Posts Tagged ‘grief’

Hope Described

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Hope…

Knows there’s light when all that’s visible is darkness.

Believes in possibility when confronted by impossibility.

Expects order to emerge from chaos.

Reaches out in the presence of isolation.

Seeks joy when surrounded by despair.

Accepts freedom even when buried by guilt.

Moves forward despite fear.

Perceives a remarkable future beyond the immediate obstacle.

Clings confidently to love when surrounded by hatred.

Trusts God to redeem struggle and pain and use all things for good.

Depends on God to keep His promises.

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Dixon

Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Reentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site http://www.relentlessgrace.com

Have the Troubles of Your Heart Multiplied?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Psalm 25:17: “The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.”

A woman confided that she struggles with grief since the loss of her husband. Another one asked me how to manage as a single parent without a spouse after a divorce.

As I listened to both women, I heard the same plea. “The troubles of [their] heart have multiplied.” Both of them wanted God “to free [them] from [their] anguish.”

Why do so many troubles or heartaches exist in the world? We live in an imperfect world with imperfect bodies and emotions that can get us in trouble unless we submit them to God. Furthermore, the devil comes “only to steal and to kill and to destroy” (John 10:10).

How can God “free [us] from [our] anguish? As I sit in silence and read the Word of God, the Holy Spirit teaches and consoles me. He shows me I can’t change the past.

I listen to praise and worship music, God assures me of his love. He also gives me the wisdom, discernment, knowledge, and understanding I need for the day and my troubles.

When I ask God for advice, he uses people to “free me from my anguish.” Through the pastor’s sermons and through books, conferences, CDs, mentors, and friends, God speaks to me.

I’ve learned I can stay stuck in my anguish, or I can choose to move forward. What about you?

Dear God, free me from my anguish. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to move from broken to beautiful?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Do You Believe God Will Hear You?

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Micah 7:7: “But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”

“Oh my God,” I whispered and then sobbed as I looked at the crypt with my son’s name on it. It had been two and a half years since my last visit to San Diego.

I stood alone as the sun shone over the military cemetery, and the breeze blew through my hair. Such a beautiful day, and yet my heart ached to see my son. I placed a patriotic red, white, and blue arrangement of flowers in a wheelbarrow at the foot of the crypt and took pictures of it.

“God, I’ve asked you before and I’m asking you again, don’t let my son’s death be in vain. Use it for good in my life and the lives of others. Let it be for your honor and glory and for furthering your kingdom here on earth.”

“I [watched] in hope for the LORD” and said, “My God will hear me.” I sensed God’s presence and comfort. God reminded me of how he has answered that prayer in the past and assured me he will continue to do so.

That day and for the next few days of my San Diego visit, God allowed me to minister to others. I understood their pain because of the pain I have had. My God did hear me.

What about you? Do you believe God will hear you? How often do you watch in hope for him?

Dear God, help me watch in hope for you. Amen.

Application: When will you wait for God to hear you?

Copyright © by Yvonne Ortega July 7, 2014

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Whose Burdens Will You Carry?

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

“Yvonne, I’ve already told my husband I’m going to spend Mother’s Day with you,” my friend said a few weeks ago.

Since my mother and my only child passed away within weeks of each other almost five years ago, Mother’s Day doesn’t mean cards, gifts, calls, or visits. It usually means tears and longing to see them again.

“Do you want to go to the beach with me and stay there overnight?” I asked my friend.

She said she did. I felt relieved that my friend wanted to carry that burden with me. I thanked God that he gave her the desire to spend Mother’s Day with me.

We used the Jacuzzi and the sauna, enjoyed walks on the beach, and collected shells. She bought two hot pink T-shirts, and I purchased a print jacket on sale.

God gave us beautiful weather. When it rained for a brief period on Saturday, we rested. We talked, laughed, and discussed our Bible study. On Sunday we ate a delicious Mother’s Day buffet and visited two lighthouses.

