Posted: September 7th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: change, deception, grace, purpose, spiritual abuse |
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You never really know what’s going on. Like sheep following the sheep in front of them, some have never even met the Shepherd.
“The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.” -Matthew 23:2-3 MSG
When denominations become corporations, leadership becomes a career. So come the politics of spit-and-polish veneer.
I heard a story a few months ago. The president of a denomination has a secret that could destroy his credibility, but only in a world where a person’s credibility is based on his ability to be a perfect example of the rules he sets forth. It wouldn’t have destroyed his credibility with me and probably not with you, either. We would have found hope in the rawness of life, knowing that everybody makes mistakes. He could have entered the world of grace instead of avoiding it by hiding under a blanket of technicalities. Good leadership is honest about their mistakes. Bad leadership makes people think it’s possible to be perfect.
“You can’t be a leader if you’re divorced unless you can prove that you had no fault, but you can never remarry, unless you can prove you were tricked.” Or, there about. All bylaws of loopholes and small print. The smart people can study the contract and find a way out of needing forgiveness. But, in the Kingdom world, they’re only finding a way to not need Jesus.
If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it. -Romans 4:14-15 MSG
As a result of the rules of the corporation denomination, men publicly hang the character of their ex-wives, just so they can keep their jobs. Women tell all of their ex-husband’s secrets and none of their own, just so they can still teach Sunday school.
“I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either.” -Matthew 23:13-14 MSG
This system has been set up to not ever be able to admit your fault. There is no grace there.
The wife of the denomination president had grounds to divorce him, but didn’t want to hurt his career. She got a legal separation instead. That way he could keep his job and nobody would ever have to know the secrets that could destroy the facade. He was able to later retire with no one the wiser. The inside was broken while the appearance remained in tact.
What about all those under him who feel abnormal and wrecked because they didn’t have the power to hide? What about the women with alter call carpet embedded into their knees? They’re begging God to take away their stains because they’ve been taught that you can’t have stains. What about the men who are no longer allowed to do what they know God has called them to do? They think they have to live out the rest of their lives with the chains of sin still wrapped around them.
I met a preacher who got his papers taken away because he made a mistake. His passion is still preaching. There’s a hollow ache in his disposition. But he’s only allowed to hammer nails.
“Still like Jesus,” I tell him, though I know my kindness can’t reach him.
What about him?
“Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?” -Matthew 23:24 MSG
“Writing a life’s story that’s wrong from start to finish.” It’s wrong from start to finish because you are not the Author. You can write all you want, but He is the One who’s published.
Nitpicked lives are slaves to their sin. Being a slave to sin is more than obeying the impulse. It’s believing it has the power, so much so that you devote yourself to avoidance more than you release yourself to God.
He writes your life story and He’s already said that He made the destroyer. Nothing the destroyer can form will be able to destroy you. No matter how bad your situation looks, it does not have the power to destroy you.
If anyone attacks you, don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them, and if any should attack, nothing will come of it. I create the blacksmith who fires up his forge and makes a weapon designed to kill. I also create the destroyer—but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged. -Isaiah 54:15-17 MSG
The way into God’s Kingdom is through Jesus and it’s only by grace. Grace is for sinners. It’s not a safety net. It’s a gate.
Be open and honest about your failures. Let God’s grace wash over you. It completely transforms you. It lights you on fire and sends you blazing. That’s where the power comes from. It’s not from you and your ability, it’s from grace. God’s children need to see it. The people need to see that there is hope for them, too.
Nobody goes through life without knowing they’ve been saved from something that had every right to destroy them. Don’t set yourself up as someone who is so far away from that, that it steals the hope of grace from everyone else. Use the moment of someone’s failure to rejoice about the vibrant display of mercy, grace, and restoration that God is about to show. That’s when you can really see Him. It’s the rainbow after the storm. It’s in the eyes of someone who believes with everything in them that God has a plan for this, too.
