The Solution to your suffering is not what you think it is…

window church crucifixion church window

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So Truth for me came as a shock. I grew up in a well meaning Christian and Bible following home and Church but I believe there was a message given (without malice) that if “we all just come give our hearts to Jesus, everything will be good!’…

And we who have lived very long know this is absolutely untrue. Being a preacher’s daughter I went to tons of youth events, revival, camp outings where this was the mantra.

I believe what these well meaning loving people were saying (be it naive) is that we all are in need of a Savior for we are born enemies of God and  dead in our sin without him. They were trying to present the Gospel but they left out one important Truth…suffering.

You see, the young girl who gives her life to Christ at your youth camp still goes home to her alcoholic mother when all is done. The boy on the football team that everybody loves still goes home to a Dad who tells him he is useless because he isn’t starting quarterback. So what occurs is the seed of their “moment” with the Lord (which I believe can be real but often is not) falls on the rocky, painful  soil and is quickly plucked away by the pain of this world!

I believe that Truth is a person. Truth is the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus even tells us he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Truth is not pretty and tied up all in a bow. The Truth is not a Hallmark movie.

The Truth is a snot slinging, earth shattering  cry of repentance and pain and sorrow into a bloody, brutal battle and only Truth can win that sin battle. Only Truth has the Sword of the Words of life and that sword must pierce you right where you are but know this He, Jesus, Truth suffered more than your mind can comprehend. He despised the shame, our shame. He scorned our sin that he would have to hear for us to live in the presence of the Holy One! Truth got slaughtered and hung on a tree for us!

So if after you accept Christ you still have your alcoholic spouse, or a son on drugs, or a daughter date raped and pregnant, or a Churc that hurts you, or a failed missionary vision…you see where my heart is going here…people Jesus came to save us from these messes we have made that have caused Him so much suffering. Life without Jesus is NO LIFE AT ALL but make no mistake Life with Jesus is the Way you get through the suffering of your broken sinful life and gradually you realize the suffering is how you really know who Jesus is and that your suffering is nothing compared to the Matchless Glory of His Grace! Do not be surprised by suffering friend. Follow closely beside The Christ, who is the Truth because he has walked this path before us. Follow Him.

 

Kneeling at the idols of burning dreams…

man kneeling in front of cross

Photo by Pixabay 

No I didn’t worship as the pagans do or did I? That realization was a rude awakening for a girl raised in the knowledge of Christ and the Bible. Hey, those false, other gods had nothing to do with me or did/do they?

I have always been curious and believe I now know why John the Apostle wrote in the last verse of his book “children, be aware of idols.”

I have read and read that Gospel of John’s and that verse always convicted me.

After bowing down to man made works (supposedly for God), after walking many miles in my journey with Jesus I have come to know that everything and everyone put before God in my life is an idol. Sounds simple yes but it is gut wrenching because my idols come in the love of grandchildren, love of admiration, love of being right, love of caring for the sick, the love of (fill in the blank)…

As a young woman I believe my idols were rooted in the identity given me by birth. Later I believe my idols were turned to the insecurity of fitting in so I would do what everyone else was doing. Just to fit in. I could list them all but the one in my older years that finally got my spiritual attention like no other was when my first grandchild was born. Oh how God has lavished his love upon those of us who are given grandchildren!  It is a good reward undeserved but  I began to put that love above everyone and everything. I didn’t even realize how deep I had waded into that “good” idolatry.

But God… in his purity and fury thundered through to me one sleepless night as I was telling him that he felt so distant lately. I had taken a gift of Joy and great love and delight and turned it in to a god!

How could that be I said? I am following you Lord. I felt His Spirit say, “if you follow me then you must put no other gods before me…”

So I knelt down before my Lord had one of those snot slinging, sobbing moments of repentance…

Paul wrote, “for what do you have that you did not receive? If you received it then how can you boast about anything?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

 

The Shadow of A Poet

backlit dark dawn environment

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I want to sleep deeply in a minor key

Need that old emerald sea washing over me

Sprinkles of “should have” drop into the sand

A seeker, a woman, just had to love that man

 

I put my mind on pause till the midnight moonrise

I smile a reverent smile when the church bells chime

Painted soft flames of love lick around my heart

The shadow of a poet she is only catching sparks

 

The Keen Edge of Joy

view of outer space

Photo by Zain Ali

The heat hung in the air like wet cotton today
The Texas dance of August has begun

The manicured lawns will soon be parched brown
Even the humming of the cicadas has gone still

Venus burns ever so brightly racing me to dawn
The majestic Oaks stand still as centurion guards

At my core the keen edge of Joy bids me come
And reach for the poetry that lives in my heart

“…but what comes to you contrary to your choosing, thinking, desiring, that is where you must follow, there He is calling.”

woman with yellow backpack standing on hanging bridge with trees

Photo by Josh Willink 

For many years I have tried to manage Christian “doctrine” and the “Truth of Jesus and His Cross.”  I write about this a lot because following Jesus Christ and being used by Jesus Christ to further his Kingdom has been the greatest longing in my life. I was basically and literally born into it. I am more than grateful for my raising, even the hardest parts where I learned what a mess I am.

I say this because while my deepest and strongest desire in this world is to be a disciple of Jesus I am now in my sixth decade and feel I am just beginning to understand what that means.

It is really quite simple. Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we could be put “in right relationship with God.” Which is marvelous in and of itself however God’s plan is to put the whole world right as well. Not just you and me. Salvation is NOT just me and my loved ones but ALL the people in ALL the world. 

This  has been quite diluted in the Church since  the moment Jesus ascended. This Revolution Jesus started on the Cross, this most powerful declaration of God’s love for us cannot be reduced to formulas or catchy slogans or politics or religious formulas and traditions. 

Again this quote from Martin Luther says it so much better than I can…

“things must happen NOT according to your own knowledge but rather immerse yourself in the abandonment of understanding and Jesus will give you true understanding. You cannot find the way of the cross. Jesus must lead you there like a blind person. Not the work you chose for yourself, not the sufferings you think up for yourself, but what comes to you contrary to your choosing, thinking, desiring, that is where you must follow, there He is calling. There you are the pupil, there is where your teacher, your Savior has come and is found.”

You see, our LORD has walked this path before us as a human. His Holy Spirit is here walking this path with us, teaching us, guiding us…

As we walk so closely to Jesus, like a blind person. Trusting Him (Jesus) the way He trusted God, our Father, becoming a true disciple is about these things… giving up control, not being my own god…Yes Lord.

Oh how all the Kings have fallen

war chess

Photo by Gladson Xavier

Oh how all the Kings have fallen

From their high and lofty thrones!

The white Knights are soiled with black death

none of them call upon Almighty God!

All the people lie constantly so the innocents die

Their evil makes a mockery of Almighty God!

 

Oh if only they would cry from deep hearts

and give up their ego and selfish ways!

I, Almighty God have made a way to redeem them

Only I have saved them with my own right hand!

I desire mercy and compassion above all else

I, Almighty God have spoken for all to hear!

Fiddler

wood music classic sound

Photo by Pixabay 

 

Part of me just won’t show  

what she needs or what she knows

The anger lies beneath the wind

the fury stirs it up again

 

What did I think would happen

what do I have to lose?

Turn my mourning into dancing

 I put on my high-heeled shoes

 

I can’t drown my sorrow

breathe through the smoky haze

I don’t want to work tomorrow 

but the Fiddler must be paid.

 

 

 

 

The Great Rescue

wrecked ship

Photo by Aneta Foubíková

To be rescued one must have a solid knowledge from what we are being rescued. In the case of humanity we need to be rescued from Sin. We do not like to admit sin. We do not like to talk about sin. We definitely spend a lot of time trying to hide our sin so why would we not receive rescuing? Because being rescued portends that we give up all of our own control and humble ourselves.

As a child growing up in a Christian home and church I was taught often that I was a sinner. I did not however understand the nature of Sin nor did I understand  The Fall of human kind that occurred one black day in the Garden of Eden. I did not realize I was born an enemy of God and that I hated God and was in rebellion toward God!  

The good news of God’s grace is that he loves and came here for his enemies. He did not wait until I was all cleaned up outwardly. He did not wait for me to pray the “sinner’s prayer or walk down the aisle of my church. He did not wait for me to study theology or memorize the Bible.

The point of the Cross of Jesus is that on that Cross hung the vehicle of my rescue. The man of Jesus would provide the greatest rescue of all time. Understanding and receiving the Cross of Jesus is not so  we can congratulate ourselves for solving theology or religious formula but that we may understand the cost and the humility of the Great Rescuer in it’s heinous, bloody, awful Glory. We have not been rescued from sin so that we can be great thinkers of abstract ideas or to make sure everyone around us is doing what they should be doing. We have been rescued by being put right with God and becomin part of God’s family and God’s plan to save the whole world. That is how The Great Rescue works. Once we are put right with God we then go and share with kindness and compassion how while we were sinners and enemies of God he still loved us.  There is a Rescuer and His name is Jesus! His rescue is final and perfect.

 

All the garbage and the pearls…

brown and green grass field during sunset

Photo by Jonathan Petersson

 

There is something Holy about the Sunrise

 I picture angels filling the heavens behind the Sun’s rays and even more angels among us on earth

All of them singing in worship to God each day

Like a daily Resurrection of His Glory evident to humans once again

I see the center of my own self

.All the garbage and the pearls

My heart opens up like a bleeding Rose cleansing me from within and once again The Holy brings peace out of chaos

I am reminded the well -designed small life I live is not by chance and this is a new day…

Jars of Clay…we were enemies of God

blur broken ceramic clay

Photo by Fancycrave.com 

 

The heavy burden of baggage, the relentlessness of clocks. No none likes to see something break. It would not be normal if we liked to see something or someone break yet we are all broken. The day we are born we begin the journey into decay. Some see this as morbid. I see it as part of the “fall” or disobedience. The brokenness that had to be reconciled. The healing that had to happen in such an earth shattering, heaven and hell kind of way. Complete light and complete darkness collide and God’s light wins.

Everything about us, our appearance, the miraculous functioning of our bodies and brains are designed. Some of us dress plainly. Some wear costumes of bright plumage. Some of us are Primary clay. Some of us are transformed by miles of rain, wind, and ice.

I was once broken but have been transformed into his marvelous light.

 

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of  your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.  Colossians 1:24