Posted: April 26th, 2012 |
Filed under: God, life | Tags: faith |
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”Sanctification requires our coming to a place of death, but many of us spend so much time there that we become morbid.” –Oswald Chambers
When you find yourself helpless to your sinful nature, when you mess up so bad that you want to crawl out of your skin and get away from yourself, when you are screaming for a Savior you thought you understood, but now feel completely unworthy of and alienated from…that is the kind of death that it takes to be free.
It’s not a matter of trying, it’s a matter of helpless fact. When you are begging to be squashed or saved, you are officially “out of the way.” The beauty in the horror.
Those who “add God to their existing ‘good'” don’t have a clue. Those who lose every claim to their own ‘goodness’ are swallowed up by God and have to suffer under the weight of believing in the Unseen Everything and trusting in the Unbridled Anything. All sensibility is contradicted and held together by the Invisible Wonderful that is crashing in on the self-sustained here-and-now.
The spiritual is more real than the so-called reality and the flesh and blood is about to rupture from trying to contain the Uncontainable. It’s terrifying elation. It’s life-threatening Life. It’s the Light that dwarfs the light. It’s the paradox that dumbfounds and ruins everything. It’s the one who says to his lover, “You have ruined me for any other attempt at love.”
God does that. He ruins you for any other attempt at life. He’ll let you resist until you have nothing left. When it’s done, it’s done. He’ll drain you of you and the whole kick about this thing is, you’ll thank Him for it. A person can deny Him until their eyes bleed, but when it’s time, it’s time. There really is no other place to run. Is there?
“First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.” -Jesus in Matthew 8:22
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Posted: April 16th, 2012 |
Filed under: God, life | Tags: faith, freedom, grace |
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There are some things in [Paul’s letters] that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. -2 Peter 3:16-18
The other day I read about when the Israelites said to Moses, “You speak to us and we’ll listen, but don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die.” (Exodus 20:19)
Maybe if we just hear the message from a person, we can reject it without feeling like we’re rejecting God. Human understanding only goes so far, it’s when God speaks and we listen that we can break through. God is speaking all the time. Sometimes He uses people to spread His message.
You won’t be able to break through anything unless you believe in redemption. The story of redemption, which is the story of Jesus, is the key to being able to reach any kind of understanding or belief that leads to faith.
That’s why the message of grace is so important. It’s the story of Jesus before anybody gets ahold of it.
There is a truth that underlines every circumstance and the more you focus on the circumstance, the less you’ll be able to see the underlying truth. That truth is the story of redemption in every single circumstance. We can’t just sit around and congratulate ourselves for not failing like someone else did.
The truth that underlines every circumstance is the fact that every person is on their own spiritual journey to being complete. Until we are complete, our brokenness will surface and need to be dealt with, one broken piece at a time. When our damage surfaces, it looks bad. We fail in our weak points and learn from our mistakes. We need to be a community of people who see the lesson, the underlying truth, and not the mistake. Those who have fallen need to know redemption. People already know right from wrong. They need to know what Jesus did.
The more you know about a person’s failure, the less likely you’ll be able to see the plan that supersedes it. The more familiar you are with the hopelessness, the less likely you’ll believe in the healing.
The underlying truth is the plan of healing.
It’s scary to open up to the message of redemption because it always causes a death to self and a response is required. “Don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die.”
You have to think about these things. If you’re really in this for the Truth, if you really want to get to the heart of God, then you have let go of all the parts to your ‘self’. It’s an abandon. You’ve given up some, but you have to give up all. You have to allow Him to expand on the parts you think you already know. You do know some, but, you only know in part. This journey of faith is one of learning and growing.
We learn and grow in faith, and we learn and ‘grow in grace’. We are given ample opportunity to grow in grace. Failure is everywhere.
You have an amazing purpose. You won’t be able to fulfill it until you know what it is to ‘grow in grace’. Take up the side of grace. Refuse to be a pallbearer in the burial the accuser has orchestrated. That’s when you’ll break through. That’s when you’ll know what it is to be free.
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Posted: January 26th, 2012 |
Filed under: God | Tags: faith, hope, purpose |
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God has a plan that precedes you, encompasses you and then surpasses you. You don’t even have to know Him to be part of what He’s doing. His plan trumps ours. He’s busy at work using His hands to craft different styles of pottery to use. Writing His own story with us as the characters and with Jesus as the main event.
