I posted the below image today (August 1, 2019). My heart has been a little heavy lately, much of which I chalk up to watching news channels! Ughhh … there was a reason I unplugged from TV 10 years ago.
But, I’d like to start some conversations about what Christians, and any decent human being with a compassion heart, can do to help those who struggle to get past hurts and wounds to their spirit, their mind, and their souls.
I believe in the power of Prayer – yet, I know there is something to be added to that. So my question is:
How do react to a wounded soul?
If you are one who runs for the hills after such an encounter, do you leave the “why” behind as food for thought?
If you are one who willingly sticks around in hopes of applying some type of healing antidotes, what are some of the methods you use to administer the wound care?
Maybe something you do or don’t may help another think of other options.
We were young and foolish once. We did things we shouldn’t have; involved ourselves with some we shouldn’t have; adopted some ways that we shouldn’t have. We picked up some bad habits we had to fight to get rid of; we ventured into situations that were harmful or left scars. At 18 years of age (if not before), we ran into the world with arms wide open, ready to explore and experience life on our terms. Some of us believed that our parents had been trying to hold us back from enjoying life.
But, after the dust had settled; after the tears and fears had been wiped away (or, in some cases buried), we realized a truth: our parents knew what we didn’t. They had experienced first hand or were in close proximity to the dangers of the world designed to destroy our hearts, our minds, and our soul. Because they were good parents, they wanted to shield us from the harsh realities that awaited us outside of their parental authority.
Truth is: we messed up; we choose our own way, being unable and sometimes completely unwilling to fully comprehend that every choice comes with a consequential effect:
Proverbs 29:23 (KJV)
A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
HOWEVER, regardless of those past mistakes and errors, those who have been delivered from seeking their own way and have chosen by profession of mouth and belief in heart to give the reigns of our lives to the One able to lead us into all righteousness – It’s a lie if you still see us and blame us for who we used to be. We are no longer that person of our past! Whether you can accept it or not, we were changed from the inside out – We Are New Creatures, indeed!
It’s also true that we still make mistakes, but, if God, the creator of all things in heaven and in the earth, can forgive us, then I beg to differ that you can judge us or hold us to who we might have been in our past. And, should you choose to do so, I gently and lovingly remind you of this:
2 Corinthians 13:1-6 (KJV)
13 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: 3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
We all need a war cry that makes us rise up, plant our feet, and STAND against whatever may be attacking us physical, or our faith, spiritually. Every battle differs one from the next, so adding (2 Peter 1:5-8) to our spiritual arsenal is necessary (Ephesians 6:13-17).
Today I added this song to my arsenal of praise and worship music. It resonates even stronger as I think on the story of Joseph who endured a lot before reaching the Vision State given in his youth by God. May this song echo in your heart to cast out every thought not of God.
Matthew 18:19-20 19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Although it is a story of rebellion, the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) gives an example of what can be accomplished when people stand together to work toward a common goal. Likewise, in the book of Nehemiah we find the story of the citizens of Jerusalem banding together to rebuild the wall around the city (Nehemiah 4) while warding off the naysayers and enemies that taunted them.
These stories give credence to Jesus’ statement wherein he says, “He that is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23). This truth flows into every part of life, and is most likely at the heart of everything that is broken. When people are not joined together, touching and agreeing, there is division. A small breach left unattended in a structure, with enough pressure, becomes a gaping hole in that structure that eventually crumbles into a heap of nothingness.
We see this in companies. Staffs flourish in a company where management exhibits and demonstrates care for their well-being, praises them, and shows appreciation for their contributions. You find the opposite in a company where management has tyrants who micromanage, criticize, and show little respect for the employee or their work. These companies will usually have a high turnover rate.
We see this in marriages. When a husband thrives at demonstrating and living the biblical command to love his wife as Christ loved the church, he lives with her according to knowledge. A wife under such authority willfully submits to his leadership authority, and you often find a couple who genuinely adore and respect each other … they have become “one.” But let the husband be an insensitive bully or the wife an odious (hateful) woman, and you may find a drifting apart that creates a gulf impassable, fostering outside alternatives that choke out the hope of reconciliation.
We see this in churches. Where there is a stronger presence of believers who are solely focused on giving their all to the vision and work of the ministries of their church body, there will be little posturing for position or title. This church body is grounded and fortified for the service of God with servants able to withstand the attacks of the enemies. The flip side of this is a cluttered mess of individualized, spiritual separatists vying for dominance and recognition while the work of the ministry falls into stagnation and apostasy.
“What is your point,” you may ask? It’s simple … don’t aspire to join the Tower of Babel! Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you and look behind you, then look within/without the body of Christ…
• Take A Hand–Walk beside each other so we can hold each other up in the times when the battle and weight of our trials are too much to bear…even for the strong.
• Take A Hand–She’s young and without knowledge of her virtuous treasures which have been soiled by the world; help her exchange the ashes of her life for beauty…and love.
• Take A Hand–He wants to be a man but all he knows about manhood has been derived from his dysfunctional environment absent of leadership; he’s silently afraid of the dying around him, but you can introduce him to a New Life.
• Take A Hand–Whether old or young, they have been striped of human dignity at a price of civil rights, abusive nights, or rejected by sight; rebuke them not, but in gentleness and respect teach them the ways of God’s holiness and sanctification.
Let us now agree as touching on that which is most needful for the expansion of the Kingdom of God — the gathering together in His name, the sharing of the gospel message, and the edifying of each soul through the power of the Word of God.
Lately, I find myself thinking more and more about the day when I will come face to face with Christ. I’m fairly sure I won’t be able to say anything! And, although crying is a release mechanism for me, I will have a glorified body, so I’m pretty sure that’s not an option.
It’s not just standing before him though – I’m sure of my salvation and it’s not in question. What I wonder about is if he’ll be pleased with what I’ve done with His gift over these 40 plus years, and if I have represented Him well.
Every time I think about it I remember a scene from the Bruce Willis movie “The Sixth Sense.” Toward the end, the little boy is finally explaining to his mom that he sees and talks to the dead. He tells his mom that his grandmother said her answer was “Yes” to a question the mother had. Asking his mom what the question was, the mother responds, “I asked if I make her proud?”
I only get one day at a time to make God proud. I know He doesn’t expect me to be perfect, but at the end of each day, my hope is that God is proud of something I did to magnify His glory. Daily, the thought of meeting my Savior face-to-face is a welcome desire. Yet, there are other moments when I ask myself if I am truly ready to stand in His presence?
Definitely a reflective moment worth more than just a cursory thought!
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (KJV)
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
It’s been a while since I shared a poem from my latest book, Emotionally Charged (Amazon, 2016). This poem came to mind as I listened to the words from King & Country’s “God Only Knows” official music video (below). It made me think of the countless young women and young men who are wandering through life — hopeless, wounded, afraid, and ready to give up on life.
I can so relate to those feelings. As I’ve mentioned before, I personally dealt with suicidal thoughts as a teen and young adult. I know what it’s like to feel so alone and/or hurt that you don’t think life is worth living. God brought me back from the brink many, many times! God wants to impart His love to the lost and the hurting; He just needs them to reach out and take hold of His hand.
If you have an experience or encouraging word you can share with those who will read this post, please do. Someone may need to hear your testimony to starve off the hopelessness nipping at their heart.
2: an area in which one fails to exercise judgment or discrimination
Your chest is on fire; your eyes burn with cloudiness; your breathing is labored. Your head hurts as swirls of darkness envelop you like a soft glove. You are rattled to the core and left feeling as if a sledgehammer has pummeled your chest. Surely you must be dying; surely the pain will be to your demise.
Tremors ripple throughout your body leaving you spineless. Your body, in slow motion, crumbles into a heap upon the floor. Using the last bit of strength you can muster, you wrap your arms around your body as you curl into a ball. As tears fall, draining you of any coherent thought, even death becomes a welcome idea.
You have just been blindsided by the blind spots in your life. While you were busy managing the multiplicity of life, you left yourself vulnerable to the attacks that are constant against those in Christ, and that which is common to the flesh. Sometimes, the greatest blind spot is to believe one is exempt from the very temptations and troubles that accumulate into lusts of the flesh, the eyes, and pride, even though God’s Word speaks to the contrary.
In our failure to stay spiritually and mentally alert through God’s Word and an active prayer life,complacencycreeps in like a tiny spider—unseen until its webs are anchored in the dark spaces our eyes did not see — and our lukewarm hearts did not feel. Blind spots take many forms: stubbornness, carelessness, laziness, pride, trust issues, scriptural starvation, spouses, work, multiple endeavors (spiritual & physical), worldly lusts, fear, ministry(ies), bitterness, fatigue, children, weariness, etc., etc., etc. Their development grows as one gets a little toocomfortable in their state of fellowship and worship with the Holy God.
Old Testament stories highlight this common breach in the life of those on varying levels of relationship with God. Nothing new under the sun, for there are many examples of strong beginnings of faithful servants who later falter and fall. A tour of the internet provides an increasing number of moral failures in our churches for our learning in these modern days. And, it is this faltering that creates the breach in our spiritual fortress. The story found in Nehemiah is a welcome reminder.
In learning thatThe remnant …left of the captivity…in the province… (were)in great affliction and reproach: (1:3), Nehemiah’s response provides us with a picture of one whose heart is towards God and God’s people, much like an uncompromising shepherd in this Laodicean church age. In short, verses3b-11is the hope of a heart for what God loves … his people. Note:
3 … the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. 4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, … 6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, … 11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: … and grant him mercy in the sight of this man…”
We are warned to remember the examples in the Old Testament by1 Corinthians 10:1-12– tonot lust after evil things, be idolaters, commit fornication, tempt Christ, or murmur. Nonetheless, when there are blind spots in our vision, the walls of spiritual protection fall, delivering our moral compasses into the hands of worldly versions of right vs. wrong, causing spiritual weakness and compromise.When I read “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Proverbs 30:12) or the warning cry of Isaiah 5:21- “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” it is like the slap of wet hands upon the face saying, WAKE UP! Ignorant I am not – I have fallen into several pits with scars to show. I suspect there may be more. So there is a great need to minimize more damage by banishing complacency, and opening my eyes and ears. It is as good a place as any to start – at least for me.
The walls are failing, the breaches are widening, and God’s people cannot afford to abandon theirposts#2.
Lord, wipe away the haze from our eyes; open our ears to hear the crumbling of the walls that we may turn our hearts to you again. Though our fortresses are weakened by decay, help us arm ourselves with the building materials of your mighty sword (Hebrew 4:12) and vanquish the enemy of our flesh. Keep us from getting lost in the fabric of a busy life, that we may fortify the kingdom of God and secure the breaches with armed watchmen upon thy walls.