Tag Archives: religion

Follow The Leader

15 Oct

 

How many times have I held myself hostage to shame or guilt; Lost sleep over things I have said or done, things I wish I had done differently?
How many times have I sat in sorrow, feeling like I have blown it all; Blown God’s blessings for me, messed up and knew He must be so disappointed?
How many times will I question whether I am being punished by Him?
How many times do I question my own belief; How many times will I feel too hypocritical? Like I am supposed to be better than I am doing.
How many times will I be offended or feel resentful over things, hurt by rejection or presumed being unchosen?
How many times do we say, I have to do better, be better, watch my words, grab hold of my sins and fix them?
How many times do we want to do the right thing and ask God over and over, “what is your plan”, “what do you want me to do”, “Open doors, close doors”, and become frustrated because He didn’t answer. Maybe it didn’t matter? Maybe it was more about submission than the outcome.

No More!

This is probably the most powerful truth we can grasp. He wants to be in a close relationship with us. He wants to know us. He wants us to know Him.  To submit our will to Him, our independence to Him, our need to fix life, fix people, fix ourselves achieve stuff, to Him and Him alone. To have a real relationship with Him.

If we believe that Christ was the sacrificial lamb, who died and rescued us from the punishment for our sins, that his death was merciful and complete; Why do we throw that away and reclaim the hopelessness of being judged by the law?

The Sermon on the Mount is so powerful in the expression of the true consequence of our belief. If we judge sin, we will be judged by the law. If we surrender sin, we will be washed clean. Surrendering our ability to do to the one that already did, is powerful and because of our ego, very difficult to do. We don’t have to be perfect to know Him. We just have to know Him, seek Him. We begin to fill up with Him, through His word, through prayer, through being still and letting the words wash over us, by journalling, with praise of Him, worship of Him.

Take your tears, your anger, your brokenness, your fear, your hopes, your wishes, your control, your illness, your insecurity, your anxiety, your hopelessness, your joy; take this all to Him. He knows everything and still loves you enough to take it all away and make you new. Build you back up, create in you a new mind, a new heart, a new hope.

If we don’t trust God with our complete hope, we fall short. We, the ones trying to do the impossible-becoming perfect, or running away so fast because we are imperfect, we need to remember who is the only one that will ever be perfect. And learn what His love and death for us, did for us.

We are all sinners.
All are welcomed by God.
We love ourselves and love this world best when we begin with loving God and accept His love in return.
We don’t turn from our sin and with this perfected new self, accept Christ and His Grace and Mercy.
We turn to Him, the only one, that can rescue us and transform us by our own submission to Him

It isn’t those that worked so hard at changing their sins and being good, that will be known by Him.  The ones that knew they couldn’t do anything without having a deep and trusting relationship with our Lord, will be known.

We are so unworthy, every one of us, to sit in Heaven with God, but He chose you, not because your so great, or so perfect, not to be the judge, or the next teacher; not to be the next amazing, not to be the next best, but to be loved by Him, for Him, for this world.

He will transform you, rebuild you, for His purpose. He will not leave that work undone. He did not say you will not leave the work undone. He did not say reject those people, judge those sins as abomination. He said be a light in the world. Know you are a sinner yourself and from that joy of forgiveness, let other’s see what grace is and does.

When the townspeople were set to stone the woman for adultery, Jesus taught the message of let the one without sin, throw the first stone. No one could. But don’t miss the second part of that message. Everyone left, leaving the woman alone there. Jesus is the only one that didn’t leave that woman alone in her sin. He loved her so much even in her sinful state of being an adulterer. He didn’t judge her. He instructed her to not sin any longer. I would love to know her testimony from that rescue, that love, that welcoming.

This is what it means to follow Him. Follow His examples of prayer, of relationship to the Father, to surrender and submit over and over and over again.

Grace cannot be earned; Grace is not the goal. Grace is the gift, the fulfillment of requirements, someone else took the punishment of your sins for you. Grace is the invitation to join Jesus in a relationship.  ALL are welcome to this.

This relationship will be harder, not easier. Submission is hard. God transforms you, and it can be difficult to be healed in many ways.  Remember though; In the perfect garden, Eden, where all needs were supplied, where God walked as a friend, Eve chose deception for more than all supplied needs and God as a friend and Adam chose to please Eve and blame everyone. We are built this way; Imperfect creatures. You are never going to be perfect. Not ever.

