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At Pain’s End

– Joe Fornear

A key development in every child’s life is when they learn pain is not permanent. That scrape on the knee stings like crazy now, but it won’t last forever. You can walk it off or apply some ice. In the same way, followers of Christ can develop coping skills to endure the pain of this life, knowing well that pain is temporary.

Who among us has not wondered, “If God loves me so much, why is He allowing this overwhelming pain in my life?” In various forms, this is the most frequently asked question by cancer patients to us at Stronghold Ministry. It was my great question during my own Stage IV metastatic melanoma cancer battle.

Our annual Easter celebration of the Cross and the Resurrection reminds us of God’s answers to the pain question. In short, He made pain temporary. Here’s why:

  • He knows how to use temporary pain for our permanent gain.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. – 1 Peter 5:10 

Note, pain has beneficial outcomes of maturity and stability as it’s temporarily allowed by God in this life – “for a little while”. (More on handling pain in our five-part blog series, “Is Pain In Vain?”).

  • On the cross, Jesus provided for the removal of painful diseases in this life.

When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.” – Matthew 8:16-17

In this passage in Matthew, many will recognize a key line out of Isaiah 53 about Him taking away our weaknesses and diseases. Not all would apply these verses to Divine Healing today. My question is why would we not ask God to apply it to our sicknesses today? We all apply the Isaiah 53 verses on forgiveness today! I certainly applied these healing verses after they gave me days to live in May of 2003! (More on healing in our seven-part series, “Miracles for Today Series.”)

  • Jesus gave us our only ticket out from the eternal pains of hell.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. – Isaiah 53:6

He endured unspeakable pain and separation under the wrath of God, so that we would not have to endure the eternal pain and separation which we have earned. For more on our only ticket to heaven, check out our newly designed tract, “The Two Ways to Get to Heaven.” Thus, heaven will not entail suffering at all!

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. – Revelation 21:4

So let’s all rejoice this Easter weekend that pain has met its end! Thank You, Lord!


*Please note – until further notice our monthly 3rd Tuesday Stronghold Ministry Praise and Prayer Meetings will be on Facebook LIVE! See past episodes in February and March and April.

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Dare to Err on the Side of Belief With Us

– Joe & Terri Fornear

​Jesus made many claims about the power of prayer, most of which challenge our conceptions of … everything! Consider just one “outlandish” statement in a long list of His amazing quotes on prayer:

“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” – Mark 11:23

After reading this verse, some readers may have stopped reading already. Some may have had a huge letdown in their spirit. I understand, you’ve prayed and prayed and so far – nothing. “Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick” (Proverbs 13:12). True, hope can be scary and false promises can be manipulative, but do we really want to explain away Jesus’ promises? I felt the tension during my battle with Stage IV “terminal” cancer. The doctors gave me days to live in May of 2003, would I dare believe God would heal me by “telling” the cancer to leave?

Through a mix of doubts and boldness, Terri and I, and faithful friends and family decided to err on the side of belief. After all, Jesus always seemed to be moved to miracles by faith. He was clearly disappointed, even perturbed by doubt.

What about you, what mountains do you face? Do you have a flicker of hope to explore the realm of what is possible through perseverance and sheer obedience to pray like He commanded? Let’s journey together to plumb the depths of prayer and His supernatural power. Join us Tuesday, March 21st from 7:00 to 8:00 pm CST! Terri Fornear and I will be live from my Facebook page praying for the impossible! To get notifications of all our LIVE video events, become a Facebook friend of Joe Fornear here.

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*Please note – until further notice our monthly 3rd Tuesday Stronghold Ministry Praise and Prayer Meetings will be on Facebook LIVE! 

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Why are we switching our Prayer Meeting to Facebook LIVE?

Last month, we held our prayer meeting on Facebook LIVE (see the video replay here) and discovered excellent connection with hundreds of cancer patients, their networks, and friends of Stronghold! The power of prayer was multiplied as we prayed for one another! All together we became what Terri Fornear called “a house of prayer”!

We’ve often said about our monthly prayer meeting, “Some of the people who need this prayer meeting the most can’t be here.” This is true for several reasons:

  • Some are quarantined at home to protect their immune system
  • Some are hospitalized
  • Some are feeling ill or weak due to treatments
  • Some don’t know what to expect
  • Some live out of town!!

So join us online as we bring our Prayer Meeting TO YOU!

