Shameful Memories

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her,and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 

Genesis 3:6-10, ESV

There is a good chance that some of your memories are pretty awful. When we get looking back we can see shameful, dark things.  Some of us carry things that are profoundly evil, and they go with us wherever we go. It’s no secret that  guilt and mental illness travel hand in hand, for they are brothers. They have tormented us for ta erribly long time. They are like playground bullies who have no fear– they  only have hatred for us.

I’m quite convinced that the only way to move on is to have Jesus Christ to fully cleanse you; and that includes your dark humiliations.  The human tendency is for concealment. We take considerable effort to conceal and cloak our past lives. (Both Adam and Eve understood personal shame.)

I remember back when my dad discovered that one of our dogs had killed a chicken.  He took that dead chicken and wired it around that dog’s neck. That dog wore that chicken for weeks.  It was awful, and it began to putrefy. The smell was terrible.  I can still see that dog, staggering and tongue lolling out and slobbering.  My dad said it was the only cure for a “chicken killer.”  The dog would get very sick, attached to this rotting carcass.  It was sobering lesson for a boy to see.

Somehow, that is what our past disgrace has done to us.  Sure we have moments when we can almost forget.  But, for the most part, it is just a temporary reprieve.  We slide back and rediscover the pain; it’s just waiting for us.   The cost on our mental health is staggering.  Many of us are driven in a mad movement to drugs and alcohol.  We are compelled to escape the pain, and for a little while it seems to work. (This is called “co-morbidity.” Which is ‘fancy talk’ for a dual problem.)

Most of us, would quickly trade this mental pain, this misery;  for a physical one. Something shameful that was done 20 or 30 years ago continues its destructive work.  It’s like filling a bucket with corrosive acid.  It will “eat” its way out.  Our conscience will not allow us to dispose of our self-disgust in this easy, cavalier manner.  We need a ‘hazmat’ crew to help us clean-up mentally and spiritually.

You have to forgive yourself.  You must (!), or you will destroy yourself and those closest to you as well.  Often these things are a moldy wall; they seem to just need a coat of paint. Our problem is that it will only cover for a short time.  After 20-30 layers are applied, we realize this isn’t really the answer. Nothing we can do is ever enough.  We must have Jesus– we must!

A full repentance is critical. Don’t scuff off this first step.  The blood of Jesus isn’t some nicety. It is foundational for salvation. We are to, by faith, start the obedience. Our blistering sin and guilt are absorbed in Jesus’ death and resurrection. He took away every ounce of sin. believe that and freedom is yours.

No matter what the sin it is forgiven.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

 
 

Jesus’ Love, (Believer Style)

Jesus-Door-Knock-Mormon1
Jesus is waiting.

“I slept, but my heart was awake,
    when I heard my lover knocking and calling:
“Open to me, my treasure, my darling,
    my dove, my perfect one.
My head is drenched with dew,
    my hair with the dampness of the night.”

But I responded,
“I have taken off my robe.
    Should I get dressed again?
I have washed my feet.
    Should I get them soiled?”

My lover tried to unlatch the door,
    and my heart thrilled within me.
I jumped up to open the door for my love,
    and my hands dripped with perfume.
My fingers dripped with lovely myrrh
    as I pulled back the bolt.
I opened to my lover,
    but he was gone!
    My heart sank.”

Song of Solomon 5:2-6, NLT

The young maiden is in her home. She’s already in her bed when she hears her beloved calling out for her. She suddenly hears the door rattling. The lover is trying to unlock the door! The front door is locked and he waits for her to get up and let him enter.

She seems to vacillate. Listening to his pleas moves her, but she is reluctant to get out of bed. She responds with excuses (v. 3) and shows that she is quite unwilling to let him in.

It’s only when he reaches in and tries to unlatch the door that she responds. She jumps up and runs to the door, but she is too late, her beloved is gone. Her moment has passed.


“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

Revelation 3:20

 Jesus’ love for you keeps Him knocking. He wants entrance to your heart. He keeps knocking because that’s what He does. (Jesus is very faithful that way.)

He is driven by love for your soul. Love is His supreme motivation for His attentiveness.

Perhaps that patience is what makes Him so wonderful. Human beings can be stubborn and we have to get up and respond to the presence of Jesus. We find excuses for not meeting with Him. This strange apathy soon becomes a bigger problem of “spiritual laziness” which pervades one’s life.

Our very growth as disciples comes as a direct response to Jesus’ desire to fellowship with us. It seems everything hinges on our willingness to be with Him. This is a daily tryst and an intimate rendezvous that if missed, (or neglected) becomes a missed opportunity.

I want to emphasize this. Your strength and stability come from your daily contact with Him. As broken-believers we’re often unstable. My bipolar disorder makes me erratic and unsteady much of the time. His strong arms hold me in place. Intimacy is what my soul craves deep down.

“The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.”

Psalm 145:18

bry-signat-1

cropped-christiangraffiti1 (2)

More Like a Romantic Kiss

Kiss at JHGTCjpg

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
For your love is better than wine.
3 Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,
Your name is ointment poured forth;
Therefore the virgins love you.
4 Draw me away! “

Song of Solomon 1:2-4

“Dear God, I think about you sometimes even when I am not praying.” 

Elliot, “Children’s Letters to God”

It may seem heretical, but it seems that spiritual growth is being reduced to ‘bullet points’ of a presentation. And that really does scare me.  We are looking to fall into a trap ‘head over heels’ right into a place that has promised so much, and yet delivers so little. We have been reduced to a mindset of which the ‘disciplines’ of the Christian life have become formulaic, and  robotical.  Somehow, we are missing the purpose as our discipleship begins to grow hard and slowly turns to stone.

But a kiss, on the other hand, is undefinable; it can’t be quantified and defies rules.

I fear the formula, and repudiate the rules.  I am disturbed that our discipleship can become self-moving, self-regulating, self-starting.

When will realize that Jesus is looking for lovers?  Somehow we think we can extract romance, diminish intimacy and choose to walk mechanically through life.  We are losing our created and given purpose to be in close fellowship with Him.

There is a monstrous industry in all of this, a callous system. With the absence of an intimacy with Jesus, the following will actually become dangerous.

  • formulas, counselors, life-coaches
  • training programs,
  • media: books, podcasts, TV
  • conferences, prophetic worship
  • magazines, “special” books
  • inspirational speakers, favorite Bible teachers
  • and even websites, (like this one!)

We often turn to them to get what we think we need. The delusion is that we can become moral and true, without an intimacy with Jesus. I guarantee this, without a deep intimacy with Him, these “things” will invariably disappoint us. But truly, we seldom do intimacy well.

Authentic growth will not happen overnight.  Many get so disappointed, and disillusioned that they just quit walking and become hardened aand very unhappy. They may or may not become apostate. The Lord sees them, and loves them at a distance.

We can’t use the above list, but the Holy Spirit can.  He uses these things, but there can never be confusion on who is working. I must relate to Him and strengthened in His strength.  I must be as intimate as I can in His presence.

There can never be an authentic spirituality, without a real romance with Jesus We must be taken up with Him and enthralled.  We must recover the “courtship of the Lord.” Prayer starts to become a passionate tryst, and worship an affair of the heart.  This where we meet begin to meet him directly, and authentically.

For good people, God is a religion. For the saints he is a kiss and an embrace.

Passion, and not principles (even if they are noble ones) will carry the day. It’s about desperation, not obligation.  I will be the first to admit that these maybe these differences seem subtle and trivial, but they’re not.  Romance brings roses to a rendezvous, with a passionate and openly declared ‘first love.’ Yet so often we shuffle in and grovel to bring our list of things we need or want. Few be the lovers, that find true contentment and freedom and real peace when they are alone with their Beloved.

 

bry-signat-1

cropped-christiangraffiti1 (2)

*

A Simple Prayer at Christmas

 

Mistletoe is a partially parasitic plant which grows on trees and feeds on the nutrients of its host. It was revered by Pagans who believed that it had life giving powers and bestowed fertility. Kissing under the mistletoe was probably an early Pagan marriage ritual.

Scandinavians regarded mistletoe as a peace plant and it was given to indicate a truce between warring nations or husband and wife. Its evergreen leaves and association with kissing meant it was easy to use as a symbol of Christian love and eternal life.

A CHRISTMAS PRAYER

Dear Father,

It is Christmas time again. Help me this year to season the celebration with reason. Teach me to plan with my family. May I avoid the clutter that dims my vision and burdens my time.

Keep me mindful of my budget. and help me to remember that a gift selected with love tugs forever at the heartstrings. Forgive me for past extravagance.

Remind me to decorate in good taste, treasuring all of the past blending it with the new, but holding steadfast to reason. Keep me, dear Father, from strain lest I stray from all thy teachings.

Guide me to the light of Christmas. Help me keep a candle’s flame of that light as a constant reminder of my goal . . . eternity.

I pray for thy love and help, in the name of thy beloved Son whose birthday we are observing. Amen.


– Author Unknown

cropped-christiangraffiti1-2