Tag Archives: grief

Chain Free Living


To demonstrate how difficult it is to accomplish even the easiest tasks while you are bound up, I once tried to preach a sermon with my hands tied behind my back. I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but it proved to be more difficult than I could imagine. My first problem was holding the microphone. Then I needed help turning the pages in my bible. After that, I needed to turn the page in my notes. Finally, I couldn’t use my hands then I spoke, which apparently I do.

So many of us try to do more than speak while we are bound up. We actually try to go through life while we are bound up in depression, addiction, grief, sin, etc. If you’ve been there, you know that even the smallest tasks can prove to be difficult. Go designed you to live a life of freedom. As Paul wrote, “It was for freedom that He set you free.” Jesus also said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

There’s a song called “Chain Breaker” that says, “If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.” The words to this song remind me that I don’t have to live bound up in my chains. There is no chain so strong that God cannot break it in your life. There is no depression so dark that He can’t bring you out of it. I’ve been in the deep, dark prison of depression and He set me free.

I love reading Psalm 107 because it’s a reminder of what God can do for us. In verse 14 it says, “He brought them out of their gloom and darkness and broke their chains in pieces” (GNT). If you’re bound up by chains today or are in a dark place, call out to God. Ask Him to lead you out of that place and to set you free. I know if He did it in my life, He can do it in yours. It’s time we all got back to living the life of freedom that God created us to live.

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Comfort For The Grieving

  
I’m taking a break from writing this week. To help you keep up with your daily devotions, I am re-posting one I’ve already written.

Each of us have lost someone we were close to. Death does not discriminate. It is just as much a part of life as birth. I like to think of life on this earth as a cocoon and death is the rebirth into eternal life. While it’s sad and scary to us on this side, it is glorious on the other. When we close our eyes here, we open them there. 

I’ve faced the grief of a lost loved one many times in my life. To help heal the sadness I feel, I look up these verses for comfort. I hope they help you too.

1.   You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. (Matthew 5:4 MSG)

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. (Isaiah 61:2 NLT)

3.   The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die. (Psalms 116:15 NLT)

4.   When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 ESV)

5.   God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4 AMP)

6.   He will swallow up death [in victory; He will abolish death forever]. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the reproach of His people He will take away from off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it. (Isaiah 25:8 AMP)

7.   For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalms 30:5 NLT)

8.   To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3 AMP)

9.   You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. (Psalms 71:20 NLT)

10.   For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NLT)

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The Law Of God’s Grace

  
One of the things I like to tell people is that the greater the grief, the deeper the sorrow, or the harder the trial, the greater amount of God’s grace you will experience. God gives us grace sufficient for our trials. When Paul was faced with a trial that God wouldn’t remove after much prayer, God spoke to him in II Corinthians 12:9. He said, “My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]” (AMP).

God gives grace, favor, strength, and mercy according to our need. He knows what we are facing and what we need in order to bear the weight of our situation. You’ve heard of Newton’s Third Law, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” To me, it is the Law of God’s Grace. For every force or trial that comes against you, there is an equal amount of Grace to support you. God gives you enough grace to enable you to stand in times of sorrow and tests.

Paul wrote about this Law of God’s Grace in Ephesians 4:7. He said, “Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift.” Each of us receive a different portion and type of God’s grace according to our need. It is proportionate to our circumstance and is given as a free gift to us. That grace that God gives is tailor made for us because He knows what we are facing and cares for us.

The greater the trial, the greater the grace. I’ve hit rock bottom in my life, but I’ve never found the bottom of God’s grace. It is deeper than anything you or I will ever face. It will always be sufficient to your need. When you go through deep struggles, you get a glimpse of God’s grace that few people ever do. The longer you endure hardship, the longer you can remain in the crucible, the deeper your knowledge of God will be and the firmer your trust in Him will be. The Law of God’s Grace proves He will not fail you when you need Him most.

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The Hope Of Heaven

As we sat around the dinner table last night, the conversation began to focus on Heaven. We went around the table asking who would be the first person we would want to meet in Heaven aside from Jesus. As we discussed different people from the Bible, I decided to post on Facebook asking others who they would like to meet. I was surprised by their answers. Instead of people from the Bible, most came back with family members they had never met. Several spoke of children they had lost through miscarriage.

