Nuzzling in God’s Neck – A Sunday Snippet

Maybe you had onjoanna-sweenye of those conversations with your mom, dad, or stepparent.
Maybe your brother or sister is furious that you like your stepmother.
Maybe, even though everything went well, you’re exhausted from keeping parents and steps and assorted others happy at a family event.
Maybe you’re scared because arguments at home sound so similar to the pre-divorce skirmishes you heard as a child.
Maybe life is just hard.

During these times wouldn’t it be great if you could crawl onto God’s lap, let Him wrap His arms around you, and tuck your head into his neck like a little child? But can we do that? Should we do that?

First, can we do that?
Many people see God as ominous, fearful, and untouchable, but as Christians the Bible says, “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.1 Abba Father can be translated “Daddy.” This is God’s perspective of our relationship with Him, but perhaps a picture can help.

One of my favorites is this picture of President Kennedy with his son, John, playing under the presidential desk.

John Jr. isn’t thinking about being with the leader of the free world. He is with his dad. Likewise, God wants us to curl up with Him, Abba Father, in spite of the fact he is the ruler of all creation.

Second, should we do that?
Countless scriptures declare, “Yes!!!

Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.2

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.3

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber.4Time for reflection by Hans G Backman

The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.  For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.5

Third, how do we do that?
Preferences vary. Some literally crawl onto the couch or recliner and pretend they’re in God’s arms. Others pray. For some people, walking with God helps bring God’s reality in troubling situations.

How we embrace our Abba Father relationship doesn’t’ matter. God isn’t picky. He’s just waiting with open arms for us to come to him.

 

1Romans 8:15, NLT
2Hebrews 4:16, NLT
31 Peter 5:7, NLT
4Psalms 121: 2-3, NIV
5Psalms 103-13-14, NLT

Images
Joanna Sweeny
Time for reflection by Hans G Backman

 

 

 

Why am I Running From My Prayer Closet? – A Sunday Snippet

Forgiveness by Tiffany ScantleburyI try to fit in my daily prayer routine before my crazy days begin. Too often the pressures of my upcoming schedule create a not too subtle urgency to finish so I can start doing the “important” things that are stacked up like planes waiting to land at an airport.

One morning while praying, I was feeling the urge to get a move on when God’s Holy Spirit asked me where I was running from.

Huh? What do you mean, where am I running from?
You’re anxious to start conquering your list right?
Yeah. So?
Where are you running from?
What are you talking about? I don’t get it.Time for reflection by Hans G Backman
You’ve got a full schedule today? 
Over full
Kind of tired?
Exhausted.
Seems like you’re a little depressed too.
Well, yeah.
Feeling like nobody cares or understands.
Well, yeah.
See no end to this crazy season you’re in and want an escape.
…yes.

Okay. Do you believe that Abba Father, the Creator of the Universe, is with you in your prayer closet?
Yes.
Does He listen to you?
Yes.
Does He judge you?
No!
Does He encourage you?
Yes.
Does He remind you of how special He thinks you are?
Yes.
Does He offer you peace now and for your entire day?
Yes.
Does He wipe your tears?
Yes.
Does He offer you strength to make it through your day?
Yes. He says through Christ I can do all things1
Does He give you wisdom for your to-do list?
Yes, very often.
Does He love you?
Yes.
Does He love you?
…yes, deeply.
Does He love you?
…….yes. Unconditionally.

So when you hurry from your prayer closet, where are you running from?
Well…I guess… from a place where I’m totally accepted, totally loved, totally adored, totally supported, totally equipped, where I can be myself without judgement, where I can talk with God as long as I want and He never tires of me. That’s what I”m rushing from. Guess I’ve got things backwards, huh?
Praying woman hands by Long ThiênYou tell me.
Thanks for the perspective check.
Just doing my job.
Thank you.
See you tomorrow?
You can count on it!
 

1Philippians 4:13

Images
Forgiveness by Tiffany Scantlebury
Time for reflection by Hans G Backman
Woman and Bible – Prayer a Powerful Weapon by abcdz2000

Wishing to Satisfy the Crowd – An Easter Snippet

So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.”1

Jesus and Pilate Ecce_homo_by_Antonio_Ciseri800Reading through the crucifixion account I was struck by the phrase “wishing to satisfy the crowd.” Pilate had Jesus crucified even though Pilate knew Jesus was innocent…to satisfy the crowd. Though tempted to condemn Pilate for this,  I shuddered to think how many times I’ve done wrong things because I feared other’s opinions. However, Proverbs 29:25 says, “the fear of man is a snare” and here’s why.

In society, whether it’s bullying, discrimination, how we treat the poor, yielding to peer pressure at work, or believing that divorce is no big deal, “the crowd” is often wrong. One reason is we’re told to “follow your heart.” The Bible says the heart is deceitfully wicked.2 As a result we usually find

 Crowd + Heart = Troublejesus-teaching the crowds freebibleimages.org

However, it’s interesting that Jesus went against the crowd.

  • Love your enemy
  • Die to self
  • Flee from evil
  • You can’t love money and God

But going against the flow has a cost. Jesus found this to be true:

Doing the right thing + Crowd = Death

Jesus never did anything wrong, but was crucified by the crowd. Likewise, if we go against the masses we too may be killed by the opinions of those around us. You deserve to have unforgiveness toward your parents after all they did. You’re a fool for tolerating your unloving spouse. Honesty is for suckers. But on Easter morning (Resurrection Day) Jesus proved that in death there is life.

Doing the right thing + Jesus = LifeUnto Eternity, My Fairest Love by Pnk Sherbet Photography

Jesus said, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”3 Overcoming the adult children of divorce issues we discuss on this site all require giving up something—often a part of ourselves, but when Jesus fills the gap we gain far more than we lose. Stable relationships, fulfilling marriages, peace, joy, self-control, and much more are available through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

When we confess that we’ve sinned against God, and accept that Jesus took those sins from the cross to the grave with Him (Good Friday), God offers us forgiveness and a new life (Easter) and daily strength through His Holy Spirit to overcome the issues we face. True healing starts with Jesus.

When we invite Jesus to be the Lord of our lives we receive the power of God’s Holy Spirit to overcome sin, addictions, and parental divorce issues like anger and fear. Click here to learn how you can have your sins forgiven and receive God’s  Holy Spirit. Make this your happiest Easter ever!

 
1Mark 15:15
2Jeremiah 17:9
3Matthew 10:39

Photos
Jesus and Pilate Ecce_homo_by_Antonio_Ciseri800
jesus-teaching the crowds – freebibleimages.org
Unto Eternity, My Fairest Love by Pnk Sherbet Photography

Why We Don’t “Come to Him” – A Sunday Snippet

In our last post we looked at how Jesus offered to take our burdens when He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”1 But this week I read a devotion that described why (even as Christians) we often hesitate to go to Jesus. This excerpt is from the book, “100 Days of Grace,” by Mike Genung.

“’Come to Me’ is an invitation to know God. To take up this call is to meet with the Lord as one would a friend: to establish and cultivate a relationship.unworthy woman 1
We bring very little to the table. Flattering words won’t impress Him. Our accomplishments? They’re nothing compared to His. Boasting of our possessions would be like showing off monopoly money to a trillionaire. Good works? They won’t hold a candle to His infinite righteousness. Our best efforts? We can never be good enough to measure up to His impossible standard of holiness. Then there’s the matter of our sin, which we can’t hide because He sees it all.

So what does He want?
Continue reading

Taste and See – A Sunday Snippet

Due to a ministry trip, I haven’t seen my beloved wife for ten days (other than short Google Hangout calls). As I thought of seeing her today and enjoying our first kiss in days, I was reminded of the scripture “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Right now the longing to see my wife is beyond words. Oh that I would have that same desire to spend time with my Lord and praise Him like David does in Psalm 34 verses 1 – 8.

