Tuesday, October 21, 2008
We left off talking about the Corinthian's alternative and abusive lifestyles, with the pivot point being that they were now washed, set apart for, and justified by God when they met Jesus, leaving all that was former behind, and had to start thinking new thoughts. The way they were healed emotionally is the same for us.
Paul said in Romans 12:3 "I speak through the grace given unto me." He couldn't speak according to the grace given to Peter, but only to himself. So this is part of my grace, my story of emotional or 'inner' healing: Before my dad sat us 4 kids down (ages 11/me; 9, 7, 5) on February 7, 1969 and told us, "I am divorcing your mother, and I'm divorcing you kids. There won't be any ball games, birthdays, holidays, Christmas's, or vacations..." life with him was an emotional washing machine. To give you an idea, that was his 35th birthday - some celebration wasn't it? He was going to start his 36th year with a clean slate - sans family.
In the years before he left one brother regularly had visible welts on his lower back, rear end and thighs from the belt (for some reason I got the old fraternity paddle on my rear), but we all had emotional welts in our young emotions. Dinner time was like the Von Trapp's before Maria sat on the pine cone in "The Sound of Music" - sit straight, speak if spoken to, give a daily report on school and such.
Dad's dad was an alcoholic who got suicidal and violent when drunk, and he made several suicide attempts before he finally succeeded. The summer I was 7 years old I remember asking "pop-o" as we called him, what the bandages were on each wrist, and he said he had cut himself in the shop. Years later I found out he had slit his wrists but had been discovered. He eventually succeeded in finding the hidden pistol my dad had taken from him during a previous attempt, taking his own life in October of 1965, when I was 7 1/2.
I remember the day clearly: The phone call for dad from my grandma; his dad was drunk and had a gun. I saw my dad searching frantically through the drawers in his dresser and saying "It's gone!" I remember mom and dad saying he must have searched and found it Sunday when they were over for dinner. The next thing I knew, dad raced out of the house after telling grandma to leave her house immediately, and that night being told dad was too late - Pop-o was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He also killed their pet dog, and I'm sure would have killed grandma too had she not obeyed my dad and left immediately.
Those are just a few details - Dad also shot the neighbors cat with a rifle because it was (once again) in our sandbox, dad violently pulling me out of bed in the middle of the night to do a chore for some minor infraction - like I didn't empty the trash before bed - and so forth.
But you get the idea. So when he left when I was 11 1/2, I felt, and I know we all did to varying degrees, that if we had not been born mom and dad would still be together. Dad contributed to the idea we were partly to blame when he said he was leaving in part because we didn't always jump up to greet him with enthusiasm when he came through the door after a hard day at work - just what every child wants to hear from his dad.
So at age 16, when my friend Janny led me to the Lord, I was searching for a dad. But the truth was, that I delayed getting to know Jesus because I didn't think he would want me. My self image was lower than a snake's belly - why would God want me? What could he possible do with my life? Janny had to encourage me repeatedly that he did in fact want me, that he could make something of my life.
I was numb and didn't care about life: Dropped out of Boy Scouts, flunked a semester of freshman algebra, dropped bowling league, swimming, scuba lessons, flying lessons - all just 'things' to keep me busy - but inside I just didn't care about anything in life. Until Janny talked to me about God.
My hunger for a dad won out, realizing that if Jesus had the last word it only made sense to serve him - so I asked him to take over my life if he really wanted me, got to know the Father, and never looked back.
Healing, forgiveness, the battle for the mind
My dad had met another woman who had 2 kids of her own, and he promised to raise her kids as his own, forsaking his own completely. He built them all a nice home with an indoor pool 20 minutes across town, while my mom went back to graduate school at night and worked out of our house doing bookkeeping.
His new life meant any relationship with us 4 kids was kept from his wife. Thus by the time I could drive, any meeting with dad took place at his office, going in the back door, and began or ended with these words: "Remember, ___ must never know anything about this. If she asks I'll deny it, and you must too." That was 1974-77. It wasn't until 1996 dad and she wrote that she now knew about our secret meetings and college.
Even on our honeymoon, for which dad was kind enough to loan Barb and me one of his condos in south Florida for 2 weeks, it was a deal between he and I. When I went to the condo office to get the key, the lady was floored to discover I was the first born son, John Jr., eldest of 4 - she knew nothing of us, his first marriage, or anything, though she had known my dad and worked closely with him for over 10 years.