Knowing who God is, knowing He loves you, letting that fill your heart, letting that move you and guide you; trusting in Him, through every up and down, every betrayal, every trial, every loss… That is where your purpose and your freedom is found. That is where joyful living begins and endless pursuit of happiness ends.

“For sin will no longer be a master over you, since you are not under Law [as slaves], but under [unmerited] grace [as recipients of God’s favor and mercy].”

ROMANS 6:14 AMP

https://www.bible.com/bible/1588/rom.6.14.amp

“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” ———-”

John 8:1-11 NLT

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/jhn.8.1-11.nlt

Sermon on the Mount is Matthew 5-7. I encourage you to read this.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/mat.5.1.nlt

Hope

2 Sep

by Beckie Halaska

God gave my friend and I this word last night. It was just one word. A powerful word.
I have realized that Hope is what drives everything; Everything!
We go on dates because we hope for this to be the one.
We flirt, we share, we open our hearts up because we hope for the relationship to be important, we hope for love.
We begin new jobs, plan families, plan vacations, all from hope.
We fight disease from hope.
We stay in jobs because of hope.
We invest energy, resources and time in the hopes of outcomes.
We go on diets, and begin exercising with a hope of achieving a goal.
We look forward to an event, hoping for a fun time.
We pray from hope, and sometimes we pray for hope.
Today, we pray for a hurricane to move away, we hope for safety, for lives to be spared, for change.

Hope is hugely important and drives just about all we do or desire.
The Hebrew root words to describe Hope all stem around the word trust: To trust, or worthy of trust.  To put our trust in God is to put our Hope in Him.

The entire bible is about Hope. Jesus himself was about Hope. One of my favorite scriptures is the epitome of that Hope. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

There is a hope that comes from knowing that at the end of our time here, at the end of this amazing and turbulent world, we will no longer suffer and there will be joy everlasting. What a hope this is.

There is a hope that comes from trusting that even when we can’t see an outcome, with things out of our control, God is still in charge, still working all things out for our good. There is a hope that when we look back on our lives, we can see that we always came out of hardship. All the pieces made us who we are, gave us our purpose.

When you don’t have that hope, when you are trying to do this all on your own, when you have lost the ability to see hope, find hope, we become desolate and alone. We crumble. Sometimes hope is all that is left when the suffering is great. It can be just a thread, but it is life itself. Without that thread of hope, we have nothing.

Hopelessness is a rampant disease these days. People suffering and taking their lives, because they have lost hope. Our world isn’t becoming more evil, our world is losing hope.

In all that I have gone through, in all I have done, I can only give God that credit. It is because I learned from hopelessness, that He is my hope. And all my hope comes from the Lord. I have learned to trust in His sovereignty. I am grateful to not have to shoulder everything myself and I know this world will have it’s share of suffering and sorrows, but my strength and joy comes from the hope for heaven. For eternity.  I can lean on that when all else falls apart. This life is a vapor and it without the Hope of more, it loses all meaning.
Literally no one will know most of us even lived here 2 generations from now. We are not so important to be remembered like that.
However, we are so important to those people we love and those we encounter. We are also important to God.
We can be the ones that light the fire of hope in this suffering world. One smile at a time. We can be the hope that says to one person or many, every day, “I see you, you matter”. “There is still good here”. “You are loved, even if I don’t know you, I know God and He loves you beyond measure”.

Hope. We talk about being accepting, being love, but what we really need to be is hope spreaders.  We need to share what Hope looks like, feels like, and how we found it, how we find it every day.

That is our calling here. That is our legacy for the future generations. That is our light in the dark.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. “- Romans 15:13

Little Bits of Wisdom

29 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

God has been really putting some very real truth within my heart.
Little pieces of wisdom, morsels as it becomes my understanding and knowledge.

I am not wise; He is wise. I am learning to be wise, like Him, through Him.
I am imperfect. I have very good moments. Moments that I am absolutely a useful tool for God’s love and grace. I also have moments of pure human emotion and reactions.

I can be very hard on myself, very religiously legalistic, where I expect myself to be perfect. Perfectly His image. That is a lie that Satan uses to make the world think God is not real, that our Christian faith is a joke.
I am so not perfect. I am completely human. Paul really hits home to this point in Romans 7 and 8. I am nothing without God. I will never be perfect. I will need Him always, and without that knowledge, I will either fail miserably or I will take complete credit for everything God has done on my behalf.
I had a few things happen this week that confirm I am hearing Him fully. Last Sunday morning I was talking to God that He seemed to not be close to me. I don’t “feel” him like I used to. I have all this head knowledge, but He feels far away. Later in church, as I was leaving, I saw acquaintances that were sitting behind me, we greeted one another, joked a bit, and as I walked away, God pressed hard on my heart to go back to the husband (If you know me, I have a heart for women and really don’t talk to that many men!) and ask him if he needed prayer and within my soul I knew he did and knew it was health related. He choked up because he in fact, has some very real and very new health issues. God showed off for us both.

