken to
This person has books on their shelf, they have read
the parts they like, but the message I warned them,
As a matter of record, when they heard the message,
they said the message was for someone else.
They even said, amen, let it be, but they thought the
message was for the other party.
I again questioned, Why Jesus, what is the wrong?
I knew them! They are good people.
With tears running down Jesus’ face,
Jesus said, "This individual was very angry,
and full of wrath.
Bitterness was rampant daily, and unforgiveness had
helped to bring an early death.
The home was full of coldness and painful rejection.
This person had allowed a critical spirit to tear
down the confidence in everyone.
They refused to pray.
Their hurt and disappointments had become the driving
force in their heart.
The anger they carried had brought physical
affliction, yet this never got their attention to
The person had rejected forgiveness, and justified
because of unforgiveness.
I was absolutely broken, as I saw one of my best
friends escorted into hell.
I could do nothing to change the hard heart, the
the bitterness, --- the bait had been accepted.
The trap had locked on the neck.
I understood blasphemy as never before.
By focusing on the bitterness and pain, the person
had shown contempt and the lack of reverence for God
or His people.
Jesus had warned, the anger was turning into wrath,
“God’s Algebra!” Romans 8:9-17 Key verse(s) 16:“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
One of the unchangeable and mysterious laws of mathematics is that whenever you multiply a positive number by a negative number you will always get a negative number. I remember my 7th grade teacher, Mr. Kramer, drilling that into our heads. There was no way of adequately explaining why a negative times a positive will always equal a negative. And, for a math underachiever such as myself, it simply was a matter of memorizing the theorem and forgetting the understanding part of it. From a purely logical perspective, it always seemed to me that whichever number was the larger ought to be the determining factor in any equation. It just made sense. The big guy was going to defeat the little guy in a wrestling match. The larger hawk would always overpower the smaller sparrow. If you mixed a little bit of gravel with a lot of sand you would still have more sand than gravel. I always had a hard time understanding the concept of something small overpowering something very large.
This seemed logical to me for the most part. Even daily life as it played itself out around me testified to the fact that the equation embraced faulty logic. For example, when you were having a good day and things were going along pretty well and you stumbled into calamity for some reason, if the amount of good you had happened to collect did not exceed the magnitude of the calamity, the bad would always put the hammerlock on the good sending you down to the mat every time. It was a question of balance. If your alarm didn’t go off in the morning and you were late for class, that could be overcome in general if you simply negated it by hitting a home run at recess and added a couple of good test scores to the mix throughout the course of the day. That seemed pretty logical to 13-year-old kid who was simply trying to make the best of life at the moment and was determined to finish each day with more good on his plate than bad.
Sometimes being a Christian and having to deal with the bad and negative things in our lives also has this same underpinning of illogical calculation. Life can real deal out some pretty heavy blows sometimes. Even worse, when we are already down for the count, there are even those days when bad piles on bad. If we use the logic of the 13-year-old boy just trying to make it through the day, days like this become unbearable. There simply isn’t enough good within our grasp to deal with all the bad. That’s when despair steps in to put its heavy boot on the back of our neck to keep us down for good.
Thank God for they mystery of His Holy Spirit. When He is inserted into the equation of life, what Mr. Kramer taught me in 7th grade mathematics starts to become even more illogical, however in a reverse sort of way. Whereas algebra dictates that a negative times a positive always equals a negative, God’s textbook, the Bible, dictates that a negative times a positive always equals a positive. When life becomes overpowering it doesn’t matter how much of it is negative. When we put the Holy Spirit of God into the equation the outcome is always the same; we get the help we need to cope and to restore our faith. This is a mystery that flies in the face of earthly logic but it is trustworthy. Sorrow and Affliction x the Holy Spirit = Patience. But God’s algebra doesn’t stop there. Patience x Experience = Faith. It doesn’t seem logical at the outset, but no matter how big sorrow and affliction are, they never come out the winner in this equation.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FOCUS
When the Alaskan Pipeline was being built, there were many Texans who went to Alaska and found work on the pipeline. The Texans could only work a few hours in the frigid weather, yet the Eskimos, the native Alaskans, could work indefinitely in the cold.
They decided to do a study to find out why the Eskimos could withstand the weather. After much study they found that there were no physiological differences between the Eskimos and the Texans. There was nothing in skin thickness, blood, or any other thing physically that would explain the differences in the ability to withstand the temperatures. The solution came when they did a psychological study. The difference was the Eskimo said, "He knows it was cold but there was a job to be done." In other words, his focus was on the job and obtaining results rather than on the weather. The Texan focused on the weather and this kept him from focusing on the job at hand. (Taken from the Movie 5th Quarter).
