Category Archives: Deep Healing Series 2018

The Gospel according to Graham <3

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Yesterday we gathered with an overflowing crowd of love and support to remember and grieve and celebrate the gift that was Zach Berry and the gift of eternal life he received.

We packed the church and then the lobby with way too many bodies and we consoled and were consoled. 

For some it was too close to their own recent losses and for others it was probably odd and strange to see how we, who follow Christ, grieve with Hope. 

The waiting in line got to be too much for some wiggly boys so I took them up to my class room where I teach adults every Sunday morning and in a complete and humbling reversal of roles, I became the student. 

The lesson was “The Good Nuse”…apparently in second grade we spell by sound…and thankfully I am fluent in phonetics so I was able to read the message…but I could have figured it out by the pictures…

Because as Graham explained it….

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Our hearts are broken.

But Jesus came and died on the cross.

And fixed us. 

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And even though he thought he wrote that God is the savior of all…

I particularly love that He is the …

Saver…

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of…

All <3 

To remember this when you weep <3

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It’s a grey and rainy morning here on the prairie and all I can share with you is this assurance on my heart today for those who need to hear it. 

When Jesus stood outside the grave of Lazarus, knowing in about two seconds He was going to turn this whole mourning scene into a day of celebration…we are told…He wept. 

Why?

Commentaries and people far more educated than me have ideas that make sense, but today I can just say I think it was to let us know.

He knows when our hearts are breaking beyond the point that we can bear it. 

And it matters greatly to Him. 

Even though He knows He has overcome death and sin and the grave and the fall of man and our worst mistakes and our missing the mark and our ignorance….He cares. 

Our grief does not go unnoticed nor unaccompanied by His matchless love. 

He didn’t just dress up in our skin. 

He allowed Himself to feel exactly what we feel and when we hurt, He cries real tears with us. 

May the God of all comfort bring comfort to each of you this day. 

He is faithful. 

He is good. 

He is kind.

And He has robbed the grave and one day we will all rejoice together, but until that day…He walks the journey with us. 

Step by step. 

Tear by tear.

Grace by grace <3

Lessons from a child…<3

In the band of brothers…

this one…

has added some interesting dimensions to the spectrum of personality.

Little man has a smile that covers over a multitude of dynamo energy and third child antics…

But the weekend before Easter, his mommy discovered what appeared to be an abscess on his gum.

Seems that sweet little mouthful of teeth had taken one too many tumbles…

pc Rachel Maxwell

and as much as we all loved that gap-toothed Joelybear smile…it was not going to make it to Kindergarten as we had once assumed it would.

A visit to the dentist proved the tooth was no longer living and would cause problems to the permanent tooth still incubating up above the long root.

So our brave little toaster and his equally brave parents scheduled the procedure.

He did great and his parents made it through as well, but for a long while after it was pulled, he kind of kept it private.

Didn’t really want to talk about it and…

if you asked him about it, he pulled his lip down and just covered the empty place.

But time heals all wounds…and now…

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he not only shows it to you…he is willing to share the story.

Any mention of it and he looks you straight in the eye and proclaims loudly…

GAVE SHOT HERE! as he motions to his mouth

PULLED TOOTH! as his hand does a huge yanking motion for extra effect

GONE!!!!  as he asserts with a firm nod of his head and decisive sweep of his hand …

before he moves on to tell someone else.

It’s his testimony.

He has survived.

He is thriving.

And he wants everyone to know.

The whole thing didn’t defeat him.

It’s part of his story and he is making the most of it.

Oh man…come on…tell me that doesn’t preach to your heart like it does mine.

I look at that little bundle of snuggleness and my Lola heart is encouraged right down to the core.

My soul knows…stuff happens…

but God heals and when we are ready to tell our story…

let’s do it with joy and faith and hope…

as we journey onward surrounded by the love and support of the brother and sisterhood of our family that stood with us through it all  <3

pc Rachel Maxwell

TGIF…and that’s a wrap <3

They say the Christian walk is a marathon not a sprint and if you have hung with me through this series, I am hearing a rousing AMEN!! coming through the atmosphere.

I have called you to go deeper still into the wounds and the healing.

It’s a common theme out there, I have noticed …must be a lot of hurting people who are desiring to heal well.

I just got a devotion in my email this past week that had this quote from Andy Stanley about grace and how it relates to our topic Deep Healing….

Grace.    

It’s what I crave most when my guilt is exposed. The very thing I’m hesitant to extend when I’m confronted with the guilt of others — especially when their guilt has robbed me of something I consider valuable.   Faithgateway.com    The Story of Grace    Andy Stanley             Feb. 6, 2017

It’s what we have been talking about, isn’t it?

Forgiveness..receiving mercy and grace…extending mercy and grace…the cycle that we work through as God heals us down in the depths of our pain and loss.

We can trust Him when we can’t trust others or even ourselves.

I want to close this series with a beautiful quote I got from A. W. Tozer’s book Tozer on the Almighty God.

He uses a quote from Rev. Dr. Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) who would cry out in “serious and painful trials”…

“Praise God for the hammer, the file and the furnace”

Tozer expounds on these for the devotionals that cover October 14, 15 and 16 in this book.

He speaks of how the hammer is a useful tool, but the nail must view it as harsh and cruel.

Strike after strife falls upon the nail as forceful blows drive it deeper into the surface.

He describes the nail’s view of the hammer to be “…an opponent, a brutal, merciless enemy who lives to pound it into submission, to beat it down out of sight and clinch it into place.”

He acknowledges that while that is an apt description of the hammer….

“The nail forgets that both it and the hammer are the servants of the same workman. Let the nail remember that the hammer is held by the workman and all resentment toward it will disappear. The carpenter decides whose head shall be beaten next and what hammer shall be used in the beating. That is his sovereign right. When the nail has surrendered to the will of the workman and has gotten a little glimpse of his benign plans for its future it will yield to the hammer without complaint.”

Harsh language, and it goes without saying…but I WILL say it…this is not saying if someone is being physically or emotionally abused they must submit to the abuser!

This is saying that life//other’s sinful choices/our own errors in judgment will bring about times when we feel beat up…defeated…crushed.

And our first inclination will be to curse the circumstances and fight back or give up or give in to our human natures and the world’s systems of dealing with pain.

But as children of the Most High God…there is a better way.

Part of our inheritance is the gift of being one of His own and entitles us to surrender to the Creator who made us and sustains us in the MIDST of it all.

Our loving Father  is well aware of the pain we are enduring and yes, could have stopped the source, but for some reason unknown to us…He has allowed it.

And to acknowledge this is to comply with the hammer because we know it is simply the servant of the Master…as are we <3

And so we lift up to Him our brokenness and our sorrows, our grief and our pain, our sense of loss and our loss of joy…to God, who is Sovereign over us, over them, over yesterday, today and tomorrow.

To ask Him to show us how to move toward healing…and to be obedient to His directions as we simultaneously kneel before Him, lean on Him and yield to Him.

It has been a special blessing for me to walk through some of my stuff with you these past few days.

You all make wonderful travel companions on the Journey…

Have a blessed weekend and I’ll see you on Monday <3

 

Well when you explain it like that, even I can get it <3

So did you meditate and ponder the Scripture from yesterday?

Here is is again…

For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience has been confirmed.   2 Corinthians 10: 3-6   HCSB

Or perhaps this version is more helpful…

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way –  never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structured life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.    2 Corinthians 10:3-6   The Message

Ok…now I just wish we really were sitting across from each other with plenty of hot coffee and time enough to really dig into this.

But we can’t so…

just grab your favorite beverage and imagine me waving my hands in the air instead of tapping out these words and here are few musings to start us off.

First look at the language describing how our thought lives can lead us astray:

arguments…high-minded things that set themselves up against the knowledge of God…strongholds….tools of the world…manipulation…marketing…warped philosophies…barriers erected against the truth of God…loose thoughts…loose emotions…loose impulses…obstructions

Next observe the expressions applied to their removal…

warfare…demolition…take captive…punish…smashing…tearing down…clearing the ground

So let’s take one of my examples from yesterday and work it through here.

For the sake of illustration I will set the stage with a scenario.

I find myself feeling particularly down around 3:00 in the afternoon as I stumble across a reminder that triggers a new wave of sadness. In an effort to shake it off, I do some mindless checking of email which leads me to a visit to Facebook and there I see some happy somebody celebrating some event that just enhances my sense of loss. I begin to ask God why I can’t be them and then immediately feel remorse because I realize all the wonderful things I do have and why can’t I just be happy…which leads me to think of several uber positive friends I have who somehow take life in stride so much better and no wonder God is blessing them and I don’t deserve anything good anyway and so … more tears…more guilt…

Ok…hopefully that is general enough that you can plug yourself in there.

Maybe it’s you are sitting at your desk at work and starting to assume what the powers that be think of your value.

Maybe you are sitting in a gym and your child has been riding the same bench you rode twenty some years ago and it’s getting old.

Maybe the house didn’t sell or the stocks dropped or the test results were positive or…whatever…and suddenly your head is filled with all manner of thoughts that are stacking themselves up against God and Truth and He is getting smaller and His plan for you is diminishing and the more He shrinks the bigger the lies grow.

And you don’t realize it but you have exalted your thoughts above your God.

I recently listened to a random sermon  as I was driving south to meet Sarah for lunch and antiquing a few weeks ago.

Only God would provide me with this wonderful picture as I was brewing this series in my mind.

Matt Cassidy, from Grace Covenant in Austin, Texas, gave a perfect illustration of this passage.

He said that we have a tendency to invite thoughts that are counter to God’s truth in to our homes. We basically welcome them in like an honored guest and offer them a cold drink and the best seat in the house.

When what we should be doing is to handcuff  them, put a restraining vest around them and tie them to a hard back chair.

Look again at what we are to do with those thoughts…aggressive, violent words.

warfare…demolition…take captive…punish…smashing…tearing down…clearing the ground

So don’t let just any thought occupy your mind today.

If you are feeling trapped by your emotions, look at your thought life.

Is it leading you toward Christ or away from Him?

Any thought that leads you away from what He says in His Word is a liar.

Lock. It. Up.

Philippians 4: 8-9 tells us how we can identify the things our minds should be camping on as we journey…

Is what I am thinking really the truth?

Is this thought noble?

Is it reputable and authentic? Is there fact to back it up, or just my embellished narrative?

Is it a gracious thought…towards me or towards others?

Is it beautiful? Is it worthy of my praise of God?

Is it the best thought I could be spending my energy developing?

If not…just imagine escorting it to that time-out chair in the corner reserved for misbehavior.

And if you think you don’t have that kind of imagination…you were the one that developed the thought to the point that it’s tearing your world apart. Think about it..

Take some duct tape and strap it down…and use a little across it’s boasting mouth for good measure.

And then take yourself to some truths you can sing or say out loud and let the peace of Christ RULE your heart and your mind.

God bless you today as you visualize thoughts you need to kick to the curb.

May the LORD bless us with wisdom and discernment to begin to grow up into right thinking about ourselves, our circumstances and others because we are thinking right about our God!