55: ENTOMBED


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What You'll Discover in this Episode:

ENTOMBED


Looking back to the Saturday before Resurrection Sunday, I was impressed with that day Jesus was in the tomb awaiting the resurrection. There is application to us today. Let me ask you:


Are you entombed?


There are the times in my life when I learn that there is no way out except through the Father’s faithfulness. I cannot create the rescue plan. The rescue is only found in being conformed to His death. Philippians 3:10 is where I see that in scripture, “...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”


When Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, it is not that He didn’t know the ultimate answer.

He was quoting out of Psalm 22, which was the answer. He was being made sin for all of us, and the only way out of that was the faithfulness of the Father. “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.”  Everything depended on the faithfulness of the Father at that moment.

We can get into places in which it becomes so clear to us that there is no way to go on or no way out, unless the Father comes through.


Maybe some of you are there right now.


This is being conformed to His death, which I like to call being “entombed”.

In my walk with the Lord these over these past 25 years, I think I have been entombed about 2 or 3 times. I am not really looking for any more of those experiences. But, each time I grew in knowing about His faithfulness in my life. I trust Him more now than before the entombment experiences.


I am walking through a current perplexity right now. But because I got to know Him better during those periods of entombment, I have a greater trust in the Fathers faithfulness. Does that make sense?

If there is another opportunity for entombment, I don’t want to shrink from it, because it’s not pleasing to the Father to do so. It inhibits further growth in Him.


Because we serve a God of resurrection, being conformed to His death is not a negative process, but a glorious opportunity to share again in His resurrected life.


If it looks to you that it is all over, including your home, your job, your ministry vision, your Christian life; if the lies, the condemnation of the enemy, the attacks of even the brethren, are threatening to destroy you—remember, brothers and sisters! We serve a God of resurrection.


Do you know what happens when He calls us out of that tomb? We are back on resurrection ground! We are back tasting again the power of His resurrection. It is like a second honeymoon, and even a third honeymoon. WooHoo!


I tell you, once you have been raised, you are never the same. The enemy shouts: I’ll bury you! Well, he just might. He has done it before, but the Lord will raise us, and that changes everything.


It’s a new kind of faith, a resurrection faith. Now, this talk of the power of resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to His death, is not referring to some experiential pilgrimage we concoct to draw more closely to God. It is not that at all. I’ve seen this type of manufactured, hyped up talk that was simply a work of the flesh.


Every bit of it, to be real, must be according to His word, and His word speaks much about all these things. So to validate all that you are going through, stay in the Word. Keep hearing from God. Let Him be speaking to you about these things to avoid getting off on some tangent that will keep you from the very thing you thought you were pursuing.


Read Psalm 119 again some time. It is all about God’s Word. Time and again it says, according to Your word. According to Your word. Revive me, according to Your word. Strengthen me, according to Your word. Guide me, according to Your word. Protect me, according to Your word. Our Christian experience has to conform to the word of God.


Philippians 3:10-11 says, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (11) if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”


That I may know Him [in all these ways]… If by any means, [if by anything God wants to take me through] I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

I am looking into the tomb today (because of certain life perplexing setbacks). Battles abound in the life of a minister. If I enter that tomb (remember, I don’t always want to die and be buried in a tomb), but if God so wills, it is my prayer that I will emerge with new life and resurrection victory.


How about you? Have you ever been entombed? Do you have a testimony of the Fathers faithfulness to resurrect you? What about right now? Are you in that tomb waiting for His resurrection power? Let me know by making your comment below.

 

 

Resources:

  • LINK #1
  • LINK #3
  • LINK #3
  • LINK #4

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  • Tom Zimbelman says:

    I have noticed over the years that there are a mix of “entombed” moments. Some have a national impact which seem to happen every 10 years or so, thank 9/11, the great recession in 2008, and now this coronavirus pandemic.

    But in between those times there are so many other “entombed” moments that happen on a more personal level. I’ve had many throughout the years, in fact today is 19 years after my daughter Emily was born. We lost her about two months later. It was one of those times when my wife and I realized how little control we have over our lives. I do remember feeling like things were literally spinning as we learned our daughter was getting closer and closer to death at Loma Linda medical center. During the same time, I was involved in a car crash were two people were killed. It was awful. I remember a relative asking me if I was angry at God. No, I was absolutely not angry at God in fact I felt more dependent and more desperate for Him. He was stripping me of a lot things: pride, dependence on worldly things (career, etc.), and showing me that He is the true source of life and that this life is short – eternity matters.

