Healing the Brokenhearted 9 – Your attitude towards healing

The aim of this devotional study is to consider one’s attitude and persistence in search of healing in Christ.

Scripture

2 Kings 5:1-3, 9-14

1  Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.  2  And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife.  3  Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”…

9  Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10  And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”  11  But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’  12  Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

13  And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”  14  So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Observation

  1. What do you learn about Naaman from this portion of Scripture? [hint: read through the text and record everything it reveals about Naaman’s position and problem, character and attitude.]
  2. Explain the lesson behind the following ironies in the Text regarding Namaan’s healing:
    1. Naaman’s success and his problem
    2. The wisdom of Namaan and his slaves
    3. The mighty clean, Syrian rivers and Jordan River
    4. What Namaan expected of the prophet and the simple path to (cure for) his healing
  3. What are the major lessons of healing in this historic account then? [look carefully at verses 10 and 13]

Personal reflection and Application

  1. Consider your own life in the light of Namaan’s success and problem:
    1. What personal problem do you have that, in spite of your worldly achievements, you could not solve? What is your “leprosy” that might ultimately cause shame and isolation if it is not healed?
    2. Whom will you seek for guidance to find healing from God? Make that appointment now.
    3. Do you know what the simple steps of obedience is?
    4. Have you started with the process and stopped at some point? (dip yourself “seven times!”
    5. Pray to God for fullness of health – don’t give up with this process until you are fully healed!
  2. Consider your own life in the light of Namaan’s slave girl:
    1. Whom do you know closely that has a (shameful or private) problem so big it could destroy them?
    2. Pray and ask God for a gap to share a testimony, to point this person towards Christ for healing. Where can you refer them?
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Healing the brokenhearted 8 – No more tears

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the hope a God’s New Creation where there will be no more sorrow or sadness.

Scripture

Revelation 21:1-5

1  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Observations

  1. In this Revelation which John recorded, what does it reveal about God? [hint: read through verses 1-5 and record what it reveals about God’s actions and character]
  2. What do these verses reveal about humanity’s future state in “the new Jerusalem”? [hint: read through verses 2-5 and record what it reveals about the new state of humanity]
  3. What will be the emotional state of the citizens in the new Jerusalem? And why?

Personal reflection

  1. Describe the general state of people you interact with daily (at home, at work, in the shopping centers etc).
    1. Why are they like that?
    2. In which ways are you similar to them?
    3. In which ways are you different from them?
  2. Take a moment and reflect on your general emotional state of late. Record your emotions (using more than 5 descriptive words):
    1. towards yourself
    2. towards the three people closets to you
    3. towards God
    4. regarding your future
    5. regarding your past

Prayer

God is in the process of “making all things new.” Take some time and pray about what you want God to make new in your heart, relationships and life in general (concerning your reflections above).

Healing the Broken Hearted 7 – Renew your mind

The aim if this devotional study is to reflect on the need for a renewing of our thoughts and habits as part of God’s healing in our lives.

Scripture

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

1  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Observations

Context: In Romans 1-11 Paul beautifully articulates the Gospel to the Roman churches which he has not yet visited.  Then in chapter 12 he begins with “…therefore, by the mercies of God” and for the next 4 chapters he explains the consequence of the Gospel – how it affects the personal, family, public and church life of the believer.

  1. How does verse 1 and 2 fit together?
  2. Rephrase this verse in your own words.
  3. Paul gives three keys to knowing God’s will
    1. What are the three keys he gives?
    2. What is meant by “the will of God” here?
  4. The Phillips translation of verse 2a reads “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.”
    1. What is meant with “the world” in this context?
    2. How can “the world” squeeze you into “its own mold”? What is “its own mold”?
    3. What is wrong with being “conformed to this world”? Why does Paul say one should change your worldview/ outlook on life?
    4. What is Paul’s advice to “not conform”?
  5. How does one “transform” yourself by “renewing your mind”?

Personal reflection and application

  1. Prayerfully reflect on your own life and thought patterns regarding the following areas and identify what thought patterns should be renewed/ adapted to reflect and fulfill God’s will. Try to be specific.
    1. Your view of God
    2. Your view of yourself
    3. Your view of money, possessions and/or time
    4. Your relationships with believers
    5. Your relationships with unbelievers
  2. Share this list with a mature Christian friend.
  3. Choose the one most pressing area noted above that needs transformation.
    1. Find a Scripture that reflects the change required, and write it on a card today.
    2. Commit to reading and reflecting on that truth every hour today for 2-3 minutes. (as you prayerfully  continue in this discipline for some time, there will be a change in your thinking)
    3. Ask the Lord for grace to transform your thoughts.

