Posted: June 11th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: faith, freedom, grace, healing, hope, hurting, love wins |
6 Comments »
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: December 3rd, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: advice, divisions, faith, grace, judgment, love wins, sin, spiritual abuse |
14 Comments »
“I’m struggling with 1 Corinthians 5. I understand that we are not to judge the world and that we are to lovingly and gently correct sinners. But what about those in the church that are living in sexual sin?”
I get asked this question often. Every time I set out to answer it, I revisit it like it’s new. I know my own bias when it comes to a person focusing on another’s sin and wanting to find a way to fix the problems they see. I know that 1 Corinthians 5 is used by people to tear others down and throw them out. I think that people need to be careful when considering using scripture to rip someone else apart and expel them. There is a huge difference between the way God handles people who need handling and the way another person handles people who need handling. People are driven by pride. God is driven by love.
What is it that is causing you to sit in your pew and consider the sins of those who are around you? Did you not get the recognition that you think you earned? What does it say about you that you are so focused on what others are doing wrong and not on what the Holy Spirit is saying to you about you? Were you hurt by disregard and are now trying to point out the faults of others who were not disregarded?
Regarding “those who are living in sexual sin”: How do you know their story? How do you know what the Holy Spirit is working on inside of them? You don’t know where people are coming from. You don’t know the journey they’re on. When you’re prompted by the Holy Spirit to speak love into someone’s life, then you would know what to say. When you’re prompted by pride to address the sin that you are certain is taking place, then you are at odds with the Holy Spirit. You are unsettled and are searching for clarity because you’re in the dark. Pride makes you fight to find footing. It makes you compare yourself with others. When they come up lacking, you want to do something about it. Misery loves company. What company are you seeking?
Take “sexual” out of it. Sin is sin. Take a step back and use the logic you’re working with while you replace their particular sin with one that is less graphic and less personally offensive. If sin is sin, then let their sin be regarded the same as any sin. The same template is used for everyone. Replace their sin with one of which you are guilty. Answer your questions as though they were being asked about your sin. The measure you use for others is the measure that will be used on you.
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with themeasure you use it will be measured to you. -Matthew 7:2 ESV
Now try to find Jesus in your quest for answers. Let your thoughts and actions begin with Jesus and remain with Jesus. When you take your eyes off of Him and let your thoughts and behavior be instigated and justified by another’s sin, you will end up wrong. Let your actions be explained by the finished work of Jesus. If someone were to ask you why you are doing what you’re doing, let your answer be: “Because I believe in the salvation power of Jesus.” That’s what sets you apart from an unbelieving world.
God is big enough to take care of His wayward children. If you can’t see Jesus in someone, then you are blinded by your own pride and personal offense. You should wait until you can see Him in them, then you will know what to say.
In all of this, I’m not saying that they are not wrong. You just have to be aware of your own motivation and protect your heart from the pride that plagues all of us. That’s all I’m saying. Guard your heart and don’t let your critical eyes be justified by someone else’s sin. Stop thinking about their sin. It’s a death trap because the spirit thrives on life and love. You are much more beautiful when your eyes are wide with love and your heart is soft with grace than when your eyes are slits of suspicion and your heart is hard with jealousy. Grace doesn’t give people a license to sin, it keeps you in right relationship with God.
Use this scripture to guide your thought process:
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.-Philippians 4:8-9 MSG
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Posted: August 6th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: change, grace, love wins |
7 Comments »
People say that grace makes it okay to sin. It’s ludicrous. The first thing that God does is make it very clear what your sin was because it’s the only way you can receive grace. When a person is fully aware of their sin, the knowledge has a power so destructive that the only answer, the only salvation, is Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t soft on sin. His purpose was to fulfill the law, to fulfill righteousness. The first “red letter” words in the Bible were: “…it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).” If He did not see the importance of His Father’s law, then He would not have come.
In Matthew 5, Jesus went through some commonly known facts about the way people in His day conducted their lives. He said, “You have heard it said…” and went on to talk about murder, lust, divorce, oaths, revenge, and enemies.
