Tag Archives: Scripture

023 – Can our perspective impact our progress?

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Meditation and Persective owenfelthamDoes how we see and perceive the world impact our ability to move forward in our recovery?  Our mind is a powerful tool.  We can convince ourselves of a lot of things.  In this episode we explore the possibilities of how our perspective might impact our present and future actions.

“To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.” ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.  – Marcus Aurelius 

“The fear of appearances is the first symptom of impotence.” 
― Fyodor DostoyevskyCrime and Punishment

Psalm 23:4-5a  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me;  your rod and your staff— they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me  in the presence of my enemies; (NRSV)

 

Will we focus on the enemy that is present or the provisions?  We will focus on the dark valley or the reality of God’s presence with in in the valley?

Change our focus!  How?

Some advice form St. Paul

Changing our perspective is not denying the difficult realities.

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018 – Healing PTSD: The Role of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness

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There are many parts and paths involved in any healing process.  Post-Traumatic Stress is no different.  We have to address physical, psychological and spiritual need.  Some aspects of these needs we all share in common.  Other aspects may be unique each of us.

The ideas of grace, mercy, repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness are part of the PTSD healing process.  To one extent or another these concepts impart our lives and our recovery process.

In this episode we will,

  • Go beyond the dictionary definition to practical application in a spiritual and healing context. (Dictionary referenced: www.merrian-webster.com)
  • Discuss the relationship between repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness.
  • Forgiveness: what it is not

Question: Is it ever right to not forgive someone?

Request: If you have been blessed by any of our programs.  Please drop us a line and let us know.  Leave a comment, a voice message via Speak Pipe or send an e-mail to david(at)HealingTheWoundsOfWar(dot)com

(Scriptures referenced: Romans 5:8; Matthew 18:21-35)

Is it possible to “love your neighbor as yourself”?

No matter what we have experience is it reasonable or possible to “love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself”?  It would be easy to think those who said these things, Jesus Christ and St. Paul, had easy and tragedy free lives.  Not so.  Both Jesus and Paul receive brutal treatment during their lives and died at the hands of others.

What does it mean to “love your neighbor”?

The word used for “love” in these passages is “agape”.  This Greek word for love is not tied to the emotions or good feelings we usually associate with our idea of love.  Loving someone in this understanding is doing what is right on their behalf.  This kind of love may include, but goes beyond, feelings. (Biblical Greek used 4 different words to express different aspects or kinds of love.)

Who are these neighbors we are supposed to love as ourselves?

Family, those next-door, coworkers, employer, boss, cashier, sales reps, and etc. are all neighbors.  This includes people on the other side of the world.  It includes those on the other side of the political spectrum.  And, yes, it includes people of different beliefs.

How do we know if we are loving our neighbor as ourselves?

What about the neighbor who has the continually barking dog, loud music, or some other near perpetual annoyance?  Does loving your neighbor mean you tolerate the annoyance?  Perhaps not.  Avoiding issues is not necessarily love.  Simply dismissing annoyances or offenses may be an appropriate demonstration of love; but it may also be a hindrance to relationships and growth.  How we address the issue demonstrates the love.  In fact, avoidance can lead to more intense future conflict.

Our spouse, children, employer, customers, and next-door neighbors all provide numerous “opportunities” to demonstrate love.  They also help expose the shortcomings in our ability to walk in this kind of love.  Those that have hurt us in the worst ways put this to the greatest test.

This seems too hard.  It seems impossible!

The Good News is that we do not have to do this on our own.  In fact, I am convinced that I cannot do this on my own.  For me, as a Christian, it is the work of God—through His Son—in my live that makes this a possibility.

Falling short in our own lives can help keep us humble in our dealings with others.  It also serves as a reminder for our need for God’s grace and the need to allow God to work on and change our own hearts and minds.

[NOTE: What loving your neighbor does NOT mean:

It does not mean you should let people abuse you.  It does not mean that you cannot defend yourself from violence.  The choices of others, such as in combat or fighting off an assault, will sometimes put us in difficult circumstances that demonstrate our own dependence on God’s grace.  However, when those brief, but life changing moments, have passed we are faced again with the opportunity to love (agape)—even our enemies.]

This idea can be particularly difficult for those of us who have experienced deep hurts or tragedies.  Yet we are not left alone.  We do not have to figure it all out on our own.

I do not always fulfill the command to love my neighbor as myself.  However, working together with God this is becoming more real in my daily life.  As I grow in this area I find new joy and peace no matter what circumstances I am facing.

