God Reveals Himself In Our Suffering – By Thomas Koester

Sift through the things you are suffering, look for the nuggets of God’s presence

In the past, I have endured long days and even longer nights during physical and mental pain. I have written more and have done a great deal of editing on articles that I’ve written about pain and suffering. Each time I do, more memories and tears bubble up. But these are good tears because what was once tragic and painful is now becoming more of a blessing.

So, I’ve added more stories and more insight. It’s been the moments of reflection and remembering, coupled with new clarity, revealing the fingerprints and mastery of a loving Father-Hearted God. He took all my days of good and evil and is progressively revealing his artistry through all of it.

His color palette contains far more colors than “black and white,” which many cold and lifeless religions preach. He is an unlimited God, with colors of an eternal spectrum, yet to be discovered, and He’s a deeply intimate God, motivated with an ever-expanding Father-heart. His heart is filled with grace and wisdom. His love utterly humbles me, and, if you can believe it, speechless at His unconditional Grace and Mercy towards even a guy like me.

Thank you all for your prayers and kindness during my times of pain and suffering. I genuinely hope and pray that whatever you may be battling or struggling through that it too is woven into something beautiful, no matter how difficult or painful it may be. The more difficult your life may be — the more impossible for a solution or cure, the more grace will appear; for our God loves, absolutely loves to come through!

So then, in our weaknesses and fragility, we can boast all the more about God’s grace and that we’re co-siblings with The Great Overcomer, Jesus Christ. We are children of The Father-hearted God. We are vastly wealthy and greatly loved!

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thess 5:18.

So, notify your soul and your face too and show the world how great our God is, everywhere; from our sick beds to our busy offices and lives; from our living rooms to the dressing rooms of Macy’s and Kohl’s; in every shopping line, and especially at Walmart, For our God is a great God! He is worthy of our praise in all circumstances.

Just like panning for gold, sifting through sand and pebbles, sift through the things you are suffering, look for the nuggets of God’s presence during your pain and suffering. He is near the brokenhearted, the imprisoned, the poor, and those held in captivity.

He was with Betsie and Corrie ten Boom.

Betsie and Corrie ten Boom spent time in notorious Ravensbrück Concentration Camp north of Berlin for hiding Jews in their home during the Nazi occupation of Holland.

One of their greatest discoveries during their captivity was their thankfulness for the horrid flea infestation inside their barracks and in their bunks. God sent the fleas to keep out their Nazi oppressors, keeping them all safe from rape and torture.

God will reveal himself during our infamous days of suffering. Just like he did for Betsie and Corrie. We just need to train our minds and hearts on Him, just like a gold-panner, searching for the elusive nugget.

I can promise you this; His presence is more precious than gold, and he isn’t hidden or elusive; he wants to be found.

A True Leader – By Thomas Koester

A true leader is the first to repent, the first to seek forgiveness, the first to rise up after a fall. He is the first to extend grace to others because he’s the first to extend grace to himself. He simply sets a standard that others can achieve without the need for a diploma or a pinstriped suit.

True leadership is in training their own replacement…

A true leader is one who has learned the art of diminishment. He understands that if others are to increase that he must decrease, so he looks for others to promote, rather than himself. He restrains himself from being the source of revelation, but rather helps others find the Source.

He does not set his own life as a standard to follow. He knows his own life is plagued with imperfection and that leaders don’t always do what is right, that is impossible. Rather, his own humility points to the sufficiency found only in Christ and not in himself. He’d rather be clothed in Christ’s humility, than the successful garbs of religiosity.

A true leader refuses to sit on pedestals. He refuses the acclaim and the applause of men. He understands fleshly ascents will lead not only to his demise but to all those who foolishly elevate him.

So, he leads with humility, quiet strength, and fear only reserved for the Lord. The voice and message, which matters most to him are; “well done, my good and faithful servant,” rather than the flattery of men.

Being a leader is becoming a servant and refusing all temptation to be otherwise.

Men and women of these qualities appear rare because humanity always looks in the wrong places for such leaders. This is why the religious leaders and zealots of Jesus’ day, failed to recognize him.

Be careful following the “impeccable,” they may be fake and a phony. Don’t become captivated by their charisma, but rather by their character.

Be loveable and kind fruit inspectors of your leaders, measured only by the Fruits of the Spirit and God’s Word. Be fruit inspectors of your own lives first, otherwise, you’ll end up being miserable to yourself, and a misery to others.

