Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hope and Healing (excerpts)

"You can go forty days without food and three days without water and you can go eight minutes without air.  But you cant go a single second without hope.
Hope is one of the essentials of life."

Here are a few excerpts from an excellent sermon I read today. I find it helpful to remind myself:

God is saying holding on to hurts is like carrying hot coals in your heart – you’re the one who’s going to get burned.  Hidden wounds, when you try to stuff them down, don’t heal.  They fester.  And pushing a hurt aside doesn’t get rid of it.  It just makes it worse. Psalm 39:2-3 - But when I was silent and still,« my anguish increased.  My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned«

This particular sermon focused on abuse, but I believe it applies to a multitude of hurts, disappointments and fears.

Some people try to respond to abuse by just forgetting it.  “I’ll just put it out of sight, out of mind, and stuff it.”
 Some people try to run from it.  There are many ways to escape – get drunk, do drugs, go to bed with people you don’t even know, get involved in work.
 Some people try to just ignore it. Some people try to pass it off on somebody else, blame others.
 Some people try to cover up their abuse.  For some reasons we feel guilty.  We think it’s our own fault.  We don’t want anybody to know so we push it down.  It’s like a coke bottle that you’ve shaken up.  It’s about ready to explode.  One day the top’s going to come off.

God wants to help reveal our hurts, so he can HEAL our hurts.

Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Forgiveness doesn't have to be 'deserved'... it's a choice. It's grace. 

You might say, “But they don’t deserve to be forgiven!”  You’re probably right.  They don’t.  Neither do you deserve to be forgiven, but God’s forgiven you.  I’m not saying forgive them because they deserve it.  I’m saying forgive them for your own sake.
You can’t get on with your life as long as you’re stuck in the past.  As long as you hold onto resentment, you are stuck.  That person is still controlling your life in the present even though they may have been out of your life for many years.

Psalm 56:8 (NLT) - You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book

The reason why we get in such a mess is we forget this.  We forget that God saw all the hurt that was done to us.

God wants to replace old memories with Truth.

Your brain is like a tape recorder.  It has recorded every single experience your five senses have experienced – everything you’ve smelled, everything you’ve seen, heard, touched, tasted – it’s all in there.  Everything people have said.  Your brain is an amazing recorder.  It’s recorded it all down – good and bad, right and wrong, true and false.

Here’s the problem: Your brain doesn’t distinguish between things that are true and things that are false.  Particularly when you were a little kid, there were some things that were said to you that were flat-out lies.  Sometimes we believed these lies.  If you believe them, then you act on them.

Some of you are still operating on faulty data.

Some of you, when you were kids, had adults or authority
figures in your life say things like “You’re stupid…  You’re ugly … You’re never going to amount to anything … I’m embarrassed to call you my child … You’re uncoordinated… You’re dumb … Why can’t you be smart like your sister/brother…” on and on.  They said things to you – “You’re worthless” – and that went into that recorder and some of you are 30, 40, 50, 60 years old – and you’re still acting on old tapes.

Romans 12:2 - Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND. Then you will be able to test and approve what God¶s will is²his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I want to suggest to you that you make Jesus Christ the most important person in your life.  He’s going to tell you the truth and you’ll realize that those negative memories are just lies.  You have to decide.

Who are you going to listen to?

The Bible says when you are in Christ you are valuable, you are acceptable, you are lovable, you are forgivable, you are capable, you are usable by God.  That’s what God says about you.

Job 11:13-16 (GN) - Put your heart right, reach out to God« then face the world again, firm and courageous.  Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more.

2 Corinthians 1:4 - God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

That’s called ministry.  God meant for us to help each other.  He can use
your pain for good.

It doesn’t matter who you are.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been.
It doesn’t matter what the scar.
It doesn’t matter what the sin.
It doesn’t matter how you fell.
Somewhere along the way.
There’s healing for your life …


**I love this church's motto:  
Love God. Grow with others. Serve faithfully. Reach the lost. Find peace. 

---The Cerro Gordo Church of the Brethren

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