How to Bounce Back from Losing your Ministry – Chapter 3 – Lion in a Pit on a Snowy Day

 

How
to Bounce Back from Loss of Ministry

 

A
lion in a pit on a snowy day

 

Chapter
Three

 

 

 

God
had got to take you on

 

Christianity
puts terrific fight into a person so that he develops a resistance to
defeat. Therefore train your mind never to accept the thought of
defeat about anything. Have you ever noticed that when you face
“stuff” it nearly always seem to come in threes? It doesn’t
just rain, it pours! When you face something it never happens when
you are ready for it; no, it always comes when you are least
prepared. Hence the title for this chapter; you will have to face
your lion most likely in a pit, and to make it worse, it will be
snowing! Battles are unavoidable, unequal and untimely. But if it’s
worth having, it’s worth fighting for!

 

When
trouble comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and
say, “I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.”

 

If
God be for us, who can be against us?”
Romans
8:31

 

I
had enjoyed a quiet two years; as quiet as it can be for any mother
who has to run teenage children around! But now I was looking for a
fresh challenge. I felt a bit like an eaglet when its mother starts
to pick the feathers out of the nest. I was starting to feel
discomforted. God was stirring something inside of me. I picked up an
old message about the Israelites’ Passover experience in Exodus.
After the Passover, God took the Israelites out of their captivity
and on a journey which would culminate in them receiving the Promised
Land. God said, “this month shall be your new beginning.” It was
the beginning of a fresh walk of grace and mercy. I found myself
starting to pray the Prayer of Jabez. It was the right size book. I’m
not one to revel in the “War and Peace” sized books! God found
one book which was just the right size book to inspire me. That
little prayer started to unlock some things that brought forth first
small answers, but then bigger and bigger answers.

 

You
must fight for your future

 

I
fyou stay free of offence, you will stay in the will of God.”

 

Every
athlete knows that to get to the next level of competition takes hard
work. All areas of life, whether work or personal, require effort to
get to the next level. It doesn’t just happen. I found myself
sitting in a meeting listening to a great preacher. In his message he
touched on a thought about spiritual suicide. Now I know what you are
thinking, no, my life wasn’t that bad! It is just that my life
wasn’t moving in the direction I would have liked for that time. I
had come to a dead end.

 

 

 

 

 

This
was the first conference I had sat in for two years. As I listened, I
found the tears welling up inside of me. I like to cry my tears in
private not in the middle of a meeting. But this was unavoidable; the
dam was about to burst. I was embarrassed. I just wasn’t about to
have a little “cry” either. The tears were those big, loud things
welling up inside of me. Yes, those ones! The ones, that when they
burst forth, they burst forth like a flood and make everyone around
you take notice. “Not now, Lord,” I’m thinking to myself, “this
is not fair. I’m going to look foolish. I’m going to look weak.”

 

The
preacher’s words rang loud in my ear,
“find
your future, or you
will return to your past.” Here was I for the first time in my
life, not serving as a senior pastor in a church. I found myself
thinking that it would be easy to walk away from it all. I suddenly
realized that the thirty years my husband and I had invested in
church life was something worth holding on to. When God calls you to
something you are never happy doing anything else. The mere thought
of losing everything I had valued in my life, was all that was needed
to make me reach out for it again.

 

About
the same time, my husband had been asked to write several books for a
friend. During the two months it took me to transcribe them, God
spoke through them to me. I found myself on more than one occasion,
talking to the writer about what God was revealing to me. His
response during one of these conversations was, “God has got to
take you on, and it’s only by His grace. Ask God for the ability to
teach you how to truly release what is facing you and be restored.”

 

Do
something

 

A
key to living your life well is to keep moving forward. When life
isn’t going well it is easy to initially withdraw and become
inactive while trying to put the pieces back together. ~ One of the
dangers of being relatively inactive is that the brain tends to work
in “overdrive”, analysing and scrutinizing everything and trying
to understand what happened and why. We can become experts in all the
wrong things! Analysis leads to paralysis. It keeps you

looking
backward. It’s hard to drive a car while constantly looking in the
rear vision mirror!

 

Most
of the time people criticize in order to forget their own weakness.
Rarely is it worth what it costs to tell a man what you think of him.