SONY DSC
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
 God we trust by Donny Warbritton cropped
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! [ESV]

Photos:

freedom…! by Kaylan Chakravarthy

God we trust by Donny Warbritton cropped

 

Healed, but Dead – A Sunday Snippet

Jesus was walking with His disciples when ten lepers approach Himten lepers and ask to be healed. For a leper to talk to anyone was risky at best. Speaking to a Rabbi was worse. But the coup de grace was some of them were Samaritans—which, to the average Jew, was worse than being a leper. But Jesus, being Jesus, says “go show yourself to the priests.”1 In essence, “I’ve answered your request. You’ll be healed.”

So off they go to the chief priests who were responsible for verifying that the leprosy was gone and pronouncing people cured. But on the way they are healed! A big deal even by today’s medical standards.

Thankful hearts?
But here’s where things get interesting. One of the lepers, a Samaritan,  realizes he’s healed, turns around and searches until he finds Jesus. He then throws Himself at Jesus’ feet thanking Him for his healing.

Jthankful leper medianaesus asks, ““Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?2 Then Jesus says something that is heartbreaking—““Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”3

Why is that heartbreaking? To me it says that only one leper was saved by faith in Christ and would spend eternity in Heaven. The other nine, though healed, were still dead in their sins. Healed, but dead.

This principle is critical to understand because at Adult Children of Divorce Ministries we’re committed to helping adults with divorced parents heal from the “leprosy” parental divorce can cause. This type of “leprosy” maims hope, kills joy, and withers relationships.

But healing from the “leprosy” of parental divorce without the greater healing of our sin problem is simply being healed, but dead. Jesus said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”4 Without Jesus, we may overcome common ACD issues and live a full life, but when we die, we won’t have Jesus’ protection from the wrath God pours out on all sin.

The healing that lasts
Like dealing with ACD issues, the Christian walk is a journey. It starts by confessing our sins (the wrong things we do, say, and think), acknowledging that Jesus died for those sins, and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord over our lives. The journey continues with praying regularly with God, reading and studying the Bible, and gathering with other Christians in a Bible-teaching church.Jesus is the bridge to eternal life

Our desire is to help you break the cycle of divorce. But Jesus said, “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?5 If you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please click here to learn how you can be healed, but not dead!

1Luke 17:14, New King James Version
2Luke 17:17, New Living Translation
3Luke 17:19, ibid
4John 14:6, New King James Version
5Matthew 16:26, New King James Version

 

To Believe or Not to Believe? That is the Question

Every Easter mankind is faced with the same choice, believe Jesus is the world’s Savior or don’t believe it. Historically, people have chosen not to—starting in Jesus’ own lifetime.

James Tissot Pharisees 400For example, one day the religious leaders were upset with Jesus and wanted to stone Him. Here is what happened near the end of that confrontation:

Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”1

So what’s the big deal if Jesus “claimed” to be God? Lots of people claim that today and we don’t stone them. But we see this same claim challenged again just before Jesus was killed. In the book of Mark we read,

Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, I AM. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!””2

Die? For claiming to be God? Why would they do that? The answer is simple and, ironically, given by one of their own religious leaders.Nicodemus and Jesus

A man named Nicodemus, a notable religious leader, secretly visited Jesus one night. Nicodemus opened their conversation with, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”3

That was the problem! No one had done what Jesus did—giving sight to the blind, healing the lame, raising the dead. Jesus couldn’t be brushed aside as some nutcase, because, even though there was no internet or NY Times, everyone had heard of what He was doing. And only God could do what Jesus was doing.

So the leaders, and all the people, had a choice: believe or don’t believe. Jesus’ crucifixion proclaims their choice. And they thought they were done with Him. But God had one more surprise up His sleeve. God would prove once and for all who Jesus was by raising Him from the grave. After He rose, hundreds saw Him at different times, but to this day, people prefer to choose not to believe. And God lets them.

However to those who believe, God has promised not only eternal life in Heaven, but the power to deal with this world’s hurts and trials (like parental divorce) while we’re here.

Man and the Cross To Believe or not to Believe 2

The question is, what will your choice be? Believe or don’t believe. I pray you will choose the former. Click here for more information on how you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and make this your best Easter celebration ever!

1John 10:32-33, NLT
2Mark 14:61-64, NLT
3John 3:2, NKJV
Jesus and Nicodemus image from mdcincy.org