captivity

Posted: August 5th, 2016 | Filed under: God | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

Kris Camealy wrote “Captivity”, chapter five of “Soul Bare”. She talks about following God’s call to a private Christian college that ended up being like a prison camp. That kind of disillusionment is not uncommon when someone is following God. He can take you down some weird paths sometimes. They always have a purpose, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re in the middle of it.

As she began to describe the rules at this place I found myself feeling that dark oppression that comes with that part of religion. It has taken a long time to not feel that wolf at my back, but I still recognize his breath. I laughed at the absurdity of what she was describing. Especially when she described how she would push the rules. Those tiny social bubbles of religious oppression can make bright colored tights seem like defiant rebellion. I wonder if she would ever have dressed like that outside of that environment. It makes me think of Romans 7.

For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. -Romans 7:8-10 ESV

I know these subcultures exist, I just forget the details until I’m reminded. That environment creates all kinds of strange expressions from the people within it. It’s an attempt to push the envelope from the inside while still maintaining its legal integrity and mailability. They feel like they’re really doing something, but outside that envelope, they’re completely irrelevant.

Kris is sure that she followed the call of God there, but the twist of His purpose is a message I preach all the time. God uses the funky along with the ideal. Being trapped for a while pushed her to find God in the bowels of that graceless school. He can be found anywhere. Kris gives a few examples of what her take-away, so far, was from that experience. I think it still speaks to her sometimes.

“He chose the pharisaical camp as the backdrop to love me deeply in a way I hadn’t known” (page 43).

You can tell that Kris can still tap into the feeling of that place, and it’s a good thing. It keeps her from losing this amazing gift of having a healthy dose of the Fear of God. Not in the “I’m going to strike you down” kind of way, but in the “I’m GOD.” kind of way. He can use whatever He wants.

I would bet that it also keeps her from being graceless. You know how when someone says “she’s a good one”, with that knowing look, and you know what they’re talking about? That they mean she’s the real deal? I bet people say that about Kris.

Kris Camealy

Angie Hong wrote chapter six of “Soul Bare”. I’ll write my thoughts on her chapter next.


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professional liars

Posted: March 19th, 2016 | Filed under: God | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

I’ve seen many different sides of humanity and am no longer surprised by much. I knew a stripper who quit her job to get married and have babies. I used to work with a girl who was at the beginning of her long and abusive relationship with meth. I loaned a blanket to a homeless friend who set himself on fire. I went on, what I thought was, a road trip only to find out I was sitting in a drug-bought SUV and heading to meet some Italian higher ups in the underground industry. I almost got sucked into a cult because I wasn’t selective enough when picking my friends. But, most of all that was the result of living on my own at seventeen.

I’ve come far enough along to see God’s hand of protection over me when I was completely oblivious to His existence. I was hearing from Him, but didn’t recognize His voice. I was under His wing, but thought I was in a hopeless free fall.

In all that I’ve seen, and of all the people I have met, the worst are the liars who robe their deviance in the name of God. They mask selfishness in piety, and they support themselves with scriptures meant to warn others about people like them.

The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth.– 1 Timothy 4:1-2 MSG

There is nothing worse than a liar, except the liar who loses his compass and believes his own lie. How long will he wander around in the dark, not knowing he can’t see?

“Deliver me from the liars, GodThey smile so sweetly but lie through their teeth.” – Psalm 120:2 MSG

How can you trust a business deal with a liar? He’s always looking out for his own interest, but acting like he’s looking out for yours. You get sucked into his practiced sincerity and are forced into behaving like a shrew to get out of the trap. You know you’re in the wrong car when you have to keep grabbing the steering wheel from the passenger’s side.

But, you’re not a shrew. You’re just a girl who got into bed with a liar. And I know that God will guide you back out. Others may scheme and plan in your absence, but God has absolute authority. They can fire their toughest weapons at you, but nothing can destroy you.

If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. – Isaiah 54:15-17 ESV

Whoever attacks you will fall as a result. Be honest before God, don’t connive on your own behalf. That is the godless, underhanded way of getting yourself into trouble. Don’t worry about the other person. God is full of mercy and grace and knows how to take care of them while He’s taking care of you. He doesn’t have to compromise Himself to be Himself.

I’ve seen God orchestrate my experiences in such a way that it appears His main goal was my joy. Even in the midst of emotional attacks, financial strain, bouts of low self-worth, and countless learned lessons, He’s still there, orchestrating my joy like it’s the only thing He has on His agenda.

