Posted: July 8th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: faith, hope |
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It’s been quiet because I’ve been thinking. I create distance to silence the buzz. I stepped out of the argument and watched the tide gravitate to what is safe. Homeostasis of the “ye of little faith”.
I watch people and I listen to them. So sure of something they should never be finished discovering.
The man, trying too hard for too long to be cool, sits in the coffee shop and talks like he has all the answers while the kid can’t edge a word, a question, in. And I know he’s a Christian not because he’s drinking in the honesty of someone else’s life, but because he brought a stack of books and talks incessantly. Like a salesman selling timeshares of eternity in paradise. All he needs is a signature.
I read a lot. Mostly I read things that have nothing to do with the argument, but if it’s true it’s God and the call keeps speaking. I clean up my feed so that I don’t get dulled by the short-sighted. I accept an invitation to read someone else and wonder how they can use so many letters to say so little. It’s all back peddling and hampster wheel racing. The clanging cymbals of the loveless busybodies drown out the real music of the little guys asking the big questions.
When was the last time your journey of faith wasn’t about you? Do you know what it’s like to be dwarfed by just a glimmer of Him? When was the last time you were in awe?
So much effort is put into keeping their lives between the lines because nothing can hurt you if you follow the rules. Blinker’s on, tread’s thick, oil’s fresh, and the needle stays where it should. They’re convinced that nothing bad happens to those who follow the rules. Until something bad happens.
What if they knew that they could do everything right or everything wrong and end up in the same place? The squire says “All is vanity.” He writes that all the streams run to the sea, yet the sea is not full. The ears never fill with hearing and the eyes never tire of seeing (Ecc 1:7-8).
People fall prey to groupthink and still feel original. They credit God for math that doesn’t reconcile, but blame themselves for messing up the formula. They say that you have to get it right to be right, but when all of your rightness can’t produce the dream, then God’s got other plans. It’s like He’s omnipotent when you’re good and impotent when you’re bad.
God is God no matter who you decide is you. You’re a fickle heart, choosing this battle over that battle, justifying what is yours and condemning the match to your set when it’s another’s.
People are boycotting words like a skinny girl boycotts chocolate cake. Kids are standing in corners for saying the wrong thing while extended family walks through the illogical landmines of an uptight and worn out Christian trying in all the wrong ways to distance herself from the rest of the godless world. It’s as though God cannot come where too much skin shows, or too much wine is consumed, or too much chaos ensues.
It’s as though God cannot hold that which has no order to order.
We live in a galaxy that is so inhospitable for life it’s a wonder anyone has a life to sweat over. Step away from the mirror for just a second and consider our place in space. We live in a galaxy that is being pulled at by two other galaxies wanting to swallow us up. The Small Maggelanic Clouds and the Large Maggelanic Clouds are pulling on the hydrogen gas in our atmosphere so severely that it’s warping the outer edge and playing it like a three piece acoustic band. We’re the rope in a gallactic tug-o-war (Cain, 2006). It’s like God is using the chaos to make music. If Middle C was the Y-axis on a chart, the three notes are 3 million octaves below it. The literal notes our vibrating gallaxy sings can’t even be charted.
We have a black hole in the middle of our gallaxy that, at it’s smallest, is the size of 40,000 suns (Finley, 2004). Black holes are gluttons and anything close to it becomes a gallactic gas burb. Yet, right on the lip of this massive monster, a collony of new stars is born as though survival was not unlikely (Deutsch, Hupp, Roy, & Watzke, 2005). Black holes destroy stars, they don’t help create them. But, ours did.
Our lives are layered with ordered chaos and thrive in inhospitable conditions. What should rip us to pieces and rename us is actually creating music that only He can hear. What should swallow us whole and crush us with the weight of a mass most of us can’t even calculate, is actually creating new life. We’re dwarfed by our lack of control and asked to trust the One who can snuff us out with a word.
He made it to where our sin cannot destroy us. If he can hold the universe together with a decision, then His word about you can’t be trumped with your own chaotic black hole. Knowing Him, He’ll probably use it to create new life in you.
He gets the last word. He creates order out of disorder.
“Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall! I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers. Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements? How was its foundation poured, and who set the cornerstone, While the morning stars sang in chorus and all the angels shouted praise? And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb? That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds, and tucked it in safely at night. Then I made a playpen for it, a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose, And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place. Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.” – Job 38:2-11 MSG
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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 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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Posted: November 8th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: faith, freedom, grace, hope |
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Here’s what will happen. While you’re out among the nations where God has dispersed you and the blessings and curses come in just the way I have set them before you, and you and your children take them seriously and come back to God, your God, and obey him with your whole heart and soul according to everything that I command you today, God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there and bring you back to the land your ancestors once possessed. It will be yours again. He will give you a good life and make you more numerous than your ancestors. -Deuteronomy 30:1-5 MSG (emphasis mine)
It’s not hard for the one who has fallen to want to obey God. All of the desire to listen to herself is gone. It’s harder for the one who has fallen to believe she can be restored. She’s broken to pieces. Scattered, lost, and tossed. She’s bestrewn.
I can’t say it better than scripture. I can’t make it more clear. When you’ve gone so far away that you think you can’t come home – when you are a puzzle in a tornado, “He’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there and bring you back.”
He’s still your God. He hasn’t lost you. He knows where all of your pieces are. He’s gathering them and cradling them until you are whole.
You will have a good life.
God, your God, will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children’s hearts, freeing you to love God, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live. -Deuteronomy 30:6-7 MSG (emphasis mine)
The one who has fallen can see where she went wrong. She can see why it happened. What once was shrouded by pride is becoming uncovered. The calluses of pride are cut away. You’re more free now that you’ve ever been. When you can see God in the dark, you realize that you’ve never been able to see Him before. The darkness is confusion, the clarity is light. You don’t know what clarity is until it comes. You’re so used to squinting and worrying that you forgot it’s not normal.
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. -Jesus in Matthew 11:28-29 MSG
When Bestrewn becomes Restored is when she realizes the sovereignty of God. This is something that no one can do for you. You’ve been blind to it before, we all have, but when you start to see it, you find that everything screams it. “Jesus.”
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