Posted: June 11th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: faith, freedom, grace, healing, hope, hurting, love wins |
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This is for the one who feels like God is against you.
Your inner thoughts are eating you. Watch me recite them.
With God against you, who can be for you? The hopelessness of life unecessary. No self-esteem mantra can reroute the negativity. No wins of the past can outshine the current crippling state. Every bad thing that sprouts up and eats the good is God using evil to devour evil. The anxious heart, the guilty sweat, the poisoned blood, – you walk with steps condemned. Everything you do is wrong. Everything you say is used against you. You avoid starting because you’ll ruin it before it’s finished. You’re weak with hopelessness. You’re old with tears.
This is for the one who feels like God is against you.
His inner thoughts can save you. Watch me recite them.
“God is a safe place to hide…” -Psalm 46:1 MSG
This is my index finger beckon. Come here. Come hear.
“Jacob-wrestling God fight for us, God-of-Angel armies protects us.” -Psalm 46:3 MSG
When you talk about God, does He sound like this?
“River fountains splash joy, cooling God’s city, this sacred haunt of the Most High. God lives here, the streets are safe, God at your service from the crack of dawn.” -Psalm 46:4-5 MSG
This is my index finger pointing. Look at this.
“Godless nations rant and rave, kings and kingdoms threaten, but Earth does anything he says.” -Psalm 46:6 MSG
I’m getting ready to run into the morning sun. I can’t recite His inner thoughts and sit still like this.
“Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.”-Psalm 46:7 MSG
Can you see Him? It’s Spring. Things are blooming. He makes it easy for you that way.
“Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth…” -Psalm 46:8 MSG
Are weapons raised against you?
“[He] breaks all the weapons across his knee.” -Psalm 46:9 MSG
Are you running from the santuary to find Sanctuary? (It’s okay.)
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”-Psalm 46:10 MSG
I have to go now. But, I’ll recite the rest before I leave. You have to know He’s fighting for you. He’s fighting for you so that you can play for Him.
“Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.” -Psalm 46:11 MSG
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Posted: June 10th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: faith, freedom, grace, hope |
26 Comments »
“Yes I have to agree Sin is Sin God will open his arms and forgive us for our sins but recall the lady who was accused of adultery Jesus told her to go and sin no more. We get only so much time to get this thing right it is better to learn Gods ways and will and try to live right then to take the chance of going to hell.” -A Reader
I heard a quote the other day that said something like, “Only trust people who are searching for the truth. Never trust those who think they know the truth.” Those who are searching for the truth will be wild with wonder and retain that which is most corroborated. They won’t alter evidence to support their version. They won’t shut down an argument when it’s not going their way. Those who think they know the truth are no longer in awe. Their eyes no longer glimmer. They are biased and closed off.
Why fear information and experience? Unless you’re afraid that what you believe is not the truth, there is nothing this world can do or say that would take it away. Living in closed minded fear wreaks damp with saddness. Like a child trapped in the body of an old woman, that kind of fear echos hollow with life unlived.
“Yes, I have to agree. Sin is sin….”
Is sin, is sin, is sin.
“…God will open His arms and forgive us for our sins, but…”
What is this “but”? There is no “but”.
“…recall the lady who was accused of adultery. Jesus told her to go and sin no more.”
Caught. She was caught in adultery. Naked as sin.
“Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”-Jesus, John 8:11 ESV
This woman, prior to her experience with Jesus, had no question about her worth, her future, or her sin. She knew what she did and she knew she was worthless. There was no way out. Jesus brought up the sins of her accusers and then, it seems, left her fate in their hands. They did not have the authority to kill her so they had to back down. Jesus had the authority and he used it to make sure she knew that he didn’t condemn her.
“Go and sin no more.”
He wasn’t warning her. He was freeing her.
Go and sin no more. Sinners see it as a prescription for behavior. Saints see it as a proclaimation over them. She was a sinner. There was no question. He set her free to live clean again. He gave her a do- over. He forgave her and he set her free. That’s what “sin no more” is. It’s setting her free.
“We only get so much time to get this thing right…”
Even if we were given all of eternity to “get this thing right” we would fail. If we could “get this thing right”, then Jesus would not have had to come and do it for us.