The authenticity of a real person of God and a true leader is who they are after the crowds leave, and what their wife and children see of them when no one’s looking.

A leader is a servant, and a servant is a true leader.

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite – By Thomas Koester

Early in 1998, my brother called and told me that my dad was dying of cancer and that dad was asking for me.

When I heard this, I was very upset. Not that my father was dying, mind you, but that he’d asked for me. I needed him all my life, and now, he’s asking for me?

“Tell Dad, I’m not coming!” I replied.

I have four brothers and a sister, and they all called me, urging me to visit dad. A week or so went by and I finally caved in to the pressure.

I first visited my dad in the Contra Costa County Hospital, as the VA in Martinez, California was short on beds. There he lay, in a bed surrounded by adjustable rails. My younger brother John was present, as was my mother.

My mom pulled me aside to tell me the seriousness of dad’s esophageal cancer. She said, “It doesn’t look good, I’ve researched the prognosis and he doesn’t have much time left.” By the time I had visited my father, he’d already had been battered by chemotherapy and every other treatment.

Cancer had permanently closed up his esophagus, and he could no longer swallow, but was fed through a feeding tube, which was surgically inserted through the side of his abdomen, and directly into his stomach. My father was so frightened and I had never seen him so fragile and helpless.

Since things did not look good for my dad, I called one of my pastors from our church in Danville, California, called “East Bay Fellowship,” which I was attending with my wife and kids. I asked if Pastor Allan Shrewsbury could come by and pray over my father, in hope that it would give him some comfort. Pastor Allan quickly arrived, praying with my dad, and confirming my father’s faith and trust in Jesus Christ, as his Savior.

It was getting late, and we began to ready ourselves to leave when I noticed tears filling my father’s eyes, along with the room filling with a sense of heaviness. It seemed as though this might be our last goodbye. I think the feeling of; “he may not make it through the night,” hit all of us at the same time.

Compassion began to rise within my heart. I leaned over his bedrail and gently kissed my father’s unshaven face. His prickly whiskers caused my lips to tingle. My brother John also leaned in and kissed our dad, as did my mom, and then we all tried to convince and reassure dad that he was going to be fine, as we slowly left the room.

As John and I walked out together towards the parking lot, my lips still tingling, I said:

“John, there is something strangely familiar about kissing dad.”

I continued:

“My lips — they’re still tingling!”

John responded:

“What’s up with you Tom? Don’t you remember when we were little kids, we’d line up in front of dad’s favorite chair and kiss him goodnight on his cheek, and he’d say with a smile,

’…Don’t let the bedbugs bite!’”

All of a sudden, memories, good memories came flooding into my mind. That gentle kiss on my father’s unshaven face was a key to my dungeon of despair and loneliness. All my years of anger, bitterness, and hatred; all my doubts and unforgiveness, all swallowed up from the tingly whiskers of my father’s unshaven face.

After that moment, I couldn’t wait to see my father. And I saw him over the next several months as often as I could.

Several weeks before my dad had passed away, a nurse came into his hospital room,
asking:

“Who is the executor and healthcare director?”

My father lifted his feeble arm and pointed over in my direction. I turned to see if there was one of my two older brothers behind me, but there was no one.

Maybe for some, this would have been an unwelcomed appointment, a burden, but for me, it meant I had my father’s complete and utter trust. The significance of my dad’s appointment was a paradigm shift for me, quite possibly one of my most life-affirming events.

Later, I learned that my father had consulted with my mother as to whom he should appoint as Trustee of his estate and healthcare. It was my mother who had agreed with my dad on his final choice. My sister, Laurie, was also named co-trustee. Simply amazing!

A few weeks later, my dad’s condition was worsening. His organs were beginning to show signs of shutting down. At this point, my brothers and sister and I would trade-off, each of us spending the night with dad alone.

Finally, it was my turn. It was October 7, 1998. I arrived shortly after the dinner hour. A nurse brought in a cot with a blanket and a pillow for me to sleep on. My dad and I talked for quite a while, mostly about politics, which was my dad’s favorite topic. Soon, it was lights out, which really never happens in a hospital.

As I lay there, realizing the significance of this moment with my dad, I knew if I didn’t say what was truly on my heart now, that this moment might be lost forever. You see, my father had never told me that he loved me. I was thirty-nine years old and my dad was about to turn sixty-nine the next day. I wanted so much to hear those words from him; no, I needed to hear those words from him — something in me was guiding me and granting me the courage to say what needed to be said:

“Dad?”

