Rick led our devotional time with these thoughts in mind:
Finding God’s love in suffering is one of the Scripture's paradoxical truths. It impinges on most of us who care give. "Suffering reminds us that we are alive but love reminds us of why."
What is the correlation between suffering and God’s love? What are the expressions of God’s love during suffering? How does God show his love? Love is the essence of God’s nature. Psalm 103:11 He is rich in love. Psalm 145:7-9
God's love... (Our guided discussion yielded the following.)
• Provides hope through salvation. Romans 5:8, I John 4
• God is attentive to our prayers. I Peter 3:12, Psalm 37:4-5, Psalm 50:15 His answers are “yes”, “No” or “on hold”.
• Provides for daily needs. Phil. 4:19
• Provides us with a forever home and everlasting life. John 14:2,3
• Provides strength during rough days. I Peter 4:12,13, Col. 1:11-14, II Cor. 12:9-10
• Provides encouragement and comfort through the body of Christ to stimulate growth.
• He confirms our adoption as sons. Romans 8:15 I John 3:1, Eph. 1:5-7
• Provides mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Eph. 2:4,5, Heb. 4:16
• Assures us that his love is permanent, it cannot be taken away. His love never leaves us. Romans 8:38,39
• He confirms a relationship with him. We receive communication through God’s Word with the Holy Spirit's help. He chose us. Col.3:12
• He pours his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
• We share in his glory. I Cor.10:31
• Suffering is one of God’s ways to care for his people. But why through suffering? Perhaps to protect us from potential things that lead us away from God. Only God knows.
• Or consider this, it is an opportunity for God to reveal his love and character. Soak in his love by keeping an open heart to trust all that he is doing in your life. (rjs)
“Not only so, but WE ALSO REJOICE IN OUR SUFFERINGS, because we know that SUFFERING PRODUCES perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his LOVE into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!.” (Romans 11:33 AMP)
9:00am ~ 130 room
Devotional time ~ Worship
Breakfast ~ Sharing ~ Prayer
A WORD FROM PASTOR JOHN
"So here we find Paul at his deepest hour of suffering. And therefore we would expect to learn the most about how to handle suffering. If we can find a man in his most profound time of suffering, that's the place to learn the lessons because they'll be more clearly indicated in that environment, and that's exactly what happens. Now Paul knew that God had allowed this to happen. And that was the amazing part. Sometimes bad things happen to God's people because God allows them to happen. He has a purpose in them and that purpose is to bring them to some spiritual level beyond where they are." ~Sermon, Feb.1, 1998, II Corinthians 12:7-8 for the full transcript. HOW GOD USES SUFFERING
CARE GIVING WITH LOVE
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
Our first newsletter went out in November 2011.
We have had some wonderful glimpses into God’s Word and viewing care giving from a godly perspective. Our hope is to continue to provide a unique perspective on care giving.
As more and more need care and support, we are here to encourage the overworked and overwhelmed caregiver. We are here to expose the illusions of immortality and the need to ponder our calling and ministry.
The intent of this newsletter is to help us feel connected. It provides a community of like-mindedness and sustenance for the caregiver and their families. Knowledge of God fills us with stories of courage and somewhere in that story is God working for our good, teaching faithfulness and trustworthiness.
What does the word “courage” conjure up in your mind? Is it something that just happens when faced with life? Is it a faith and trust issue? It is utter dependence on the Lord. As the newsletter title implies, circumstances in life are the conduits required to our faith in God. Hope and courage is our spiritual legacy.
Through the devotionals, I have learned to steward my words and thoughts. Our vision of hope sometimes becomes blurry with all the expectations of the caregiver's demands, the long nightmare of sleepless nights missed, the stress attacking your body and mind.
Courage conjures up words such as boldness, strength, determination, fortitude, and adventuresome. It takes courage to deal with doctors, meds, insurance, wheelchairs, baths, the messiness of love, and all with grace. What is strange about courage is that resistance hates it. Resistance says “stay as you are.” The path traveled is one of making decisions in uncharted territory.
WHY ME? WHY NOW? WHAT NOW?
Courage is what we need to move us along, a kind of bravery that enables to assess. Our greatest teachers are those we care for. It takes courage to comfort. Courage keeps you going. It takes courage to be your loved one's advocate. Courage gives you the ability to act and make important changes.
In a sense, our loved ones face courage allowing us to live through each new idea, putting up with things they have little voice in. It takes courage to put life, plans, privacy, and personal lives on hold.
It takes courage to watch a loved one slip away, one ability at a time, one memory at a time.
And yes, the courage to say goodbye.
Perfect caregivers do not exist! Care giving is one of the greatest acts of courage and loaded with many powerful and painful life lessons. There is no way many of us could survive without the support of the fierce force you all have been at our support meetings. Some of you arrive, clueless, tired, vulnerable, and in need of emotional, and spiritual support as it is difficult at times to see what God is doing in the midst of this. Courage is produced by faith. A quick read of Psalms shows the need for frequent encouragement. We hope to recapture some of those moments through the newsletter.
“Courage is not simply one of the virtues but, the form of every virtue at the testing point.” ~CS Lewis
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