Healing, oh Healing, where for art thou?

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that I felt broken beyond repair. Daily I waited to see if God’s promises were true. I would read the psalms for hope & some sign that God was on my side. But, I ended up realizing that my sin caused these seasons of brokenness.

I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you. – psalm 41:4

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that I would be so scared of letting people know how hurt I was by a situation that I would only tell God. Usually the situation involved others & for the sake of guarding the position of others I bore the hurt. Thinking that it was my position to bear the pain & it would be gossip to think otherwise.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – psalm 14:3

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that I waited in anticipation of healing. The idea was so beautiful. One day God would come & personally heal me from all of the sins done by me and to me. I pictured God as catering specifically to me.

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” – psalm 107:20

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that God has used the preached Word, the Word, & the incarnate Word to rescue me from my self-made hell. In times of shame & guilt God showed me that my guilt is taken away, and my sin atoned for by Jesus Christ through a sermon from the Bible.

For this is what the high and lofty One says–he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” – isaiah 57:15

There have been a few instances in my life in which I can honestly say that the notion of God dwelling inside me has been comforting beyond compare. Jesus, whose name is holy & dwells in Heaven, came down & dwelt among creation. The creation he created rejected his offering of healing, but he brought healing anyways. You could find Jesus among the broken. In that same sense the Holy Spirit dwells in the broken & is tirelessly pushing us towards the healing Jesus brought forth on the cross.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,” – isaiah 61:1

There have been many instances in my life in which I can honestly say that the good news of Jesus Christ has set people free. Although we have deep scars from past hurts & new cuts from present situations, it is a promise from God that he will bind up the brokenhearted. That is the gospel, that Jesus was sent to heal us who would humbly accept his love. Realizing that you’re hurting yourself & that you’re hurting others & most of all you’re hurting God is the beginning of the road to healing, but you must simultaneously turn towards God. It’s called repenting & believing in the gospel.

wait in anticipation of healing, although through the cross you are healed.

exhaustion.

do you see , what i see –
a body , exhausted – almost lifeless.
can you feel what i feel , a point of surrender.
stripped , his body is unclothed and explicitly exposed
to the world , for the world to see.

beads of sweat dripped , traveled down the side of his face
rolled down his expanded ribcage , as he lay there.
and all people could do was walk passed , shake their head , some laughed.
as his body laid there , helpless , hopeless
in front of the world , for the world to see.

when you’ve got nothing left to live for , do you surrender?
do you give up , let go because you have nothing left to hold?
are you afraid of what they may say or think?
if you lay your life down before the world , even further , before the Lord?
in front of the world , for the world to see how
lifeless your life has been – now that you’ve discovered
you’ve got nothing else to live for.

he did.

have an open mind, but a closed hand

As a human being we all have a thirst for knowledge.

We want to be known for knowing things.

Being honest, I have an issue with the thirst for knowledge. Now before you go running to the Proverbs & showing me verses about wise council, knowledge, & wisdom … hear me out.

[you can listen to this series on the life of the mind here, for free. I especially recommend Francis Chan’s message]

I’m not saying that knowledge is a sin, but the thirst for knowledge being placed above Jesus is.

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? – I Cor 4:7

Everything we have is given to us. How can you expect someone to have something, especially the gospel, unless it is given to them?

This thought should drive you towards humility. That by the sheer grace of God you have anything. We should have an open mind to what others know & what we can learn from them. Eat the chicken, throw away the bone.

But, as G.K. Chesterson would say, “The point of an open mind is to close on something.” Along with having an open mind we need also close on truth. Some truths in a Christians life are closed handed issues. Jesus is one head of the Triune God (John 1:1, Isa 9:6, Titus:2:13), Jesus being born of a virgin (Isa 7:14), Jesus living a sinless life while experiencing every temptation (Heb 4:15), Jesus exchanging his sinlessness with your filth on the cross by grace alone & faith alone (II Cor 5:21, Rom 8:4, Eph 2:8-10), Jesus resurrecting from the dead promising to also resurrect you (I Cor 15:20-28), & Jesus being the only name that anyone can be saved by (Acts 4:12) are just a few.

It is not arrogant to close your mind on Christ because He is absolute Truth. Jesus being the only way is just as arrogant as a Jewish man saying YAHWEH is the only way to heaven or a Muslim saying Allah is the only way to heaven. An agnostic/atheist would say that there are millions of ways, but if we believe in 2 or 3 we are non-inclusive (when in actuality they are excluding us). Since Jesus is the one true God then we have every right to be closed to it.

Issues pertaining to salvation by faith alone, the person-hood of Christ, & the personified love of God are to be closed on. Close your mind around how God loves you. Look at the mercy being abundantly poured out on your life & know that God loves you.

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? – Gal 4:9

But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. – I Cor 8:3

It should be without question in your mind that God loves you. Christ-less-Christianity would say God loves you and has a plan for your life, but the gospel says that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you want a true reason to worship Jesus forever think about His love. His love that suffered the shame of a cross. His love that placed you above himself. His love that died in your place. His love that couldn’t be stopped by death. His love that saved you & is saving you. His love that does not quit because of your disobedience but pursues. His love that will one day put an end to hunger, disease, pain, tears, & sorrow. His love that empowers us to love others.

