MEMO: Getting Past Your Past

Have you ever felt really stuck? I don’t mean you’re simply at a loss for words when writing a business proposal or a school assignment. I mean something big has its claws in your brain and you feel like you just can’t move. No matter how hard you try you can’t get rid of the baggage that is weighing you down and holding you back.

That “something big” could be any number of things. It might be:

  • a troubled or abusive childhood
  • domestic violence
  • a history of mental illness
  • an addiction to alcohol, drugs, pornography, or gambling
  • a series of failed relationships
  • sexual indiscretions
  • a divorce
  • a business failure
  • an abortion
  • the death of a loved one

As Patrick Dempsey says to Reece Witherspoon in the movie Sweet Home Alabama, “So you have a past. Who doesn’t?”

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What Is God’s View of Healing?

Presence of GodLike everything else about Him, God’s view of healing is much bigger than ours.

In asking some questions about healing on my social media pages, I received an uncommonly large number of responses. It’s clear we hunger for God’s healing touch. And how much we need Him!

Our world is one where people get sick and die. Every one of us. Sometimes that happens quickly, sometimes slowly. But no one can escape.

Throughout history people have sought healing from sickness and disease in many ways. The God we serve has a lot to say about healing. Throughout the Old Testament God presents Himself as One who is the source of healing.

Then Jesus comes on the scene, and a flood of healing follows everywhere He goes. Some of the people Jesus healed were suffering the results of their own sin. Others were suffering completely unrelated to any sin. Jesus was not nearly as concerned with where sickness came from as He was with relieving suffering. Jesus had only one attitude toward sickness: He is against it!

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Help For The Journey Of Grief

griefIt’s something most of us don’t like to talk about or even think about. But there is no more universal experience than losing a loved one in death. Part of your heart is torn, and it will never be the same again.

The experience of grief is unpreventable. It doesn’t matter much whether it’s your mother, father, child, spouse, or other loved one, death leaves a painful void that words cannot well express. Even if that loved one’s death is expected the loss is still no less painful.

The experience of grief is personal. Your relationship with your loved one was unique, and so is your experience of their loss. No one else can fully understand what that loss means to you, or tell you how to feel or what to do at such a difficult time.

The experience of grief is passing. That does not mean you will forget your loved one. But it does mean that healing is possible. There is no right answer about how long you should feel grief, or how soon you take each next step in moving into the next stage in your life. But time, help, and God’s comfort can clearly sooth your troubled soul.

The fact that we feel grief so keenly is one more bit of evidence that we were not meant for death. God did not create us to live twenty, seventy, or even a hundred years, and then go away into nothingness. No – He created us for eternity. He created us to live forever!

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How A Christian Faces Trouble and Tragedy

Emotional TraumaWe live in a world where there is no shortage of trouble. And that trouble often presents a great challenge to our faith.

Perhaps it’s a natural disaster, such as the recent floods in Colorado, or the tornados just a few nights ago in the mid-west. Perhaps it’s an accident, such as the church bus that crashed in Tennessee last week, killing eight and injuring 14 people.

Then there is the almost unspeakable violence both near and far, such as the shooting in the US Navy yard recently, the slaughter at the mall in Nairobi, Kenya, or the systematic killing of Christians in certain parts of the world.

Or perhaps it is your own private trauma, such as for Janet and Paul who have been trying for years to have a baby. Finally, a few months into her pregnancy, they discover their prayed-for child has life-threatening birth defects. Or for Brian, whose father, a pastor, is fatally shot by a parishioner while in his office at church. Or for Evelyn, the widow whose life savings is stolen by her dead husband’s business partner, and is now left with nothing.

No, there is no shortage of trouble in our world. And when trouble happens, it’s normal to ask questions: Why me? Did I do something to let this happen? Couldn’t God have kept this from happening? Where is He now? In the face of unexpected tragedy, the challenge to faith is real.

When trouble comes, here are three things to do:

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Healing From The Bondage Of Addiction

RecoveryThe numbers concerning addiction are truly staggering. Nearly 25 million Americans used illegal drugs last year. And another 15 million abuse prescription drugs. Some research indicates 30% of people will experience an alcohol-related disorder at some point in their lives. In the US 2.8 billion dollars is spent every year on pornography. One third of all internet downloads are pornographic.

And the problem is huge in the Christian church as well. 80% of churched young people report having tried alcohol, and 38% have tried marijuana. 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women report being “addicted” to pornography. These numbers should sober us as individuals, as a society, and as a church.

But even those numbers tell little of the personal devastation caused by addiction. Children going without food, innocent people killed by drunk drivers, homes, businesses, and careers lost, men, women, and children abused physically, sexually, and mentally, families and lives devastated because of addiction.

And the most devastating cost of all is to the soul of the person held in bondage by an addiction. That may involve overwhelming guilt, separation from God and others, fear of hell, and a sense of powerlessness to do anything to break free.

Yes, addiction is powerful. It changes one’s body and brain, robs one’s finances, destroys one’s relationships, and wreaks havoc on one’s soul. It’s one of the enemy’s most successful tools to bring pain and destruction to God’s children.

But as powerful as addiction is, there is ONE who is more powerful.

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