RECOVERING FROM DIVORCE (2)

“I will restore to you the years.”  Joel 2:25 NKJV

Recovering from divorce and learning to live again takes time, so please be patient with yourself. Chances are you’ll go through the recognized stages of grief: (1) Denial. You try to ignore or minimize what has happened in hopes it’ll go away. You fear confrontation and refuse to face it. You won’t go for professional help because you think “it’ll all work out in the end.” (2) Anger. When someone rejects you it affects your self-worth and you react the wrong way. You make wild, unchecked statements born out of emotional chaos—sweeping statements like, “Good! I’m glad it’s over! Just you wait! I’ll find someone who really loves and appreciates me!” (3) Bargaining. Once you realize anger just robs you of joy and drives the wedge deeper, you resort to looking for a solution or a compromise. And when that doesn’t work you progress to the next stage. (4) Depression. It hits you at the most inopportune times like birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. Re-runs of “our favorite movie” on television, or restaurants where you made memories together depress you. At two o’clock in the morning you’re wide awake and can’t sleep. This depression is often the result of introspection, because you can’t think wrong and feel right at the same time. So what can you do? Learn to discipline your thoughts. Set new goals for your life. Focus on helping someone else. When Job prayed for his friends, God healed him and restored his fortunes (See Job 42:10). And He will restore yours too, so keep trusting Him and don’t lose heart.

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A Quiet Place

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (NLT) -Mark 6:31
This is always a busy time of year with graduations, visiting family, and working hard. We get focused, hustling and bustling about with little time for eating that we exhaust ourselves. It’s important to go off to a quiet place to recharge yourself and rest awhile. Such a time is necessary to find rest in Jesus. When you sneak away, bring a verse with you to meditate and mull over. Perhaps it’s only 15 minutes, but the peace you will find is like none other. Come and find rest in Him.
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Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. The precept to avoid anxious care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into His place to do for Him that which He has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of that which we fancy He will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if He were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to His plain precept, this unbelief in His Word, this presumption in intruding upon His province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God’s hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the “broken cistern” instead of to the “fountain;” a sin which was laid against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God’s lovingkindness, and thus our love to Him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from Him; but if through simple faith in His promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon Him, and are “careful for nothing” because He undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to Him, and strengthen us against much temptation. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”

Do You Trust Me?

“I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years.” — Leviticus 25:21

The Torah portion for this week is Behar, which means “on the mountain,” from Leviticus 25:1–26:2, and the Haftorah is from Jeremiah 32:6–22.

Every seven years in the land of Israel, God asks this question: Do you trust me? Hopefully, we can answer with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Yes, Lord, we trust You. We believe in You and believe that You run the world.

Then comes the real challenge. God says: Prove it!

In this week’s Torah portion, we learn about the laws of the sabbatical year. There is a seven-year cycle in which farmers may work their land for six years, but during the seventh year, the land must rest. Farmers cannot sow seeds or reap the harvest – for an entire year.

Now to put this into perspective, let’s imagine that every seven years, we were commanded to march into work and announce that we would be taking the year off. We’re not talking about a paid sabbatical; we’re talking about simply quitting our jobs for the year while living the same lifestyle that we have always maintained. At the conclusion of the year, we would fully expect to get our old jobs back, or to get another one that was even better.

That would be some act of faith. And that is exactly the kind of faith that God demands of Israel on every seventh year, even today. In the natural world, this kind of business practice would set a person up for bankruptcy. But God promises, “ I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years.” If we demonstrate our faith in God, then what should lead us to scarcity will instead lead us into abundance and blessing.

You see, God wants us to know that He’s got our backs. It’s not the fluctuations of the stock market or the luck of the real estate market that will determine our blessings. It’s not our clever ideas or working overtime that will yield promotions. God alone will deliver abundance and blessings in our lives. Sure, we’ve got to put in our effort and do our part, but the heavy lifting is God’s doing.

At the end of the day, it’s not the land that needs the rest; we need it! We need to stop worrying ourselves sick about how we’ll get by next week or in the next 20 years. We need to stop working so hard at making a living that we neglect to make a life. We need to trust in the Lord and step out in faith. As it says in Jeremiah 17: “ blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD . . . They will be like a tree planted by the water . . . It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit ” (vv. 7–8).

RECOVERING FROM DIVORCE (1)

“Remember…not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”  Isa 43:18

Divorce is one of the most painful things the human heart can experience. If it’s happened to you, you know that’s true. If it hasn’t, be grateful and show compassion toward those who’ve been devastated by it. Have you been crushed by someone you trusted? Does loneliness overwhelm you in the midnight hours? Do you feel as though your hands are completely tied? Does it upset you because your friends don’t seem to understand? Don’t despair—your present circumstances will change. You will recover; you will rebuild; you will not stay down. It will take time, and you’ll have to invest some effort. You will experience pages of sadness in your diary of success, but by God’s grace you will learn to live again and love again. As you draw close to God and search His Word, He will reveal to you the secret of inner peace, and how to take back your life. If you are the innocent party, read this Scripture and hide it in your heart: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3 NIV). If you are the guilty party, remember you haven’t committed the unpardonable sin. So your failures are forgivable and forgettable. God’s promise to you is: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isa 43:25 NIV). Whether you are the innocent or the guilty party, the word for you today is: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past…I am doing a new thing!…I am making a way” (vv. 18-19 NIV).

Be Comforted

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (NLT) -Matthew 5:4
Are you in mourning? It’s difficult knowing you won’t be together with that person anymore. Friends and family members don’t always know what to say and sometimes can cause more heartache. However, God knows how to comfort you. You are not walking through this alone, He is at your side. Cry out to the Lord when you feel at a loss, He will soothe your distress.
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Psalm 38:21 Forsake me not, O Lord

Frequently we pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we too much forget that we have need to use this prayer at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we alike need the prayer, “Forsake me not, O Lord.” “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.” A little child, while learning to walk, always needs the nurse’s aid. The ship left by the pilot drifts at once from her course. We cannot do without continued aid from above; let it then be your prayer to-day, “Forsake me not. Father, forsake not Thy child, lest he fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, forsake not Thy lamb, lest he wander from the safety of the fold. Great Husbandman, forsake not Thy plant, lest it wither and die. ‘Forsake me not, O Lord,’ now; and forsake me not at any moment of my life. Forsake me not in my joys, lest they absorb my heart. Forsake me not in my sorrows, lest I murmur against Thee. Forsake me not in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon, and fall into despair; and forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption. Forsake me not, for without Thee I am weak, but with Thee I am strong. Forsake me not, for my path is dangerous, and full of snares, and I cannot do without Thy guidance. The hen forsakes not her brood, do Thou then evermore cover me with Thy feathers, and permit me under Thy wings to find my refuge. ‘Be not far from me, O Lord, for trouble is near, for there is none to help.’ ‘Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!'”

“O ever in our cleansed breast,
Bid Thine Eternal Spirit rest;
And make our secret soul to be
A temple pure and worthy Thee.”