Jesus is Healer

I was enraged by their sinful greed;
I punished them, and hid my face in anger,
yet they kept on in their willful ways.
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,
creating praise on their lips.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”    Isaiah 57:17-19

healer

As we press through the deep waters of recognition of our own brokenness in the first part of chapter 8 of Waking the Dead we now find ourselves turning the corner as it were… and not a minute too soon as far as I’m concerned.

This week we drill into the truth and wisdom that Jesus came not only to save and set the captives free but to heal, and heal completely.

Do you believe that? Or is there some cynicism? Have you “been there done that” and haven’t found the healing yet? Maybe it’s because you haven’t truly met the Healer?

Come this week and press into Big Idea #2: Christ Offers Us More Than Forgiveness; He Offers To Heal Us

And as always check the WTD page for the most current worksheet. 

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We Are The Brokenhearted

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. 2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. 3 To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

brokenhearted

What do you think of when you think of someone as being brokenhearted? The loss of a loved one or loss of health? A financial catastrophe, betrayal or broken relationship?

Isaiah 61:1 is the very passage Jesus kicked off his public ministry with (Luke 4:14-21) and He is speaking to something much deeper; that wounded place that exists in us all.

Those hurts, hangups and habits that drive us to addictions or fits of anger or immobilizing fear or compulsive eating or gambling or spending or lustful behaviors.

That thing that makes your skin crawl when someone touches you or that fear that prevents you from being more vulnerable or intimate.

It is a place that just can’t seem to be quenched and lives far beneath our conscious ability to control even if we condemn the behaviors or thoughts when we are in our rational mind.

As we press into Chapter 8 of Waking the Dead this week we will lean into Jesus’ incredible mission to love, resotore & redeem on a level we likely have never imagined before.

John 12:47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it.

The new worksheet is online – make sure and join us this week as we continue our journey through Waking the Dead.

Blessings in Christ brothers!

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Our Hearts Are Good

Talk about a difficult lesson to finds it’s way into the soul! Our group study of Waking the Dead has been drilling into that concept for weeks (chapters). You think John Eldredge and Craig McConnell felt a pressing on their hearts as to the difficulty and importance of driving this message home?

Our heart has been the Devil’s playground for far too long!

As I believe all of Ransomed Heart ministry is about, it’s the restoration of a person’s soul in and through Christ. We have been made right with God by what He’s done for us, the atoning work of the Cross yet for so many truly self-professed Christians, especially the ones painfully aware of their own shortcomings and battles with an unrelenting sin nature, the message of reconciliation remains muddied by the lies of the Enemy and we feel the need to continue to prove ourselves worthy of love and valid for service.

That’s crap;  Our hearts are Good!!

Jesus pressed into Peters heart after his denial of Him. Peter’s shame had, in his mind, disqualified him from service to God. It had “undone” him and returned him back to the role of laborer, fisherman, invisible, alone. Peter let shame take himself out, Jesus didn’t.

This week yet again we will press into the critical need for us to desperately pursue Christ Himself for affirmation that the New Covenant was His to give us and never about our worthiness.

Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

In fact, for those disciples with a growing awareness on the calling placed on them to serve God with whatever gifts He has given you, it holds more true than ever that our ministry will never be what it could be if we are still trying to offer God some type of exchange for His power and presence.

We simply need a stance of gratitude in Christ, awe of God and a deeply personal communion with The Holy Spirit and only then will we be equipped to respond to the Divine Appointments placed in our path each day.

But none of that matters if we can’t get to the place of KNOWING our heart is good!

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Don’t miss this Thursday as our shared journey of heart restoration continues as we learn to press into Christ and lean on others.

And why are we doing this? For the glory of God is man fully alive!

man fully alive

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What Is That To You?

John 21:21-22  When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

john21-22

Peter, Peter, Peter… boy he sure modeled what it is to be scolded by the Lord often ha ha. How grateful I am that we get to know him so well, for I too suffer from foot-in-mouth disease and misdirected heart syndrome on a regular basis.

