Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘God’s nearness’

Grasp My Hand, Lord

SOURCE:  Tim Clinton/American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC)

Your Hand in His

“Don’t trust to hold God’s hand; let Him hold yours. Let Him do the holding, and you the trusting.”  (Hammer William Webb-Peploe)

When my son Zach was small, he loved for me to hold his hand. Often it would simply be out of the sheer joy of having his dad close to him. He would wrap his little chubby hand around my finger, and away we would go. Other times, when I sensed that I needed to hold on to him, I would wrap my hand all the way around his hand and wrist, and squeeze tight. Love… joy… security… safety — all wrapped up in his hand in mine.

I love the picture illustrated by Isaiah – “Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, (insert your name there) whose right hand I have grasped” (Isaiah 45:1 ESV).

The Hebrew word for grasped, “Chazaq” literally means “to be bound fast, both in the significance of adhesion and strength” (Strong’s Concordance). God was saying that when your hand is in His, a strong, fast, bond is formed between the two.

As our children grow into those teen years, things change. Our kids become increasingly independent, and socially they might be a little embarrassed to be seen walking hand-in-hand with dad.

Sadly, we often become so independent in our Christian journey that, for any number of reasons, we don’t let our Heavenly Father hold our hand. More often than not, I believe it is a part of what John was talking about when he writes to the Church in Ephesus, “…you have abandoned the love that you had at first” (Revelation 2:4 ESV). This Church had been “enduring patiently… bearing up for His name… not growing weary” (Revelation 2:3 ESV), but even after all of those “good works”, God was more interested in whether or not they loved Him — whether they were still dependent on Him. Perhaps they simply needed to slow down and let God take them by the hand.

When life is good, that’s a great time to wrap your hand around your Heavenly Father’s finger and enjoy the journey. When life is tough… when the wheels are coming off… that’s the time to reflect on these verses, and let His strong, mighty hand grasp your hand:

“(For they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand…)” 1 Kings 8:42 ESV “They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and your strong hand.” Nehemiah 1:10 ESV “You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand…” Psalm 89:13 ESV

Don’t let the cares of the world rob you of your dependence on Him, or your strength in Him.

In the good times, hold His hand. In the hard times, let Him grasp your hand.

It just might turn your life around.

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A Very Present HELP

SOURCE:  Charles Spurgeon

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1 ESV)

A help that is not present when we need it is of small value. The anchor which is left at home is of no use to the seaman in the hour of storm; the money which he used to have is of no worth to the debtor when a writ is out against him.

Very few earthly helps could be called ‘very present’: they are usually far in the seeking, far in the using, and farther still when once used.

But as for the Lord our God, He is present when we seek Him, present when we need Him, and present when we have already enjoyed His aid.

He is more than ‘present,’ He is very present. More present than the nearest friend can be, for He is in us in our trouble; more present than we are to ourselves, for sometimes we lack presence of mind.

He is always present, effectually present, sympathetically present, altogether present. He is present now if this is a gloomy season.

Let us rest ourselves upon Him. He is our refuge, let us hide in Him; He is our strength, let us array ourselves with Him; He is our help, let us lean upon Him; He is our very present help, let us repose in Him now.

We need not have a moment’s care or an instant’s fear. ‘The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.'”

–Charles Spurgeon in Chequebook of the Bank of Faith.

“In this world you will have trouble.”

SOURCE:  Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 63.

Left Ahead

In this world you will have trouble.” John 16.33

The fact that God is good does not mean that he will insulate us from all suffering.

Rather, it means that he will be with us in our suffering and accomplish good through it (Isa. 43:2-3).

J.I. Packer writes, “We see that he leaves us in a world of sin to be tried, tested, belaboured by troubles that threaten to crush us–in order that we may glorify him by our patience under suffering, and in order that he may display the riches of his grace and call forth new praises from us as he constantly upholds and delivers us.”

Imagine this scenario: Jesus is ascending back to heaven as his disciples are looking on and he tells them, “I’ve got to go now. Hang in there, and best of luck.” Sound ludicrous? It would be almost impossible to continue following someone who left you like that. Even those of us who have blood type D (duty) would eventually need a transfusion of something; something to give us hope in this broken world. If that had been the case, then Jesus would have truly left us behind. But that’s not how the story goes.

He left us ahead; he told us what it was going to be like, no surprises (John, chapters 14-16):

  • The world will hate you.
  • They will persecute you.
  • They will put you out of the synagogue.
  • They will think that killing you is a service to God.

And he told us right where he would be:

  • I will be with you.

As we suffer conflicts, insults, and other hardships, we must remember that Christ is our Emmanuel–God with us!

We press on through those valleys of the shadow of death, but we don’t press on alone; no, we have the presence of the living Christ guiding, encouraging, refining, strengthening, and protecting us all along the way. And as our faith matures, God does more and more of what God loves to do–display the riches of his grace and call forth new praises from us as he constantly upholds and delivers us.

DEATH Hurts, But It’s Not The END!

You Are Not Alone

SOURCE:  Taken from a devotion by Living Free Ministry

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 NLT

Thoughts for Today

If you are recently widowed, you might be finding it almost impossible to move beyond the mourning period, especially if your marriage was a long and fulfilling one. Beginning each new day may seem like an overwhelming task. The loneliness may seem unbearable at times.

It is important to remember that you are never really alone. God is there with you. Nothing can separate you from his love. Open your heart to Jesus. Let him love you and fill you with his peace. Your new road may still be difficult, but with Jesus it will be possible.

 Consider this …

God can make this a time of growth and renewed intimacy with him—if you want him to. But you have a choice. As time moves on, you can choose to dwell on your loss and on what might have been. Or you can choose life … appreciating the time you had with your spouse, but beginning to move on, praising God for the many blessings you still have. And remember that the Lord isn’t finished with you. Choose to rise each morning, asking him to help you accomplish the purpose of that day’s journey.

Even with positive choices, recovery will take time.

Learn to take one step at a time, trusting Jesus and basking in his comfort and love.

Prayer

Father, I thank you so much that I can trust in your presence and your love. I need your help to get through this. I take great comfort in your promise that nothing can separate me from your love. In Jesus’ name …

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