Healing the broken hearted 6 – The Lord is near

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect and respond to God’s attraction to pain and suffering.

Scripture

Psalms 34:17-20

17  When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18  The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

19  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20  He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

Observation

  1. Read through the text again and record what is most prominent to you.
  2. Whom does the Lord save? What does that mean?
  3. From what does the Lord save?
  4. “the Lord near to the brokenhearted”
    1. When is He “near”?
    2. Why is He “near”?
    3. How is the Lord “near”?
    4. Why does the Psalmist say that? [hint: what is the danger of someone feeling “broken” or “crushed”? What might they be tempted to think?]
  5. What do you understand by the phrase “crushed in spirit”?
  6. Rephrase verses 19-20 in your own words.

Personal reflection and Prayer

  1. Consider your own life journey. Think about the one or two most trying times in your life.
    1. Could you say that you experienced that the Lord was “near”?
    2. Have you ever felt “crushed in spirit”? How did the Lord save you from that?
    3. From what “afflictions” can you testify that the Lord saved you?
    4. Even in the “afflictions” could you testify that the Lord preserved your life?
  2. Can you presently identify with the feeling “brokenhearted”, “crushed” or “afflicted”? Then pray as the Psalmist did:
    1. Thank Him for his “nearness” and ask Him to make His “nearness” known to you.
    2. Cry out for the Lord to save you from this situation; be desperate and sincere.
    3. Ask Him to preserve you, to heal you and to restore you.
    4. Pray with Paul “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9

 

Healing the Brokenhearted 5 – a God of compassion

The aim of this devotional study of to reflect on God’s attitude to our brokenness and failures.

This 2min Sermon Jam of Matt Chandler will greatly enhance this study today.

Scripture

Isaiah 49:13-17

13  Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.

14  But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”

15  “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16  Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. 17  Your builders make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you.

Observations

God’s afflicted people are personified in this chapter by the broken state of the destroyed city of Jerusalem.

  1. What do you learn about God’s character and attitude towards his broken people from this Text?
  2. The Lord likens his comfort, compassion and attentiveness of his people to a nursing mother. Why can a nursing mother not forget her own baby?  What do does the Lord wish to convey about his relationship to his people?

Personal Reflection

Oftentimes we get frustrated by our own brokenness and weaknesses, and therefore think that God is impatient and frustrated with us because of these imperfections.

  1. Jot down your own most prominent habitual flaws and brokenness. In simple words describe that to yourself.
  2. Reflecting on this Text, how do you expect God to relate to your brokenness and flaws?
  3. Would the God described in this Text give up on you and walk away from you because of your imperfections? What would God rather do?

Application and Prayer

Hebrews 4:15-16

15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  1. Follow the counsel of this portion to the broken, fickle congregation of Hebrews
    1. Approach God with confidence, with shame and no fear of rejection, and state your brokenness to him.
    2. Ask for mercy for your (habitual) imperfections and shortcomings, because Jesus knows what you are going through.
    3. Ask for grace (help) to restore ad heal your brokenness.
  2. Consider someone you know whose brokenness manifests in some destructive pattern.
    1. Approach God on his/her behalf and appeal for mercy (forgiveness) and grace (help), because Jesus knows what he/she is going through.

Healing the Brokenhearted 4 – restoring your self-image

The Aim of this study is to evaluate your self-perception in the light of your identity in Jesus Christ.

Scripture

Proverbs 23:7  “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  

Observations and reflections

  1. State this proverb in your own words.
  2. Reflect on this proverb and write down the many implications of one’s self-image. Consider one’s confidence in conflict, ambitions in life, response to criticism, pursuit of (or relationship with) a spouse, reaction to (perceived) rejection or failure, security, finances etc.

Personal reflections

  1. Now evaluate your own self-image. Record the most prominent or enduring “labels” (identity) that was/is associated with you, and how you “earned” it. [note: one’s identity is not only inherited through words, but a child will feel valued, celebrated and loved, or worthless, unwanted and like a disappointment based on the perceived actions of a parent, teacher or roll model]
  2. What do you base your success and self-worth on? When do you feel good about yourself, or like a failure?

Application

Paul discovered the truth that “if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”  (2 Corinthians 5:17) and relate to himself in this new way.  Dr. Neil Anderson wrote in Victory Over the Darkness  “The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity!” 