I’m glad I asked my friend to go with me to the beach, that she listened to God’s prompting, and went with me.

Dear God, I have burdens you never meant for me to carry alone. I appreciate how you provide someone to help me. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to help carry someone’s burden and fulfill the law of Christ?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
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Copyright 2010-2013, 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: http://YvonneOrtega.com

What Time and Season Are You In Now?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, and 4: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

As the anniversary of the passing of my only child approaches, God reminds me of this passage in Ecclesiastes. “There is a time to be born and a time to die.”

I didn’t want to lose my mother and my son, and you probably didn’t want to lose your loved one. However, we all come with an expiration date. Some die sooner than others, but we all die.

God gives us time to weep for those we’ve lost. We don’t have to pretend to be strong for the family. God made us with tear ducts. It’s OK to use them and cry. Jesus wept when his friend, Lazarus died. He did so and knew he would raise him from the dead.

God also gives us time to mourn our losses. We can be honest with our feelings of sorrow and anguish. We are human beings with a heart and emotions. We will miss those we love who are no longer with us. If we look, we can find a safe place to talk about our losses and their effect on our lives.

Dear God, thank you for the time to weep and mourn. Amen.

Application: What loss will you talk about this week?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Copyright 2010-2013, 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: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Afterwards you will understand!

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

“You do not understand now what I am doing–but afterwards you will understand.” John 13:7

We are to walk by faith–not by sight.

We are to trust His heart–when we cannot see His hand!


We are to believe Him–when we cannot understand His mysterious workings!

The Lord is now working in nature, providence, and grace–and He does many things which we do not understand at present. But when His work is complete, and it lies stretched out before us in the light of eternity–we shall then . . .

comprehend His design,
admire His wisdom, and
adore His divine workings!

Beloved, is God cleansing you by fiery trials, or causing you to pass through deep waters? Are you at a loss to know what His design is, or where the present affliction will end?

Be still. Wait His time.

There is a divine working time–which is the present;
and there is a divine revealing time–which is to come.

The wisest Christians are often in the dark now–but the simplest Christians will see all things clearly by and by.

A little more patience, a little more faith–and all will end well.

“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God, and who are called according to His purpose!” Romans 8:2

~ James Smith

Jesus Isn’t About Fake Smiles

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Ever have a week when you wish you could hit the delete button?

I’ve spent most of the last few days feeling like the entire world is out to get me. Every little task seems monumental, every obstacle insurmountable. I’m just plain sick and tired of the whole thing…whatever that means.

What’s strange is that I can’t identify a specific reason. It’s not like some cataclysmic tragedy occurred. I just awoke one day with this overwhelming sense of being overwhelmed.

I’ve told you before that depression is sort of an ongoing issue for me, so I have an idea about what’s occurring. But that doesn’t make it easier, or less painful, for me or the people closest to me who have to deal with the fallout.

I’m not sharing this to complain or to collect sympathy. My commitment is to write about following Jesus in real life, and I suspect real life for most of us includes some less-than-rosy days.

I also suspect someone reading this might face depression, or know someone who does. If so, perhaps it helps to know you’re not alone.

What makes this so difficult, at least for me, is that I know the “right” answers. I know being depressed is dumb and hurtful. I know Jesus loves me. I know I’m accountable for my choices, blaming others won’t change anything, and I control my attitude.

It’s one of those times when the easy, obvious answers simply aren’t very helpful. As much as some want to believe it, people don’t choose to be depressed and you’re not going to talk them out of it. It’s like convincing someone to stop having the flu.

It’ll pass, and until then I’ll cope. But know that coping is a bit like holding a beach ball under the water—it requires a lot of effort, and it’s not always successful.

I’m not sure we do a great job when it comes to helping people follow Jesus through this kind of experience. Issues like depression, grief, and mental illness make a lot of church folks uncomfortable. Churches would sometimes prefer fake smiles to real hurts.