    God is so faithful. He Brought us through, my wife and I love each other more today than ever, He has abundantly supplied us with strength for the other trials and tribulations that would certainly come our way ( and they have, but again God has shown himself to be abundantly faithful).

    This is a faithful and true statement:

    “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” ‭‭(John‬ ‭16:33‬ , NKJV‬‬).

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      BTW-where I wrote “thank 9/11” I meant “think 9/11…”

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Hey, Tom! Thanks for sharing you testimony.

    • harry e innerst says:

      Tom, can’t read this without tears. You have been through so much more than I have ever experienced. Yet you rest in total trust in God. Your story is a wonderful testimony to any one who hears it.

    • Sherra Krabbenhoft says:

      Thank you so much for sharing Tom, what a testimony of God’s faithfulness.

    • Ritter Savino says:

      Wow Tom, I’m sorry for your lost. God absolutely uses everything in our lives to bring us where He wants us to be. Yes, we can’t understand a lot of the things we go through, but we don’t have to because we have a God that cares and knows all things. He cares for His children and is present in all we go through. His faithfulness always shows.

    • Stacy Wiggins says:

      Tom, thank you for sharing your story. I have never lost a child and can’t even begin to comprehend that. My husband and I have however ministered to people who have lost a child. In my opinion, it is the hardest ministry. Your peace and total trust in the Lord are so evident. I pray that for my friends who lost their 4-month-old baby recently. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” ‭‭(John‬ ‭16:33‬ , NKJV‬‬).

  • harry e innerst says:

    I’ve never heard it taught like this before, but I sure recognized the inside of that tomb. i have been there before. About fifteen years ago certain circumstances developed in my life that changed most every plan I ever had in my Christian life. This was not the way I saw things working out. I became bitter, and set out to chart my own course, since I was convinced that God was no longer to be depended on. I made a series of stupid financial discussions that cost me greatly. That was a dark time. Being stuck in the tomb was my own doing, and was not very pleasant. I finally began to cry out to God in repentance, the Holy Spirit brought comfort like I never expected. It was like He wrapped His arms around me and said, “Ok, you see your error, now I want you to stay the course as I lead you out of the tomb, and teach you some things in the process. It has been a long journey, but I coming out into His glorious light of forgiveness and restoration is wonderful. By the grace of God, never again will I lose faith in my God, even when He takes me on an unexpected pathway. He is always good.

    • Ritter Savino says:

      Hi Harry, I can relate to your story even thought my story is not about finance, but the principal is the same. I also remembered crying out to God in repentance when I was in my darkness, and He responded and I felt His arms around me letting me know that things will be alright. God is so good and true.

    • Tom Zimbelman’s says:

      Hi Harry,

      Like so many, you’ve endured the loving discipline of God in your life. That’s wonderful, but very painful. I know, I’ve been there too. I’m grateful that you listened and persevered during the difficult journey. Many blessings.

      Tom

    • Josiah Arceo says:

      I must say that I am glad Pastor Jeff has asked us to share of our “entombed” experiences. I for one am so tempted to say that I am sorry that you have gone through such a trying time, but I feel like you learned more about God during those times.

      Your story reminds me the end of Psalm 23 where King David says, “Surely Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

      I need his mercy and grace every single day to function. Thank you for sharing your story. It has encourage my day.

  • Sherra Krabbenhoft says:

    Two years ago while I was pregnant with our fifth child we learned that he not only was missing a piece of his brain, he also has a chromosomal abnormality that there is no record of happening before. Because he is the first with his specific condition, we were told by a team of doctors that they didn’t know if he would even survive birth. The next 17 weeks were a moment in life where I felt the “entombment”. Even during the most difficult of moments, God taught me so much about leaning into God’s peace. I learned so much about the gift of peace, an internal peace that I could have never manufactured that God washed over me and my family. Our peace was such a witness to the teams of doctors who followed our case. I love that at a moment in life when I would have said I had nothing to give, that God opened up the door for us to share about His grace and love more frequently than ever before. God used those weeks for His glory and for our growth. The experience was both full of grief and yet so full of hope and peace that it is hard to even explain.

