Tag Archive for: trust

Nonsense? The Empty Tomb

But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Luke 24:11

We seem to live in a world plagued by doubt and confusion. And Easter Sunday was no exception. St. Luke tells us that some faithful ladies brought back a confusing report from the sealed tomb: “Jesus was not there!” What? That sounds like nonsense. Angels? Empty tombs? Missing bodies? It all seemed like “crazy-talk” to the other disciples. Utter nonsense.

The disciples either forgot Jesus’ promises or they doubted his promises. It was more likely a mixture of both.

This applies to our clinical therapy as providers who serve with Christian Family Solutions. We strive to offer answers, guidance, and healing to people who are hurting; people plagued by a world of doubt and confusion. Without Christ being centered in the midst of such therapeutic work, we hope to only offer healing for just this life. In the end, that would also be nonsense.

Now, there are people who would think that integration of Christian faith into therapy is also nonsense. Some might even dare state it is dangerous. And yes! To those who doubt Christ, the gospel does seem like nonsense.

Christ removes all doubt and fear, however. His resurrection is the ultimate proof. We believe that the risen Christ is present, alive, and active in our work as therapists. Solid, evidence-based therapy married with sound, Christ-centered theology makes good sense. It provides a trajectory for lasting healing and hope. And that is the furthest thing from nonsense. We seem to live in a world plagued by doubt and confusion. And Easter Sunday was no exception. St. Luke tells us that some faithful ladies brought back a confusing report from the sealed tomb: “Jesus was not there!” What? That sounds like nonsense. Angels? Empty tombs? Missing bodies?

It all seemed like “crazy-talk” to the other disciples. Utter nonsense.

The disciples either forgot Jesus’ promises or they doubted his promises. It was more likely a mixture of both.

This applies to our clinical therapy as providers who serve with Christian Family Solutions. We strive to offer answers, guidance, and healing to people who are hurting; people plagued by a world of doubt and confusion. Without Christ being centered in the midst of such therapeutic work, we hope to only offer healing for just this life. In the end, that would also be nonsense.

Now, there are people who would think that integration of Christian faith into therapy is also nonsense. Some might even dare state it is dangerous. And yes! To those who doubt Christ, the gospel does seem like nonsense.

Christ removes all doubt and fear, however. His resurrection is the ultimate proof. We believe that the risen Christ is present, alive, and active in our work as therapists. Solid, evidence-based therapy married with sound, Christ-centered theology makes good sense. It provides a trajectory for lasting healing and hope. And that is the furthest thing from nonsense.

Prayer

Christ Jesus, thank you removing our doubts and fears by your resurrection from the grave. You have overcome sin and unbelief. Help us to trust in your promises as you equip us to help others. Be present, dear risen Savior, in our efforts to bring your healing and hope to a hurting world. Remind us that no word from you or work carried out for you is ever nonsense. You alone have the words of eternal life. Amen.

Pero cuando venga el Espiritu de la verdad, el los guiara a toda la verdad, porque no hablara por su propia cuenta, sino que dira solo lo que oiga y les anunciara las cosas por venir. Juan 16:13

Esto va a doler, pero finalmente te hará sentir mejor”. Odio recibir inyecciones. Pero a veces recibir una inyección es “justo lo que recetó el médico”. ¡Una vacuna contra el tétanos, por ejemplo, es mucho mejor que la alternativa de contraer el tétanos (también conocida como bloqueo de mandíbula)!

Nuestro gran médico del alma, Jesús, nos explica que vivir como cristianos en este mundo “va a doler”. Puedes esperar que ser un seguidor de Jesús te traerá problemas, no muy diferentes a cómo él experimentó los problemas en este mundo. Después de todo, “el discípulo no está por encima de su maestro” (cf. Lucas 6:40)

De una manera extraña, podemos unirnos a otro “apóstol loco” (llamado Pedro) que en realidad podía regocijarse en sus sufrimientos e incluso encontrar algo beneficioso en soportar problemas: “Esto es para ustedes motivo de gran alegria, a pesar de que hasta ahora han tenido que sufrir diversas pruebas por un tiempo. El oro, aunque perecedero, se acrisola al fuego. Asi tambien la fe de ustedes, que vale mucho mas que el oro, al ser acrisolada por las pruebas demostrara que es digna de aprobacion, gloria y honor cuando cristo se revele. (1 Pedro 1:6-7)

Entonces, ¿sufrir por ser seguidor de Cristo solo sirve para validar que le perteneces? Exactamente. ¿Y los problemas pueden ser usados por Dios para refinarnos en nuestra fe y hacernos más deseosos de dejar este mundo? Ciertamente puede y a menudo lo hace.