Some of the factors that are impacting my life in this area: my relationship with God through Jesus Christ, the Holy Bible (Scripture), fellow Christians to challenge and encourage my spiritual growth, and all who continually provide opportunities for me to grow.

What, or who, is helping you grow in your ability to “love your neighbor as yourself”?

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When trouble comes our way…

Trouble,…
Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble
Trouble been doggin’ my soul since the day I was born” song by Ray Lomontagne

Stuff happens! Sometimes we are at the center of the problem with the choices we have made. Others also make choices that can cause us problems and heartache.

Philosophers enjoy a good debate on the problem of evil. I admit this can be “fun” and it has its place. Nevertheless, regardless of the cause of these problems, they are part of our life. Jesus shared some thoughts on what we will face:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16: 33 (NLT)

We “may” have peace in Christ. Here and now, regardless of what is happening too us or around us. This is a choice that we can make. We can abide, live, in Christ.

Simple? Perhaps. Easy? Not for me. Yet as I grow in faith I find that I more at peace—regardless of the difficult circumstances.

Jesus is clear that we “will” have trials and sorrows in this life. This is not “if you have tribulation”; it is “you will have many trials and sorrows”. In these trials and sorrows he tells us to “take heart”, that is, “take courage”–NASB. Why can we be courageous in the face of tribulation? Because He has overcome the world. Yes, this is a present reality. Yet it is clear that this has not been brought to completion; but it will be brought to completion at his second coming. In the mean time we can still find peace in Him.

We should not be shocked when difficulties come our way. Jesus assured of such things; but He also assured us that we can experience peace because He is with us and we are in Him and that He has indeed overcome the world.

Even while he was still experiencing difficulties St. Paul proclaims:  “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV

It is through this process of us following Christ that we spread the knowledge of him. This becomes even more evident when we face difficulties. The reality is that our trust provides unparallelled opportunities to grow when we experience trials and sorrows. As we trust him more and more and experience His peace and presence we bring glory to Him and this is as a fragrance to others that cannot be ignored.

Weather we have contributed to our difficult circumstances or not, Jesus is there for and with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. We can abide in Him and find peace—here and now. We can stand assured that “he who began this good work in you will bring it to completion.”

A final thought:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)

Can peace be experienced in the midst of chaos? Part 1 of 2

Hurricane_Isabel_ISS“Just make it go away!”  Many of us can relate to this desire to escape or just get rid of a problem we are facing.  At times circumstances in our lives can seem overwhelming.  It is no wonder why many turn to substances (alcohol/drugs) or unhealthy levels of certain activities (shopping, gambling, eating, etc.), in order to try and cope with their circumstances.

There is no escape.  These things may provide a diversion.  The reality of the problems still remain.  Our attempts to alter the perception of reality do nothing to the real situation.

Is it possible to experience a peace, and the resulting clarity and strength, in the middle of whatever is happening?

YES!  This has been my experience.  And not my experience alone.  Many followers of Jesus Christ report the same experience.  One such follower is Paul, the Apostle.  He wrote in his letter to the Christians at the city of Philippi in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey): “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7 – NRSV)

Sometimes we may confuse the idea of “prayer” with wish making or demands.  St. Paul, in prison for his faith at the time of writing, expresses prayer as “requests”—not demands.  When we use prayer as some magical wish or demand formula we miss the relational aspect God is offering.

God does not sit on high and only have an abstract connection with our suffering.  He entered into our suffering.  Jesus lived a life that included much suffering.  He still enters our suffering every time we call upon Him. 

People, in their freedom, may choose to hurt us.  They may choose to do wrong to others for whom we care.  At times there seems to be no shortage of people choosing to do hurtful acts.  No matter what others choose to do; God will never leave us alone in our distress.

From my perspective I would rather God simply remove the problems, problem people, etc.  However, God most often does not choose to violate our (or other’s) human freedom.  At the same time He will provide all that we need to make it through the difficult environment we create for ourselves or others create that impacts our lives.  His presence, strength, wisdom and peace are available to all who call upon the Name of the Lord.

If all our problems were removed then the peace Paul speaks of would not go “beyond understanding.”  It is understandable to experience peace in the absence of conflict or adversity.  A peace that “goes beyond understanding” is a peace experienced in the middle of turmoil and chaos.

In Part 2 we will consider some examples of experience God’s peace and provision in the midst of our troubles.

Question: Have you ever experience a peace that “goes beyond understanding”?

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