    • JoAnn Eagle says:

      Sherra,
      Your experience sounds so very painful, yet the coupling of that time with peace reminds me that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. As I read your post I wondered if the Lord has brought about ministry out of your grief and suffering. Many times ‘entombment’ is later used by the Lord in our lives for others – we can bless others with the growth and wisdom we’ve gained after leaving the tombs of trial and suffering. God bless you as you share comfort and the Peace of Jesus with others.
      JoAnn

    • Ritter Savino says:

      Sherra, what an amazing story. It is really encouraging to see how God used you and your family in this such a hard time in your life. It is so good when we as believers walk into the door that the Lord is opening to glorify Him in those dark times. He is our peace indeed.

    • Josiah Arceo says:

      Sherra thanks for sharing that! I feel like with those who are not believers that have gone through traumatic experiences like you have gone through, we have to be careful with what we say so as not to offend them so that we don’t unintentionally bring back to lie painful memories. However, with you, you heave learned that God was purposeful through your grief. And you can now say without a doubt that God wanted to give to you the gift of peace all along.

      Even th team of doctors who handled your case were blessed by your peace and confidence with God. How awesome!

  • Ritter Savino says:

    Thank you again, Pastor Jeff, for this podcast. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I remembered thinking that If something bad would ever happen to me, I will never blame God. I am not sure why that thought was in my mind, but It has been very helpful through the years. I really don’t know why that statement is important, but it has been extremely important to remember when I find myself in the tomb. There have been a lot of things that I have gone through the years that had happened to me personally, but there is not comparison of what I went through as a mother and see two of my boys being used by the enemy and see how much of a destruction they were becoming to themselves and to others. I spend nights and days with such sadness in my heart and wondering when it would stop. I was no able to do anything to get these boys out of their situation, or to be different. To give you an idea of what I was going through as a mom, there were one night about maybe 15 years ago where I received a phone call from the police and finding out that my two boys were arrested. I will never forget that night; I remembered feeling so defeated as a mother, and so sad to what was going on. I also remembered thinking about their feelings and how they were being treated. At the same time, I remembered how God was holding me through all of it. I started remembering that day what I said to God as a young child, that I would never blame Him for anything that will happen in my life, even though I wasn’t able to understand why it was happening. God was with me and have been with me and my family always. After that night, more things happened until God answered a mother’s prayer. He saved my boys and they are today lovers and followers of Jesus Christ. God has been faithful through all my life even when I was faithless. God love my kids more than I do, and knowing that it brings me to complete trust in Him. I thank God for trials because it really shapes us and bring us to the place God wants us to be. God is using these two adults now in mighty ways. I believe that God doesn’t waste anything; He uses it all for our good and for His glory. I’m thankful for trials even today, because it helps me to stay depended on Him.
    Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not in your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” This is a promise from our Father in heaven.

    • JoAnn Eagle says:

      Ritto,
      Thank you for your transparent post. As a mother of three boys, I can relate to the anguish you suffered through the years of your boys’ rebellion. I have thought that if my sons behaved perfectly and followed God perfectly from early on, I would most likely be a very prideful parent, and look down on others. I would wonder what my peers did wrong in their parenting to produce wayward children. But in God’s sovereignty, He planned for me to need to be on my knees for my children. I ascribe anything good in their lives to His grace and I know that I have nothing to do with it! Praise God for your children now following Him closely! You provided a perfect bible verse for reflection. I also think of the verse, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3). I have a greater steadfastness in my faith after having been ‘entombed’ in suffering and trials.
      Press on Sister!
      JoAnn

      • Ritter Savino says:

        Thank you JoAnn, God is so amazing! and I don’t know what would I do without HIM. I love that everything in the earth is temporary, and one day things will be as they were intended to be from the beginning. God bless you my dear sister!

    • James L Padilla says:

      Hi Ritter…Next to God, a mother’s love for her children (in most cases)is the most powerful love on earth. The sacrifices, the tears, the prayers, the faith, the sleepless nights, the endless work/labor…I’m so glad that God saw you through and made an impact in the lives of your children. I’m sure that the example God was able to use the example that you set before them as well. Something you said that ministers to me, . . .”God was with me and have been with me and my family always. ” . . . This is a comforting thought, a wonderful promise, and a forever hope that believers, and unbelievers can forever cling to. Thank you for sharing your mother’s heart.