Tuesday, March 21 (3rd Tuesdays) – on Facebook LIVE from 7:00-8:00 pm on Joe’s Fornear’s Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/joe.fornear. More info:

  • Become “friends” with Joe Fornear on Facebook to get notifications of our live events.
  • Join in for the entire hour from 7-8:00 pm CST … or any length of time!
  • Be ready… between now and Tuesday’s online gathering write your request on Joe’s Facebook post about this meeting!
  • Invite those that are sick, shut in, or wanting to be touched by God!
  • Be ready to listen and be quiet together as we hear HIS encouragements through each other. During the LIVE event, write in verses, prayers and thoughts which fan faith, hope and love.
  • Let us know when He answers your prayer! “See” you tomorrow night, Tuesday, March 21!

Check out last month’s video – click on pic or link below!

https://www.facebook.com/joe.fornear/videos/10211399012466117/

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Can Little Faith Produce Miracles?


-Joe Fornear

Oh me of little faith. Oh ye of little faith. Oh us of little faith. But is little faith a deal breaker? Does it cancel all hope for answered prayers? I hope not! We need faith not only to believe Him for miracles, but also to cope with the daily difficulties of life. I admit, little faith was common for me during my fight against Stage IV metastatic melanoma and still common twelve years on.mustard seed faith - 5-3-16

Yet there’s some surprisingly good news! Evidently little faith can still produce big miracles – big miracles! Jesus said so – more than once. Now I’m not advocating little faith, but little faith can pick up a mulberry tree or even a mountain and relocate either in the sea!

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” – Matthew 17:19-20

And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.” – Luke 17:6

No bigger than the tip of a pencil, mustard seeds are pretty small. So don’t beat yourself up over doubts or fears, just exercise whatever faith you have. Point it in the right direction – toward the Lord – to His powers and abilities. And pray along with me what a father prayed for his son who had been possessed by a destructive demon, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). And the Author and Perfecter of our faith will do His thing within us (Hebrews 12:2).

Lord, we believe theoretically in our minds that all things are possible for You, help us believe unflinchingly in our hearts to pray boldly. Yes, help our unbelief!

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Are We There Yet?

 

– Joe Fornear

Exhaustion… terrible inconvenience… unsanitary conditions… a nightmare scenario. Maybe God is manger Dec 2014trying to tell us something about life by the circumstances in which our King Jesus entered into our world.

Our journeys can be difficult and lengthy, like Mary’s. On that famous 80 mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem – who said she rode on a donkey? The Bible makes no mention of that. It’s likely Mary walked the entire four to six day trip while nine months pregnant, accounting for why they were such late arrivals in Bethlehem.

Along the way, Mary & Joseph’s nightly visits at “inns” probably entailed staying with animals. By the time Jesus was born in a Bethlehem stable, she may have grown accustomed to living with animals. Still, to the shepherds, a baby lying in a manger was truly a “sign.” In other words, even in that day, this was a “nightmare” delivery for any mom to have to lay her newborn in an animal’s feeding trough. And c’mon, there was room for them at the inn! There was just no room in anyone’s heart to give up their room for this baby to born.

So why did God allow such a distressing entry into the world for His Only Begotten? Sometimes faith is not about securing the removal of trouble, but being secure in the face of trouble.

A familiar Bible verse in 2 Timothy 4:7 uses a verb and noun for the “fight” of faith with a similar Greek root word – agonizo.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.

This word means “to contend earnestly; struggle; labor fervently.” We get our word “agony” from this word! Paul uses it several times to describe his prayer life. Certainly this contending applies to our physical, emotional and spiritual battles against cancer. I put everything I had into my fight and it took it all.

Joe’s full story in book form, My Stronghold, is part of our free gift basket to cancer patients.

Yet folks, until Jesus comes back, this life will have its share of agonizing battles! In Matthew 24, Jesus prophesies a series of cataclysmic tribulations – earthquakes, wars, famines. He calls them “birth pangs” – the “labor” of God’s universe to bring Him forth once for all in glorious fashion. So with bookends of tribulation marking both Jesus’ first and second coming, is it any wonder that “in the meantime” we have troubles? Some day these troubles will go away forever – no more tears or pain – but we’re not there yet.

(More here on how to get to heaven).

Yet rest well in this, my fighting friend, He who suffered much knows how to help those who suffer much. This Christmas lean into Him, earnestly agonize with Him – He gets it.