HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Philippians 3:10 – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
(AMP) - And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did];
This year our focus is on Koinonia. The Fellowship that we have with each other and the Fellowship that we have with the Holy Spirit.
One of the ways that we grow in the Holy Spirit and in our relationship with God is to Fellowship with His Sufferings.
We don’t like to talk much about suffering in the church.
For many it is an uncomfortable thing although all of us experience.
Suffering for Christ and with Christ is talked about often in the Word of God.
~ Dallas Holm – One of today’s great worship leaders and song writers said –
Here in America (and elsewhere) we have so-called ministers and ministries that unashamedly proclaim that Christians should never suffer…anytime, anywhere! Their theology (or lack thereof) is illustrative of their complete ignorance of sound biblical teaching, and their insensitivity to suffering saints. I believe it also evidences a kind of elitist spiritual arrogance that is truly breathtaking! Scripture simply calls them “false teachers.”
Fellowship and suffering? Sounds like oil and water…incompatible…opposites, unable to be together in any meaningful way.
Yet, Paul in a profound (Holy Spirit inspirited) way is able to wrap words around this sacred place of intimacy and aloneness, love and fear, peace and conflict, healing and pain…fellowship and suffering. When we walk with Jesus, We will suffer through life’s trials, but in the process of our pain we have the opportunity to fellowship with our friend, Jesus.
His sufferings become our sufferings and our sufferings become His.
- Fellowship is the union of friends sharing similar interests or problems. To suffer is to feel pain or distress.
Precious fellowship with our Savior is where we learn of Him, grow in Him and become like Him.
Webster’s definition of fellowship: companionship, a mutual association on friendly terms, a partnership or joint interest, as a fellowship of pain.
Someone said that - Our partnership of pain with Christ is an equally yoked venture with the owner of all you have—He is for you. In pain the Spirit takes you to intimate places you have never been, so you can take others to intimate places they have never been.
Suffering comes in all sizes and shapes, for many different reasons and in many different seasons.
~ Charles Spurgeon - God’s people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when he chose his people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, he included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs. Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity, and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them. Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the “Father of the faithful.” Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction. It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honor are distinguished. But although tribulation is thus the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have his presence and sympathy to cheer them, his grace to support them, and his example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “much tribulation” through which they passed to enter it. – (Morning and Evening-March 8, Charles Spurgeon)
Soon after Paul's conversion, Ananias delivered a word from the Lord to him.
Acts 9:16 - For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
It was to be more than the personal distress of shame, rejection, persecution, and hardships. He would suffer through shipwreck, stonings, beatings, and afflictions of body and soul. He would joyfully suffer the loss of all things. In triumph over all these personal sufferings he would proclaim,
Romans 8:18 - For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
There is a glory that God wants to reveal in all of us. There are some things that we only learn, gain, and grow in only through suffering.
It is through suffering that we really learn to know Christ.
God helps us prepare for suffering by teaching us and showing us that through suffering we are meant to go deeper in our relationship with Christ.
You get to know him better when you share his pain. The people who write most deeply and sweetly about the preciousness of Christ are people who have suffered with him deeply.
It is amazing how quickly our suffering draws us to a greater intimacy with Jesus.
Think about the times you have shared with your spouse through times of suffering. This is when you really got to know one another. To understand one another.
It is a time where you drew from each other more deeply than you thought possible.
It is when you learned to be tender to each other in ways that deeply affect you.
Suffering was part of the calling of Jesus. – He came to be a living sacrifice. The same is true of us.
Philippians 3:10a - that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
Suffering is God’s way of drawing us close to Himself.
Our pain and our struggles help us to know Jesus in all His ways.
Isaiah 53:3 - He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
You really don’t know Jesus until you are familiar with the man that knew sorrow and was acquainted with grief. – Jesus was familiar with pain. In all of its forms.
Job was a man of great faith who served God. God had a lot of very good things to say about Job. It was in all of the trials that Job faced that He really got to know God. It was through the painful times that job entered into a greater intimacy and understanding of God.
Job 42:5 - “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.
When you realize that God really sees you is the moment that you really begin to see God for who He is.
Stephen was faithful in His stand for the faith and it was in the middle of his suffering that all of heaven began to open.
Acts 7:55 - But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
1 Peter 4:14 - If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part, He is glorified.
God reserves a special coming and resting of His Spirit and His glory on His children who suffer for his name.
One of the purposes for suffering is that our relationship with God might become less formal and less artificial and less distant and become more personal and more real and more intimate and close and deep.
