DEBRIDEMENT OF THE SOUL

Have you ever been in a bad place emotionally or spiritually and thought it would be that way the rest of your life? The days so dark you believed you’d never feel right again? I have. I’ve been in that place. I understand exactly what the Psalmist was talking about in the 102nd Psalm:

“By reason of my loud groaning [from suffering and trouble] my flesh cleaves to my bones.

I am like a melancholy pelican or vulture of the wilderness; I am like a [desolate] owl of the waste places.

I am sleepless and lie awake [mourning], like a bereaved sparrow alone on the housetop.”

(Psalm 102:5-7, The Amplified Bible)

When my mother died in June 2000, it was unexpected. Even though her health had not been good, none of us, except perhaps my dad, had a hint it was as bad as it was. As Christians, we all rejoiced that she was no longer in pain and that she was with her Lord, but that did not mean our pain or our lost was not real.

Over time, my grief turned to anger and I turned inward. Outwardly, I said and did all the things expected of me. I told my children not to be angry at God because Mamma was gone, but inside I was questioning God. How could He let this happen without preparing me?

I became angry because I didn’t feel my husband was as supportive as he should have been, but I was too inward to tell him what I needed. Issues arose in our marriage and we became more and more distant. When we did reconcile, it was still not as it should have been because I began substituting my relationship with my husband for the relationship I’d once had with God. I expected more of my husband than God ever intended.

Except for a couple of friends, most of the people at my church were clueless about what I was going through. Even those who knew I’d lost my mother had no idea that I was struggling. I kept my feeling inside, not letting anyone close enough to see my pain. We stopped going to church for a while because I felt the church had let me down.

I stopped reading my Bible or praying. I questioned God’s love for me or if I had really ever heard from Him. But even when I was deep in unbelief, there was still a small spark of hope. God’s call to us is “without repentance” – He promised to never leave or forsake us, even when we turn our backs to Him.

Sometimes God uses things from unexpected sources to reach us. The Creator of the universe creates a way to reach us even at our lowest. For me, it was a song. Not a “Christian” song, but God used it to scratch the scab on my heart.  The same year my mother died, Kathie Lee Gifford put out a CD “Born For You”. I’d listened to it many times, but one night while I was up late writing, one special song touched that small spark in me and something began to break.

“I’d like to lose all time again

And look for trees to climb again

Recite a little rhyme again

And dream a reckless dream.

For someone I’ve exiled in me

Awoke today and smiled in me.

I need to find the child in me again.”

(Child in Me Again, written by Annie Dinerman)

Yes, I needed to find the child in me again – the child who’d trusted God with her whole heart without question or reservation. The child who could laugh at life and who loved without reservation or expectation.  I sat face to face with who I’d become and desperately wanted to go back to the child I had been before. The last line of the chorus goes, “Oh I need to recapture the truths I’ve unlearned.” I needed to recapture The Truth I’d turned from.

I still was a long way from being spiritually or emotionally healed, or even wanting to do what I needed to do to get there. But it was beginning. Some of the hardness had been removed.

A few days later I “just happened” to read a verse of scripture from the Message Bible in a magazine.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt.11:28-30, The Message Bible)

It was as though Jesus was speaking directly to me, inviting me to just walk with Him. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” I don’t have to try to please anyone. I don’t have to be a certain way. Religion had burned me out and let me down. He was offering me what I’d needed all along – a relationship with Him alone.

There is a medical procedure called Debridement which is the medical removal of infected tissue to improve healing of healthy tissue. It can be painful, but sometimes is necessary for the antibiotic treatment to work. Once the infected or dead tissue is removed the healing medicine can be applied.

Sometimes we need something to remove the dead part of our souls before the healing balm of God’s Word can heal what remains. It can be a painful process, but if we allow it, the Holy Spirit will do a work in us that will start the healing process that comes with the application of the Word.

He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction.” (Psalm 107:20, The Amplified Bible)

Whatever is the cause or source of your pain, whatever the pit is you’ve fallen in, or whatever the sorrow is you’re carrying, you are not alone. Allow the Spirit of God to move in your life and He will heal you. The process may not be easy, it probably won’t be exactly what you expect, but true healing is yours through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Peace and blessings,
Dee

Advertisements

RELATIONSHIP WITNESSING

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (The Message)

Look around you in church sometime, I mean really look at the people who are there. Who do you see? Do you see non-Christians searching for the answers for their lives or believers there to assemble themselves together? More than likely most of them are believers. So then, how are we to get the gospel to those outside who need Jesus? The Bible says how can they believe except they hear, and how can they hear except someone is sent?  (See Romans 10:14.)

We have to do it outside the church. That’s what Jesus did. He went about his daily life, meeting people on the street and calling them to follow him. He went to dinner with sinners, not so he could tell them what great sinners they were – they already knew that – but to show them God.

We’re to do the same thing. That’s what the Apostle Paul was talking about in the passage above. He didn’t participate in their sin, but he adapted himself to their circumstances so that he could share the gospel with them.

The question is how do we do that? How do we show Jesus to the outside world in a way they want to know more? Reciting religious platitudes and quoting scripture will usually turn them off and away from you. Conversations that are great when you’re with fellow believers and Christian friends are not always so great around non-believers. When my best friend and I talk, we have a wonderful time sharing what we’re learned from the Bible and what God is doing in our lives. But I can’t have that type of relationship with everyone.

The first thing we need to do is to be nice to people. Sometimes we pick and choose how to treat people based on appearance. That’s not how God calls us to be. Jesus went to the outcasts. Probably few if any of the 12 disciples Jesus called would qualify to serve on the staff of any of our modern churches. They were for the most part uneducated and a few of them were pretty rowdy.  James and John were called Sons of Thunder and Peter cut off a man’s ear! Be nice to everybody – the store clerk who can’t make change, the stressed out parents in the restaurant with a screaming child, the dirty day-laborer in line at the convenience store. Show them who God is by being nice.

Then just be a friend to people we meet. Get to know them and learn about their lives before we start telling them how they need God. Be their friend first and wait for God to open the door for spiritual discussions. It may take months, it may take years.  It may never happen in the way you expect. But never underestimate the impact a godly life just lived openly and honestly in front of someone can have.

Be sensitive to other people’s needs and their feelings. I’m as guilty as the next person about saying something “religious” because I thought it was what I was supposed to say only to realize later that what I said was not what the person needed to hear at all. What they needed most was for me to just be their friend. Offer help when they need help, and give it without any “religious” strings attached. When we meet peoples’ needs, they have the chance to see Jesus but only if we do it freely and without preaching to them about it.

Most of all, we cannot hold ourselves out as being better or more righteous than they are.  Arrogant spirituality turns people away. The only difference between them and us is Jesus. Paul said he did not participate in their sin, (“I am committed to the law of Christ”, I Cor. 9:21b) but he accepted them as they were.  We can decline to participate in sin without having to expound on the evils of it. Jesus said to let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no and that is enough. (Matt. 5:37)
Jesus said we’re to be the light of the world. Light in only noticed where there is dark. During the daylight, you don’t usually notice that a lamp is on. But as soon as it gets dark, that lamp becomes useful. If we’re to be useful “lamps”, we need to get out of the daylight of our church pew and go out to the dark where we’re needed.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dee

BE VIGILANT

Flip Wilson used to portray a TV character who would say “The devil made me do it” every time he (or she sometimes) did something wrong. It became a popular catch phrase imitated in commercials and in everyday life.
For a Christian, such a statement would be Biblically incorrect. The devil cannot make us do anything against our own will. He tempts us with evil, but it still our choice to do it or not.
A statement I hear frequently today from some Christians is that the devil caused this or that to happen.  Looking at what the Bible says about the devil, that may or may not always be the case. It is true that as believers in Jesus Christ, we have an enemy who works against us and we are cautioned to be on guard against him. But we are also given weapons to use and instructions concerning him.

“In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].

“Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

“For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.” Ephesians 6:10-12 (Amplified Bible)

When I hear Christians give the devil credit for every bad or unpleasant thing that happens to them, I have to wonder why. The Bible says we are to put on the “God’s whole armor” and when we do, we are able to withstand any attacks of the enemy.
God’s Word is greater than any evil spirit or demon. The Blood of Jesus is greater than all the powers of darkness combined. They tremble and flee at the very Name of Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher and He gives us direction. And as if that weren’t enough, God’s holy angels have been charged to assist us.

“Are not the angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service [of God for the assistance] of those who are to inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14 (The Amplified Bible)


What I have observed is that usually what people give the devil credit for are things that are the consequences of their own bad choices or the results of the actions of someone else. If I speed on the freeway because I was late leaving for an appointment, and I get stopped by a police officer, it won’t be the devil writing the ticket! It will be the consequences of my actions.
Sometimes bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. Sin abounds in the world; it’s not necessarily a personal attack against us from the devil.
I’ve decided that whatever comes my way, I will not give the enemy any credit, not for anything. Even when I know it is him attacking, I will not give him credit for hurting me. In Jesus Christ I am more than a conqueror. God orders my steps and He guides my life. God is my provider and my protector. When problems arise, I will seek my Father’s face. I will search His Word. I will call on His Name. And I will be vigilant.

“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
“Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset–rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.”

I Peter 5:8, 9 (Amplified Bible)


Peace and blessings in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dee