Feet Finders, [Intimacy]

JesusFeetOne of the more amazing studies you can do in the New Testament (Matthew-Revelation) are the people who found themselves at the feet of Jesus. Actually there is probably more than you think.

There are some common dynamics that take place by these “feet finders.”

  1. A great need- “desperation”
  2. To emphasize one’s need and true condition
  3. To ask for a healing (for self or family)
  4. To honor Jesus as God
  5. To worship more authentically
  6. To be more receptive to His teaching
  7. To witness to others

“Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.”

Matthew 15:30, NIV

“In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet.”

Mark 7:25

“And the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.”

Luke 8:35

In fact, there are several other instances where people came to Jesus’ feet.

  • Mark 5:22-23, Jairus, a leader in the local synagogue
  • Luke 7:37-38, a sorrowing mother for her daughter
  • Luke 8:41, also Jairus
  • Luke 10:39, Mary, when Jesus was teaching
  • John 11:32, Mary, meeting Jesus entering Bethany
  • John 12:3, the other Mary, with her perfume
  • Revelation 1:17, John to express what he was seeing (also 19:10)

In every case we find people consciously coming and kneeling at the feet of the Lord Jesus. It was a deliberate action coming from their hearts. Each had a need, custom built for this precise moment in time.

One of the classic scenes in the Gospels is when Mary meets Jesus. She doesn’t understand His delay, she is grieving and confused. But she only has one posture and one place in her heart to be– at the feet!

“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:32

Being at the feet is not supposed to be a mindless exercise. She maintains her issues with Jesus re: Lazarus. But this questioning came from her knees. The issues could never take the place of her love and her honor. But I think she is an example of how our problems can coincide with a real faith.

One might say that she had every right to take up an issue of incompetence and neglect with Jesus. Much should be made of the fact that Jesus been briefed on Lazarus’ illness much earlier. And yet He purposefully delayed going to Bethany. Maybe Jesus never responds to crisis; but people in need.

To be honest with you, I have my own occasional controversies with God. I have gone through hard things that really needed His attention. I have cried and begged to no avail. I’ve tried to negotiate and manipulate and it doesn’t work.

But even there, there is found a place for me at His feet. It is where I belong. I love Him.

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

*

Posted in affliction, believer, confidence, conflict, desperation, devotional, difficulties, discipleship, failure, faith, humility, intercession, Jesus Christ, life lessons, lost causes, mercy, personal comments, presence of God, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, spiritual lessons, transparency, understanding, Very helpful, worship | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Mental Breakdown, [Kyrie Eleison]

kyrie-eleison

Lord, Have Mercy

Quite a few years ago, I was terribly manic. I had found my way somehow from Alaska to Cambridge, England. It was there I wandered the streets  talking to myself, lost and disoriented. It was 2002 and I had just gotten out of a mental hospital in Alaska, and was very medicated. I was by myself in a country I had never visited before. I realize I was behaving very strange. I kept noticing the stares and the whispers.

On one occasion I wandered into the English version of a Walmart– I was in a daze, but I clearly “heard” a 12 foot tree call out to me as I walked by. My heart surged with mercy. I would save it! I grabbed it and headed to the cashier. I slid it along, the tree was heavy and the check-out line was very long. It was a very weird experience. How I was getting it back to Alaska was never a consideration. What can I say, I was “gonzo-manic” now listening to talking trees.

Somewhere, somehow, I had gotten this CD and I slipped it in my Walkman. Sanity would slowly return and this CD, by Nick and Anita Haigh really brought me healing words and a Celtic melody. I love this song. I love the lyrics. The Holy Spirit used it to calm me.

I would meltdown several times after this. And there would be 3-4 more visits to a psych ward for my manic depression, but none would be as severe as my collapse in England .

