Summary: Delivered just prior to the Christmas Holiday, the aim of this message was to lead the congregation into a deeper awareness of the "why" of Christmas - He was born to die that we may know the "Prince of Peace".
Blessed are the Peace-Makers
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Picking up from where we left off last Sunday:
F.Worse yet is Personal Strife.
Again, I see so much personal strife in the lives of my clients and my parishioners. The above example of Robert is an obvious example of deep inward personal strife.
In preparing this message I found an old page that I had torn from the North Carolina Baptist State Convention Newsletter. The article is dated February 19, 1977. The title of the article is "How to Deal with Guilt" by Woodrow Hill. Hill begins his article, "The problem of guilt lingers like a dark cloud over the heads of members of the human family, and some have serious difficulties coping with it."
If there is one negative emotion that does not belong in a Christians mind then that emotion must be "guilt". Is not the promise of Calvary a promise of "forgiveness"? Yes, it is. Yet, so many of us are struggling or have struggled intensely with this emotion after we accepted Christ as Lord. Why?
In my opinion and I firmly believe the Bible teaches that when we accept the Lord we are not cleansed of all our negative thinking - especially the unconscious stuff from childhood. Robert is an example of this. Concerning this, Hill writes, "Someone has suggested that we are all omnibuses in which our ancestors ride." This is the same concept as is "generational sins" mentioned above. Hill continues, "Even after finding personal forgiveness in Christ and gaining a new nature in him, the delicate wiring of the human structures has a way of arcing across centuries, bringing unexplainable flashes to plague us as long as we live in the human flesh."
Is there no hope for our personal struggles? Can we break loose from those old negative mental frames that pop up right when we least expect them, and as Paul wrote in Romans 7, we find ourselves yielding to the law of sin rather than the Law of Christ. Hill later writes, "When we trust the work of Christ in atonement for our sins and the removal of guilt, we no longer have a defiled past, for God has blotted it out in complete forgiveness."
Yes, yes, how true that is yet so many believe that with all their heart and soul yet they are unable to break those chains of the past that enslave them to those dysfunctions of the past. Is there any hope? Yes, yes there is. Fortunately we live in a time when Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Linguistics and Neuro-Linguistics have brought to the Christian clinician in assisting the Christian to experience the fullness of Christ that is rightfully theirs as children of God. We now know how to bring the faith we have in Christ to bear upon those old hurts and bring deep healing.
You do not have to be a slave to the past. You can discover the "Peace of Christ" applied to that trouble soul that you have had most of your life. You can live in and out of His peace. (Check www.renewingyourmind.com for extensive free information teaching you how to apply your faith to your hurts.)
Robert’s cut off from dad - "No Bonding"
Last week I introduced you to one of my active clients whom I have named Robert. I spoke of how his family was highly dysfunctional with an alcoholic father and an enabling mother. Due to this, for the most part the children were just pushed to the side. Robert has been working on his "stuff" for 3 years. We have been doing therapy off and on during this time with it being quite heavy in recent months. He has also read extensively about dysfunctional families, ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) and about various treatment methodologies including Neuro-Linguistics and Neuro-Semantics. The following letter came to me the first of this past week. Robert called his father over the weekend and told him that he was "cutting him off as his dad":
"Well, the call was a lot less dramatic than previous ones - I’ve kind of trained him to at least hear me out - but still very unproductive. By the end of the call I told him I was sorry but that I had to cut off contact with him. He confirmed that I meant forever, I said I did, he pointed out that the decision was mine, and that he was "here" (meaning I could call him if I want).