Four Truths from God

I want to share four truths that I heard in church last Sunday. They are four truths that our youth minister heard a Christian speaker share at a conference earlier last week. But these four truths weren’t new with that speaker either. Their source is God and they are told to us in His Word.

For broken believers — those struggling with mental illness or substance abuse — these truths can be particularly difficult to fully grasp and internalize. We hear them and obtain a head knowledge of them, but to truly understand these truths they must make their way to our hearts. My prayer is that you who read this will allow God to settle these truths not only in your mind but in your heart as well.

  1. You are loved.

    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. Ephesians 2:4-5a (NIV).

  2. You matter.

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).

  3. You are chosen.

    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV).

  4. You are not alone.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18 (NIV).

So the next time you think no one loves you because you haven’t done anything to earn the love of others, refute that lie with the truth that God loves you. The next time you think you are too insignificant to matter to anyone, refute that lie with the truth that God has a plan for your life that is perfectly suited to how He made you. The next time you are feeling lost and alone, remember that you have been chosen by God to belong to Him and that He has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in you so that you will never be alone.

 

Bryan’s Note: Please dear one, check out Linda’s home site at http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/

Photos Found: Hearts Touched

Making it work, no matter

 

I think it works this way
Sometimes just our shadows kiss

Beauty begins with pigments

 

 

Interesting
Dust on the Bible

Shaping our children
Dedicated to Micah Brittan, who at 4 years old went to be with Jesus
Following Jesus will change our political view
Its a simple, simple faith

Prayer for Protection

by Patrick, (c. 387 – March 17, 493)

I arise today,
Through God’s strength to pilot me;

God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and near,
Alone or in a multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,

Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

Amen.

Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

“I love you. God, I miss you. And I forgive you.”

~from the film Remember Me

“When I saw that scene in the movie, I stumbled out of bed and fell to the ground as my whole body trembled in anguish and agony — and I started and screaming like a wild, wounded animal.

It has been six years now since my friend, Britany, committed suicide. I thought, by now, I would be better. I thought I would have been able to let go. And move on.

At the very least, I had hoped that I would have felt the loss a little less now than I did when I first got the news.

I was wrong.”

Grief lulls you into a stupor. It hides inside you as you go about your business, working and doing the laundry and, Yes, even falling in love. You tell yourself, subconsciously, that if you’re not in tears then you must have moved past the mess. If you can function, you must be okay. Besides, you don’t eat out of cans anymore — and that has got to be a sure sign you’ve finally let go of your loss.

And if you say it out loud, you’re that much more convinced it’s true. I got over it. But when that lingering sadness creeps in, you’re right there with the excuse: Well, I’ll never really get over it until I’m in Heaven, but that doesn’t mean I have to spend all my time dwelling on it.

Those are the calling hours of grief, but you won’t answer the door. You’re scared to death of being weak, of being afraid, of feeling that way again. You were taught that God is gracious and loving, that He cares about you in ways you cannot begin to fathom, but the lies of a false religion have you believing that no gracious and loving God would ever want you to feel sad or desperate or crazy — to the point of falling to the ground in agony like a wild, wounded animal, begging Him for help with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.

Like religious legalism equates the avoidance of sin with goodness, you thought everything would be all right if nothing appeared to be wrong. So you learn to speak casually of your loss. You dismiss your own grief. You learn to act, to hide. Your prayers start to sound like you’re talking to your Best Friend from childhood — whom you haven’t seen in years — but you have grown so detached from the Person you once thought you knew so very well that the relationship now lacks any kind of depth and every sort of substance. God has become a casual convenience. Because in the deepest, darkest caverns of your heart, you harbor a hidden resentment rooted in your loss.

And maybe, like me, you’ve screamed in tears of anguished rage as you ripped your Bible to shreds, only to buy a new one the next day because you’ve discovered — in that moment — that living without God is the one thought you cannot bear. To be absolutely alone in your pain, without hope, without His Presence, His forgiveness, and His eternally tenacious Love is an unspeakable horror. Nevertheless, you soon pretend such a moment never happened, stuffing it in the back of your mind like a distant memory. You can’t tell your friends about it because you know they’ll think you’re crazy. Worse, they’ll question your faith.  But you stay silent because you have enough doubts as it is.

Before long, the act becomes the reality. And you start to take a certain pride in what, you think, you have overcome. And every time that lingering sadness starts to creep in, you’re still right there with an excuse. You have become a master of self-rationalization, basking in the cheers and applause of your family and friends and church because your life is now a grandiose testimony to what, you think, God has done. But you don’t realize that basking in such glory is heresy, usurping the glory that belongs to God — and to God alone — because you want it yourself. It is foolish to presume this glory is somehow yours, as if you had earned it through your pain.

But, God won’t have it. The Lord of Heaven and Earth will not tolerate the lies you’ve been living in your relationship with Him. You are His child and you are His treasure. He delights in you in ways that go light years beyond your comprehension — and that includes making your life in a fallen world easy. Christ suffered, and you will certainly will as well. And it does not matter how fast you run or how well you hide. Even if it takes six years — or ten or twenty or eighty years — for you to realize that you need Him in ways you never thought possible.

You are broken. And that means there is no going back to the way things were. The loss has changed you. It has shattered your heart and bent your head and stolen every last ounce of strength and all sense of reason.  But somewhere, — somehow — in the midst of the mess, you found a faith so strong it defies logic and denies reason. You see what cannot be seen and you hear what cannot be heard — because you have felt the distant visions and echoes of eternity placed upon your heart. You can see through the storm. And you know sun rises beyond the dark clouds.

You don’t get over it. And you never do get used to it. The beast of grief you have kept buried inside for years will hunt you down and, without a doubt, leave you reaching for God in ways and means you never imagined. But you have now the one thing you’ve been missing all this time: a faith that has been shaken so hard it cannot be shaken. Even if God leads you to the floor crying and screaming like a wild, wounded animal — broken — you believe.

I have tried, determinedly and tenaciously, to give up on God, to forsake a life of service to our Father.  It just hurts that much.  It really does.  But, if I have learned anything in the past six years — it is, quite simply, that it is impossible for God to forsake His children.  He has pursued me through the darkest nights and my monsoons of tears.  And He will absolutely will not give up on you — ever.  And so it is with a sincere, agonizing gratitude that I offer our Father a sacrifice of praise:

Pstorm 243

The Lord is The Most High God!

He is bigger than our sins,
and greater than our troubles —

He who stretched the sky above the Earth
and set the stars in their place  —
He sees, He knows, He hears.
He watches, He plans, He listens.

Is the One who made the mountains
smaller than your very own troubles?
Is the One who carved the valleys
hidden from the caverns of your hearts?

Is the One who levelled the plains
ignorant of your very own despair?
Is the One who commands the seasons
unable to direct your ship in the storms?

Look up, you precious daughters of The Most High!
Lift your heads, you adopted sons of The Almighty!

Is the One who paints a seaside sunset
deaf to your cries of infertility?
Is the One who turns the Earth every day
blind to the pleas of your petitions?

Is the One who renews the trees each spring
paralyzed to restore your heavy hearts?
Is the One who guides the birds with the winds
silent amidst your anguished prayers?

The Lord our God is The Most High God!

He is bigger than our sins,
and greater than our troubles.
He sees, He knows, He hears.
He watches, He plans, He listens —

And He promises

“When everything is ready, I will come and get you
so that you will always be with me where I am.”

Love,

The NorEaster

 

Check out TheNorEasters home page at:

http://thenoreaster.wordpress.com/

My Deliverer

My Deliverer

So Jehoahaz pleaded with the Lord, and the Lord listened to him, for He saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.”  2 Kings 13:4

“Then the Lord gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Syrians; and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as before.”  2 Kings 13:5

I see this:
Our pleading + God’s listening = Our Deliverance

Lord, I’m pleading with You for deliverance of those who are being oppressed today.  And here’s a simple poem . . .

