Processing a Very Painful Situation

A very dear friend of mine went home to be with the Lord today in less than, dare I say, stellar fashion. This person’s actions have caused a lot of pain to those in their family, friends and church body. I’ve shed many tears over the last 12 hours. I’ve also had reason to question myself.
One advantage of being a small church is that you can tell who is there and who is not. As this person’s shepherd, I noticed they hadn’t been at the services for a few weeks so I checked up on them last week. As usual, the summer gets to most people – weddings, family outings, etc. It was the same for this person…or so I thought or was led to believe.
Over the past couple of years, this person had been going through an especially rough stretch of road on their journey to be like Jesus. I asked them how they were doing and received a little more than the typical, “Fine.” This person said, “Life’s tough;” but said nothing else or offered anything more. I was, excuse me, am their friend. Why didn’t I press them a little harder knowing the tough times they were having? Could I have done more to prevent their death?
Can’t get more real life than this can I? This is the time that proves the Word of God works in the real world or it doesn’t…and the world is watching. I’ve been processing this situation through my biblical filter to weed out the lies so I can hear Jesus in the midst of this painful time. The Word of God does indeed work. My mind focused on Jesus and the truths of His Word have given me a peace beyond this world, in the midst of my pain.
You can’t ignore or get out of life’s teaching opportunities. You can have victory, though, in the midst of them no matter how you are feeling. Life, dare I say, sucks at times. Yet as we process those painful times using our Biblical worldview we can experience peace in the midst of the storms. People are watching. What or who are they seeing in you?

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Holy Holy Holy

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.”
Our God is holy. What this means on a practical level is that He has never made a mistake, is not making mistakes, and will never make mistakes; therefore, He can keep us from making mistakes – taking our drugs of choice. Who else can make that claim? Furthermore, our God loves us so much that He’s reaching out to not only show us how to overcome our mistakes, but to also give us the strength to be victorious over them.
Hopefully, you will turn to Jesus today in all your decisions. Jesus is reaching out to you. Grab His hand and “exalt the Lord our God and worship at His holy mountain for the LORD Our God is holy.”

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It Hurts Real Good

Ever walked into a table with your shin? I remember doing this as a kid and hearing my mom say, “It’s going to feel good when it stops hurting.” I’d laugh because it hurt so good, but I sure was going to avoid doing that again.
It’s the same with our drugs of choice. The feel good begins when the feel bad really hurts. When the effects of sin hurt bad enough that we remember them as bad when our drugs of choice resurface like our living room table, then we’re ready to be changed by Jesus and experience the feel good He brings.
Yes, all sin is pleasurable…temporarily. The false light (Turn Out The Lights – What?), Satan, wants us to only remember that our drugs of choice made us feel good, which they do…for a moment.
What our Heavenly Father wants us to remember is the pain we felt from hitting our shin on the table, the after effects of taking our drugs of choice. When we choose to remember the pain more than the pleasure of taking our drugs of choice, we’re ready for Jesus to change us. When it hurts real good, we’re more opt to remember not to take them next time.

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Do You Want Victory?

I realize this opening statement sounds odd, but I bet Jesus’ question to the lame man sounded just as odd. In John 5 Jesus arrives at the pool at Bethesda. He asks one of the disabled people lying there, “Do you want to get well?” I wonder if those who heard this laughed at Him or at least chuckled under their breath about what a lame statement that was.
If, however, you look at Jesus’ comment to this man after Jesus healed him, you get some insight into Jesus’ first comment. Jesus told the healed man, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen.” It was this guy’s own bad decisions – the taking of his drugs of choice – that caused his disability. When Jesus asked him whether he wanted to get well, the man had to think about it for a minute. Do I want to give up my drugs of choice?
There’s a Jewish saying that reads, “If you lie on the ground, you cannot fall.” But you also can’t see down the road at all the great things ahead either! Did this guy want to see better days? He did and Jesus healed him.
Jesus is asking us the same question. Do you want to experience victory? If so, you must be willing to give up the thinking that landed you in defeat. Are you ready to give up what has become a “normal” life for something better? If so, it’s time get up off the ground and exercise the truths in your everyday small decisions so you can experience the big victory when your drug of choice presents itself.

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Turn Out The Light – What?

A Harvard researcher recently studied the effects of iPads and iPhones on sleep. His discovery has spiritual implications for healthy believers. His research showed that when a person uses those devices at night, the blue light emitted by them hindered the person’s ability to sleep. The blue light tricked their brain into thinking it was daytime, which heightened their alertness; thus, disturbing their sleep. Furthermore, the closer the device was to their face, the greater their sleep disturbance became. This is why a TV’s blue light doesn’t affect a person as much as the handheld devices because the TV is generally further away from their eyes.
The blue or unnatural light, which copies the sun or natural light, has harmful side effects. Sound familiar? Our enemy is called an “angel of light”, who tries to duplicate Jesus, but brings only harmful results with him – you become restless rather than rested.
Our Father is asking us to trust Him to focus on Jesus, the true sun light. Sometimes what He’s telling us, though, doesn’t make sense as it’s much easier to focus on the enemy’s unhealthy light (i.e. our drugs of choice). It’s been said, “Truth is stranger than fiction; fiction has to make sense.” Our brains have been stained by a sinful nature and our sinful choices. Therefore, truth will sound unbelievable or unnatural at times; and yet, our Father is asking us to trust Him anyway.
If we, as children of God, want to experience victory over the harmful side effects of our drugs of choice, we must choose to focus on and get closer to Jesus, the natural light. Yes, we must turn out the light – the liar and his lies. And we must turn on Jesus, the Light of the World.

“S”et Free Nowww