Archives For peace

Now!

November 11, 2012 — 1 Comment

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For a lot of people the future is unclear. It’s like we get a glimpse of what could or should be, but it’s only that – just a glimpse.

Sometimes we have a good couple of weeks – the car doesn’t break down, things on the job are smooth and you don’t hit every red light in rush hour.

Most of the time though we need help and we need it now.

Sometimes it’s a relationship issue, sometimes it’s a bill that came due that there’s no way to pay. Maybe it’s a call from the doctor that you don’t even want to take.

Sometimes life and the future can seem so foggy. Who can you trust? Who can you call on? Who has the answers you need – not next week, not a year from now, not even tomorrow, but right now?

We need a God that’s bigger than all that. We need a God that stands outside and above everything. We need a God that’s in control.

That’s the kind of God we have! The question is do you trust him? We all have the right amount of faith – it’s just that we misplace it. We trust ourselves to provide the unprovidable. We can’t be our own source of anything – except disappointment.

I’ve spent so many years disappointed in God and that disappointment was misplaced. I was upset at myself for not being good enough or strong enough or talented enough. My faith was in me, in my abilities, in the people around me and again and again I was let down and again and again I blamed God.

I blamed God for my shortcomings, and the hole I was digging for myself got deeper and deeper, until I couldn’t see any light at all.

What changed that? I learned the truth. Over a period of three years, I learned to see God for who he really is, and me for who I really am. I am strong, smart, stubborn – which is why it took so long. God is love, he gives grace and peace and he forgives and chooses not to remember.

The peace I have – right now – is what keeps me going. That little nugget of faith that I have – it’s moving mountains because I have it focused on God now. The result of that is blessings and peace.

Peace – that’s what you need too! In all those situations that pop up in life. When the unexpected happens, you can have peace, regardless of the situation. That’s what God wants – and he wants to give it to you now! The question is, will you place your faith in him?

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Aftermath

November 7, 2012 — Leave a comment

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Aftermath. It can be pretty messy. Have you seen pictures of the devestation of Hurrican Sandy? It’s not good.

Most history books have pictures of wars and natural disasters. In a few of them, if you look just right, you can get a sense of not just the destruction, but of the human suffering as well. It’s scary, sad, gut-wrenching.

Have you every been through something like this? I know my home town, Harrah, OK has been through some tough times in the last few years – tornadoes and wildfires just to name two things. I have friends and family who have been affected. Some have lost everything.

About a year and a half ago, a tornado swept through Joplin Missouri and caused massive damage. Less than a week later, I was in my front yard here in Texas looking straight up over my house at the circulating wall cloud thinking, “We are in bad trouble here.” Many tornadoes touched down that day all around us, but we were spared.

I had panic attacks for weeks after that. I had never been scared during any kind of storm before. But I never had a wife and two little girls crying and praying for their lives in cramped closet before either.

I saw how close it was. I saw with my own eyes. The cloud, the part that was spinning and dipping down and going back up. My heart was racing, I was almost hyperventilating. I was well and truly scared – like I had never been scared before.

None of this was in my control. All we could do was pray and ride it out.

It was completely out of my hands.

How much of life is like that? Things happen. Bad things. Horrible things. Things that tear up our bodies and minds and souls. Things we have no control over – illness, loss, abuse, job loss, families torn apart.

These things change us, these things scar us. They can even destroy us, and what we are left with is a wasteland in our hearts and minds and bodies. Who can pick up the pieces? Who can make us whole, when we have been so completely torn apart?

Tonight at church, an assignment was to make a diagram of our families, and using symbols, show a variety of things – addiction, divorce, mental illness, death, just to name a few. Mine looked like the pictures above – the aftermath of a nuclear strike. I was not prepared for this.

I know everyone has their own baggage, and they all deal with it in their own way. I discovered that I haven’t dealt with it.

My birth mother is dead. She ruined her life, and ultimately her liver from drug use. She was bi-polar. She was abused and abusive to my birth father. My mother was adopted, so I have no idea what her parents were like, but I do know her mother got pregnant either outside of marriage or due to an affair with someone she wasn’t married to. She always felt like she was unwanted, and she always acted like nobody loved her.

My father was a hippie and from what I can tell he got over it. He was a drug addiction counselor, and is selling real estate in Las Vegas now. We don’t keep up with each other.

I was adopted, along with my sister, by our great aunt and uncle who were the opposite of my birth parents. Very strict. My new dad was career military, a command sergeant major. Tougher than nails. A veteran of three wars. He has his own scars from what he had seen and done as a soldier on the battlefield. He never spoke of it.

My mom raised the family while he was away – I have three older siblings – 2 brothers and a sister, who were the grown children of my new parents. I think my youngest/older brother is 17 years older than me.

When I say they were all great, I really, really mean it. But I was already screwed up. When I was four my mom injected me with heroin. She rolled me up in a rug once. She would put me in a dark room and scare me just for fun. I got thrown around a bit, too. But the worst part was when she would disappear for days on end, with just me and my one year old sister in the house alone.

The little family tree I drew tonight was supposed to give me some insight into areas where I still need to experience freedom, so that I can help guide others to freedom as well. The purpose was to help identify life patterns, and to break them – in ourselves and in others.

Folks, I have a ways to go. All of this devastation, all the broken pieces still laying around in my soul were brought to the surface tonight. I’m a mess. Most people are in some way, and sometimes they don’t even know it. Now I know it – and now I have the tools to deal with it. And maybe one day I will be able to minister to those who are going through this as well.

We’ve been in Freedom Training for about two months. This was the last night. Every single week, this one verse always pops into my head – “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Is 53:5)

Yes, Jesus died for our sins, but look at that verse – we can have peace and healing through him! Not just forgiveness – we can have that and we need it, but we can have healing in our souls and in our bodies! We can have peace! We don’t need to have a stiff upper lip, we don’t need to bury our hurts, we don’t have to act like everything is ok – everything CAN BE OK! You can have what God has promised – if you ask!

What is God saying to you right now? What are you struggling with? Ask God to show you if there is a lie associated with that. What is the lie? Ask God to show you what is true – accept his truth, and live in it! Be free!