Wednesday, 28 March 2018

A Rumour of Hope

A Rumour of Hope
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

                A story about the island of Molokai in the Hawaiian Islands For seven years this colony existed before a Belgian priest volunteered to serve among the lepers. He arrived in 1873 with skills ranging from carpentry to medicine. He lived among the lepers and taught the people how to construct buildings, cared for those living, buried the dead and encouraged them through prayer and preaching.
reveals that in the 1800’s hundreds this island found in paradise was really an island of horrors. Leprosy broke out in 1848 and by the 1860’s it was an epidemic. The government of the time rounded up everyone infected with the disease and they were quarantined. They were cut off from the rest of the world by a 16 foot cliff with no dock or harbour. Lepers would be made to jump overboard and swim to the shore. There was no shelter, drinking water or anything else. If they survived it was in caves or crude shacks. Sometimes supply slips would toss crates of food into the water and if the currents were cooperative, the supplies might reach the shore.
                One evening while washing his feet, Father Damien de Veuster learned that he too had taken their disease into himself. (1885). Standing in front of his congregation the following Sunday, he spoke simple words, “we lepers.” He died 4 years later.
                This story of Father Damien reminds us of Jesus who came among us while people were searching, isolated, and condemned by sin, castaway without any hope. He came as a carpenter, healing nd teacher. Jesus encouraged people with prayer and preaching and in the end he took upon himself the sins of the world, for our sake.
                In this Holy Week we are reminded of the moments written by Isaiah when Jesus was crucified on the cross. Jesus paid this penalty on our behalf so that we might live eternally with him.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)
Reflection:How does reading Isaiah’s prophecy about the one who would be Messiah help you to understand what Jesus did for us on the cross?
Why is it necessary to hear Jesus’ passion story his arrest, trial and crucifixion and burial as part of Holy Week? Why don’t people want to listen to it?
We need to hear the story of Jesus’ death so that we can truly celebrate his resurrection. But many people don’t like feeling uncomfortable if given a choice. What do you think? Should we skip Good Friday and only worship on Easter?
Prayer: God of grace we praise you and thank you for sending us Jesus to be our Saviour. We don’t like to hear the words of sorrow and pain and agony which he endured for us but we know it is necessary to understand what he did for our sake. Teach us again the depth of his love and show us your way. We ask in Jesus’ name so that we might have hope because of Christ’s resurrection. Amen.
Resource:  (based upon) Ray Stedman, “A Rumor of Hope: The Good News of Easter”Discovery House Publishers, Our Daily Bread Ministries, 2017.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

People are hurting and have been hurting themselves and others for generations.

Hurting, Healing and Hope
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

                People are hurting and have been hurting themselves and  Yet when out of opportunities to live a healthier life, change seems the only alternative. But there is hope in this because change can and often be a positive end result to the hurt of the past.
others for generations. The real resolution to these hurts is to bring about change. But of course, for some people change is sometimes seen as worse than the hurt one experiences.
Wilson’s Theory of Change:  Making and consistently practicing new choices produces change.
Our change efforts have eternal significance however, when they are empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. To really understand the change process we need to understand the choices we can make.
Paul writing to the Corinthians—“Put away childish things” I Cor. 13:11 in order to be mature adults. What does this mean? It means to set these things aside intentionally. That is by choice!
There are elements that you cannot change:
·         Parents’ sin natures,
·         parents’ predispositions (susceptibility to alcoholism, schizophrenia and intelligence),
·         parents’ person issues  Routine responsibilities and life dominating issues
·         parents’ attitudes and actions toward us
·         family atmosphere
·         own sin natures
·         own genetic predispositions and natural endowments
But there are elements you can change: 
“If we don’t change our direction, we are apt to end up where we are headed.” Chinese proverb
1.       Our relationship with God
2.       Our relationship  with others
3.       Our relationship with ourselves

1.       God- whose rules should we follow.  If we chose to know God and put Him first in our lives, we will begin to live by His rules
2.       Ezekiel 18:20  each of us dies for our own sins.; vs 30 says that we are to turn away from all our sins so that they may not become a stumbling block to us.  We must take responsibility for our own choices
                This includes the time it takes for this process of change to work!  Change is the journey—relates to the unappealing prospect that is ongoing and sometimes an emotional upheaval.