“Yes, son?” he replied

Dad … I love you!” I said cautiously.

Only mere seconds passed by, but it felt like years.

“…I love you too, son,” Dad replied.

I exchanged “I love you” with my dad, what seemed like all night long! I said those precious and life-giving words, which he echoed back:

“I love you too, son.”

All my hate and anger against my dad has washed away, and now for good! I heard the three most important words every son or daughter needs to hear:

“I love you, son!”

“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD
arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4: 5-6

The days of the “curse” were finally over for me. For a greater spirit than Elijah had entered that hospital room that night, the Spirit of the Living God had softened the hearts of father and son, and the mess I had made of my life became beautiful!

“His wrath, you see, is
fleeting, but His grace
lasts a lifetime. The
deepest pains may linger
through the night, but joy
greets the soul with the
smile of morning.”
Psalms 30:5

My dad, while broken with cancer, poured into me so much life and hope, and, in such a
short time! The man whom I had despised all of my life was my dad, with whom I just fell in love, but who is now leaving.

The morning did come, and with it, a smile and a “Happy Birthday, Dad!”

It was October 8, 1998, and my father wanted to get all cleaned up for his Birthday. He said:

“Tom, get my shaving bag, it’s over there, in that cabinet.”

“Here it is dad,” I replied.

“Okay, get my Electric Shave lotion and my razor out,” my dad directed, and then he asked:

“Son, will you shave my face?”

I know this may sound silly, but this was the most intimate moment I’ve ever had with my father. The very whiskers which tingled my lips and which softened the hardness of my heart, the very mouth, which finally spoke: “I love you too, son” was the face I was about to care for and shave.

“The deepest pains may linger through the night, but joy greets the soul with the smile of
morning.”

…and I shaved my father’s face.

That is why I would not change a single moment of my life. The pain is swallowed up in the sweetness of heartfelt forgiveness, and in the “I love yous.” For what had become broken has now been given, and the mess of my life now became beautiful!

Four days later, on October 12, 1998, my father passed away. There I stood, at his right-hand side, a restored and beloved son, loved and approved. As life was quickly draining from my dad, he looked up towards the ceiling, letting out his final breath; he smiled, his heartbeat stopped, and we wept loudly in the grief of our great loss. I then reached over my dad’s body and closed my father’s eyes.

He died my hero, triumphantly and bravely; he faced death and passed from this life into the heart of God.

“Death swallowed by triumphant
Life! Who got the last word, oh,
Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of
you now?” – I Corinthians 15:55

While this was both a painful and magical time for me, these events with my father were a new beginning and a paradigm shift for my present and future.

I can honestly say that God used the final moments of my father’s life to make me into a better man and a better father.

Letting my anger for my father go allowed love to come bursting in.

Becoming my father’s beloved son made it possible for me to believe that I could be God’s beloved son too.

I miss you, dad…

The Times Are Upon Us – By Thomas Koester

We’re living in the time of Joseph and Elijah. A time when it’s wise to gather and store. A time when it’s wise to trust the Lord for ravens and hidden streams.

The Hour is Late

Gather for your friends and family. Gather to be in a position to give and provide. Trust the Lord to guide you and marshal unexpected resources. Move closer to the Lord than ever before and be ready to tap into his presence.

Be ready to let go of life as you know it, and cling to the Lord. Bolt yourselves to God’s Word. Anchor yourselves to God’s promises. Dig deep into the Holy Spirit. Listen to the voice of your Shepherd. Discern and obey God’s commands.

The Years 2020 and 2021 were rehearsals for what lies ahead in 2022. A Great Reset is coming, and it won’t be pleasant. Prepare and train yourselves for endurance. Remember, our warfare is not against flesh and blood. Our enemy is unseen and entrenched in high powers and principalities. Therefore, remember to whom you belong and the might and majesty of our God.

Trust in God and stand firm in your calling. Heros of our Faith are watching. Angels are positioning. Demons are strategizing. Something is breaking out.

Remember, you are on the winning team, no matter what you see or hear. God is well pleased with His sons and daughters. Act like it and know it to the core of your being, deep within your hearts.

You were not saved for an easy life but were chosen and equipped to become Saints.