 

As
you travel down life’s path, mistakes are made all the time. If you
look at the world’s most successful men you will find their pathway
littered with mistakes. And their mistakes not only hurt them, they
can be devastating to those in their department and beyond. The
ultimate mistake is to blame those who have hurt you. The ultimate
challenge is to rise out of devastation and succeed again. We learn
from others failures. Making mistakes and failing is nothing to be
afraid of. Fear of making mistakes or looking foolish though stops
most people from ever starting something new.

 

Peter
and I have lived a very full life. We have taken on many challenges
and succeeded at some, and failed at others. In the end we have each
other, our family and our health. Life is about the journey from
beginning to end. It is not fair to pull out a section of your life
and despair over it. When seen as a whole, trials are just a small
portion. Our responses to trials more than the trial itself will
direct your life and enable you to move on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t
run for the corner

 

Proverbs
18:1
“he that
isolates himself rages against all good judgement.”

 

The
natural tendency for the wounded is to withdraw and go back to that
which is familiar. People tend to “close ranks” and withdraw. It
may be natural and needful for a short time, but in the long term, it
is not helpful.

 

In
the midst of trouble you want to run. But God has you in a pit, and
you can’t get away. You must face your circumstances. There is no
alternative. The good news is God is with you and wants you to win!
It brings glory to God when you overcome something that, without His
help would have devastated you. If you take something on, take on
something big! Something that, without God’s intervention would not
be possible to overcome.

 

Never
be deceived by thinking that by withdrawing, you will recover. Many
people don’t recover. They die disillusioned and alone. The truth
is, if you are going to live life you are going to get hurt. It is
human to hurt. But whether you stay hurt or fully recover is really
up to you.

 

A
lion in a
pit
on
a
snowy day

 

My
time had come to finally take on the lion. You know it’s coming,
but you keep trying to put it off. It’s time to rise up, exert a
little effort and take on the thing! But have you ever noticed that
the enemy never plays fair in battle? When you have a fight looming
it is always unequal, unavoidable and untimely! So you think to
yourself, do I really have to tackle this? Well, yes you do. We all
do at some stage. It may as well be sooner.

 

Beniah
was one of King David’s mighty. He was the talk of the kingdom. He
was a fighting man who won many battles, which included killing two
lion-like heroes and a lion. He was not afraid of the heat of the
battle. If anyone’s picture was on King David’s palace walls,
then his certainly was!

 

Beniah
was the son of Jehioiada, the son of a valiant man, from Kabzeel, who
had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He
also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy
day.”

1
Chronicles 11:22

 

My
husband preaches a message about a lion in a pit on a snowy day. When
bad things happen or trouble comes it never comes at a convenient
time. It’s bad enough that you have to face a lion which is an
unequal match to start with, but you have to face it in a pit where
it is unavoidable and on a snowy day, which is untimely. We never get
to pick our battles. They come when we least expect them or want them
and often when we are least prepared to cope with them. When the time
comes for you to deal with what confronts you, don’t be afraid..
You may have been sitting quietly under the trees for a while minding
your own business . Trouble has ceased for a while and you’re
enjoying a rare period of calm. Then it finally comes to an abrupt
end. It’s time to move forward. Suddenly you find yourself; where?
In a pit with a lion! You look to the Lord in exasperation! What does
God say? “Do something!” You respond, “Lord, don’t you see
what I’m down here with? It’s a lion! And there’s no way out!”
The Lord responds, “Yes I know. But you can deal with it!”

You
sigh and say, “Oh! Great! Thanks very much”

 

Don’t
you just hate it! You know it is true, but you don’t want to get
involved. Beniah had to fight the lion. You have to fight your
battles. God will put you in a place where you have to get involved,
sooner or later.

 

Words
Failed Him –
Until
he learned to Ask for help

 

When
confronted with circumstances which are beyond our natural
capabilities, we must learn to ask for help.

 

I
will be with him in trouble.

Psalm 91:15

 

Tom
Harken won the Horatio Alger Award. This award is given each year to
an individual who has overcome tremendous adversity to achieve
greatness in their field. The night Tom received his award he
confessed a secret he’d held for nearly 50 years

he had been illiterate
nearly all his life. He was now a self-made millionaire, entrepreneur
and owner and franchisee of a chain of restaurants, but his beginning
was not so auspicious. While most children were in school, Tom was in
hospital. He’d suffered polio and later contracted tuberculosis,
which caused him to fall behind in school. Tom always ordered
cheeseburgers in restaurants because he couldn’t read the menus
until one day a waitress snapped, “What’s the matter with you,
can’t you read? We don’t serve cheeseburgers.” It was one of
the countless humiliations Tom experienced nearly every day of his
life. Tom couldn’t read the signs on freeways, but he could read
the signs in his life. He knew that until he learnt to read, he would
not succeed.

 

The
first most painful step was to ask for help. “Nothing is impossible
if you are humble enough and desperate enough to get the right people
to help you.”

 

Tom
Harken, like most achievers does not regret the hardships of his
past. It was those hardships, he said, that revealed his strength.
Now he travels the world giving speeches about the importance of
literacy. He tells young people they may get lost sometimes along the
way and they may become confused and angry, but there is always
someone willing to guide them from word to word, from shame to pride.
(from “Unstoppable” by Cynthia Kersey: Sourcebooks, Inc
Naperville, IL 1998)

 

A
young wife and mother needed $53,000 for a new cancer treatment or
else she would die. Her husband was humble enough to ask for help. He
went to a television station with their story. He was planning a
“footrace” to raise money and asked people to sponsor him. He
did, and he succeeded. If you admit your need, people will respond
with all kinds of help.

 

Agree
with God no matter what

 

In
their journey through the wilderness on their way to the Promised
Land, the Israelites had won some battles. But constant wars had left
them ‘battle weary.’ Battles tend to do that to you. One battle
at a time is manageable, but more than one at a time is a tough call
in anyone’s books. Fight after fight finally wears you down.

 

And
the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the
people spoke against God and against Moses. Why have you brought us
up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?”
Numbers
21:4

 

The
heathen King Balak, had seen all the Israelites had done to the
Amorites and he was afraid. He was afraid they would take his land
off him. So the king sends a message to a prophet, Balaam, and asked
him to come and curse them. He says,
“they
are too mighty for me. For I know whom you bless is blessed, and he
whom you curse is cursed. “Numbers 22:6

 

Balaam
goes with the messengers to the king’s camp, but when asked to
prophesy and curse God’s people, he couldn’t and only blessing
would come out of his mouth. The king was furious. Why couldn’t
this prophet curse the people of God? They were already blessed! God
had ordained blessing and they were blessed. In God’s sight there
was no battle. It had already been won. As far as God was concerned
they were blessed already. They may have been in a tough spot, but it
didn’t change the fact that they were blessed. They were weary, but
God said they were blessed.

 

When
you find yourself in a tough situation, it doesn’t change God’s
Word to you. You are blessed. You may be exhausted, but you are
blessed. The tough situation will change; God’s Word to you never
changes. You may feel weary, but don’t let your mind run away with
the negatives of what you are in. It will change!

 

God
is not a man that He should lie, Nor the son of man that He should
repent. Has He

said,
and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Behold, I

have
received a command to bless;. He has blessed, and I cannot reverse ~

Numbers
23:19;20

 

Battles
will always come at an inconvenient time; it will always be beyond
your ability and you can’t avoid it. That’s just the way it is.
However, the battle is already won! We are blessed and not cursed! By
staying in agreement with what God has said and drawing upon His
grace you can get through it.

 

Weakness
is not necessarily a
bad
position

 

Being
weak is not a bad thing, but
to
stay
weak is. The
recognition of your weakness is a starting point from which great
growth and development come. It’s an opportunity to develop an
inner belief system, which says, “God can be great through me. I
can’t do, but God can and He will. I’m going to let Him use this
situation for His glory.”

 

The
Bible says that after you have gone through trials your faith is
refined and comes forth as pure gold. Trials make you strong; they
build your spiritual muscles. You don’t have to flex any muscles
when things are going well or you have no challenges to face. But
after you’ve gone through something, people can look at you and
say, “I know that person and without God’s grace in their life
they wouldn’t have overcome.” People don’t focus on your
weakness. They see God’s awesome power doing something great
through someone who although weak, has learnt to draw on God’s
grace.

