Tag Archives: Overcome through endurance

Many Are the Afflictions of the Righteous and What We Can Learn From Them

When adversity comes, knocks, strikes, and hits down your door

My husband and I recently made a beautiful ascent into Jerusalem onto the Mount of Olives (where Jesus’ feet will one day land) that descended past the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed before His afflictions and crucifixion. The steep path led into the Kidron Valley that led up to the Eastern Gate through which He will return to the city.

I’ve documented our trip with images and explanations on my Facebook page: C.R.O.W.N. Calling Real Ordinary [Wo]men NOW. That’s about all I’ve done business/ministry wise in the last four months since we left for Israel in October.

We soon learned that a descending of afflictions into the valley follows an ascending

Jerusalem is a city built on the mountains. So, to go out from Jerusalem, the disciples had to go down. They had to go down the mountain. So, to send them out from Jerusalem was to send them down from Jerusalem. Just as important as it is to ascend the mountain is to descend it. In fact, that’s the direction of ministry . . . down the mountain (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, (Charisma House Book Group 2016, pg. 325).

Our traveling plans were to return home through Germany to see our daughter and family at their Army post. She had warned us that they were on the top fourth floor of their apartment building. They had missed getting into a house four months prior when they moved there. But it didn’t matter that they had no elevator, because Jim and I were both afflicted that whole week.

After arriving home, I discovered I had double pneumonia; Jim had ear and sinus problems. Six weeks after I recovered, I was able to care for my sister who had a hip replacement and get ready for Christmas for our children. A couple days later, I went for a walk and then another sudden affliction hit me…a complication from the pneumonia which put me on a breathing machine three times per day for thirty days. Today is the first day off that contraption!

During this trying time, I tried to pray which was hard since energy was out the door. But, one morning I heard in my spirit, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” How encouraging that was! I looked it up in my Bible:

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart; and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:18-19 NKJV).Click to Tweet

 

Many are the Afflictions of the Righteous with free arrows and shield laminate

What is the Definition of Affliction?

To afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain and suffering. To afflict means to cast down; to strike; humble; overthrow; to distress so severely as to cause persistent suffering or anguish; trouble; injure; torment.

Afflictions are the state of being afflicted; the cause of persistent pain or distress; great suffering.

What strikes me about this definition is that a “cast sheep” is one that has turned over on its back due to outside sources. Because it’s heavy with lamb and wool, it cannot turn over on its own. Without the shepherd’s help, it will die. To be enlightened how we are like sheep, go to>>  Sheep of the Lord and Jehovah Rohi

Where Do Afflictions Come From and Why?

The Bible shows where adversity comes from and why most clearly in the book and story of Jōb.

Jōb lived in the land of Uz with his wife, seven sons and three daughters. He was a righteous man, who was blameless, honored God and shunned evil. He was blessed by God with material wealth: seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants.

One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”

Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”

God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Jōb? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”

Satan retorted, “So do you think Jōb does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him and his family or his possessions, bless everything he does— he can’t lose!

“But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”

God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.”—Job 1:6-12 The Message

Ruins of Jerusalem with text overlay of How to Find Deliverance from Adversity and Afflictions

 

 

If you are going through a difficult time right now, you will want to go HERE to read this full story. The story of Jōb will help you like no other. It guided me at our most difficult days years ago. It shows what is going on behind the scenes where Satan brings disaster upon Jōb by taking away everything he owns except his wife. Eventually, his own body is struck with painful boils.

Job’s three ‘friends’ came to see him. They accused him and his adult children of sin and criticized him for days. Never did they pray for him.

Job gets so frustrated that he said, “I’m going directly to God for answers.” Of course, this is exactly what God wanted to hear >> The Story of Job.

We will look at four principles this story teaches us about suffering, adversity and afflictions, and what God is doing by filtering through His great big hands what Satan wants to bring against us––and how we can overcome.

Why Face Adversity?