Es un poco como las águilas hacen con sus crías: se sabe que las águilas colocan todo tipo de objetos afilados (como espinas y rocas afiladas) en el fondo de sus nidos. Luego cubren todas estas cosas desagradables con plumas suaves para que cuando los pequeños aguiluchos salgan del cascarón estén muy cómodos… al principio. Pero, a medida que las pequeñas águilas crecen y se acerca el momento en que necesitarán volar y vivir por su cuenta, la madre les quitará las plumas, lo que hará que sea cada vez menos cómodo permanecer en el nido.

En 2 Corintios 4:17 el gran Apóstol Pablo escribe: “Pues los sufrimientos ligeros y efimeros que ahora padecemos producen una gloria eterna que vale muchisimo mas que todo sufrimiento. Asi que no nos fijamos en lo visible, sino en lo invisible, ya que lo que se ve es pasajero, mientras que lo que no se ve es eterno”. Note su “perspectiva eterna” sobre los problemas. ¡El problema es “ligero y momentáneo”, especialmente en relación con el castigo “pesado y permanente” que nos hemos ganado al pecar contra Dios!

Jesús, nuestro Salvador, experimentó problemas debido a todos los “problemas” que nosotros habíamos hecho al quebrantar la ley de Dios. Y Su sufrimiento estuvo lejos de ser “ligero” ya que llevó los pecados del mundo entero sobre sus hombros sin pecado mientras sufría el infierno en la cruz.

¡Relájate, esto solo va a doler por un rato!

ORACIÓN

Gracias, SEÑOR Jesucristo, por el sufrimiento inimaginable que soportaste voluntariamente como mi sustituto que cargo con mis pecados. Cuando llegue el momento de partir de este lugar, prepárame y disponme a “volar” con gusto para estar contigo para siempre en el cielo. Mientras tanto, ayúdame a mantener una perspectiva adecuada sobre los problemas y a soportarlos con paciencia y sin quejarme mientras espero ansiosamente tu regreso seguro.Amén.

English version: En Ingles

Trust - In Him All Things

Él es anterior a todas las cosas, que por medio de él forman un todo coherente. 1 Colosenses 1:17

¿Alguna vez alguien trató de alentarlo diciendo: “¡Aguanta!”? Sin duda tenían buenas intenciones. Pero si te detienes y lo piensas, ese no es un buen consejo para ofrecerle a alguien, ¡especialmente si está pasando por dificultades en esta vida!

La implicación detrás de la frase es que tengo que hacer algo para mantener todo en control por mí mismo. ¡Qué agotador sería eso! Imagínese tratando de mantener unidas todas las moléculas de su cuerpo, tratando de mantenerse pegado al suelo para no salir volando del planeta tierra. ¡Ay! ¿No es lo mismo cuando se trata de mantener unido un matrimonio en problemas o cuando se trata de problemas de salud o enfermedades mentales?

Afortunadamente, como cristianos, hemos llegado a saber que alguien más está manteniendo todo bajo control, ¡incluyéndonos a nosotros e incluyendo todo en nuestras vidas! Ese alguien es Jesús.

Como nos recuerda el Apóstol Pablo (parafraseado), Él estuvo aquí antes de que nada existiera . De hecho, sabemos que participó en la asombrosa obra de nuestro Dios Trino de crear nuestro universo y todo lo que hay en él. Otro Apóstol llamado Juan, señala, “Por medio de él todas las cosas fueron creadas.; sin él, nada de lo creado llego a existir.” (Juan 1:3)

Jesús participó activamente en la creación de nuestro mundo. ¡Incluso fue parte de la creación de la gravedad! Eso es impresionante, especialmente cuando consideramos que estamos girando (con respecto al centro de nuestro planeta) a aproximadamente 1,000 millas por hora (en el ecuador) ¡incluso mientras giramos alrededor del sol a 67,000 millas por hora! (¿Ya estás mareado?)

¡Además, nuestro sistema solar gira alrededor del centro de nuestra galaxia a 490,000 millas por hora! Sin gravedad, saldríamos volando del planeta tierra. Y, sin la intervención de Dios en la historia humana (debido a nuestra pecaminosidad), ¡estaríamos volando al infierno!

Y así, Aquel que “co-creó” la gravedad, vendría bajo su propia ley de gravedad (¡y también bajo la ley moral de Dios!) Tomó residencia temporal aquí en el planeta tierra, para solucionar el problema creado por nuestras muchas fallas para mantener la ley de Dios. En su carta a los creyentes en Galatas (4:4-5) Pablo nos recuerda… “… Dios envió a su Hijo… nacido de una mujer, nacido bajo la ley, para rescatar a los que estaban bajo la ley, a fin de que fueramos adoptados como hijos.”

