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

 

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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

Handling Tremors after the Divorce Earthquake – A Sunday Snippet

Security, safety, and self-preservation often drive our actions and inactions daily. What constitutes security, safety, and self-preservation (at least in the western culture) often include money, home, loving spouse, and good friends. Earthquakes can wipe out all of this—leaving us jittery and searching for the security we had.

Our parents’ divorce was an earthquake in our childhood. earthquakes measuringFor most of us, things were secure, safe, and then, boom! The earth shook and our world was wiped out. Our family fell apart. We may have “lost” loved ones, and financial security often became a guessing game. As kids, it was a very traumatic experience for most of us. So we clung to whatever we could for security. Too often, In lieu of the feelings of safety we craved, people, drugs, perfectionism, alcohol, shopping, lust, anorexia, anger, were used as a substitute.

Unfortunately, years later, when adult children of divorce feel “tremors” (threats to our receiving love, physical well-being, or reputation), we can revert back to those coping behaviors without thinking about it. For example, when our spouse says something that makes us feel insecure, or there’s a drain on our finances (or our ability to make finances,) we automatically “reach” for what has always made us feel secure—even if it goes against what we believe (sinful behaviors), or is destructive to us or others—like lying, withdrawing, or lashing out in anger.

Think about what is worrying you right now. What is causing you stress because your “security” is threatened? During times like this, it is important to take your eyes off the issue, and put them onto Jesus. Jesus knows we have bouts of fear and insecurity. He said “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”1 Take heart! Jesus can help us overcome our fears when we lean on Him for our security.

man praying adultchildrenofdivorce.netDoing these four steps can help:

  1. Write down three things that are causing you to feel insecure.
  2. Read Matthew chapter 6 verses 19-34.
  3. Pray to God and ask Him to help you overcome the things on your list.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3.

For adults with divorced parents, “tremors” will come and go, but we can greatly reduce our negative response to those triggers by “giving all our worries and cares to God.”2

1John 16:33, New Living Translation
21 Peter 5:7, ibid

First Things First – Starting the Year off Right

rescued picture

“Rescued” by Darren Hoover

This is my favorite picture, because it sums up my life. I tried to do things on my own, yet peace alluded me. I felt like I was always struggling to stay above water with waves of fear, stress, anger, and temptations washing over me. When I gave my life to Jesus Christ thirty-one years ago, I finally felt  I had something solid to hold onto and a process of change began that continues to this day. And standing on the truths of the Bible has been a a vital help in dealing with the issues that were created by my parents’ divorce.

I hope that you will make this year a breakthrough time for you. When you look back at 2015, may you see how your fears were reduced and kept in check, anger issues were diminished, and strained relationships were improved or restored. All of these are possible! But the foundation for these breakthroughs is built upon the saving love of God through Jesus Christ.The first issue we need to deal with is our sin. And only Jesus Christ can cleanse us from our sins.

If you don’t understand what following Jesus means and want to better understand and see examples of the exciting things He can do, please click here for “The Message of the Cross” from Billy Graham.  Regardless of the “waves” you are struggling with, Jesus can heal and restore. More important, He wants to heal and restore. Learn more in this surprising and touching video.

May God richly bless you all this new year.

Kent

I Have Nothing to be Thankful For

Does this title summarize your feelings as 2014 wraps up? Are you going through your days with this mindset? Before you say “No,” do any of these apply to you?

  • You or a loved one had or have a significant sicknesswomen-consoling-each-other cropped
  • Divorce came to you or someone close this year
  • You are grieving over a wayward child
  • A relationship was lost
  • Unemployment happened
  • You lost a loved one this year
  • You succumbed to temptation and habitual sin occurred…again
  • You had other big losses or disappointments
  • A steady stream of small losses or disappointments were the backdrop of your year

Maybe these words of the psalmist summarize where you are right now?
“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me.
I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.”
Psalm 69: 1-3. [NLT]

Adult Children of Divorce HealingThese feelings are real. And, given that similar thoughts are recorded in the Bible, they are ok. But we shouldn’t stay there. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”1 It is important to bring these feelings and burdens to Jesus.

It is also a great help to focus on what you do have. For example:

  • You are on an electronic device right now—which means you have access to the internet
  • You can read this—which means you are mentally ok
  • You are probably not reading this from a park bench—which means you have shelter
  • You are not reading this naked—which means you have clothing
  • It’s likely you’ve eaten today—which means you have access to food

The Lord has provided these basic things, but we can find far more to be thankful for when we take time to think about it. So why not do this right now? Write down what happened in 2014 that you can give thanks for.

When you focus on Jesus and give thanks for these blessings (large and small), it will help you to work through the challenges life laid at your doorstep this past year. We see this principle in action later in Psalmfamily praying together 69 when the psalmist, after dealing with disappointment and a desire for revenge, comes to the point where he writes “I will praise the name of God with a song: I will magnify him with thanksgiving.”2

Thanksgiving is God’s antidote to the trials we experience. Allow Him to remind you of how much He loves you and how much you have to be thankful for.

 

1Matthew 11:28, New Living Translation
2Psalm 69:30, ibid.

Are you willing to lower your Shields? – Sunday Snippet

Recently I found myself in a situation that had caused great pain in the past. Though God had brought healing in that area and things are different now, past memories still lurked like ghosts in the background of my mind. From time to time one would sneak up and yell “Boo” and I’d have to fight the urge to wallow in hurts from long ago. Despite these occasional setbacks, I felt I’d come a long way and was doing fine. But, while still amidst the situation, the Lord asked me, “Are you willing to lower your shields?Enterprise Shields

For those of you who aren’t Star Trek fans, shields protect your ship. When the protective shields are turned on, your ship can defend itself against attacks. When the ship isn’t being threatened—which is most of the time—they are deactivated—and you are unguarded against a sneak attack.

The good thing about the “shields” is they protect you from hurt or harm. The bad thing is, if there is no threat, they keep you in a heightened defensive posture. This means you are looking for things that can hurt you even though there isn’t any current reason to be on alert. Everything is filtered through an I’m-going-to-be-(hurt, humiliated, abandoned, fearful) grid. Consequently, you may lash out at someone (i.e. your spouse, children, relative, or friend) over an innocent comment or action. You’re still hypersensitive even though you thought your sensitivity was over.

Apparently, I was still approaching this situation in a guarded and protective way. I didn’t realize I was worrying about things that would never happen again. The Bible says to trust in the Lord with all your heart and if you depend on God and not yourself, He will direct your paths.1 In other woman praying over Biblewords, when I lower my shields, God’s shield protects me—which is far better.

He is not calling us to reckless vulnerability—trusting where common sense or godly wisdom would recommend otherwise. But I believe God was telling me that where people or situations have changed, I need to accept that. Then, with God’s help, I can trust Him and relax enough to lower my shields.

 

1see Proverbs 3:5-6