Think about Christ’s passion. Close your mind to Jesus’ love.

Be known for being known & loved by God.

Me [A Grown Man] and My Bloody Tampons

For A While I Was Comfortable

For a very long time I felt I was a nice guy. I didn’t lie (too much), cuss (too hard), steal (rarely), and generally I was a nice guy (to those who did something for me or were nice back). So yeah, I was an all around good guy, but still nobody’s perfect right? I felt like my good deeds (and my avoiding of bad ones) were like pillows, and I was resting on them, the more good I did, the more comfortable I was. I’d roll around, play in, and rest on these pillows. I really thought me and God were cool. I mean, Jesus is what’s up, but hey I got my pillows bruh, back up. So yeah all in all, for awhile I was comfortable.

Then I Understood the Gospel

See, the Gospel (not music, but the Good News of Jesus Christ as outlined in the Bible) makes it clear that it’s  nothing you do or have done that merits a relationship with God. In fact you did everything NOT to merit any type of closeness with the Holy One, yet God being so beasty in his love decided to send Himself down in flesh and drink the cup of wrath He concocted for those who dissed Him. Not only that but He gives perfection to those who believe in this work He did on a filthy cross. When I realized all of this…I was curious, what was it that I was so comfortable resting on for all these years? It wasn’t anything getting me closer to God, Jesus did that. It wasn’t anything giving me any merit in front of God, Jesus did that too. So, really, what were those pillows?

Isaiah 64:6
We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

When you peep the cultural context and the Hebrew, those words “polluted garment” are best translated as rags of menstruation i.e. bloody tampons/maxi-pads. Gross I know. Now, as gross as that is, it was hard for me to let go of my own righteousness. It sucks to say “God I can’t do it. I never did it. You did it all. You still do it all.” That may be the hardest part of Christianity, letting go of your maxi-pads and letting Jesus be your righteousness by changing your mind about your former life of sin and trusting in the payment on the negative balance that Jesus made as well as the deposit of perfection into your account. I can attest truly that Jesus is much better than those menstrual rags. I’ll end the blog with a question fellas and ladies alike:

Will you let your tampons go today?

the Rise.

hello! hello! thank you for openly inviting me in, subconsciously.
i am your closest friend and your worst enemy – and i play the role quite well.
let me tell you my keen purpose in your life, what i do and how i do it right.
you know when you are starving down to the shifting of your abdominal muscles and you have only a dollar and the lady next to you asks if you need some change. you know what you tell her, “no, thank you!” you know why you tell her, because i live in you.
you know when the rain came toppling down heavily against the pavement and you had no umbrella, no plastic bag, and no time to wait for it to calm – when that man offered you a ride to your car underneath his gigantic umbrella made to cover an army of people, you shook your head ashamedly and murmured underneath your breath, “i’m fine” … as a result, you were drenched in the rain and soaking in disdain. you know why you experienced this, because in you, i exist.
how about the time when she offered to assist you with a subject you terribly struggled with. what was it, political science, or calculus, maybe it was organic chemistry II. it doesn’t matter. she had an A in the class and you were unsteadily sitting on a D- … and you know what you replied to her offer, “what? do you think you’re smarter than me or something? thanks, but no thanks. i can do it on my own. you want to know why you turned her kind offer down, because i float in you all around.
yes, yes. i’ll take a bow. i know, i know, i live up to my title. even when you deny my existence, i am still fully present and my character in you radiates profoundly, you don’t even know what to do. that is why you are perfect to live through.
after all of the internal conflict i have caused within you, i’ve finally decided to formally introduce myself. my name is Pride and it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. :]
pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
proverbs 16:18
there is an ounce of pride inside of every single human being on this planet earth. even in those who do not believe in Jesus Christ and even in those who qualify themselves as super Christians. one beautiful thing i know that is true is the representation of humility in this book of Love i have been reading.
we are alive because of Jesus’ humility … and His love for His Father. it’s beautiful. you’re beautiful. let’s not allow the ugliness of Pride to make us over, but allow Christ to make us new and make us holier.  allow Him to give you an humble spirit in order to Rise above the haughty spirit.  God should consume us, pride should be immune to us.
i know of a Man who has died the death of all deaths just so that you will be able to meet Him face to face.  He has died for your pride to teach you humility and to give you an unconditional Love  – His name is God.  and He longs for you to accept Him into your life.
will you?

quit lying to yourself. part II

I left off from part I stating drankin’, gettin’ tatted up, & “secular” music aren’t always sins; & how we cannot live up to the law, so …

Christ is Love, literally

So not only was Christ a man, but He was God and God is Love. This might get to deep for some of ya’ll but pay close attention. God is Love and the fulfillment of the commandments is Love. Then to fully Love God and Love your neighbor would be a divine act that is only capable by God. Also to Love man [neighbor] would mean that God would have to prove His words with action. Not any action but the greatest of actions. The Bible states that the greatest act of Love that a man could commit would be to lay down His life, for people who hate him.

