Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Philippines: The Path for Spiritual Healing - Part 1

As I continue to pray for my family in Christ in the Philippines and all those that were impacted by this Typhoon, I thought about the time it will take to heal. Emotional healing is important, but spiritual healing is essential!

There is a clear understanding of the process we go through emotionally when dealing with grief.

1.     Denial. Inability to admit the reality of loss or injury. “I refuse to believe this has happened.”
2.     Acceptance. Admitting the reality of loss or injury. “I accept the fact this has happened.”
3.     Anger. Feelings of hostility aimed at something or someone. “I’m taking it out on you, myself, or keeping it inside.”
4.     Regret. Feelings of guilt and remorse that lead to sadness. “If I had only . . . this wouldn’t have happened.”
5.     Sadness. Feelings that can often lead to depression. “I don’t feel like eating, going to school, or doing anything. I just want to be left alone.”
6.     Depression. Deeper lapse into sadness and remorse. “I don’t want to do anything . . . I just can’t cope.”
7.     Adjustment. Working through sadness and depression. “It’s time to get on with life . . . taking a new direction.”

The best way to begin the spiritual healing is to minister to those that are in need. This will give your heart and soul purpose. Still, I believe the Christian has a spiritual process to go through personally also for the pain and grief.

Our first reactions: Rationalization and Questioning God – sometimes reversed.

Rationalization – Come up with a good reason for it happening. This often leads to some very strange and even dangerous conclusions. Rationalization won’t fix this.

Questioning God – Why Lord? Satan, and I am sad to say, a lot of the Christian community try to make you feel that asking God why is a sin. Job asked a lot of questions, yet the Scriptures point out that he never sinned with his lips. There is no scripture I am aware of that states it is wrong to ask God questions. Doubt, is a problem,  but not questions. God created us inquisitive.

The real issue is trust, which is lost when we doubt. From the beginning, the adversary provoked man and woman to doubt God’s love and motives.

There are two roads to take after those initial reactions. One is doubt, which will lead to distrust and bitterness. That road will lead to destruction.

The other road is what I want to talk about as we look at a man that dealt with much grief, let’s learn from him.

Job was a man that lost it all; his family, his wealth, his health - even betrayal of friends and his wife. 

Through this time Job said a lot of things – even concerning the Lord; some may be uncomfortable for us, still in the midst of all he went through – there are statements he makes that I believe we can gain from.

A. Live what you know this is how you get past the initial shock of the emotions. How do we do that?

·      1. Refuse to move to emotionalism; i.e. living based on what you feel, instead of based what you know.

Job 1:20-21 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."

The battle begins in the mind; Job knew he had to stay close to God. Our flesh will try to move us away from God using our emotions, but the new nature knows how important it is to depend on God when in the midst of trials.

·      2. Mental understanding of life – it includes difficult times.

Job 2:10 He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

This trial took away any thoughts of living in “the bubble”! Why some believers think that when you become a Christian your life moves into a protective bubble, that keeps you from experiencing hardships is beyond me. Scripture testifies to the direct opposite! Not only does life happen to everyone, when you are in the family of God, the adversary will become quite active against you. Here is the BIG difference; if you are not in a relationship with God, you go through that hardship alone. However, as His child, He is always there to guide and comfort you through life, the good parts and the difficult parts. God promises to be with us in the midst of all that happens, He does not promise to keep us from it.

Living in “the Bubble” leads to doubt because no one escapes life! In this fallen world everyone will experience difficult and heart breaking times. 

Job has more wisdom for us, which we will look at next time. Right now ask yourself how do you handle your emotions…or do they handle you? When bad things happen, do you move closer to God or feel you cannot trust Him? Are you living on what you know or what you feel? What are you doing to know more of Who God is? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Philippines and The cost of sin:

My wife and I have been overwhelmed by the news and the pictures we have seen of the Philippines. Many have shown their love via emails, and FB asking if we are ok. We are fine; we have been in the USA since Oct 31. We hit the ground running and have just now stopped. We have been praying for the dear folks in the Philippines and hoping with all our heart that the estimates of deaths turns out to be lower, though from the pictures and reports I have received from friends, I fear for the worst. We have friends staying in our home and I called them the day after, they said they are fine and that Luzon was spared. It is the middle Islands that took the brunt. 
I am fearful to learn how many friends I have in those areas were hurt, but I am hoping to hear so that I may pray more specifically for them. Thank all of you for being concerned about us, I ask that you focus your prayers and any help you feel led to give to the folks in the Philippines. I pray that all of God’s people in the Philippines will show what the love of Christ means to those who have lost so much.

I also want to take this time to reframe some of the things I am hearing and seeing over FB. From claiming to know that this is God’s judgment, or Filipinos deserve this, or don’t worry…Filipinos will just move on, to finger pointing and trying to fix blame for this huge Typhoon.

To better understand we need to go to the beginning:

Genesis 1:26–30 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.

God intended the earth to be a friend to man and man would be a wise steward. As we all know mankind did not allow that to happen, we chose to go our own way.

Genesis 3:17–19 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

When the fall took place, it affected everything, not just men and women. The earth was also brought under a curse, and everyone, including the animals of the world have been paying a price ever since! In the fallen state that our existence is in, terrible things happen, because they happen. Yes, there are times God causes things to happen, and though everything is under His control, He clearly allows many things to take place under the natural order of the universe He created.

To claim that you know that God is judging someone, unless it is stated clearly in His Word, is at the very least arrogant and unloving. Only God can say when He is actively judging or providently allowing. God did not desire the fall, but desired more to give man the choice to be in a relationship with Him. It is not His fault we chose to go our own way, it is ours. Does God actively cause disasters whether personal or at a national level? Scripture shows that He does. However, only when the Word states that it is His judgment should anyone claim that. How many disasters were happening during the time that Scripture was written that were never connected to God’s judgment? I find it so arrogant of anyone to claim to know the mind of God unless stated by Him in His Word. 

To say anyone deserves judgment exposes a spiritual pride that God hates. We all deserve judgment, I love God with all my heart, but I sin far to often and sometimes am careless with my life. If it were not for His mercy I would have been dead many times by now. When a person can spew such things, that exposes a lack of discernment toward measuring your words. To say to anyone who is suffering – “you will get over it” actually communicates how callous your heart is. There is a time to help someone move on, but not right away. First you weep and mourn with them, you offer comfort and help. To be so insensitive will bring God’s judgment on you, consider Job’s friends. This is also not the time to figure out why or who caused this. Even if there is an answer…which I find hard to believe…doing that only distracts us from what we should be focused on right now. Helping those that have been hurt so much.

One last thing – the person that knows the cost of sin the most is God Himself. For a creation that chose to rebel against Him, let’s be honest, we still do, He chose to pay the entire price of the judgment that sin would require Himself. The death that was paid was paid by Him in full, the wrath that was poured out was His wrath on Himself, so He could offer all of us a choice again. He refuses to force us to do what we should do, which is honor Him as God. He offers us a relationship that not only recognizes Who He is, but makes us His children! Incredible! All that cost because of our sin.

What the Philippines needs right now is God’s unconditional love extended by His children, to everyone, whether they believe or not. That issue is between them and God, our responsibility is to show them the kind of love our God has!