Posts Tagged ‘grief’

A Bag, a Book, and a Bottle!

Friday, April 7th, 2017

God takes great care to comfort His people in their many trials and sorrows in this world. One of the goals which He commands His preachers to have, is the comfort of His people. He says, “Comfort, comfort My people.” Here are three things described in the Word of God that should be of great comfort to every believer.

1. God has made A BAG FOR OUR SINS. Job said, “My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and you sew up my iniquity.”  In ancient times when men died at sea, their bodies were placed in a weighted bag which was sewn together and sealed. Then they were cast into the depths of the sea.

That is what God has done with our sins. They are cast “into the depths of the sea.” When Christ died for our sins which were imputed to Him, He put them all away. They were buried in the sea of God’s infinite forgiveness, put away never to be brought up again. God almighty will never charge us with sin, impute sin to us, remember our sins against us, or treat us any less graciously because of our sin. That is the forgiveness of God! “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

2. The Lord has written A BOOK FOR OUR NAMES. Take heart child of God. Your name is written in the book of God! Before the worlds were made, the Lord God inscribed the names of His elect in the Lamb’s book of life. In that book God has recorded, not only the names of the chosen heirs of Heaven, but also all things pertaining to them. The Lamb’s book of life is the book of God’s eternal purpose of grace, predestination, and election. The fact that our names are written in that book means that our salvation is a matter of absolute certainty, and that all things work together for our good by God’s arrangement to secure our predestined end, which is perfect conformity to Christ. When our Lord says, “Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven,” He is telling us that we have nothing to fear. All is well with those whose names are written in Heaven.

3. Moreover, the Lord God keeps A BOTTLE FOR OUR TEARS. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” It was customary at ancient Egyptian funerals for mourners to have a small cloth or sponge to wipe away their tears. Then they were squeezed into a small vial, a tear bottle, and placed in the tomb with the dead, symbolizing the care the mourners had for the one who had died. Even so, the Lord our God, our heavenly Father, our almighty Savior, and our holy Comforter tenderly cares for us. We are the very apple of His eye.

The Lord our God has . . .
put our sins in a bag and buried them,
written our names in a book to remember them, and
placed our tears in a bottle to show His tender care for us.

Could anything be more comforting in this world of sin, sorrow, and death?

~Don Fortner

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What is Truly Important?

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Over the triple doorways of a European Cathedral, there are three inscriptions spanning the splendid arches.

Over one is carved a beautiful wreath of roses, and underneath is the lettering:
“All which pleases us — is but for a moment.”

Over the other arch is sculptured a cross, and there are the words:
“All which troubles us — is but for a moment.”

But on the great central entrance to the main aisle, is the inscription:
“That alone is important, which is eternal.”

If we always realize these three truths, we would not let small things trouble us; nor would we be so much interested in the passing pageants of the hour. We would live, as we do not now — for the permanent and the eternal.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!” 2 Corinthians 4:18

J.C. Pittman, 1917

That Master Key!

Monday, September 19th, 2016

For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart! Hebrews 4:12

I see more and more in Holy Scripture, a perfect adaptability to the various ills of mankind.

A friend went into one of our lock factories, and he was shown upwards of a hundred locks. He was told that none of the keys would open any of the locks, except the particular one for which it was made.

But then a master-key was shown to him, and this would open any of the hundred locks.

I believe Holy Scripture is like that master-key! There are myriads of human hearts, with various sins, temptations, sorrows, cares, and fears–but the Bible is fitted alike to each and all. It points out the remedy for every form of misery and evil–it leaves no heart and no trouble without some balm suited for its need.

Holy Scripture is our Father’s love letter to His redeemed children. We may trace the handwriting. The spirit of truth, holiness, and love is seen all through. We mark that He knows and provides for the needs of every one in His large family. There are warnings to caution us against every form of sin, however subtle. There is consolation provided for every one of the manifold varieties of human woe.

Pain and suffering, anxieties about the future, disappointments, losses, bereavements–not one of these evils, or any other… we find some appropriate solace, some heavenly promise, that can lift the heart of the believer above it. Who could so completely have provided for every need–but He who made man and knows the hearts of those whom He has made?

~George Everard, “Strong and Free, A Book for Young Men” 1882

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Can Affliction Be Good?

Saturday, August 13th, 2016

Some years ago I heard an allegory which I have never forgotten. It often comes back to me when I think of the way in which the Lord leads His people.

The fable runs that a few ears of wheat were growing in the corner of a field, and it was promised to this wheat that it would one day be brought before the Queen. But by-and-by the mower came with his sharp scythe and cut the wheat, and feeling the sharpness of the scythe, it said, “I shall never stand before the Queen!” Presently it was laid in the wagon, and pressed and borne down by the other sheaves, and again arose the cry of distress and despair. But, more than this, it was laid on the threshing-floor, and the heavy flail came down upon it. It was taken to the mill, and cut and cut and cut; then it was kneaded into bread; and at last it was placed in the hot burning oven. Again and again was heard the cry of utter, hopeless despair. But at length the promise was fulfilled, and the bread was placed on the Queen’s table!

