Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

As a pastor and hospice chaplain I have been confronted with the suffering and pain of many of my church members and patients. They have been living with a terminal disease, or perhaps they just lost a loved one to a tragic accident or to a prolonged illness.


Several times in the bible we read of Jesus bending down to touch the suffering, bring a healing word to people that were disabled or gravely ill, or to bring comfort to widows, parents, or His own followers. It doesn’t mean that because we are followers of Jesus we will not experience pain or grief…no one is exempt from such experiences. But what it does mean, is that we’re not alone in the midst of our pain and suffering.


The apostle Paul prays for us, “May the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:5 (NKJV)


When going through a painful situation, talk to somebody about it. “Pain shared is pain divided.” May the God of patience bring you comfort.

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A Gradual Change

Scripture: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)


Observation:  Are changed. Literally, “are being changed.” The plan of redemption aims to restore the image of God in man (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2), a transformation that comes about by contemplating Christ (Rom. 12:2; Gal. 4:19). The contemplation of the image of Christ acts upon the moral and spiritual nature as the presence of God did upon the face of Moses. The humblest Christian who constantly looks to Christ as his Redeemer will reflect in his own life something of the glory of Christ. If he faithfully continues to do so, he will go on “from glory to glory” in his personal Christian experience (see 2 Peter 1:5–7).

From glory to glory. This transformation is progressive. It advances from one stage of glory to another. Our spiritual assimilation of Christ comes through His glory and results in a reflection of glory like unto His. [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 6. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (851). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]


Application:  We all probably have noticed a couple who’s been married for many years and who look so much alike.  Even scientists have concluded that indeed people begin to resemble the person to whom they are married for a long time.  Whether that is true, or just our impression, I’m not quite sure, but even if people don’t look alike, they surely act alike, talk alike, and think alike.  It’s as if being married to a person for so many years changes us to the point that we adopt many of their mannerisms, words, and ideas.

That’s what happened to Jesus’ disciples, after spending just a little over three years with Him.  People could recognize that peter had changed and even spoke like Jesus.  That’s why it is important for us to also spend time with Jesus, so that we can be changed daily to resemble Him more each day.

Here’s where this idea becomes more important.  Instead of trying to change our spouse so that they can be what we would like them to be, or become the person we feel they should become, we should try to emulate Jesus and be the person He wants us to be.  At the same time, instead of trying to change our spouse, why not let Jesus change them. . . He knows best.  The interesting thing is that when we both allow Jesus to change us, individually, not only do we resemble Him more but we’re also drawn closer to each other; both are the best outcomes we could wish for.


A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, change me from within that I may resemble your Son, especially to my spouse.

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What Can I Do?

Scripture: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Observation: Which strengtheneth. Paul recognized Christ as the source of all his own power, hence there is no element of boasting here. All that needed to be done could be done by Christ-given strength. When the divine commands are faithfully followed, the Lord makes Himself responsible for the success of the work undertaken by the Christian (COL 333, 363; 8T 16). In Christ there is strength to fulfill duty, power to resist temptation, vigor to endure affliction, patience to suffer without complaint. In Him there is grace for daily growth, courage for multiplied battles, energy for devoted service. [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 7. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (178). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]

Application: This passage is probably one of the best known and best loved of Paul’s writings. We have learned it, memorized it, quoted it, and believed it. Although I wonder if we believe it applies in all instances in life. But do we really believe it when we are facing marital difficulties? Do we really believe it when thoughts of separation and divorce come to mind and find a dwelling there? Do we really believe it when our relationship seems hopeless and we feel helpless?
I would like to suggest today that it is when we’re going through the biggest challenges and difficulties in our marriage that we need to believe the power behind these words. It is by repeating to ourselves the words of the promise contained in this text that we can have a change of attitude which will lead us to have a change of heart.

The cognitive-behavioral school of psychology teaches us that if we want to change our behavior we must first begin by changing our thinking. Both of those can only be truly possible through the power and strength of Christ. As we consider what Jesus went through on the way to His death for us, our sacrifices and our pain are minimal. But what we can accomplish with his power has no limits.

As a marriage and family counselor I have seen miraculous transformations. Marriages that had become like death sentences have come back to a revival of feeling and experience. Marriages ravaged by infidelity had a renewal of their trust and their love. Marriages where abuse abounded experienced healing and became havens of peace and harmony. Marriages which were falling apart came back together with renewed energy and strength.

If we believe the power of today’s text is only in the spiritual realm, we have short=changed God’s power in every other aspect of our lives. Claim His power to change you today and everyday. Claim His power to change your attitude toward your spouse and your marriage. Claim His power to transform your marriage from wherever it is and until it becomes a foretaste of heaven.

A Prayer You May Say: Father God, change us with Your power, change our life, and change our marriage for the better so that it can not just be a foretaste of heaven but that it should be a great joy today and everyday.

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Scripture: (Judg 4:4-5 NKJV)  Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. {5} And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Observation: Deborah, a prophetess, was also the leader of Israel at the time.  He called Barak to pursue Sisera, one of Israel’s enemies.  At the end, Deborah and Jael, who killed Sisera in her tent, turned out to be the courageous heroines of this story

Application: This is one of those amazing stories of courage displayed not just by one but by two women of the Bible.  There are homes where men are weak and easily led by others or by sins or habits that threaten to destroy their marriage, their family, their finances, and even the very men practicing them.  It is at those times when a courageous woman has to take the reins of their home lest everyone and everything they have be consumed.
Every home has a clearly defined leader, even if the relationship between spouses is egalitarian.  The bible’s ideal is that the man should have that headship since that is a reflection of the order in God’s universe and he serves as a reflection of God and the relationship of Christ as the husband and the church as His bride.  Today’s reality is that some men are not that type of reflection and don’t demonstrate the correct pattern established by Christ.  In addition, some women are raising a family with the absence of a husband or father of her children.  In these cases, women can and must serve the role of headship in their homes in order to maintain it intact and thrive even under less than ideal circumstances.

Prayer: Father, bless the women who under difficult circumstances labor to keep their families intact and healthy.  May they reflect faithfully the image of Christ in their lives.

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