Although Job was angry with his friends, one thing they did do was to put some fight into him. Would Job have given in to his afflictions and let them get the best of him if they had not troubled him more? We don’t know, but Job did learn to face his adversity. And, in doing so, He overcame.

Do you know of someone who lays down in the face of troubles and gives in to every blow that comes along and are always sick, having surgery or are perpetually distressed? They live by their emotions, and only what they can see, feel, taste, touch and only what the doctor says about them.

The first step to overcome is to face it by going to the Great Physician to see what He says about it, rather than what friends say. Facing adversity takes courage and means FIGHTING to overcome.

The Lord delivers those from afflictions who not only fight the spiritual battle, the good fight of faith, but they know God by knowing His Word; it’s not automatic and takes a lot of effort, but it’s so worth it.

Through Job’s story, we learn these four principles:

Afflictions Help Us See God and Know Who God Is

 

Flowers with text overlay of Jeremiah 30:17

1.      God is sovereign. We cannot understand his working through rational thinking alone.

When we want to ask, “Why God, why me?” we must remind ourselves that God sees the big picture of what He hopes to accomplish through our lives. Job took his complaints directly to God and God answered him. Bottom line: Job realized how small he was and how big God was and that there was a purpose in his whole ordeal.

The Lord had asked Job to listen to Him and give Him some answers. Listen closely to Job’s reply, for this is the purpose of all suffering: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6 NIV).Click to Tweet

2.      God’s will toward us is good – always God is good. God really is near to those going through adversity. He always makes His presence known – when we are looking to Him and His word.

After many weeks of weakness, I pulled out my ARROWS SWORD & SHIELD (a 5 x 7 laminate) that I made after previous difficulties. I spoke these Scriptures over myself out loud declaring His promises as already fulfilled while thanking God for strength and healing although I didn’t feel like it.

The next morning during my one hour of computer time of scheduling pins for my Pinterest business, SEVEN times this Scripture crossed my vision:

“For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 30:17).Click to Tweet

God always cares and will communicate His care to his children.

Afflictions Bring Growth in Humility and Reveal His Divine Purposes

3.      We can focus on our innocence and question God’s justice as Job did, or we can grow in humility and wait for God to reveal Himself and His purposes for us.

The Lord spoke to Job and answered his questions. Job replied, “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head” (Job 42:1-3 Msg).

Job found that God did not have a list of offenses against him, but his only offense was his complaints against God during the suffering. He knew God had to have had a purpose, and now he knew what it was: “I admit I once lived by rumors of you, now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!” (Job 42:5 Msg).

Afflictions Make Us Stronger and Build Character

4.      The testing of our faith is an individual, personal testing.

At times uncontrollable forces will come against us. Family, friends, health, houses and job, and other sources of strength may be taken away leaving us seemingly ALONE in the battle. It’s in this ALONENESS, however, that we must hear God’s voice rather than the voice of others.

We must trust God alone to fill our voids and return us to victory. After Job did this, God asked him to pray for his friends; in doing so he had to forgive them, and Job was healed. God restored double to him of all he lost, and he was now on the road to be able to comfort others as he had been comforted by God alone (2 Cor. 1:4).

Who Can Overcome Afflictions?

We know the righteous will be delivered as Psalm 34: 19 says, but what about non-Christians? Does God hear their prayers, too? My friend Janice was married at seventeen years of age. Her husband tried unsuccessfully to drown her when she was pregnant. At the birth of her daughter, the doctor announced, “You will never take this baby home. She has only half a liver.”

But, Janice, not yet a Christian, did what James 5:13 says to do, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” She went out into the hallway to call her sister to pray for her. A woman appeared beside her and voiced the prayer over the phone. To read this miraculous story go HERE

How Can Suffering and Afflictions be Overcome?

Barbara Watts suffered from multiple sclerosis. It hit her while she was witnessing to a friend. Her story shows how perseverance and the Word of God brought her miracle from this incurable disease. And it all happened in a church that did not believe in divine healing. Here is her story of faith>> What Does the Mature Bride Look Like?

God is Jehovah Rapha [The Lord our Healer]. Over and over again I’ve seen miracles of healing from my past, in our marriage and with our children––mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Here is my story of learning about faith and how to pray for family and friends: Because God is Jehovah-Rapha I Am Healed

What Current Afflictions Are Teaching Me

I’ve realized that my old habit of a performance mentality is not dead. Early in my marriage, I unknowingly felt I needed to work to gain God’s approval and was unable to see myself as God saw me. I’ve written about that in My Red Umbrella Story.

With all that needs to be done with a Web site and business/ministry, I’ve lately let that wrong attitude gain mastery in my life at the exclusion of other more important things.

Over these last few months, and without ‘my’ help, God has demonstrated that He doesn’t need my help (but he wants me and loves me). He has brought a 279% increase in traffic to my site with six times more organic browser searches. If I’d not been absolutely prevented from writing more posts and doing other ‘marketing’ things I would not have known that.

Immediately upon falling ill, I asked God, “How am I going to keep up with Pinterest?” When I read about Jesus turning the water into wine and the marriage feast, He spoke to my heart, “Just fill one jar, or one day, at a time with your pins and trust me to turn them into wine.” He’s doing that. And subscribers are still finding my free ecourse on this site––with the excerpts I’ve given you here.

I’ve determined not to make any more deadlines of my time with the Lord so I can “get on the computer.” I will not merely throw a kiss to Jesus from a distance, and I commit myself to spend more time with Him in His Word and in prayer.

I’ve repented and  made a quality decision to do only what He says when He says and how He says––having descended the mountain into the valley where other people are.

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Revelation 2:2-5 (NKJV)

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot [b]bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.

“Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”

May I Pray with You?

I’m closing with more Scriptures about affliction, but if you’d like me to pray with you, please hit reply or post a comment below.

Here are some additional helps you may enjoy:

Because God Is . . . I Am << this link is the booklet given away with the free ecourse of GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? You can get it now for only $.99 that makes it available at your fingertips on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and many more. It has additional healing Scriptures of Jehovah Rapha and eleven more Hebrew names of God that cover every area and need in life.

Eyes Wide Open << this link is the booklet given away with my periodic newsletter. It will help you know who Holy Spirit is, His benefits, and how you can know Him better and give you the power to live the Christian life. Same price; same reading apps.

lady in chair afflicted with text overlay of 4 things you should know about afflictions suffering and adversity

Scriptures about Afflictions:

Psalm 34:17-20 ESV

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Romans 8:18 ESV

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 5:3-4 ESV

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Psalm 119:71 ESV

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

James 5:11 ESV

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Romans 8:28 ESV

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

Psalm 22:24 ESV

For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

M10B What Does the Mature Bride Look Like?

The mature Bride has an unwavering faith—toughened by hardship and endured bitterness

Chuck Pierce, vice president of Global Harvest Ministries and affiliated with the World Prayer Center, addresses endured bitterness of the mature bride. He says, “Esther 2:9-13 explains that 12 months of preparation were necessary before a woman could be presented to the king. That preparation consisted of two phases, one in which oil of myrrh was used and one in which beautiful perfumes were applied.

“The myrrh represented endured bitterness that ultimately produced a beautiful fragrance. After six months of wearing oil of myrrh, the woman was then given perfumes and other beautifiers that would enhance her appeal to the king.

“After this extensive preparation, Esther appeared before the king and found favor in his sight. Soon she was exalted to the royal position of queen.”[1] We will be exalted to this position beside Jesus on His throne as queen, the mature bride—if we overcome through endurance. Barbara Watts endured great bitterness.

