Walking Wounded

Do you know people who function day-to-day but their words or action indicate they are wounded? Maybe they speak with anger or make cutting remarks around you and it actually makes it hard to be near them. There are many reasons that people lash out (sometimes they are tired or overwhelmed) and we don’t always get to know the why behind what we see.

My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away. Psalm 38:11

If someone comes to your mind, please lift them up in prayer today. I do think if you see a consistent pattern of ‘meanness’ that there is probably something else going on there. Wounded people wound people…often because of where they are in their pain. And while their actions or attitude might drive you away from them, it is often then that they really need a friend. Whether or not you are called to be that friend, I don’t know. But if God has allowed you to cross paths with this person, your prayer intercession on their behalf is an amazing gift.

If it is you that is wounded, seek healing. God is in the business of transforming ugly circumstances and situations into evidences of His mercy and grace. There are 190 versions of the word ‘heal’ in the New International Version of the Bible.  Psalm 38 is a powerful petition from a hurting David. His pain is evident.  As you begin your journey of healing, find a friend who will pray for you. Then find a Biblical counselor or pastor to sort out the situation and dig into God’s Word and God’s Truth. God’s healing work often begins with humble hearts.

A refreshing stream in Colorado

Is it Spring yet?

We have had a bit of a taste of beautiful weather in southern Indiana the last couple of days and it is a welcome reprieve to our winter, in my opinion. There are some seasons that last a bit too long for me. Maybe it is the cold, maybe it is the requirement of bundling up, maybe it is the shorter days or lack of sunshine, maybe I am just getting old but after about eight weeks of winter, I am done.

I have noticed my faith seems to have seasons, as well. Does yours? Sometimes it is obvious the Holy Spirit is growing in me a deeper understanding and trust of God.  Other times I feel as though I am resting in His grace and basking in His love. And still other times are situations of harvest.

And then those times when it appears not much is happening.

It could be I am distracted, depressed, disturbed, or disconnected from God and the body of believers. It could be that I am smack in the middle of a season of rebelliousness and unconfessed sin.

Sin always drives a wedge between us and God. Sin causes growth to stop and eventually we find we are a branch that dries up, a faith that almost withers away.

1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1: 1-3

Lord, help me to be connected to you. When my faith seems to be withering, keep me accountable as well as encouraged to move forward by putting my trust in You!

The end of the season

Doing Hard Things

Have you had to do a hard thing? Maybe it was initiate a conversation about an awkward situation or apologize for something said or maybe you needed to stand up for an unpopular idea or address a wrong. Life is full of hard things and hard conversations. Sometimes I try to avoid them for as long as I can because I am anxious about the outcome.

Are in the middle of thinking you need to do a hard thing?

  • Pray and ask God for His guidance. Sometimes this will be the only action taken.
  • Consider your motives.
  • Seek out a discerning and trusted individual~one who will not just blindly agree to anything you say~share your thoughts and request their insight.
  • Allow time for your ideas to marinate. Sometimes I create my own ‘hard thing’ moments by jumping the gun and not processing long enough. You may find this ‘hard thing’ does not require your action at this time.
  • Ask for prayer support from trusted individuals. You do not need to divulge private information as God knows the details.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!   Amen!” Ephesians 3:19-21 NIV

Boundaries

When I was younger, I loved to push the limit and see how close to the line I could come. I used to resent boundaries and consider them a challenge to overtake. Can you relate? Amazingly enough, I have kids who do the very same thing. It must be a part of that sinful, human nature.

I have learned many difficult lessons in life because I overstepped boundaries, didn’t enforce boundaries, and ignored boundaries. I am still learning, often the hard way. Boundaries are important in marriage, parenting, friendships, work relationships and are more than just a benefit.

Boundaries are a blessing.

Consider that God has placed boundaries around you for your protection–He tells you to stay away from certain things so you will be pure. God wants you to be safe from sin and danger and He helps you to do that by telling you things to avoid. He wants you to heed His words, for your blessing and benefit.