Read through this list of Scriptural confessions out loud, and mark the ones that your heart convicts you is not the way you think about yourself.  Then (1) memorize, (2) repeat, (3) pray those scripture daily until those thoughts are you natural way of thinking about yourself.

I know I am Beloved by God because…

  • I am a child of God. John 1:12
  • I am a friend of God. John 15:15
  • I am part of the body of Christ. 1Corinthians 12:27
  • I was chosen by God to be loved. 1Thesalonians 1:4
  • I am qualified in front of God. Colossians 1:12
  • I am complete in Christ. Colossians 2:10
  • Christ has accepted me. Romans 15:7
  • God saved me because He delighted in me. Psalms 18:19

I know I am Significant because…

  • God’s spirit is inside of me. 1Corinthians 3:16
  • I am seated with Christ in Heaven. Ephesians 2:6
  • I am God’s workmanship. Ephesians 2:10
  • Christ paid a hefty price for me. Revelations 5:9
  • I can do all things through Christ. Philippians 4:13
  • God has plans in store for me. Jeremiah 29:11
  • God has wonderfully made me. Psalms 139:14
  • I am precious to God. Isaiah 43:4
  • I am an ambassador for Christ. 2Corinthans 5:20
  • I bear the image of God. Genesis 1:27
  • I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. Ephesians 1:5
  • I may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
  • I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:14-16
  • I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life. John 15:5
  • I am a citizen of heaven. Philippians 3:20

I know I am Secure because…

  • Christ is my salvation, no one else. Acts 4:12
  • I am sealed with God through the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13
  • I may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
  • I am confident that God will complete the good work in me. Philippians 1:6
  • I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. 1 John 5:18
  • I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17
  • I have been bought with a price and I belong to God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • Jesus has redeemed me. Galatians 3:13
  • I have been established, anointed and sealed by God. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
  • I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:1-2
  • I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances. Romans 8:28
  • I am a conqueror in Christ. Romans 8:37
  • Nothing can separate me from the love of God. Romans 8:38-39
  • I am hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3-4
  • My salvation is secure in the blood of Jesus. 1 Peter 1:18
  • Jesus will never leave me. Hebrews 13:5
  • I am saved by grace. Ephesians 2:8
  • Christ has paid for my sins. Romans 3:23-24

I know I am Holy because…

  • I am clothed in righteousness and garments of salvation. Isaiah 61:10
  • Christ has made me holy. Hebrews 10:10
  • All my sins have been forgiven. Colossians 2:13
  • God will take away my shame. Isaiah 61:7
  • My sins God will remember no more. Hebrews 10:17
  • I am righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:24
  • I am filled with Christ’s divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4
  • I am part of a royal priesthood. 1 Peter 2:9
  • I am a temple designed for God. 1 Corinthians 3:16
  • I am a completely new creation in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Christ has turned me into a saint. Ephesians 1:18
  • I am dead to sin, but alive to God. Romans 6:11
  • I am a slave to righteousness. Romans 6:18
  • I am the light of the world. Matthew 5:14
  • I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
  • I am complete in Christ. Colossians 2:10
  • I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. Colossians 1:13
  • I have been justified, declared innocent of all sins. Romans 5:1

Healing the Brokenhearted 3 – facing your enemies

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on God’s way of healing, and respond on that truth.

Scripture

Psalms 23:5-6

5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Observations

  1. Describe the scene that verse 5 sketches. Who is present?
  2. What is the state of the Psalmist in this portion of the Sheppard Psalm?
  3. What would you think the Lord would be doing in this scene (with the enemies present)? But now the Lord is “preparing a table” and “anointing my head”.  And what does that represent/ mean?

Personal reflection and Application

In this scene the Lord brings David face-to-face in confrontation with his “enemies”, at a table prepared by the Lord, where there is abundant favour and grace.

Consider your life path, and especially the moments of hurt through betrayal, abuse, rejection, etc.  The Good Sheppard knows that fullness in life required a face-to-face encounter with these moments, and the (figuratively) with the people who caused those hurts.

  1. Ask the Lord to search your heart and bring to light any unresolved hurts. Write it down, and the people involved.  Prayerfully reflect on those moments, the people, then articulate your emotions of the events and the consequences. [If it becomes too much, take a break but commit to see this through; perhaps even make an appointment with a Christian friend, counsellor or pastor].
  2. Consider Jesus’ forgiveness of his enemies while on the cross. Pray for love and then – from your heart – express forgiveness for the people who caused you hurt.  Pray until you feel a release of love.
  3. Bless these people who caused your harm: pray God’s goodness and loving favour upon them – because God is good.
  4. It might be helpful for yourself to write a letter to these people – even if you never intend to send it to them – where you express forgiveness and love to them.
  5. Ask the Lord to heal your heart and brig his lasting peace.
  6. Share this healing process with a Christian friend or small group.