I made Jesus Lord at age 16, and over the next 2 years the Father tried to rebuild my emotions. Even then, at age 18 during a retreat with 2 buddies to rededicate our lives to God, I was telling him how much I wanted to serve him, but just knew I was no good and he would never want me.
It was during the playing of a Nancy Honeytree album, on the last song on side 2 entitled "I am Your Servant" (written by the late Larry Norman), that Jesus broke through my anguish saying: "John, I love you!" I was startled, and replied "I love you too, Lord." He said "Turn to John 14:27" I said "Now Lord?" and he replied, "Yes, now". "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
At that moment I knew that he accepted me and my desire to serve him, and that He had made me good enough to be used of him, by his blood - just like anyone else. I had spent 2 years in anguish about my self image, whether the Father and Jesus really and truly wanted me or not - and it was that revelation that healed that image, starting me down the road to once and for all think about myself as the Father and Jesus did. From that point on I met every negative thought about myself with God's thoughts about me.
And that's how you get healed emotionally; a revelation followed by the discipline of confronting every thought contrary to what God says about you, with what he does say about you. In the same way Satan told Jesus to turn stones to bread but was met with what God said, so too I had to meet each and every thought about how no-good I was, with what God said about me.
Forgiveness is a decision, not an emotion or feeling
I decided to forgive my dad at age 16, in the midst of all the secret meetings and broken promises, realizing when Jesus said "When you stand praying, forgive" in Mark 11:25, he made it a decision not an emotion.
My feelings were still raw about my dad, and stayed so for the next 10 years, all the while continually repeating my decision to forgive him. For 10 years my emotions did not line up with my decision.
The memories assaulted my emotions in living color and full Dolby Surround Sound on a big screen, replayed repeatedly to the point of being worn out. Yet each memory had to be confronted, often speaking out loud to myself, "No, I forgave that", but usually only saying it after I had played it all out again in my mind. At times the "No I forgave that" came more from habit than any feeling I felt at the moment, and then I'd be angry at whatever triggered it - a letter from my brother, a conversation that recalled a memory - but it was a decision I had made and I knew that eventually my feelings would line up with my decision.
The Father really stirred things up in me once our 3 sons were born. Yes God, not the devil, because the memories weren't the devil, they were just history. God was bringing them to the surface like dross on a pot of melted gold that needed to be scraped off. Once a person's spirit is recreated by the Holy Spirit, the life of God tries to flow up to our minds, and that life shines itself on any dark places there. (Phil 1:6)
Emotional healing is allowing God to shine his Light on, and interpret our personal history as seen through his eyes, back to us. We see events as he saw them. He does not shy away from the ugly truth, but His perspective brings healing while leaving (most) memories intact, just removing the damage and pain.
I kept thinking about what he did, and would get angry all over again. But finally it boiled down to 2 things: 1 was the relationship with him that was lost; and 2 was the injustice of it all. The injustice made me mad, the lost relationship made me sulk and turn inward. I felt robbed and felt a bit sorry for myself - I wanted to know my dad but he still wanted nothing to do with me - it was so unfair.
The Father gently brought me over 10 years time, to the place I realized I could never regain the teen years I never had with my dad, and I was at peace with letting those years go to the Father. You might think I would have been glad to be rid of my dad, but the truth is there was a lot of good in him; he taught me much, and it was those good times I wanted back.
One day in December of 1984 or '85, I clearly heard the Father say; "Call your dad and ask him to forgive you." I balked, more than that I was angry - "Me ask HIM to forgive ME? Are you crazy, Father? He should be calling me!" "Call your dad and ask him to forgive you" was his response.
I obeyed...here is the exact conversation as best as I remember it: "Hello dad, this is John. How are you?" "Very well" in his best business-like voice. "I have something to ask you. Will you please forgive me for anything I've done or said to you that hurt you?".....silence..."Dad, will you?" "Very well." "Ok dad, that's all I wanted, how is ____? Are you doing OK?" "We're fine." "OK...thanks, that's all I wanted. Merry Christmas."
That freed me somehow - never since have I struggled with the anger associated with the injustice of it all, the hurt inflicted... The memories are there, but the pain is gone. The memories are there, but there is no anger - sadness over what's lost? Yes. Wishing that even today he would take the initiative to call or email? Yes. Hoping that even on his death bed if nothing else, he might come to the Lord and/or I might see him again? Yes, with all the emotions that entails.