That’s why I am no longer afraid of what I see. Like the neighbor’s vicious dog, life is on a leash and I am not.

no weapon shall proser

 


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encourager

Posted: February 29th, 2016 | Filed under: God | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

“…God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…” – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 ESV

Fear implies that there is no God. Experiencing existential doubt at the disappointment in the behavior of another proclaiming Christian implies that there is no Jesus. Remember this when you’re scrolling and reacting to your social media feeds. God always gets His way.

There is no need to panic. Be an active and peaceful advocate for your causes, but do it with hope and assurance. Encourage from the perspective of “God always gets His way”. Don’t rant and share rants from the perspective of “It’s all on us and time is running out”.

There is no need to push someone who makes different choices than you. Christians have a well deserved and unfortunate reputation for ganging up on their own as though their stance against another solidifies their spot in Heaven. People are not role models. Jesus is. Fellow Christians do not create or maintain standards for their peers. That’s a really quick way to trip and be tripped on this journey.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the truth, and the life….” He said, “follow me.”

Don’t get carried off in the current of fear. Be graceful with each other today. We are all doing the best we can with what we have right in front of us. We are still learning, and growing, and we will always need grace.

encouragement


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time to fight

Posted: August 9th, 2014 | Filed under: life | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

You’re looking at your current struggles as though they wouldn’t exist if you had not sinned that big sin. You are the crowned enemy, accepting your role as punching bag, ever careful not to fight back. You don’t feel like you have a voice because of your guilt. I’m writing to tell you that your guilt has been spotted. Your sense of obligation has been harnessed by another and you’re being taken advantage of. You are prey and your residual guilt is your kryptonite.

You wear your self-condemnation like a necklace because you want to make sure that they know that you know you did something wrong. Years of demanding some outward show of your internal acknowledgment has molded you into a shackled coward. You’re always wearing your Scarlett Letter so that you can use it as protection from those who would accuse. It’s a way to say, “This house has already been robbed.”

You have this idea of  how things should be, but the only way to make it happen is if you and what comes from you is the sacrifice. Where is Jesus in you? Where is His sacrifice? Where is the the one who lives in No Condemnation in the house of More Than Conquerors? Where is your faith?

Maybe you need to let go of your utopic dream where everyone is decent and reasonable. It’s time for you to decorate your walls again. …something to fight for. Stand up and tell them that enough is enough. It’s their lack of faith, not yours. It’s their disbelief in grace that makes them burn you over and over and over. You were ransomed from this end. You are His treasure. It’s not about what you think of you, it’s about what He thinks of you.

You don’t have to be the punching bag for the bitterness of the faithless. People are tangled in their own damage and they’ll drown you in yours if you forget Who’s you are. Fight like you’re protecting what is His.

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG

time to fight


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measured down, dismissed, and found lacking

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Filed under: life | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

“Am I not a God near at hand”—God’s Decree— “and not a God far off? Can anyone hide out in a corner where I can’t see him?” God’s Decree. “Am I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?” God’s Decree. – Jeremiah 23:23-24 MSG

Someone sized you up and found you lacking.

Your relationship with God is a two-way conversation full of grace, insight, and humor. You know His unconditional love, so you’re not afraid to let Him see you. Every turn is a lesson, a perspective, an always-changing-from-the inside-out life. He gets you.

God doesn’t make you feel like you’re not enough unless you think you’re enough. This isn’t a message for the prideful “I-Got-This” bunch. This is for the Tender Heart who wasn’t expecting to be judged. It’s not okay for someone to use their homemade spiritual measuring tape to make you feel like you’re not good enough for Him.

Someone looked you over and dismissed your value.

When you drift, He pulls. When you teeter, He steadies. He shows you how to be angry, how to love, and how to hope.

How can God-Taught have no value? Whoever looked you over must not have His eyes. God sends people to tell you that He loves you. Anything another says that makes you feel like God is not with you is not true. There is no place you can go that would be out of His presence.

Someone singled you out and measured you down.

God is sovereign. Everything is under His rule. The earth is His. The world and those who inhabit it are His (Psalm 24). He who created all things, from which all things flow, gets you (Colossians 1). He leads you. He works all things out for you (Romans 8). You don’t have to go somewhere to find Him. Look around. Worship is everywhere.

Have hope, Measured Down, Dismissed, and Found Lacking. He’s carved a place for your shape.

Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of our sight? … “… He even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. -Psalm 139-7, 11-12 MSG

worship is everywhere


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