There is a great spiritual truth beneath the fable. Christians are God’s wheat, sprung from the incorruptible seed of His Word, and from the precious seed of the crucified, buried body of our Lord–and He purposes that one day they shall stand before Him! But there needs much preparation.

There comes the sharp scythe of bereavement–the loss of child or parent or spouse.

There comes the oppressive burden of care.

There comes the severe tribulation (the very word signifies threshing), seasons of adversity and disappointment.

There comes the mill, the trial that utterly breaks us down, and fills the whole spirit with distress.

There comes the hot furnace of agonizing pain or fear.

All these are doing their appointed work, stirring up faith and prayer, humbling to the very dust–and yet lifting up the Christian, by leading him nearer to God, and enabling him at length to say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted!”

~ George Everard, “The Home of Bethany” 1873

FREE recovery magazine “The Gabriel”

Friday, December 18th, 2015

The latest issue of CIR’s FREE recovery magazine “The Gabriel” is now available for Download

You are encouraged to download this, print it out or put on a diskette and share it with your loved ones, church, pastor and/or recovery group. It is jam packed with inspiration, tips, resources and information for everyone in recovery

Where Will You Go for Help?

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

My late son’s birthday is this week. He enjoyed Chinese food, and I usually eat it at his favorite restaurant on his birthday. A social event postponed that tradition, but it hasn’t cancelled it.

The past week I spoke in Pennsylvania. I stayed with a widow, and we exchanged memories of our loved ones. We even laughed.

For example, I told her about my climb up a water slide because I didn’t want my four-year-old son to suspect my fear of the water. When I hesitated at the top of the slide, he pushed me down. The lifeguard blew the whistle on him and warned him if he did that again, he would have to leave the pool. I was safe, and that lifeguard became my friend.

The widow shared how her husband bought her a gift certificate for a day at the spa of a luxurious hotel every year. She still hadn’t used the last gift certificate he gave her six years ago before his death. They had always gone together. I suggested she invite her daughter to go with her, as I invite a friend to go with me to the Chinese restaurant.

As we talked, I realized we had walked the healing journey the past six years. Tears will come at unexpected moments, but we could focus on the good times.

God makes the journey through grief possible. Will you give him your struggles, heartaches, and losses?

For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. Psalm 116:8

Dear God, help me through death, tears and stumbling. Amen.


Application: What will you do this week to allow God to deliver you?


“You Will Be Rebuilt”

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Holidays, loss of a loved one, a life-threatening illness, financial problems, a major move, building a new home, or a family crisis can leave us worried or emotionally drained.

Earlier today, a woman talked to me about the death of her seventeen-year-old daughter. I grieved for her and her husband in the loss of their child at a tender age. Since I lost my only child, I could identify with that mother and her pain.

A friend shared recently about her diagnosis of breast cancer. As a fourteen-year breast cancer survivor, I recalled the days of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation and prayed for her.

A month ago, another woman told me she struggles with an upcoming divorce. She needs a job and worries about the children.

What about you? Are you in the midst of an illness, a loss, a major move, or a family crisis? How are you coping?

Will you turn to food, shopping, alcohol, prescription drugs, gambling, or another form of self-medication? Will you withdraw or give up?

Your heavenly Father loves you and longs to rebuild your life. Give him a chance.

Jeremiah 31:4: “I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt . . . Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.”

Dear God, taking up a tambourine and dancing again sound impossible. Please help me. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to allow God to rebuild your life?

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Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Copyright by Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website:

Have You Seen God’s Loving Eyes?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV

Father’s eyes are continually scanning the horizons of the entire earth; searching for the heart of even one of His children that He has won to His love. Just the slightest detection or hint of one totally committed heart, evokes an eruption of color from His eyes that rival the Northern Lights dancing and swirling gleefully like a “love drunk” schoolgirl.

I know–I have seen the Northern Lights on a number of northern trans-Atlantic flights. They must reflect His eyes, as they lock in on even one of His children fully committing their heart to His heart. Why do I believe this to be true? Because they explode, dance and twirl all the way across the horizon with the sharpest and broadest display of color imaginable! That is the only way I can begin to capture or describe the experience of looking into His eyes.

Phil Whickam, in his song “You’re Beautiful,” wonderfully proclaims that “The colors of the morning are inside His eyes.? There is no color spectrum or palate known to man that could provide adequate definition to the colors of the morning. They are beyond description, yet Father’s eyes contain them all.

All it takes is one glance into His eyes; when your eyes catch His loving gaze, you see the dancing light and color — and for that moment you are certain His gaze has always been fixed on you. In that moment all of life comes into perspective. For that exhilarating moment; in the loving reflection of His eyes, you see yourself: your history, your family of origin, every relational experience — the good and the bad — and for that moment your life’s journey is okay.