Superman – A Message For Pastors – By Thomas Koester

The Freedom of Being Real

Are you exhausted? Running on empty? Has your physical and spiritual odometer cycled over too many times?

If so, you may be a Superman Pastor.

Your identity and significance must be in your sonship and not in your pastorship. Being a son and a brother in Christ is far more relatable. Being relatable keeps you grounded, humble, and approachable. “Leaping tall buildings in a single bound, being more powerful than a locomotive, and speeding faster than a bullet,” is for Superman, not pastors.

“Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane… It’s… …No, it’s just Pastor Dave.

Just be a beloved son, shepherding God’s children. Let God do all that superhero stuff.

Never use your intimacy with God as a vicarious impetus for others to synthesize. In doing this, you and your congregation will both become lost and distant from God. People will hunger for your intimacy at the sacrifice of their connection with God.

Instead, teach them how to be intimate with the Father-heart of God until their Father-hunger for God surpasses their father-hunger for you.

Won’t this lighten your load?

Won’t this save your marriage?

Won’t this free you up to be your children’s daddy?

If not, maybe your cape is showing.

As some of you have retired or have left the pastorship, you may find yourselves lost because you’ve been trapped in a service and performance role with God and others. This was never God’s doing, but the writ of men and the corporate structure of many churches.

Did you know that the word “religion” actually means to “re-bond” with God? The Latin word comprises two parts, “re” telling again and “ligare,” pointing to bind or to bond.

We Protestants are constantly harping against other religions that faith in God is not a religion but a relationship. But, in tossing out the word religion, we’ve tossed out the significance of the word. Rather than genuinely encouraging and leading people into intimacy and sonship with God, they’ve learned by our actions as pastors and enter into performance roles, as presented by the World’s false religions.

So many pastors have lost their intimate bond with God because of the performance and service trap. So, they end up helplessly modeling burnout, depression, and, believe it or not, loneliness.

Many pastors feel they must keep up the “superhero” role at all costs; that is, they must appear spiritually superior and altogether when in the public view. And, if he’s incredibly talented, he will maintain this unrealistic role even in front of his family. Being a “Clark Kent,” or just a normal guy is too risky for the sake of his job.

What happens to a man when he calls his darkness light?

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness! – Matthew 6:22-23

When a pastor calls his darkness light, he cuts himself off from God and others, and the duplicity becomes more and more costly. He loses his support from is family because the hypocrisy becomes unbearable.

If a pastor, and for that matter, any of us, satisfies our father-hunger with God and not with the ministry or titles, we will grow as true sons and daughters of God. It will therefore be the fruit of our lives, which will benefit others, and encourage them to bear their fruit by connecting to the True Vine, Jesus Christ.

The average pastor cannot maintain a pastor’s schedule, manage all the demands of human needs and interaction, attended meetings, weddings, funerals, and remain human. He’ll either suck it up, put on his cape and pretend to soar, or he’ll take on the humility of Christ.

A good and wise pastor will understand that his heart and identity is far more important than is superhero reputation and notoriety. His true strength is in allowing his humanness to be seen from time to time and not his cape.

In other words, take on the humility of Christ and the burden of Christ. Did you know that bearing your cross is a very public affair? Jesus bore the weight of his cross in public, and, at the moment where he had lost his strength, a simple man aided him and carried his cross for a distance.

Pastoring is not maintaining an Olympic-style dash from crisis to crisis, and it’s not meant to be a solo act. It’s teamwork; it should involve the aid of well qualified and faithful elders and deacons. After all, the ministry of the Church is meant for the Church and not because of the Church. By each of us, you and me, joining in the ministry, we will grow in our faith and collectively reach maturity in Christ as a healthy body.

A superhero pastor has no time for teamwork, it’s just easier and less complicated to do it all himself.

Since scripture has defined the Church as a body, the concept of real and healthy ministry is when the entire body functions together, when each member does its intended and gifted part.

When we act properly like a body, we can create a safe and healthy community where pastors can thrive within healthy boundaries. Maybe then pastors can cease leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

There is so much more to talk about on this subject. But, until then, pray for your pastors. Become more involved. Give them grace. Take better care of one another. Visit one another. Pray for one another. Support your pastor, and not just with financial gifts, but with your time too.

After all, aren’t we all children of God?

Only in DC Comics will you find a Superman.

The Legitimate Child of God – By Thomas Koester

To Know His Heart Is Everything

The wounds and scars your body and heart now bare are not those of an abandoned boy or little girl, but of those of an adopted and well loved child.

