Monday, August 27, 2018

Life Hurts God Heals Pt 4

The very first act of creation was God creating light. The earth was without form and void, Gen 1:3-4 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 

That moment not only set the rest of creation into motion but produced a reality for how life would relate to those two conditions. It would define our day – dividing it into day and night, show us when we were to work and when we were to rest, help us mark off time, schedule events in nature.

But it would also become an analogy for a line drawn between good and evil. Darkness would represent evil and light good. Ignorance lived in darkness but illumination – understanding – came from the light. Oppression prowled about in the darkness but deliverance came from the light.

Spiritually, light and darkness became two realms that co-exist and have attractions for the two sides of our nature. The nature of our flesh desires the darkness. The nature of our spirit desires the light. We live in whichever realm we make ourselves at home.

But Paul said: Eph 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light. Walk with understanding of who you are. 

When a command is made in Scripture, it’s addressing an area we typically won’t do if we aren’t told to. Paul is commanding us to walk as Children of the Light. Which means, though we are children of light, we can walk as children of the darkness. We can take up the attitudes and actions inconsistent with faith and trust, and though we believe, we can live as though we don’t. Even though we are children of the Light, we can act like children of the darkness. Paul knows that and tells us to choose the light.

Mother sheep and the pig wallow -- sheep don't wallow!

Peter said: 1Pe 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Before we gave our lives to the Lord, we were children of the darkness. We did not belong to God. But he called us out of the darkness. His Light drew us away from the life and lifestyle of the dark side.

Ps 18:28 For You light my lamp; the LORD my God illumines my darkness.             
Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

When we stumble back into the darkness, God’s doesn’t say don’t worry, just stay there.  Let Me make you more comfortable there. He calls us back to the Light.

2Cor 4:6-9 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed 

What’s it like in the darkness? Affliction with crushing, perplexing with despair, being forsaken when we are persecuted, being destroyed when we are struck down.

What’s it like in the light? When we are afflicted, we are not crushed; when we are perplexed we are not despairing; when we are persecuted, we are not forsaken; when we are struck down, we are not destroyed.

Why would I want to reenter the darkness! In the darkness we reconnect with oppression. We rediscover fear, anxiety, doubt, lostness. We lose sight of our hope.

Isa 50:10 Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. 
Daniel and his friends were suddenly thrown into the darkness. They faced certain death because King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and wanted it interpreted but wouldn’t tell anyone what the dream was about.

Dan 2:27-28 Daniel answered before the king and said, "As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. 
That’s called a set-up, an unwinnable hand. It’s what the darkness does. It overwhelms us with fear to make us believe there is no answer.

However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made it known.

Daniel and his friends had asked God for wisdom and insight. Listen to how Daniel prayed after God presented them the answer.

Dan 2:20-23 Daniel said, "Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for You have given me wisdom and power; even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, for You have made known to us the king's matter." 

He knows what happens when His children are thrown into the darkness. Like the little sheep, they don’t belong there. Daniel and his friends didn’t belong there, so He lit their way to get them out of the darkness.

Ps 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear

It’s common among men that troubles overwhelm us. Even Children of the Light. Hopelessness and despair can drain away peace and joy. When we’re drawn back into the darkness, we will experience the life of that darkness all over again. We will respond to what we face like the godless who live there without hope.

Jer 8:18 My sorrow is beyond healing, My heart is faint within me!

Bee Gees asked:
How can you mend a broken heart? How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining? What makes the world go ‘round?
How can you mend this broken man? How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart And let me live again.

Now if that were a prayer, soon the light would shine to lead him out of darkness. But if it is merely the complaint of a miserable person living in the darkness asking someone else from the same darkness for help, there is no hope, the darkness holds no answer.

But when our complaining changes into prayer, when we tire of the repercussions of trying to live in the darkness when we are children of the light, we will hear God saying, “I’m your answer, follow Me.”

So, what do we do when we realize our pain and suffering have drawn us back into the darkness? 

Pray for light – for insight. God, show me what I need to know.
·       My physical issues may not be the problem. It could be emotional.
·       My emotional issues may not be the problem. It may be spiritual.
·       It could be my spiritual and emotional issues are actually physical.

That’s why I seek God for what I need to know:
·       I am confident God is my answer.
·       I have assurance He intends to make all things work together for good.
·       I understand I am presenting my whole life to Him, not just the problem.
·       I know He will do what’s best.
·       I faithfully continue asking until I have peace.

We don’t always to know what to ask for. Our motives are not always pure. Our hearts may have us ask with selfish desires. Our minds may have us tell God what the best solution is. Our flesh may want something God doesn’t want for us. But our spirits will ask God to do what’s best.

A heart-broken little girl went to the altar at church and began to pour out her heart to God, but she didn’t know what to say. As she wept, she remembered what her father had told her, "God knows your needs even before you pray, and he can answer when you don’t even know what to ask." So she began to say her alphabet. A lady sitting on the front row heard her. She knelt down beside the little girl and asked her what she was doing. "I’m praying to God from my spirit." The lady said, "It sounds to me like you’re are saying the alphabet!" "I am. But I don’t know what to say so I figured I’d just give God all the letters and let Him make them into the right words so He’d know what I needed to say."

Rom 8:26-28 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 

Movie: harsh treatment at a private boarding school. Boys could not help a particular boy who was struggling to build a fence until he asked. He’d been working all night then came in drenched from rain and mud, stood alone and said, “Help.” The school master said, “Would you repeat that?” He said, “I need help, please.” The boys got up and helped him finish the job.

All God could be waiting for is you to ask for help. How to you ask for help?

Suggestions: Come to Wednesday night prayer and allow folks to pray over you.
            Ask the Ladies Monday Prayer Group to pray for you.
            Find a prayer partner to pray with you.
            Get alone, in a private place, and pour your burden out on the Lord.
            If you don’t know what to say, just say JESUS! He’ll know what you need.

Just don’t stay in the darkness. Remember: you don’t belong there just like sheep don’t wallow.


1.      No one blames anyone for becoming overwhelmed during times of trouble.
2.     There are natural urges within us that draw us into the darkness of despair.
3.     However, as Children of the Light, we are not to stay there and grieve as those who have no hope.
4.     When we realize we aren’t where we should be, we must force ourselves to leave the darkness and return to the Light where we belong.
5.     Don’t stay in the darkness when God has called you to the light.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Life Hurts God Heals Pt. 3

Two weeks ago we began our study of Life Hurts God Heals. We discovered the primary word for healing was Rapha – to HEAL. But it is much broader than just physical healing. It means to make whole, to complete what is lacking, to fill what has become empty. Rapha covers physical, emotional, relational, spiritual hurts.

God gave the word as an introduction to Who He was and what He could do. He told Moses: Ex 15:26 "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals."

Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord Who Heals
Today we need to step to the side and look at times we interfere with that healing.

Matt 13:58 And He did not do many miracles there in Nazareth because of their unbelief

Now many have used this verse as the reason some are not healed. Accusing them of not having enough faith. Their unbelief was sin not just the inconvenience of not believing in what Jesus could do. They were denying Him. By adding sin to their need for healing, they had compounded their problem.

Compound means to add something to something else and get a different result.
Compounded medicine -
Compound sentence –
Compound fracture – when a person breaks a bone and the bone pokes through the skin. The fracture is compounded because of adding a risk of infection.

Compounding a problem – adding resentment instead of resolution. Seeking revenge instead of reconciliation. Wanting payback instead of blessing. Asking for sympathy instead of solution.

Gen 27:27-30 So Jacob dressed as Esau came close and kissed him; and when Issac smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, "See, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed; Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine; May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you." Now it came about, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had hardly gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 

Gen 27:34-35 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" And he said, "Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing." 

Gen 27:37-41 But Isaac replied to Esau, "Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?" Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." So Esau lifted his voice and wept. Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, "Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck." So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob." 

Heb 12:15-17 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. 

What would Esau have to repent about? He was the one mistreated. Yes he was, but he compounded the problem with his bitterness.

John 5:2-6 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get well?" 

John 5:14-15 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you." The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 

Was there a connection between his condition and sin? Had he compounded his problem?

Ancient Judaism made God the source of health and illness. Whichever you had, God caused it. If you were healthy, He had blessed you. If you were sick, He was punishing you for something. So it was natural to question why someone is suffering by asking what they did to deserve that.

Here Jesus hinted that the reason the man at the pool had lingered long in his suffering had more to do with him, than getting into the water.

Perhaps Jesus saw unresolved bitterness. Like Esau. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. 

Esau was distraught because of what he’d lost and begged for it back, but refused to acknowledge how he had compounded the problem. His bitterness kept him from accepting his own sin.

Remember Leo Tolstoy’s quote: “We cannot prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from making nests on top of our heads. Similarly, bad thoughts somethings appear in our mind, but we can choose whether we allow them to live there, to create a nest form themselves, and to breed evil deeds.”

Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob." 

What’s missing? Repentance. Repentance begins with accepting I have gone away from God’s path and chosen to make my own trail.

The Hebrew word for repentance is teshuvah literally meaning to "return to God."

Ps 41:4 As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You."
David connected his need for healing with having gone away from God’s best.

What was Esau’s promise? But it shall come about when you become restless, that you will break his yoke from your neck.

Restless – uneasiness caused by leaving something hanging – unfinished.

His dad had told him, when you get tired of what your own bitterness has done to drain you, you will then be able to break free from this hurt.

At this point the original problem is no longer the problem. Bitterness has taken over as the problem.

Gal 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 

Works of the flesh we are sowing into our life? Gal 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.

Works of the flesh are ways in which we compound our problems.

How do we stop the works of the flesh? Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. Deliberately choose to deny the impulses of bitterness and walk with God.

Prov 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. 

Turn away from evil: It’s the action of repentance. Turning away from the desires of the flesh and turning back to the Lord.

After the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly pointed out how its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Union artillery fire. She wanted Lee to sympathize with her for her pain. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it, lest bitterness take root and poison the rest of your life.”

Two monks were approaching a river. A lady was stuck on their side and needed to get to the other side. One monk offered they might carry her across. They joined their arms and she sat down. They carried her across, set her down and went on their way. The second monk complained about his back. The first monk said: the problem is, we both carried her across the river but I put her down. You are still carrying her.

How did the story of Esau and Jacob end? Gen 33:1-4 Then Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 

What made the change? Somewhere along the way, Esau grew weary of the heaviness of carrying his resentment against Jacob and let it go. In the process he was healed, the emptiness gone. He was full again and the joy returned.

Because the seeds of bitterness are close at hand, it is easy to grab a handful and plant them when we have been hurt. If you have, pick them out of the garden of your mind. Don’t let them take root and by all means don’t feed them and help them grow.

  1. We cannot prevent hurts.
  2. What we can prevent is becoming bitter against who or what we believe caused them.
  3. When we allow bitterness room to grow we have compounded our problem.
  4. Under these circumstances, to be healed we must confess our sin of bitterness turning back to God in repentance.
  5. Repentance doesn’t mean the bee didn’t sting, it means we can remove the stinger so it will stop compounding the hurt.

When I was a kid, we'd suck on our t-shirts and then grab a bee and let him sting the shirt. When he did the stinger would pull out. We'd toss away the bee. But if we forgot to take the stinger out of the shirt you could get stung without the bee having anything to do with it. Who then stung you? The bee or did you sting yourself because you left the stinger in the shirt? Repentance removes the stinger.

If you heard me say, if you have chronic suffering you have sin in your life, highlight that and hit delete. But make sure in your suffering you haven’t compounded it with bitterness. If so, you must deal with the bitterness first.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Life Hurts God Heals Pt 2

My Aunt would talk through movies or TV shows. Not to anyone around her, she talked to the characters: don’t go in there, you know you can’t trust her, here comes the train, he’s got a gun, don’t open that door, she’s hiding behind the curtain, that’s not a real baby. You can say she was completely involved in the action.

That’s the goal of any novelist or movie producer—for the people reading or watching to get completely involved in the story. They shape their characters to make you either like them or hate them. You become angry when your favorite character is mistreated. You want revenge when the bad guy gets the upper hand. You’re happy when the villain gets his in the end.

What makes us get so involved? The writers have helped you form opinions. Then as you read or watch, those opinions are in control. You’re either pleased or disappointed based on how things go according to your opinion.

Happens in life as well. It is a rare person who can go through difficulties without forming an opinion. It’s quite natural to resent pain or the actions of others that caused pain and even people who represent that pain.

Joseph’s brothers knew this and anticipated, now that their father Jacob had died, Joseph would deal harshly with them. Pay them back for what they did to him.

Gen 37:23-28 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him; and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it. Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers listened to him. Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt. 

Gen 39:20-21 So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. 

Gen 40:1-4 Then it came about after these things, the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. So he put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, in the jail, the same place where Joseph was imprisoned. The captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them, and he took care of them; and they were in confinement for some time. 

Gen 40:23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. 

Gen 41:1 Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. 

It’s easy to get frustrated as we watch life unfold and clash with our opinions of how it should have gone. That’s why suffering can produce resentment. This messed up my life.

We want there to be some meaning to our suffering. We don’t want to suffer needlessly.

We read of Paul’s imprisonments. Why on earth would God take His choice man out of circulation to have him locked away in various stinking prison cells? Well, the Philippian jailer would have never been saved if Paul and Silas had not been in his jail when the earthquake hit. Half of Paul’s epistles would never have been written since they were written from prison cells. The whole Pretorian Guard in Caesarea would not have heard the Gospel message had not Paul been chained to them. Other believers would never have gained the boldness to spread the gospel without Paul encouraging them out of his own miserable circumstances.

Without the results, what God accomplished because of Paul’s misery, it would be easy to say Paul was unfairly treated.

In the same way, it’s easy to think how unfair it is that all this happened to Joseph. It looks like just meaningless suffering. And we would have no problem with him taking a more aggressive approach to dealing with his brothers. After all, they caused his suffering.

Typically, in our emotional brokenness, we have a focal point. Someone did something or didn’t do something, or something has happened or didn’t happen, something has been taken away or not taken away that has left me hurt and empty.

Instead, he chose to see God in his suffering. This is about God’s purposes. God has more in mind than what these circumstances indicate. Look what God did to prepare me for this day. This is my miracle.

Gen 50:15-20 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!" So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father charged before he died, saying, 'Thus you shall say to Joseph, "Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong."' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants." But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 

Question is not how did we get here, but now that we are here, what does God plan to do?

How do we get to the place where we can trust God more than our hurting bothers us? By habitually thanking God in all things.

1Thess 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 

I can’t just thank God when He accomplishes my desires. I can’t just thank Him when I sense blessing. I must thank Him even for what I can’t see. What He’s planning. What’s going on behind the obvious. Even when it still hurts. When I can’t give thanks, I limit God to what things look like. When I only look at what things look like, I’m not prepared to see the miracle.

Jim Buick had a fire at his hanger at Conroe Airport last weekend. He was trying to start his classic Rolls Royce that had been in storage for several years. The car caught on fire. First impulse was to get the fire out and save the car. Which is the right reaction. But things went differently, and he lost the car. If you say the car was the most important thing, losing the car would be a major disappointment. But if in losing the car, you discover your life was saved. Your whole perspective changes. Your miracle came disguised in the loss of a possession.

In our excitement we pray, God help me save the Rolls, but that isn’t the right prayer. The right prayer (without knowing it) was God save my life. Somehow in all that went on, Jim was drenched in gasoline, yet didn’t catch fire. His life was miraculously spared.

What if Joseph had prayed every day: God get me out of here! I’m sick and tired of this prison! God set me free! And God said: That’s all you want, that’s your miracle, just to be set free? I’d rather not do that. I need to leave you there for a while longer to show you what the real miracle is.

In everything that happens, God has a plan. And His plan is better than anything we could ask Him to do. In the meantime, we wait for the miracle.

I was once a container of great joy but got bumped which cracked my container and my joy spilled out. So we pray: I want the joy back.

But when we limit our prayer to God take away our hurt—the obvious—we’ll miss the miracle. The miracle isn’t getting the joy back. It’s Jehovah Rapha restoring the container.

Not until the crack is healed will God bring back the joy. Otherwise, it would simply leak back out the crack.

What heals a broken container? Giving the container to God. He wants the broken container. He needs no explanation as to why it got cracked, who cracked it or for how long it has been cracked. He simply wants the container.

Say you ran your truck into a security gate somewhere. The body shop guy doesn’t care about how it happened, only if you want it fixed.

Giving God our broken container means giving Him the misery, the bitterness, the desire for revenge, the punitive desires, the grudge, the small-mindedness to think this is just about me and I don’t like it one bit. To stop looking at what was done to me, what happened to me, how I have suffered because of ______________.

Doesn’t that cheapen what I’ve been through? Giving yourself to God isn’t some cheap, flippant, religious exercise. It’s a sacrifice.

Ps 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

A sacrifice is something that costs us to give and requires humility: 1Pet 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 

A man was walking through an art gallery when he came to a picture of Jesus dying on the cross. As he stared into Jesus’ face, the gallery guard tapped him on the shoulder. "Lower," the guard said. "This picture can only be fully appreciated from a lower position." The man stooped. From this lower position he saw new beauties in the picture he hadn’t seen previously. "Lower," said the guard. The man squatted and looked up into the face of Christ. The new vantage point yielded more beauty. He was amazed. The guard said, "Lower. You've got to go lower." The man dropped down to his knees and looked up. Only then could he see the artist's intended perspective. Only in humility could he see the full beauty of the cross.

It takes humility to give our brokenness to the Lord. We’ve paid an enormous price for our suffering. Our tears have come at a great cost. We need healing. For Jesus to heal, we must give Him the broken pieces. Let’s start by giving Him our tears.

Don't Cry My Child
by Cary Smith

Don't cry My child as though your tears lack meaning.
Don't cry My child as though there is no hope.
Each drop I trace down faces softly trembling,
Helps wash away the sadness in our soul.

Don't cry My child as though you've been forgotten.
Don't cry My child as though you think I'll leave.
I promised you I'd always be beside you,
So here I am, "Your Comfort and Your Peace."

     Tears that flow from hearts that have been broken,
     Tears that fall from lives now torn in two,
     Tears that sting from dreams that have been stolen,
     All your tears are precious, child to Me.

Don't cry My child as those who think they can't go on.
Don't let your hurt take you to despair.
Long before the sorrow that's consuming you
Ever touched your heart I was there.

    Tears that flow from hearts that have been broken,

     Tears that fall from lives now torn in two,
     Tears that sting from dreams that have been stolen,
     All your tears are precious, child to Me.

When the sadness in your heart overwhelms your firm resolve,
Let these promises convince you of My love.
I place your tears inside a special bottle,
So cry My child and give your tears to Me.

Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. 

1.      No one devalues the price any of us has paid to carry our broken pieces, but as long as we carry them, we will constantly be reminded of that price.
2.     Giving the pieces to Jesus eases that burden off of us and onto Him.
3.     Rest can only come when we let go and let God make us whole again.
4.     To give our brokenness to Jesus, we must do what Jesus said: Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I’ll give you rest. Matt 11:28

Monday, August 6, 2018

Life Hurts God Heals Pt. 1

More times than not, when the word translated saved is used in the Bible, it means deliverance not salvation. The nation or a person would become trapped in a situation with another nation or group, cry out to God for Him to free them from their circumstances and they would be delivered. Only a few understood the spiritual implications of their need for personal deliverance or salvation, most simply wanted God to fix the problem of oppression.

The same goes for the word HEAL. By definition, Rapha, which is the most used word for healing, means to make whole. Healing may be the answer in making someone whole, but rapha means much more than just physical healing. That’s an important distinction. The word can mean: cure, cause to heal, physician, repair thoroughly, make whole.
Typically, when we ask for healing, we mean FIX. We pray, “God heal my condition, my illness, my cancer, my broken heart, my child’s rebellion, my past.” What we mean is fix it so I’m no longer affected by it. Remove it. Replace it with wellness, deliverance, hope, solution. We want whatever is afflicting us to go away and never come back. Which makes healing, like deliverance, getting rid of a problem. I had cancer. I no longer have cancer. I have been healed. I had a heart condition. I no longer have a heart condition. I have been healed. And there are plenty of stories to support that as our definition of healing. But some give us greater understanding.

Mark 5:25-34 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse—after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well." Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction." 

Jesus did not heal the daughter, she died. What had originally called for healing now needed something more. The situation changed. Something was taken away and to restore it would require a different solution: raising her from the dead. Question: did Jesus bring the young girl back for her benefit or for her father’s? She was gone, unaware of any need. So, the one in the room who bore the need was Jairus. She was only 12 years old but the suffering now would be carried by her dad. To heal his broken heart would take something more than physical healing to be made whole.
In the other part of the story was a woman who had suffered for the same 12 years with a blood disorder. She personally carried the pain of what that disease had taken away. She needed physical healing to be made whole.
If we limit healing to removing illness only, Jesus couldn’t have helped Jairus. But the pathway to wholeness gave Him freedom to meet both needs.
Isaiah saw this pathway going through the same person. It was packaged inside the sufferings Jesus would experience in crucifixion.  He wrote: by His scourging we are healed.
Jesus didn’t die for physical healing. He died to make us whole. Healing is only a small portion of what Isaiah was talking about. Because healing predated the crucifixion. Jesus didn’t have to die to heal but He did have to die to make us whole. There are stories of healing in the OT as well as Gospel accounts full of healings. Jesus healed because He was God. The power to heal was resident within Him. That was true before and after the cross.
Since the promise of Isaiah 53 was larger than physical healing, what Jesus offers today is greater than just physical healing. It is the promise of being made whole – rapha. To be made whole includes: physical healing, emotional healing, relational healing, separation healing, spiritual healing.
The word rapha has been used when someone purified polluted water, repaired the altar, restored the temple, removed a disease and the curse associated with it,
Who are the brokenhearted? What are their wounds? Pain caused by emotional distress, relational damage, separation anxiety from losing a loved one.
These are not promises David prophesized toward some future event like the cross. They were present tense realities. They meant something that very day when David wrote them. What are they connected to? Why can David say this? Isaiah hadn’t even been born yet.
Ex 15:26 And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals."
Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord Who Heals
David knew what God called Himself was not only Who He was but what He would do.
Elijah knew the same thing. On at least two recorded occasions, Elijah was God’s conduit for healing. How did he know God did such things? What made him think healing was possible? He had read what God had told Moses. He knew what God called Himself was not only Who He was but what He could do. Elijah accepted what God could do because He accepted what God said about Himself.
In moments of desperation, we tend to focus on what is causing the desperation. We give into its downward press. We forget that the answer isn’t in the cause or in what’s wrong but in what we know is true. Our God is The Lord Who Heals You.
Someone once said: never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.
·       If we have found God has meet our needs in the past, we are encouraged to trust Him with our present struggles.
·       If we know Him in a capacity of power over whatever we face, we are confident to rely on Him in our current circumstances.
·       If we are told He can do even more than we ask or think regarding our issues, we are drawn to give Him our burdens.
Rapha – being made whole – begins with the realization that God is able. Rapha includes whatever qualifies as make us whole. The word literally means to mend by stitching back together. To take whatever seems undone or unraveled in your life and put pieces back together again. Stitches promote proper healing, so wounds will heal better when stitched. Do stitches ever make it as though the wound never happened? No, a wound will still leave a scar but the cut is healed. Why not make the scar go away? Why did Jesus still have scars after the resurrection? So we wouldn’t forget the price He paid to make us whole.
Does it mean my sick husband won’t die? No. It does mean God can walk with you through your emptiness and someday make your empty heart full again.
Does it mean my wife won’t divorce me? No. It does mean God can walk with you through the darkness and help you risk loving again.
Does it mean my children won’t break my heart? No. It does mean God can put the pieces back together and hold you when it happens again.
Does it mean my past will haunt me no  longer? No. It does mean God can strengthen you to not be oppressed when the thoughts return. 
How? By being your God who heals.
Why don’t we believe that? Because we have tried to define the word HEAL to satisfy us. We think God has to straighten everything out to fix the problems. No. Kit Marie came by this past week and told me something his mother, Dani, said: God writes so straight with crooked lines. God can take whatever we give Him and draw from it a line straight through to wholeness. It may not match our definition of fixing it, but the result is what we need to be made whole.
Locate the problem, cry out to the healer and then leave the decision of how He implements wholeness to Him.
  • If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator;
  • If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist;
  • If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist;
  • If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer;
  • But since our greatest need was wholeness, God sent us a Healer.

Right before the stories of Jairus’ daughter and the woman, Jesus had met the man in the tombs, cast the demons out and healed him. Imagine him going home that evening. His children looked out the window and cried, "Mommy, Daddy is coming!" She ran over and locked the door. She told the children, "Don't be afraid, the door is locked, He can't hurt you!" The children trembled as they looked out the window. "Mommy, that doesn’t look like Daddy. He isn't running and yelling and screaming. He's calm. He's walking slowly. He's very quiet. He has his clothes on.” "Keep still!" their mother whispered. As hearts beat faster, they heard his hand take the latch. The door was locked. They waited for the pounding but instead, the man knocked gently. His wife didn’t answer the door. She remained still, hoping he would go away. Then he said, "Mary, open the door. I am all right. I met Jesus today and I am a changed man." She slowly opened the door while the children cowered in the corner. The man said, "Don't be afraid children. I met Jesus today, and I am different." His smile was something new, so they approached timidly. He put his arms around them and loved them. He spoke kindly to his wife and with a prayer of thanksgiving she prepared supper. When they sat down at the table he bowed his head and said a blessing. They talked and laughed until bedtime then he gathered them around him and thanked God for the miracle that happened. With the children in bed, he sat with his wife beside the fireplace. He took her hand and said, "Thank God Mary, the old life is over. I met Jesus today and I'm whole again." Mary looked into his eyes and said, “So am I.” (rewitten from Chuck Swindoll)

  1. Whenever we sense something missing from our life, we feel we are incomplete.
  2. When we feel we are incomplete we often look for what we can find to make us complete.
  3. God uses that feeling of incompletion to get us to look to Him as Savior.
  4. When we feel empty after something has been taken away: our health, our marriage, our family, our peace, our love, our concern for someone else, God will use that emptiness to get us to look to Him as Healer.
  5. He may not fix the problem as though it never happened, but He will make us whole again.