Will You Roll the Stone Away? – A Sunday Snippet

On that first Easter morning when the women found the stone rolled away, the tomb of Jesus was empty. He had risen as He said, and crushed the sin which separates us from God.

Many adult children of divorce have a stone in front of a tomb filled with unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, frustration, hopelessness and fears.

Parental divorce can produce all that and much more. One can easily add regret, sorrow, disillusionment, depression, anxiety, and more divorce to the list. The stone is lodged tightly so nothing can get in or out. Many of us like it that way. Keep all that ugly stuff behind the stone.

The smell of hurt
Why we do this was explained at another tomb. Earlier Jesus went to raise his friend Lazarus from the grave. Martha, the deceased’s sister, protested because it had been four days and “by this time he stinketh.1 Love the King James version here, but Martha was correct. Stuff buried for four days, four months, four years, or four decades stinks.

We know this because, occasionally we (or a loved one) get a waft of the stench when we react poorly to a stray comment a parent makes, or our spouse doesn’t meet a need, or a friend “betrays” us, or our fears are triggered by something and we lash out, or we’re anxious with no tangible reason to be so. Our tombs leak.

It’s time to roll away the stone
When Jesus rose from the grave He overcame man’s greatest enemy—death. But if He could beat death, isn’t it reasonable that Jesus can help us overcome our hurts and all the stuff behind our stone? The Bible encourages us to “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”2

But that’s a big step for many of us. God knows that, and He is not going to force you to do anything you’re not ready to do. But He does want you to know He loves you enough to want healing in your life—true healing, not Band-Aid healing.  He wants to take away your anger, hurt, and fear. The question is, will you let Him?

In our time
Maybe because I’m a guy it took years before I allowed God to help me. Guess it’s like asking for directions. But to my surprise, He didn’t move the stone all at once. He’d pull it back a little and we’d deal with whatever smell came out—maybe the smell of bitterness. Then back it went. Eventually, we moved it away from the tomb door, but it took quite a while.

To be honest, my tomb still has a pretty strong residual stink to it, but it is so much better than it used to be. Thank God!!! This Easter season, I encourage you to talk to God about cleaning up the stuff behind your stone. And remember that with God all things are possible

 

1John 11:39
21 Peter 5:7
3Matthew 19:26

Images
Thinkstock
Bible with Cross Shadow by David Campbell

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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

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

The Cross and Feelings of Unworthiness

Three days have passed since the world celebrated Easter. The eggs and chocolate may be gone, but the cross continues as a sign of hope and healing. One day I experienced this healing when confronted by the truth of the cross.

Though it appeared like I had it all together, feelings of unworthiness flowed through my veins like white blood cells. I’ve learned that low self-worth (unworthiness) regularly makes the list of common traits of children of divorce. unworthy woman 1

Webster’s definition for unworthy is “not good enough to deserve something or someone.”1 I would modify that definition to say “doesn’t deserve anything good.” That was the programing in my head. Regardless of what people said or did, I just didn’t believe I was worthy of being blessed.

One day I was in an “unworthy” funk, when the Lord asked if I believed that Jesus died for me on the cross.
“Of course,” I answered.
“Then you are calling Me a liar.”
“What? Of course not!”
“You believe you are unworthy?”
“Well, yes.”
“When I sent Jesus to die on the cross, I gave solid proof that mankind was worth My love. More specifically, the sacrifice of My Son provided a way for you to be with Me in Heaven. So Kent, either I’m a liar, or you are letting lies and feelings override the facts. Which is it?”

black white cross 2That was the turning point for me. Straddling the fence was no longer possible. Because I claimed Jesus as my Lord, I couldn’t continue to believe that I was unworthy while claiming I was worthy in Christ. So, going forward, I accepted and proclaimed my worthiness in Christ because of His work on the cross.

Are you struggling with feelings of unworthiness? The cross stands as a testimony of your worthiness in God’s eyes. The cross is a beacon of God’s love. Accept the truth that, regardless of what people may say, God declares you are worthy.

1www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unworthy