  • JoAnn Eagle says:

    I appreciate the analogy of suffering and trial as a tomb that we will be brought forth from. I have certainly walked through a burial and have been resurrected, in fact I have been entombed many times. But God has been faithful in resurrecting me and I have always grown in some way through them. I thank the Lord for bringing me through personal relationship catastrophes, although one remains with my mother and father. I feel quite entombed, although I’ve been to continue in my walk while this rejection continues. These relationships have been cut off for five years. My parents are aging and I wonder if they are staying healthy through the COVID-19 virus spread. But I am unable to resurrect those relationships myself. My attempts have fallen flat. God continues to give me much to focus on and I have a very full life, with good works to walk in. But I continue to have the void from my parents in my life. In this time though, while in the tomb, the Lord has taught me so much about who He is as my Heavenly Father! He will never leave me nor forsake me and He is forever faithful. Regardless of what God chooses to do in this situation, I trust Him.

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      Thank you for sharing your struggle JoAnn! I am sorry to read about your struggles with your parents. I am thankful that you shared and I will join you in praying for reconciliation. It is a hard process in waiting on the Lord at times but we can also use that time to draw closer to Him. You are right about how our Heavenly Father will not leave us or forsake us. I pray that you will continue to find comfort in Him, for softening of hearts and that your parents are okay through this virus. I pray that it will stir something inside of them to contact you. HUGS

    • Sherra Krabbenhoft says:

      JoAnn – Your story echos what I have heard from a close family member who also was estranged from their parent. God turns the void into an opportunity to understand God as the heavenly Father in such a way that would likely have never happened otherwise. While I am so sorry for your distance from your parents and any pain, I rejoice for you as you can help others to understand in a deeper way who God is as your Father.

  • Josiah Arceo says:

    There were many thoughtful comments Pastor Jeff made that I wanted to highlight. Pastor Jeff in the beginning of his podcast said the following, “I trust Him more now than before the entombment experiences.” That is such a big deal. Because that is the outcome that the Lord desires for us to have at the end of the trial(s). Pastor Jeff also said to not let our trials go to waste. We have to let the transformation in the trial be winsome for us. God uses all things for the good of those who love Him

    As far as anything related to being entombed, I am currently undergoing the process of being entombed. For those who may understand the spirit of heaviness (depression), it can be quite uncomfortable at best, but terribly painful at worst. The Lord during this process is asking me to trust Him in the truth that, “In His presence if fullness of joy and in His right hand are pleasures forevermore.” I have to lean so hard on His Word and the promises He has made to His saints. But our Lord is faithful to grant me the help that I need in my time of trouble.

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your current struggle. I agree with you that you have to lean on His word and promises. After many situations where I had the spirit of heaviness or depression, it was the only thing that helped through it. There was not comfort that I could get any where else that would take it away. I will be praying for you!!

    • Anne Marie Maguire says:

      Beautiful last line Josiah “But our Lord is faithful to grant me the help that I need in my time of trouble.” I can testify to this truth I suffered myself with depression many years ago and the Lord was with me in the dark tunnel. In the dark tunnel I learnt to care for others and be more compassionate, as I cared for others this depression was lifted. I pray the Lord would lift your depression in Jesus name.

    • Hannah Somerville says:

      Very true Josiah as you said “We have to let the transformation in the trial be winsome for us. God uses all things for the good of those who love Him.”

      Makes me think of the verse in James about letting patience have its perfect work.

      I think our tendency is to squirm out of a struggle to stop the uncomfortable death. It is ironic that the change and resurrection comes as we go through it.

      In regards to your entombment. I am praying for you Josiah. I have been there too and It was one of the hardest times in my life. I am proned to head in that direction often. My brother hear this: God will be faithful. You are his child whom he loves and he will invest in you And complete the work he has begun.

      I love that you said lean in. It is in these hard times that pressing in is not only a refuge but it is the place of victory and you will see the lord like you never would if you were free from this trial. Praying for you! And for rejoicing and refreshing in His presence.

    • JOsh says:

      Thank you for sharing this, I appreciate your transparent honesty and vulnerability and also your verbal acknowledgement of the truth, this will strengthen and deepen your faith, so be encouraged

    • Margaret Deherrera says:

      Thank you for sharing your current struggle. I agree with you in leaning on His Word and the promises. Going thru depression and anxiety I had to learn to lean on God and His Word and all His promises. It was a daily struggle for me as well. But when I get in the Word and look at God’s promises, I am able to trust in God and not myself. It never fails that no matter where I’m at God seems to always find me even at my lowest points His grace and mercy gets me through.