You and I will focus on one of two things this week. We will either focus on how bad things are, the trials, and temptations or we will focus on Christ and His Word. Godly faith can help us to face and overcome the world we live. Whatever our troubles are: with family, loneliness, things that seem impossible, dealing with death, sin or whatever it is.
WHAT TO DO WITH LONELINESS
Lee Strobel writes: People today will admit any problem - drugs, divorce, alcoholism - "but there’s one admission that people are loath to make, whether they’re a star on television or someone who fixes televisions in a repair shop. It’s just too embarrassing. It penetrates too deeply to the core of who they are." People don’t want to admit that they are (sometimes) lonely. "Loneliness is such a humiliating malady that it ought to have its own politically correct euphemism: ’relationally challenged.’ Or its own telethon. Anything to make it safer to conf...
Sermon Central Staff
CAREY: GOD'S SOVEREIGN WILL
William Carey, who is called the father of modern missions, began his missionary career to India in 1793. He served the Lord in that country for 40 years, never once returning to his home in England. And throughout those years he translated portions of the Bible into over a dozen Indian languages.
But one afternoon, after 20 years of hard labor, a fire raged throughout his printing plant and warehouse. All of his printing equipment was destroyed and most of his precious manuscripts. Obviously, in that day there were no computer back-up copies or even photocopies kept somewhere else. Tragically, 20 years of non-stop labor was gone within a few hours.
Many people would have been devastated over the loss, but not William Carey. This is what he wrote to his pastor friend, Andrew Murray, in England:
"The ground must be labored over again, but we are not discouraged. We have all been supported under the affliction, and preserved from discouragement. To me the consideration of the divine sovereignty and wisdom has been very supporting." Then he quoted from Psalm 46:10, where the Lord Himself says, "Be still and know that I am God." (Bill Mills and Craig Parro, Finishing Well in Life and Ministry, Leadership Resources International, pp. 101-102)
Carey found peace and strength in God’s sovereign plan for his own life, even if it included times of devastating loss. & We can find the same thing if we return to the Lord. We don’t find exemption from sorrow, just supernatural strength to face it with hope and joy.
(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Back to Bethel, 4/13/2011)
LINES TO A SKELETON...
The mss. of this poem was found in the Museum of the Royal
College of Surgeons, London, near a perfect human skeleton. It
was first published around the early 1900’s
It Has a Profound Message!!!
Behold this ruin! ’Twas a skull,
Once of ethereal spirit filled.
This narrow cell was life’s retreat,
This space was thought’s mysterious seat.
What beauteous visions filled this spot,
What dreams of pleasure long forgot?
Nor hope, nor joy, nor love, nor fear,
Have left one trace of record here.
Beneath this moldering canopy
Once shone the bright and busy eye;
But start not at the dismal void;
If gracious love that eye employed,
If with no lawless fire it gleamed,
But through the dews of kindness beamed,---
That eye shall be ever bright
When stars and sun are sunk in night.
Within this hollow cavern hung
The ready, swift, and tuneful tongue;
If falsehood’s honey it disdained,
And when it could not praise was chained;
If bold in virtues cause it spoke,
Yet gentle concord never broke,---
This silent tongue shall plead for thee
When time unveils eternity.
Say, did these fingers delve the mine,
Or with the envied rubies shine?
To hew the rock or wear the gem
Can little now avail to them.
But if the page of truth they sought,
Or comfort to the mourner brought,
These hands a richer meed shall claim
Then all that wait on wealth or fame.
Avails it whether bare or shod
These feet the path of duty trod?
If from the bowers of ease they fled,
To seek afflictions humble shed;
If grandeur’s guilty bribe they spurned,
And home to virtues cot returned,---
These feet with angel wings shall vie,
And tread the palace of the sky.
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING
Let's consider the first Thanksgiving in America. It was in the fall of 1621, one year after the Pilgrim’s landed. There was great affliction in their voyage. 102 Pilgrims the left Holland, stopped briefly in England before sailing to America. They were at sea for 66 days. There were fierce Atlantic storms, so severe that at the half-way point, the sailors debated whether or not to turn back to England. Their accommodations were very limited, with all 102 Pilgrims below deck in the ship’s hold which was smaller than a volleyball court! With the hatches closed to keep out the beating ocean, the air grew Foul, making their sea-sick condition even worse. There were no fires, and little water. Two Pilgrims did not survive the journey, and two were born during the journey.