Everything from the foundation of the world has been a set up for the crowning of Jesus. Nothing exeeds the importance of that one event and nothing can change it.
Even the unborn have been called to purpose. No matter what, you cannot undo your purpose or avoid your path. It’s not only that He knows what you’ll do, it’s that He’s designed you for a specific use and you will most definitely be used to that end. You know this is true if you really believe that it’s God moving through you and not you moving yourself. You don’t get to pick what part of you He uses. Those who know, know that God uses the parts of you that you would rather keep behind a locked and closed door marked, “Sacred”.
And the children were yet unborn and had so far done nothing either good or evil. Even so, in order further to carry out God’s purpose of selection (election, choice), which depends not on works or what men can do, but on Him Who calls [them]...-Romans 9:11 AMP
Some things between us and God are hard to explain. He meets us in places we should have never been. He recognized us when we didn’t even recognize ourselves. These times in our lives are ugly and dark, but He was there. You can’t explain it and you can’t explain it away. You keep quiet, but He keeps nudging.
People need to know that no matter how far they run, He’s always right there. He takes every step they take. He will never, ever, leave them. They need to know this so they can be saved. They need to know this so they can be righteous. Every time they are under attack, He is right there holding the leash to the one who attacks them. Every time they hit the ground, He is right there. He is the wind on the face of the one running away. He’s the leaves in the hair of the one hiding in shame. He is with you always because He is ‘I AM’.
Some of us were created to reflect God’s mercy and some of us can attest to God’s dissatisfaction. I am one who can testify to both. We are characters created to be a witness in the trial. One day we will be subpoenaed.
God lets evil plans form and emerge as they wreak havoc, only to thwart them and turn it into something that brings the beaten closer to Him. Evil exists, but ultimately answers to Him. Pain peirces, but only brings the broken closer to Him. Sin bulldozes blooming gardens only to make room for the flowers of mercy.
Everything answers to God. Everything has it’s time in the sun, it’s fifteen minutes (years?), but none of it has the last word.
No matter where your path has taken you, no matter what you’ve done, not matter what has been done to you, none of it gets the last word on your life. God does and He does what He says.
His biggest statement concerning you was Jesus.
Read part of this song David wrote:
From the four corners of the earth
people are coming to their senses,
are running back to God.
are falling on their faces before him.
God has taken charge;
from now on he has the last word.
All the power-mongers are before him
All the poor and powerless, too
Along with those who never got it together
Our children and their children
will get in on this
As the word is passed along
from parent to child.
Babies not yet conceived
will hear the good news—
that God does what he says. (Psalm 22:27-31 MSG)
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Posted: December 29th, 2011 |
Filed under: God, life | Tags: faith, purpose |
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God calls you to do things that are impossible for you. If you don’t look at Him then your plans will swallow you whole. You’ll get stressed and overwhelmed. You’ll see how impossible it is. You’ll feel the distance between what you want to happen, what is happening, and your inability to jump the rift.
Sit and crunch the cost. You’ll become very aware that you’re setting yourself up for failure. Then God asks, “Why would you plan for failure?”
When you dream and take the steps to make it happen, you have to keep looking at God. You really can’t look at the task. Doing that will only remind you that you can’t do it.
It is faith that keeps you from drowning and you’re not the boss.
I am ready to throw in the towel every day. I have no problem shutting everything down , slipping away, and disappearing. As soon as I hear the word, I’m gone.
I am an ant using my little legs to dig a tunnel through a mountain of stone and it hurts. I’m not alone… one of millions. If ten are digging in one direction, three are standing around, four are telling us we’re in the way, and three are shoveling rocks back in the hole.
My eyes are focused on something beyond the obvious. The obvious is, I’m nobody. I can’t do anything. I’m a flushed goldfish that re-emerged in a rip-current and I’m not big enough to get myself out. I’ll either end up drowned on the beach, food for a bigger fish, or I’ll actually reach my destination.
When you throw in your lot with God, He’ll either show up or not. I’d rather know than always have questions.
I try to do things that I cannot do. I could be an fool. Sometimes I feel like one. But I’m curious. I want to know how everything works. I want to find as many obstacles as possible and figure why they’re there and how to get passed them
One thing I know: The rip current of God’s will is stronger than anything I could do. If I threw in my towel and tossed my toddler toy back where I found it, things would still end up exactly the way they’re supposed to.