“Kyrie Eleison” = Greek, “Lord Have Mercy”

Celtic-worship

Kyrie Eleison

Verse 1
Empty broken here I stand,
Kyrie eleison,
Touch me with Your healing hand,
Kyrie eleison,
Take my arrogance and pride,
Kyrie eleison,
wash me in Your mercy’s tide,
Kyrie eleison.

Chorus
Kyrie eleison,
Christe eleison,
Kyrie eleison,

Verse 2
When my faith is all but gone,
Kyrie eleison,
Give me strength to carry on,
Kyrie eleison,
when my dreams have turned to dust,
Kyrie eleison,
In You O Lord I put my trust,
Kyrie eleison.

Chorus:
Kyrie eleison,
Christe eleison,
Kyrie eleison,

Verse 3
When my heart is cold as ice,
Kyrie eleison,
Your love speaks of sacrifice,
Kyrie eleison,
Love that sets the captives free,
Kyrie eleison,
O pour compassion down on me,
Kyrie eleison.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 4
You’re the voice that calms my fears,
Kyrie eleison,
You’re the laughter dries my tears,
Kyrie eleison,
You’re the music, my refrain,
Kyrie eleison,
Help me sing my song again,
Kyrie eleison.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 5
Humble heart of holiness,
Kyrie eleison,
Kiss me with Your tenderness,
Kyrie eleison,
Jesus, faithful Friend and true,
Kyrie eleison,
All I am I give to You,
Kyrie eleison.

Repeat Chorus (x2)

T

Hear a version of this on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYAvDY5Fjj0

Download Kyrie Eleison (Love Have Mercy) 320kbps mp3

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

Posted in a pursued soul, affliction, Alaska, battle, believer, brokenness, Bryan's comments, delusions, desperation, devotional, difficulties, discipleship, following Jesus, hallucinatiions, Irish, Jesus Christ, kyrie eleison, life, life lessons, lost causes, love, lyrics, mania, manic, medications, mental illness, mixed states, music, pathetic, personal comments, presence of God, protection, Psychiatric Ward, self-deception, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, spiritual lessons, trials, understanding, unreality, worship, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Furnace People Understand Suffering

converter_furnace“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.   Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.

Isaiah 48:10

“Once we have come through the ‘furnace of humiliation,’ desperately, fearfully clinging to Christ for all He is worth, then we are fully equipped to march into somebody else’s furnace.

‘Blessed with Bipolar”

Becoming a real and authentic person often demands intense responses, at precisely the most opportune moment.  Amazingly, this is the sole exclusive prerequisite which grants us the right to enter into a deep understanding. If you have it, you may enter.  (And if you don’t, you really should move on, and quickly, please.)

Furnace people will often recognize those who have made no real connection with God’s real work. There are furnace promises, but without truly understanding them, some people act very ‘irrationally’.  They will do and say things that have no connection to what is actually happening. They’ll even blame any failure on the sufferer.

But desperation is a funny thing.  Without it, it is doubtful we will ever enter into the Kingdom, but with it we bring great riches that take us to Him, the source of life and light. It also transforms us, and brings us to a brand new level of thinking.  After time we come to the very place of making a connection, and then we realize that we have very few (if any) other options. And God holds them all.

ironworkerfaceFurnace people have developed a connection to that which is honest and true.  But they rarely enter into anything false or manipulative.  Their own hearts are  transformed by the fire, and they have become transparent.  Impostors are quickly detected, but they cannot progress very far.  Only furnace people can enter in.

The Church has a need for those few who have entered the furnace of humiliation. We are a rare species indeed. When you endure its ugliness and its great evil you will find yourselves in a completely different place.  You will have become transported instead to where you can communicate deliverance and truth that you have learned.  I am thinking about the story of Joseph, and his ordeal, found in the Book of Genesis.  He was a rare kind of person. Perhaps, one in a million.

ironworker (1)Furnace people are enabled to function gracefully at this particular stage.  You see, they are still operative at this level.  This is not an issue of what is acceptable, but it has plenty to do with how grace and mercy is woven through the human heart in the presence of affliction.

