Hard Pressed But Not Crushed

Given the choice between a can with dents or a can without dents; which would you choose?

Sometimes I opt for the can with dents, knowing that it will be more difficult for the store to sell it.  In the food business, dents in cans often equal profit loss.  Yet in the Christian walk, dents are inevitable and even trademarks of a life sold out to Christ.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor 4:7-9

I have walked with Christ for close to 36 years starting with 8 years as a missionary kid living in Asia.  I’ve lived almost 4 decades sold out to Christ with the many dents that come with such living and the countless blessings that come with unthrottled, passionate following of Christ.

Of the past 35 years, I would say this past year has been one of the most dent-full of any of those years combined.  I and my husband-to-be have been “hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down” over and over again.

Attacks on every side and in almost every form have come our way like tsunami waves of health and financial trials, hatred, grief, abandonment, betrayal, mocking, verbal attacks, and cold, aloof stares from once close friends.  At moments the waves have crushed our heads into the sand as if we were flimsy rubber bands.  Our chests have heaved time and again with the weight of getting back up from the quick succession of the attack waves.

And yet, God remains faithful in sustaining our strength, our faith, and our joy.  We have found victory when our focus is on the blessings that are inevitable based on the truth found in Romans 8:28.

The song, Blessings, by Laura Story powerfully portrays this truth.

Do you find yourself being hammered by the surf of testing trials today? My prayer for you is that 1 Peter 5:8-9 would be true of your time of testing.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

For your victory lies within the focus of your heart and mind’s focus:

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

 

To the Very Day


How many of us believe in God’s sovereignty to the point that we believe that He accomplishes things “to the very day” of His plan?

Exodus 12:40-41 (NIV), “Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.  At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt.”

The Israelites were in bondage for 430 years as slaves in Egypt.

  • 430 years . . . in other words . . .
  • 5,160 months
  • 22,360 weeks
  • 156,950 days

And yet, even after that length of time during which time and again the Israelites despaired and lost heart  in God’s ability to keep His promise; He still fulfilled His promise “to the very day.”

In my almost 36 years of walking with Christ, I have been amazed at our lack of faith in believing and our waiting with faith-filled hearts for Father to do what He has promised us — both the promises of Scripture and the promises He has spoken and confirmed to us personally or corporately as a church body.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV), “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.”

In my ministry of prophetic intercession, I have the honor and privilege of journeying alongside many brothers and sisters who:

  • are placed in the crosshairs of fierce spiritual attack
  • expectantly waiting to receive an answer to a desperate need
  • longing to be freed from emotional or physical bondage
  • waiting with faith-filled hearts for Father to do what He has spoken and confirmed to them personally or corporately as a church body

What have I found time and again?

He is our Father who does not give us stones when we ask for bread, nor does He give us snakes when we ask for fish (Matt 7:9-11).

So what promise today is Father prompting your heart to believe Him for?

If you are despairing or wavering in your belief in God’s ability to keep His promise, may you say along with the father whose son was possessed by an evil spirit , “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NIV)

If you are fearing that Father will follow through on His promise to rescue you, may you hear Jesus say to your heart, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36, NIV)

For He is the God who promises, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. . . .What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” (Isaiah 46:10-11)

And He does it “to the very day.”

 

 


Kids: They’re Already Ready

Are we empowering our kids as mighty servants and ministers of the King now or is that a future thing?

I grew up as a missionary kid in Indonesia.  As a young child, my parents taught me to serve, to minister to those around me, and I was thrust into the crosshairs of intense spiritual warfare.

I have worked in KidMin in various capacities throughout the U.S. and the world (volunteer, Christian school teacher, and vocation) for the past twenty years.  Through these experiences, I have become thoroughly convinced that “they’re already ready” – to serve, to minister, to engage in spiritual warfare, and to set an example for the believers (1 Tim. 4:12).

Ready to Serve

Serving in our church children’s ministry for 4 1/2 years, I provided the staff support for our 5th and 6th Grade ministry – a service-based pre-youth group experience based on Acts 1:8.  Our students had opportunities to serve in our children’s ministry, our church, our city, and through Operation Christmas Child and Kids Against Hunger.

Again and again, these 5th and 6th Graders rose to the challenge – serving with joy, purpose, and maturity.  Over and over I saw their hunger to make a real difference in their world, so much so that they inspired the adults who served as their small group leaders.

Our kids are Already Ready to serve.

Ready to Minister

I taught 3rd Grade at a Christian school this year.  One of my student’s father was diagnosed with a fast-acting cancer.  Over the year as she would share updates with us, I saw my class of eight and nine year olds effectively minister to her and to each other.

As we discussed the realities of life, death, suffering, and God’s answers to our prayers; I saw my students process, understand, and apply the concepts we conversed about.  I saw them minister with compassionate honesty, genuine comfort, and biblical wisdom & maturity. Time and again during our Bible time, they would gather around, placing their hands on her, ready to comfort and intercede for her.

Our kids are Already Ready to minister.

Ready to Engage in Spiritual Warfare

For two years, I led a week long children’s ministry outreach in conjunction with a ministry my church partners with in Asia.  Having grown up in Indonesia, I know firsthand the level of spiritual warfare these children are already dealing with in their youth.

During one outreach, I shared the testimony of my experience with spirtual warfare and oppression with this group of children whose ages spanned from two to fifteen years old.  I will always remember the look of understanding and connection I saw in their eyes.

Children worldwide are dealing with spiritual warfare and are in dire need of knowing the principles of how to effectively deal with spiritual warfare.

Our kids are Already Ready to engage in spiritual warfare.

Ready to Set an Example

In every setting I have engaged in KidMin – camps, Christian schools, churches, mission trips – I have seen kids who are ready to set an example for the believers (1 Tim. 4:12).  They only need to be esteemed, empowered, and equipped to do so.

They’re Already Ready . . .

What are we doing to enable them to soar?

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