And wouldn’t it be great if we had no boundaries for God?
Allowed Him access to every dark corner of our lives?
Recognized that He supersedes physical boundaries by being omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent?

Psalm 16

1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

God’s boundaries are good!

Marriages

Ever have an issue with a toilet? Sometimes you plunge it out and that’s all that was really needed. But sometimes, you find yourself dealing with a particular issue frequently. If you are fortunate to have another toilet in your house, you try to ignore the one with the issue and direct family/guests to use a different one. But the day will come when you will have to deal with it. Maybe you’ll need to snake it or call in the big dogs and get it Roto-Rootered out to the street. Maybe you’ll mistakenly break the seal or when you go to pull the toilet, you’ll crack it or find the underlayment is rotten which means you’ll need to pull up the floor. It might be a bigger job than originally thought, but it really just needs to be done.

So, what does all this have to do with marriages? You might be able to make some connections. Whether or not you are not married, you surely know someone who is, maybe even someone who has come to you needing a sounding board. As you think about the issue of marriage, ask God to bless and heal those marriages that come to mind. Tell those who have come to you seeking counsel for their marriage that you are praying for healing in their marriage and encourage them to do the same. While it takes two to really work, sometimes only one person is actively working on the improvement of relationship because the other one is too hurt to be vulnerable again. Broken trust is hard to regain, but not impossible and it takes a lot of time, patience, prayer, and intentional work. No marriage can be fully and truly healed without God’s intervention.

Lord, give me the strength to consider the wrongs I have done in relationships and move me to a place of true repentance. As I experience Your forgiveness, help me to share that forgiveness with others. In You Son’s Name, Amen.

Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.  Psalm 86:11 NIV

Waiting (is the hardest part)

Have you ever had a day (or a season) when the future looked very uncertain and you were called to wait for an answer and you waited, and waited, and waited? The waiting felt terminal–with many things hinging upon that one answer.

Here are some things that I have found helpful–

  • find a couple of Bible verses that communicate God’s promises–memorize them.
  • review your life, what has God done for you in the past? Remember His provisions and repeat them. It does help to recall His previous provisions.
  • let God change the course of your life. There are times when we are convinced we have a plan and it isn’t necessarily the direction God would like us to go. Remember, we are the clay–He is the Potter! Sometimes God wants you to give up your job, your house, the community you live in.
  • Stay in God’s Word! Satan wants to steal your courage…surround yourself with God’s promises.

Here is a great Psalm! What words stand out for you?

Psalm 145 (NIV)

A psalm of praise. Of David.

1 [a] I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.  2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works. [b]
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.
11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made. [c]
14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.

If you are struggling as you wait, hang on….He is with you…

Setbacks

“Sin will take you farther than you ever intended to stray, It will keep you longer than you ever intended to stay and cost you more than you ever intended to pay.” Author unknown

Have you ever found yourself in a frustrating place of sin and thought back to when that particular stronghold may have started? Definitely a sobering thought. Recently we had a local school principal arrested for shoplifting at Kohl’s. She was in her early 50’s. There was a lot of newspaper television coverage and she no longer works as a principal. Wow. Who knows when that all started for her.  This sin took her on an ugly journey.

Sin is just like that. We justify and rationalize our behavior and get defensive when it is brought to our attention. But later we find ourselves repeating that same stinkin’ scenario over and over again and trying to get free from the grip of sin. What can we do? Here are some actions that can help:

  • Confess
  • Seek Forgiveness
  • Have an accountability partner
  • Surround yourself with Scripture
  • Pray
  • Change your scenery or routine
  • Forgive yourself

Be open to insight from more seasoned Christians who may have the ability to see you are headed down a dangerous path. Sometimes those rebukes come from someone who has walked a similar road and desires to save you from the pain and consequences they experienced. Sometimes we are so blind to current or future consequences of our sin that we are shocked when a concerned friend brings forth a warning. Be approachable.

As long as we are human we will have setbacks. Will you allow a setback to give you an excuse to go further down a dangerous path or will you allow it to help you see your vulnerabilities and give you the chutzpah to forge through temptation the next time?