3.       To change our relationship with others we need a power source! Zechariah 4:6—not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit..
This hurt is SIN and everyone has sinned- people who are hurt and unhurt; people who are good living citizens and people caught up in their hurtful past.

Christians believe- that Jesus had no sin yet chose to die for our sins so that we could experience the eternal quality of life that exists only in personal relationship with Him.
With Jesus as the pilot of our lives—we can change—
We need town our responsibilities in the injury-recovery, healing from hurts changing process but we are not alone in this if we believe in God’s unseen Spirit which will energize us and help us along the way.
Question—have you been hurt in the past that you’ve almost given up who you are?
What has helped you to realize that there is hope?
Have you ever looked to God or His Son Jesus to truly help you?
The most significant life changing choice you will ever make is asking Jesus to pilot your life, supervise your choices as you heal and change and live a renewed life and have a new purpose.
All you need to do is choose Jesus and pray words like these:
Jesus I want to know you personally. Come into my lie and forgive my sins. Thank you for paying for my sins through your death. Thank you for loving me. Change my heart and help me to be faithful to you. Thank you for leading my life now and always. Amen.
Resource:  (based upon )Dr. Sandra D Wilson, Hurt People Hurt People, Discovery House Publishers, 2001. Ch.7  

Are you worth it? Are you worth knowing, respecting and loving? Do you love yourself?

Hurting, Healing and Hope
Wednesday, March 14 2018

                Are you worth it? Are you worth knowing, 
respecting and loving? Do you love yourself?
Have you ever denied your own emotions or told to do so? Or if you do get angry then you need help? Men and women are emotional beings but often we are told to deny these feelings in order to get ahead or to mature properly.
Anger is not a sin (Ephesians 4:26) we need to recognize and respect chunks of our emotions because if we do this we often turn to ways which become addictions as they serve as emotional anesthetics.
Addictions produce a pleasurable mood change yet they also bring problems—they wear off and cause you to get greedy. They may also add to your pain.
Life is filled with pain and the more we refuse to face our feelings and this pain we will keep searching for a fix. Some of these are ‘approved’ addictions—shopping, overspending, physical care,
Change= new choices and consistent practice
Healing Self-concept and Perfectionism
·         Learn the difference between self- focus and self-awareness
·         Begin learning who you really are  James 1:23
·         Redefine yourself and key people in your life from a more mature and truthful perspective
Changing Self- inflicted Needs-denial Wounds
Truth honouring ways to respect your legitimate needs:
·         Learn to identify long denied needs
·         Purposefully identify, engage and extend your support system into a helping network
·         Begin to see yourself as clean (I John 1:7)
·         Respect your body
·         Schedule time for you
There are 4 key issues to consider about healing from Self- inflicted wounds:
1)      Performance based worth
2)      Perfectionism
3)      Denying my own needs
4)      Denying my real feelings
QUESTIONS: What truths do you see in these issues for you?
What choices do you have and can make about change in your life
What new practices are you willing to try as you progress through changes in your life?

God of love, I am your child and I believe you love me no matter what. Thank you Jesus for you are my Saviour and you have loved me so much you died to forgive me. Help me now as I continue to heal and find a new me for you to love even more! Amen.
Resource:  (based upon) Dr. Sandra D Wilson, Hurt People Hurt People, Discovery House Publishers, 2001. Ch.8  

Life is a series of change and choosing new directions.