Suffering is personal, intimate, painful and powerful. The effect that it has on our lives for His glory and for our benefit is almost impossible to quantify.
In our year of Koinonia I am confident that we are going to grow deeper in our relationship and understanding of the Holy Spirit. Get ready…. It will be worth it all.
Remember that you are loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!
~ Jim Cymballa - When you’re on a mountaintop, it’s not that hard to praise God. But when you’re going through a valley, to be able to say, “I will bless your name, Lord!”—that praise and worship is the most precious to God.
We live in a negative world, a fallen world where it seems that the ungodly are getting more and more prominent.
So much of what we hear is just negative, and we have to make a deliberate effort to be positive and counter the culture we live in. Praise is a great tool to help us achieve that.
We are conditioned to complain, grumble, and find the negative in everything.
Instead of finding reasons to complain and fuss we can find reasons to rejoice and praise.
I remember something we would encourage our children to do. Find something that someone is doing well and let them know it. Sing their praises.
I promise that if we will look for and pay attention, we will always have something to praise God for. I am convinced that we have the privilege to live a life of rejoicing instead of negative rehearsing or finding the negative.
Just as negativity, discouragement and complaining bring a heaviness to anywhere it is Praise brings the glory and goodness of God into the situation.
Just as there is power in prayer, there is power in praise.
When we praise, and when we exalt God, it prepares our heart to receive His Word.
Our praise and worship of God steers our attention away from our problems and difficulties and onto His greatness. Our praise to God readies our hearts to receive what He wants to do in our lives.
Praise is powerful because it elevates us into His presence and power.
There is a way to come into God’s presence.
Psalm 100:4 - Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him and bless His name.
Psalm 34:1 - I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
The Bible says that God inhabits in the praises of His people.
In other words, God “dwells” in the atmosphere of His praise. This means that praise is more than a reaction of coming into His presence... praise to God is a vehicle of faith which takes us into His presence and power!
Part of walking with God, Part of being a person of presence and power means that we are a person of praise.
Praise means “to commend, to applaud or magnify.”
For the Christian, praise to God is an expression of worship, lifting-up and glorifying the Lord. It is an expression of humbling ourselves and centering our attention upon the Lord with heart-felt expressions of love, adoration and thanksgiving.
No matter the situation we are in HE is WORTHY of our praise.
There are people that I know that I just can’t brag on enough. Their character, their work ethic, their integrity and love for God are outstanding. – It is easy to sing their praises.
If we need to make sure that we are not stingy in our praise to others, we need to make sure we are holding nothing back in our praise of God who is worthy of our Highest Praise.
Just like you love to be acknowledged for what you have done well. So does God.
When people sing your praises, it releases favor in their direction.
The same holds true with God. You want to walk with people who recognize your goodness and so does God.
Psalm 89:15 - Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.
Nothing lifts you out of despair, discouragement, hopelessness or depression like praise.
Paul and Silas are a perfect example. They were beaten, whipped and chained to a wall.
Paul and Silas demonstrate the supernatural power of authentic, passionate praise.
Facing unimaginable conditions while being wrongly imprisoned for their faith, they chose to stop focusing on their circumstances and instead, turn their attention fully onto the faithfulness of their God.
Acts 16:23-25 - And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
Their faith-filled praise was so powerful in that dark, miserable prison, that their environment suddenly changed, and they were instantly set free.
The miraculous power of God was released— shaking everything around them and releasing them, and everyone around them, from their chains!
Acts 26:26 - Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed.
Something supernatural happens in the natural when we sing the praises of God. Something happens in us, and something happens to the people around us and in the situations that surround us.
Because Paul and Silas had hope in the character of God it not only set them free it set all the people around them free. --- Let that sink in for a moment.
This is why we are to “Sing the praises of God” to each other and those around us.
Paul and Silas were true worshippers. Not situational worshipers.
They loved and worshiped God no matter what situation they were in.
True worshipers – worship in Spirit and in truth.
Praise and thankfulness go hand in hand, and there is always so much to be grateful for!
If we praised Him all day, every day, we would never finish thanking Him for all of the seen and unseen ways that He cares for us and blesses us.
He is a good Father, and we will never fully understand how He is constantly working behind the scenes in our lives to love, protect, nurture and favor us.
One of the things that I believe that will be a significant part of our year of “Overflow”; is that we will overflow with praise.
God has been good to us. The truth is He has been better than we deserve.
As we come to an end to our summer lets look back and just overflow with praise for all that God is and all that He has done for us individually, in our families and as a church.
Know that you are dearly Loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn