Monday, May 11, 2015
Does God Care?
"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."1
Some time ago when my then twenty-something son came to see me one evening, he was terribly distraught over a broken relationship that triggered a lot of pain from the past. As I hugged him, he sobbed his heart out on my shoulder. I am so thankful that he felt safe enough to do this knowing that it is always okay to share his feelings with me no matter what those feelings are … and no matter what age he is.
At times like these I have little to say—I feel my silence and giving him my presence speaks the loudest. I do, however, assure him of my love and acceptance no matter what. Unfortunately—usually more by men than women—when our kids or anyone else is hurting, we want to fix them and wax eloquent with unsolicited advice—advice that is totally divorced from the need of the moment and totally misses the opportunity to be as Jesus to one who is hurting. What people need when they are troubled is a listening ear, an understanding heart, and a shoulder to cry on.
At a time like this the question is often asked, "Where is God when our heart is breaking … does He care? Strange enough, right while my son was sobbing his heart out, the following gospel song was being sung on my computer. It brought tears to my eyes.
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
Does Jesus care when I've tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I've said "goodbye"
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks –
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You do care when my heart is breaking. Help me to always remember this and sense Your comforting presence, knowing that when I commit and trust my life to You, You will, in time, turn my mourning into rejoicing and I will become a richer, healthier, more caring person. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT).
2. Frank E. Graeff, 1901.
<:>< NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon Click HERE http://www.actsweb.org.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Deadly Disease of Denial
"The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."1
I've worked with hurting people and taught in divorce recovery groups for a number of years. If you asked me what I thought might be the number one problem in so many of these situations, I would say, "Denial. And the second is like it—playing the blame game."
Over and over I hear people say with variation on the theme: "My husband did this. My wife did that." "And what did you contribute to the breakup of your marriage?" I ask. "Nothing … my spouse did such-and-such. He was such a jerk." "And why were you attracted to such a jerk?" I ask! "Have you ever been attracted to other jerks?" Silence …!
No matter what struggle we are in, we are always contributing something. I've seen husbands berating and blaming their wives for their marriage problems when in reality they were very angry at their mother and were taking it out on their wife. I've seen wives do the same thing when they are really mad at either their father or some other significant male who hurt them deeply in the past.
Many spouses are angry about something in their past. Others are too "nice, weak and/or passive" (codependent). Others are over-dependent and smother their partner. But do they see their problem and their contribution to the situation they are in? Many, if most, don't. Far too many of us are in denial about our own deficiencies. The reason denial is so deadly is because, as a Daily Encounter subscriber exactly described it: "'D'on't 'E'ven k'N'ow 'I' 'A'm 'L'ying."
Deniers are avoiders of personal responsibility. They tend also to be blamers. And as I have said many times, if I play the blame game, I will "b-lame"—and will never get well. Only as we acknowledge the truth and reality of what we are contributing to our problems, will we ever have any hope of recovery and becoming well. The reality is that the only person I can ever change is me, and as I change, others are almost forced to change in relationship to me in one way or another. This is not always for the best, however, as some people simply cannot stand or handle our change. To get well this is the risk we need to take.
The only people counselors—and even God—can help are those who willingly admit: "I have a problem. I need help."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in every conflict or difficult situation I am in, please give me the courage to see and acknowledge anything that I might be contributing to the situation I am in and lead me to the help I need to overcome. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).
<:>< Friday, May 8, 2015
"So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech."1 "And 'don't sin by letting anger control you.' Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil."2
A Daily Encounter reader asks, "For some unknown reason I have many times felt jealous over other people receiving things. I always ask Satan to get behind me when this happens but he always returns. I have prayed numerous times for deliverance and forgiveness. How can I overcome this sense of being jealous?"
Hello June (name changed), jealousy is almost always the symptom of a deeper problem; that is, "the fruit of a deeper root." It is almost always the result of our own sense of insecurity and/or feelings of inferiority. As a general rule, the more secure we feel within ourselves, the less likely we are to have a problem with jealousy.
In other words, to overcome jealousy we need to overcome our feelings of insecurity. To help you do this I suggest your read the article, "Developing a Healthy Self-Image" at: http://tinyurl.com/af5hf.
Second, as I often say, it is important to learn how to pray the right prayer. That is, admit to God that you have a problem with jealousy and instead of asking Him to simply deliver you from your jealousy, ask Him to help you see the real cause of your jealousy and help you to find the help you need to overcome this problem. For further help read, "How to Pray Effectively" at: http://tinyurl.com/kb62w.
Third, realize that while Satan always wants to defeat us, he doesn't cause our jealousy. That's our problem and responsibility. However, keep in mind as the Apostle pointed out in Ephesians, when we fail to resolve our anger, we give Satan a foothold. The same is true with jealousy (and other problems). When you resolve the cause of your jealousy, Satan loses his foothold and as such you take away his power to tempt and defeat you in this area.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, with all my problems help me to see the real cause/s behind these, and find the help I need to overcome them so I will take away any and all footholds in my life that leave me open for Satan to tempt me in these areas. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 1 Peter 2:1 (NLT).
2. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT).
Thursday, May 7, 2015
How to Be Sure You Are Going to Heaven
"As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."1
The question has often been asked, "If you knew today was the last day of your life, what would you do?"
Do you have any impaired relationships you would want to resolve before you pass on? Have you left a will so your loved ones will benefit from your life's work? Most important of all, when you come to the end of life's journey and you stand before a holy God at the entrance to Heaven, if God asked you, "Why should I allow you to enter Heaven," what would you say? In other words, if you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would spend eternity in Heaven with God?
If not, I urge you to make that preparation today. Eternity is forever. As I did in younger days, many people think that if they do enough good deeds to outnumber or outweigh the wrongs (sins) they have committed, this will qualify them to enter God's heaven. Wrong.
God's Word makes it very clear that nobody enters heaven because of their good works. It is only by God's grace (unmerited favor) that we are given God's gift of forgiveness and saved for all eternity. His Word says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."2
God's Word also says, "For the wages [consequences] of sin is death [spiritual death which is eternal separation from God], but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."3
Because God is a God of infinite holiness no sinner can ever survive in His presence any more than a moth can survive in a flame. Furthermore, because God is also a God of infinite justice, all sin must be judged according to God's standard of holiness and perfection, and His justice calls for death; that is, spiritual death which is eternal separation from God in the place the Bible calls hell.
Fortunately however, God is also a God of infinite love. This is why He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cruel Roman cross 2,000 years ago in your place and mine to meet the demands of God's justice so we can be forgiven of all our sins and receive God's gift of eternal life. This is the expression of His perfect love.
All you need to do is believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died in your place to pay the penalty for all your sins, and to ask God for His forgiveness and accept His gift of eternal life. The following prayer will help you to do this.
Prayer: "Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry for all the wrongs/sins I have committed. I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross in my place to pay the penalty for all my sins. Please forgive me. I invite You, Jesus, to come into my heart and life to be my Lord and Savior. I commit and trust my life to You. Please give me the desire to be what You want me to be and to do what You want me to do. Thank You for dying for my sins, for Your free pardon, for Your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name. Amen."
NOTE: If you prayed this prayer and truly meant it, please be sure to Click HERE (http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php) to let us know you prayed this prayer, and we will send you the URL (web site address) of the free "Ten Steps to Christian Growth" which will help you to grow in your new spiritual life.
1. Hebrews 9:27, (NKJV).
2. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV).
3. Romans 6:23 (NIV).