Later in the week as I sat listening to a chaplain from work present at a meeting, he shared about how he overcomes his inner voice to minister to people at the commitment center for sexual abusers.
I realized a new layer of truth about God. I have always struggled to understand how God can allow so much suffering here, especially the kids. In that moment I saw the truth. We are here for such a brief moment. This time here is short, and our time with Him is beyond our comprehension. We will absolutely suffer here. Sometimes it just seems too much! Jesus is a perfect reminder of just how much suffering we will have here. This world is hard! We are all so imperfect and there is very real evil here. We are all fragile and suffer illness, abuse, hardships. Not one of us is above it. But God!

This does not take away our purpose here. God is Sovereign over all of it. He knew every single thing you would suffer here and also said He will not leave you alone in it. He never said you will have happiness and joy all the days of your life. You didn’t get the raw deal if you have suffered great loss, been abused or watched a child suffer. Our hearts are too pure to endure it well, for sure. He said, though, don’t focus on this world too much. This world is very hard and broken, your trials will be many amongst your blessings. This world is short, heaven is forever. Colossians 3:2. Heaven is our victory one day. This world will be no more for us and we will dwell in peace forever.

Religion and misled believers, have done a number on who God is. People have misunderstood that our relationship with God is a vertical, one to one relationship. Jesus said over and over that we absolutely cannot judge anyone’s walk with Him. Our job is to love Him so much that we can’t help but have that spill out of us. Our job is to be so humbled by our own lack of ability to perfect faith that we give the same grace to everyone we meet and especially those that harm us, or hurt us.

At the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter who loves us or doesn’t love us. It doesn’t matter how successful we are or if we are learning to be good stewards of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you have walked closely with God your whole life, have a successful marriage and family or if you have just found redemption from your jail cell. God is the equalizer. His grace, His pursuit of you, His dying on the cross for you, His love and plans for you are equal. No more, no less.

I have learned fully that even really bad people can be saved. You can be unkind, slanderous, a trouble maker, a liar, a cheat and still be saved. You can be arrogant, mean, manipulative and judgemental and still be saved. You can be super kind and righteous in your own humble way and not be saved.
It is not what we do, or don’t do. It is not sin, it is not success; it isn’t how we look to the world that saves us.

God is still that prodigal father sitting on the stoop, offering his grace through the sacrifice of His son, simply because He is love. Not because you are. Not because you are without sin. He loves us because that is who He is.

I have come to this understanding of God’s sovereignty. Our lives were planned before we were born. We will go through all of our trials and all of our joys, and at the end of the day, they are all for His purposes. To bring Him Glory. Our real free will is whether we choose Him in it or not. We sin because we have sin in us. Even when we walk close with Him. Period.

As this begins to really settle on my soul, I am filled with such a peace, knowing He has it all figured out. If I could only just keep my eyes on Him at all times and not be so wishy washy… But God.
Yes, He works it all out for our good and for His purposes. Always Grace. Always more grace.
And it is well, with my soul. Amen.

Suffer with Hope

20 Apr

I don’t know why we think life shouldn’t be hard?  Where did we ever get this idea from?We all (ALL) have this idea that life should be easy.  I had to work this out myself, this legalistic idea that I somehow had become “good enough” to deserve less suffering.

My non-believing friends speak about  controlling the things that happen by “what we put in the universe”

What if I told you that it was never intended to be easy or without sorrow. Jesus, the “Son Of God” himself drank from the same cup of sorrow we suffer, on our behalf.

He suffered rejection and betrayal, especially at the end of His life. He sat at a table, washed the feet of those that would abandon Him and betray Him.  The disciples fled and left him, Peter denied knowing Him; Judas sold him out!

I saw this photo and it really brings home the fullness of suffering.

Mary, who bore our King in the most difficult of ways, also had to watch Him be beaten, dragged, mocked, spit on, nails driven in his feet and hands so he could hang on the tree until he died. His side was stabbed.

