Sunday, 1 December 2013

Faith and Suffering

We’ve all heard amazing stories of faith in the midst of trials and I don’t just mean little irritants throughout the day but real storms that rock your hope right out from under you!  What is it that keeps these people going?  How is it that they hold on to their faith instead of throwing it out the window?  After all how could a loving God allow his people to suffer?

We in North America have the idea that suffering is bad.  I know I sure don’t like it!  I wonder if we never suffered would we appreciate the good things and good times in our lives?  In Philippians it says to “Give thanks in all things” I know there are other places in the world where people are tried much more deeply than we are here and yet they don’t lose their joy. 
The Bible says Jesus “learned obedience through the things he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)
“He was also tempted in every way that we are and overcame.” (Hebrews 2:18)

It is so important when you are in the middle of life’s storms to hold on to God’s promises.  Things WILL change.  God says “He is working everything out for our good”   So how does suffering strengthen our faith in God?    For some people it shatters their faith and yet other’s come out shining as gold!   

What it comes down to is relationship.  How is it that some people like Corrie Ten Boom can live in a concentration camp and not become bitter and others hit a minor trial and give up on God?   How is it that a Christian like Pastor Saeed can be thrown into one of the world’s worse prisons and not throw in the towel?  It’s about more than just heaven and hell.  This is much more than just “fire insurance.”

Well one thing I’ve learned about relationships is that it is not based only on the good times and good things another person can give us.  Real love is give and take.  Real love is patient and kind.  Real love is 1 Corinthians 13.  God wants us to love Him in good times and bad.  (Just like we do our spouses, family and friends)

After talking to several people I have come to the conclusion that it comes from knowing Him intimately; who He is, his character and above all His love.  For me whenever I get into a pity party or feel angry towards God because of my circumstances the love of the cross shatters all of that.   It all comes down to that “Old Rugged Cross”.  The scourging, the whipping, the beating, the mocking, the humiliation of nakedness, the crown of thorns, the nail pierced hands and all He could think about was forgiving His killers!

Although I am so thankful for other believers that keep me encouraged through times of testing, however, it still boggles my mind what some people go through without losing their joy.  I don’t know about you all but I need to get into The Word and in prayer more not because this is a religion based on works but because I really do want to KNOW Him.  I really do want to trust Him no matter what!

A parable based on Words of Wisdom: Malachi 3:3

Refiner and Purifier of Silver
Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." 

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this
statement meant about the character and nature of God. 
One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to
the group at their next Bible Study. 
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch
him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond
her curiosity about the process of refining silver. 
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it
heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the
middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought
again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." 
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire
the whole time the silver was being refined. 
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he
had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver
was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. 
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you
know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's
easy - when I see my image in it." 

This parable’s author is unknown.

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on
you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

(If anyone would like to share their testimony with me you can reach me at)

Saturday, 27 July 2013

First Choice/Best Choice

Ever consider that David was not God's first choice for King? Saul was the first one chosen. Regardless of what people say about Saul, he was sent by God to Samuel as an answer to the prayer of God's people. YOU also are an answer to somebody's prayer. David wasn't the first choice - but he was the BEST choice.

If you are serving under someone else, "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as TO THE LORD, and not unto men." (Col 3:22) work as if you were working for Jesus because the Lord see's your effort and "you shall receive the reward of your inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." 

David was a man after God's heart and that is why he ended up in the role that Saul was originally given. He was a man after- in pursuit of - God's heart. Your ROLE changes but your PURPOSE doesn't. If your passion is God's presence and you stay focused on fulfilling your present assignment, you will discover that what you are doing now is actually preparing you for what your NEXT ROLE is going to be.

Esther was not the Kings first choice - she ended up replacing Queen Vashti.

You may feel like you are running LAST but the last are often FIRST before the story is over. The "first born" in the family were the ones with the Birthright and the Inheritance. However....

Isaac was second to Ishmael.

Jacob was second to Esau.

Joseph was 11th out of 12 and anything but the first choice of his brothers.

Moses was not the people's choice for a deliverer - they drove him into a dessert.

Jeremiah was not Israel's first choice for a Prophet, but he was Gods.

Peter and the rest of the disciples in Galilee were not the local Rabbi's first choice. All young men went to Hebrew school, but by 13 were either encouraged to continue with the Rabbi and be further trained or were told to "go learn the trade of your father." When Jesus saw Peter, James, Andrew and John they were doing like the Rabbi said - working in their fathers fishing business.

NOW the CRAZIEST of all overlooks in history....Jesus of Nazareth was overlooked by the local Rabbi as a qualified recruit for the ministry.

Stay faithful to your present call, stay passionate about His presence and stay OPEN to the providential way's that God open's door's because YOU are an answer to someone's prayer and your gift's are a solution to someone's problem. Be an expert problem solver and you accelerate your's just a mater of time.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Dry Time

I must admit the last couple weeks I have been going through a dry time spiritually.  It seems that God is distant and uninvolved.   I know these are my emotions lying.  The truth is He is closer than ever!

Psalm 139, "O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me....How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You." (Psalm 139:1-10 & 17-18)  Healing our Image of God and Ourselves

Don't give up we'll get through this dry time!

