This morning I found myself thinking about Jesus and His death. As a Christian we all know that it is His sacrifice that has allowed us to be accepted into the kingdom so I am not going to go there but this is where I am going.
There was a night long ago in my past where the fellowship that I attended was doing a bible study that was taught by Kay Arthur. We had her books and her video series but this particular lesson was on the night that Jesus surrendered himself to the religious authorities to suffer one of the most horrific periods that any man had ever endured. As I watched Kay describe what He was going through in great detail I found myself going into shock as I allowed myself to receive the truth of His suffering that He went through for my sake. When I say my sake I mean in a truly personal way and not the group type of understanding.
This was the night that the reality of what Jesus has done moved from my mind to my heart where I felt my own suffering that someone who loved me so very much was enduring this so I would not have to. I got to see through the eyes of my heart that this torture He was going through was unjust for Him but totally just for me. My life had earned suffering and death, not applause. He was abandoned by those he loved which would have been my fate. All my buddies that seemed so important to impress would all take off when things became unpleasant but it was happening to Him instead. This one friend I had, Jesus was the only friend who would stick by me when nobody else would and yet it was everyone but Him who got my best. Why would you stay with my when I was so unfaithful to me. I never deserved this love from you.
My heart was breaking but I didn’t want the people I was with to know how close to breaking I was. One of the men began to teach on the cat and nine tails but in a purely academic way that triggered such anger in me. I just discovered that Jesus was the best friend I ever had though I never realized it until now and also the reality of His death had hit me hard. I wanted to attack this man for his insensitivity! I wanted to grieve this loss I had just had but I seemed to be alone in this. I went home where the house was empty. My wife had just left with the kids just weeks before so I felt very alone. I allowed myself to go back to the thoughts I was having at the study. I became overwhelmed and I tried to tell Jesus how sorry I was but words could not express the pain I felt. I just knelt beside the bed and I let the dam go. I cried and sobbed buckets of tears that seemed to have been held back for years. This is what repentance must really have felt like. I had lived my life so wrong and been the poorest of friends to Jesus. I was no better then anyone and I realized it for the very first time.
I think that a part of me died with Jesus that night. When I had finished my sobbing I was a different person. I was a friend of Jesus now that did appreciate Him and did really love Him. My understanding had changed. He never chose me because I was so good or amazing but it was because He is who He is and very little to do with me. I just allowed myself to let the truth take root and change me. I was a sinful man born in sin so why did I think I had became something different. A worm does not transform into a butterfly unless it is willing to first allow itself a type of death for life to come forth from this.
This morning I was remembering who I had become and wondered what had happened to me that I no longer felt that new life flowing through me. I is all different and though my theology tells me that I belong to Him a great part of me feels like I was before this happened. As I pondered this a thought came drifting into mind. A word actually. “ ENTITLEMENT”. Somehow I think that I am now entitled to blessing and not suffering. I don’t need Jesus anymore as I “ saved” so I can move independently of Him. I looked up the word to refresh my memory of what this word really means:
ENTITLEMENT- he fact of having a right to something.
“full entitlement to fees and maintenance should be offered”
• THE amount to which a person has a right.
“annual leave entitlement”
the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
“no wonder your kids have a sense of entitlement”
I was rescued by Him, so I could be part of the fellowship with He, Father, & Holy Spirit. I am meant and was made for this family and not to be independent or alone. How did I get so far from the truth? Perhaps it is time to repent once again. If you have forgotten what this word means
noun: repentance; plural noun: repentances
1. the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse.
“each person who turns to God in genuine repentance and faith will be saved”
Tuesday, January 9, 18
I HAVE THIS AWESOME FRIEND YOU SEE
WHO OFTEN HIDES HER SELF
A PART OF HER IS BROKEN
SO SHE DOESN’T SEE HER WEALTH
SHE DOESN’T SEE THE VALUE
DEPOSITED RIGHT FROM THE START
ON EVERY TEST SHE FAILS HERSELF
AND DAMAGES HER OWN HEART
OH THE DEVIL IS SO CRAFTY
AS HE SPEAKS HIS LIES TO HER
YOU’LL JUST NEVER BE ENOUGH OH CHILD
AND NOT WORTHY TO BE HEARD
THE OTHER GIRLS ARE OH SO SWEET
AS THEY LINE UP NEXT TO YOU
IF ONLY YOU WERE MORE LIKE THEM
SO ON THESE LIES YOU STEW
THE TRUTH YOU SEE IS GOD MADE YOU
WITH PURPOSE AND PLAN IN MIND
HE OFTEN IS REVEALED THROUGH YOU
BUT THE LIES HAVE LEFT YOU BLIND
YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO YOUR FATHER
AND TRUST HIS WORK IS GOOD
HIS HEART DELIGHTS IN WHO YOU ARE
IF YOU ONLY UNDERSTOOD
GOD’S MERCIES ARE FOR EVERYONE
IN THIS YOU DO BELIEVE
IT’S TIME TO LIFT YOUR EYES AND SAY
HIS LOVES I DO RECEIVE
Pain is something that we all live with in one form or another. It comes in all shapes and sizes and is like a parasite as it sucks the life from it’s host. For this blog I want to explore the pain caused by betrayal. It happens to us all on the road of life but it doesn’t make it any less painful. I became familiar with betrayal as a young boy. Not all homes were that warm safe place growing up and mine wasn’t either. Mom and dad seemed to be at each others throats as longs as I can remember. The home was under constant threat of divorce. It was not as common as it is now but for me it was very troubling. I grew up with this nagging sense that I had no safe place and that love was highly unstable. ( She loves me, she loves me not )
Somewhere around the age of 10 I started to get really bad headaches. On one such time I was visiting a neighbor friend of my parents and she suggested I lay down and slept until it passed. She was always kind to me. I went to sleep and then woke as I heard a familiar voice. It was my father. I was curious why he was there. I went to see him and said “ Are you here to see if I was okay?” He said that he was. I was thinking how odd that he was doing that but I really wanted to believe that was true. I guess IO was never convinced at that age that I was really loved or appreciated at home. I really wanted to be so I accepted it as truth….. until I discovered that he was having an affair with that lady. That blow up was ugly which I got to see up front and personal. I was on my bicycle and going by that ladies house when my mother hollered for me to come in. I knew she was angry but I didn’t know why. I walked up the stairs and mom proceeded to tell me what this lady and dad were up to. There was lots of screaming. The ladies husband phoned and mom answered it. She tells the man what is going on and then takes the phone receiver and slams it into the woman’s face. At that point I left and so there blew up another place in my life that I found refuge in.
Well the family split up for a while and my sister and I were moved to my aunts in a small village. She was a nice lady and so we needed to make new friends. Things were much quieter there and we settled in. One of my favourite things to do was to go into town to the racetrack and watch the horses go. One night mom took us ( during the separation period ) and my grandmother was there. ( dads mom ) It was time to go home and I wanted to stay later so my grandmother said I could stay and she would bring me home. That was great as my mom agreed. We the races were over I was in the car with her when she started to talk about the trouble with our family. I can’t remember what I said about it at the time but it was a negative comment regarding my father being the bad one. She got very upset and told me that it was not all dad’s fault because my mother was just an ol whore anyway. That comment sent me spinning as my one remaining parent was untrustworthy as well.
It is funny how words can hurt and reshape you from one thing to another. My trust was destroyed as there was no place where you could trust other then I would need to trust my instincts and just watch myself. Where do you run as a child when home just isn’t home. It is funny but if someone were going to help me then and get me out of the mess I would have done whatever to stay there. My fear of the unknown was worse then the present fear I had. Yes betrayal can sure cause pain and the wounds are on the inside. Thankfully I discovered that there was a person who did love well and was willing to make me family. His love is unconditional and His home is indeed a safe place. His name is Jesus and He is very real. Anyway that is a few thoughts regarding betrayal that I found myself…… Just thinking
The Lord did pray before He left
On a dark a dreary eve
He pondered those, and those to come
What was it they would need?
Trusting was one big problem
With mercy in short supply
The church had scribes and Pharisees
But on them he could not rely
With each soul wanting independence
There was no unity
Looking out for number one
All wanting to be free
So He prayed that we should be
Joined with Him as one
Surrendering our independence
Selfishness would now be done
A willingness to let God reign
Would burn within our minds
But the devil rose up and spoke his lies
And slowly we became blind
Now we sound like we trust in our Lord
And we have our doctrines in hand
But when it comes to trusting you my friend
It’s there I’ll take my stand
I’m sorry friend but I can’t believe
That you call Jesus your Lord
You take this love thing way to far
Your thinking we cannot afford
You see I’ve been a Christian for many years
And this one thing I’ve learned
You never show your weakness friend
Or you will end up burned
The word of God is like a sword
Cutting the weak ones down
From their knees they look up
And they will see my frown
I’m sorry sir but you are wrong
There is a much better way to go
I surrender my life into His hands
And with His love I’ll glow
In this church where you play God
It’s a mystery as to why
You see whatever you do without love
Will count for nothing and die
Jesus opened the door so wide
That all were welcome in
He loved us into His family
And freed you from your sin.
So as you lead that life of yours
Judging others as you walk
Slander, gossip and the like
In those I place no stalk
It sounds like it’s time to make a change
And turn back to your first love
Repent for all your hurting ways
And wear Jesus like a glove
The seasons change
and my scenery too
From the cold of winter
To the wet and goo
The rain clouds form
closing out the light
now dark and dreary
with no end in sight
My heart grows heavy
As joy has now fled
Sadness now comes
Filling me with dread
If I were alone now
Stuck in this pit
Soon I’d be hopeless
In the mess I’d sit
But I have a friend
And He’s always near
His words are true
And full of cheer
In His presence
I will smile again
In spite of the weather
I’ll dance in this rain
Circumstances do change
And trials do appear
But the love of my friend
Is always so near
With Him things are different
I’m safe and secure
the love of my Jesus
shall always endure
Well I heard a message today about putting on the full armor of God and the vulnerable spots we still had though fully dressed. The point he was making was that with other members surrounding Him then he was safe. That was the springboard for my thoughts.
How many times I have heard of the value of the body of Christ. Scripture supports the idea and I believe I tied it into a message that I gave before. Today I stopped to really consider it. Unity in the body of believers is not a reality in the churches I have attended or visited. A few good small churches perhaps have some pockets but that’s it. So if it is a good idea then why is it not like that any and everywhere? Here is some good instruction regarding this.
“18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
How many people are willing to submit to one another? What is it that holds us back? Here is the prayer Jesus offered up just before His sacrifice began. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
So it appears that the key to the world at large receiving the gospel is based on our being unified with God and our brothers and sisters. What could possibly stop us from just doing this??
I propose to you that most people in the body of Christ are not willing to trust one another and very likely do not trust God either. How many people grew up in a home where they felt loved, valued, and experienced a great sense of belonging? There are a few such people but very few. What about relational breakdowns and betrayals? How many of us have dated someone who ended up breaking our hearts? Perhaps it happened when you were married or both. You lost your husband/ wife to someone else? Perhaps a best friend? In life we are facing things that are not honoring or above board all the time. The workplace may have been a place of betrayal for you. You worked hard to receive you reward but the reward went to someone else. The boss was won over by seduction rather then work performance. We all have faced something at one time or another in life that has made us wary of our fellow man.
So we show up at church as a new believer and what do we learn? Do we see the scriptures being played out here? Sadly we will receive messages about what we should be like “ Someday “ but they are chalked up as loft thoughts that might happen with enough attendance and enough bible studies. One day it might just fall into place……. But it doesn’t.
Let me share a true story with you. My wife and I were returning home from a nice visit to South Carolina. The airport there was beautiful. It was springtime and everything was green and full of life. The people working there were friendly and polite that it was sad thing to have to leave. We landed in Newark Airport that just endured a storm that had flights delayed and the airport was filled with frustrated angry people. My wife and I searched for a place to sit and finally found two seats. They were far from our gate and not together. Across from me sat a lady and a man who were engaged in surface conversation. I picked up on the fact that the lady was very nervous and quite upset. After a while the man’s flight was called and he escaped the mayhem.
So now I engage her in conversation but not to talk about the weather. There is something strangely familiar about her pain and I want to know what it is. As we chat she shares with me that she is flying somewhere to pick up her son from the rat fink dad. Ahh there it is. She is freshly wounded from tearing apart the two made one. This pain I was all too familiar with and I wanted to encourage her. As I shared a little of my story I told her how God had picked up the pieces of me and put me back together and that I had even been remarried and was very happy once again. Well that triggered an angry response as she tells me that if she was to ever remarry that there would be so many prenuptial agreements to be signed that he would never get anything in the event of divorce. You see she was very hurt from her last relationship and her short term husband was trying to get all of her assets which spilled over into her dads assets who shared his things with her. I suspect that she felt terrible that her dad’s things were being jeopardized by her choice to marry this guy.
Now throughout our conversation she has been struggling to hold back a flood of tears. She would share something real and then have to cut herself all and say something silly as a method to save herself from coming apart. Her facade has almost completely failed. What if I knew she was not okay but was really broken. Surely then I would strike while she was weak. It may sound silly but when you are hurt and vulnerable this is a real fear. If people see you for what you really are then what? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves.
So let me finish the story. After some time passes and she seems to have quieted back down I engage her again. My heart was really going out to her because I identified with her pain and suffering and I wanted her out of it. So I go back to the marriage discussion with her and say “ You know you really can’t do that don’t you? ( I am referring to her prenuptial agreement plan ) She responds much like I expected. “ What do you mean that I can’t do that!” I believe it was God who spoke to her through me at that moment. “ If you do that then you will never know love again.” To really know love then we must make ourselves vulnerable to another. Love allows us to view a person with a different lens and to see the person more like God sees them, more like the truth about them. I know that she left with a bit of truth and encouragement that day but ultimately it is up to her what she would choose for herself. Every wall of protection we build potentially cut us off from a source of life.
So who’s to blame? I would say you and I are to blame. Rather then walk according to the Spirit of God we walk by our many excuses as to why we are not following Jesus in the ways He laid down for us and prayed for. “But Jesus, The church I went to had nobody doing as you did so I couldn’t break rank could I?” Jesus, “I had been hurt so many times by people that there was just no way I could trust them enough to be in unity.”
As I type these words to page I feel a little sick about how I have settled for the luke warm Christian life. It seems that we are resisting the very thing that Jesus prayed for. I would so love to see revival in my land but I may be the reason in my church that I don’t see it or at the very least, one of the reasons.
We are called to follow Jesus not man. We have figured out by now that man is lost. We are also called to submit one to another….. why?? Out of reverence for Jesus. That is that person who thought you and I were worth losing his life to save ours. He’s that one person who has never lied to me, cheated me, abandoned me and never rejected me. So when He tells me to love my neighbour and to be humble and to submit myself to others for His sake is He doing it to break my heart? My trust? Is He hurting me in some way or can I just trust that if He loves me more then any other person then I know that what He asks of me is good.
Most of us are still carrying baggage from the past that needs to be released. The walls that we built to imprison us that we thought would protect us need to come down. Wounds that we have need to be dealt with and not just covered up. We need healing and I only know one doctor who is able to help, but the good news is that he will. We just need to show up and surrender our wounds to Him and let Him do the rest. Proverbs 3 : 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Rather then have Jesus ask us “ Why were you not willing to…… let us follow Him and then hear “ Well done my good and faithful……. Or at least that is what I find myself…….. Just Thinking.
Well I am sitting here “Just Thinking “ about the book/ movie called “The Shack”. It was probably my most favorite book of all time. It goes where no one else goes and that is where you get hurt and angry with God. We all know that He is God and that He is good all the time at least that is our confession. When great tragedy strikes you or someone you love our confession is tested and it our confession may be “ I Hate You God!”. I don’t think any of us ever plan this or even see the day coming that we would ever turn against God but yet for many of us it does.
The Shack takes you on a journey of a family that undergoes something horrific and the way it changes each person. It is not a book to create a new theology and to tear down anything though it gets accused of it but it is a book that leads you into the depths of your heart to discover what lies beneath the surface. We all need to really do that because you may be surprised at what you find.
Some real difficult things enter each of our lives at some point along our journey and how we react to them is what makes or breaks us. I have people in my own circle who have suffered things and their reaction to the things has ruined their lives, as they live in a pool of bitterness and unforgiveness. They meditate on the wrongs done to them by others. Well if you live on this planet people are going to do bad things to you that are not fair or just. The answer though is not “ getting them “ back but in forgiveness. Forgiveness is not what good little doobies do because they are just so nice, but is what wise people do so they can get past the wrong done to them and enjoy life again. If you don’t, you won’t. None of us ever feel like forgiving someone who hurt us directly or through a loved one but we want justice and we want them to suffer. We choose to forgive them for the sake of ourselves really. We do it because it is the road to freedom not because they deserve it or you just feel like doing it.
I am a person who likes the truth whether it is a little painful or not. This book/ movie allows you into a person’s head as they process but ugly stuff and even how a person concludes things be they right or wrong. Today I visited a couple and had time to sit & listen to some of their stories of life. They had to watch their daughter die slowly by being rejected by others her own age. I love my children and would never want them to be rejected but it happens to most people. For this young girl it continued until she took her own life. Her mom had to find her in bed lying in pool of her own blood. I suspect that someone unknowingly murdered her that day with words designed to destroy her self worth. I’m not sure if the person who did that carries the burden of guilt today or if they forgave themselves and learned a huge lesson.
I’m not sure who the parents handled it at the time it happened but even to this day there still is pain. She told me that her peer group would sit at the back of the church and her daughter would join them. They would immediately move and leave her behind. One would assume that church would be a safe place but no rejection knows now bounds. The parents carry no bitterness toward anyone today but I can’t help but think if it was me how I would handle it. That situation would shame me on so many levels that I don’t know if I could recover or avoid killing someone or even a group. But wait I’m a good doobie so I’m sure I would just do all the right things. I am a person. I cannot predict how I would handle it until I am actually there. I would talk to God but how those conversations would go is anyone’s guess. When Christian passed away I had some pretty angry, accusing, screaming “conversations” with God and it shook my relationship with Him.
I suspect my story is not uncommon but I never left my pain all buried where it can’t get light to heal it. The Shack is all about helping people like you and me along their journey and helping us to discover God the person like we may never have known Him before. To all the religious people out there slandering the book/movie that they may have read or NOT I say stop it! This is a fiction that I believe is God inspired as it will bring many people into healing and restore relationships. “The Shack” is one of those gifts that get released by one ordinary man to help us ordinary people with seemingly extraordinary troubles and that is what I find myself “ Just Thinking”
In the book of wisdom ( Proverbs ) it says this.
23 “Guard your heart above all else,
For it determines the course of your life.
24 Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.”
This is a safeguard for us that will keep us on the positive side of life. It is hard these days not to be pulled into the negative news stream of the day. The election in the U.S. is long over but the camp that lost has never accepted the outcome. The slanderous things that are spoken out against their own president is going to bring change but not the change they want. When you spew out poison on someone whether it’s a president or your waiter in a restaurant, it will come home to roost, and when it does you will not like it. I know I have done that more then once and I wasn’t happy when I was on the other end of things.
When you hear a story about someone you really need to be careful with the information you get. Our emotions can guide us into jumping on a bandwagon that we shouldn’t be on. It won’t be taking us to any place we want to be. We all hear now about “ judging “ and it being a bad thing. Some of the very people who would say they live by that are judging Donald Trump. Are there exceptions to the rule?
I try and live a good life and treat others with respect and kindness but if you dug all through my past and picked out some of my biggest screw ups you could certainly paint me to be a horrible person and have the records to prove it. So am I my past? Am I not allowed to change and be given another chance?
What is the moral high ground that I am standing on that makes me a better person then say Donald Trump? The truth about us humans is that lots of are natural desires are selfish and our choices are what is best for the “almighty me.” We lust for things and if we think we can get it without being caught then we go for it. That can be material things or a person that we find very attractive. It isn’t love but that person can be used to satisfy MY need.
So what is my point? My point is that unless you have a spotless record you & I really should be treating and speaking things about people that we would want people doing to us. GUARD YOUR HEART! Nobody else will and that is what I find myself…… Just Thinking