So as I was reading this passage (vs 15-25) I was more focused on how Jesus was restoring Peter’s heart. Peter had taken himself out of the bigger narrative due to shame and feeling unworthy.

It’s a good message for those who know they have been called but yet so often feel like they come up short time and time again (like me). When Jesus named Peter “The Rock” He did it full well of knowing where he would glorify God and where he would serve himself through fear, pride, ignorance, anger or apathy. Peter’s behavior never put Peter’s calling in jeopardy, he simply needed to be redirected and restored by a loving and grace-filled Savior.

So funny how quickly we can fall back into our old patterns so soon after being restored!

Just a few verses earlier “Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” and immediately after that he’s now questioning Jesus John’s fate.

How easy is it to get so wrapped up in our ministry, family or workplace that we find ourselves preoccupied with how to help “them” get better” or “do” better. But how much did I need to hit my own proverbial wall at 1000 mph before I surrendered and cried to to Jesus?

Sometimes our best intentions can be the very thing delaying someone else’s relationship with Christ. It usually takes the hidden agenda of co-dependency. Sure we mean well, but…

I have been struggling lately with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) which is basically unexplained daytime tiredness, weakness and a general nagging exhaustion. During a week’s vacation that I’m taking to recenter and refocus on the only One that matters it doesn’t surprise me that He used His word to expose my heart.

And I’ve felt Him asking…

“You have given me your son a hundred times George, when will you believe I’ve got him” 

“You pray for men and women in Recovery Groups, when are you going to trust that I’m guiding them just as I am you”

“You pray for the homeless, the sick, the lost, the broken, the leaders… when are you going to actually believe that the great I AM is on the throne”

I don’t think He is suggesting I stop praying for people and their situations however I do believe He is revealing the way I pray without belief.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see

Gee, if I ever wondered why I run around stressed out all the time I’d say this is a good starting point.

My takeaway is to become more intentional in recognizing that when I’m ruminating on a problem or situation that I need to question my perspectives and motivations.

Am I focusing on how best to offload the stuff I can’t do onto Him?

Am I looking for the things that I can do under His power?

Or am I trying to change someone else’s experiences and behaviors so I don’t have to worry about them. Or is there something else that I desire out of changing THEIR situation?

But if we’ve prayed for them, or even better WITH them, then what business is it of ours to continue worrying about the manner in which God is guiding them.

We simply participate, Jesus is the one who rescues.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

Father God, we need your help this day and every day. I say I believe then act as if I don’t. I say I trust then go back to manipulating people or circumstances way outside of my control based on my own understandings of what I think is best. Forgive me Lord, and remind me what true humility, faith, wisdom, courage and surrender are supposed to look like. I can’t know if my life pleases You but I pray that my desire to please You, pleases You. May we all live simply for Your glory, in Jesus precious name we pray… 

[In chapter 7 of John Eldredge’s book Waking the Dead he poses the question “Does trust come easily for you? Are you at peace, full of a deep confidence in God? This blog entry is where I was led after pondering those questions.]

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Boundaries: Pray for Wisdom – FaithGateway

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

As the Twelve Step movement grows within the church, Christians in therapy and recovery voice a common confusion. Am I powerless over my behavior? If I am, how can I become responsible? What do I have the power to do?

The Twelve Steps and the Bible teach that people must admit that they are moral failures. Alcoholics admit that they are powerless over alcohol; they don’t have the fruit of self-control. They are powerless over their addiction, much like Paul was:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing… waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. — Romans 7:15Romans 7:19Romans 7:23

This is powerlessness. John says that we are all in that state, and that anyone that denies it is lying (1 John 1:8).

