Suffering, Bible Studies

Weary? His Tender Touch

All of us have times in our lives when we grow weary because of difficult situations and all of the struggles and conflicts of our lives. We need Jesus to renew our enthusiasm and our energy. We can depend on Him to restore our determination, our strength, our joy and our enthusiasm with His tender touch of compassionate love. Our Saviour really cares about us and He longs to see us happy. He is waiting for us to come to Him so that He can once again tell us how much He loves us and how precious we are to Him. Thank You, Jesus, for loving us.

Learning and Coping in Recovery

There's a theory out there which asserts we have only two jobs in life:

    1) to learn
    2) to cope.

Spiritually, if we expound on this principle, we can see Divine Intervention at work, should we choose to embrace it.

The First Job: To Learn:

Scripture addresses our human need to learn. Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 4:7, for instance, are just a couple of verses which tout the important of wisdom.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

And, again, we are in dire need of this wisdom, as Paul reminds us of our vulnerable human condition...

The Serenity Prayer: A Weeble Lesson

While sifting through my childhood toys, I happened upon some Weebles.

What are they - and what do they do?

"...an egg-shaped Weeble causes a weight located at the bottom-center to be lifted off the ground. Once released, gravitational force brings the Weeble back into an upright position... The popular catchphrase, 'Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down.' was used in advertising during their rise in popularity..." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeble

As I was reunited with these toys, I remembered how, in my playtime, I often tried to put my Weebles to bed, lying them on their sides, only to watch them quickly spring to their vertical stance again. There was no keeping these suckers down.

"Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."

You better believe it.

Therefore, reacquainting myself with them in my adult life, I now view them through the recovery/struggle context and the famous Serenity Prayer:

Urgent? Why??

I must admit, my favorite question is "why?"

I ask it a lot: of God, of others, of myself, of life.

And yes, I ask the why question concerning the tricky addiction/recovery issue.

Author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie really takes that matter to task, using two words.

"Urgent? Why?"

It's not merely a question; it's a statement... about the significance of urgency.

And this is right up addiction's alley. The fix driving the addiction- why?

    Why is this my answer?

    Why will this solve things?

    Why will nothing else do?

    Why must I be instantly healed?

It is that last question which brought two scripture passages to my mind: Jairus' daughter and Lazarus.

"I don't want to do this."

Gethsemane: Code For... "I don't want to do this."

We've uttered that statement frequently in our lives.

This time of year, there's a great deal of emphasis on Jesus. As we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, we read and remind ourselves just how this whole thing came to be: hope, salvation and reunion with God. It didn't just happen.

And a large part of it depends on Gethsemane.

Yes, Jesus is amazing and loving. But He still had a night of decision. Hours away from being crucified, there was a real moment; He didn't want to do it.

Tribulation and Faith

Even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest,
but we were afflicted on every side:
conflicts without, fears within.
(2 Cor. 7:5 ESV)


Sometimes Christians get the wrong idea about faith. Knowing that only believers enter the celestial city, we put a great deal of importance on faith, and if it wavers, we become fearful. If we experience doubt, we wonder if our faith is failing - if, after all, we're not Christians at all, or if we are, if we haven't departed from the Lord and ceased to be such. I myself have been there - I won't go into the details, but there was a time in the 80s when I seriously did wonder whether I'd ever been saved in the first place. My faith was under attack, and I grew afraid.

To some extent at least this grows out of a wrong idea of what faith is. Even the most knowledgeable Christians can sometimes make this mistake, believing that Biblical faith has something to do with our emotion state, or that it's something we have to muster up from within ourselves. Let's be sure of what faith is, and then attacks against our faith arise along this line, we'll be better able to resist. There are two related Greek words we need to consider, one a noun and one a verb - pistiz and pisteuw (pistis, pisteuo). The noun means, "reliance upon, trust in, dependence on," and of course the verb means "to rely on, to depend on, to trust." Thus, when we have faith, or when we believe, we have that trust and dependence on Christ, we're trusting Him and depending on Him. And it is important that we have the proper object of our faith. We must trust Jesus, Jesus entirely, and Jesus only. If we trust anyone or anything other than the Lord Christ, our faith is in the wrong object, and we'll never see God. If we trust Jesus partly and something or someone else partly, we're again not believing as the Bible demands, and we'll come short of the heavenly city. Biblical faith has as its object Jesus alone and Jesus to the uttermost.

And it is here that some professing Christians miss the point.

The Ultimate Therapist

I came across a humorous post on the internet:

"Someone's therapist knows all about you."

It made me laugh… and think. I thought back to many therapy sessions I engaged in, talking about certain individuals and their impact of my life, disorder and state of mind. I talked about my mother, my dad and my childhood bullies. Believe me, I had A LOT to say. So, yes, even though my therapist never met them, she knew all about these people.

But this humorous post touched on something bigger. It wasn't just about the acquired knowledge a therapist gained when his/her patient ranted about their issues. It had to do with God - the ultimate therapist-and His role in our lives as we struggle, hurt and encounter recovery.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12>

Cue the heart, therefore:

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

But this heart issue is not a passive thing, ignored by God. Quite the contrary, in fact.

"…the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

In other words…

Life Doesn't Have a "Re-do" Button

All our steps are ordered by the Lord;
how then can we understand our own ways?
Proverbs 20:24 NRSV

Over Christmas break, the son of one of my fellow teachers was killed in an auto accident. Both of his parents work for our school district and are loving, wonderful people. Their younger daughter was in one of the plays I helped with. It was a devastating loss for our small community.

When it happened, I tried to get my head around it. Oh, not the fact that such a young person had died and the reason for it, but rather simply that it had happened at all. I began to think about games, in particular computer games, and the ability to "redo" a game when the outcome wasn't what I wanted (in effect, when I lost). I began to wonder if his parents wished that they could "redo" those few hours before he died, keeping him at their home rather than allowing him to drive several hours to his house and subsequently dying.

I think that all of us, at one time or another and for one reason or another, wished that life had a "redo" button, wished that we could relive a certain situation in order to change the outcome. When Proverbs speaks of the Lord ordering our ways, some in the Christian community would see this as confirmation that God has predetermined everything that happens to us and that we don't have free will. I personally don't agree with that view. But what I see this as is the Old Testament version of Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes everything to work together" for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (NLT)

Matthew Henry writes:

Running from Suffering

Who can say, "I have made my heart clean;
I am pure from my sin?" Proverbs 20:9

Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.' . . . Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:13-16, 22-23 NRSV

I am an Army mom. My wonderful son is a combat MP who has served in Iraq and who, with his company, is returning there this summer. Being an Army mom wasn't something that I chose for myself, but it is something that I embrace because it is what the Lord has chosen for my son. When my first son was away on his first tour, I met many other military moms who were intensely worried for their children's lives. Many asked me how I could be so calm when my son was in harm's way.

Now, I'm no saint (except for the wonder of being a follower of the Lord Jesus). But I am practical and I try to embrace the heart of God as much as I can. So, I am able to walk calmly when my son is in Iraq or my husband is working hurricanes for FEMA because there are certain realities of life which American society has tried to erase and unfortunately which the Church has pushed away.

The first reality is that the only guarantee in life is death. Everyone dies.

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