“…it is better to learn God’s ways and will …”
You can’t learn God’s ways.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”-God through Isaiah 55:9 ESV
What would you do even if you were able to know God’s ways? Start playing God?
Never trust those who think they know the truth.
The pride of man is constantly trying to acquire independence from God. They want to know what He knows so they can be like Him.
“…your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing…”-Genesis 3:5 ESV
“…and try to live right than to take the chance of going to hell.”
It is a superstitious and fearful faith that believes it’s all up to the person’s ability or a gambling chance.
Was the sacrifice of Jesus just a flimsy idea and the rest is left up to chance? How small has Jesus become when we’re in a world with people who have so little certainty that they go to bed at night not knowing if they were good enough?
Your salvation is a signed, sealed, and delivered promise and it is not left up to chance. It’s not left up to your goodness or your ability to stay away from sin. The only sin that can destroy you is the sin of unbelief. All the other stupid things you do are already taken care of.
He doesn’t condemn you. You’re forgiven.
Go, and sin no more. You’re free.
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Posted: May 6th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: healing, hurting |
8 Comments »
It’s a “Me” world.
It’s easy to be disappointed all the time when all the mirrors are angled at you. As much as you try to have it together, the spotlight of “Me” is harsh and your jeans are fitting a little too tight.
Maybe you have reason to be disappointed. Maybe life really is rolling over you. But you can’t change that. The only thing you can change is the way you respond to it.
Do you need some acknowledgement? Do you need a witness to your pain?
Get it out.
Write it down.
What do you need?
No one else can fix you. This is personal.
No one can be enough for you. That’s not how we’re made.
Maybe your need is making them feel inadaquate, too.
Maybe everyone else is feeling the way you’re feeling right now.
We live in a world where people have lowered their standards enough to be okay with barely being okay. Maybe they don’t have any extra to spread around.
Did you write it down?
What do you need?
That’s your “to do” list. Do it for them. In some weird way, it comes back to you.
“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.”- Matthew 7:12 MSG
The bigger issue is your wispy self-worth.
You have to get your worth from a Well that doesn’t dry up.
“… but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” -Jesus in John 4:14 MSG
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Posted: February 5th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: think |
9 Comments »
So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God. -Hebrews 6:1-2 MSG
It’s hard for me to imagine trying to understand what the scriptures say without having experienced the revelation, or enlightenment. The words are there, but the meaning shifts dramatically, depending on your level of thinking. Once you have been enlightened, you cannot mentally walk away from what you’ve spiritually seen.
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. -Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV
In conversations I’ve had, the best analogy, or tangible imagery, I can come up with is from the movie The Matrix. I haven’t seen that movie in several years, but the idea swirls around the question: “What is real?” Scripture refers to “the world” and “the truth.” In other words: mortal/immortal; fake/real; temporal/eternal; physical/metaphysical.
There is a separation between what is real and what is experienced. What is real is where life is. What is experienced is the fabric through which truth seeps. If you focus on the mesh of understanding or the method of exposure, then you will not see the message or the mystery. An eternal, spiritual Source of truth is pressing in on the spirit within and the only thing standing in the way is the layer of flesh, by which all experience is translated and filtered. Flesh is the problem. That’s why we are to “lean not on [our] own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).”
Temporal cannot understand what is eternal. However, what is eternal can understand what is temporal and knows enough to not spend any time or effort on it.
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. -Colossians 3:1-2 MSG
Your experience is not the end all of understanding. It is the avenue by which what, or better: Who, is to be understood as truth makes its way into your spirit. Experience alters perspective and perspective is the goal, not the experience. You must be able to think abstractly and Jesus is the key to understanding. Once you have tasted the revelation, you are compelled to act within that realm, on that ground, from that perspective, to that lack of beginning and end (as opposed to “that end”).
You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. -Colossians 3:9-11 MSG
All I am trying to do is appeal to the spiritual part of you that longs to hear something that matters. I am speaking to the part of you that is longing for a deeper walk, a spiritual awakening of which you can never grow tired. This exists.
We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. …The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. -1 Corinthians 2:6-7; 10 MSG
If this has whet your appetite, read all of Colossians 3 and all of 1 Corinthians 2. Good luck stopping there. I had to force myself to not quote the whole thing here.
