Mastered by Jesus

“A Christian is not a person who believes in his head the teachings of the Bible. Satan believes in his head the teachings of the Bible!”

“A Christian is a person who has died with Christ, whose stiff neck has been broken, whose brazen forehead has been shattered, whose stony heart has been crushed, whose pride has been slain, and whose life is now mastered by Jesus Christ.”

–John Piper

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:15

It seems that the purpose of life is not to find our freedom. It’s really meant to find our Master.

Yes, the idea of being a slave to anyone is repugnant. We chafe at this, and yet man was never meant to be seperated from the Lordship of Jesus. We’re instructed repeatedly with the New Testament idea that “our life is not our own”  Over and over God proclaims Himself as the King.

That troubles us somewhat.

Not so much when life is fairly good, granted, but in those hard moments when a decision must be made between enjoying the titillating “lusts of the flesh,” or accepting the fruits of the Spirit. This is one of those “lordship moments.” They come, and go, and they show us exactly who we are.

If you’re really going to be authentic–a legitimate and real disciple, then you must determine who is going to be “boss.” This isn’t one of those casual decisions. You must securely fix it in your heart.

Your decision must become a settled issue.

The thief on the cross knew salvation, he was promised an eternity with God simply by faith. But I submit to you that he had put himself under the Lordship of Jesus, simply by recognizing the sign, “the King of the Jews.” I believe he saw and understood its imlications. Jesus was King!

This is a very hard word for some, but many of our personal issues hinge on this.

I know this first-hand. It can be a monumental struggle. You must admit to not only having Jesus as your Savior, but you also must put your life under His total Lordship.  You need to pick up your cross daily in order to follow.  You need to learn how to kneel.

I’ve chosen a crown to open up this post–it’s done on purpose.  I simply want you to to understand the supreme call He has on your life. Here’s Bob Dylan, and he nails this idea down:

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You must learn here and now to kneel before the Sovereign King

 

Not Better Off Dead

A few weeks ago in response to a poetics prompt to write about a first time for something, I thought of something that I have only done once, and am thankful I’ve never had happen again. But there are people who have had this happen so many times they maybe can’t even remember the first time.

My prayers are with them, my hope that they recognize the lie that suicide is the answer to pain and suffering and that our loved ones would be better off if we were dead.

Not Better Off Dead

Clearly I recall the first time
the thought entered my mind
They’d be better off if I was dead

I immediately knew it was wrong
but still a method to my madness
began to form in the recesses of
my deeply troubled mind

I could picture the bottle of pills
designed to make me better
but could just as easily
be my demise

Then they’d be free, I’d be free

The Psalmist wrote
The angel of the LORD encamps around
those who fear him, and he delivers them

That first time His angel
was encamped around me

He delivered me from that first thought
made me know it was wrong
ensured it was the last time
that thought ever entered my mind

Now we are free and together
because the Lord let me know
I was not better off dead

*

Linda’s Blog.

I write candid memoir and fearless poetry and delve into hard issues others tend to avoid. I want you to know God’s redemption and healing are just a story away.

The Coming Train Wreck, [Future Events]

”The Lord helps them,
    rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them,
    and they find shelter in him.

Psalm 37:40, NLT

We are witnessing something awful and terrible.  Our society is being destroyed.  We are just bystanders, there is really nothing we can do.  However, the survivors will need our assistance.  So we will wait for the inevitable crash, and our chance to bring our Savior’s love into the awful melee which will follow.

Things are accelerating. 

This heightens the tension, which pervades our lives.  We make assumptions of the upcoming derailment which may, or may not be accurate.  But we all sense something dreadful and foreboding is approaching.

Something evil this way comes.  It’s seems that it is inevitable.  They say that just before a big thunderstorm, the birds head for safety, they disappear.  The birds know, while we are still trying to connect the dots.  We look to the skies, and anticipate a coming danger.

The crisis that is coming will stagger the unbeliever. It will challenge the believer.

