A'nesis Retreats and Counseling Sabbaticals

Come Away to a Quiet Place and Rest Awhile ~ Christian Retreats with Intensive Counseling

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It Gets Worse Before it Gets Better…

Listening to 100’s of client stories over the years, I think I’ve stumbled upon a spiritual law…”it gets worse before it gets better.” Somehow this age-old saying applies to the spiritual as well as the natural realm.

Why is it that right when you think “it can’t get worse,” it does get worse. Life seems to pull the rug out from under us at our most vulnerable moment.

It is intriguing to witness our Jesus in this place of weakness. While the hours on the cross must truly have been His biggest struggle, there were other times when His day didn’t go so well.

Matthew 14 tells the story. Jesus hears the news that the one family member He’s closest to—John the Baptist—is beheaded merely because of the frivolous whim of a teen-age flirt.

Jesus was obviously “shaken.” He simply had to get away so “he withdrew from there in a boat.” Life happened though, it it was simply impossible to escape the reality of the news of the beheading of this special person in His life.

5000 men plus women and children found Him in His deepest moment of grief. They followed Him and demanded of Him…they needed His Presence, His Message, His Peace.They even needed Him to feed them with nothing. Well, practically nothing…two fish and five loaves of bread.

There were no moments for Jesus to have Jesus time. His needs, His grief had to be put on hold. The day had gotten worse. There was much work to do even though Jesus had nothing left to give.

One of Jesus’ darkest days demanded Him the most giving. He put His pain aside and went straight into reality…The multitudes needed feeding and “tag He was it.” Out of this moment came one of Jesus’ biggest recorded mass miracles, the feeding of the 5,000.

The Spiritual Law began and continues till now. Things got worse before they got better…and then the Miracle.

If you are in the midst of heartache, know that your miracle awaits. God often requires us to “dig deep” and run on fumes. The outcome of this dependence on Him is always the fulfillment of a promise. When He multiplies our “nothing left” moments, they become our biggest miracles. When we are weak, He always remains strong.

After the worse, comes the better. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13

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“The Lord Stood and Said…”

How many times in our lives have we longed for the big billboard in the sky? There are seasons of darkness when we really need some sort of “sign.” Most of us really would prefer an actual physical sign…neon, regular billboard or perhaps even a small poster would do.

How fortunate for Paul that he actually experienced the Lord standing by him; not only this,he must have clearly heard Jesus speaking to him in an audible voice. Wow! Let’s examine a little closer before we get pea green with envy. If God speaks to us we may not want to be obedient to the message. The delivery could be a fabulous and wonderful and amazing sense of the His beautiful presence. However, the content of the message could be pretty frightening! “You say what?” “You want me to do what?”

Examining Paul’s moment of knowing the Lord was standing and speaking to Him gives us a clue to how we know if it is actually God’s voice or something we are only imagining. Here are some ways we can tell “is it God, the devil or me?”

1. He usually gives us a tough assignment that requires complete dependence on Him, not ourselves. Let’s face it…would self tell self to do something hard? No self would suggest a nice easy task!

2. The word from Him can often require a lot of “movement,” like travel or going to a new place that is totally out of our comfort zone. This could be as simple as talking to someone we would not normally talk to.

3. His message might require several steps to accomplish and also require patience.

4. It will not necessarily sound like common sense. We think God would only give us a clear,simple, and normal message. Quite the contrary. The Lord stood (by Paul) and told him very clearly to go do the same thing he just did (and almost got killed for) in yet another country (required extensive harsh travel). This time he would receive more brutal treatment, even imprisonment.

Acts 23 gives us this beautiful example of Jesus standing and talking to us in the flesh. The important thing is, if you experience His presence in the delivery of the message, you can rest assured about the content. Don’t question. Trust and obey. He will take care of the rest. You will grow and learn to depend on him more. You can’t put a price tag on an experience like that!