Remember

precRltRemember?  If you’re going through a relationship crises, remembering may be a painful thing.  Seeing an old photo or driving by a location may cause you to remember a time when things were better in your relationship.  Remembering even these good times can be a painful experience in the light of your current crises.

And then there are those other memories.  The painful memories of conflict, of words said that you wish you could take back . . . but can’t.

But in Christ, Remembrance during hard times is an important part of drawing close to God.  This special Remembering can be wonderfully healing and is a guardian against depression and hopelessness. This remembering involving reviewing all the things the Lord has done.  I think about all the times the Lord has come through for me in the past – the amazing “coincidences” where I prayed about a problem and He came through.  Or the times when I was suffering, but I know Christ was right there with me.

There’s an example of this Godly remembrance in the Bible.

In Psalm 77, the writer is going through a crises, and in the middle of the night he can’t sleep because of his anguish.  He tells the Lord “You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.”  But he turns his mind and begins to remember the Lord’s care and love for him. He says “I call to remembrance my song in the night.”

And I said, “This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.

I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.

So he acknowledges the crisis (“this is my anguish”) but remembers and rests upon the past years of the Lord’s goodness.

The final act of this remembrance is to recall one thing: the Lord’s goodness has not changed even during your crises.  If the Lord came through in the past, he’ll come through again in His own special way.  As the psalmist says in Psalm 27:

I would have despaired, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.

Hot on your Heels

precWltWhat’s coming up fast chasing you? Monsters? Your past failures? Bill collectors? Family members?

Well, if you’re in Christ, the Word of God makes it clear something very Good is coming up fast behind you.

Isaiah 51:11 Those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (NIV)

Psalm 23:6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (NIV)

Focus in the Right Place – Audio Message

precDltDavid’s Psalm 38 teaches us some big lessons about how we can get ourselves into a worried, depressed state by where we focus our mind on.   Take a two minute break and listen to this short message:

Focus On God (MP3 Audio)

Immanuel – Christ is with us during divorce pain at Christmas

Are you hurting due to divorce, separation, or estrangement from your spouse during the holidays?  Greg Laurie’s message “Immanuel” speaks the truth that Christ is with us and knows first hand the pain and loneliness of estrangement.

Listen to Immanuel (MP3) > Greg-Laurie-God-Is-With-Divorced-and-Lonely-People

On Empty? You’re ready for God to use.

God uses us when we are on empty and at our wits end.  This has been the pattern for millennia.  Take for example the prophet Elijah, who after a great victory ran from overwhelming troubles against overwhelming odds.  Elijah thought he was alone, but he learned “one plus God is a majority.”   Are your feeling empty and that you’ve run out of resources?   Listen to J Vernon McGee’s sermon:

 

When God and Elijah Were a Majority (MP3)

A Word of Encouragement

Are you low?  Does this statement resonate with you? “For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draws close unto the grave.”  Psalm 88 begins with this statement, and it clearly written by someone pouring out their heart to God in a time of deep despair and affliction.  But there is a word of encouragement in this Psalm.  I invite you to listen to this three minute audio message on how this Psalm spoke to me during my hard times.

 

Listen to: Word of Encouragement (mp3)

Your pain is part of a bigger picture

We are often so focused on our own family and relationship problems, that we only see them in our own personal terms and hurts.  But God sees marriage rejection and splits as part of a bigger picture.  This picture is very big, and involves His relationship with humankind.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Eph 5:31-33 NIV

When your prodigal rejects your true Love and forgiveness, you are in good company.  Your individual rejection is a puzzle piece of pain in a greater picture of God’s love and redemption.  This picture is the fallen world itself where humankind rejects Christ’s unconditional love.

He understands your pain, because the pain of rejection is a core pain that Christ experienced in His life on the earth and experiences now as people reject his free grace.   He is on your side, and because of this he will help you and be your true love forever.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. – Isa 53:3-4 NIV

Don’t take the easy way out

The Lord spoke a strong word tonight via a  sermon he directed me to.  David Wilkerson’s “Standing Steadfast in Christ” spoke about not seeking the easy way out.  As the Lord shows us in scripture through nature, those who choose to avoid conflict, people and the inevitable fires of life will suffer spiritual apathy.  It’s clear my trials at work and at home most be met head on with the grace of Christ.  So “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” combined with the fact Christ will see me through my storms outside and my emotional pains within is absolutely necessary for me to grow.

And growing means not focusing on my own self but on how I can serve Christ and others.  Wilkerson reminds us of Peter, who after he returned to the Lord and the risen Christ told him “Do you love me?  Feed my sheep?”

Lord, help all who read this know that we must face life with your grace to grow and bear fruit for you.  Let us not shrink from the spiritual battles at home and at work, but let us focus on helping the least and the lost of this world, in Jesus name.

Listen to Standing Steadfast in Christ>>

Mourning the Loss of Eden – Looking Forward to Something Better

Songwriter Brandon Heath’s 2011 album Leaving Eden describes a very real thing all of us go through who have suffered the loss of our hopes and dreams at the hand of our own sin and that of others.

We tend to look upon our own losses, such as divorce and separation, as “our own thing” a private pain unique to us.  However, what we need to see is that our loss is a part of the overall human loss suffered at the “ground zero” of sin, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and had to leave Eden.

Christ, in addressing divorce in Matthew 19 reminds of that broken relationships and divorce was not part of God’s hope for us. Christ says “But it was not this way from the beginning.”

We need to mourn our losses and  move on into forgiveness.  The only way to move on from all this world of pain, brokeness, and heartache is to have a place to go that has the forgiveness we need.  This place is Christ, and as David says in Psalm 9:9 “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”  Christ has a plan for you and for all this world to make things right and to restore that which was taken by sin from our lives.  He promises in Isaiah 61:3 to “to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”  Ultimately in Christ says “Behold, I am making all things new” Rev 21:5.

 

Brandon-Heath-Leaving-Eden

God Will Restore All Your Wasted Years by David Wilkerson

You have wasted years.  These may be years spent with the pain and regrets of broken relationships, years wasted in drugs or alcohol, or years wasted where you were far from God and not the husband or wife you should have been.  Within these wasted years your life was eaten up by worms of sin, addiction, sadness, and brokenness.

Joel 1:4 What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.

When you come to Christ and repent, and let Him fill you up with His life, He will more than make up for these wasted years by an ever increasing Love from and for him.  This will fill you up and will flow over to others, including prodigal spouses and broken family relationships.  God can and will restore you and heal your broken relationships!

Joel 2:25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you.

Listen – David Wilkerson-God Will Restore All Your Wasted Years

For more information on David Wilkerson and his ministry please visit World Challenge >>