Even though this doesn’t feel good right now, I’m grateful. I’m grateful to know this will pass, that my feelings aren’t all there is, that there’s grace and light at the end.

I’m grateful that Jesus doesn’t demand fake smiles.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Are You Persevering?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

James 5:11: “We consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

Perseverance is hard work. It is a test of our faith.

As I worked with “Christy,” she told me the man she had dated for a year was dating someone else. She sobbed and admitted she still loved him, but he was going to marry the other woman.

Her pain was real. The loss seemed more than she could bear. She felt alone, rejected, and hopeless. I listened to her and asked her to journal about her feelings and talk to God about them.

The following week, Christy and I discussed her journal notes. Afterward, I asked Christy a few questions: “Could she trust God in this crisis? Did she remember how Job lost everything, but God gave him double for what he lost? Would God give her the grace to persevere? Did she believe ‘the Lord is full of compassion and mercy’?”

I told Christy to write down the questions and spend time alone with the Lord to answer them. Christy did the assignment and persevered.

The Lord gave her a fantastic job opportunity and blessed her beyond her wildest dreams. The last time we talked, she told me she would have never grown as a person and as a Christian if she hadn’t lost the man she thought she couldn’t live without.

What about you?

Dear God, sometimes I feel alone, rejected, and hopeless too. Help me persevere. Amen.

Application: How will you live differently this week to show that you believe “the Lord is full of compassion and mercy”?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2010-2013, 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: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Are You Looking Only to Jesus?

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

James Smith, “Rills from the Rock of Ages”, 1860

All that Jesus does for lost sinners–He does freely, out of pure pity, kindness, and love.

Yet we are always looking for something in ourselves–to encourage us! On the other hand, we tend to look at some sin committed by us–which discourages us. Whereas we should look only to Jesus. I want now, for a few minutes, to fix the eye of your mind on what Jesus does for sinners–how He acts toward them at the present day.

Jesus calls the sinner. He says, “Come unto Me. Come, just as you are. Come, this moment. Come, for all that you need. Come, for all that you desire. Come, and be saved. Come, and I will satisfy you. Come, and commit all your concerns to Me, and I will make all things that occur, work together for your good.”

Jesus receives the sinner when he comes. He receives every sinner, however base, vile, or unworthy he may be! He receives the sinner graciously–pardoning every sin, forgiving and forgetting all that he has done amiss, and treating him with the utmost kindness.

Jesus cleanses the sinner. In the fountain of His precious blood, and in the laver of His holy Word–He cleanses him from guilt and pollution–fitting him for holy service on earth, and for holier service in heaven. Nor is there any getting rid of guilt–but by His blood; nor of impurity–but by His Spirit working with His Word!

Jesus clothes the sinner. Cleansed from guilt and filth–we are clothed in His garments of salvation, and are covered with His robe of righteousness. All that is necessary for our honorable appearance in heaven among the glorified–He undertakes to provide.

Those who trust in Him, are completely nourished by Him. Jesus feeds the sinner. His flesh and blood becomes our daily food. We can no more live and be healthy, without nourishing food for the body–than we can live and be happy, without sweet and frequent nourishment from Christ. There is in the renewed soul–a craving for Christ, and it is never satisfied–but as it realizes His presence, meditates on His Word, or is solaced with His love!

Jesus employs the sinner. Having called, received, cleansed, clothed, and nourished him–He sets him to WORK. He gives him a cross to carry, and a plot in his vineyard to cultivate. He sends him to speak to others of His grace, and to manifest to others His temper and disposition. He sends him to the poor widow’s cottage, to the sick man’s chamber, and to the ignorant soul’s home–and says, “Feed them for Me; comfort them for Me; and teach them for Me!”

Jesus comforts the sinner. Yes, when he is depressed and discouraged, when he is low and cast down. He consoles by some special providence, by some seasonable portion of His Word, by the counsel of some friend, or by the sweet whispers of His Spirit.

