Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Encouragement For Today

                               ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY

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Sheri Rose Shepherd September 7, 2016
Feeling Alone and Disconnected
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:4 (NLT)
For some reason, I’ve always struggled with inner loneliness.
No matter how many people are around me or how many “likes” I get on Facebook, I fight that deep dark feeling of loneliness.
I remember the night I became a Christian. I was alone in a hotel room, and I was fighting with guilt and shame from my past. To be honest, I was contemplating taking my life.
I felt so desperate, I finally cried out to what seemed like an invisible God and asked Jesus to come into my heart. In that moment, something happened. I knew God’s presence and love were real, because for the first time ever, I didn’t feel alone.
I thought I would never have to fight feelings of loneliness again. But I was wrong!
I’m in the hardest season of my life. I lost my marriage, my health and many friends. However, in the midst of my deepest heartache, God has used my tears to heal my broken heart, and in His goodness, He gave me what I needed and longed for most — a CURE for my loneliness and a REAL relationship with Him!
It was hard to see the Holy Spirit at work until I was totally alone and had no one else to run to but God. It took me a while to fully surrender to the only One who will never leave me or forsake me.
Through my trials and tears, the Lord revealed the reason I felt alone … I connected more to doing the works of God and to God’s people than I did to God Himself.
In other words, to cure my loneliness, I needed time alone with God! I was brokenhearted and that takes time to heal. The only way to complete the process is to connect with Him.
Jesus reminds us of this in today’s key verse: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (John 15:4).
I don’t want to oversimplify our connection with the Creator of the universe, but the vine Jesus talks about in John 15:4 is similar to a light switch or a Wi-Fi connection — always there, but of no benefit to us until we connect to it.
In fact, God was there for me all along, lovingly and patiently waiting to connect my heart, my mind and my spirit to His heavenly vine through Christ alone!
I’m not sure what season of life you’re facing. Maybe it’s a marriage where you feel alone, or you’re divorced and feel abandoned by the one you loved and trusted, or you’re where I am — fighting cancer — and you feel disconnected from the life you once knew.
I know from personal experience there’s a cure for loneliness and a real connection to a Heavenly Father who wants to heal our hurting hearts.
So here are some hard questions that may help when you feel disconnected from God. Answering these questions honestly will be worth your time, truth and tears for an encounter with true love and new life found in Christ alone.
1. When you’re hurting, where do you run first?
2. When you’re alone, who do you miss the most?
3. What are you connected to right now that could be disconnecting you from God?
4. When you need wisdom, where do you find it?
5. Do you feel your relationship with God is artificial or authentic?
6. Have you prayed and asked God to become real to you and to fill those empty places meant just for Him?
There’s no better place to connect than to the One who gave His life to connect with you — your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, if I’m honest, many times I don’t feel Your presence or Your peace. You left the Holy Spirit for us while You’re away preparing us a place in glory. So be with me. Fill every lonely place in my heart and heal every broken piece of me so I can know I’m never alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
John 3:16, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)

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