Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘hurts’

Wounded by Friends

Caring about others makes you vulnerable in many ways.  The hurts our friends receive hurt us too.  We rise to their defense.  Those are hurts that can accomplish good.  They make us love harder and share one anothers’ burdens. We grow in strength together.

There are other shared hurts that can be deadly.  Our friends’ weaknesses can partner with our own and pull us both into deeper troubles.

But there’s an even greater vulnerability of friendship.  Sometimes friends directly hurt us…they betray us, accuse us of wrong, deceive us or abandon us.  The one we stood by leaves us high and dry.  The one we defended attacks us.

Those wounds are deep.   Does it seem odd that the wisdom of Proverbs says it is good?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are lavish and deceitful.  Proverbs 27:6

All hurts have the potential to open our heart to new depths of Christ’s healing love.  Every wound has the possibility that Joseph declared in Genesis:  ‘You meant it for evil but God meant it for good…for the saving of many lives.’  When we take our wounds to the Healer, new legacies are born…eternal promises unfold.

One wound we all share is the grief when a loved one dies.  As I write this, my own heart aches at the loss of a precious 21 year old.  A young man with a gentle and kind heart who had a smile for everyone he met.  A young man who fell into the bondage of addiction; a young man whose life was stolen away.  He left behind many wounded, crying hearts. My hope-filled prayer is that his chains will open the way for many to experience the truth of his favorite song.

At first glance, the song is a cruel irony.  This young man loved Jesus, yet his chains were not broken.  Some might think Jesus was not a faithful friend or that the devil and drugs had more power.  Those are lies.  The devil is a defeated foe; an earthly life was taken, but seeds for eternal life were sown.  The unbroken chains of my young friend (whose own heart was broken by his own captivity) are piercing hearts that Jesus longs to heal.

Will we who know the Healer speak clearly about Jesus?

There is a desperate need in our world for loving, confident voices of hope.  In Psalm 51, David–the man after God’s own heart–cried out in sorrow over his own sin but confidence in God’s kindness, “…a broken heart you will not despise” he says to God.

David understood that the walk of faith is not based on sinless perfection or the right actions of others.  He also understood the pain of honest confession and the humility needed to receive God’s plan.  The kindness of God does not create a sugar-coated, life of ease on earth.

The kindness of God brings about purposes of eternal good–and untangling our sins often creates heartaches.  Faith does not always know ‘why’ but it understands heartache prepares ground for the good purposes of God!

God does what it takes to draw hearts to Him.  Horribly hard consequences came from the sin David wept over.  God forgave him but warned him a sword would slash through his family.  The consequences, though, didn’t wipe out the promises made to David decades before::

“…the LORD himself will establish a house for you…I will raise up your offspring…and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be his father, he will be my son….My love will never be taken away from him…Your house and your kingdom will endure forever…”  2 Samuel 7:12-17

 

God is faithful to His promises; we can reap the rewards of David’s promises too.  Centuries after David died our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ entered his family.  At least a dozen times, Scriptures refers to Jesus as the Son of David.  God was faithful to His promise.  The Messiah, Immanuel – God with Us – breaks legacies of sin when broken hearts are brought to Him for healing.

Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil and give us abundant life.  He died for our sins…and the hurts caused by sin.  We are never more unfaithful to Jesus than when we fail to receive healing for our wounds.

The wounds of life have purpose and beautiful potential when we place them in the loving hands of Jesus.

When we hold on the hurts, our voices are silenced.  We are like the addict, self-absorbed with meeting our own needs.  We never mean to hurt another.  We simply feel hopelessly trapped in our own hurt, clouded by our own questions.  The lies of the enemy loom so large that we can’t see Jesus.  We can’t give hope to others because we have not received it for our self!  The life Jesus died to give us is silenced.  We dishonor His work on our behalf; we are faithless friends.

Jesus shows us how to deal with unfaithful friends…with friends who use us, reject us, neglect us, abandon us.  Jesus died for friends like that.  He surrendered to the will of the Father; He lived out love to the end.  We are not separated from His love by the heartaches of life IF we give them to Him.  Then He plants His own life, and we become fields where hope blooms.

Do you have hard spots in your heart…spots that throb with anger, resentment and hurt…spots that have hurt so long numbness is all you feel?  Do you have habits you can’t break, relationships you can’t heal?  Let Jesus break your heart wide open.   He is the faithful friend who will heal every hurt.  Then receive the Living Word, let it take root and share it with the hurting world around you.  

Free from the Past!