But the Father became my father, and turned me into a good husband and father. More than that, I have had and continue to have wonderful revelations of the Father and his realm, and walk in that intimacy with him. That which I lost on earth, has been made up for so far above by my heavenly Father, yet I still miss my dad, but with no pain associated with the memories.
To get to healing I had to do the hard work over many years of confronting every emotion and memory that was contrary to what the Father says about me or about any situation or any person, as a way of life. But without hesitation I freely admit it was the Father working within my emotions to stir things up for the purpose of healing, and then meet me with understanding, and patience, thus the glory and credit is all his.
Stay tuned for part 3...
Some thoughts this week,
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I've not written about inner healing before, but have been thinking on it for several months, in general wondering why many are so quick to blame their past, or people past or present as a reason they can't do the right thing now. I've concluded many need inner healing, but not like churchianity most often defines it.
A definition please
By 'inner healing' I'm talking about how to actually walk out an emotional healing, not going to a session with someone hoping each hurtful event can be replayed and Jesus will touch each and make the injury go away.
It's wonderful when he does heal emotions like that, but usually we have to walk it out step by step, and that's what I'm talking about today.
What O what to do?
Ever since my wife and I were teenagers and came to know the Lord, we've asked ourselves 3 questions in any situation: What would the Father want me to think, say, and/or do? How can this be used to help me grow more Christ-like? What is my responsibility and required action?
So our advice to people through the years has always been with the intent of moving a person in that same direction, assuming a believer always asks those 3 things of themselves.
But the truth is that many people don't ask themselves those 3 questions, and if they don't want to grow in Christ they can't be helped, for ultimately every incident in life is an opportunity to either grow or stagnate, and only those willing to grow can be helped. Those who want to stagnate find enabler's, or a shoulder to cry on, or those who will agree with their points of hurt.
A person views life through what they carry in their heart. If what they are carrying differs from what
Jesus wants them to carry in their heart, the Lord will work from within them, asking them to give up those things carried, or think differently about them, or think/act differently towards the person(s) who inflicted the injury (real or imagined) they continue to carry.
The fear is that Jesus will make them leave the familiarity of their current condition, which is more comfortable than the unknown life Jesus offers. So they opt either to emotionally hunker down, or take action to distance themselves (emotionally, physically) from loved ones and/or friends.
New thoughts, self image, ways of thinking, ways of responding to people; it's all scary to someone who has lived in hurt. It's much easier to justify sin by blaming someone else - a spouse, relative or friend - than it is to humble oneself before them, admitting they are the one with the issues, and cry "help me!"
It's also much easier to seek a single touch by the Lord to wipe it all away in one fell swoop than it is to walk out a healing over time. Sometimes that desire to get a one touch healing becomes almost obsessive, the person going to this ministry and that, trying to find the one key to their healing, rather than realizing the Lord may be wanting to walk them through the healing rather than a one touch does it all type thing.
And some are so injured they don't know how to change and be healed.
Don't shout me down now
Being hurt is not an excuse for not doing what's right. Thus someone doesn't have to be emotionally healed before they can do right. Everyone can start where they're at and the Lord will meet them there.
Even in the secular world the list of people who made a positive difference in the world - inventors, industry leaders, and the like - are filled with people with very, very rough upbringings, yet they learned to do the right thing even without Christ - so someone doesn't have to be healed first to make right decisions.
Jesus is spoken of in Isaiah 9:6 as "counselor" (Heb: one who gives advice), and we must realize Jesus' advice will be that of His Word and helping us become more like him. I'm all for giving spiritual guidance, as long as the person receiving it is applying the counsel provided to their lives.
I thought inner healing involved sessions with someone replaying the past with me?
You may be wondering if I never suffered any emotional injury but you'd be wrong. Please don't think that before or since we came to the Lord my wife and I lived by the motto of the Jodie Foster character in the movie "Nim's Island", who said: "I don't want to touch the world; it's not sanitary."
No, we each came out of home and family situations that many today cry out for "inner healing" from, or run to conferences or sessions about. We've been through "inner healing" from those family environments by one hard decision after another, choosing to ask those 3 questions above, keep our heart right before God, and doing the difficult but right thing, emerging whole and more like Jesus on the other side.
Oscar Wilde said "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes" and we have lots of experience!