If you can’t recognize God’s chastisement, it’s because you don’t believe in your sonship.

It’s because you don’t quite know the heart of God.

Don’t focus how you’ve been wounded and scarred, but seek out the teacher who permitted it. If you seek Him, you will find Him and discover hidden treasures stored in dark places.

As soon as your heart learns the significance of your wounds and scars, light will come bursting in and your strength and passion will be renewed like never before.

Or, you can reject all this and be stuck in a “Groundhog Day” life, whereby you repeat the cycle of God’s chastisement until you surrender to his love.

God treats every son and daughter with the same passion. He wants you holy so that you can be whole. He’ll cut away anything that stands in the way of your wholeness. Sometimes it feels like abandonedment — even in your loneliness he is at work.

Don’t relapse into your old ways. Don’t pretend to have it all together — pride is not the answer. Abandon your false attempts to cover-up. God sees right through your charades.

Did you really think you could get away with sin?

Only an illegitimate son or daughter can escape correction, but a true child of God must be refined.

So your hardship is not a string of bad luck. No, they’re a rope to pull you closer to the heart of your Heavenly Papa.

Seek to know the heart of God, and you’ll never get lost in difficult days. You’ll never again forget that you belong to him.

He is a fierce lover and a faithful Father.

A Dire Warning to All People – How to Win The Psychological War – By Thomas Koester

We must win this war!

There is no hiding the fact that ideological tyrants, hidden in the shadows, are presently ruling us. In time, the ideology will become incarnate and transform from a mere ideology into physical brute force to bring about an all-out subjugation (enslavement) of all people; of all color, race, and creed.

Your political persuasion and allegiance won’t save you. The tyrants use everybody and everything to achieve their goals. Democrat or Republican; Left or Right, Black or White, Gay or Straight, we’re all used as a clever mechanism, a tool to divide and separate us into tribes and factions. Pitting us against each other rather than us being united against them.

They’ve created division and then used our manufactured hatred for each other as political cover. What utter and detestable evil these tyrants are. These evil dark lords waited patiently, decade after decade, using a slow but steady process of mind-control. They excel in progressivism in order to achieve a regressive people, and therefore a controllable society.

In other words, while we were amused, entertained, and otherwise politically manipulated, our minds were enslaved, and it’s simply a matter of time before our bodies willingly join our mind’s captivity.

You cannot enslave the body without first enslaving the mind. And, the mind can become enslaved without your body’s awareness and approval. This is what’s been happening politically, culturally, and socially; through our schools, through our entertainment, through our government, and all forms of secular and social media.

The “smartphone” is one of the single most destructive instruments created that has enslaved our minds, bodies, and souls all simultaneously and at an exponential rate of speed.

Technological advancements have become vital instruments of mind, emotional, and will control. We are nothing more than algorithms to be weighed, measured, and then exploited for our energy and money. Our blood, sweat, and tears have built them their edifices and their high towers to rule us rather than serve us.

In our consumeristic stupor, we blindly created and elected an army of Frankensteins, poised and programmed to destroy us by dismantling, word-by-word, clause-by-clause, and article-by-article, the precious Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Political madmen are bringing about America’s downfall by injecting cultural pollution and dark, sick psychological pathogens into our churches, homes, schools, and workplaces with these technology-based tools.

How do you escape mind and thought control?

We must. turn off all technological portals, whereby tyrannical ideologies and cultural corruption are pouring into our minds. We must turn off the MSM in all its various forms.

A dire warning to all believers:

Unchecked sin and the surrender of your mind, will, and emotions to evil leads to inward and outward devastation. The Enemy knows this exceptionally well.

Genesis 4:6-7

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why do you look so resentful? If you do the right thing, won’t you be accepted? But if you don’t do the right thing, sin will be waiting at the door, ready to strike! It will entice you, but you must rule over it.”

Remove the welcome mat of sin and moral compromise, and so rule over sin rather than it controlling you.

Our only escape from the ideological tyrants is to walk in the Light and stay in the Truth of God’s Word and his promises. Turn off the technological grid and turn your heart, body, mind, and soul towards God. Upload your thoughts and prayers to God so that you may download wisdom and peace from Heaven.

This way, you can escape the mind control of the ideological tyrants in the Whitehouse and live free in your house.

War is upon you, and it first must win the battle for your mind. Don’t let it. Fight!

If your mind goes, your body will follow. The body cannot live without wisdom, reason, and common sense.

The Gospel of the Kingdom must be proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all nations… Matthew 24:14

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the antidote; it will inoculate your body, soul, and mind from the Enemy’s lies and the constant bombardment of distortion and confusion.

You must understand that your faith in God’s ability and in His Truths can defy man’s rules, his ways, his religion, and his politics, and therefore, man’s control over your mind.

Free your mind from the Tyrants and his political control and dependence.

Wake up; it may be already too late!

Courage vs Reluctance – By Thomas Koester

Balaam Son of Beor

My wife, Toni, and I had a short, but great conversation about the subtlety of compromise this morning.

The story of the wayward prophet, Balaam came to my mind from the book of Numbers, Chapters 22-25.

I truly believe this story of how a wayward prophet was able to cause God’s blessing to be removed from the Israelite Nation is so relevant for today.

It is happening right before our eyes!

Some would say, “but this is Old Testament, there’s no contemporary relevance.”

Well, the unfortunate actions of Balaam, son of Beor, is herald, not only in several other Old Testament books, from Numbers to Psalms, and from Psalms to Micah, but also in the New Testament; in 2 Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11, and the Book of Revelations, 2:14.

When prophets, as they are doing today, align themselves with divination, the occult, etc; when they are touted and listened to; when they cause God’s people to act and worship as the pagans do, God’s blessing is removed from our Churches and Nation. Evil will then run rampant.

When we are reluctant to do what honors God, our reluctance is a dishonor to his Name. It’s a dishonor to Jesus!

When we place the pleasure (feelings) of others above the holiness and righteousness of God, we’ll experience his displeasure and disfavor.

God’s favor is on the one, or the many, whose zealous, but humble actions bring honor to his Name, even in the small things.

Take Sydney McLaughlin, for instance, she sets a new world record and wins the gold metal for the USA in the women’s 400-meter hurdles.

“Records come and go, the glory of God is eternal.” and “ I no longer run for self-recognition, but to reflect His perfect will that is already set in stone. I don’t deserve anything. But by grace, through faith, Jesus has given me everything.” Sydney McLaughlin

Do not align yourself to the subtle compromises of others, or the rantings of false prophets, If you do, you’ll share their horrible fate.

Haven’t we compromised far too much as individuals, and especially as a Nation? Haven’t far too many Churches lowered their standards of Godliness and righteousness? Evil runs rampant, but not because evil is powerful, but because we lack the zeal of the Lord. God is all powerful, evil is not. The Church is to be a radiant expression of Christ and not a redundancy of worldly compromise.

It only took one man, named Balaam, a wayward Prophet, to cause a Nation to compromise. It only took one man, Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, whose zealous act turned away God’s wrath.

Where are the Phinehas’ of our day?

Where are the Sydney McLaughlin’s of our time that without compromise, give glory and honor to God?

“Courage, dear heart…” …defy reluctance!

Inspired by the Book of Numbers, Chapters, 22-25.

The Miraculous Power of Pain & Suffering – By Thomas Koester

When I get strong, I get lost. When I get busy, I get independent. When I get successful, I get lonely.

I was down and out, from October 11th, 2013 through mid January, 2014. Life had been hard and painful, but God has never been closer than he’s been with me through those difficult months. I’ll tell you, my dear friends, I’d rather be laid up and laid out with God by my side than lonely, but successful in the world any day.

I had gotten to the point in my suffering that I began to thank God for my injuries and sicknesses. I began to see the blessings and the beautiful breaking to my stubborn heart, and the fresh and living water flooding into my dry soul. My pain in a miraculous way allowed God’s voice to become magnified and the whispers of, “I love you son,” filled my troubled mind in those long and dark, painful nights.

I truly want God, but he’s not necessarily in my busyness, nor is he in my business. He’s not in my self imposed deadlines, or in the deadlines of others, which weary my body and mind, and cause me to strain and to force my goals above Gods’. He’s not in the coulda, woulda or shoulda’s, nor is he in my goals of independence and worldly success. God is definitely not in my confused tantrums, my sulking, or complaining.

God is in the midst of suffering; he’s nearby the crushed and the weary; the sick and the lonely. Our God is with the widowed; he’s with the fatherless and alien. He hears the cries and prayers of the broken, the injured and the weak.

“He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.” Isaiah 42:3 (NLT)

When I get strong, I get lost. When I get busy, I get independent. When I get successful, I get lonely.

I want God, and therefore I welcome the pain and suffering, so that I might gain all that he has for me through it. This is the process that can get us found in God, which can makes us strong in the right things and focused on eternal values, which can bring contentment during our seasons of affliction.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for pain and suffering, only that when it comes, the goodness and presence of God is magnified through it, and therefore, I can revel in it and celebrate because of it. Through it, I have learned that our greatest changes can result from what we suffer. Pain and suffering are powerful for our good!

So, while my body was aching and writhing in pain and anguish, my soul was soaring with God. I worshiped God and thanked him through so much of my illnesses and injuries. The pain still lingers and the scar, which I now bare on my left leg and knee will always remind me of God’s faithfulness to me all the way through it.

And so, I thank God for all of it.

A few weeks ago, I was complaining to my wife, Toni about a difficult client. I was through and ready to cut the relationship and take a significant loss just to get out of the misery.

Then, Toni pulled the “Book of Job” on me:

“Has not God provided through this person?” she said, and then continued: “Shall we curse the very provision because it comes with difficulty?”

Wow! I was called out and convicted. Thank you Toni!

I had set aside, not only heaven’s provision for me, but I had set aside God’s provision of grace and mercy towards the one whom God setup to bring such needed financial provision.

“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not also receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:10

I am not deformed, but I am being transformed. The more we complain and lay blame, the slower our remaking through our braking goes. In my recent story with my client, God used my wife to get me back on track and with God’s program.

Our complaining always works against God’s transforming work, and so we fail to see how God masters evil for our good. Our complaining and blaming causes us to only see the badness of evil, rather the goodness of God in spite of it and His creative use with it.

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I The Lord do all these things.” ERV

Ha, I’ve not heard that verse preached in Church!

So, if God masters light, darkness, peace and evil, how can we be destroyed in the day of pain, sickness and disease? How can we lose if what we fear cannot keep us from winning? How then shall we live, if even evil and the day of disaster is under the control of such a loving and caring Heavenly Father?

I’ll tell ya how we should then live — In Total Victory and with an Overcomer’s Spirit!

Hey, there’s power in what we suffer, no matter how miserable or deadly! But ya gotta put away the complaining and start the thanksgiving and praising.

I was just a young teenager of 14 years old, when I got a hold of a book titled: “By What Standard” By Dr. Rousas John Rushdoony, the father of Mark Rushdoony.

Like the late Dr. Rushdoony, the life and story of Job set the standard of who God is and His power over evil. Page 185 through page 205 of By What Standard, is what impacted me most, in my life as a boy of 14. The Book of Job established my foundation for all my understanding of the ways of God and the ability of God. The Book of Job became my standard of biblical understanding and godly comfort.

Like Job, it is blind faith and trust in the Almighty, whereby God shall succeed in spite of our lack of understanding and even confusion. Our suffering is not the end of the means, but the means to an end, forewhich Satan’s must comply to God’s will over our lives and our wellbeing.

So, the key is to invest all of your faith and trust into God’s will and pain and suffering will become allies to your transformation and glorification.

Hebrews 2:10 (NIV)
“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.”

Was it not God who invited Satan to consider His servant Job?

Did not God establish the boundaries after he invited Satan to afflict Job?

(Job, chapters one and two).

God masterfully controlled darkness, sickness and disease over His servant Job, but He also displayed His power over the Prince of Darkness.

The Book of Job reveals how Satan must obey the very boundaries that God sets up, leaving Satan and all evil under the power of the God of the Universe and Creator of all things. And yes, including all angelic beings, and even those who’ve failed at the Heavenly coup d’état of God’s throne and power, and dare I say, they failed miserably!

Genesis 4:6-7
God spoke to Cain:”Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.”

We can master sin because God has mastered evil, and his Son, Jesus Christ has vanquished our sin, he destroyed death and conquered the grave! But tantrums and sulking leaves you vulnerable, and instead of victory you’ll end in defeat.

So, we can thrive in pain and suffering, in loss and betrayal, and evil shall not destroy us. Evil becomes a weapon in the hand of God, disarming our enemy and thwarting evil’s plan for our destruction.

Do you want to disarm the Evil One? Then praise God in the midst of all that hell has unleashed and bask in the suffering with thanksgiving. Trust fully in the God who knows what He is doing and the limits for which evil must obey.