‘Don’t cry over spilled milk,’ says the old adage.  ‘What’s done is done,’ we say.  Is it true?  Is there no hope in the past?  I believe Scripture tells us differently.

The lens of faith transforms the darkest images.

In Joel chapter 2, verse 21 we read “the LORD will do great things.”  Joel continues in verse 25 with:

“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,

the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

There is nothing in our past that God has not allowed.  It may not have been what He longed for us to have…sin and its consequences are never His desire…but He allows anything that can draw us closer to Him.  The call of God is always “Where are you?” because the desire of God is always that we will choose to be where He is!  Time does not confine God.  He was, is and always will be.  Taking the time to find Him in the hurts of the past brings healing to the present.

Nothing that happens—past, present or future—is devoid of the presence of God.  When we purpose to look for Him in the difficult things of our lives, we find healing!  Fear traps us in the traumas of life…faith frees us.  God promises we are never alone.  He is always faithful to His promises.

Living in the hurts of the past effectively nullifies the work of the Cross in today.

When we allow Jesus to walk in the depths of our pain, He touches us with love that brings peace.  Many of us learn to isolate emotions, to pack them away because they terrify us; it feels as if the pain is a tidal wave that will drown us.  Jesus walks on water…He quiets storms.  Let him into those reservoirs of fear and He will transform them to rivers of living water for others.

In the Old Testament we read that curses last for three or four generations.  We see generational curses all around us:  legacies of shame, rebellion and violence.  Every individual has opportunity to take the inheritances of yuck and let Jesus transform them into generational blessings.  The curses are short-lived in comparison:  blessings pass on to thousands of generations.  Take the hard stuff you have endured to Jesus; let Him speak life into you that blessings might flow forth from you.

 “Joy in the Journey” – Tools for Spiritual Growth helps those who wish to unpack the treasures God deposited in those tough times.  To be sure you hear about other new tools, sign up for Glory Glimpses, the newsletter for this site!

 

Ever feel like ‘Nothing is quite enough?’

Do you have a situation–or a person–in your life who makes you face the ugly feeling of being ‘not enough.’  Maybe that feeling comes from your own view of yourself:  you simply can’t rise up to loving yourself.  Maybe it is something that you care desperately about–something you want to fix or do–but it is out of your control.  Can you bring yourself to give thanks for that situation or person?

give thanks

Before we look at the thanksgiving part, there is an important truth we all need:

You are enough.  God says so!  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Walk outside on a starry night and look at the sky.  The One who made all that, who keeps it in place knows your name–and He says, “That person is so special, I sent my son to suffer and die to save her/him.”

So whomever or whatever makes you feel that way–it’s a lie from the devil meant to stop you from living like your loved.  Throw the lie out and prepare to give thanks.

In the midst of that feeling of being not enough are two truth treasures that can transform lives–our own and others.

First, none of us is enough for another person.  We are not meant to be! If we–or they–try to live off the connection we have to each other, our personal relationship with God is threatened.  The typical response generated by ‘not enough’ seethes with resentment and bitterness.  Those things block our own connection with God.  Our response comes from the fact that the person who is creating our ‘not enough’ feeling is pouring out their own resentment on us.

We don’t have to react that resentment; it is just their mistaken attempt to meet their need.  We can respond with compassion because it is not our failing at all!  Being a child of God gives us the option to resist the temptation to return unpleasantness with more unpleasantness.  Being a child of God allows us to choose to let the life of Christ within us respond in love.  What a joyful way to ‘fill up in the flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.

The second great thing about ‘not feeling like enough’ is that it reveals this truth:

we are never enough when it comes to living like Christ.

If mankind could have disciplined itself into holiness, Jesus Christ would never have needed to suffer and die.  It is Christ in me that is my hope of glory.  Sometimes we need a solid reminder that we are not enough in this Christian life.  No one lives without sin.  Jesus freed us from the penalty and the power, but the presence of sin–in us and around us–is part of the human experience. That piercing sorrow of not being enough to fix a problem or help someone–it is the time to fall in reverence before the One who has it all in control!

Humility is the key to the Kingdom of Heaven.  A reminder that we are not enough serves to draw us to the One who gives generously and beyond anything we can think to ask.So, whatever it is that has you feeling less than enough, give thanks to God–and let Him be your sufficiency!

Sun will Rise!

Some days the hurts of the world–and the sin that causes those hurts–darkens my view of God.  This morning was one of those days.  That is always a time to chase God hard.