The sum total of your life: the joys, the pain, the ups and downs, the struggles, the failures, the successes and victories, the infirmities, the shameful and knowingly sinful acts of rebellion, the insane and addictive behaviors, the confusion, the doubts, the fears, the deepest-yet untold secrets, the sincere good intentioned attempts at changes and reconciliation, the previously unknown or miss-understood divine interventions, every moment of your history fades into the pure light of His non-shaming, non-judgmental, all-consuming loving gaze.

Every glance into His eyes becomes a divine, romantic encounter of intimacy (into-me-see). And in that moment you recapture the deep knowing of childlike simplicity. You are restored to the sweet innocence of perfect Holy Communion with Him! In this loving exchange you are only aware of Father’s joy and complete delight to be with you! You are arrested by His joyous approval and pleasure. And you become a prisoner of love!

You are confronted in this sacred moment, with His great plan for you and the wondrous place of significance you have in His will and purpose! In this same moment you recapture destiny and calling. You finally fit. Everything has meaning — there is nothing in life that has been without reason — nothing wasted. Even your sorrows aren’t wasted — you see their redemptive value! Grief and loss is finally acquainted with Father’s loving plan. All of life’s divine purpose comes into clearer focus — in the perfect light and color of Father’s heart piercing glance.

Our Lord Jesus knew that revelation of Father’s love changes everything. No Cross is unbearable. In Father’s eyes we see that every test refines our faith like gold! The writer of Hebrews admonishes us to keep our eyes on Jesus…He began and finished the race of life we are in…He set the pattern for us to follow. We are to study how He did it.

He never lost sight of the goal or the prize. He always kept his Father’s will before Him. And Jesus always knew He was headed for an exhilarating finish — in and with His Father. Jesus always kept the Father’s loving glance in view. He only did what He saw His Father doing and because of that, He could put up with anything along the way — even the Cross, with all its shame! The only proof we need is that He is now seated at the place of highest honor; His Father’s right hand. Thus, we can see in His eyes (no matter what is happening around us) that we are also seated with Him in Heavenly places.

The climax of discovery in Father’s eyes is the passionate love of Jesus. His fiery love trumps everything else! Let the love of Christ be your life! Stir the embers in your heart by always remembering how he abandoned himself to/for us. His love is contagious, not reluctant but extravagant. His love calls the prodigals home to his heart; and at the same moment it unstops the ears of all the elder brothers.

There is no place for rules or law in His loving gaze! The moment you replace the spontaneity released through his eyes you lose the edge of romance! And the romance we discover in his eyes is scandalous, undisputable, un-diluted, pure loving grace!
In the grip of Papa’s loving gaze!

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

Will You Comfort Others?

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

2 Corinthians 1:3-4a: “The . . . Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble.”

My younger brother lost a dear friend and member of his band, who was like a little brother to him. One day his friend was alive and well. The next day he was gone.

Life is fragile. It is a precious gift from God. Often a tragic loss reminds us that we will all die. Sadly, some die sooner than others and without warning.

No matter what the cause of death is, family and friends need compassion and comfort. They long for someone to listen and love them. They can hardly go on without support and encouragement.

We have all suffered loss. God and others have comforted us. That is why God tells us in the rest of verse 4, “So that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

God and God’s people can comfort those who grieve and extend compassion to them.

Think of how you would feel if you lost a loved one. Think of what you would want to hear. Respond with that in mind.

Dear God, help me “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort [I] have received from [you].” Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to comfort the bereaved?

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Copyright by Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website:

Is the Past Haunting You?

Monday, January 12th, 2015

When the past comes back to haunt me it can be something from years ago or from just yesterday. Usually the result is confusion in my entire being. But scripture teaches:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I have to wonder if it is not Satan who drags some of this stuff up to confuse me, to make all of these emotions boil over and create a mess. Now, I am not saying I have to ignore these feelings and emotions. They should and must be dealt with in a godly and biblical fashion. But I cannot allow them to create confusion and a mess in my life. I have to be aware of these emotions and deal with them, not allow the pot to boil over.

I picture in my mind a big pot of oatmeal boiling away, starting to rise in the pot as it starts to boil over and finally it does boil over and what a mess it makes!!!!!!

I have to see the pot…. realize that it is starting to boil over… and then realize it is too much heat creating the problem… take to pot off of the fire. How to do that? Take all this boiling mess to Christ and not allow Satan to continue turning up the heat on the pot.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.

Remember that….

No matter what is going on in my life God can and will bring peace…..
and he will return the joy to my life.

But I have to turn to Him….
not the pot….
not the heat…..
not the oatmeal…..

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~ * ~
Copyright by S. O. Brennan.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
S.O. Brennan is the Director of
Christians in Recovery and Alcoholics Victorious