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Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why Do I Suffer? (Part 2)

I had to chuckle after last night's rather speedy blog post about suffering in the Christian walk, when I attended a baby dedication today.

More and more recently, I dislike attending church, but today was a feeding, refreshing and encouraging break. Which I wasn't expecting. After all, I'd only gone cause it was my sister Sarah's baby sister.

And the sermon was on Hannah and her dedication of Samuel to the Lord - very fitting, as the baby girl's name was also Hannah!

I took notes. *wrinkles nose at her ink dyed hands* The pen was leaky. :D

Anyways. It tied in EXACTLY with what I posted yesterday. Oddness? Eh! God is good!!!

1 Samuel 1:1-5

"Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to the Lord there.

When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters; but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed her womb."

Faithfulness begins in sorrow and disappointment.
The darkness is scary, but children tend to be less afraid when holding their Father's hand.
It's easy to have faith when the light is on.
When dark times come, you begin to look for something higher than yourself.
God can change hearts, and it's usually the dark time that make us look up.
Hard times are a blessing; sicknesses and diseases remind us that we won't be here forever.

It's very hard when you're in the darkness and you can't touch the Father's hand. It's then you have to begin to trust His heart. A loving parent will guide you.
It's at the moment when darkness and discouragement come, that faith begins.
Faith is not an ambiguous feeling that you hope something good will happen. Faith is not based upon a feeling. Faith is based on a guarantee.
Faith is when you trust what God says in spite of the consequences.
Faith is where most people stumble at the point of becoming a Christian.
Faith is trusting that God is going to keep His Word.

1 Samuel 1:6-8

"Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

As Pastor Pickett said - the rest of it was good, but that last was a dumb remark! :D

A mark of a faithful life is when family members do not understand or (although advising you with good intentions) make things worse.

If your happiness is dependent on another person, you're a miserable person.
We must depend on God.

Most of the people you see have a brave and smiling face, but carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Your circumstances seem earthly but they are not. God allows catastrophes in your life to give you opportunities to see where you are with your trust in Him.

1 Samuel 1:10-11

'She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. She made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”'

Hannah's prayer was not sanctimonious; she told God what she wanted, what she knew He could do if it was His will, and vowed a return.

Pray honestly. Prayer is where your heart speaks to God.
When you depend on God, you take your petitions to God, not your demands.
A faithful life spends itself trying to honour God.
When God gives to us, He gives us so we can give back to Him – a life of giving.
When you trust God, you don't lose out. He honours you.
If God chooses to bless us with more suffering, honour Him with it.
When you become a Christian, things will get worse for you. Satan now hates you. There will be struggles. But the wages for serving God are eternal life.

1 Samuel 1:19

"Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her."

The next mark of a faithful life is that God remembers them and honours the asking, the seeking and the knocking.
Most Christians do it half-heartedly.

We don't stop seeking until we find. We don't stop knocking until the door is open.

Luke 18:1-5

'Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”'

Return the blessing, whether given, or the blessing of it NOT being given, back to the Lord.

1 Samuel 1:20, 24-28; 2:18-21

"It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the Lord.”

Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh, although the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli. She said, “Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” And he worshipped the Lord there.

Now Samuel was ministering before the Lord, as a boy wearing a linen ephod. And his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him from year to year when she would come up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you children from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the Lord.” And they went to their own home.

The Lord visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the Lord."

Last year's faith has to grow, because you should be growing. Last year's faith should not fit on this year's Christian.

(At this point, Pastor Pickett attempted to put on the jacket of nine-year-old Nathan - and then got Nathan to put his on.)

God gives us what we need when we need it; no more, no less. If we're growing in God, then we will grow into our new "coat of faith".

The key to faith is staying invested in the things of God.

Hannah returned each year with a new coat.

Hannah started with nothing. Zero. 0. She honoured God by keeping her vow and God trusted her with more.
A walk of faith is where we're constantly trusting in the Lord and walking before the Lord. We need to trust Him for what He said.

God wants you. He's not forced to take you. Giving yourself to Him is worth it.

~Mademoiselle Siân