When they landed in Massachusetts, they had no place to go. There were no villages. No stores. No one to welcome them. No way to restock their ship. They lived on and off the ship, surviving basically on the ships provision through the first winter. They built one make-shift building, and lived in fear of the Natives who were not known. They were supposed to land somewhere north of current NYC on the Hudson river, but strong winds kept them from getting there. 47 of the 102 pilgrims died during the first winter!
Govenor William Bradford wrote concerning their faith, “God gave them health and strength in a good measure; and shewed them by experience ye truth of yt word, Deut. 8. 3. Yt man liveth not by bread only, but by every word yt proceedeth out of ye mouth of ye Lord doth a man live.
(Bradford, William (2011-03-17). Bradford’s History of ’Plimoth Plantation’ From the Original Manuscript. With a Report of the Proceedings Incident to the Return of the Manuscript to Massachusetts (p. 133). Kindle Edition.)
Annie Johnson Flint’s life on earth could never be measured in any degree by comfort and ease; quite the contrary, from childhood her body endured the onslaught of Rheumatoid Arthritis until she could no longer rise from bed. Over the years the affliction took a great toll, leaving her with no choice but to seek some comfort from sleeping and resting on soft pillows. Her body developed serious bed sores and finally she suffered the ravages of cancer.
Yet her attitude through all the struggles with pain and confinement may best be expressed through one of her great Christian poems that has been set to music in many hymnals. Her faith in God and His purpose, reflected through these words, portray her deep commitment and disposition of hope and peace:
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
His love has no limit;
His grace has no measure.
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
I PRAYED HER HOME
Praying in Tongues
From August 2002 to December 2010 my family suffered the affliction of brain cancer which was placed by Satan (2 Corinthians 12:7; Luke 13:10-17) upon my “helpmate,” (Genesis 2:18-25) Bonnie K. Laughlin. Just like many conservative preachers of the Word of God today, I have tasted the consequence of sin in the “Institutionalized Church.” (Ezekiel 24:15-27) Every year a growing number of preachers and teachers of God’s Word experience the heartbreak of the physical death of their wives.
Bonnie and I served as Theological Reviewers for SermonCentral. We were amazed of how the “Conjuncture of Man” is being afflicted with the cancers of traditionalism, legalism, faddism and denominationalism. Even to this day I am almost overwhelmed by the hard heart of mankind. I am concerned as the people of God fail to come to the modern day prophets (Ephesians 4:11-16) and say as the people in Ezekiel’s day, “Won’t you tell us what these things have to do with us?’ (Ezekiel 24:19)
In His mercy and through His faithfulness to His own Word, I received a Holy Spirit gift that enabled me to pray a prayer that gave comfort to my dear Bonnie in her very last moments upon this earth.
Here is a truth you must grasp. Because of original sin, people do not come into the world easily (Genesis 3:16) and it is not likely they will leave it without a struggle. On December 31, in our bedroom I was awakened by Bonnie’s labored breathing. Because I have spent many hours at the bedside of dying patients and witnessed their struggle, my heart broke for her as I knew she would soon breathe her last. At that moment the Holy Spirit gave me a measure of faith to pray in my heavenly language. With my mind steadfast upon the Lord and with a surrendered heart to God’s will, I held her hand and prayed in tongues. As soon as I finished praying, Bonnie’s breathing became relaxed and, being fully aware of my presence, she went peacefully to be with Jesus.
The Bible says, “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God.” (1 Corinthians 14:2) It also says, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays…” (1 Corinthians 14:4) At that very moment, when Bonnie needed my intercession, “I thank God that I speak in tongues...” (1 Corinthians 14:18)
I prayed Her Home!
The Roman method of threshing grain has one man stirring up the sheaves while another man rides over it in a crude cart equipped with rollers instead of wheels (sometimes flat boards were used). Sharp stones or bits of iron were attached to the cylinders to help separate the husks from the grain. The cart was called a Tribulum. This is the origin of the word, "tribulation."
When afflictions come to us, we may think of ourselves as being torn into pieces under cruel pressures of adverse circumstances. Yet, the purpose of the Tribulum was not to tear up the sheaves, but to expose the grain. We are never put under the pressures of a trial needlessly.