Pleading

The oppression is so great
they can but hardly pray

and so I’m pleading with You
to please take it away

lift the heaviness
that keeps pushing them down

let them see their Deliverer
has come to save them now.

Amen.

Deb’s Blog of Simple Poems and Faith

http://iftodaywehear.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/my-deliverer/

Growth in the Troughs of Life

This post has been floating around in my head for almost two weeks now, and I had fully intended to post it here at Broken Believers last weekend, but just didn’t get it done. In retrospect, learning of the great trough our dear brother Bryan is going through, I realize that either I should have made the time or the timing of posting it today is part of God’s design. All I know for sure is that it needs to be posted.

I recently purchased a new book titled The Soul of C.S. Lewis that consists of one-page reflections on various quotes from many of Lewis’ best-loved writings followed by a Bible verse. The book has 10 different contributing authors, and each essay is not attributed to an individual author, but they are all wonderful. Today I want to share a little about one of those essays, along with my own thoughts on the topic at hand.

The Lewis quote that begins the essay is from The Screwtape Letters, one of my favorites of Lewis’ fiction. Although fictional, there is a great deal of truth about the struggles and potential downfalls of the believer in Christ to be found in this short collection of letters between Screwtape, a high-level demon, and Wormwood, his nephew who is a low-level tempter in the minions of Satan. The quote at hand is:

“It is during such trough periods, much more than during peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be.” Screwtape, chap. 8, p. 40.

The trough periods Screwtape refers to are the low times in life that for some are manifested as periods of deep depression. Many a strong Christian has experienced such troughs over and over throughout their lives. I have experienced them to differing degrees myself, and our dear Bryan is experiencing just such a trough now. They are certainly no fun, and we often wish we could avoid them altogether, but experience tells us that is not possible. Perhaps it is not even truly preferable in the grand scheme of things as God sees it.

In the essay based on this quote, the author writes:

“Although the emotional peaks are bright and lovely and certainly more enjoyable, that doesn’t mean that the trough is the wrong place for us. The truth is that God is often most at work in the troughs—the hard places where we feel most desolate and alone. Sometimes when we’re trying to clamber back up to the peak, God may be calling us to stay awhile in the trough.”

“At these times we often feel full of confusion, fear, and sadness because we cannot see God’s hand at work, molding us by the very things we wish to escape. It is often only afterward, when he has moved us to a different place, that we can look back and see how he was working in the midst of the difficult spots.” The Soul of C.S. Lewis, pg. 115.

As I read this essay, I was reminded of Psalm 23. This well-known and beloved Psalm begins and ends in the peaks – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” and “I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” But in the middle is a definite trough – “the valley of the shadow of death.” I’m pretty sure there is no trough deeper or darker than this valley. But – and this is the important part – we don’t travel that valley alone. God is with us in the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us in the troughs of life.

The valleys of deep depression are not signs that we have been forsaken by God or that God has given up on us. He is walking with us through that valley, using every step of the way to help us grow in faith and grace, so that we will be able to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. So let us not try to clamber out of the troughs we encounter ahead of God and by our own power, but let us instead walk close by our Lord, following in His footsteps to see where He will lead. He is our Light in the darkness of the deep valley. May we stop to see all that He is illuminating there.

Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46 (NIV).

Honesty

I am in the midst of a fierce struggle. I can’t seem to put anything together right now. I’m very eager for your prayers at this point.

Perhaps I’ll be back on line in a few days. There are almost 1000 posts on this site, and I encourage you to delve into them. I feel good about everyone, and I’m certain you will discover true blessings.

I am very tired, and yet have an inordinate desire to keep up a facade. But I can’t do this. If I can’t be honest with you, and myself then I’m in a bad place indeed.

I hope to be back in a couple of days. At least that is my “track record.” Psych issues are notoriously unpredictable.

“God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.” Philippians 1:6, NCV