Jesus assures the sinner. Assures him of His love to him, of a saving interest in His finished work, and of a title to heavenly mansions! When Jesus assures us–our doubts and fears depart, our unbelief is destroyed, and our souls are filled with peace and joy.

Jesus visits the sinner. He says, “I will come unto him.” And He does come, and brings with Him–pleasant light, precious fruits, and joy and peace. He says, “I will come and sup with him–and he with Me.” And He draws him out into such sweet, near and dear communion with Himself–that no costly meal, no delightful company–can be compared to it.

Jesus restores the sinner. For as astonishing as it may appear, it is nevertheless true–that we are prone to wander!
We leave light–for darkness!
We leave plenty–for poverty!
We leave joy–for sorrow!
We leave a paradise–for a desert!
And having wandered, we would never find our way back–if He did not come after us! But, blessed be His holy name–He does! And then He restores our souls, and again feeds us in green pastures, causing us to lie down beside the still waters!

Jesus reproves the sinner. However He may spare our persons–He never spares our sins! He visits our transgressions with the rod, and our iniquities with stripes! His reproofs are often sharp. Cutting convictions, heavy losses, severe trials, perplexing troubles, bodily sickness, and painful bereavements–are some of the RODS which He employs. But however numerous and heavy His strokes–they are lighter than our guilt, and fewer than our sins! He deals with us as with sons. He chastens us for our profit–and to make us partakers of His holiness!

Jesus glorifies the sinner. Glorifies him with Himself–and confers on him an eternal weight of glory! What it is to be glorified–we do not fully know. At the least, it is to be freed from all that is sinful, painful, and degrading–and to be invested with all that is bright, beautiful, and blessed. It is to be made as like Jesus as possible, and to be with Him where he is forever!

O wondrous grace, of a wondrous Savior!

Believer, this precious Savior is yours!

Will you not love Him then?

Will you not bear witness to the power and sweetness of His love, to the joy and happiness that are found in His ways?

Will you not observe His statutes and keep His laws?

Will you not come out of the world, which is peopled by His enemies–and be separated to Him? Can you mingle with the carnal, and frequent places of worldly amusement? Must you go to the world to be gratified and amused?

Beware how you wound your precious Savior’s loving heart!

 

When We Experience the Bitter Water in Our Lives

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Exodus 15:25: “Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.”

We can’t live on this earth without experiencing bitter waters in our lives. Sickness, loss of a loved one, unemployment, financial struggles, and family conflict are a few of the bitter waters we may go through.

When I experience bitter waters, I may sit in shock and do nothing for a while. Other times, I may cry and wring my hands. I allow the external circumstances to affect my heart and my attitude.

What happens when you experience bitter waters? One of my friends says she eats. Another friend swims several laps as she processes the situation. A third one goes for a walk at the beach or the park and talks to God about it.

In the midst of my trials, I can pray and cling to God’s promises in the Bible. Unfortunately, that is not always my first resort but rather my last one.

Verses 22-23 tell us the Israelites traveled in the desert for three days without finding water. When they arrived in Marah, they couldn’t drink the water because it was bitter. In verse 24, they complained to Moses.

In our Bible verse for today, Moses went straight to God. God listened to Moses and gave him a solution. Verse 25 says, “The LORD showed him a piece of wood.” Moses didn’t doubt God or tell him that was a ridiculous thing to show him. Instead Moses “threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.”

God blessed Moses’ faith and obedience. In verse 26, God says, “I am the LORD who heals you.” Verse 27 says the Israelites went to Elim, “where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.”

We can grumble and drink bitter water, or we can take our troubles to God. We can wait for God to transform our bitter waters into sweet ones and give us “twelve springs and seventy palm trees.”

Dear God, please transform my bitter waters into sweet ones. Amen.

Application: When will you stop grumbling this week and trust God?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2010-2013, 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: http://YvonneOrtega.com