Remember the cross. While yet in our sins Christ died for us [Romans 5:8].

Now if Christ has fulfilled the law within us and set us free from the bondage of sin then we are free to love our neighbor and love God without the base standard (law) but simply out of God working through us.

With the Holy Spirit living in us we now have the ability to “love without a limit”. The shackles are off, and realizing how much Christ has sacrificed for me leads my heart to sacrifice everything for people who hate me. To be Christ-like is to grow in humility and sacrifice so others can live.

drankin’, tats, & music

Jesus voluntarily gave up His rights for others. So in regards to drinking alcohol we have to individually assess how it affects us & others. It is not a sin to drink but, it is a sin to get drunk; because at that moment alcohol becomes your god & it masters you. Also, there may be other Christians who do not know of the liberty to be held in Christ and would stumble because of your liberty.

Tattoos would have to be another post, but peep what the rowdy Johnny Pipes has to say about it (tat-tat-tatted up).

Music is a gift from God. God is the only Creator and satan cannot create anything. I don’t believe in Sacred or Secular because that is not in the Bible; man “created” that rule. Individually assess if that music stirs your affections for Christ or if it causes sinful thoughts. Listen to music to glorify God. Like Christ, enter the culture and use it as a means to spit the Gospel in a relevant manner.

sacrifice, in Love

God cannot be deceived and He does know your heart. If anything is not done in faith it is sin. I do not believe tattoos, drinking, or “secular” music to be sin but I give up my rights for others & my own convictions. I personally don’t believe if I got a tattoo it would be to glorify God, but out of vanity. I don’t drink because it’s an expensive habit that I’m scared I’d get addicted to, dishonoring God. Some music I don’t listen to because it causes lustful or hateful thoughts (or it just sergeant gutter sucks). Also I don’t want my freedom to hinder someone coming to know the love of Christ.

Our focus should be for the betterment of others. We should have the mind of Christ who gave up His rights so others could be free from condemnation.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

– I John 3:16-18

Love is an action. So let’s love through sacrifice ya’ll.

Get A Life!!!

Ever feel restless? Like you’re waiting for your life to finally take off or waiting for some big change?

I feel like all of my friends are graduating from college, getting well paid jobs, buying new cars, and taking vacations. So many couples I know are so madly in love, making marriage plans, a few of my friends are even getting pregnant and starting families. It feels like everyone I know is on their adult tip doing the grown up thing. Everyone else is out there living life and I’m in here suffering trying to write papers and study for midterms. Just thinking on it makes me feel restless.

One night while I was having one of these ‘restless episodes,’ by the guidance of the Holy Spirit I just happened to find some old Bible study notes from last year lying under my bed, the title of the study was ‘Finding Myself.’ Comfort was on the way.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24

Instantly I gained a clear realization that I had been trying to navigate through life’s obstacles while trying to balance my cross on one shoulder and all my hopes, dreams, ambitions, identities, and wants on the other shoulder. No wonder it felt like I was suffering.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25

As our loving father, God doesn’t settle for part-time custody of His children’s lives. He wants to be in control of the whole thing. Denying ourselves and giving God total control of our lives isn’t always easy, it requires humility, it requires letting go of your personal wants and desires. But denying yourself also means finding yourself in Christ and when you do find yourself in Christ, your joy in life is not dictated by your circumstances, but by your security in Christ.

In Christ I may not have a well paid job, but I have ministry and I find my richness in the fulfillment I gain by serving in ministry and that brings me joy. I may not be married or be on my way to starting my own family, but I have a family of brothers and sisters in Christ who add so much joy to my life. I have a loving Father who is always looking out for me. He’s my protector, my refuge, available to me whenever I call on His name and that kind of comfort brings me joy.

Most of the time when we feel restless it’s because we feel like we don’t have a life compared to others. Sometimes as believers we try to be in Christ while holding on to our attachments to the world. We hold on to the world’s definition of success, the world’s definition of what joy looks like in life. Deny thyself, lose your life, only then will you truly discover the meaning of life and joy!

With all the purpose and joy He adds to my life, I have no time to be restless!

Get your life today!

meet humility.

the first official meeting.
God brought a lesson.
Jesus brought announcements.
the Holy Spirit brought a prayer stirred with humility.

running with great strides, there have been hurdles
of great pride in the way of progression.

people walking around with Bibles, high and mighty
quoting Holy scriptures, thinking that they’re righteous
because of themselves.

questioning peoples knowledge of God and their love for God.
comparing their relationship with lovers of God.
placing themselves on the level. of. God.

forcing other people to become unlike God.

but God … offered us a remedy.
from pride to humility.
through God and His sovereignty.

we don’t have to seek the approval of humanity.

because we love God, we want to serve and know Him more.
because He sent His rich Son down to be like the poor.
… we just want to worship Him more.

that’s the remedy.  the remedy.  the Gospel.  the only remedy.