 

When
l am weak, then Jam strong, that the power of Christ
may
rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:10

 

When
you are at your weakest you feel like surrendering the leadership of
your smart head to your ‘smarting’ heart. But, don’t do it! Be
led by the Spirit of God, not your emotions. The Bible is full of
insights that help us overcome bitter experiences. We are encouraged
to look at Jesus and consider what He went through at the Cross.

 

For
consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself
lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
“Hebrews
12:3

 

Take
time to think about Jesus. Consider Him. Look at the Blood. That
precious blood was shed for you. Imagine what He went through for
you. Close this book now and meditate upon the blood for a few
moments. You regain perspective by looking at Jesus.

 

Hebrews
12:1 says,
“let us
lay aside every weight, and the sin which o easily ensnares us, and
let us run with endurance the race.”
Wait
a minute, the sin, what sin? Let me explain it again. If you are
experiencing this chapter, realise the reason you are where you are,
is not because someone else put you there. Take some responsibility.
Confess your own sin. It’s your own fault! There. I

said it. I
am where I
am because it is my own
fault.

Some
bad things happen to good people where it has not been their fault.
But people’s reaction to bad things is certainly within their
control. Paul tells us to lay aside the sin, yes, the sin that so
easily besets us!
It
so easily
besets us! Yes, it
does.
It
doesn’t take much
to get offended or hurt. The responsibility is on you. Even if
circumstances were beyond your control, and some others are partly to
blame for where you are, they are not responsible for you staying
there!

 

It’s
not the big offences that spoil life. It’s the little things. And
little things so easily beset us and get ‘under our skin’. In the
grand scheme of things, they don’t really matter. In the light of
eternity, they are nothing. If you are married, do you remember the
first year when all the “little” things caused the biggest
arguments? Not putting down the lid of the toilet seat, squeezing the
toothpaste from the middle, or not putting the top back on, leaving
the milk out on the bench! Come on now, you remember! I can just see
you standing before the Throne of God, “but he wouldn’t put the
lid down on the toilet….!”

 

What
we go through is nothing compared to what Jesus suffered. Get on with
it!

 

Pursue
peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the
Lord; looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God:
lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this
many become defiled.”

Hebrews
12:10-15

 

Develop
the ability to look beyond present pain. It is temporary. Look at
Jesus. Keep things in perspective. There are so many passages in the
Bible where God blessed men and women while they were in the land of
their affliction. Suffering doesn’t have to be bad. Life is
ultimately enriched as much by bad things as the good. Bitter and
sweet experiences weave together to form the tapestry of your life.
If you think you can get through life without pain then you haven’t
lived yet. In the grand scheme of things, suffering and pain find
their place and we see it in perspective. It’s never pleasant, but
if we acknowledge that no experience is ever wasted, God will help us
learn from it.

 

Thrive
despite adversity

 

When
our twins were born, they were premature, and I nearly died. But God
gave me a promise (in between the dying and the living part!) which
was:

 

The
righteous shall flourish like the palm tree. “Psalm 92:12

 

The
palm tree of the Middle East has a straight trunk and grows to a
height
of 75-9Oft.
It has no variance
of crookedness from its trunk to its leaves, and it gives off fruit
the year round. The early part of the year it yields milk from its
fruit and the rest of the year the fruit itself is eaten. The roots
of the palm tree are so steadfast that the tree withstands all
storms. It might bend when the wind howls, but it always straighten
out after the storm. It needs no cultivation whatsoever; it just
thrives on the soil and moisture from its roots. Its purpose is to
produce fruit and to supply the needs of others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sounds
like what God wants for all of us really! But when God gave me that
for our girls, He was saying, the twins will thrive despite
adversity. Prue and Bree contracted CMV virus in the weeks after they
were born while still in hospital which left Prue with seventy-five
percent of her hearing lost, and Bree fifty percent. This alone set
them up for a difficult but not insurmountable pathway. Palm trees
actually like adverse conditions. I don’t know whether I could say
that about Prue and Bree! But they have thrived no matter where they
have been and what they have had to face. Our girls have been a
delight to raise.

 

Palm
trees are planted in a desert. They thrive in it. They bend in the
storms and need no cultivation. Be a Christian who needs very little
“tending” to thrive and who bends in storms. Too many Christians
snap in trouble, and need far too much “feeding”!

 

Bitter
‘plus’ Jesus ‘equals’ sweet

 

The
Lord’s Prayer starts with “Our Father which art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name. In the Hebrew culture a name revealed as aspect
of a person’s character. God has many Names and each one reveals an
aspect of His Divine Nature. If you learn the meanings of His Names,
you can more fully appreciate His true character. Jehovah Rapha means
The Lord my Healer or, the One who makes bitter experiences sweet. He
is the one who can turn bad experiences into sweet ones. No
experience is ever wasted in God. Even if it is painful for a time,
you can use it to develop your own character and grow closer to God
through it. It yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness for those
who have been trained by it.

 

In
the Old Testament Jospeph was sold into slavery by his brothers. Not
the kindest act of brotherly love. I remember my husband telling me
of when he put his whip around his brother when he was a kid. He
thought it was a great joke, but his mother took his whip off him for
a week! Joseph’s brothers really had it in for their little
brother. They were consumed with bitterness and resentment. They were
cowardly and they him into a pit which was meant for his demise, but
God had a plan. Joseph was found by slave traders and taken to Egypt
where he served in Pharaoh’s house before being thrown into prison
for upsetting the bosses wife. Joseph never got bitter, he only got
better. In the end, God used him to save his family from starvation.
Joseph in Genesis
45:5
said, “For
God sent me before you to preserve life.

He was able to see past
adversity. He had developed the ability to look beyond. He could see
the bigger picture. God’s plan came to pass in time.

 

God
has a plan for your life too. He can see the beginning from the end.
When you walk through trouble it is like you are walking “blind”
for a time because you cannot see where you are going or what the end
will be. If you were flying a plane, you would rely on your
instruments to guide you out. To put it in spiritual terms, you would
put your life in God’s hands, and by faith trust Him to walk you
out of it.

 

It’s
all about perspective

 

Your
perspective becomes distorted and you cannot see things correctly
when you are in trouble. You have to rely on God and on others to
help you through. I was resting on my bed one afternoon, reading my
Bible and meditating upon the names of God and how big He was. With
my Bible in my hand I waved my arm across the bedroom window
obscuring it for a moment. My Bible is the size of a small book and
as I looked, sure enough, it obscured this large window. God said to
me, “how is it that something so small can cover something that is
so big?” I then got up from my bed and walked over to the window.
My Bible no longer obscured the window but was seen in perspective
against the window. It was a small Bible and a very large window. To
answer God’s question, I realized as I stood there that what was
larger depended on what I was closest to. God said, “how can your
problem which is so small, obscure Me who is so big? I realized that
if I was closer to the problem, then the problem would look bigger,
but if I was closer to God, then God would look bigger. What are you
standing closest to? God or your problem? Get closer to God and your
problem will not seem so big.

 

In
adversity,
there
is
a seed

 

I
don’t like adversity any more than the next person, but we all face
it in one form or another somewhere in our lives. When you develop a
belief system that says in every adversity there is the seed of an
equal or greater benefit, you cannot help but learn from the
experience and be hopeful about the future. Every obstacle that I
have ever faced or will face is ultimately there to serve me.

 

When
Joseph’s two sons were born, he called one of them Ephraim, which
meant, “for God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my
affliction.” Joseph not only could see the higher purpose of God,
he could see that affliction was no obstacle to receiving God’s
best for his life. He lived close to God. Living close to God gives
you clarity and insight which is especially important when you’re
in trouble.

 

Jehovah
Sabaoth is one of the Names of God. Essentially it means that He is
the Lord God of the armies of heaven and earth. That means nothing
happens to me that He is firstly not aware of, and secondly is not
ultimately in control of. That is one of the most comforting things I
have ever learnt in my Christian life. I can walk through life and
embrace everything that happens to me. I don’t love EVERYTHING that
has happened, but I wouldn’t change a thing because it makes my
life, mine. And it’s great! Don’t live your life with regret.
Embrace everything life has to offer; take on challenges and learn
new things.

 

Read
Chapter Four “Be blessed! Ignore Complaints” coming in the next
few days.

If
you would like more of Peter and Lindsay Earle’s teaching go to
www.pastoralministrytraining.com

 

 

 

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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