Sacrificial LoveWhat does it mean for you to carry your cross?
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Episode 4 - A Symbol of Forgivenesswith Sheila Walsh
Watch Episode 4 Now. click here.
On a Sunday morning in 2009, Pastor Fred Winters was brutally gunned down as he delivered a sermon in front of his church congregation. The story made national headlines not only for the story itself, but also for his wife Cindy's forgiveness of the man who pulled the trigger.
Sheila Walsh taped a webisode series with Cindy Winters and Emmy winning Life Focus Productions titled “A Symbol of Forgiveness” where the two of them talk through Cindy’s remarkable story. Part four of the four-part series is now available.
Watch Episode 4 Now. click here.
Strength - For When You Feel Things Are Crashing Around You
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
In 1992, my life fell apart and I lost touch with everyone. I sat in the psychiatrist’s office in the hospital, and I could hear him talking to me, but it was as if I was listening through glass or trapped inside a goldfish bowl. His eyes were kind, and his posture as he leaned forward seemed to invite trust, but I was done with that. He talked to me about recent developments in understanding clinical depression and new medications that were more efficient in arresting that crushing feeling of disappearing a little bit more each day. I could tell that he was offering me hope, but I wasn’t taking it.
It’s not that I saw him as anything other than the fine doctor he proved to be. I just wasn’t interested. He offered the first few steps on a path to recovery and wellness, and I didn’t want it. The drip, drip, drip of depression had taken its toll until I finally felt as if I were drowning and had no strength or desire left to fight.
In the days and weeks that followed the beginning of my treatment, I can only describe it as being aware of the faintest glimmer of light. “Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” (Psalms 94:17).
There is something holy that God has tucked into suffering. As I fell off the edge of my life, I discovered that I had always been held. In some mysterious way, it was as if God reached out and grabbed hold of me and lifted me. I was physically weak and emotionally worn out, but aware of the beginnings of oneness with Jesus.
This is a key to tapping into the power of allowing Christ, who overcame the world to help you through your troubles and sufferings. You have to finally come to the end of yourself and decide, no matter what the cost, you want to be free to love Christ and follow Him wherever that leads. I had to decide in the psych ward that I no longer wanted to live a safe, comfortable, cold life. I wanted to live abandoned to God. I began to see that too often I was only willing to give God as much as I could afford to lose or had lost already. True strength invites us to live with an open heart and soul, knowing that Christ has a good, strong hold on us.
I don’t speak of these things lightly. As you read these words, you might be in the middle of unimaginable grief. What I want you to remember or know for the first time is that Christ has been to the bottom of the pit of grief. He tasted the worst dregs that hell can pour out, and He rose again to set us free and secure for us a destiny with Him forever—a destiny that Satan cannot touch. As we walk on our unique path that will take us home, He promises to walk with us and to help us overcome.
1. God promised Isaiah, “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name” (Isaiah 45:3). What treasures have you discovered in the darkness of your journey?
2. How can we know, or how can we remind ourselves, that God is there upholding us even when the night is black and the pain is crowding the life out of us? What, specifically, can you do to hold on to the hope of God’s light when all you see is blackness?
3. Jesus’ promise is, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” How does this change your perspective today?
This Bible study is an excerpt from chapter 1 of The Shelter of God’s Promisesby Sheila Walsh.
Sheila Walsh’s new book, The Shelter of God’s Promises, available now. click here.
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