¿Cómo nuestro Dios “nos mantiene unidos” cuando se trata de las cosas aterradoras que nos suceden en esta vida? Él nos da la fe en Jesús. Nos cimentamos a través de la fe en un Dios que nos ama y un Salvador que vino a nuestro mundo para hacernos justos con Dios. ¡Jesús es una “fuerza estabilizadora” en nuestras vidas! Recordemos lo que nos dice, “nadie podra arrebatárselas (sus ovejas) de su mano. (cf. Juan 10:28)

Entonces, ¿por qué no dejarlo ir? Deja ir tus miedos y preocupaciones. Deja ir tus problemas y preocupaciones. Como dice el refrán: “Dejar ir/Dejar a Dios”. Su Salvador “aguantaría allí” por usted, literalmente… ¡mientras colgaba de una cruz para pagar por cada uno de sus pecados! Tenemos un GRAN Dios que nos salvó de una manera GRANDE debido a Su GRAN amor por nosotros en Cristo. No “aguantes allí”. ¡Déjalo ir!

ORACIÓN

Gracias, Jesús, por “aguantar alli” mientras colgaba de una cruz. Podrías haber bajado de esa cruz. En cambio, soportaste la ira de Dios para que yo pudiera estar bajo su favor y bendición. Acompáñame hoy y todos los días. Guárdame de la ansiedad y llena mi corazón de tu paz. Es en tu santo nombre que pido esto: sabiendo que solo tú me das acceso a Dios. Amén.

English version: En Ingles

Trust - In Him All Things

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 1 Colossians 1:17

Ever had someone try to encourage you by saying, “Hang in there!”? They no doubt meant well. But if you stop and think about it, that is not very good advice to offer someone, especially if they are going through struggles in this life!

The implication behind the phrase is that I have to do something to hold everything together for myself. How exhausting that would be! Imagine trying to hold all the molecules in your body together, trying to hold yourself down to the ground so you don’t fly off of planet earth. Yikes! Is it not the same when it comes to holding together a troubled marriage or failing health or mental illness?

Thankfully, as Christians, we have come to know that Someone else is holding everything together-including us and including everything in our lives! That someone is Jesus.

As the Apostle Paul reminds us (paraphrased), He was here before anything existed. In fact, we know he took part in our Triune God’s amazing work of creating our universe and everything in it. Another Apostle named John, points out, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that had been made.” (John 1:3)

Jesus actively participated in creating our world. He was even part of creating gravity! That is impressive-especially when we consider that we are rotating (with respect to our planet’s center) at approximately 1,000 miles per hour (at the equator) even while we are revolving around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour! (Are you dizzy yet?)

In addition, our solar system whirls around the center of our galaxy at 490,000 miles per hour! Without gravity, we would go flying off of planet earth. And, without God intervening into human history, (because of our sinfulness), we would be flying off to hell!

And so, the One who “co-created” gravity-would come under his own law of gravity (and God’s moral law too!) He took up temporary residence here on planet earth-to fix the problem created by our many failings to keep God’s law. In his letter to the believers in Galatia (4:4) Paul reminds us… “…God sent his son…born of a woman, born under law-to redeem those under law that we might receive the full rights of sons.”

How does our God “hold us together” when it comes to the terrifying things that happen to us while in this life? He gives us faith in Jesus. We become grounded-through faith in a God Who loves us and a Savior Who came into our world to make us right with God. Jesus is such a “stabilizing force” in our lives! We recall what he tells us, “no one can snatch them (his sheep) out of his hand. (cf. John 10:28)

So why not let go? Let go of your fears and worries. Let go of your troubles and cares. As the saying goes: “Let go/Let God”. Your Savior would “hang in there” for you-literally… while hanging on a cross to pay for your every sin! We have a BIG God Who saved us in a BIG way because of His BIG love for us in Christ. Don’t “hang in there”. Let go!

Prayer

Thank you, Jesus-for “hanging in there” while hanging on a cross. You could have come down from that cross. Instead you endured the wrath of God so that I could come under his favor and blessing. Be with me today and every day. Keep me from anxiety and fill my heart with your peace. It’s in your holy name I ask this-knowing you alone give me access to God. Amen.

Spanish version: En Español

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

“This is going to sting, but it will ultimately make you better.” I hate getting shots. But sometimes getting a shot is “just what the doctor ordered”. A tetanus shot, for example, is way better than the alternative-getting tetanus (otherwise known as lock-jaw)!

