The “Art of Grieving” background-As my family grieves the loss of a relative who was close to our hearts, I have been forced to take a trip back down memory lane. Part of this trip is walking through the door of grieving. I hope that this poem brings comfort to those of you who are going through grief of any kind. Blessings from on high!!
The ART of Grieving
Grief-it soon becomes your friend.
Opens you up and says “Amen”.
Takes you to places never explored.
Opens up doors previously abhorred.
Resolves the past.
Welcomes the new.
It’s the art of grieving.
Refreshing as dew.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Introduction to “Waiting on God For the Impossible”
Last week, the featured podcast was Episode 5: Woe is Me! It can be found here. This particular podcast dealt with the sin of self-pity. It broke down the definition, signs and symptoms, the different areas self-pity can be involved in, and the tools to grow and move forward from self-pity.
This week’s podcast is entitled, ” Waiting on God For the Impossible”. I have found that waiting on God for an answer is one of the most difficult things to have to do. If we were on the game show called “Family Feud”, it would come in as number two on the survey for what issues Christians find hardest to deal with. Why?
It is God’s timetable not ours.
Our emergency is not God’s emergency.
The unknown can be scary.
Dissection of How Sarah and Abraham Dealt with Waiting
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to himand said, “I am God Almightya]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.5 No longer will you be called Abramb]; your name will be Abraham,c] for I have made you a father of many nations.6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.8 The whole land of Canaan,where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant,you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.
12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring.13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.d] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.
21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.
23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised,
25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen;26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day.27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.
Mark 9: 14-27
Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Impure Spirit
14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered.22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.”27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
As Christians, we know that the best example we have for living is Christ. We love because he first loved us. We forgive because he has forgiven us. We give grace because we have been given grace. But, the question is, when is grace no longer grace? This is the question that I have had to revisit several times in the last few years.
Grace is no longer grace when we have gotten to the point of disrespecting ourselves. How do we know that we our disrespecting ourselves? It is usually when our needs, thoughts, well-being, and boundaries are ignored. Boundaries exist emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
One of the ways to know if we are disrespecting ourselves is to pay attention to our “gut reaction”. A lot of times our bodies know that something is wrong before our emotional, mental, and spiritual knows that something is wrong. When I first met a neighbor at my last residence, she seemed nice. Although she seemed nice, there was still something that didn’t allow me to feel 100% safe. During the course of talking to her, she almost fell. She grabbed on to me to recover her balance, and my whole body locked up. If you live with PTSD/trauma on a daily basis, then you are very familiar with the stiffness of the body as a reaction to trauma/stress. Because of trauma victims having a negative charge, we are even more sensitive to detecting something wrong. We are magnets to certain types of energy. Had I acted on this warning, I could have avoided a lot of heartache. When you have a gut reaction about something, it is your body’s warning that your boundaries are being crossed, or that something said isn’t right.
We all have bad days. We are all broken, and because of our brokenness we are going to sin on a daily basis. However, it is important to pay attention to how often we are giving excuses for behavior.
We are not to keep score, however, it is important to know that there is give and take in any relationship. If we are on the giving 90% of the time side, this is a sign that grace is no longer grace. This will manifest itself through feeling drained emotionally during or at the commencement of the relationship. This isn’t a normal reaction in a give and take dynamic.
You are working to prove your value and worth all the time. Jesus’ death cut out all the legalism of work. If we are striving for approval or value from others, or we are given the hidden meaning to keep hustling for someone, grace is no longer grace. I love this verse in Romans that makes this so clear: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6
Grace is no longer grace when we allow ourselves to to be controlled. Control can be subtle or obvious. When you find yourself in a toxic dance, your gut feeling is not right, and you are going around in circles, this is a sign you are being controlled. It can also be a matter of having the things that you say or do be used against you. For example: Person A says : Do this. Person B: Does this. Person A says: Why did you do this? And then this repeats over and over again. The only way to come out of the dance is to eliminate your action as person B.
One of the best ways to determine whether grace is no longer grace is to look for patterns. These patterns will give a clue into whether or not there was a misunderstanding on our part, or if there is a pattern of sin on the other person’s part. If it is hard to detect, then one of the best things that we can do is to pray. Prayer for wisdom and discernment will allow us to receive what God wants us to know. As much as we hate conflict, it is something that we can’t avoid. The podcast on handling conflict can be found here. We are told in scripture how to handle the conflict of sin:
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17
What I have come to figure out myself is that if the scripture verses above were put into effect in all of my situations, then the draining/toxic effect could have been avoided or lessened. We cannot save or fix others. It is Satan’s job to make us believe that we can, to the point of disrespecting ourselves, where grace is no longer grace.
Last week, our podcast was focused on “Conflict Among Broken People”. You can find the podcast here. This week’s topic is “Broken People Judging Broken People”.
What is brokenness?
What is judging?
What does Jesus say about judging?
Judging Others Matthew 7: 1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?”6 They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stoneat her.”8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
I used to think that avoiding conflict was good. I thought that avoiding conflict was the same thing as avoiding confusion, strife, and extra drama. I took pride in thinking that avoiding conflict was keeping the peace. I was so wrong about that. What I was doing was avoiding dealing with a small problem, which later became an out of control problem. This was due to fear of the response of the other person.
What God revealed to me recently was profound: We are all broken, and so when we avoid conflict, we are avoiding dealing with the problems that arise between two or more broken individuals.
This podcasts dissects all aspects of the word conflict, by giving the things that occurs when we avoid conflict to going through the steps to take to resolving conflict.
King Solomon Handled Conflict
King David Refused Conflict
Used Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Bible Verses to Focus on:
1 Kings 3: 28
Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.
2 Samuel 13: 21-22
When King David heard all this, he was furious. 22 And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.(2 Samuel 13-21-22)
2 Samuel 13: 28-29
Absalom ordered his men, “Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.” So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled. (2 Samuel 13:28-29)
2 Samuel 13: 37-38
Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned many days for his son. After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years. (2 Samuel 13:37-38)
2 Samuel 18: 14-15
Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him. (2 Samuel 18: 14-15)
Matthew 18: 15-17 If Your Brother Sins Against You
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Revelations 2: 1-6
2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus, write the following: “This is the solemn pronouncement of the one who has a firm grasp on the seven stars in his right hand – the one who walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 ‘I know your works as well as your labor and steadfast endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have even put to the test those who refer to themselves as apostles (but are not), and have discovered that they are false.
3 I am also aware that you have persisted steadfastly, endured much for the sake of my name, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you: You have departed from your first love! 5 Therefore, remember from what high state you have fallen and repent! Do the deeds you did at the first; if not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place – that is, if you do not repent. 6 But you do have this going for you: You hate what the Nicolaitans practice – practices I also hate.
8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set youa]”>[free from the law of sin and death.3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.And so he condemned sin in the flesh,4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.