"Awake My Soul"
(with Lecrae)

[Chris Tomlin:]
Breathe on me, breath of God, breathe on me
Breathe on me, breath of God, breathe on me
I come alive, I’m alive when you breathe on me
I come alive, I’m alive when you breathe on me

Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, through you alone
Awake my soul

Speak to me, word of God, speak to me
Speak to me, word of God, speak to me
I come alive, I’m alive when you speak to me
I come alive, I’m alive when you speak to me

Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, through you alone
Awake my soul

Then He said to me,
Prophesy to these bones and say to them,
Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones,
I will make breath enter you,
And you will come to life.
So I prophesied as I was commanded.
As I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound,
And the bones came together, bone to bone.
And I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them,
And skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then He said to me,
Prophesy to the breath,
Prophesy, son of man, and say to it,
Conjure the four winds of breath and breathe.

Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, through you alone
Awake my soul

Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, through you alone
Awake my soul

Yeah, I’m not alone, I realize
I breathe out, I come alive
Your word gives life to my dry bones
Your breath tells death it can ride on
Awake me, make me a living stone,
A testament to your throne, I
I’m nothing without you, I’m on my own
The only one who satisfies my soul

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Peace, Be Still!

How many of us are guilty of not slowing down?  Not letting go and letting God?  I know I am.  I burnt myself out last month "trying to fit everything in" and neglected what was really important, my relationship with God and my own personal care (exercise, eating right, sleeping etc.)  Well no more, it's time to have boundaries and say no once in a while.  (very hard thing to do for us social people pleaser's)  Even Jesus took time out for rest and rejuvenation at friends (Lazarus, Mary and Martha) and especially with His Father.  You may be asking yourself is it okay as a Christian to say no.  Well consider the following verses.

Matthew 5:1

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,

Mark 6:30-31

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

When God told us to rest He was also concerned about our beasts of burden and employees!  

Exodus 23:12

12 “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.

The hard part is finding balance between rest and work.  God's plan is not that we should become couch potatoes.

Numbers 8:23-26

23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, 25 but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. 26 They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.

And although we should prepare for the future we don't want to be like the rich man who worked and stored up goods only for himself then dropped dead before he could enjoy it!

Luke 12:20-21

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

In this crazy busy go go go world how many of us take time to rest?  So it's no wonder how many times in scripture God tells us to be still, quiet, or be at peace. They may not be written in those exact words but here are some of the verses I found pertaining to rest.  Take some time and meditate on them and find your peace.   

Psalm 46:10 

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 37:7 

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Exodus 14:14 

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Mark 4:39

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Psalm 23:1-6 

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. ...

Psalm 62:5 

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 131:2

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Psalm 91:1-16 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, ...

Job 6:24 

“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.

1 Peter 3:4

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

Lamentations 3:24-26 

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Isaiah 32:17 

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

1 Kings 19:11-13 

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

1 Thessalonians 4:11 

And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

 Friend have you reached the right balance in life? Do you have ample, but not too much, rest? If not, join me in praying that God will  assist us in moving towards that right balance.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

God's Word Is Medicine

We take our vitamins for health and medicine for healing. We follow the Dr.'s orders.  What about what our Jehovah Rapha's instructions? (Rapha means healer) Did you know that in the original text the word health in verse 22 means medicine?

20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

So how do you take "The Word" like Medicine?

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Refiner's Fire

Malachi 3:2
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap.

You’re a Diamond

You’re a precious stone He gave His life for
We need to be cut; for Papa this is quite a chore
Unfortunately we get a little rough and we can’t see His face
Diamonds are beautiful but are hard and encased
This separates and sadly keeps the Father out
He doesn’t want this; it’s your relationship this is about
Heat and pressure are needed to smooth
For a perfect reflection that shows the truth
Our Papa wants to see Himself in us
However, this takes a process
Christ in us the Hope of Glory
That’s who we are, that’s our story!

June 27, 2013 Holly Switzer

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God

What was that joy set before Him?  YOU! YES, YOU!  You are priceless!

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in youin his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Praying the Scriptures

Do you ever feel at a loss when it comes to prayer?  Perhaps you just don't know what to say.  Sure you can  pray in your heavenly language but have you ever tried praying the scriptures?  Since it's God's own word you can't go wrong in using His own words when you talk with Him.  (notice I said with and not at)  If you have a relationship with Him it's not always going to be you doing the talking.  Perhaps you don't think you've ever heard Him speak before but I'll bet you have.  Whether it be a "gut" feeling, audible words, scripture, someone else, art or maybe a vision you can hear from God.

A couple of my favourite scriptures to pray are from Psalms 91 (for protection) and Psalms 103 which reminds me that my Heavenly Papa forgives me of ALL my iniquities and heals ALL my diseases.  Try personalizing scripture with  your name and reading it out loud.  Moses had an intimate walk with The Father and he didn't hesitate in using God's own word in prayer when he interceded for the Israelites and for his sister Miriam. 

 Numbers 11:2
Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched.

Numbers 21:7
Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

Numbers 12:13 
So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!” (even after Miriam spoke against him)

Exodus 32:(11-13) Moses intercedes for Israel.

Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”

He reminded God of his promise and instead of taking God up on starting a new nation with Moses, Moses entered into God's heart for the people and stood in the gap for them and God heard.

Are there any of God's promises that you like to use in  prayer?    They are straight from His heart so get into the word and start asking!