Our great physician of the soul, Jesus, explains to us that living as Christians in this world is “going to sting”. You can expect that being a follower of Jesus is going to bring trouble for you, not entirely unlike how he experienced trouble in this world. After all, “a disciple is not above his teacher” (cf. Luke 6:40)

In a strange sort of way, we can join another “crazy apostle” (named Peter) who could actually rejoice in his sufferings and even find something beneficial in enduring trouble: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the genuineness of your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (I Peter 1:6-7)

So, suffering for being a follower of Christ only serves to validate that you belong to him? Exactly. And trouble can be used by God to refine us in our faith and make us more eager to leave this world? It certainly can and often does.

It’s a little like how eagles operate with their offspring: Eagles are known to put all kinds of sharp items (like thorns and sharp rocks) in the bottom of their nests. Then they cover all these nasty things up with soft downy feathers so that when the little eaglets hatch they are very comfortable…at first. But, as the little eagles grow and get closer to the time they will need to fly off and live on their own, the mother will pull feathers away-making it less and less comfortable to stay in the nest.

In II Corinthians 4:17 the great Apostle Paul writes, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Notice his “eternal perspective” on trouble. Trouble is “light and momentary” especially in relation to the “heavy and permanent” punishment we have earned for ourselves by sinning against God!

Jesus, our Savior, experienced trouble because of all the “trouble making” we had done in breaking God’s law. And His suffering was far from “light” as He bore the sins of the whole world on his sinless shoulders while suffering hell on the cross.

Relax, this is only going to sting for a little while!

Prayer

Thank you, LORD Jesus Christ-for the unimaginable suffering you willingly endured as my sin bearing substitute. When it comes time for me to depart from this place, make me ready and willing to gladly “fly off”-to be with you forever in heaven. In the meantime, help me to keep a proper perspective on trouble and to endure it patiently and without complaining as I eagerly await your certain return. Amen.

Spanish version: En Español

self esteem

The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” Judges 6:11-16

Have you ever heard of “self-actualization”? Self-actualization is all about finding out what your potential is and realizing that potential by being/becoming “all you can be.” According to Abraham Maslow it is the highest level of psychological development…when basic physical and psychological needs have been met.

In the situation with Gideon we might describe what could be called “God-actualization”. Gideon sees himself as an “insignificant nobody who isn’t going to amount to anything”. He feels completely helpless and hopeless for help from the LORD Who from his perspective, has abandoned his people.

That’s not what God sees! God sees him as a “mighty warrior” whom He will be using to rescue His people from the hands of the enemies (the Midianites). Notice what he is told, “Go in the strength you have…” (vs. 14) The LORD Who had made him knows he has the strength to “pull off” what will be an amazing feat-defeating the massive Midianite army with only 300 men!

The world invites you and me to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps”-through self-actualization. As Christians we have come to understand through the Gospel that it really is about “God-actualization”. What God has done by actually becoming a man in order to do what we could never do on our own is ultimately what saves us.

God raised up another even greater Hero Who would be judged and condemned and seemingly defeated by the enemy in a “sneak attack” on death itself. After standing under God’s righteous judgment and being punished in our place Jesus would stand triumphant as a conquering hero over the grave. We will come to fully realize this when we die and join our God forever in heaven.

Our great and gracious God Who saved us continues to work through us now and to bless us with gifts and abilities which we can actually use to serve Him and others He has placed into our lives. Go with confidence-the LORD is with you, mighty warrior!

Prayer

Lord, I know you have a plan for my life. Help me to be patient as I come to realize your plan and the direction you would have me take. Bless me to follow your will with trust and faith which You provide through your Word. In Jesus’ saving name I pray this. Amen.

lighthouse

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:10

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:28-29

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39

Perhaps you are a laid-back person by nature. But no matter how laid back you may be, we all definitely have moments of anxiety and worry. They often come in the middle of the night, and they can feel similar to storms that arise out of nowhere in our heads—waves of insecurity, what-ifs, unknowns, and to-do lists. In those moments, God’s clear commands throughout Scripture to BE STILL invite you to look through the fog to His Word that can serve like the beacon from a lighthouse. They aren’t just calming words He says to placate us. There is power behind those words—the power of the LORD Almighty. He’s the One who fights for us. He’s the Fortress we run to. He’s the Calmer of all of our storms.

What storms do you need God to calm for you right now? What’s standing in the way of God’s command to be still? How can you remind yourself daily of God’s power and control?

Something that may be helpful in the middle of the night: Take a deep slow breath, and while you’re breathing in, say the words, “Be still.” Hold your breath as you picture your mind as a sea growing ever calmer until it is as still and clear as glass. Then breathe out and say, “and know that I am God.” Picture all of your worries flowing out through your breath into the arms of Jesus, who has invited us to give Him all our burdens, and who has the power to do something about them.

Prayer

Be still, my soul; your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He lived below. Amen.

Hymn 415 vs. 2