Posted: November 4th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: freedom, grace, purpose, sin |
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“What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction…?” - Romans 9:22 ESV
She’s a song with the end as the intro. She emerged under the fluorescent lights dodging knuckles with two clenched fists. She had a fire strong enough to torch the house that burned her down. Her secrets formed her in the dark corner. She could see the light, but it couldn’t see her. She survived the burns and the walls. She made it through the dark corner knowing it wasn’t her fault.
Never a child, always a fighter, she built her fortress early.
“I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths.” - Hosea 2:6 ESV
It’s a No-Man’s Land where her good wasn’t good enough and her evil didn’t fill the well. Her heart screamed from the inside, but tinted windows made them think whatever they wanted. She spoiled her spoils with tears and marked all of her marks with pain. No place for a girl who didn’t know how to be good, but was too good to live in shame.
She’s getting older, always a fighter, her fortress needs new paint.
“…in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory…” -Romans 9:23 ESV
Bird of death, the raven hatched an egg. Mother of sin, the mother bleeds milk of grace. A foundation of loss, a first floor of abuse, a second story of condemnation, and a third that tumbled down, only God makes right with wrong and completely forgets.
Only God can completely forget like forgetting was His plan all along.
” I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, “You are my people”; and [she] shall say, “You are my God.” - Hosea 2:23 ESV
I am No Mercy and I live in the land of Mercy. I am from Not My People and He calls me His People. And He is my God.
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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: January 29th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: faith, freedom, think |
14 Comments »
From the time of my youth, my life has been lived among my own people in Jerusalem. Practically every Jew in town who watched me grow up—and if they were willing to stick their necks out they’d tell you in person—knows that I lived as a strict Pharisee, the most demanding branch of our religion. -Paul in Acts 26:4-5 MSG
I think that those who have the hardest time trying to understand grace are those who have grown up going to church. Second to that are those who were discipled by these people. There is a reason for the ‘de-churching’ movement that has been rolling around for the last several years. People are figuring out that they, in all of their religiosity, are missing something. Well, they are missing something. Some of these people need to be deprogrammed and rebuilt.
It’s hard to know when you’re off track when you spend all of your time surrounded by like-minded people. There is no real challenge or eye-opening experiences. If you are challenged, it’s to be more of the same. To be the best at being the best. One of the most effective means to remove the scales from someone’s eyes is to let them fall flat on their face in spite of their death grip on their own holiness, but that’s a product of the mystery of God’s sovereignty. In all of that effort to be the holiest, they’re completely losing touch with a world they’ve been called to season. They alienate people with their lack of compassion and depth. They’ve lost their salt.
I’ve often thought that going to church does more damage to the free Spirit than not going at all. It’s hard to find a church that is full of people whose spirit is busting from their flesh. It’s much easier to find a church so full of bodies that they have to expand their walls. It’s hard to balance the politics of a functioning business against the diversity of a growing spiritual community. We can see evidence of that without even trying.
I’ve been approached by Christians who claim that the Spirit is breaking the mold and calling people to live outside the walls. I tend to resist the message of people who make sweeping claims about the movement of the Spirit. My view is that time will tell the whole story.
I’ve also heard people complain about churches they deem “seeker friendly”. They say that they aren’t being fed and they’re looking for something that is a little harder on them. They need a list of criteria. They need to feel condemned so that they can adjust until they feel holy.
My experience with churches deemed “seeker” is that they don’t wander too far from the basics. Those who are bored with the basics need to realize that they are bored with the simplicity of the Gospel. They’re bored with Jesus. We’re supposed to take the basics and let the Spirit cultivate those seeds into a wild frenzy of personal discovery. You can’t let other people do your thinking for you. You aren’t going to get life from rules. You’re going to get life from belief.
Use your own brain to engage the Spirit in a dance of critical thinking. Use inductive and deductive reasoning, then do your scriptural research to find the answers.
I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me. -Jesus in Paul’s Damascus road experience in Acts 26:17-18 MSG
How can anyone open the eyes of another when they’re in their own religious bubble of trying to be the best at being the best? Any self-help theory of personal discipline can offer the same standard without any input from the Gospel. Until you understand that the Gospel turns the demands of religion on its head and makes any attempt at holiness useless, you’ll never get in on the real mystery of the gift of Jesus.
Using deductive reasoning, you can look at the results of your own life and begin the journey of tracing it to the cause. In spite of doing everything right, people still feel dead inside. They’d never admit it to their peers, but they know that their hearts don’t burn inside them like the scriptures say it should. They’re missing the revelation that ignites the fire. They bypass Jesus because they think they should be further than that. Like a girl who cuts herself to feel real, they tighten their chains of religiosity until it hurts.
They think that the simplicity of Jesus is for baby believers. You can’t bypass Jesus to find a life on fire because Jesus is the fire. You are not meant to go beyond Him. You’re meant to be engulfed by Him.
“We have met countless “Bible-believing Christians” who would say, “Yeah, Jesus is Lord and Savior. I got that T-shirt a long time ago. But we must now mature, go deeper, and go on to other things.”
Go deeper? And what “other things”? Other things beyond Christ?
…The person who believes that a Christian or a church can graduate beyond Christ has never fully seen Jesus…” -Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola in ‘Jesus Manifesto’
Using inductive reasoning, you can look at the Gospel and explore the implications until you die. Take the facts that scripture clearly spells out and stop trying to make it harder. The offer is “sins forgiven”, “a place in the family”, and “real life” through belief. The moment you try to graduate to something harder is the moment you walk away from the Flame that burns with life in the heart.
There are no stipulations on “sins forgiven”. Sin is sin and they are all accounted for in the offer. Of course people know better. That’s why it’s sin. There is no stipulation on “a place in the family”. That decision was made long before you were born. There is nothing so terrible that you can do that would nullify the gift. Believing that makes something shift inside of you. It changes the core of who you are. That’s why there is a stipulation on the offer of “real life”. That stipulation is belief. Your core becomes Jesus and nothing else.
Those who don’t believe continue to strive for something they will never achieve. Defeat is at the end of that treacherous climb.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). There is no defeat because Jesus conquered every weapon of destruction (John 16:33, Isaiah 54:17). He told you that He accomplished what He came to do and when you believe that, you can’t walk away from it (John 19:30, John 6:37). You can’t move beyond it. The only thing left for you to do is to spread the word (Matthew 28:19, Acts 26:18).
photo credit: www.pedestrianpeople.com
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Posted: January 7th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: aftermath, freedom, grace, healing, hope |
46 Comments »
“I would be curious to hear more of the journey that you went through in your second marriage. Were family members cold and indifferent? Living in the same town, did the process of seeing “old” friends ever become easier? I appreciate your willingness to be so exposed about your life. -Sandy”
There is a lot I could say about my journey in my second marriage, so I’ll just stick to what you asked. If you have more questions, I have more answers.
Family members have not been cold or indifferent at all. They were sad for me and everyone else involved. They watched me as I broke apart. They read the letters I received from people. They tried to reach me, to comfort me, but I was so lost inside myself that I couldn’t be reached for a long time.
Living in the same town is a bit different for me, too. I hadn’t lived here for almost a decade when I had my affair. I moved back here during the aftermath because my family lives here. I either don’t see people anymore, or I don’t recognize them when I do. I’ve been gone too long.
The problem is, they recognize me. They used to be very aggressive. I’ve been “shoulder bumped” by complete strangers. People used to gawk and whisper. People I did recognize used to pretend I wasn’t there. Not in an subtle way. They were haughty.
It barely touched me though. I was so much more broken than they knew. They were kicking a dead body.
There was a woman who didn’t want my daughters going to the same school as her children, so she found a way to have my children sent to another school. Meanwhile, people were writing me to tell me that they are praying that children won’t be affected by my life. They weren’t talking about the sin, they were talking about me. My daughters were allowed to come back six weeks later because I could prove that they were wrong.
People used to call the owner of the business I worked for and told them that they were boycotting her because I worked there. Luckily, the owner thought they were crazy and took the risk.
The people closer to my sin could not, and cannot, stomach me. They’ve managed to avoid me for most of the seven and a half years. They make a quick exit on the occasional bump in. I recently watched a man sneak out of a coffee shop when he thought I wasn’t looking.
It’s been seven and a half years and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that there may never be reconciliation. I realize it’s taken a long time, but that just how it played out.
I remember, several years ago, I told God that I wanted to move away from here. His response was to reveal to me that I have to heal where I was broken, otherwise I would always be broken there. It’s the same reason you don’t cast the right arm to heal the broken left.
I’m well trained in this fight. My bones have healed tougher.
I have learned that I can’t define what my own healing looks like. A death grip on your own version of anything keeps you from moving forward.
I’ve learned that I am set free and there are no more steps to be taken. There are no boxes to be checked. There is no trial that I’ll lose. There never was.
Believing that is where the healing is.
I can pass through this town unbroken now. I didn’t have to wait for their permission. While I can walk freely, they have to sneak around and avoid certain places I frequent. Interesting.
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