Though you do not have the power in and of yourself to overcome these patterns, you do have the power to do some things that will bring fruits of victory later:

  1. You have the power to agree with the truth about your problems. In the Bible this is called “confession.” To confess means to “agree with.” You have the ability to at least say “that is me.” You may not be able to change it yet, but you can confess.
  2. You have the power to submit your inability to God. You always have the power to ask for help and yield. You have the power to humble yourself and turn your life over to him. You may not be able to make yourself well, but you can call the Doctor! The humbling of yourself commanded in the Bible is always coupled with great promises. If you do what you are able — confess, believe, and ask for help — God will do what you are unable to do — bring about change (1 John 1:9James 4:7-10Matthew 5:3Matthew 5:6).
  3. You have the power to search and ask God and others to reveal more and more about what is within your boundaries.
  4. You have the power to turn from the evil that you find within you. This is called repentance. This does not mean that you’ll be perfect; it means that you can see your sinful parts as aspects that you want to change.
  5. You have the power to humble yourself and ask God and others to help you with your developmental injuries and leftover childhood needs. Many of your problematic parts come from being empty inside, and you need to seek God and others to have those needs met.
  6. You have the power to seek out those that you have injured and make amends. You need to do this in order to be responsible for yourself and your sin, and be responsible to those you have injured. Matthew 5:23–24 says,

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

On the other side of the coin, your boundaries help define what you do not have power over: everything outside of them! Listen to the way the serenity prayer (probably the best boundary prayer ever written) says it:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In other words, God, clarify my boundaries! You can work on submitting yourself to the process and working with God to change you. You cannot change anything else: not the weather, the past, the economy — and especially not other people. You cannot change others. More people suffer from trying to change others than from any other sickness.

And it is impossible.

What you can do is influence others. But there is a trick. Since you cannot get them to change, you must change yourself so that their destructive patterns no longer work on you. Change your way of dealing with them; they may be motivated to change if their old ways no longer work.

Another dynamic that happens when you let go of others is that you begin to get healthy, and they may notice and envy your health. They may want some of what you have.

One more thing. You need the wisdom to know what is you and what is not you. Pray for the wisdom to know the difference between what you have the power to change and what you do not.

Excerpted with permission from Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, copyright Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

* * *

Your Turn

“God, clarify my boundaries!” What a poignant prayer for those of us who blur the lines in relationships! Today, let’s get in alignment with God in prayer submitting to Him and working with Him to change ourselves and not anyone else.

 

Source: Boundaries: Pray for Wisdom – FaithGateway

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Wisdom Is Not Enough

Ephesians 1:17

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

wisdom and revelation

There is no doubt that True Wisdom comes from God’s Word and the discernment of the Holy Spirit within. As we ask God for direction and strength He will speak to us.

John 10:3-4

3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

But what happens when that voice from deep within our soul seems to be crazy?

Abraham should kill his son? Moses needs to go get in Pharaohs face? Ananias needs to go lay hands hands on Saul (Paul) and pray for him??? Willingly reduce an army from 3200 to 300 and bang drums?!?!

Oftentimes personal revelation from God as to a certain path or plan of action can seem like the complete opposite of Wisdom. How do you discern? How do you hear from God? Do you even hear from God?

This Thursday (August 17)  we will press into these questions and more as we finish off Chapter 6 of Waking the Dead. 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

And if you’re following along Week 13 Study Notes are online

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Intimacy with God

knees

If you’re not pursuing a dangerous quest with your life, well, then, you don’t need a Guide. How’s that for an in-you-face opener of Part 3 of Waking the Dead?

Narrow is the path and many will say Lord Lord and He will answer, I never knew you.

So what does it look like to have an intimate walk with God? Is it bible studies, theology classes and faithfully attending church services every week? Millions of people do that, that would seem like a ‘wide path’, no?

So again, what does intimacy with God look like?

Don’t miss group next Thursday and remember if you’re following along but can’t attend group you can pick up your own copy of the workbook ($1.99 B&N) or download an in-house abridged version of the study guides used in our group.

See ya’ll next Thursday!

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