Don't get me wrong, I've been in many situations where the Father gave me a word of knowledge or mini-vision for a specific event in someone's life that resulted in peace or understanding of that situation through God's eyes. But most "inner healing" comes not through a session with someone looking over their shoulder at a past hurtful event, but rather looking forward to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Abusers with mankind
The city of Corinth had this motto: "Liberty and knowledge", which highlighted their anything-goes culture. From pedophilia to prostitution to drugs, they had it all if it was related to the pursuit of personal freedom.
In the following passage Paul makes a 3 part statement that we can view as a teeter totter with sins on one end, life in Christ on the other end, and what happened to them when they met Christ right in the middle.
On this end...
If ever a people needed inner healing when they came to Christ, it was the citizens of Corinth. His list of their sins look very similar to abuses listed in inner healing brochures: "...neither fornicators (any sex outside of marriage), nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor (the whole range of homosexuality), nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous (user for personal gain), nor drunkards, nor revilers (literally 'abusive'), nor extortionists (seize/use force), shall inherit the kingdom of God..." (I Cor 6:9-10)
Can you imagine the dysfunction in the families of Corinth? Many of those who lived like the above paragraph were parents, children, grandchildren, cousins, employers - lots of hurt! And now they've come to Christ! So how does Paul advise them to work through their past sins, hurts, abuses, and memories?
The middle point of the teeter totter
After listing these various sins we might think Paul would immediately teach about how to free the mind of these memories, or to go back in the past and picture Jesus coming into that situation, or suggest the need to renounce each individual sin, or even recommend some intense prayer with a counselor.
He might even let them off the hook, understanding that mom or dad were abusive or neglectful when they were a child, or they were beaten, or their current spouse has a past and is acting out of that. Yes, he might have excused them because they were victimized or are currently in a difficult situation.
Instead, Paul says this: "And such were some of you; but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (I Cor 6:11, Revised Standard)
Notice the 3 things that had happened when they met Jesus: Washed (born again), sanctified (set apart for God's use), and justified (declared righteous in God's sight).
On the far end of the teeter totter...
He goes on to say in the next verse: "Everything is permissible for me - allowable and lawful; but not all things are helpful - good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things. Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power." (AMP)
Imagine Paul in Christ on one end of the teeter totter looking back through the middle part where they met Jesus, towards the other end where the sins are. To get to those sins he'd have to go through what he has in Christ. Yes, he could go back to his past if he wanted, using sarcasm in a reference to Corinth's "liberty and knowledge" motto, all things are lawful - BUT - he refuses to become a slave (again) or brought under the power (authority) of these things.
When confronted with memories of past sin and/or abuse, Paul has them look at these things through Christ; they were washed, set apart for God, and God Himself has justified them in heaven's court, and they should refuse to go back to be enslaved by those things on the other end of that teeter totter! But how did they get healed of the memories, guilt, and emotional hurt caused by their past (or current) life?
That's next week, when I'll share how I walked out my own inner healings, so stay tuned!
Some thoughts for today. Blessings,
Pada waktu kamu dicobai Ia akan memberikan jalan keluar, sehingga kamu dapat menanggungnya. (1 Kor 10:13)
Saat itu kami berada di ruang pemeriksaan dokter, ada benjolan di punggung istriku. Pada mulanya kami berpikir itu benjolan biasa saja yang akan segera hilang. Namun setelah beberapa bulan berlalu benjolan itu tidak hilang juga. Hingga akhirnya kami memutuskan untuk memeriksakannya pada seorang dokter. Dokter mendiagnosa bahwa itu bisa saja tumor dan sebaiknya diangkat melalui operasi. Kata pertama yang keluar dalam hatiku adalah,”Not again.” Mengapa hal ini harus aku lalui lagi? Berjuta pertanyaan segera memenuhi benakku seketika itu juga. Keraguan akan kebaikan Tuhan mulai menggerogoti imanku. Sampai di satu titik, dimana aku mengusir keraguan itu, mencoba untuk tenang dan mulai mengingat kebaikan Tuhan atas hidup kami. Bagaimana Tuhan mempertemukan kami. Bagaimana Ia mencukupi semua kebutuhan pernikahan kami sendiri tanpa bantuan orangtua. Ia telah mengaruniakan seorang putra bagi kami. Aku pun bersyukur atas istriku yang selalu mendukungku dalam suka maupun duka. Saat itu aku menyadari betapa banyaknya kebaikan Tuhan atas hidupku. Apapun ujian itu, Tuhan pasti akan memberi jalan keluar bagi kami. Dalam kehidupan kita ada masa dimana kita mengalami dukacita namun ada pula masa dimana kita mengalami sukacita. Pilihan ada di dalam tangan kita untuk hidup mengasihani diri sendiri dan tertekan atau memilih untuk mengingat kebaikan Tuhan atas hidup ini. Ketika kami mulai mengingat kebaikan Tuhan, semangat dan optimisme muncul kembali. Kami tatap masa depan kami dengan iman percaya pada Tuhan Yesus. Pencobaan yang kami alami merupakan suatu batu loncatan untuk kemajuan rohani kami di dalam Dia. Bagaimana kami dapat menyaksikan kebaikanNya bila kami sendiri belum pernah mengalami Kristus dalam hidup ini. Kami percaya Tuhan akan menolong kami melalui badai cobaan ini, sebab Ia adalah Tuhan yang setia dan tidak pernah meninggalkan kita.
Doa: Ajar kami Tuhan untuk percaya bahwa Engkau akan menolong pergumulan kami.
Ayat FT: Matius 11:28-30
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
SELAMAT JALAN SAYANG
Sebab rancanganKU bukanlah rancanganmu, dan jalanmu bukanlah jalanKU, demikianlah firman Tuhan. (Yes 55:8)
Rasanya tegang sekali menantikan kelahiran anak kami yang kedua, harap-harap cemas sebab anakku ternyata sungsang hingga harus dilakukan operasi Cesar. Kulihat seorang perawat tergesa-gesa membawa tabung oksigen ke dalam ruangan menambah suasana menegangkan bagi diriku. Putraku bertanya, “Ada apa, Pa?”
“Papa tidak tahu apa yang terjadi, Phil (nama putra kami).” Jawabku dengan tegang. Proses persalinan ini terlalu lama, pikiranku sudah bercampur aduk, ada perasaan sesuatu yang buruk telah terjadi di dalam sana tetapi apa? Aku pun tak tahu apakah itu.
Dua jam kemudian, dokter spesialis kandungan keluar dari ruangan dengan wajah tegang. Melihat raut wajahnya menambah jantungku berdebar-debar, sepertinya ia pun tengah menyusun kalimat untuk disampaikan dengan berhati-hati. Ia pun lalu berbicara,” Maaf, Pak. Kami telah berusaha semaksimal mungkin namun putri Bapak meninggal akibat praeklamsi. Ia hanya bertahan selama satu jam saja. Sedang istri Bapak berhasil kami selamatkan, saat ini sedang dalam proses pemulihan. Saat mendengar kabar itu, rasanya tiba-tiba dunia di sekelilingku berhenti berputar.
Aku diizinkan untuk melihat jasad putriku, kutatap wajah mungilnya yang cantik. Air mataku menetes, sebelum ia lahir telah kupersiapkan sebuah nama baginya yaitu Regina, artinya Penasehat Raja. Putra kami sangat bersemangat menanti kelahiran adiknya, ia telah mempersiapkan ranjang adiknya dan memenuhinya dengan boneka-boneka, kami telah membeli semua perlengkapan bayi untuk menyambut kedatangannya.
Putraku terdiam dan hanya menundukkan kepala, ia saat itu baru berusia 4 tahun. Orang bilang anak seusia itu belum mengerti banyak namun aku mau katakan itu salah besar. Putraku sedih dan terpukul karena sebelum lahirpun, ia senantiasa mendambakan kehadiran adiknya.
Ada peperangan dalam batinku, mengapa hal ini harus terjadi pada diriku? Bukankah aku sudah dengan setia melayani Tuhan selama belasan tahun terakhir ini? Bukankah aku tidak hidup dalam kebiasaan dosa? Mengapa hal ini terjadi padaku sekeluarga, TUhan? Kecewa, marah, bingung dan segala perasaan lainnya bercampur aduk menjadi satu.
Dalam keadaan hati yang pedih itu, tiba-tiba aku teringat Firman Tuhan yang berbunyi,”Ucapkanlah syukur dalam segala hal”(1 Tes 5:18) dan “Kecaplah dan lihatlah betapa baiknya Tuhan itu.”(Maz 34:9).
Saat itu juga aku berdoa dihadapan Tuhan Yesus,” Tuhan, terimakasih untuk waktu satu jam yang telah Kau berikan bagi kami untuk menjadi orangtua dari Regina. Terimakasih Tuhan, sebab sekarang ia sudah ada bersama dengan Engkau di tempat yang terbaik. Tuhan titipkan salamku padanya, tolong katakan padanya bahwa Papa sayang pada Regina.”
Aku mengucap syukur istriku selamat dan dapat pulih kembali, berkumpul bersama kami kembali.
Aku tidak tahu mengapa hal ini harus kami alami tetapi iman kami pada Bapa di surga tidak lalu padam. Kami tetap percaya bahwa jalan-jalanNya itu indah bagi kami. Selamat jalan, sayang. Kami mengasihimu, sampai jumpa kembali di dalam kekekalan Bapa.
I Know You Are Hurting
“It’s a girl, Mr. Ziglar!” the nurse announced on May 10, 1949. After 30 hours of labor, Jean Suzanne Ziglar arrived. We called her “Suzan.” My joy knew no bounds.
“There’s nothing else we can do,” the doctor told us on May 12, 1995. The next day, May 13, a nurse said, “She’s gone.” My sorrow knew no limits.
Suzan was confident in her dying because she knew Jesus Christ as her Savior. She—and we—had the assurance that to “be away from the body” is to be “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). But as I write these words, I weep again…not tears of despair, but tears of hurt.
The Pain that Lingers
You may be grieving the loss of a loved one. Or you may be feeling the pain of divorce, a job loss, a house fire, or the loss of your health or that of someone close to you. Whatever it is may always return in your memory from time to time. But your grief and pain will become more bearable as you understand the love and care that God has for you. His mercy and grace are even stronger in your time of need: “Blessed be the… Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). God understands as no one else can.
I can’t tell you that God will answer all your why questions. He may, but he may not. His purposes ultimately are beyond our knowing. His timing is always unfolding for the righteous according to divine precision: “All things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). And even if he reveals a great deal to us, we will never know as fully as he knows.
To continue to dwell on “Why?” and “If only” leads to bitterness and misery, which are burdens a loving God never intended for his children. I’m more content, for example, knowing that Suzan has all of her why questions answered by her Lord, whether I ever do or not!
I also know that God understands your grief. Isaiah 53:3 talks about the pain that Christ endured during his life on earth: “He was despised and rejected… a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Jesus understands whatever agony you’re going through. He knows how to get you through your most painful experiences—regardless of their length or intensity. How long will that be? It’s different for each of us. But I trust that you will find comfort in knowing that God completely understands your makeup (Psalm 139).
The God Who Heals Our Hurt
As you are hurting, may I suggest some things that have helped me in hard times? First of all, I urge you to find strength in applying God’s Word to yourself. Here’s what I mean. One morning after Suzan’s death, I was reading in Psalm 46. Verse 1 was enormously encouraging to me when I applied it this way: “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in my time of trouble.” I’ve since found it a powerful comfort to read such psalms aloud like this.
Look expectantly in Scripture for God to provide you with fresh insights, joy, and help: “My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!” (Psalm 119:28). He wants to heal your hurts while he strengthens your faith.
It makes perfect sense that God wants you to express your dependence upon him daily in prayer. Tell him how you’re feeling. Grief is the price you pay for caring; God’s grace is the solution to any burden you carry. Your recovery to a great extent lies in your daily communication with him. I like the way the psalmist puts it: “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live” (Psalm 116:1-2).
Ask God to put someone in your life to create a necessity for shifting gears from grief to gratitude. Look for opportunities to share the hurt of another person so that you “may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4). That person needs your reassurance that God can get him through too. And in that process God will continue to heal your hurt.
In our pain we hope for the outcome that we think would be best. God understands that, but his plan is often entirely different. We did not know what lay ahead for Suzan, but God did. Our loving Heavenly Father will always act in the long-range best interests of his children. Please understand that God’s motive toward us—not only in every moment of our lives but also in death—is love.
God knows better than anyone when we are hurting, and how much we are hurting. He understands the agony of loss and personal pain better than any of us can imagine—he willingly sacrificed his own Son Jesus for us—for our present and eternal well-being (Romans 8:32). “Christ also suffered… for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh” (1 Peter 3:18).
You can have the assurance of God’s comforting love by placing your trust entirely upon the risen Christ for forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life. Then you can confidently say “…that neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). And you can claim God’s promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Let God’s promise and presence sustain you when you are hurting.
The death of the Ziglars' grown daughter, Suzan, struck the family a devastating blow. God showed them how to recover and as they did, others benefited by God's comforting of the Ziglars. This tract is adapted from Zig's book Confessions of a Grieving Christian.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
SAAT IMAN DIUJI
Tetapi seandainya tidak….kami tidak akan memuja dewa tuanku (Daniel 3:18)
Saat saya pulang ke rumah setelah pelayanan di luar kota, papa datang menghampiri dengan wajah sendu. Ia mengajak saya duduk di ruang tamu dan dengan terbata-bata menceritakan bahwa mama didiagnosa menderita kanker payudara stadium akhir. Dokter mengatakan bahwa waktunya sudah tidak lama lagi. Pagi itu rasanya bumi bergoncang. Kami sekeluarga lahir baru dan melayani Tuhan. Mengapa hal ini bisa terjadi? Pertanyaan itu memenuhi benak, saya melangkah memasuki kamar tidur dimana, mama terbaring. Wajahnya tersenyum, ia memeluk, mencium dan menanyakan keberadaan saya. Wajahnya memancarkan semangat dan sukacita. Tidak ada ketakutan di wajahnya meski didiagnosa kanker stadium akhir. Setiap orang yang datang menjenguk, ia sapa dan senyumannya senantiasa menghiasi wajah. Mama selalu menerangkan bahwa baik hidup atau mati, tidak masalah baginya. Sebab hidupnya adalah milik Tuhan Yesus, dan kebahagiaan dapat bersama Kristus dimanapun Ia berada. Saat mengetahui kondisi mama, segera saya berdoa puasa dan beriman bahwa Tuhan akan menyembuhkannya. Sehari kemudian, saat berdoa, saya merasa Tuhan berbicara,” Bila Aku memanggil pulang Mama-mu, apakah kau akan tetap mengasihi dan melayaniKU?” Saya tidak bisa menjawab pertanyaan itu. Tetesan air mata membasahi wajah, berat rasanya bila harus kehilangan mama. Namun bila ini memang sudah waktunya untuk kembali ke pelukan BAPA, saya harus rela.Dua hari kemudian, kami membawa mama ke rumah sakit karena kondisinya kritis. Mama meninggal dalam pelukan saya dengan tenang dan wajah tersenyum. Ia sudah tidak ada namun berada di tempat yang terbaik. Saya tidak tahu apa yang saat ini menjadi masalah anda saat ini. Mungkin anda juga bertanya-tanya mengapa hal ini menimpaku. Segala sesuatu yang terjadi ada tujuannya. Kita mungkin saat ini tidak mengerti, tapi pada saatNya pengertian itu akan datang. Tetaplah teguh dalam Tuhan sebab Dia itu setia dan baik dalam segala keadaan.
Doa: Tuhan tolong kuatkan kami yang tengah dalam goncangan yang hebat. Amien
Ayat Firman Tuhan : Daniel 3:1-30
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Keep On Plodding
Have you felt like giving up lately? Has God placed you in a hard place and given you promises that have not yet been fulfilled? Have you been wondering if you heard correctly when you stepped into your present situation? God has a word for you. Will you open your heart to receive it? Here is his NOW word to you:
"Have I not said unto you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God? You have obeyed my voice and have gone to your Nineveh and have set yourself to do all my will. I see and I will honor your obedience. Only be not weary in well doing for IN DUE SEASON you shall reap if you faint not.
I know that you have not walked a perfect walk but you are under a BLOOD COVENANT and all your sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake. I have given to you the sure mercies of David and though I may visit you with the rod, yet I will not remove my mercies from you, for I correct, I rebuke, and I discipline the
one in whom my soul delights.
Therefore let not your heart be discouraged, but lift up the hands that hang down and give high praise to the Lord your God who has called you and anointed you to be a blessing RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE! Think not in your heart that your happiness and fulfillment will come to you in another time and in another place. You are AT THIS MOMENT in the right place to experience fullness of joy. I AM YOUR JOY AND HAPPINESS! No created thing or circumstance has power to bring you into peace and rest. I AM YOUR DWELLING PLACE AND YOUR EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD.
The vision I have given to you is for a time yet to come. It is growing closer. Do not lose heart. Hold fast your confession of faith without wavering for He is faithful that promised. Remember my servant Joseph who endured the trials of many years before he saw the fulfillment of his dreams, but after his faith was tried, I brought him to the place of usefulness and influence that I had promised him while still a youth. As I took pains to prepare my servant then for such a position of responsibility and fruitfulness, even so I am preparing you. WALK THROUGH THE DRY PLACES WITH REJOICING! The fires of the present trials are upon you only to purify you as a vessel unto honor, sanctified and prepared for the master’s use.