He reminded them of sins they were already aware of. If you murder someone, it’s a sin. If you have a sexual relationship with someone you’re not married to, it’s a sin. If you divorce someone, you have to do it on paper. An unofficial divorce is a sin. If you swear to something that is not true, it’s a sin. If you retaliate against someone, you can’t go above and beyond what they did to you or it’s a sin. It was okay to hold a grudge against your enemy, but not your own family.
The people He was speaking to already knew and tried to practice these things. However, He was not just pounding a message home. He took it much further. He was setting the stage for grace. By setting the stage for grace, which penetrates to the depth of the man, he had to make the law penetrate much further than action. He made it all about intent of the heart.
A person can follow all the rules, but still be a snake at heart. Jesus wants the heart.
“You’ve heard it said…., but I say…”
If you’re angry with someone, if you insult someone, if you call someone names, it’s all the same as murder. I’ve done all those things. If you look at someone you’re not married to sexually, it’s the same as committing adultery. I’ve done that. If you divorce someone who didn’t cheat on you, or if you marry someone who is divorced, it’s the same as adultery. I’ve done both of those. If you swear that something is true, even if it is true, then it’s the same as swearing to something untrue. I have done that. If you refuse to give more than someone tries to steal or borrow because they do not return it or they do not deserve it, it’s the same as taking vengeance on them. I do that.
People don’t struggle with all of them, but all people struggle with some of them. There are things we do because it’s human nature, like get angry or protect your stuff from an over-borrower. They’re symptoms of heart conditions. Why are you angry? Why do you care if you never see your favorite shirt again?
There are easy answers to those, but we’re talking about the heart here.
Anger is a secondary symptom of fear. Stinginess is a secondary symptom of pride.
Do you see what Jesus was doing when He preached these things? He’s getting at the heart. He was making room for Himself. His view of sin makes it clear that there is a need for Him because He is the only one who could fulfill the law.
Jesus is not soft on sin. He sees it more gaping than the deep grooves on the tablets and the slick parts on heads of saints. You can’t escape your need for Him. He’ll make sure you know what is in your heart so that you can give that ugliness to Him. Trust Him to be your righteousness when you know you’re a failure.
All the while, there is something you can practice doing:
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 7:12
We all need validation. We all need love. Jesus and His grace give you license, not to sin, but to stop worrying about yourself so that you can build someone else up.
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Posted: July 16th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: aftermath, change, divisions, faith, forgive, grace, hope, love wins, sin |
6 Comments »
So many have been hurt by people who call themselves Christians. Whatever the reason, or circumstance, wrong was done to repay wrong done and the cycle goes on and on and on. Slander follows slander. Lies fuel bitter retribution. Don’t you want the cycle to stop?
They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. -Ecclesiastes 8:10
How is it that the prideful and self-righteous can sit through a time of worship and not hear the call to love and forgive and restore? How can they preach the Gospel to some and withhold it from others? You see them unbothered by losing you. You hear of them using you and your failure in messages while not including your salvation. You are always lost to them and that fuels their pride. They get pats on the back for their message at your expense. Where is God, to them, while He is holding you? How can God be with them and you at the same time? That is the type of question that can fuel your pride, too.
It’s a trap.
The slow hand of God to right the wrongs can send you in one of two directions. You know who your God is by where this injustice sends you. Are you patient, putting your trust in God? Do you believe that you’re forgiven and loved in spite of their opinions? Or do you fight to show them their wrongs and refuse to move forward on your own? Are you stuck in the filth they refuse to wash off? When someone gets honor for bearing your sin and you get slandered for being a sinner, does it set your pride on fire?
You have to watch out.
Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. -Ecclesiastes 8:11
God was patient with you while you were making your terrible choices. He didn’t give up on you while you turned your back to Him. Jesus didn’t come back while you were in the wrong bed.
Don’t wish that, which you were spared, to be poured over another.
