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James 1:2-4 (TPT) My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up in you the power of endurance. And then as your endurance grows even stronger, it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

I was recently speaking to some ladies about going deeper with Jesus. One said, “Oh, you’re talking about suffering…” Though she was in many ways correct, it’s not how I see it at all. It’s actually the process of complete and utter annihilation of the flesh. It's much more than suffering, it's death, yet it's gloriously amazing! With every step forward, He reveals more areas that must be crucified and if it's not done willingly, He loves us enough to take us through a purging process that at times is brought on by circumstances.

The interesting thing is...I don't see any of this as suffering. You see, when you are madly in love with your Bride Groom, and the desire and passion of your life is drawing closer to Him, you welcome the process. Though you may experience some discomfort and even pain... suffering has never been a part of my vocabulary... how can I suffer when I'm clinging to the greatest love of my life and He's carrying me through every level of sacrifice and sanctification?

I've never experienced a trial that did not chase me deeper into His presence... whether I went there by worship, love and adoration or total desperation, the results always equaled growth and incredible visitations of His glory... suffering? At times physical pain, financial devastation, heartache, and loss... but never alone or destitute. Always loved and filled with hope and faith that all the pain was forming a greater purpose in my life and ultimately a testimony of His magnificent power and love!! The truth is, I would rather experience external chaos and internal peace than external peace and internal chaos... no matter the situation, there is always such comfort abiding in His presence!

His ways are definitely not my ways, the path I would choose would be paved with blessings...actually, so is His, it just looks much different than we'd expect, but the outcome is so much greater! Less of me and more of Him!!! Freedom from the weaknesses that hold us back and keep us bound in a comfortable box of mediocrity. His plans for us are so much greater than that! He desires that we become beacons of His glory and a reflection of who He is! As we willingly press in and surrender, He begins to carve away at the excess and forms a beautiful sculpture, formed in His image!

To me, suffering equals eternal damnation, tormented and alone in hell for eternity. Suffering must be what Jesus felt as He carried our sin and sickness on the cross and cried out," My God, why have you forsaken me?" He experienced the heavy darkness of our transgressions that separated us from the presence of God...

Don't be frightened into thinking the price to Intimacy with Jesus is just too great... There's truly no greater blessing than living in His presence!

John 15:4-5 (NKJV) Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

Matthew 27:46 (AMP) About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud [agonized] voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Mark 9:49-50 (MSG) “Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.”

Romans 8:28 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV) But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.


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