There is so much joy in simply taking the time to seek the face of God.  He faithfully reveals what blocks our view–if we seek Him.  The truth for me is that I get in the way…or rather, sin in me gets in the way.  Seeking Him means humbling accepting my failings. It isn’t about the sin I am seeing in others.

The sweet admonition the Father led me to this morning is in Malachi:

Set your heart to honor my name.

When I fix my eyes on the stuff of this world and allow it to interfere with giving holy awe to the King of Kings, I dishonor His Name.  God is not uncaring or inattentive.  He is on the throne and working out great good.  Malachi reminded the children of God that the covenant of life and peace calls for reverence.

There is a companion admonition to this that God gave me this morning:

Let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.  Zechariah 7:10b

We are all impure in this world.  None are righteous.  Christ gave Himself for the Church and is busy bringing it to maturity.  At the last supper, Christ said he would not drink of the fruit of the vine until He drank it new in the Kingdom.  We can and need to fellowship with Him as individuals all the time, but there is a glorious fulfillment of the Kingdom coming.  He is the vine; our lives produce fruit.  He is waiting until the fruit is ripe; who am I to do less.  As we drink of the fruit in this life, we are to remember Him.  His purposes.

My prayer is that this restores YOUR view of the Lord as it did mine.  As I wrap out and head out to enjoy the day, I leave you with this promise and a video to encourage you to leap and frolic for the King is on the throne!

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

 

The Great Barrier to Peace

One of the most difficult things in life is forgiving those who hurt us–or the ones we love.  Forgiveness is never for the offender, though.  Forgiveness frees us!  I am excited to share another ‘taste’ of the spiritual journaling book.

Working through Forgiveness

Forgiveness allows us to LIVE the Gospel in the most tangible way possible.  Practicing forgiveness is an immense privilege!  In it, we share the fellowship of Christ’s suffering:

Matthew 6:9-15 (v 12) _______________ says to forgive.

Mark 11:25 …so that Your Father in heaven may _________________.

Matthew 18:21-35  Forgiveness sets _________________.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 Prevents ______________ from gaining a foothold.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Measure of the _____________ I have received.

Romans 8:28 All of life is Father-filtered.  All works for the _________!

Now even with all those encouragements, forgiveness is hard!  One technique which helps is learning to separate the person from the sin.  Jesus did it.  On the Cross–as He suffered and faced the horrifying time of separation from the Father, he said:

“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”  

The soldiers knew they were crucifying him, but they didn’t understand the fullness of their acts.  The same is true for those who hurt us (and those we hurt).  Mercy triumphs!

The details matter in forgiving.  Blanket statements will not suffice; be specific in forgiving:

“I forgive ______________ for ________________.”

Face the emotion(s) knowing there is nothing Jesus cannot heal.  A friend uses a rhyme that helps me in times of deep hurt:  “I will feel it because Jesus will heal it.”  

Allow yourself to feel the emotion and ask Jesus to come to it, through it and take it away.  Jesus is unchanging and His presence still heals.

When you have soaked in the beauty of Christ’s presence, you will see the past in a new light.  What had been hurt becomes a spot sweetened by the presence of God.  

Alongside that aspect is this: time and maturity offers a different perspective.  Sometimes a fresh perspective eliminates what had been a wound.  In either scenario, awareness of the presence of God brings light to darkness.  

Allowing the past to have a hold on you negates the work of the Cross.  There is nothing Jesus has not atoned for…the price has been paid.  

 

Giving the wounds away

Romel Your Tears

Romel
Your Tears

Have you ever been wounded by the words or actions of another?  Of course, you have.  It is a part of life.  There is an old adage that is heart-breakingly true:  “Hurt people hurt people.”  Those wounds we receive from others are passed on…sometimes with intention, often without our even noticing. It does not have to be.

Every sinful action has already been paid for…my actions and those done by others to me.  I do not need to bear the cost–nor do you!  Jesus was made sin for us…that we might be His righteousness.  It is the most unfair trade in eternity and our power source.  When we give the wounds we receive to Him, He transforms them.

The wounds that slice open our soul–even our spirit–became vessels of healing for others when we hand the wound to him and receive the payment he made.  In my deepest hurts, I have needed a visual reminder.  I may meditate upon the Cross of Christ–picturing myself under it as His blood covers me.  I may write out my pain and even burn the written words as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.  Jesus paid it all…don’t pay a debt that has been paid.

For a deeper look at this subject, I invite you to visit read Is here any hope for healing? 

There is a glory story in your hurt!  Can you see it?  Will you share it that Jesus will get the glory?

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