God gave you time to come around. And here you are. God is giving them time to do the same. Have the same patience with them that He had with you. It may take a long time. Much longer than you took, in some cases. Hope for their day like you had yours. Hope and don’t give up. Move forward with your new life and let them go at their own pace. Nothing they say can put a price on your head. You are not the hunted. Your “WANTED” posters are out of date and faded. You have been pardoned. Sentence served by Jesus.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. -2 Peter 3:8-9
Look at your own failure and what it taught you: A lesson in grace you could have learned no other way. Give them the time to learn the same lesson. Pride is a hidden sin that is hard to nail down on their own. They may not see it for a long time. Your sin was easier to see. It was messy and blatant.
It’s easy to see where you are and where others are not, but it wasn’t that long ago that you were where they are. You learned your lesson and learned it hard. Don’t be so quick to forget what it was like to not know how wrong you were.
“Someone will say what is lost can never be saved. Despite all my rage…” -Smashing Pumpkins, “Rat in a Cage”
Let the cycle stop with you. Until then, you’re just a rat in their cage.
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Posted: June 8th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: advice, aftermath, bitterness, faith, forgive, freedom, grace, healing, hope, love wins, sin |
13 Comments »
A few years ago, I had an affair that ended my marriage. All of my Christian friends will have nothing to do with me and I can’t get them to even talk to me.
What are we supposed to do in that situation? I know that God has forgiven me and changed me through this, but they don’t see it and they keep denying His power in my life. It crushes me. I know I was wrong, but they are, too. …
It’s hard to understand when people refuse to see the grace in your life the way you feel it. Sometimes it’s a battle to believe it for yourself. The bullets are still flying at you after the cease fire was called. It’s even worse when people you looked up to, who should know better, deny everything they preach with the way they treat you.
Times like this reveal a person’s true character. Sometimes it’s hard to watch it go down.
The trap to avoid is the urge to withhold grace from those who withhold grace from you. Grace doesn’t wait for the person to fix themselves. It doesn’t choose between bad and really bad. You should be an expert in that.
Don’t do anything you’ll have to apologize for later.
Nobody can take away what God has given you. It’s time to let God take care of your validation. He has His own timing for everything.
If you focus on the pain they’re causing you and are continually feeling like you’re being mistreated, then you will not get past focusing on yourself. It breeds bitterness.
This isn’t a battle between people, don’t let yourself sink to that level. You’re in a spiritual battle of faith. The battle is against resentment, self-pity, and entitlement. The battle is to believe Jesus when everyone else denies Him.
Every time someone attacks you, hell is trying to get you to doubt the power of the sacrifice of Jesus. That’s what is really going on. They taste the bile on their tongues and they think that’s the way your name tastes. They don’t know that the bile comes from inside them. As long as they don’t say your name, they don’t taste the bile. If they don’t taste the bile, then they never have to face their own disease of unbelief.
God is bringing them through their own journey, and this situation may be a big part of that. Be merciful because you know what mercy is. Be graceful because you know what grace is. Allow them the room to make mistakes and learn from them, just like you have.
Nobody who keeps a ledger of sins committed against them has a clue who God is.
You may never get your friends back. It’s a fact of life. I know it hurts and it may take a long time to accept, but just because you accept it doesn’t mean it will be set it in stone. I just frees you to be positive and productive while everything finds a place to land. Maybe they’ll come around, maybe you’ll be a little old lady when you get the call. But, maybe that will never happen on this side of life’s curtain. You have to let yourself heal without them. Let the scars seal in the good memories and don’t let the bad one’s infect it.
Remember, affairs are not just a religious horror, it is a horrible thing for anybody in any walk. It’s never okay. You have no idea what you’re mistakes have caused others to face in their own lives. Women whose husbands have strayed, but they’re working it out: you represent pain to them. To them, it feels like you undermine their fight for healing. Everyone is different and their takeaway value from your experience is going to reflect what is going on inside of them. Let it play out, it’s going to anyway. God knows what’s going on and He always gets His way. Relax in that. Find the freedom in the release.
You’re going to be okay. If He says you’re free, you’re free.
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