Mature bride: Jehovah Sabaoth Lord of hosts

Barbara Watts as an im mature bride

One of Barbara Watt’s earliest and very special memories is a picture of herself when she was eight years old. She was standing in a beautiful cathedral-like setting with the blessed sacraments of the Lord all around—her first communion. In the front row of children, she was dressed in a beautiful little girl’s bridal outfit, with a matching white veil and little white shoes and socks, with her brown hair cascading around her shoulders.

Even though Barbara was raised in church to know about God, she did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When thirty-three years old, she learned what true communion with the Lord was. She found a church with a women’s group who studied the Bible. The women talked about Jesus as though they knew him. The church soon had revival services which she went to on a Wednesday night. That evening she sensed Jesus coming up behind her and saying, “I AM the One you’ve been looking for.”

Barbara remembers that night as something like an explosion. All the Scriptures, the teachings, and the hymns she learned over the years seemed to suddenly erupt in her heart and mind, and an incredible flood of realization came bursting through—crumbling the wall that kept her from knowing the blessings of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit descended upon her and she knew in a moment’s time that Jesus was real. At the close of the service at invitation time, she bounded to the front and exclaimed what Jesus had just done for her.

The next day, Barbara ran all over town to her friends and family telling them, “Jesus is alive. He is a real Person!” Everywhere she went, she witnessed. She told them, “I will never let go of Jesus’ hand, no matter what happens.” She would soon find out what that meant.

The following year, she led her son and daughter to accept Jesus and many family and friends. The Holy Spirit led her from one divine appointment to another. One day, she stopped at a convenience store and her heart ached when she saw a tall, muscular man with tattoos all over his arms leaning on the building and just staring out into space. When she walked out, he was still there. The Lord spoke to her, “Tell him I love him and that everything’s going to be all right.”

“Lord, are you sure you want me to talk with this man?” Her heart started beating hard.

“Yes,” He replied.

Barbara obeyed, walked up to the man and said, “I know you might think this very strange, but I am a Christian and Jesus just spoke to my heart and told me to tell you that He loves you and everything is going to be okay and to just trust Him.”

All of a sudden, this big, burly man hung his head and cried; then he looked at Barbara and said, “Thank you so much.”

Barbara walked from one divine appointment to another which she told her husband Jerry about; he still did not know the Lord. He saw many changes in her, though, especially when God taught her to treat him “as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). She hated to make his lunches for work, but she began to put all his favorite things on them and wrote on a napkin, “I love you.” She continued to praise the Lord and to thank Him daily for Jerry’s salvation.

Barbara’s endured bitterness begins

Barbara Watts' incredible story of healing from multiple sclerosis--what it has to do with becoming the mature bride of Christ through endured bitternesss.

The day arrived when she ran into opposition to her witness. She and Jerry were at a restaurant for dinner with their friends. As usual, Barbara was witnessing to Jerry’s buddy, when a stroke-type thing hit her. She lost her speech as one hand flew up. She pulled it down with the other hand as tremors racked her body; however, peace consumed her as she knew God was still in her midst.

Her speech eventually returned; then, another stroke-like feeling. Her feet would only let her scoot to the car. Jerry wanted to take her to the hospital, but she wanted to go home first.

By the time they arrived at the house, Jerry had to carry her. While he called the hospital and doctor, Barbara, lying on the couch, heard a voice that filled her with fear, “You are going to die!”

She asked their friends, who had followed them home, to get her Bible. It fell open to Psalm 118:7, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.”

After many tests and weeks in the hospital, the diagnosis was multiple sclerosis. From there, her condition worsened and would get better. She was in and out of an electric wheelchair, a walker, crutches, and a cane to totally bedridden. The disease, affecting the central nervous system, caused migraines, extreme hot and cold episodes, and pain-like crippling arthritis. It felt as though someone was inside her body—shaking it for all its worth.

One day, Jerry and their children were watching television. Barbara was in bed—numb. She could have called for help but did not feel she wanted to. She wanted to get in there on her own, so she slid out of bed—fell on her belly and scooted down the hallway. When Jerry saw her, he jumped up and ran to her. Shortly after that, he accepted the Lord when he realized he could no longer bear this in his own strength.

Husband and wife become the mature bride together

Barbara mature bride healed
Image of a painting by Pat Jessee: Rise Up and Walk, of Barbara Watts. www.patjesseecreations.com

Together, Jerry and Barbara trusted the Lord for her healing. She discovered 3 John, verse 2 in the Amplified Bible, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers.” This was confirmation that God wanted her to be healed. They waited, hoped and expected the Lord to intervene (see Ps. 27:13-14).

Finally, one very cold Sunday arrived. The family had not planned to go to church, but to listen to the service instead; cold was Barbara’s enemy. Cold makes multiple sclerosis flare up uncontrollably, but she heard a voice, “Go to church.” Recognizing the Lord’s voice, she called friends to pick her up.

Using her cane, she got to her handicap class in the sanctuary. Within five minutes, the affliction hit her bladder, and she had to go to the restroom. That happened five or six more times until she lost control of her whole body and could not stand. A friend loaned Barbara his own wheelchair as the service was about to begin.

Returning from the restroom the last time, Barbara, with her girlfriend, Jonnie, rolling her in the wheelchair, saw that the sanctuary doors were shut.

“Barbara, what do you want to do? I can get some help and get you to the car.”

War attacked her mind and body: “GO HOME . . . STAY . . . GO HOME . . .!” Tremors grew so strong that the wheelchair shook. A migraine hit her as her throat began to close.

“Open the doors, I’m going through!” Barbara finally said.

While sitting in the back of the church by Jonnie, she sensed the presence of the Lord. Many began to move from their pews to go forward. Barbara felt compelled to “go forth.” She said to Jonnie, “Get me out of this wheelchair.”

“Barbara, you can’t stand up.”

“I don’t care. Get me out of this wheelchair.”

Jonnie lifted her up and set her down on the floor. Barbara lifted her trembling hand and sobbed, “Jesus I love you. Jesus I love you.”

It was as if liquid love poured all over her . . . she heard the Lord’s voice, “My child, stand up.”

“I can’t. You know I can’t?”

“My child, stand up,” the second time.

“Lord, please help me.”

“My child, stand up,” the third time.

Finally, Barbara put faith into action and lifted her shoulders. At that instant, the power of God hit her head, went through her body, and raised her to her feet, healing her instantly. She ran from the back of the church, unclasping the hands of the people who were singing, “There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in This Place.” From the pulpit, she declared what had just happened—in a church with a history of not believing in divine healing—and for an incurable disease.

Barbara felt God had a certain date set for manifesting her healing, although Jesus paid for it with His blood so many years ago. During her illness, she had been given drama tapes that she acted out with her fingers. The Lord now brought even more tapes to her. She had told Him that when she could use her feet again, she would use them for His glory.

Barbara as the mature bride

the mature bride living in powerOne of the most compelling dramatizations Barbara performs is of the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years (see Mark 5:25-34). With a dark cloak wrapped around her, she struggles down the isle to the front of the room. The Lord allows her to feel what that woman felt many years ago. More amazingly, her face becomes contorted as though she was the woman herself. When she arrives at the front where Jesus is standing and touches the hem of His garment, she demonstrates how His power rushed through her body, and He transforms her into a beautiful bride, with a pure dazzling white wedding gown on.

Dressed in her wedding garment and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Barbara moves, as the mature bride of Christ, to hurting individuals in the audience who are spiritually or physically bound. She speaks words of God’s wisdom and knowledge to them and prays for them. Before any presentation, she and other women stay the night before to fast, worship, and to pray and praise the Lord before the meeting. The Lord always shows up in His power, for they believe the evil one is overcome by the word of their testimony (Rev. 12: 11) and that “the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Corinthians 4:20).

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What Does the Mature Bride of Christ Look Like?

[1] Chuck Pierce, “Women Transforming the World,” SpiritLed Woman, April/May 2000, p. 17.