This mother, aside from being the Chosen King, loved her child,her first born son!She loved him beyond measure. How her heart must have suffered! She must have begged and had her own prayers not mentioned in the bible.
Our Lord, how He suffered! Imagine the pain and the fear! His prayers in the garden, his frantic beseeching of  his friends, his disciples to stay awake while he prayed.  He was alone, afraid, he was human in that moment.

Yet, His words “Thy Will Be Done” is the overall theme of trusting in God, trust that has so much Hope behind it.

Life is hard! This world though it has life, love, joy, and health, it also has death, sickness, betrayal, loneliness, fear, unkindness, evil.  Our poor kids don’t get to see the posts on social media about all the good there is. There is an epidemic of hopelessness.

Jesus understood us.  He knows your thoughts even before you speak them and he completely understands, completely relates to you, because he walked through this world, just like us.  He is full of acceptance, love, encouragement and understanding.

If you really get to know Him and His life, you can see how he worked out his obedience through all the suffering he witnessed to and all that he endured. He modeled it all for us.
It isn’t about how you react, it’s how you walk out a trial. We work through things. It’s not that we don’t suffer at all. We will and we do.

We stumble, we fumble, we fear, we cry…BUT peace, hope and joy can co-exist within those same feelings, when we just come to Him with it all, with every bit of it. We are set free and placed back on the path. Our circumstances may not be changed, but our peace returns, even while our trial still rages.

Mary loved her son. She was chosen by God. She suffered terribly, I can’t even imagine her mama’s heart!  But Hope.

This world doesn’t need more politics, more laws, more leaders, more religion. This world needs more hope. Hope is what I see so lost in this world.

Placing our hopes on success or people, or politicians or husbands, or friends… we will never be at peace. Placing our hopes in the finished work of Christ, the hope of all hopes, our perfect salvation, the one we don’t have to work out for ourselves, gives us renewed vigor to get through everything.

There is a divine Hope, an unsinking, unshaking, unrelenting hope I have found in my Savior. It is there even when everything falls apart. I celebrate this with so much gratitude every day., even more on Easter.

Even in the hard times, even when I sorrow, fear, or have anger. He is always near.  I am unreliable to Him, but He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. He is who he says he is, no matter what we do or say.

This beautiful Easter season, find Him. Seek Him.  He died for everyone, even those that will never acknowledge Him. He is waiting, never giving up, always pursuing you.

1 Peter 1:19-20 – “He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, He was sent to the earth for all to see. And He did this for you.”

Still Someone

19 Jan

Beloved wife, soon to be ex; woman without her spouse, hear me. You were tossed aside as if it didn’t matter. There are so many intense emotions you feel, but when the waves are really rough, there is also a very steady truth underneath the dark, underneath the pain. There is a foundation of truth and faith so tangible that I beseech you to sink your whole grip into. Grab hold and hang on for dear life.

Our God hates divorce for so many reasons.
His plan for marriage was for two to become one; Inseparable. But now you are only one, severed and left to bleed. It is a ripping apart, a death for you. You have grieved and mourned it deeply.
He created marriage for us to help one another. You fought so hard for so many years, I know. He created marriage to help us walk through our lives with a helpmate. To prepare us for the day we meet our bridegroom. This is the piece missing in our churches. This is the piece society leaves out.

It will take a minute to let the aloneness become a comfort. It will feel like hell for a long time.  But the day will come when you have peace again…Maybe, for the very first time.

I know how you cry at night, every night. I know you have blamed yourself; I know you have blamed it on the other. I know you have tried to stop loving the one that no longer loves you. It is a dark and painful hell that none of us want to walk. When we divorce, we all have to go through each step of grieving the death of our other forever half. It is a death for us as difficult and tangible as the death of a loved one. But no one sees it like that. You are suffering and smiling as if you are stronger than you feel.

Trust God with every bit of hurt, every lie told about you, every friend lost during the divorce.  Trust Him when your spouse moves on quickly. It is commonplace, the one that jumps, replaces quickly, if not before. The one that is far from God has a hole they need to fill desperately and they do so, quickly.

You, the one caught off guard, is just worried about surviving. But look at you! You, on the other hand, have braved every awful, heart-wrenching night.  You learned new things, you became empowered in ways you never thought you could. You allowed God, out of need, to become your partner and provider. Look at what He did! With you, for you and through you. You had moments of panic and mistakes but you learned so quickly and altered your course back to His plan for you. You trusted Him in the dead of night to be your husband. You barely have enough to eat most days, it’s been so unfair, yet, you played so fair. Always fair.Now God will set things right.

