Easter Offers A New Beginning

Life has been a flurry of different activity here, with things happening faster than I can think to write them down or blog about them. Such are the dynamics of modern 21st-century life in the big city. Work has picked up, with school demands increasing as the semester rolls on. Working on a Master’s degree requires a lot of reading and an immense amount of writing. It’s hard to find a niche of time for non-academic writing, but I continue to try.

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Holy Week 2017 is well underway. I have had the opportunity to reflect on what has been an active ministry year thus far. It seems to be a season heavily focused on healing, particularly praying over people as they experience the hardships so often accompanying our lives. No doubt, there is a lot of hurt in our world. I’m not sure if it is more or less than at other times, but I am certainly more aware of it these days. Holy Week serves as a good reminder that God knows our pain. Jesus knows our hurts. The Holy Spirit prays on our behalf with groans and moans.  We live in a complex world. There are things we see and things we don’t. Things we understand, and things beyond our human comprehension.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 6:10–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Pain hits harder when it arrives close to home. We wish we could make it go away. But it’s there. Our pain draws us closer to God or in some cases, pushes us away.  Before his work on Earth was done, Jesus experienced great suffering. His death was a horrific one, as we imagine death nailed to a cross would be. But his story did not end with his pain, nor his death. Rather, his story continued past the hurt of this world to the glories of Heaven. In Scripture, suffering almost always precedes glory.

Whatever your hurt is today, know that I am praying for you. Maybe you’re suffering from the loss of a loved one or the ache of a broken heart. If the Tin Man knew how much a heart can hurt, perhaps he’d reconsider his desire to get one. I pray your pain, whatever it is, draws you closer to the Lord and that through your pain, you recognize your dependence on Him. For without God, I could not go on. But God has showered me with His abundant love and mercy, extending me the favor of His grace. On this Easter, I am thankful that God so loved the World that He sent His only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Through Scripture, we know that Jesus is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.

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Let Go and Go On

As adults adulting, we all know that life is dynamic and risky. Things don’t always turn out the way we anticipate, much less the way we want. You win some, and you lose some. As people in recovery, we cannot spend a lot of time reliving the past, particularly the times that we tasted defeat or the moments we came face to face with losing. Live long enough, and you’ll lose something. The same holds true for hurts people cause us or that we cause. There is no benefit in hanging onto our aches and pains. We must be quick to forgive and even quicker to ask for forgiveness when a slight or injury occurs. Otherwise, we risk building resentments. For regular people, resentments are bad news.For addicts living in recovery, resentments are deadly.

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Scripture says there are times and seasons for everything. God’s Word instructs us to guard our hearts and be careful with what we let live in them. Resentments are quick to take residence in our hearts and ready to devour our souls if we let them. But that’s just it. We don’t have to let them. We can give them over to our Higher Power…to God as we understand Him. The longer we entertain them, the deeper they will take root. Let go, and go on. Release the anchors of resentment that weigh you down and that will drown you if you let them. Living a life of recovery means holding things loosely, so we don’t suffocate the light indwelling us. The fields of resentment are a maze populated with valleys of darkness and roads leading to death. Go in peace, live in love, share the light.