You never really know what’s going on. Don’t be the sheep who follows the sheep in front of you, but has never met the Shepherd. No matter what people want you to think, everybody has some damage that only Jesus can justify.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”-Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
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Posted: December 27th, 2011 |
Filed under: life | Tags: deception, purpose |
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I come across some unfamiliar people and language out there in social media. For example, I once read a woman’s post that said she had to ‘go have intentional time’ with her husband. I couldn’t figure out if she just announced their naked time or if her relationship was so distant that she had to ‘intentionally’ make herself talk to him.
Either way, it was a bizarre mental picture she gave me. I wished she had kept it to herself. However, she was saying it in that way that a martyr announces to fellow martyr’s that it was her turn on the chopping block. She was looking for validation and for others to tell her that she was doing a good job.
It’s a sad thing to look for validation from a bunch of people. All they can do is blow smoke up your rear end and then hold the drug of public approval over you like a whip.
Everyone wants to look like everyone else and be the best ‘everyone else’ they can. I see the trends and the new phrases added to the repertoire, but I don’t know where any of it comes from. It seems like everyone reads the same books or listens to the same people, who ever is the coolest at the moment, and then takes their terminology and makes it the new ‘thing.’
“Blessed” people are ‘doing life’ with others, they’re doing things ‘well’, and they’re doing them ‘intentionally.’ Where do these things come from?
I read something in my social media feed that said something like this:
“I’m so blessed! My husband gave me the best present ever. He freed two sex slaves.”
It came with a picture of a certificate congratulating the recipient for being honored by the release of two sex slaves.
Are you freaking kidding me? What is this? Is this the new “I’m important!” thing?
I can’t figure out why it makes me sick to read this. I mean, there are several reasons, but I’m looking at it from a few different angles and something is wrong here.
My stream of consciousness went something like: Are you sure about that? How much did you pay for that piece of paper? How does someone even find this stuff? Is some sick freak out there marketing ‘feel good’ diplomas to rich American dummies? Did you see this on a late night infomercial? Where does the recipient of the certificate hang something like that?
If it’s even true, then how do they pick the girls to free? Is it like the reverse version of a slave auction? Do they check their muscle tone and teeth? Do they pick the ugly ones or the pretty ones? Do the girls know what is going on? Does some sweaty child molester pace in front of them, announcing a rich American woman’s birthday and force them to watch him size them up?
This is a 3D version of completely messed up. There is no way for the rest of the admiring world to know if these things are real, or how they are carried out. All they know is that a woman can say that she forwent a new Coach bag for the sake of a couple of lives. It just sounds like another way to make more money off of the very real and horrific problem.
They know you won’t buy them for sex, but maybe you’ll pay money to hear that they’re free?? Whatever makes you empty your pockets to feel good.
There are a lot of doors on this life journey. A lot of so-called shortcuts to holy importance, but they’re mirages. If you can sit around and feel awesome about your good deeds, then you’ve been lied to.
And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production … All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? -Matthew 6:5 MSG
I know a woman who will give you a gift and tell you how much it cost her to get it for you. She wants you to know how inconvenient it was so that you’ll appreciate it more. She thinks it makes the gift more special. What she doesn’t realize is that it doesn’t make anyone appreciate it more. It makes them think about the fact that the gift really isn’t worth the cost and it robs the value.
People just want to be validated and acknowledged for what they do, but as soon as you point to your own awesomeness, you poke holes in the sacrifice rendering it useless.
…and then Cain murdered Abel….
In an attempt to stand out above the rest, people will be pulled into all kinds of spiritual cons and traps of deception.
Don’t you think there are ‘get holy fast’ schemes just like there are ‘get rich fast’ schemes? Don’t be taken by the gas station taquitos when you’re on your way to a gourmet feast.
Beware of people who are showy in their flamboyant religiosity. There is a reason they’re cashing in right now. They don’t believe they’re actually going anywhere because they’re not.
Be careful of who you listen to. Some people can decorate their BS better than others.
Maybe I’m wrong and setting sex slaves free is a perfectly legitimate gift market (seriously, what the hell?)… but it sounds like a desensitized culture making desperate attempts to look like heros in the midst of their materialism. Ugh.
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Posted: December 19th, 2011 |
Filed under: life | Tags: deception, grace, sin |
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People can fall into confusing spaces of deception easier than you may think. The individual response to circumstance is as unique as a fingerprint. Everybody has their own reasons for their choices and none of it matters in the end. Excuses and justifications are used in the hopes for granted permission to do what they’ve already done in their heart.
Circumstances and reasons only mean everything to you right now because they’re all you have. When you finally do, in action, what you’ve already done in thought, you’ll see them for what they are. You’ll see them as cheap bribes and you’ll hate yourself for being so easy.
You only have excuses because you have alternate choices. The fact that you have alternate choices is proof that you are being seduced by someone more sinister than the forbidden fruit dangled in front of you. The evil seduction goes deeper than the seduction of flesh.
Grace doesn’t give you permission to hang yourself. No one can tell you what to do. I’m not offering noose wrapping lessons. I’m not your Holy Spirit. I can offer you truth when you really want the truth, but I will not offer you an excuse.
You need to struggle. You need to make your own choices and go through your own journey. The only thing I can offer you is the advice to be honest. Maybe if you’re honest, you’ll get what you think you want. Maybe if you’re honest, you can deal with reality and stop running to your escape. Honesty breaks the locks and smashes the windows. It gets the attention where the attention needs to be. Honesty is the rock thrown through the mirage so that everyone can see what is fake and what is real.
When you’re in the middle of the stupor that comes before the jump, good advice isn’t really heard. Your spiritual location can be recognized by the questions you ask and the parts of your story that you’re focused on. You are a human being doing the best you can with your situation. Grace doesn’t give you permission to be selfish.
You won’t be able to handle the hell of having to forgive yourself. If you care about your relationship with God at all, your sin will destroy you. I’m not talking about socially, though that is inevitable. I’m talking about the fact that you will not be the same person that you are even now. That fact will surprise you, so I think you should know it ahead of time. You don’t know who the ‘new’ you will be.
If someone told you to do the right thing, the flesh part of you would reject it. If someone told you to go ahead with the wrong thing, your spirit would reject it. No one can tell you what to do.
Be honest. Be honest with yourself and with God. You can’t change your heart. You can’t make yourself do the right thing and reject the wrong thing. But you can be honest. Let things play out in honesty. The truth may be destructive, but the lies are infinitely more destructive.
Evil seduces. It sounds justified. But, I promise you that you will recognize its voice when all of hell is berating you and screaming at you from the inside out. More terrifying than that? You will think that it’s God. You will believe with all of your heart that He won’t take you back.
That is the lick of deception. Hell’s goal is not to get you to sin. That’s already accomplished. Hell’s goal is to get you to believe you belong there. That’s the fight of faith.
You may not understand exactly what I’m saying, but if you jump this cliff, know that you will see things in full clarity. That means that your justifications will make you feel mocked. You won’t be able to go backward in time to lock your doors and everybody will blame you because you wore your morals too short.
If this happens, please don’t let your faith in God’s grace fail. It sounds counterproductive for me to say it now because that’s one of the things evil is saying to you, too. Deception mixes truth with lies because it makes them sound more convincing. It will be hard for you to recognize the truth in the aftermath of your sin. The truth is: Grace wins.
The fact that you will doubt God’s love and forgiveness should scare the hell out if you. Because hell is separation from God, doubting His forgiveness is the appetizer. Dessert comes first in this meal.
You have more mistakes and pain in front of you no matter which path you choose. You would know exactly what to do and have the strength to do it if there wasn’t more to come. I know that sounds ominous and it’s because it is.
No matter what, you’re going to make it. Remember that when you’re lost in the woods and can’t find your shoes.
Keep fighting back, even if you feel like you’re losing.
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