  • Autumn Duncan says:

    I have never looked at different trials or situations in this light. I have been through so much and I have realized after listening to this message how much it was like being entombed and resurrection moments for me. I think back to losing a child, my first husband leaving me after his death, being in a serious car accident and even a fall two years ago that all transformed my life. In all these situations, I am so thankful they happened as it has deepened my relationship with the Lord. Especially, after my fall two years ago, I knew the Lord had a purpose and that is what I was seeking, and this impacted me a lot as I knew that I was growing as a believer and my thoughts had shifted. I was seeking Him and wanting that closeness. It was a new direction for my life, and I am thankful to have been through these moments. As I write this though, I know that there is a trial and possible another entombment ahead but instead of being worried, I rest in knowing that it’s only temporary as I can trust in the Lord and His Word.

    • Anne Marie Maguire says:

      Thanks Autumn for sharing your story, it is hard to share at times. But I thank God like you after the trials my faith grew and grew and how God pointed me in a new direction and how equips us for his work of helping others. It’s exciting to be apart of God work.

    • Hannah Somerville says:

      Praise God Autumn. What a testimony. It brings me to tears to see God’s faithful hand to offer you his hand to draw ever near him. There is nothing that can ever compare and it is irreplaceable. What an astonishing blessing to be able to partake in Christ’s sufferings that we might also partake in the likeness of his resurrection. I love this autumn and I am so glad to be a witness of all God is doing in and through you as you continue to comfort others with the comfort you have been given by God.

    • Kim McCarrick says:

      I think as we all go through ups and downs in life, we are encouraged when we see the reality of life in others too, especially when we can see victory and be encouraged by the hope of how others have walked through trials and prevailed. Thanks for sharing.

      • Bill Hines says:

        2 Corinthians 5:17 English Standard Version (ESV)
        17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

    • Britttany Whitaker says:

      Wow thank you so much for your transparency. I am encouraged by your lack of worry and your full assurance in the rest in the Lord. The reminder that all trials are temporary. This reminds me that no matter how deep or dark the trail, there is hope in Jesus. He never gives us more than we can endure. He gives us the needed resources, love, and endurance. He is with us always and will never leave or forsake us. He has a plan and a purpose and He will complete what He has started.

    • Bill Hines says:

      Amen. Thank you for sharing.

    • Margaret Deherrera says:

      Thanks for sharing Autumn, It is so enlightening to hear how your relationship with the Lord was strengthened in your trial. How you have grown as a believer and trust that no matter what you go through it is only temporary and that you trust in the Lord with all your might. In my trials that I have gone through over the years I have started to seek the Lord more for guidance and trusting that he will get me through anything I go through, No matter what it is God will get me through and each trial I go through makes me stronger in Him and more dependent on His Word to get me through

  • josh says:

    Priorities and Perspectives! I am reminded and have to ask myself “am I content within the current situation God has placed me in?” Paul knew how to be content no matter what. The secret was the perspective to see things from Gods point of view, this only comes through the Spirit. This kind of perspective can be achieved through consistently deep intimacy with the Son, to the Father. This will teach us to better rely on Gods promises, desire less of the things of the world and give us contentment in each and every situation. He will supply all our needs better than we ever could ourselves.

  • James L Padilla says:

    The darkness, the dampness, the cold, the silence, the isolation, the loneliness, the abandonment, and the transformation of the tomb…yes Pastor Jeff, I have been there…and I agree…the tomb is a different experience than a trial or a testing…the entombment is not so easily forgotten…God’s resurrection power will always be a milestone in the life of a believer. I can recall two such like experiences in my walk. I will share the first. My home life as a child was not the best, but it also wasn’t the worst. Even though my father was an alcoholic and gone much, my mother loved and cared for us without end. We went without many things, but at the same time…we were never without (if that makes sense). I can remember watching a Billy Graham crusade on a small black and white TV. I was seven years old my mother, my brother and I knelt down in a prayer to invite the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts. I believe that at that moment, I was born again. Years passed, and my home life became more and more dysfunctional. As a teenager I rebelled…against my mother, but more so against God. I was insubordinate, ungrateful, irresponsible, in and out of trouble and very, very immature. This continued for many years, and my behavior only opened the door to another level of darkness.
    In my early twenties I began to associate with some people who were dabbling in the occult and occult like practices. I chose
    to participate, and eventually fell head first into a downward spiral of immoral behavior, addiction, hatred, bitterness, bondage, and unforgiveness. I came to a place where I lost all hope.
    I truly felt dead…dead to myself, dead to my family, dead to God, and dead to the world. The enemy had tricked me, he deceived me, and he buried me. At the early age of twenty-six I was truly in the tomb. However, what the enemy meant for bad, God meant for good, and it was in this tomb that I experienced God’s resurrection power. In what I feel to be a miraculous chain of events I ended up in a teen-challenge center. It was there that I experienced the Father’s love, His delivering, resurrecting power. His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, and even His discipline.
    It took me over a year to graduate the program, and when I did, I was so grateful for what God had done in my life, that I stayed on as a staff member for the following three years. It was very fulfilling to be changed, transformed and used by God during this time of my life. That was almost twenty-four years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I look forward to every opportunity that God gives me to share His resurrection power with others.
    Power… real power…is not the ability to hurt, harm or kill…
    Power… real power… is the ability to save!
    Thank you Jeff…for reminding us of this… resurrection power!

    • Stacy Wiggins says:

      James, What a powerful testimony for the Lord! Thanking you for sharing your story. What the enemy meant for evil the Lord certainly used for good in your life. Those things you went through deepened your walk with Christ and allowed you to minister to others. I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us”.

    • Ritter Savino says:

      Thank you, Jim for your testimony, it is truly amazing what God did in your life. God never stops working in our behalf and He never stop pursuing us. I’m sorry you went through all this but I’m glad in a sense because He is now using you to help others as you were helped. He uses everything. Teen challenge is being used by God in a mighty way. They have been a blessing to our family as well.

  • Stacy Wiggins says:

    Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection”. It is so comforting to know that not only is He with me because I know Him but I also have the same power available to me that raised Him from the dead. I think we can all say we have experienced trials, but what I am hearing Pastor Jeff say is something deeper than a normal trial. A game-changer so to speak. For me, that came when I was 18 years old. I was saved at 15. No one in my immediate family went to church or lived any semblence of a Christian life. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. In less than a year, after surgery and treatment, she passed away. I had that moment of looking in the tomb that Pastor Jeff talked about. Would I allow that to push me away from God or pursue Him deeper? After all, my prayers for her to be healed were not answered. It was the love and compassion of the Lord that drew me to Him. He gave me comfort through His Word and through His people. He proved Himself so faithful to me. As the years have passed and I continue to go through trials and challenges of life, I look at His faithfulness and it motivates me to press forward. And as Pastor Jeff said, He has used so many circumstances I’ve been through to minister to others. Your pain today, is your ministry tomorrow!

  • Johan Alarcon says:

    My tomb was a 14 years addiction to a drug called PCP. If It had not been for the prayers of my mom who is also my classmate Ritter Savino, and my Grandmother, and everyone else, I’m pretty sure I would not be living today. During this addiction, I have rebelled so much that I do not understand why God would still give me the chances that he has. When I was in this tomb, I was spiritually dead, I felt alone, empty, angry, depressed, never satisfied, pushed to the side, neglected, insecure, and heavy burdened. Many mornings I would get mad at God and curse him because he woke me up. I had no purpose no plans, no goals, jealousy, envy and anxiety would kick in especially for looking at every one around me succeeding and as for me I could never shake this monkey off my back. Being sober was foreign to me, and my reality was actually me being under the influence. I have been hospitalized from stab wounds, and overdoses, that till this day I don’t know how I’m here. But today I am risen from that tomb, God is my fortress, he is my refuge, he is my peace, he is my comforter, I cry to him with gratitude. I am free, liberated from Addiction and every other thing I was facing. I may not have a lot in comparison to others regarding money and material, but I have Jesus and that’s all I need. I also ask God like Jesus did” why have you forsaken me” and then I realize that Jesus had to feel forsaken so that we wouldn’t have to suffer.