Healing the Brokenhearted 2 – the Great Exchange

The aim of this devotional study is to personally reflect on Christ’s substitution for our suffering and provision for our restoration.

Scripture

Isaiah 53:3-5

3  He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  4  Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  5  But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement [punishment] that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Observations

  1. When you read this Old Testament prophesy of the Messsiah (about 700BC), what event do you think it refers to?
  2. Reading verses 4 and 5, what is the core message the prophet wants to convey?
  3. According to this Text,
    1. what did the Messiah suffer? [hint: look at the verbs / action words]
    2. what did we gain from the Messiah’s suffering? [hint: look at the nouns]
    3. what was our behavior and condition at the time of the Messiah’s suffering?
    4. for whom was the Messiah’s substitutionary suffering?

Personal Reflections

Transgression: breaking a law/ sinning while fully aware of one’s actions.  Deliberate or conscious sin.

Iniquity: “bend in the spirit”, some spiritual flaw which manifest as bad habit, character fault, addition, etc.

  1. Considering that I am body, soul and spirit (cf 1 Thessalonians 5:23), what does this Text say the Messiah’s substitutionary suffering had accomplished:
    1. for my spirit (verse 5)
    2. for my soul (i.e. mind, will and emotions; verses 4 and 5)
    3. for my body (verse 5)
  2. Consider the statement in verse 6.
    1. What does that suggest about my own state at the time of the Messiah’s substitutionary suffering?
    2. What does it suggest about God’s intent and commitment for my own healing?
    3. What does it suggest about my responsibility in earning this healing – current and future? [hint: what do I have to do to get it?]

Application and Prayer

Jesus, the Messiah has through his vicarious suffering [on your behalf] obtained healing for your spirit, soul and body.

  • Regarding your spirit: Which iniquity was Jesus, the Messiah, crushed for that you are still in bondage for?
  • Regarding your soul: Which grief, sorrow, anxiety or confusion are you still suffering from which Jesus, the Messiah, was punished for?
  • Regarding your body: Which sickness or disease are you still suffering from which Jesus, the Messiah, was wounded for?
  1. Thank God for the gift of healing through Jesus’ suffering.
  2. Confess your belief that Jesus’ suffering was enough for your need.
  3. Pray as the Spirit leads for your complete healing.
  4. Tell a friend about this.

Healing the Brokenhearted 1 – Jesus Mission

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on Jesus ministry and evaluate my own experience of that ministry.

Scripture

Luke 4:14-21

14  Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.

15  And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

16  So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

17  And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18  “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR; HE HAS SENT ME TO HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED, TO PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET AT LIBERTY THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED;

19  TO PROCLAIM THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

20  Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

21  And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Observation

  1. Jesus read from the Scroll of Isaiah 60
    1. Why would you say Jesus read this Text and implied this was his mandate in ministry?
    2. Summarize Jesus’ ministry according to this portion of Scripture, describing in your own words what you understand that phrase means.

Personal Reflection

Jesus ministry (as prophesied by Isaiah more than 700 years before this incident) addressed the biggest problems humankind suffers from because of the sin in the world:

  • Poverty (“To preach the gospel to the poor”).
  • Sorrow (“To heal the brokenhearted.”)
  • Bondage (“To proclaim liberty to the captives.”)
  • Suffering (“And recovery of sight to the blind.”)
  • Oppression (“To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”)
  1. In which of these ways have you personally experience the ministry of Jesus as listed in the passage?
  2. In which way have you witnessed the ministry of Jesus as listed in the passage?
  3. In which of these ministries have you personally participated for other people’s benefit?

Application and Prayer

  1. Considering your own life now – in which way of the ways mentioned above do you recognize a real need for Jesus’ ministry in your own life? Articulate that in prayer to Jesus – be real as you ask Him to heal you.  (Also contact a mature Christian friend or pastor now to discuss that need with him/her – send that request for appointment now).
  2. Pray and ask the Lord for a friend or family member who has a real need for Jesus’ ministry as articulated in this Text. Pray as the Lord leads, then send a message of encouragement (perhaps include this Scripture?) and ask how you can pray or help him/ her. (Be ready to minister as you are confident to).