As a matter of fact – Saul did everything he could to try and stop the growth of Christianity. In fact, when Stephen (the first recorded Christian martyr in the New Testament) was killed, Saul was there watching them stone Stephen to death. On the day Stephen was martyred, a great persecution broke out against the Christian Church in Jerusalem and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. At that time, Saul began to destroy the Church. Going from house to house, he dragged off Christian men and women and put them in prison. Who was this “Saul” character? The greatest evangelist to ever spread the word of Christ, the Apostle Paul, that’s who.
Paul’s great abilities and earnest enthusiasm in spreading the gospel of Christ have made his name revered wherever the Christian religion is known. It is his writings which make up much of the New Testament of the Bible. It was in Rome that the apostle Paul suffered martyrdom. Paul was beheaded with a sword by order of the Emperor Nero.
Please pray – Lord God, take our hearts and mend them Father. Release us from the chains that bind us to our sinful nature. Show your Love abundantly and give us the strength to take every step we make purposely and determined to seek and know You. Thank You Jesus for the sacrifice You made on our behalf. Father God, we bow our head in reverence to You Mighty Lord and we lift our voices with Praise to the King of kings and Lord of lords. We ask for understanding of Your Word and keep us on the narrow path to Glory. In Jesus mighty name, Amen.
During a remodel my step son Trey wanted to help with some of this work so he was assigned to build a small frame for a subfloor. Unfortunately, he missed his mark on the measurements that created a slight adjustment to the completion of this project. Well, Trey can be very hard on himself when he makes a mistake and it took some doing for me to get him out of that mentality when he disappoints himself. He worked for a couple more hours with a less than approachable attitude but eventually we were able to work through it.
It’s a hard reality facing disappointments in our lives. We’ve all had them from time to time, some more than others and some more devastating than others
I’m sure. While working on this message I noticed it wasn’t coming together as
systematically as before. It seemed the Holy Spirit was being very quiet with me. While I was reading and searching for His direction, I began to feel sorry for myself not hearing His voice or receiving any directional influence. Usually, while reading scriptures at some point the Holy Spirit will speak or quicken my spirit and send me sorting through scriptures which ultimately allows us a divine message. Reading several verses in different books and even completing some of the shorter books searching out the message He wanted me to give and nothing, not a clue or a peep from the Holy One. Have you ever just opened the Bible and pointed at a verse thinking God led you to this verse? There is no such thing but let’s try it anyway! I thought He was mad at me for something I had done or forgot to do. It’s not surprising how the enemy will come in at this point and make a lie sound so truthful. I could hear the enemy whisper, “Remember that candy you stole when you were 13 years old? God won’t talk to you until you make it right.” How many times do you find yourself asking Jesus to forgive you for something you have already been forgiven for? Because of our journey to reach salvation we sometimes believe the lies thinking we have to approach the shadow of the cross again for what Jesus has already forgave. The truth is, he was talking to me all along. Just not in the direction I thought I needed or wanted therefore, I wasn’t hearing Him. Ever have your name called and it not register? That’s what I’m referring to.
We often times don’t want to hear the answer we are given then tell ourselves (and others) we’re waiting on the Lord. What we are really saying is, I’m waiting on the Lord to give me the answer I want. Getting an answer from God when it doesn’t fit our idea of what the answer should be, is hard to accept. It’s the same as a “no”. The results can be disappointment, heartache and discouragement. These all go hand in hand most of the times. The amazing Creator of the universe, the All Knowing God of all things takes a simple task such as allowing me to become disappointed, discouraged and will even allow my feelings to be hurt to direct His message in a profound and just way. I just love Him; He is a great Teacher and even a greater Father. Unaware of a lesson while searching for a lesson is a great way to learn a lesson, don’t you think?
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
No – good thing
While in my pitiful state of mind with not hearing the Holy Spirit, I didn’t realize
He was giving me the message all along. You see, searching for the answers for one of our sister’s challenge, which she has been combating the enemy vigorously, I was directed to remember some very painful disappointments in my life and had to face some buried emotions that when brought to the surface ignites a heaviness of where I was then and how I made it to the other side. Initially, our sister was the focus of this message but I also know there are others that need a word also and God will use this to minister to us all, including me. We, as believers, need to hear the truth for us to grow in Christ, and the Holy Spirit will absolutely orchestrate the plan for us to reveal the Truth first and then help apply it to our lives. This message will involve transparency into my personal experiences and it is imperative for me to submit completely to the Holy Spirit for His direction.
Let’s start with some definitions so we are all on the same page of understanding:
Disappointment (noun): The feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the defeat of one’s hopes or expectations.
Greek definition of disappointment: hope has deceived.
Heartbreak (noun): Crushing grief, anguish or distress.
Discourage (adjective): Having lost confidence or enthusiasm; disheartened.
Some years ago I met a woman that I thought had all that I was looking for in a soulmate. She was intelligent, fun and liked by many; a socialite that loved to party with friends. Being naive and (in retrospect) lonely, I attached to her ideas and philosophy of life and fell in love. During the beginning I wanted to be a part of her life so badly I prayed for God to intervene (even though I wasn’t close to Him) and He answered my prayer, at least I thought so. After four years of dating, I proposed and we were engaged for 3 years. We spent 7 years building a life with all the goals and dreams any couple would have. Overlooking the negative sides of her character because I was in love and didn’t care that I compromised my standards and morals, (rose color glasses scenario). She could do no wrong in my eyes and I was allowing and supplying a godless lifestyle for us both. After 7 years of building and planning one afternoon sitting in the living room as we had done so many times before, she says, “John, I love you, you’re a great guy and we have a lot of fun, but I’m not IN love with you” she admitted. 3 years after our engagement, 7 years of planning and dreaming, in a flash – all gone – as if it never existed.
Disappointments come in various ways. In situations such as not getting the job we wanted after we thought of how it would better our lives if we could have landed it. Or a close relative we depended on and they fell short. What of someone who we thought to be our friend and turns out they weren’t so friendly with whispers and gossip? And then there are those who fall in love and invested all they had only to be deceived, misled, lied to and hurt so deeply it caused an almost impenetrable barrier around our hearts.
This is most commonly caused by someone we trusted deeply with our hearts and emotions. For brief moments of pleasure and selfishness, they become immoral or have an affair and after the fact, having no remorse or repentance and some even lose their way completely and live in their deceit and in their sinful secrets. For those who are directly affected by this betrayal, it can be discouraging and devastating to the meaning of trust in others who come into our lives. We lose perspective of trust for those that are good, real and loving. Disappointment can lead to depression, thoughts of infidelity, discouragement, immorality and suicide. Some will act on those thoughts to move from the “hope that deceived” to get relief from the pain. Some will even turn away from God in anger and ultimately give into Satan’s plan to steal their joy of salvation. The heartache, disappointment and even confusion sets up deep into our psyche and we become bitter. In our afflictions we must not seek relief by any sinful compliance; but should continually meditate on the truth, purity, and knowledge of our heart – searching God. Heart sins and secret sins are known to God and we will be held accountable. Our troubles should not drive us away from God instead pull us closer to Him for comfort and resolve. Do not become careless or distracted.
Psalms 44:17-18, 17All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. 18 Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path.
The dictionary defines heartbreak as “crushing grief, anguish, or distress.” In today’s world, the term broken hearted usually describes someone who has suffered a failed relationship or loss of a loved one. A search of the internet makes it appear as though almost all heartbreak comes from divorce or being dropped by a lover. But a broken heart may be brought on by numerous causes such as disappointment in expectations, loss of possession, etc. Whatever the cause, the pain of a broken heart can be enormous. How do we move past this? There is a way to the other side, praise God.
Job’s life may be the earliest biblical record of heartbreak. In one-day Job lost his children, almost all worldly possessions, his health, and his means of livelihood. What was his response?
Job 1:20-21 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”
Job grieved, yet, he worshipped God and remained faithful. Although he had doubts as to God’s goodness in these terrible events, as we often times do, we question God’s actions and His plan; through the trial he grew closer to God through God’s revelation of Himself;
Job 42:1-5, 1 Then Job answered the Lord and said: 2 I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.
Job learned what all believers can learn through heartbreak—God is faithful and good and trustworthy. As we discovered in #10 – Gifted New Heart, Solomon searched all the worldly desires and riches for the meaning of life; for happiness and fulfillment and could only find it with God. He will not fail the heartbroken Christian who cries out to Him. He may not always answer exactly in the way we would like, but He answers according to His perfect will and timing and while we are waiting for the answer, His grace is sufficient.
2 Corinthians 12:9 9 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.
This, Saints, is very special. Re-read this over and over again and let it speak to you. In our weakest moments, when we think our world is crashing in, God and His Grace is sufficient. The NASB Translation for “sufficient” is able, adequate, enough, large sum. There is plenty of God’s love and His merciful Grace to hold us in our disappointment while we witness His plan to unfold.
Understand, we are not purposely seeking dismay, hurt or disappointment so we can have His Grace, we are receiving Grace because of our grief. Jesus understands heartache and disappointment. He went through plenty of it while in the flesh.
But how do we get to the other side of this disappointment? Jesus is our example. When He was in the Garden asking for His Father to take this cup and if there was any other way but Jesus knew His Fathers plan will be done and it needed to. As Jesus did, we have to know God has a plan and believe His plan is perfect. “Believe” is easier said than practiced for most of us. The Greek definition of believe is used as a noun “pistis” which means “persuasion”, i.e. credence; moral conviction, faith, assurance. Believe is tangible, it’s something to hold on to with conviction and faith. We trust God and have assurance with him for our eternity, is it really that hard to give Him our faith that His plan will be perfect, or is there doubt? Do you believe God is a miracle worker? Did He part waters, move boulders, heal the dead (not just the sick), save, destroy, bless, and curse? He can do anything, everything beyond our comprehension. We have to put into perspective who He is and how big our God really is.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
He is so much more than we can comprehend or imagine and it should be our desire to understand and seek Him. We are so blessed and fortunate to have a Father that is so big and loving that we can cry out to him in our time of desperation. For He loves us so much He has planned our every step to keep us safe and close to Him.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
This is all of the time, in every situation regardless. His plan is perfect and we must “believe” in His perfection. Sometimes, it takes a painful disappointment to teach us a skill or give us more wisdom or create a desire within us such as Trey did when he made his mistake. He grew in knowledge from his disappointment. I could have told him of the problems he could encounter if the measurement were wrong. He understands the right way much better by his experience and is more likely not to repeat it. Disappointments will strengthen our faith or it can put us in the right place at the right time. We don’t know His ways or His thoughts. We just have to believe in His promise. So when things have not gone the way you wanted and your hopes and expectations have been defeated, you have to give yourself time to grieve. It took Trey a couple of hours to get over it but he did. We need to spend some quiet time to understand what happened, being sad, mourning the way we thought things would be “if only” and allow all those emotions to surface and be released.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the
crushed in spirit.
Cry. Exercise. Read. Do whatever it is that releases the sadness, the disappointment and the defeat. It needs to be released; brought to the light.
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Comfort (the Holy Spirit) will slowly but most assuredly move in. Jesus said He will send a comforter for us to lean on and then, eventually, you have to stop grieving and move on with the strength and the promise of God’s Spirit. His Spirit is for us, all of the time and for every reason. Disappointment is not meant to define us; it is not meant to hold us hostage or weigh us down. Don’t give the enemy the power to rule your emotions and revisit the grief over and again. Do not try to dismantle what was divinely put into motion trying to get different results. Give it to God and trust in the goodness of God and His mercy. Know that He is good and He has His plan that is designed for you specifically. Trust Him, give up your way and take His steady hand and stand on His foundation.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
When we are chasing after God, trying to do the right thing, seeking a better
understanding of Him, we are looking for Him in those times of conflict. He’s there and we should be looking for how the perfect plan is unfolding and the blessings He has for us. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. One of the hardest things for us to do is listen.
Psalms 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
We sometimes have so much going on in our minds that we drown out what God is trying to tell us. We try to rush the Lord for an answer but patience is what we have to maintain. We need to be still and be quiet, wait on Him to speak to us; to guide and help us find resolve and for us being faithful he will bless us, hallelujah!
Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Having just gone through some traumatic sequence in your life is probably not the best time for us to search for the good. This is the time when it’s hardest but most important – to find the good, grab onto it with both hands, and to celebrate it.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Every day is a blessing, every day we wake up is another day to give thanks and praise; to have our time with our Father.
Psalms 6:5 Among the dead no on proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?
As we already know from our previous message, (#6 – Perfect Sleep), we should realize how wonderful it is to be able to express our love, our faith and our reverence to our Father in heaven. Rejoicing in His perfect Love and having the opportunity to praise Him and honor His Son. When we trust God with all we have, we are trusting in Him to defeat our disappointment, to heal our hearts and right the wrong. To trust Him regardless of the circumstance, regardless of how devastating or hopeless it may seem to us.
Philippians 4:13 For I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.
In our weakness, in our dismay, when we are hurt by those whom we loved, in our disappointment, we will find strength. Our Lord, our Father is with us and His Love surpasses all understanding.
The disappointment with my past relationship was not what God intended for me. He tried to tell me “no” but I wanted to hear a yes from Him, therefore I wasn’t listening. We often times think we know more than God and we instinctively do not like to be told no for any reason and will do everything we can to turn things to a ‘yes’ regardless if it’s right for us or not. We can start to believe that God was involved in our choices when in fact He wasn’t. The best news to all of this – though we sometimes can be hardheaded children and think we know what is best for us, God the Father, the Ruler of the universe, loves His children so much that He will take even our bad decisions, our disobedience, all of our hurts, sorrows and disappointments and turn them into blessings to show us who He is, how great He is and how much He loves us.
Ephesians 5:19-20 Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Glorious Father in Heaven, thank You for Your Grace and Mercy. Thank You for allowing me the opportunity to find You and to hear You, Lord. I ask for Your Holy Spirit to anoint this message and allow it to minister to those who it was intended for. Heavenly Father, bless all those who read this, pour out Your blessings to all those who seek You. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus. We worship you Lord. Amen.