You have lost people in this process. Let them go.  Not everyone is meant to be here when you don’t just survive your divorce, you soar!  Rejection is part of divorce. You have people that will never leave you, never give up on you, never pick a side. Never hurt you by not seeing how deeply your wound goes. You made new friends, we do that. God brings us healer friends, the ones that understand exactly what your world looks like and what your words mean, even if you didn’t know how to say them.  Friends that will always keep you on your path and point you back to Him.

And God.  He was there all along. You began to talk with Him more and more. You exposed your complete heart to Him. He knew it anyways. He sat there beside you, whether you reached for Him or not. He is always ready to refresh you, he was already to catching your tears, each one, in a jar He keeps forever. Your tears are so important to Him.  Even as other’s listened in on your prayers, your conversations with God, with friends, you just let God have that. You have given justice back over to God. This is His justice now.

You are stronger than you know my friend. Stay true to Godly truth. Stay true to God’s word. That is where your real healing comes from. People will believe all kinds of lies. You just stay with your moral compass, Our Lord. People will take sides. Let them. That is their cross to bear and isn’t about you. Just keep your eyes on biblical truth and God’s omnipotent, sovereign, all knowing, all seeing, ways, hope and blessings. He will never reject you, never take sides, never hurt you.

That is a beautiful, amazing place to be; With Him. Your world will only become more and more beautiful. Let Him show off for you. Let Him heal you. Let Him restore what the Locust has tried to destroy.

A family is broken now, yes. But God uses broken people, and He binds up wounds, making you better than ever. He will make beauty from these ashes. He always does.

Trust in Him. Do not dwell on the things of this world. See His Love in all things. Trust with unshakable trust. Let these waves wash over you and keep your eyes on Him and He will restore your peace, you will be loved beyond measure, you will want for nothing.

Amen.Amen. Amen.

True Religion

26 Nov

As I began my rediscovery of my faith, I promised to always be transparent. I may not always be completely accurate but I am always honest with you. Especially in the ways I doubt or mess up.

I think the hardest part of my faith journey these 10 years, is shaking off the beliefs, the ideals, the teachings that actually kept me from really knowing God, knowing Christ.  I think you can be saved, by simply accepting the gift of salvation Christ gave to you.  That mustard seed, if it took root, is enough.

Religions have made it difficult for us to really know Christ. To know God. To know the Holy Spirit. The rules and politics became magnified and we lost sight of the fact that people in need of a savior were the ones teaching and preaching and leading us.  Sadly, because of the sin in people, it is hard for people to find God.

Religion became about people; Like we did it, like we saved ourselves. We lost God in the mix. Even our non-denominational churches need a shaking up.  We spend so much time on wrong things. We waste opportunity after opportunity, simply because we missed the point.  WE are not the point. WE didn’t earn our salvation.

Sin is a black stain. All sin is a black stain. Whether you lie about why you’re running late or you harm a child. Sin is black. It is all black and in need of a redeemer. Period.  Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5) fell to his knees and couldn’t even look at God because he was able to fully see the stain of his sin compared to the Glory of God.  That is us. Each and every one of us.

That is why Jesus was born.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”” Luke 19:10 NLT

He is the seeker, the all-knowing, just waiting to be known.   Period. 

God created every life. He loves every single life. He seeks every life to know Him.

If the creator of all things,  loves every life, cherishes and longs for every life to know Him, pursues every sinner, how arrogant it is to judge any single person anything.

He isn’t doing this to you. He is seeking you. He is saying “look at me, look to me, seek me and you will find me, hear me, follow me, trust me. ”  It is not a human responsibility to fix society. It is a human response to salvation to want to share that amazing advent with the world.

God could force us to worship Him, but he seeks us. He could reject us for not choosing Him, but He simply continues to pursue us.

There is a longing in us, for more. A hole inside our heart, a wounded sorrowful place that without Him, never becomes full. He left that space inside our hearts just for Himself.  I have times where I don’t feel Him there and it hurts. Physically. I miss Him.  When I begin to worship Him, glorifying Him, I feel my whole being fill up.

My faithwalk is one of ups and downs. I go through periods of deep devotion, humbled and reverent awe of all He is. I also go through periods of time where I forget about Him, I do things out of my own ambitions and needs, and not out of obedience and submission. I am prideful at times, without acknowledgement of all He provides. I am self sufficient, moving along without thinking of Him, at all.  There are times that I have literally sat in such a place of awe, knowing it was Him with me because the atmosphere completely changed.  I have also been edgy, worried, fearful, gossipy, insecure, all things that I am when I forget who He is and who I have dwelling within me.