Can we lose?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37 ESV

Put your faith and trust in God and become transformed and not deformed by all that you suffer.

Your pain may be your breakthrough into victory and validation that you are a true son or daughter and not a victim.

As a victor, you too will see The Miraculous Power of Pain and Suffering.

Children of A Lesser God – By Thomas Koester

I wrote this seven years ago…

“Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress.”
Nehemiah 9:36-37

Politicians, Legislators and Presidents will not return us to a Great People or a Great Nation, but confession and repentance of God’s People will.

“But they- our ancestors behaved presumptuously; they rebelled and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and did not recall your miracles that you had performed among them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in [Europe].* *added.
Nehemiah 9:16-17

Death Is on the Prowl

God ‘s Message yet again:

“Go stand at the crossroads and look around. Ask for directions to the old road, The tried and true road. Then take it. Discover the right route for your souls.

But they said,

“Nothing doing. We aren’t going that way.”

I even provided watchmen for them to warn them, to set off the alarm. But the people said,

“It’s a false alarm. It doesn’t concern us.”

And so I’m calling in the nations as witnesses:

“Watch, witnesses, what happens to them!”

And,’ Pay attention, earth! Don’t miss these bulletins. I’m visiting catastrophe on this people, the end result of the games they’ve been playing with me. They’ve ignored everything I’ve said, had nothing but contempt for my teaching.
Jeremiah 6:16-19

We’ve exchanged the Glorious Gospel for a seeker friendly message so as to build our Churches in numbers rather than faithfulness to God and His ways.

We’ve changed the blood of the New Covenant, the precious blood of our Lord and Savior, into that of the blood of animals, and we therefore proclaim people sinless by emotions rather by repentance and faith. We teach tolerance but not obedience. We preach the Love of God trumps all other attributes of the one and only True Living God of Scripture. Who’s wrath against sin and those who make sin their lifestyle remains, as their day of judgment is being held back.

Faith, belief, repentance and obedience to The risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is mankind’s only escape from the wrath of God. For who needs to be saved from a God of Love? And, if we only preach God’s love and tolerance, what becomes of the shed blood of Jesus Christ? And, for what purpose does his death serve if God is only Love?

Our Country was found on Christian and moral principles, and by the rule of law.

Our Nation was lost because we pastors and churches have abandoned our Christian principles and our moral standing under God. We’ve abandoned the preaching of the cross and the resurrection of our only Redeemer.

We have full churches, but empty Christians. We have Christian couples fornicating, but freely worshiping. We have Christian marriages adulterating but actively serving. We have Christian youth sexually experimenting with their bodies, but attend warm gatherings and rallies for Christ. We’ve trained them with double standards, one set for school and the other for church. Our youth of tomorrow are the double standards of today’s adults. And all this is just fine?

Our Nation is lost not because the ungodly sin, but because the righteous practice, tolerate and preach unrighteousness!

The condition of the Church is directly related to the condition of our pastors. To the messages they preach, and the duplicity they tolerate. All in exchange for notoriety, fame and market share of transient Christians, and the unsaved seeking a friendly Sunday morning message. We’ve become more excited about a new visitor rather than a new saint.

One Wednesday evening service my Senior Pastor allowed me to preach a message titled: “Children of A Lessor God.” When I stopped preaching, people were weeping in their seats and falling on there knees at the alter. My Senior Pastor and I had to literally and carefully step around and over our repentant brothers and sisters, and began praying for them one by one. Others came forward to assist us with prayer or join their brothers and sisters.

After things quieted down, I will never forget what my Senior Pastor said: “There is no way you can preach that way on a Sunday morning.” I was both confused and shocked. It is precisely why our Churches and Christians are in the state that they are in because we don’t preach the Truth of God’s Word nor preach Christ Crucified to redeem sinners from God’s terrible wrath.

We refuse to preach the weightiness of God, so they don’t experience the weightiness of their sins.

We have become children of a lesser God and therefore have a lesser Church, lesser Nation, and have become a lesser people.

So, our Nation is headed back to Europe, the very place our founding fathers had fled, and just like the Israelites kept heading back to Egypt to return as slaves under a new Pharaoh, were headed back into slavery of an unelected ruler, who has recently threatened to rule by his pen, rather than by a Constitutional Representative Republic.

So goes the Church, so goes the Nation.