Jesus

Grace, Love and Suffering

If someone were to ask me to describe the gospel in three short parts, this is how I think I would describe it. I decided to make a graphic for it to look at all the time, reminding me that I really do need the gospel every single day.

If I could get these words or something similar tattooed to my eyelids so that I would be able to see them when I woke up and immediately begin to pray for these things, I would. Starting the day off with completely surrendering to Jesus everything I want and know and feel ABSOLUTELY makes a difference in how my day goes, whether it’s a rough day or not. It shapes my thoughts, actions and feelings for the whole day, and I am overall more aware of the holy spirit and what he is saying.

Not sure what this kind of prayer looks like? Here’s how mine usually goes.

God,

I surrender today.

Right now, I die to my desires, my opinions, my control, my ________.

Show me Your grace that you have for me today, and help me to accept it.

Give me the love I need to love the people around me today, and give me the courage to open up my mouth and have conversations.

I don’t want to suffer, but I know that suffering is a part of this whole deal. You tell me in your word that suffering is essential to my relationship with Jesus, for my growth, and ultimately for my good, so help me to understand that and find comfort and rest in you and joy that you are working out all the garbage in this life. When I experience pain and grief, be there with me.

Thank You so much for being my Father. I love you.

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Be Thou My Vision

Glasses. We put them on to see better. We wear them to protect our eyes from the sun’s vibrant rays.

We use them to distort our vision to.

Wait. What?

That’s ridiculous, right? Why would anyone use lenses that make things worse? No one actually does that.

Physically, no. But spiritually, emotionally, mentally… we do it all the time.

Every experience, encounter, situation, trauma, life season, relationship… all of these things cause us to look at things through certain lenses.

If you’ve grown up with an abusive father, that will cause you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality, cowering at every dominant male figure and never feeling good enough.

Some of you were taught that little girls (or boys) look this way, and bad girls and boys look that way. That causes you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality, judging and turning your nose up to everyone who looks and acts “worse” than you, and only surrounding yourself with “pretty” people.

If your parents never EVER fought in front of you but always looked miserable, that causes you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality. My guess is you live life with your spouse and never EVER fight. Chances are you are more distant than the those roommates who have absolutely nothing in common. If you are looking through these lenses, I promise you, it will boil up and explode eventually.

Maybe you grew up with no real adult figures, causing you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality, taking on the world as an enemy you have to conquer, and never relying on anyone but yourself.

Or perhaps you gave everything you had to that person, and they left you, causing you to look at life with a blurred sense of reality. Never again will you let anyone get that close to your torn-to-pieces heart.

Do you see where I’m going? I could go on and on, because there are an infinite amount of glasses we choose to put on each day.  These lenses affect every choice we make, every word we say and every feeling that we feel.

But there is only one pair that will give us clear vision, help us speak truth and allow our souls to live in shalom.

The gospel.

When we look through the lenses of the gospel, everything becomes clear.

When we read scripture through the lenses of the gospel, we begin to see it as a whole and perfect story of brokenness, grace, redemption, love and eternity.

When we view the gospel through the lenses of the gospel, we no longer think of it as a product we sell to people on the street in exchange for the satisfaction of numbers.

When we think about Jesus through the lenses of the gospel, we know we are not condemned and shamed, but redeemed, lifted up and victorious.

When we view sin through the lenses of the gospel, we understand that we are innately crooked, and that God is the one who breaks, sets and heals our disease-ridden bones.

When we view suffering through the lenses of the gospel, our gaze shifts from our phone and that current tv series to God because we know He is everything and everything else is nothing in comparison. We rejoice because we are being made like Christ.

When we view our brother’s and sister’s mistakes through the lenses of the gospel, we see them as a fellow fallen soldier who needs some help getting up and getting back to base camp.

When we see that pregnant mom in the parking lot smoking a cigarette through the lenses of the gospel, not only do we feel passionate about the well being of that baby’s life, but we also have overwhelming love and compassion for that mom who doesn’t have any other way out at the moment.

When we think about that guy who keeps running further and further away from great things and deeper and deeper into drugs and loneliness through the lenses of the gospel, we are so burdened for his soul that we get on our face and weep in intercession for him.

When we understand worship through the lenses of the gospel, we realize that every movement we makes decides what we worship, not just 20 minutes on Sunday morning before the pastor speaks.

When we look at ourselves through the lenses of the gospel, we discover how incredibly weak we are and how desperately we need our Creator to save us. Out of that discovery, grace, hope and faith towards everyone and everything bursts forth into the world around us.

He was here before us.

He made us.

He wept for us.

He revealed the depravity in us.

He sent Himself for us.

He died for us.

He covered us.

He redeemed us.

He loves us.

He delights in us.

He makes us new.

He is making all things new.

That is a pair of glasses that I never want to take off.

 

Break All My Bones Part 1

I’ve been experiencing a new kind of faith the past week and a half. It has been the most painful, exhausting, liberating and eye-opening 9 days of my life. And I saw my dad being trampled by police on the news once. I saw a man get dragged underneath my car 50 feet and almost die in front of my eyes.

These things pale in comparison.

I know that this journey of freedom will be longer than just these past 9 days, so I am going to do a series of posts that touch on what I’ve been going through, sin, our innate crookedness, the pathetic yet enticing lies of Satan and God’s overwhelming and death-conquering glory.

Hold on to your butts.

Here’s a bunch of words I wrote after small group on Wednesday, the 15th of August. Little did I know God was going to start answering this plea just a few days later.

I lived a life of whores, found five lovers and even more.

There’s nothing that you tell me you’ve done, that I haven’t done before.

In my heart, sin has dwelt since the dawn of Eve’s choice. 

Dining with the dead, entertaining a lively corpse. 

Break all of my bones if you have to, and rip them right out.

Don’t leave a spec of sin,  not one single solitary doubt.

Take from me this flesh, and replace it with your spirit.

Pull my sides right off, I don’t care if it’s a bloody mess.

Breathe into me breath, and pull me out of this pretty grave.

I can’t live another second, as a zombie and as a slave.

I may not have any sides, but now I am finally alive.