    He depended on his father’s faithfulness, illustrating how we should be with God. It is no longer I but God who lives within me and that we too, have been crucified as Christ got crucified fellowshipping in his sufferings and being conformed to his death. It is pleasing to the father when we are willing to be crucified with Christ. I like how you spoke of being vulnerable and letting your guard down, and giving your audience an opportunity slay you and knowing that they may take that opportunity but we should expect not only them taking the opportunity but to also expect God to move in the situation. Do not let your trials go to waste, and for me that statement means so much to me. We always quote 2 Corinthians 5:17 and speak about us being a new creation and old things have passed. But we can never forget where God brought us from, and where he has taking us. I don’t ever want to get to the point that I forget where I came from.

    • Ritter Savino says:

      It is such an honor to be able to see what God does in someone life; to see it in full development. God has been so gracious and absolutely faithful. Your words bring tears to my eyes, tears of sadness for what you went through, but also tears of joy for what God did and continue to do in your life Johan. I am so excited of what God is doing in your life today, and what He will continue to do through you; lives will be change and transformed. “Do not let your trials go to waste” statement is so good, because it is one of the things that God uses to minister to other through us. I agreed with you that we can never forget where God brought us from, and where He has taking us. I too don’t ever want to get to the point that I forget where I came from. Thank you for sharing your heart because I know it will minister to many, as it ministers to me.

    • harry e innerst says:

      Johan, I was greatly encouraged by your testimony. God loves you and went to the cross for your sins and mine. You can have such a powerful ministry to those who struggle with addictions. It is the grace of God that turns us from the depths of sin to being a useful servant of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    • Britttany Whitaker says:

      What a beautiful testimony. Thank you so much for sharing. There are so many people that feel completely hopeless and unworthy, but God! I pray that all the Lord has and is doing in and through you will be used to glorify Him in the presence of others that are where you once were. I am so thankful for all that the Lord has done for us so that we can share in His sufferings but we never have to stay in the tomb because He is risen and it is finished!

      • Bill Hines says:

        Thank you for your comments. I have long thought to have died with Him and to have been raised with Him (Rom. 6) without walking in the newness of life that He grants us would be like a prisoner being freed from his confinement yet never leaving the prison cell. May we walk in newness of life!

    • James L Padilla says:

      Hi Johan…It is truly amazing what God can do…He is so able to save and deliver to the uttermost. When I think of the tomb experience, I think of the brokenness that led to the tomb. Your testimony reminded me of this. The tomb is probably the darkest of moments, and sometimes those moments can turn into days, weeks, months and even years. It is always different for each of us because Jesus has to deal personally with us. . . but the brokenness. . . yes,
      the brokenness. . . as we travel down or even enter into this path of discipleship, Christ must do/complete this work in us. As painful as it is, we must become. . . “Sweetly broken, and Fully surrendered”. . . Sometimes this is difficult for us, especially as men. . . we hit rock bottom and instead of looking up, our pride causes us to start digging. I’m so thankful that you decided to look up. Thanks so much for sharing all that you did.
      “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:24, 25

  • Anne Marie Maguire says:

    I am in agreement with you Jeff. Fellow Christians bringing discouragement can be the worse experience. But I am learning to be patient and not react but pray. I have developed a deepened dependence upon God alone not church or pastor.

    A few years ago I went through a bad church experience and God took me into a new church and new ministry to the lost. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.

    But before I started the Biblical counseling course the Lord gave me a vision of me standing in a house and the walls were coming down around me but I was still standing, afterwards he built a new house around me. But the second part of the vision was I inside a room isolated.

    So my understanding of this vision was that my dependence had shifted from churches or pastors to God himself and just the future isolation.

    I am glad I suffered, because it prepared me for my reality now in the pandemic. I am isolated but with Christ.

    I really enjoyed the theology of suffering section in the course and categories of suffering and the hope we have in trusting God’s character when we have no strength ourselves.
    Also what can be learned from suffering:

    Trusting God’s plan:

    When God sends hard things into our lives we need to help people understand that
    suffering is good for us: Romans 5: 3-5. God is doing good things in the pain that he would not do without the pain producing perseverance and hope.

    Suffering is good for others: John 9:1-3. The blind man suffered for the glory of God. We can help counselees understand that we shouldn’t have a selfish attitude toward suffering, that our suffering can help others.

  • Hannah Somerville says:

    There are times where we simply cannot do anything. Our resources will simply not do. I have been there and am in that position in a particular area of my life right now as well! This was encouraging to hear that God will be faithful. He is the God of the resurrection and I want to let him do that work. Thank you pastor Jeff for the reminder that when we have no options, it is an opportunity for the God of all power, resurrection and comfort to come through!