As Christian believers, we must ready ourselves.  Our viewpoint of eternity will become a much needed commodity for those who go through the devastation of the train wreck.  It is what will pull us through some black and bleak times.  But we can ask for grace, not just to help us, but to help them.

When the storm gets close, the best we can do is to head for the “storm cellar.”  As a boy, growing up in the Midwest, I have clear and distinct memories of heading for that basement shelter, with my family.  When a massive event is coming and seen on the horizon, the only thing we can do is find shelter.  To choose to hide, and to take cover can only be prudence, and wisdom.

While things are collapsing, we need to find solace in His shelter. 

His wings shelter us, and we find refuge in that intimate place.  So much news is grim, and we can so easily slip into depression and despair.  We look around, and turn directly to the wings that cover us.  We are protected and sheltered in that place. The metaphor perfectly fits perfectly.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.”

Psalm 91:1-2

We should rest our souls in Him. 

Some may look at everything coming down and decide to step right into storm to shut it down.  But it can’t stop, it is of the Lord.  Quite a few of the prophets in the Old Testament saw and knew what was going to happen.  They couldn’t do anything against Babylon or Assyria.  But with their voices they strengthened and encouraged God’s own against an outrageous brutality. That is a good thing.

bry-signat (1)

Hello Darkness, We Meet Again

It’s a Psalm written in black ink on black paper. I can’t find a glimmer of light in its 18 verses. Psalm 88 is the worst psalm in Scripture. Strangely enough in Hebrew, the last word of the last sentence is “darkness.” I suppose that explains a lot about its content and significance.

Within its dark words, we see and hear much that we’d rather not.

A commentator describes Psalms 88 as “the public confession of persons excommunicated.” Others suggest that the writer has discovered he has the physical disease of leprosy. This Psalm is bitter and hard. Its companions are the book of Job and Lamentations. They’re part of the Word of God we would rather forget.

As believers in Jesus Christ, how do we deal with such awful darkness?

I dare you to read verses 3-5 of Psalm 88. They pronounce the depth of the afflicted:

I’ve had my fill of trouble;
    I’m camped on the edge of hell.
I’m written off as a lost cause,
    one more statistic, a hopeless case.
Abandoned as already dead,
    one more body in a stack of corpses,
And not so much as a gravestone—
    I’m a black hole in oblivion.
You’ve dropped me into a bottomless pit,
    sunk me in a pitch-black abyss.

Psalm 88 is nothing less than a scream of pain directed at God.

It’s the almost animal screech of the human heart that encounters the worst. Some would suggest that a believer is immune from this kind of darkness, that as a believer in Christ’s victory we’re exempt and delivered from these things.

Explain that to the man who loses his family in a car crash, or to the woman who has just been told she has leukemia. What about the young girl who has just been brutally attacked and raped? Where is God then?

Is there room in your personal theology for such terrible darkness?

We’re not immune from tragedy as believers. It’s a part of living in a fallen world. If anything at all, pain teaches us things we’ll never learn in the sterility of a classroom. If we’re going to survive this suffering it will mean we’ll need to throw ourselves on God like never before.

God has not suddenly lost control of the universe, or, of your life.

If we turn to God in faith, like a little child, we will be led (far too slowly it seems) through our hard (impossible?) things. And we’ll understand what faith really is, and we’ll learn how to love like never before.

We are following Jesus and He has led us to this grief for His reasons.

Most jewelers will display their most precious diamonds on a black background. Perhaps that helps us sort this out. Hebrews 12:5-13 is a bit of a challenge. In theory, we grasp it, but in reality, it’s bittersweet. The sweet part is His closeness–we’re sons and daughters!

 “Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?” 

Hebrews 12:7, CSB

Bring your pain and suffering into His tender light, and do so repeatedly. Let the gentle arms of the crucified One hold you close. Pour your heart out to Him-if you’re broken then bring Him the pieces. I encourage you to not waste your sorrows.

%d bloggers like this: