For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.  Psalm 51:3-4 The first obstacle humanity faces is to recognize its own guilt.  The second challenge, once recognized, is to own it both personally and publicly.  Rarely do …

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When Life Isn’t What I Dreamed It Would Be

March 29, 2016


“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You. Psalm 39:7

         Last night, this quote from John Piper was sent to me. It struck me so deeply that I actually dreamt about it.

Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped it would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have. John Piper/Desiring God Ministries

Life is a series of losses to be grieved. On the other side, God waits to be embraced and that is the most difficult thing of all. Satan wants me to believe that I’m forced to embrace the One who withheld my dreams. The very idea of intimacy with God, in that case, is distasteful. Who wants to be a friend with the person who has hurt you the most!

I have to look at the broader picture and take myself off center stage. Every chosen man and woman in Christian history was favored, but then afflicted. The ones who triumphed and experienced some unforgettable mountaintops along the way did so by trusting in the character of God. In spite of suffering, they partnered with a God who loved them and called them.

While Piper’s quote is short, each part penetrates and challenges.

I weep deeply over my disappointments. Tears are not the end of my journey but they are a part of it. It takes courage to admit that my hope has been spent. Think of the times you may have commented to someone, ‘You must be broken hearted!’ Rarely does someone admit it. The hurt is minimized because down deep, we suspect we can’t survive coming to such a conclusion. What then?! Instead, we give our pat answers. ‘It’s just a bump in the road.’ ‘I’m a little sad but I’ll get over it.’ For me to know true joy, I have to embrace the unvarnished truth. Otherwise, unspent grief spills out in repression, depression, and anger. Most spend their lives trying to numb out pain.

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I grieve the losses. Nothing is as intimidating. I believe that if I start crying, the tears will have no end. It’s an illusion. While much of grieving is solitary, I remain in a small community to keep my perspective. I surround myself with those who will encourage grief and not condemn. They speak Jesus’ words over me and give me whatever time is needed to emerge from the ashes. This is one reason not to make shallow people your best friends. Continue reading

“We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”  Jesus answered them, Did I not choose you, the twelve?  And yet one of you is a devil.”  He spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.  John …

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It’s A Dangerous Business

March 22, 2016


Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. For behold, they lie in wait for my life; fierce men stir up strife against me. For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord, for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. Psalm 59:1-4

Christianity is a dangerous enterprise. Jesus has always been a threat to someone’s power or ideology.

There’s a new movie out in the theatres called The Young Messiah. I’ve attended it twice and have been equally moved both times. While fictional, the movie portrays what the 12th year of Jesus life might have looked like. The story starts in Alexandria, Egypt. Jesus and His family had lived there since Joseph was told to take Mary and Jesus away from Judea. You remember that every male child was massacred and Jesus was the only one to survive Herod’s rampage.

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The movie shows the possibility that Jesus spent much of his life in danger, even though young. Joseph and Mary lived with the stress of keeping their son alive. His touch on people was profound even though He was a child. The searing truths He spoke about God exposed evil and those who had an issue with God took issue with Him. The storyline proposes that Jesus raised a dead bird to life and even healed the sick. His compassion for people urged Him to ask His Father in heaven for healing. And it came! News of His spiritual power was hard to keep quiet and threats to annihilate Him were everywhere. Joseph and Mary begged onlookers to keep news of Jesus quiet.

On the one hand, it’s hard to understand why someone who just wants to love God provokes such anger. Worship is a quiet thing and a private endeavor, right? I used to think so. But to love God means to accept the great commission of His Son, Jesus. To convert and to make disciples is to challenge the god of this world, the very one who comes disguised as the respected leader of all man-made religions. To share Jesus is to threaten every other world view, even if done with love and compassion.

I understand, Lord. I’m not called to live as someone who loves You. I’m called to let You live through me. It’s Your life they see. You were hated once and will be hated again and again as Your glory shines through Your servants. Advance Your kingdom in the midst of hatred. In Jesus’ name, Amen