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Posted: February 4th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: aftermath, faith, grace, healing, purpose, sin |
19 Comments »
“In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you.”-Isaiah 49:8 ESV
You speak like you’re in-between two lives: the old and the new. You refuse to enter the new because you’re still hanging on to the old. You think you can only enter the day with defeat because you’re still making yourself pay. Every hard thing that is thrown your way is viewed as a consequence to your sin.
You’re not going to move on from this place with your suitcase of truth only half packed. You can say all the right things, but you don’t believe a word of it.
You pull yourself up by the scruff of your neck and you make yourself go through the motions. You read that devotion, you listen to this podcast, you do that fast, you write those words. You do all of these things thinking that God will come and rescue you. You think He’ll restore what was before so that you can feel whole again. What if the end of an era is God’s answer to prayers you don’t even know how to pray yet? What if you have been rescued, but it doesn’t look like what you thought it would look like?
The rescue is past-tense. It’s waiting on you to have the revelation.
You can reject God by clinging more to your version of restoration than to your faith that God gets what He wants.
Does God get what He wants?
The only way you can move on to your new life is by believing that the consequences of your sin have a greater purpose. A purpose that has nothing to do with being a constant reminder of your sin.
What entity would want to constantly remind you of your sin?
What if God has you exactly where He wants you? Life is a journey and you are a pilgrim. You’re not at any destination forever. You are only where you are, and you’re only there for a moment. Discontentment blooms when you think you are forever paying for and suffering from your sins.
The faithless work the garden of Second Best.
They say: “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” -Isaiah 49:14 ESV
How can you know God and believe that you are a prisoner of your own Second Best? You are where you are for a reason. Reason can never be found by looking at your sin. There is no truth to be found in the damage of flesh and blood.
You have to look at everything as though God has a plan because God has a plan. It’s Jesus. You have to look at everything trying to find where it leads to Jesus. It’s your only compass. It’s the only way you’ll know what the truth is. He’s the Truth.
It’s all riddles until it’s not.
I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ -Isaiah 49:8-9 ESV
God is cultivating your life. He is getting rid of the parts of you that keep you from being who you were called to be.
You were called to be something. You wouldn’t be here looking for Him if you weren’t.
He is positioning you in a posture that induces passion where there was once apathy. Sometimes the best way to induce passion is to insert a thorn. If you’re tugging at the thorn, then you are looking at this all wrong.
I know how bad it hurts. I’ve been there. I’ve attended the funeral of my own potential. You’ll be in this spot until you can see God in it.
You’re a conduit.
When a pipe isn’t functioning, you dismantle it, flush it out, and rebuild it.
Are you dismantled?
There exists a consequence twist. It’s more than the suffering. It’s also the release. There are three consequences that will make your head spin. One, you can see more clearly. Number two, blind people avoid you. And, three, you have a new passion.
Do you understand this? Your life will be one that says “to the prisoners, ‘Come out’” and “to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’”
One of the consequences of your sin is the newborn passion for the failures. You now have an acute awareness of the difference between the voice of the flesh and the whisper of the Spirit. You know the difference between the light and the dark. Those who once had a voice in your life, the ones who would now torment you, are far from you.
Do you think that’s a coincidence?
“Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land—surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away.” -Isaiah 49:19 ESV
They think you are too far gone and they will not join you. They’re unable to handle the failure of others with patient grace and unending mercy. They are wrong. Why would you want them by you? God has positioned you, using your own consequences, to keep their lies from pinning you down with their doubt and holding you back from your purpose. “Those who swallowed you up” are “far away.”
Thank God for that.
What’s more? The twist that sends this whole thing spinning into reverent wonder is the fact that it’s because of your failure. You are removed from their influential doubt and enabled by grace to march into your purpose because they are too afraid of how dirty you got.
Because of your failure, you know how to find those who are buried.
Everything will come together. It’ll all make sense at some point. Stop wishing your thorn away. Wear it like a crown.
“Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples, and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” -Isaiah 49:22-23 ESV
His hand is poised, the signal is ready. Your children have been lifted, the march has begun. You will not be put to shame.
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