You have toiled excessively to make it all happen. You must relax and let me bring it all to pass. It will not come even one day before my appointed time for then it would be too early and you would not be ready. I will wait for you that I may be gracious to you in the fullness of the time. This is a time for you to rest and enjoy me.
CEASE FROM YOU OWN STRIVINGS! You will not need to fight in this battle. STAND STILL AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD! I WILL FIGHT FOR YOU AND YOU SHALL HOLD YOUR PEACE. The time will come when you will rejoice in the reality of the vision that has fully come into being all around you. But NOW IS THE TIME FOR YOU TO REJOICE IN THE PROSPECT OF THAT WHICH IS TO COME. NOW IS THE TIME FOR YOU TO SHOUT THE SHOUT OF FAITH . . . BY FAITH!
I am not impressed with activity. I am looking for the broken and the contrite heart; for the tender and pliable heart that trembles at my word and quietly remains in the place of duty in the face of severe pressures. Keep on plodding, KEEP ON PLODDING! Do not change your direction and I will surely bless you and bring to pass the fullness of my purposes for your life says the Lord Almighty."
I started out to write an article and, as I wrote, God gave me the above word. If the Spirit of God quickens this word to your heart, just receive it with thanksgiving to the Lord. It is for you! If this word has ministered to you, meditate on the following passages: Gal. 6:9, Heb. 10:10-14, 12:1-13, Psa. 90;1, 91:1, 105:17-19, I Pet. 1:3-8, Is. 30:15-18, Gen. 15:1, Habakkuk 2:1-3
Saturday, October 4, 2008
by John Loren & Paula Sandford www.newsongfellowship.org
One of the most strikingly overlooked aspects of our faith is our need to be reconciled to God. We seem to think that we should never be angry with God because He of course does not deserve it. More importantly we think that there is no way we could forgive God because He has not done anything wrong.
We forget how many times we have mistakenly held things against others who never did what we thought they did, and yet we needed to forgive them. Forgiving them did not mean that they had done something requiring forgiveness, only that we needed to clear our own hearts. Just so in the matter of being reconciled to God. He is not to blame, but that did not keep us from pouting at Him, and it must not keep us from forgiving Him.
The early church had little confusion about “forgiving” God. St. Paul wrote incisively about it, as a command (see 2 Cor. 5:18-20, NKJV). Note that Paul did not only say, as we may expect, “reconciling the world to Himself,” as though all that was needed was that He should forgive us. It is true that He did need to forgive us; He accomplished that in Jesus Christ. Here, however, the context makes it clear St. Paul was speaking of both sides, God forgiving man and being reconciled to man, and man “forgiving” God and being reconciled to Him. Paul says, “We implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.”
We suggest you tackle reading both Job and many of the psalms with an eye open to the honesty of their cries before God. Try Psalm 88 for honesty of description; this is how far I have sunk, Lord, “I am set apart with the dead …whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care” (v.5, NIV). Read Psalm 44:9 for honest complaint, “But You have cast us off and put us to shame” (NKJV) or Job, contending with God (see Job 13:3, 15, 20-24).
Job's complaint is the cry of everyone, of our own spirits before God, if we only knew it. Every one of us has stored resentment against God. It is not very acceptable to think angry thoughts at God, so we won't admit we have them. But they are there.
It is this hidden storehouse that serves as access to demonic powers to defile us. Defilement from outside, from people, from things, or from devils, cannot lodge in us unless it finds interior fertile soil. Here is the soil of birth for all manner of evil in all of us, these hidden thoughts that, after all, God is unjust and uncaring-and we may say, “At least for me, whatever He may be for anyone else-or He would not have put me here in this situation of my life and left me in it! It isn't fair!”
Perhaps the most basic thing we can do in prayer ministry is lead people into prayers of “forgiving” God and being reconciled not only to Him but also to being who they are themselves. Every person needs to accept being what God has created them to be.
Have you accepted being who God made you to be, or do you hold deep-seeded resentment toward Him for not making you like someone else or placing you in a different family or circumstance? If so, take time today to meditate on His Word, forgive Him and yourself, and embrace His love, plan and purpose for your life.
Adapted from God's Power to Change by John Loren & Paula Sandford, copyright 2007, published by Charisma House. In this book you will learn how to heal your inner spirit and the spirit of each person to whom you minister, so that you could relate in wholeness and worship God in total abandon!