    I liked the reference to psalm 22 and the picture of Jesus on Saturday. In the tomb dependent on God to come through and the resurrection to come!

    I can testify to many times where God has brought me through. He has resurrected me from depression and anxiety, unhealthy relationships And has set my feet upon a rock. This seems like a continuous pattern of the death of something ungodly in our lives, and the trusting upon him to make it new!

    • Kim McCarrick says:

      Amen! Thanks for your perspective. I love the idea that there was the hope of the resurrection to come and that is where our victory is found!

    • Josh says:

      So true, I know exactly what you mean, what a great reminder indeed.
      great psalm with amazing word pictures to encourage and bless us.
      so good to hear your progress and growth in your walk!

  • Angela Stephenson says:

    My Dad just resurrected out of a tomb of depression recently. He feels alive again! We are praising God for His goodness!

  • Kim McCarrick says:

    I really like the comparison to our struggles at times with entombment. It’s not all easy in ministry and anyone who has experienced ministry can relate to that, and I can attest to times of when I have been entombed mostly from discouragement in seeming failures in ministry. But I do know I always can find victory, and have also experienced that. I really like the connection to “one thing I know” from Phil. 3, “to know Jesus and the power of the resurrection” – Amen. That is the greatest victory there is. He is always with us and available to walk with us.

  • Britttany Whitaker says:

    This podcast has definitely been used to provide confirmation on things the Lord has been preparing me for lately. Just the other day He reminded me how on fire for Him and dead to myself I have been in the past. He reminded of the times when I’d run out of my own resources and have nothing to rely on but Him. Those have been the times where I thrived off of His supernatural power. The only energy and capability I had was His. I realized in that moment that I missed that and in a strange way I looked forward to the next time that I’d be in a position like that. Through different studies and readings lately the Lord has been encouraging me to suffer well and to rejoice in suffering as we get to share life with Him. With all of this, I started to gain clarity that I’d soon be walking into trials. The very next day after the Lord reminded me of these times, I got laid off from my job (due to Covid) that has provided housing, meals, and financial provision for the past couple of years in my life. Suddenly being faced with an unexpected life transition and the potential of having to go back to things that I’ve been so grateful the Lord had moved me on from.

    With that being said, in the past I have gone through intense trials that have been used to draw me closer to the Lord. Though they are not fun, I appreciate them, and He has used them to shape me. There is no sweeter place than to be so close to the Lord. I am completely grateful that He has given me such warnings and preparations for what ever is to come. I pray that what ever it is, I walk through it clinging to the Lord, and pressing into Him the entire time. I pray that I trust in Him, He purges me and refines me in the ways that He desires. I pray that I fear not and remember that He is with me and will see me through to the end. I pray that I don’t try to find a quick exit but trust that He is transforming my life and adding a new sweet layer to my relationship with Him. I pray that I never drift from Him in any way but even after the trial I continue to grow closer to Him. I look forward to experiencing that honey moon stage with Him all over again. I pray that my mind, heart and actions are focused and I stay tuned to the fact that it is spiritual warfare and I must respond accordingly. I am excited to see the ways the Lord uses all that is to come for His glory through me. I also pray that I maintain a sound mind and His perfect peace through it all. In Jesus name!

  • Margaret Deherrera says:

    Thanks for another great pod cast Pastor Jeff. I never really looked at my trials and tribulations as being entombed till now. Thinking about it now I can see where the that comes from. I have had a lot of trials where I tried to lean on my own understanding and then realized I can do nothing without God. I have had been struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, and loosing hope and in going thru my trials my relationship with God grew so much stronger. I am walking through a trial right know in dealing with the grief from loosing my brother to suicide a year ago. I have started this healing process with my biblical counselor and it is leaving me vulnerable and totally dependent on the Lord. After listening to this pod cast I can see where it feels I am in a tomb and God is working on delivering me from the hatred, anger, hurt, and hes starting to replace all these things with His promises and His love. Thru my home work and my biblical counselor I am always being reminded of God’s truth and that helps me to stay focused and remember it is not I that lives in me it is Him and I have to keep pushing forward trusting in God and His Word and there is nothing that He can’t get me thru. I know God has got me through all my other trials and he will get me through this one as well.

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