2011 Theme: “Make GOD GREATER!
“Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD” ( 1 Samuel 1:10, NIV).
Bitter to Better: Have you ever been in a place in life where you are not quite in Lo-debar but struggling to the Threshing Floor? It is not as if you don’t have confidence that God is with you and speaking, but every time you go into certain territories or around certain people, it seems as though the burning praise within you refuse to come out. Although a form of rebellion, you feel guilty about praising God in an atmosphere where others seem to be making a mockery of Him. No matter how hard you fight to get beyond your atmosphere past pain, hurt feelings, repressed memories and manipulative agendas will not allow you to move forward. You have now become the very distraction or hindrance that you encouraged others not to be and prayed over. It takes a bitter soul to get to a point where you refuse and feel guilty about praising the God who has all the answers. You have to acknowledge that it is bitterness that has entered into your spirit. Of course no Holy Ghost filled Christian would admit to feeling this way. What would the “Saints” think? It doesn’t matter. The longer you allow the spirit of bitterness to linger, it will continue to rotten deeper into your spirit and bones. You will become ill in spirit, body and mind. God does not enjoy hurting us or causing us sorrow (Lamentations 3:33).
“Then Hannah prayed: My heart rejoices in the LORD! The LORD has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me” (1 Samuel 2:1).
Spiritual Manifestation: Hannah had an adversary that would daily provoke her in order to irritate her (v6). Hannah had to deal with this atmosphere every day, so she didn’t have the luxury of escaping from it. Although she became bitter, she didn’t allow bitterness to keep her from using the vehicle that would get her to a state of betterment. Hannah prayed unto the LORD and she praised God in advance and in the presence of those who did not understand her circumstance. Sometimes God will allow you to be surrounded by people or just one person that constantly irritates you in order to empty you of unhealthy emotions so that you can be refilled by His love. True love makes every thing better. It is the enemy’s attempt to shut us up and get off coarse. He wants to provide every possible distraction. Even when you are surrounded by hypocritical people or those that have wronged you and still are able to praise God, remember that they are being obedient to the Word. The Word has declared “let everything that has breath praise the LORD” (Psalm 150:6). Every one must bow to the LORD. The enemy is jealous and angry because he can not worship or have a relationship with God. The more we worship God the more He pours out His love on us. The more we receive His love, the better we will feel. Before you know it, we will go from bitter to oh so much better! Make GOD GREATER!
With Love in the Spirit,
Evangelist SJ Hastings,