What I read in other’s replies was there are so many of us who live our lives with the hope of being reunited and being made complete. Family units will be as they could have been. We’ll be able to see from one end of the family tree to the other. Heaven, for many, will be a great big family reunion. We’ll be joined together with families who were with us here on earth and with fellow heirs of Christ. I don’t know how it will work or how we will be known, but I do know that There is a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on to complete our race. Those who have gone on before don’t want us to quit.

When I think of eternity and the prize that is waiting, it always encourages me to keep going. Let’s face it, living how God called us to live isn’t easy. It’s difficult to be successful at it in a world that cheers us on to live like them. There are days where it’s just easier to quit running this race than to take another step forward. There are times when things happen that we don’t understand and we want to be angry at God. In those moments when I get frustrated and doubt that God really cares, I think of those who have already made it to Heaven and how I want to see them. I look beyond the pain of today to what is to come.

Yes, life is full of loss, hurt and pain, but God didn’t leave us without hope. He gave us the Comforter to guide us and to remind us of God’s promises. He gave us the hope of being reunited with lost loved ones. He gave us that cloud of witnesses who are cheering for you to keep going. Can you hear them? Can you imagine them standing all around you wanting you to complete the race? When I doubt or want to quit, I hear those cheers and it encourages me to keep going. They’re cheering for you too. Your family members, unborn children and a host of others will be waiting at the finish line to welcome you home. You just have to keep running even when they’ve gone on before you.

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God is working for your good

When you are going through a difficult time in your life, it’s easy to wonder where God is. It’s hard to see Him when you are in the middle of your pain and suffering. Grief and depression have a way of blinding us to the help that is around us. When you can’t see God in your storm, you feel isolated and alone.

Each of us go through difficult times in our lives. It’s in those times when we forget that others have walked down that same road. We tell ourselves that no one else knows the pain we feel. We separate ourselves from others and begin to think that no one cares. Just because you feel alone, it doesn’t mean you are. In Luke 11:11-17, a widow lost her only son and was grief stricken. She felt the same way.

Here are three things Jesus does for us in difficult times.

1. Jesus sees our affliction

In the time of her son’s death, she could not see Jesus. He knew that her son had died and purposefully arrived at her town as the funeral procession was headed out of the town. Verse 13 says that when He saw her, His heart over flowed with compassion for her. It was clear that He was struck by her grief.

In the midst of our struggles and pain, Jesus sees us whether we see Him or not. His heart is broken for you and will come to show Himself to you at just the right time. You are not alone. He is there with you in the middle of your pain. I know personally that it is hard to see Him in that place. Reach out to Him. You will find He is right there.

2. Jesus comforts us

After meeting her in her despair, Jesus tried to comfort and console her. It broke his heart to see her crying. He reached out to her in his compassion and told her not to cry. We do not serve a God who is not empathetic to our needs. He understands loss, friends turning on you, being betrayed and so much more that we go through.

You may think that God doesn’t care about you, but He really does. His heart breaks when ours does. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to be our comforter. He knew that we would need comfort in our times of distress here in this world. He never promised that we wouldn’t go through difficult times. He promised us a comforter for difficult times.

3. Jesus works for us

For this widow, Jesus raised her son back to life. I’m not sure why some people are healed or raised from the dead and others aren’t. I believe that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. What He did back then, He will still do today. We often don’t see Him move that way because we treat Him like a convenience instead of a necessity.

Even if you don’t receive the miracle you were praying for, it doesn’t mean that He was not working for you. There are things beyond what we can physically see or comprehend. God works on our behalf. He knows our future and may have us go through something now to prepare us for something later. We often ask God to remove trials or problems, but He may be working for you to prepare you for your future.

When times are tough and you can’t see God, it doesn’t mean He can’t see you. Hold on to your faith in the storm. He sees your affliction and has sent the Holy Spirit to comfort you in your time of need. God is always working on your behalf. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for YOUR good. Hang in there.

Here is a prayer by my friend Michael Moak for you.

Dear Lord,
Today I proclaim your promise in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of Fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”
For the reader of this blog, Lord, that is dealing with the fear of the unknown future in their life, I come to You on their behalf today. I ask that You would surround them with your gentle peace and fill their heart with your strength while they wade through the waters of uncharted territory. Give them the ability to see Your hope at the end of this long journey and increase Your blessing upon their family during this pivotal time of transition. I know that You do not place fear or uncertainty upon our hearts; however, as humans we find ourselves defaulting to those emotions and get our eyes off of the one true place where fear can not dwell… in YOU! So, today, Lord Jesus, remind my friend of the promises of Your word and inject them with the spiritual medicine to heal their broken and searching heart! I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.

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