Hard to imagine this is all possible on a phone.
Now I *almost* want to get one!
You can download their music at the Rend Collective Experiment store.
Is it possible that adversity can originate with God? All of us would be more comfortable if Jesus had said, "This man is blind because he sinned, but God is going to use it anyway." That would be a much easier pill to swallow. But Jesus leaves us no escape. Sin was not the direct cause of the man's blindness: God was.
Suffering is unavoidable. It comes without warning; it takes us by surprise. It can shatter or strengthen us. It can be the source of great bitterness or abounding joy. It can be the means by which our faith is destroyed. Or it can be the tool through which our faith is deepened. The outcome hinges not on the nature or source of our adversity, but on the character and spirit of our response.
[I was] convinced that God could be trusted in the midst of adversity, that He really could work all things together for good if we adopt His definition of good and accept His system of priorities. I realized that God knows exactly how much pressure each of us needs to advance in the spiritual life. It was hard for me to stand back and watch others suffer because I was not aware of all God was doing for them on the inside. My perspective was limited to what was taking place on the outside.
A weekend full of adventure.
A weekend full of tenderness.
The gift that God gave to His only begotten Son was to crush Him. The gift that God may be offering to you in His loving hands may be a thorn--something about which you cannot imagine why God is doing this. Yet He is saying, "Will you love Me? Will you trust Me? Will you praise Me?" The Bible tells us in Romans 8:17 that we are heirs with Him if we suffer with Him. We become co-heirs. He wants us to be with Him in our sufferings. He wants us to understand the sufferings that He went through for us. Of course, we can never understand it. Of course, it is beyond any of our wildest imaginings. But we know that because of that shameful cross you and I receive redemption. I don't know what the gift may be that God is handing to you today, but there may be bitterness in the cup. There may be a thorn. Now when you and I begin to feel sorrow for ourselves and we think, "Poor little me. Why does God do this to me? I don't understand why God is allowing this to happen to me," go back to Isaiah 53:10. It was the Lord's will to crush Jesus Christ, His Son, and to cause Him to suffer. Why? "Though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days; and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand because He poured out His life unto death and was numbered with the transgressors. He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors." ~Elisabeth ElliotI found some of the most succinct and truth-filled words on suffering today at the blog of a fellow Christian who just died of cancer yesterday. He states that Christians going through great suffering must first "focus on being still and developing our relationship with God. Second, we can focus on ministering to others through the pain." (from Zac Smith's blog of his last days - well worth the read) Finally, he focuses on how to survive suffering well - concluding that we can
The devil, who has for the most part ignored you up to that point since you weren't a threat, starts to take notice. And so do other people. Believers and unbelievers alike may become your adversaries. Remember what happened to the boy David when he decided to fight Goliath? His brother attacked him angrily. Then Saul, the king, challenged him, "You're just a boy." Then Goliath himself mocked David. In that moment, David had no supporters except the Lord. Get in the battle and see what happens. ~Tim Haring, April 30th devotional for Faithwalkers journal, available in it's entirety hereThis has definitely been my experience. At certain points along this difficult road, as I follow God like a blind woman down a path I didn't choose that leads to a destination I am totally unsure of, I have felt overwhelming support and love from my community. At other points, that support has fallen away and I have been forced to wonder, "Am I even on the right road any more? Did I slip up somewhere?" I have to re-examine everything - my motives, the reasons I have faith I am on the right path, the signs God provided along the way, and most of all, my relationship status with God. Cancer, initially, was a huge wake-up call. All my priorities were shaken up like papers in a raffle basket, and, since the dust settled, nothing has ever been the same again. What I knew in my heart has become what I do with my hands: 1. God; 2. Aaron; 3. children; 4. blood family; 5. church family; 6. the lost. The challenge has been to sort through the various activities that fill my days and put them in their correct slot on the priority list. School, for instance, is particularly challenging. I believe it fits somewhere between church family and the lost - my reasons for going to school are to witness to the lost and to build the church family by going on mission as a nursing professor and being a voice of the church in the broader community. Adoption is another challenge - is that up there with children, blood family, church family, or is it an edict from God and something that should take top billing as Aaron and I pursue it together? These are the two activities that have undoubtedly drawn the most "heat" in the battle surrounding my life and my time and my service to Christ. School and adoption are two aspects of my life many people do not understand. Yet they are part of what Christ has called me to do, and I must "enter the battle and see what happens". I cannot, in good faith, table these things because it doesn't make human sense to pursue them. Aaron and I are in agreement, after long, hard examination, that these two things stay in our lives. We have to keep stepping forward on that, even if brothers, kings, and enemies oppose us and question our sanity.
When I was a little girl, I went to my father and said, "Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ." "Tell me", Father said, "when you take a train trip from Haarlem to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?" "No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train." "That is right," my father said, "and so it is with God's strength. Our wise Father in heaven knows when you are going to need things too. Today you do not need the strength to be a martyr; but as soon as you are called upon for the honor of facing death for Jesus, He will supply the strength you need - just in time."
Suddenly, everything seems to go wrong. The situation is perplexing and baffling and quite the contrary of what we had expected and anticipated. We seem to break down altogether and to lose hope entirely. We jump to conclusions, and almost invariably, to the worst conclusion that is possible in the given circumstances, the same assumptions as that which led Manoah to his worst conclusion, (namely) that somehow or other, God is against us, and that all we had so fondly imagined to be an expression of God's goodness and kindness was nothing but an illusion. In the midst of disaster and trying difficulties, the Christian religion, instead of acting like a charm or a drug, and doing everything for us, and suddenly putting everything right, asks us, nay rather commands us, to think and to employ logic. Manoah's wife understood that God is never capricious; God is never unjust in his dealings with us; God never contradicts himself and his own gracious purposes.
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. [wow - imagine that forever!] My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely, how blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys range free. (verses 17-20)