Hurting?

 Hurting  Comments Off on Hurting?
Jul 282012
 

“The ropes of death surrounded me; the floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death itself stared me in the face.” — Psalm 18:4-5

Sometimes when I’m hurting, I don’t even know why.

Perhaps the worries and cares of this life have overwhelmed me; perhaps I have been going and going and going without a break; perhaps I haven’t spent quality time with my Father.

Whatever the reason, hurting and pain seem to be integral parts of life in this world.

The question becomes, “What do I do with my hurts and pain?”

Do I just keep going and allow them to affect every part of my life? All my relationships – my spouse, my kids, my co-workers, my boss, and all others?

Do I just keep going and try to balance out the pain in my life with illicit pleasures and other stuff – work, food, TV, relationships, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.

How do I deal with my pain in a healthy way?

This morning, I was hurting, without even knowing why.  I seemed to have forgotten how to deal with my pain.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/hurting-helena-wierzbicki.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/hurting-helena-wierzbicki.html

Then, I read this quote from Beth Moore:

“Intimacy with God is that I can come in with the honesty of my heart, tell Him how much I’m hurting.”

Then, I remembered.  The light bulb came on.  Why don’t I take my pain and hurts to the Lord?

So, that’s what I did.  I did the same thing that King David did in Psalm 18:6:

“But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help.”

Did he hear me?

“He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears.”

Did he respond to me?

“Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the mountains shook; they quaked because of his anger. 8 Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him. 9 He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. 10 Mounted on a mighty angelic being,[a] he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. 11 He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dark rain clouds. 12 Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him and rained down hail and burning coals.[b] 13 The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals. 14 He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies; his lightning flashed, and they were greatly confused. 15 Then at your command, O Lord, at the blast of your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare. 

16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. 18 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. 19 He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.”

Sep 192010
 

1.  We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)

The first step of recovery includes the following:

  • admitting that you have problems or issues
  • realizing that you are NOT God
  • realizing that you cannot change yourself

This requires humility.  We must lay down our pride and say “I have issues, I’m not God, and I can’t change myself”.

The first of these, realizing that I have issues, can be fairly easy for those of us who have struggled with addictions or compulsive behaviors.  We know that the drug, alcohol, or porn addiction is destroying our lives.  However, this can be quite difficult for those who do not have obvious issues like these.  Their issues may be more subtle, such as pride, co-dependency, unforgiveness, or anger.  These issues are just as destructive as the aforementioned issues, only harder to recognize for many folks.  It may take a revelation from God before their eyes are finally opened to their problems.

The second one, trying to play God or be like God, is one of the original sins.  Satan (and 1/3 of heaven’s angels) got the boot because he wanted to be God.  Adam and Eve also got the boot (from the garden) because they wanted to be like God.  We are still falling into this trap today.  We try to control our circumstances, our future, our image, and just about every other area of our lives.  However, in order for us to work this first step of recovery, we must humble overselves and let God be God and take our rightful places as the created and NOT the Creator.  We must step down off the throne of our lives and let God take the throne.

The third one goes hand-in-hand with the second one.  Romans 7:18 says that I cannot accomplish the good that I desire to do.  So, if I desire to make a change in myself for the better, I cannot carry out this change on my own.  Only God can bring about “true” change in our lives.   Many of us have tried to change ourselves time and time again and have failed miserably. 

Are you ready to admit your issues?  What issues are you ready to admit?  Are you ready to admit them to yourself, to God, and to another trusted human being?  If so, then I would encourage you to do so.

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Aug 112010
 

Everyone has issues — although many of us are either totally unaware of them, don’t want to admit them for whatever reason, are afraid to admit them for fear of dredging up the past, or think that repressing or suppressing them is the Christian thing-to-do and that by doing this they will somehow just magically resolve themselves. 

The truth is:

  • admitting the issue is the first step of recovery.
  • dealing with the issue head-on is the only way to obtain victory.  Yes it will be painful, but God will help you through it.
  • there is nothing Christian about choosing to live in bondage when Christ died to set you free.
  • repressing or suppressing the issue will only keep it from being healed and will keep you in bondage.  It WILL rear its ugly head from time-to-time and cause you continual pain until you deal with it.
  • the problems that you are currently experiencing in life may be rooted in unresolved issues from your past.  Unless these root issues are dealt with appropriately, you may never live in the freedom that is yours because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

The following principles of recovery work for ANY hurt, hangup, or habit that you may experience.  Some issues include:  fear, anxiety, depression, pride, unforgiveness, anger in general, anger towards God, self-hatred, co-dependency, pornography, lust, drug or alcohol addiction, or ________ (fill in the blank). 

