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Posts tagged ‘seeking God’s help’

When There Is No Hope, There Is HOPE!

SOURCE:  Living Free

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'”

(Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

Dealing with the consequences of a loved one’s problem creates a mounting pressure within us. We want to take charge and fix things – but we can’t. This kind of pressure leads to overload. And what does an electrical circuit do when it is overloaded?

It burns out, creates a hazard, blows a fuse, or starts a fire.

Like circuits, we also burn out with overload. We can’t function. We can even be a danger to ourselves and to others. Our health can suffer.

How about you? Do you see any of these overload signs in yourself? You may be tempted to hold in the pressures, the stress, and the pain – but if you do, the overload can do some serious harm in your life.

The feelings of pressure are real and can seem overwhelming, but never believe the lie that your situation is hopeless. In the middle of the pain and frustration, you need to believe there is hope

We are not talking about the kind of hope that halfheartedly says, “I hope things start looking up,” or “We can only hope for the best.” We are talking about the kind of hope described as confident expectation of something good. Hope based on your knowledge of God and His willingness to meet you right where you are. He loves you. He cares. And He is ready to work in you and in your difficult circumstances.

Meditate on the above scripture. God has a plan for you – a plan for your good. His plan will not harm you. He wants you to have hope and look confidently toward the future.

Are you ready to lean on him? To trust him? With him, you can have real hope.

Father, I haven’t been able to see anything but this problem. It has consumed me and destroyed my hope and my joy. But now I am reminded you are still with me. You want to help, and you are more than able. Help me shift my focus to you. To your power, your love, and your good plan for me . . . and for my loved one. In Jesus’ name . . .

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These thoughts were drawn from …

Close—But Not Too Close by Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee.

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Post-Wedding Regrets: “What have I done?”

SOURCE:  Ed Welch/CCEF

So you wake up soon after your wedding day—maybe it was a couple hours after the wedding, maybe a couple weeks—and say, “What have I done?”

There are many painful things we experience in life. This one weighs in as one of the most painful.

You feel as though you have just received a life sentence or (maybe) a death sentence. Ironically, though recently married, you feel more alone than ever.

Aloneness in marriage is just the worst.

Your temptation is to reboot the system. You made a bad decision, now you want to take it back. You consider seeking an annulment (I know people who have tried it). You figure that God doesn’t hold us accountable for stupid decisions, so we can leave the marriage.

Or… you avoid compounding what was perhaps a poor decision (to marry) with another poor decision (to leave the marriage), and… you consider your God.

Please don’t think that I am minimizing the challenges in front of you. I have witnessed people going through it and seen that the path can be hard and sometimes long. But I have also seen God’s mercy poured out on willing spouses—our Father is well-known for demonstrating great power in our weakness.

Things are not always as they seem. When people have regretted their decision to marry—and they might have good reasons for such regrets—the resulting humility and calling out to the Lord for help is downright glorious. That alone is beauty out of ashes.

Here are some helpful things I have heard from those who have gone before you.

Ask for prayer and wisdom from someone who will do more than simply commiserate.

This is normal protocol in the Christian life, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally. No one enjoys asking for help, and it is especially hard to acknowledge personal struggles in marriage. But followers of Jesus speak with our Lord about difficult things and we speak with each other. Most people I have talked to have spoken to a wise friend about their difficulties. In doing this they were not tattling on their spouses; they were seeking wisdom about how to go forward.

Be careful about focusing on your regrets, and even be careful about focusing on your marriage. 

Your goal is to grow in the knowledge of Jesus and discover how children of God are to thrive. John 10:10 is still for you: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” This full life, of course, is much better than having whatever we want. Your goal is to catch a vision for the contentment that Paul found in Jesus (Phil. 4:11-12). He is telling you a great secret: Jesus is enough.

Bring more scrutiny to yourself than to your spouse. 

You might have to raise difficult issues with your spouse. The only way you can do this is to first develop expertise in putting your own sins and weaknesses under the microscope while you see your spouse’s with something less than twenty-twenty vision (Matt.7:3-5). Ugh. This one might take a miracle.

Search for the good in your spouse.

By the good I mean anything that resembles, no matter how faintly, the true Father of all. When you live with someone long enough you will certainly see the person’s sins, but you will also see things that are praiseworthy. If you can’t see anything good, maybe it’s because you just don’t like your spouse and it is hard to find anything good in someone you don’t like. Consider forgiving your spouse for accumulated wrongs and start over.

Then, after these steps, talk about your marriage with your spouse.

If you are planning to lead with “I wish I never married you,” then you should go back and review the other steps again. Aim to be concrete (what are the top two specific problems). Aim to be hopeful. Those who are praying for you can help you on this one.

No one will tell you that everything will soon be great. Actually, that isn’t quite true. I know some who might because that is their particular experience. Most veterans won’t be so rosy, but they will tell you that the struggle is worth it, and many would say that it was exactly what they needed.

The Stages of Life-Controlling Problems (1)

We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT

Life-controlling problems usually progress in four stages:  (1) experimentation, (2) social use or practice, (3) daily preoccupation, and (4) practicing just to feel normal.

Experimentation: We learn that the substance or behavior makes us feel good. We don’t notice serious negative consequences. Return to normal feelings soon follows isolated indulgences.

Social phase: We practice the behavior regularly but set limits for ourselves about when, where, or how we do it. The rules make us feel safe and appropriate, but we are trusting in the behavior or substance for our needs, not in God. Normal feelings are punctuated with more frequent uses, and we seek friends who also indulge.

Consider this … 
During the experimentation stage, we will usually rationalize our behavior. We might give excuses like peer pressure, thrill-seeking, curiosity, or a need to relax. As we enter the social phase, we may tell ourselves we want to be with new friends who don’t judge our actions. Or we need something to do on weekends or just want to have fun.

But all the time we are falling into “The Trap.” Today’s scripture refers to “strongholds of human reasoning” and “false arguments.” It also says to use God’s weapons, not our own, to overcome. When we feel ourselves being entrapped, we must make a choice. The only way we can be free is to recognize our need for God and to ask for his help.

Prayer

Lord, I’ve been making excuses for what I am doing, but deep down I know it’s wrong. Please forgive me. I need your help. In Jesus’ name . . .

 

These thoughts were drawn from …

Living Free by Jimmy Ray Lee, D. Min. and Dan Strickland, M. Div.

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