Hurting, Healing and Hope
Wednesday, March 21 2018

                Life is a series of change and choosing new directions.   Many factors contribute to this- the depth of our wounds, the support and helping resources available to us, and the level of our cooperation with the Spirit of God. But what fuels us is God who is committed to life. But we must have hope for if we have no hope we die.
The healing process invites us to let each of our change journeys develop as uniquely as we do.
                We are called to be stewards of all aspects of our lives including the weaknesses caused, in part by childhood wounds. We are called to bring to God our fears, cares, futures and weaknesses.  We are also to go to God with our suffering so that we’ll know Him as Comforter. We really will experience God’s comfort when we suffer. But we will suffer and there will be scars. But these scars have hope.
                When we think of Jesus, he too had scars—in his hands, feet and side. These  marks were where the nails and sword penetrated Jesus’ body. But we also know that it is because of these scars we are given the gift of eternal life. So where do we place our hope?
                In Jesus “for he was pierced for our transgressions he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us (brings us) peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). God gave to us Jesus out of love so that when we hurt we may have hope in him. “This hope is what sees in the splintered fragments of our broken lives, the reflection of His empty tomb.” (p.240)
As we consider Jesus as the “wounded healer” how does knowing that He was wounded for us/ you as an individual make a difference for where you place your hope?
What does it mean to be healed? Is it for always or is it an ongoing process?
We are people who from time to time hurt and in turn hurt others. But are we willing to help others be healed in faith? To bring others to the cross of Christ and the empty tomb of Jesus knowing that there is hope beyond the grave? Hurt people may hurt people. But helping people love others who hurt. Jesus calls us to love each other—wounds and all. Let us remember this as we pray:
Praise be to you O God because you love me scars and all. Thank you for Jesus who was scarred and wounded for me. Help me to love others and tell others of his love with hope for tomorrow. Be with me always as I continue to love others scars and all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Resource:  (based upon) Dr. Sandra D Wilson, Hurt People Hurt People, Discovery House Publishers, 2001. Ch.15

Watch for a new Easter series starting next week—during Holy Week!    

Friday, 2 March 2018

But if anyone causes one of these little ones to sin

Hurting, Healing and Hope

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

“But if anyone causes one of these little ones to sin, ..” Matthew 18:4-7
                We continue to discover that ‘hurt’ comes in many forms and   in order to heal from these hurts, we need to name the hurt. Some of these hurts start out as fantasies and some result because of childhood choices. Yet how we discern these fantasies makes a difference in how we respond to them.
from different sources. But
Fantasy 1—unlimited power to control- Children are the centre of the universe and they possess the power to cause events and control other people’s actions and emotions.
Fantasy 2- unlimited knowledge to cure; Children can re-do anything in order to change an outcome without consequences
These fantasies are reinforced by others including:
a) Our own “I’dolatry—I can be like God unlimited power; (omnipotence) or knowing the end from the beginning (omniscience)—figuring out how to change things; I can know everything and how to fix everything and everybody
b) New age spirituality- self empowerment means universal power and unlimited human potential
c) Parental stumbling blocks- believing that children are knowledgeable;  Children have limited cognitive development that prevents them from making choices; children should not be blamed for adult actions example: you love to make me hit you
d) Self-protection- they are afraid and powerless to have parents stop abusing tem.
Have you been hurt in the past, maybe even currently?
REFLECTION: Read the following statements and check the ones that describe your views:
1)      If I were a better person (a better Christian) I could change my (spouse, child, friend…)
2)      If someone disagrees with me, his or her opinions are usually right.
3)      I am responsible for the problems in my family (office, small groups,)
4)      When things go wrong, it’s usually my fault.
5)      If I (whatever) then (whoever) would (whatever).   
These statements—reveal the influence of childhood fantasies!

But we are called to live in truth
1)      I do not have the power to change anyone, no matter how much ‘better’ I get.
2)      My opinions are as valid as anyone else’s.
3)      I share responsibility for the atmosphere of my family, office, small group.
4)      When things go wrong, I am sometimes responsible; sometimes partly responsible and sometimes not responsible
5)       Doing whatever with whomever has no bearing on their resulting actions. The other is responsible for their actions and behaviours.
Prayer: God help us to trust you enough to let you be who you and you alone are—the One who Controls all things and changes people. Thank you for understanding how difficult this is for each of us because of the deep wounds which have occurred in our lives. Reveal to us all the hope that you give through Jesus our Saviour. Amen.
Resource:  Dr. Sandra D Wilson, Hurt People Hurt People, Discovery House Publishers, 2001. Ch.4-5