They are best worked in a (small) group setting such as Celebrate Recovery, Recovery for Life, or Alcoholics Victorious.

The Biblical Twelve Steps

Starting with a Decision

1.  We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)

2.  We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

3.  We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Searching for Defects

4.  We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40)

5.  We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)

6.  We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)

Stepping into Discovery

7.  We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

8.  We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

9.  We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)

Sticking with Discipleship

10.  We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

11.  We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16)

12.  Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

[This unique version of The Biblical Twelve Steps is from Dr. Paul Hardy’s excellent ministry entitled Recovery for Life.]  

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How To Deal With Failure

 Failure  Comments Off on How To Deal With Failure
Jul 202010
 

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” — 1 John 1:9

We all screw up from time to time in our Christian walk.  We fail.  Perhaps we don’t obey God’s voice, fall into an old addiction or hangup, or fail in some other way.  Then the feelings of guilt and shame manifest themselves.  If not dealt with appropriately, they can easily escalate to self-hatred.  The pain of self-hatred can then, in some cases, lead right back to the original failure.  Thus, the cycle repeats AND/OR we beat ourselves up for the next two or three weeks until we believe that we have paid enough for our sin.  These two scenarios have certainly played themselves out in my life far too many times.

What about you?  Can you identify with this cycle and/or the self-hatred that lasts for weeks at a time?

What is the best way to deal with failure?

The best way to deal with failure is to confess it to God immediately, receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:9), and then go right on fellowshiping with the Lord.  God is not the least bit surprised by our sin or failure.  He knows that we have no hope without Him.  That’s why he came — not for the righteous but for sinners (Mark 2:17).  

However, the temptation is to beat ourselves up as with a baseball bat until we feel that we have paid the price for our sins.  The problem with this is: 

  1.  How do we know when we’ve paid enough?  The truth is we can never pay enough.
  2. We are living under law and NOT under grace.
  3. Jesus already paid for ALL of our sins, past, present, and future.  That’s good news!  Jesus already was beat up for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to be.

Satan is the accuser and loves to bring our failures to our attention.  When this happens, we have to remind him that Jesus paid for it ALL on the Cross of Calvary. 

“I—yes, I alone—am the one who blots out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” — Isaiah 43:25 NLTv1

 

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Jun 222010
 

Many of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord, because of patterns of besetting sin or addiction in our lives, view ourselves as sinners saved by grace.  However, the truth is, we are saints who sin.

Birth, not performance, dictates nature.  The world’s definition of a sinner is performance-based; if a person sins, then he’s a sinner.  God’s definition is different.  His view is that a sinner is a sinner because he or she was born that way, and neither good nor bad performance can change that fact.  It’s not sins that send a person to hell, it’s their nature that sends them to hell.  To go to hell, you just have to be born and reach the age of accountability.  That’s it.  Unless you submit to God’s plan to get your nature changed, you’re toast (literally)!

 [click here if you would like to learn how NOT to be toast]

When a sinner gets saved, he does NOT become a sinner saved by grace but instead becomes a saint who sins.  The world sees a saint as a person who rarely, if ever, sins.  However, the New Testament refers to born-again people as “saints” fifty-six times, whereas it rarely (two or three times) uses the term “sinner” to refer to a Christian (we can deal with this apparrent contridiction but not in this blog entry; I hope that you will pick the fifty-six instead of the three).  Therefore, the truth is, if you are saved, then you are a saint, regardless of whether you still sin a little or a lot.  Your new born-again (re-birthed) nature makes you a saint.

Why is how you view yourself important? 

If you still view yourself as a sinner, then it is difficult for you to accept and appropriate the truth about your new born-again identity (who you are in Christ).  How can I believe that I’m a filthy, rotten, no-good sinner while at the same time believe that I’m “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus”, “above and not beneath”, “the head and not the tail”, etc?  See the contradiction?  However, if I believe the truth that I’m a saint, then this is in agreement with what the Bible teaches about who I am in Christ (e.g. I’m… a new creation, accepted not condemned, holy, set apart, etc).  There is no contradiction.   

[Much of this blog entry comes from Bill Gillham’s excellent book “Lifetime Guarantee”, although it has been modified.]

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