Furnace people have been sovereignly brought to a place where they can minister the grace of God into desperate situations. We must convince ourselves, that furnace people have a gift.  They have been through the worst.  They are battered and bruised.  But they still stand.  We must look to them and connect.  Our brothers and sisters have carried the Word with wisdom and grace to us, through the fire.

My simple request is that you would become an agent of grace and mercy.  That is your simple destiny.  The things good or bad, that have happened to you are part of how you’ll understand grace.  I know it seems alien and very unusual.  But He awaits for you to respond.  Will you come to Him, through the grace you find in the fire? The most gracious people you’ll ever meet are those who endured God’s furnace.

 “He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.”

Malachi 3:3

aabryscript

cropped-cropped-cropped-christiangraffiti1-11.jpg ***

Posted in accepting Christ, affliction, believer, devotional, difficulties, discipleship, endurance, failure, faith, Jesus Christ, mental illness, personal comments, praise, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, spiritual lessons, spiritual warfare, steadfastness, trials, understanding, Very helpful, weakness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Poured-Out Life, [Service]

poured-out-life

“Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.”

Philippians 2:17

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:6-7

Paul is the ultimate and conclusive example of self sacrifice for the Church. He is an example to us of loving until it hurts. The children of men are a needy lot and the burden of the apostle. He cares intensely (and it shows) as Paul describes his mission to the churches. He wants to help those who cannot help themselves. Paul understood that he was being poured like “a drink offering” to the Lord for the saints.

The Lord Jesus was the pattern Paul focused on. In Jesus we see a man dying on a terrible cross to bring a very real salvation to those without any hope at all. You and I stand “accepted in the beloved” because of that sacrifice.

“We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.”  

–Elisabeth Elliot

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

John 12:24

I honestly believe that fruitfulness hinges on the decision to “die”, and perhaps that is precisely why we are barren. Jesus must give himself up in order to save us. Are things so different now? Over the many centuries, the chosen Church practiced a “dying to self” as the primary way of growth.

Being poured out for others usually isn’t too dramatic; it offers very little in the way of earthly reward or recognition. A few days ago I sat in the “Annex” of our local mental health clinic. I spent a whole afternoon with clients who were struggling hard to make it, I sat and listened, and had no agenda but theirs. I was being “poured out” and it was wonderful!

My heart swelled with the presence of Jesus for these dear ones. It had nothing to do with ambition, or a hunger for applause. I wasn’t out to prove that I was a Christian. Rather I was wholly there for others, I sort of think that is what Jesus meant when he taught his disciples about ministry, and servanthood. I believe that is what Paul was doing in the churches he served.

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:4

This is how it all works. About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. There are over 163 million orphans in the world, and more than 27 million human slaves. Furthermore, 1.2 million lives are snuffed out by abortion each year in the U.S. alone. And over 150,000 people die each day without knowing Christ. I suspect there is enough “work” to go around.

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.  

Anonymous

 “When you look at the inner workings of electrical things, you see wires. Until the current passes through them, there will be no light. That wire is you and me. The current is God. We have the power to let the current pass through us, use us, to produce the light of the world, Jesus, in us. Or we can refuse to be used and allow darkness to spread.”

Mother Teresa

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

Posted in availability, believer, Bible promises, body life, broken believers, brokenness, caregivers, christlikeness, compassion, complete surrender, difficulties, disability, discipleship, ego, encouragement, evangelism, faith, faith that works, following Jesus, fruitfulness, glory of God, goodness, grace, Holy Spirit, humility, In His Steps, Jesus Christ, joy, lessons learned, life lessons, love, mental health, mental illness, ministry, my limitations, obedience, personal comments, pleasing God, ragamuffins, rascals and strugglers, sacrifice, self importance, servanthood, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, sinners, special needs people, spiritual lessons, street people, taking risks, thoughtful and aware, trust, understanding, will of God, willingness, witness | 4 Comments

Of A Sound Mind, [Healthy & Sane]

 

2-Timothy_1-7

“A sound mind.” For some of us that doesn’t seem remotely possible. Over the years we personally have reason to believe this is not real. As mentally ill people we seem to think that we can’t be this way. We think that maybe this applies to normal people, and certainly not me (2 Tim. 1:7).

But it is a gift. That’s important to note. (Just as eternal life is a gift.) I can’t earn it; nor can I generate it up. It must be simply acknowledged and received as a bonus for being a sinner who believes. Sanity is not a fixed condition, but rather a definite process we make. Some of us maybe healthier than others. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we are told that our amazing salvation (!) includes:

  • an amazing love,
  • incredible power,
  • and a sound (healthy) mind.

These three are a gift from God. You don’t buy a gift, nor do you earn it. Rather it comes from someone who loves you (!) and only wants to bless. We may have issues, but the Spirit is sound and lucid.

The healthy mind is a mind without any sick or crippling deficiencies. It is a mind that is vigorous and robust. For those of us who struggle with a mental illness this is astonishingly good news. And it may very well be that you are impaired; but even then you’re given a strength.

My own experience is that the Holy Spirit is working, with my meds, to ‘hold me’ in a good place. Just as a diabetic must take insulin, so I need to take my antidepressant. The brain is an organ that can get sick also. We live in a fallen and broken world.

Grace does heal many, but some of us find ‘weakness’ becoming our real strength.

The very presence of the Holy Spirit is what enables. Broken believers are coming to see that their illnesses are helping them to be weak enough for God to use. “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” 2 Cor. 3:5, NLT

Some thoughts that have helped me out:

“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

bizen-kintsukuroi-tea-cup-1 (1)“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold [‘kintsukuroi’]. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”

–Barbara Bloom

aabryscript

cropped-cropped-cropped-christiangraffiti1-11.jpg

Posted in advice, alert, battle, battle wounds, believer, Bible promises, bipolar disorder, blessings, brokenness, bruised mind, Bryan's comments, comfort, confidence, contrite heart, delusions, depersonalization, depression, despair, desperation, devotional, difficulties, discernment, discipleship, encouragement, faith, first-love, following Jesus, giftedness, giving, God, goodness, grace, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, lessons learned,, life lessons, lost causes, manic depression, medications, mental health, mental illness, paranoia, personal comments, presence of God, ragamuffins, rascals and strugglers, rest in God, scars, schizophrenia, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, sin, spiritual lessons, strength, trust, truth, understanding, watching and waiting | 2 Comments

Are There Benefits to Being Bipolar?

Bipolar people can be different

Originally Published on July 20, 2010 in “Psychology Today”

Let me start by acknowledging what is well known: Manic Depression or Bipolar disorder can be a devastating illness. Affecting at least 1% of the population, it can, untreated, result in suicide, ruined careers and devastated families. Bipolar disorder is often accompanied by alcohol and drug abuse and addiction, criminal and even violent behavior. I acknowledge this, because I do not want to make light of the burden this illness places on people’s lives, their families and communities.

On the other hand, the history of the world has been influenced very significantly by people with manic depression (see website www.wholepsychiatry.com for details).They include:

“It seems clear that for at least some people with Bipolar disorder, there is an increased sense of spirituality, creativity, and accomplishment. It may be that having bipolar disorder holds great potential, if one is able to master or effectively channel the energies, which are periodically available, to some higher task. This would of course presume the ability to abstain from harmful drugs and alcohol, to have good character, and at least some supportive relationships and community networks.”
Y
 It might be helpful to consider a reconceptualization. Perhaps instead of it being a disorder, we can think of people with bipolarity as having access to unusual potency. This potency will find a way to be outstanding-either in a destructive way, or in a constructive way. If such a choice is presented to the person, perhaps it can open some doors.
——————————————–

Originally Published on July 20, 2010 in “Psychology Today”

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”

Romans 8:28, nlt

Flourish-61

Sourcehttp://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/health-matters/201007/are-there-benefits-having-bipolar-disorder

cropped-cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

Posted in advice, believer, bipolar disorder, birds, broken believers, delusions, depression, despair, difficulties, giftedness, gifts, life lessons, madness, mental health, mental illness, ministry, outside source, personal comments, pleasing God, psychologists, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, spiritual lessons, understanding, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Almost Holy, [Almost]

failure-collapse

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.”

Romans 7:18-20, NLT

I hesitate to tell you this, but I have not found any secrets to becoming a holy person.

To be sure, I wish I figured this out. I would very much like to come to you with the secret formula. Sometimes I want to just make things up, just to alleviate your trials and strivings. I would easily latch on this idea of a “magic wand.” I think it would be good; and maybe not.

But the authentic Christian life is hardly formulaic. It seems to defy any attempt to explain, and then guide anyone else into that special place of true obedience or holiness. I’m supposing that you are just like me. I truly want to be right. I would love to be holy. But it ain’t happening. I always seem to end up back in the place I started from. Always, defeat and simple failure. Rats!

I’ve always been mystified by the conundrum of Romans 7. I really want 8, but I’ll settle for 6. Romans 7 has been in limbo for a very long time. I don’t really know what to do with it. (I honestly avoid it, after all chapter 8 is so good!) But way deep down, I have a real strong sense I’m missing something very important.

I suppose it might be compared to making a really good ‘discipleship smoothie.’ Of course we must add to our blender Rom. 8. And many would add Rom. 6. However, a lot of us would hesitate to include Rom. 7, we’re not really sure why. Quite a few commentaries also hesitate. Many good teachers and preachers regard chapter 7 as parenthetical. They suggest that Paul is describing his life before coming to Christ, and certainly not in a ‘present-tense’ discipleship.

When I look at the Gospels, I see, across the board that those– the healed, forgiven, cleansed and made whole were always the desperate. They have nothing, they bring nothing– they meet no requirement, but pure poverty. They are the “zeroes.” (Maybe– even the negative numbers?)

I don’t believe, at this point anyway, that there is a singular principle of sanctification. Perhaps we can truly do nothing in precise alignment. There is no such thing as a “microwavable discipleship,” and no real instant breakfasts. We truly come with a desperate faith– and we will end up with just a desperate faith. This should be incredibly humbling to us all. It takes a long time to learn humility it seems.

“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am!”

Romans 7:21-24, NLT

Please (someone?– anyone?!) challenge me on this. I tell you, chapter 7 chafes, and then “disrupts” me. Will I always be so misaligned and “out-of-step?” Or am I just a lousy excuse for a Christian disciple? If I’m out of line and screwed up; please let me know. But whatever dear one, don’t give up– “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” (John 6:68.)

_______

“The power of the Church is not a parade of flawless people, but of a flawless Christ who embraces our flaws. The Church is not made up of whole people, rather of the broken people who find wholeness in a Christ who was broken for us.”

–Mike Yaconelli

%

kyrie elesion, Bryan

(Lord, have mercy.)

cropped-cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg
 
 
 
Posted in affliction, an intense love, apostasy, battle, battle wounds, believer, Bible, brokenness, bruised mind, change, christlikeness, conflict, confusion, deliverance, delusions, despair, desperation, devotional, difficulties, discipleship, encouragement, failure, faith, following Jesus, frustration, God, grace, healing, holiness, humility, Jesus Christ, kyrie eleison, lessons learned,, life lessons, lost causes, mercy, mood swings, obedience, personal comments, poverty, pride, questions, quotes, regret, religion, sadness, scars, self hatred, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, sin, spiritual lessons, spiritual warfare, theology, transformation, transparency, understanding, Very helpful, waiting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments