Why Are You Still Outside?

There are so many that are outside our walls.  Those blinded and confused by the Church and the gospel.

People are for the most part not this blatant or obvious in their pain.  But it is what they are asking that tunes us in. “Where?”

Humans have been created with a special spot inside them.  This place is designed by our Creator for his use only.  Life just doesn’t make sense unless he is the center.  Christians are just people who are trying to be fueled by God’s Spirit.

Answers abound to questions unasked.  Confusion is rampant and it seems no one can get a unified direction for his companions.  This is precisely why the Bible brings a piercing and clear call to the children of man.  Its promises are not dated, they are not obsolete.

They are many who have gone before us, thousands of generations who have found light and solace for darkened and wounded hearts.  They testify to us of the spiritual reality that can be found in God and in his Word.  We are not called to perfection, but a real obedience.

At this throbbing moment in history, Jesus is calling so many to “follow”.  He is populating eternity with beggars, the sick, the poor the addicted.  He loves “sinners”.  He loves the mentally ill.  The Bible tells us, “that he ever lives to make intercession for them”.

You have a purpose, and life does have clear meaning.  Don’t lose hope and don’t try to fill yourself with foolish and empty pursuits.  Come to Jesus, ask for forgiveness.  Find the people that will help solidify and confirm your decision.  Please write me through the comment section of this post.  I will be waiting.

 

For more info on becoming a believer please check out one of my previous articles,

 http://brokenbelievers.com/2010/01/27/leading-someone-to-christ/.

Discovering an Intense ‘Agape’

by Bryan Lowe

Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. ”  — Michael Yaconelli

……………………………………….

My “Agape” Jalopy

Accepting ourselves is a lifelong process.

  We talk of “accepting Christ”, but for many that really is not the problem.  When we talk about Jesus, there is such an attractiveness about him, that makes hard-boiled agnostics stand back and grudgingly admire.  But, to accept “me”, well that takes more then just a bit of imagination.  When your depressed or anxious it just escalates the problem.  We just don’t like ourselves.  Sometimes I think that if I met me, I would think, “What a jerk! ”  Having psychiatric issues only intensifies and focalizes my sin into a horrifying mess.  I’m not just a loser, I’m a loser on steroids.  A supreme loser!  I’m certainly not the red Ferrari, I am obviously the rusty Studebaker with balloon tires and a lousy heater.

The remarkable thing though is not my spiritual unattractiveness, but God’s irrational love for me.  The New Testament writers used the word we translate “love” as “agape”.  That Greek word meant a love without any conditions, a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well being of the other.  Actually, it is a love that goes out of the way to care for its enemy.  That’s the audacity of agape.

We do the mental gymnastics to try to grasp the definition.  We strain and contort but it defies comprehension.  We grab, hold it, and then it gets loose and we clutch air. 

“This is how much God loved [agape] the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life .”                                                                             

 -John 3:16, MSG

When I tell you, “Jesus loves you”, you will probably smile politely, nod and say “I know,” and turn away.  But, once in awhile, “lightning will strike,” you will look up in stunned amazement, with tears in your eyes, and whisper, “I know”.

…………………………

Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God’s being present in the mess of our unfixedness.” — Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality

God Keeps Your Tears in a Bottle

I have cried many tears in my life. If you have never cried, you can stop reading right now. But if you have shed tears for yourself or for others, or if like me you have shed some without even knowing why or where they came from, take heart. God knows the tears you have shed. Psalm 56:8 says so. Here are several translations of that wonderful verse:

Record my lament;
       list my tears on your scroll —
       are they not in your record? (NIV)

You have taken account of my wanderings;
         Put my tears in Your bottle
         Are they not in Your book? (NASB)

You keep track of all my sorrows.
      You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
      You have recorded each one in your book. (NLT)

Write down my poem of sadness.
      List my tears on your scroll.
      Aren’t you making a record of them? (NIRV)

I love the image of God keeping all my tears in a bottle. I can envision shelves filled with bottles in Heaven, each with a name on it, and an accompanying scroll documenting every tear and lament. Or maybe it is just one huge bottle with all of our tears mingled together.

Today tears are being shed in dark rooms where children are being held as sex slaves, in Africa as people remain homeless and without food and water, in the United States as many remain jobless, in hospitals and on the streets where the mentally ill are forgotten, in homes around the world where people are spiritually lost and have no hope.

We live in a fallen world. Tragedies happen and humans are not always kind to one another. And so tears are shed. It is hard to fathom God collecting every single one, but He does. He notices and He records each tear and each lament.

The more I think about it, I like the idea that God has mingled all our tears together. The Psalm does refer to God’s “bottle” in the singular. And if He has collected every tear in that bottle, then mingled with our own are the tears of Jesus. In John 11, the apostle records this event: “Jesus wept.” John 11:35.

In this passage, Jesus weeps when He learns of the death of Lazarus. When they see Him weeping, the people say “See how he loved him!” John 11:36. But I don’t think Jesus was weeping because Lazarus was dead – He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. Rather, I think He wept because of the compassion He felt for humanity as we weep over our own tragedies and losses. It is us that He loved so much that it brought Him to tears.

So if you weep today, remember that God is collecting your tears in His bottle, and mixing them with the tears of our dear Savior. Not only that, but God will deliver you from the final trial that lead to tears by redeeming your soul.

For you, O LORD, have delivered 
   my soul from death,
   my eyes from tears,
   my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
   in the land of the living.
Psalm 116:8-9 (NIV).

Flourish-61

Linda’s blog is at http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/ Please check out all she has to say.  Linda tells me that it is absolutely guaranteed to bless, or your money back!

Anxiety, the Common Coin of the Realm

“God the Father grant to me, All my daily needs.  Why should I not to Him flee, “When all the birds He feeds.”

Claudius

We wrestle with amazing issues, they oddly seem like certainties.  That is part of their strength.  Anxiety over our future, is a very difficult thing to separate from.  The dictionary has a simple definition,  “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. a state of uneasiness or tension caused by apprehension of possible future misfortune, danger, etc; worry.

We can define it in a sort of abstract form, but anxiety has a vicious bite.  I believe it is the most common enemy of our souls.  Maybe “pride” would be the most challenging?  However our anxiety affects our children, finances and our status in this world.  We are so edgy, and have been for so long that it seems very normal.

Quite expectedly, Wikipedia gives us this explanation.  “Worry is thoughts and images of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats.  As an emotion it is experienced as anxiety or concern about a real or imagined issue, usually personal issues such as health or finances or broader ones such as environmental pollution and social or technological change.”  Ok, well, a bit intense and perhaps a bit complicated.  But as I read it, the phrase, “an anticipation of evil things”  pops into my mind.

I guess there is an effort on our part to somehow equalize the pressure.  But typically it’s only enough to make us “humanly” passable, and acceptable to our dear ones.  But the truth is, we fear way too much.  Our anxiety over the future has a corrosive effect, it just eats us up.  We are like ships, who periodically come into port to have our hulls cleaned.  Somehow, if we decide to forego this, we will find that it diminishes us, and often drastically.

Anxiety is a weight that pulls us down: spiritually, and emotionally and even physically. It is worry that has gone viral in our thinking. We can think of nothing else.  There exists something that our psychologists call an “anxiety disorder.”  To be blunt, today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die. 

There is not much more I can say.  As we grow more and more anxious, we will drive a simple faith in Jesus away.  Simply put, worry, and the presence of Jesus can never truly agree.  They are on opposite sides of the spectrum.  One will rule, and the other won’t.

Corrie Ten Boom dealt specifically with this, she shared this and it helps us to get adjusted, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength, carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Worry needs to be taken as if it were very dangerous.  Lust, pride and apostasy are certainly thought of as dark, and evil. But worry has to rank up there.  Our anxiety is a declaration of God’s unfaithfulness.  It is a “neon sign” that blinks out His perceived negligence and His ineptitude.

Please dear one, shake off this deep deceit.  Renounce your worry, your anxiety.  The One who feeds the sparrows, couldn’t forget you.  You are His, by blood.  He has gone far beyond the extra mile to obtain you to be His own.

“Don’t fear, little flock, because your Father wants to give you the kingdom. “

Luke 12:32, NCV