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Posted: December 5th, 2011 |
Filed under: God, life | Tags: healing |
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I love reading the different exchanges between the disciples and Jesus. He constantly tried to show them what this new life is all about, how God works, and how to look at things in a different way. I read these stories trying to understand what Jesus said and trying to understand why, sometimes, the disciples didn’t understand.
One exchange between the disciples and Jesus that I find interesting is found in John 9. The group of men passed a man who was born blind and they asked Jesus:
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” -John 9:2
That was how things worked back then. Sin, either the sin of a parent or the sin of a person, could be the cause of bad things happening to people. Many religions still believe this. They call it karma.
Jesus answered them, showing them that bad things happen for a bigger purpose. It’s about God, not about the sin.
“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” -John 9:3
Jesus made people think outside the box.
Jesus said that ‘the works of God’ would be displayed in him. More than the miraculous healing happened in this story.
When the Pharisees found out that Jesus healed him, they said that He couldn’t be from God because He sinned in order to heal the man. He healed Him on the Sabbath.
Jesus defied religious tradition.
Almost everyone doubted the man’s healing.
The religious leaders questioned everyone, including the healed man’s parents. His parents believed what happened, they had no choice, but they were too afraid to go against the religious grain to say it was true.
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.)” -John 9:20-22
They were afraid of being kicked out of their church if they admitted to what they knew Jesus did.
The religious leaders went back to the healed man and told him that in order to give glory to God, he had to change his story.
“Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” -John 9:24
They called Jesus a sinner because he did things out of their order. They were the authority on what is of God and what wasn’t and they deemed the way Jesus did things as ‘not of God.’
They questioned him about how, exactly Jesus healed him. And the man did his best to answer them. They were pretentious and arrogant toward him. He shared what Jesus did for him, but was not able to make them get it.
“If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” -John 9:33
While he was trying to use their own understanding of how God works, they belittled him saying:
“You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. -John 9:34
They didn’t like what he had to say. It contradicted their authority. It contradicted their religion. It contradicted the very thing that set them above everyone else, so they ‘cast him out’.
When Jesus heard what the religious leaders did to him, He found him and asked:
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?” -John 9:35
All this man knew is that Jesus was from God and He healed Him. He didn’t know who ‘the Son of Man’ was, but if the healer believed in Him, then he would, too.
“And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” -John 9:36
This is my favorite part. Did he already know? How could every part of his body not be ripping from him and leaning in to this flesh and blood manifestation of his creator?
“You have seen him,” answered Jesus, “and it is he who is speaking to you.” (John 9:37)
“Lord, I believe.” (John 9:38)
How could he not? Jesus made it impossible to deny.
“For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” -John 9:39
That’s an interesting twist. He made a point to reveal the Great Reversal. The least greatest, the greatest least; the last first and the first last. He ‘sinned’ to reveal Himself to the blind and utterly blinded the one’s who usually see.
The Pharisees were like gnats, always hanging around the fruit, trying to speed up the spoil with their constant cynical and antagonistic questioning.
Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” -John 9:40
Yes. Yes, you are.
If you actually heard the words of God as though you had something new to learn, you wouldn’t be in the wrong even though the newly revealed truth puts you in the wrong. The fact that you think you know everything well enough to not have anything new to learn makes you blind. Do you think it’s some coincidence that the truth comes from someone you don’t respect or even like? It’s almost like Someone is using every side of the grater to either shred your pride or make you fight with your own self-righteousness. It’s not just to mess with you, it’s a thermometer. Are you boiling? If so, then you need the medicine.
Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.” -John 9:41
All of this happened to ‘display the works of God.’ It shows how things happen.
- Jesus defied religious tradition to the point of being called a ‘sinner’.
- Many people will doubt the healing.
- Some people are too afraid to speak up when it goes against the grain.
- Those who do, stand a chance of being kicked out of their church.
- Self-righteous people will use God’s name and your desire to glorify Him to manipulate you into submission to them.
- God uses the most unlikely (unworthy?) to reveal His truth.
- Self-righteous people will belittle you if you don’t cave in to their version.
- Jesus made the blind man see before he believed in Him.
- If you know you have more to learn, you’re guiltless.
- If you think you know it all, you’re guilty of what you don’t know.
You have to admit that you are blind. If you’re blind, He can make you see. If you think you’re not blind, then you’ll always be blind. Only crazy people don’t think they’re crazy.
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