Friday, September 30, 2016

Thoughts On The Purpose of Pain

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if there were no pain? How different would life actually be? Would we really be all that different?

I have often thought of this, and even more as of late with some news I heard recently. Sometimes I've wondered why pain even exists, what its true purpose is. To be honest, it hasn't always made any real since to me. Life is full of so many different hurts and all types of suffering and I just don't really understand why sometimes. If it were up to me I don't really know if I even would have brought the concept of pain and suffering into this world.
It's really hard sometimes for me to see what goes on in the world and then to think any other way. However, I've always known that pain is a part of what God can, and does, use to make miracles happen, but there is just so much of it.
Our world is broken and while I have never really thought that the purpose of pain was about Judgement or His wrath, it can be difficult to see it in any other light. I realize that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, but would He really take the concept of pain and use it to pass judgement on His beloved children.

If you think about the way a parent disciplines a child, we often do bring some type of pain to our children, whether we ground them from TV, put them in time out, or when we start embracing more of a tough love approach. Each of these causes some type of pain.

One of the things that I learned a long time ago was that there is more than just one type of pain. There is Emotional Pain, there is Physical Pain, there are even Mental attributes to pain, but most importantly there is Spiritual Pain. All of these types of pain have a purpose I'm sure, but why?
I've come to believe that maybe the purpose of pain changes with circumstance, situation and experience. So, there is not really one purpose but many. You could say that pain is the result of sin, which some would argue, or you could say that pain is only in this world so that the light of God can use it to break through the darkness that has taken hold of each of us in some way or another.
None of us are perfect are we? We all have something we struggle with and to me, that's where the darkness has the higher ground. You could even say that we experience pain so we can learn from it, I'm not sure how that would work but, there it is.

Maybe there is an answer that I just haven't been able to comprehend yet or maybe there really is no purpose behind it. I think that it's worth some research though. So, I guess I'm going to commit to doing some research about it and go from there. For now, Let's just leave it open and see where God leads.
Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Journey with ACTS 2:22-24

“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene[d] by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. - Acts 2:22-24 NLT

The idea the God has publicly endorsed any one is a special one to think about in times like the ones we share in today’s world. There is so much hurt and brokenness thought, that sometimes we just can’t see where God is doing this.

The miracles that we see today are so much different than they were back then and yet we do not see them, or even care to look for them. In many ways we have tied God’s hands behind his back, so to speak, by not taking more time to look for those places that he has done great and mighty things for us today.

We can find our way back from this untimely ‘death of a miracle’.  As we go about our day we can take the time to look for God in the things around us. We can find those places that God is publicly working through in this day and age, just as the believers did back then.

Life, as I’ve always said, is full of God's wonders and it is up to us to identify where they are at and whom He is working through. The People of Israel saw what God was doing and in many ways, denied some of the possibilities that could have come out of Jesus’ Ministry.

Instead of focusing on ourselves today, let's take a few moments to focus on what's going on around us. When we do this, wholeheartedly, God still protects us from the dangers around us, but He will also bless us in immeasurable ways when we realize just whats He’s doing in the midst of the world around us.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."
"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20 M.J. Elliott

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Welcoming Hannah Joy

Hello Everyone, 

I know it's been quite a while since my last blogpost and I've got some I will be posting this week before I head back to work. For today, I wanted to share my account of we welcomed a beautiful little girl, Hannah Joy Elliott, into our family this past week and it was a miracle to say the least.

As many of you know we usually plan to have home births, both Leyla and Caleb were born in the comfort of our home and we had planned to do the same with Hannah. However, there were some unforeseen complications with her delivery. These complications we completely unexpected, both the good and the bad.

My wife, Traci, went into Labor at home around 10:30pm on September 21st and was doing quite well. We were only 6 hours in and we thought that Hannah was going to be here with in the next hour, but for what ever reason she could not get any further. No matter how hard Traci tried over the next several hours nothing changed.  She was bleeding pretty badly and it seemed to be getting worse. WORRY!!

So, in the blink of an instant we were talking about having to go to the Hospital. As we arrived at the hospital, it was about 10:30am on September 22nd.  The Doctor on duty met with us and checked everything out and said that she wanted to wait for a while before making any major decisions. While we waited nothing changed, what ever was keeping baby Hannah from coming into this world was not letting up. FEAR!!

While we waited, we heard of the arrival of other babies in the maternity ward and discouragement sank in. My mind began to wonder both about the baby and about Traci. Her lips had turned pale blue and her skin as pale as could be. The blood loss continued to control the entire birth. It was not a very easy feeling.  I could do nothing but pray and ask others to do the same. DISCOURAGED!!

Finally, the Doctors were able to get the bleeding to stop but Hannah still had not come down enough.  We sent out mass amounts of texts to those we could get a hold of and asked them to pray. Others called us saying things that were beyond comprehension as they prayed for us. It was as if the Lord God had moved in the hearts of Men and Women all over and that a war was waging, Satan would not take the life of our little Hannah or my beloved wife Traci. PRAYER!!

The prayers of the people spoke louder than all the discouragement around us and we were not about to give up. Some of those that prayed, shared of the promises that God had given them about our daughter and little by little the light began to gain the ground discouragement and worry has taken. Little glimmers of hope surrounded us all and unknowingly, God continued to work HOPE!! 

Our hearts slowly began to sparkle with peace and even in the midst of despair we knew we'd see our little Hannah that day. ENCOURAGED!!

Finally the Doctors had chosen, "We are going to prep you for a C-Section." Preparations began and while our hearts desire was that God would work a miracle WE WERE AT PEACE!! As they came in to take us into surgery, the doctor said to the nurse, "lets check her out one more time." Immediately Every thing changed...  PEACE!!

Close to 8pm on the 22nd the nurse stopped everything that she was doing. "Your going to give birth in the next hour or so." WHAT?? WE THOUGHT?? Well, not any more. At first we doubted but then the doctor confirmed and after just one push, our little Hannah was coming out all on her own. With in the hour, Traci held our beautiful daughter in her pale skinned arms and kissed her with her pale blue lips. REST!! 


We found out later that the situation was more dangerous that we thought, Traci had a partial placental abruption. This was what they assume had stopped Labor, if it had gotten worse things would have been a lot different. It could have been very serious and it was for a while, but God spoke life into both Traci and little Hannah through the prayers of the people and the knowledge of his peace within our hearts. JOY!!

God's hand was upon us and everyone involved, Satan's hold was vanquished and life truly prevailed. I will always remember that day and that God watches over us and that His glory will always win. LIFE!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I hope and pray it will bring encouragement to all who read it. God is always with you and to those who claim God does not exist, you weren't there but HE WAS!!

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Journey with ACTS 2:17-21

‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below—blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
- Acts 2:17-21 NLT

Here we have a passage that many don't look at to deeply. To be honest, to most it would be a bit scary to read through. I know the first time I read it, I was thinking, ‘man this a is pretty rough piece of scripture.’ This was when I was quite young though, I think I’ve learned a few things since that time. :-). This passage still strike a chord with me though. Peter begins his holy spirit filled speak with these words of warning and caution from the old testament prophet, Joel.

Now, the book of Joel is primarily a book that warns about the coming end and this passage is one of those. There are some other passages that have a better tone, but this one in particular speaks of the coming end. Why Peter uses this passage as a starting point in his big debut is something I’ve always wondered about. There is a time to be harsh and a time to be gentle, and I’d like to think this was a time to be gentle, but I guess the spirit lead Peter the other direction.

This passage is a promise from God of his provision, but it is also a promise of his wrath and in these moments, just after the crucifixion, maybe it was a time to be a little of both. That’s what I get out of this passage. Sometimes God has to deal with us in a certain fashion because he knows that is the best way to reach us. Humanity is is a very stubborn creation and we have our strengths and we have our weaknesses. Truthfully, God speaks to us differently in our weakness then he does in our strength.

In this specific scenario, maybe just maybe, the people needed both at the same time and that's why the spirit lead Peter the way he did. In the end, the reminder that ‘everyone who calls upon the Lord will be saved.’

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."
"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20 M.J. Elliott