Honestly, I am in a weird place in my journey. It is so different that at times, I worry that my faith is going cold, yet at the same time, knowing it isn’t. I am trusting Him with this new place, not because I am so good at being a Christian…(I am not), but because I have learned that I can try to be but it really works much easier if I remember that He is in charge and He has never let me down. He is sovereign.

It is so hard to imagine a God that can dwell inside of us. How crazy does that sound? That He would choose us, to dwell within us? We know, deep down, from that humble awareness that we are probably not perfect enough for Him to be inside of us. So why do we expect perfection from the world around us?

HE is the one that loved us first. HE, the one that created the world, also numbered every single hair on every single head. He is self reliant and self existent. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need one single thing because He is omnipotent and sovereign.  We just get to travel through this world, on our way to His world.

He didn’t tell us we were so wonderful, He said we were wonderfully made. He didn’t say we were worth rubies, He said we were bought with the price of rubies.

I forget this humility.  Often. We all do.  We need to do better at loving this world, and we need to start by loving God and loving every person God created, starting with ourselves. We all walk around with that hole inslde that only he can fill and we all walk around with the big black stain of sin. No sin is exempt and no sinner is exempt. No sin is darker. No sin is less than.  Neither are the sinners. We, every single human on this earth is a sinner. Period. It isn’t that we are free to sin however we choose, it is that we are called to humble our own selves before Him and surrender our own sin to Him. It is vertical, this sinner/savior relationship. This is what Jesus meant about the plank in your own eyes. (Matthew 5-7).

My faith may not “feel” tangible to me, but He is really opening my eyes to the truth. To my lowness in the big scheme of things. That lowness is blessed with promise and joy everlasting. Truth shall set us free. I want us all to know true freedom.

So, put your bible on your bed-stand and walk out your door today and see the hole in people. Not the black stain. Find the love inside of you and look around you, see the love needed and share that love, pursue it passionately. When we do this, then we are behaving like God. Oh that I would walk this, every moment of every day.

This is true religion.

 

Sweet Surrender

4 Nov

Oh, but if only we didn’t have to suffer!

Life is so many things, but there is something about discomfort that makes us not see anything but the discomfort. Why is that?

As I comforted a friend in her grief yesterday, I realized that honestly, sometimes we have to just be in it. Just be sad. There was a time when people wore a band or put on burlap and put ash on their face, to let the world know they were grieving. They didn’t buck up, they didn’t try to hide it, they announced it. It was their’s. They owned their own emotions. They were just going through what they were going through.

Somehow in our “enlightenment”, we became unable to endure anything but happy. Truth be told, I think this only makes us more unhappy!  We say “don’t dwell on it”, “focus on the good”, “take your mind off of it”.  What a disservice we do to real grief! The strength that comes from really embracing all of life. I see it in my work as well, people trying to “avoid” death. “If we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen.”

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that nothing is new.  There will always be times of joy and times of sorrow, times of birth and times of death.  Sadly we have gotten so fragile that we can’t even bear someone cutting us off in traffic or having a different perspective.

This is the root of all hatred and bitterness. This set up we create of how we think our life should look instead of embracing what we have and where we are at.

As for the modern church,somewhere along the line, we decided that being Christian meant that we would be blessed with happiness. We are blessed with peace in the trials, because of Hope, Hope for more than this hard world! Jesus was pretty point-blank when he said “you will have trials in this world”

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33. 

I am growing to understand the depth of what He meant.  My friend and I have both walked through this harsh reality this week. She helped me really awaken to the truth. We, (me), tend to think we deserve something good because we are walking with God. Not consciously, but we still do it. This is legalism;  As if our works do anything except glorify Him. We tend to think we should be blessed with more than what Jesus was blessed with.

Jesus was alone in the garden, abandoned, betrayed. He suffered greatly, went to hell for us, all before His final Blessing.  What is it we think we actually deserve again?  It is pretty humbling to think we try to put ourselves above Jesus?

Submission is hard, faith is hard, life is hard.  We have sin in us, so this world is full of hardship. There is both good and evil here. We have to stop worrying about everyone else’s sin, about what other’s do, especially when it is aimed at us. In the end, it isn’t really about us. Our journey is our own.  We can’t control the wind, we can’t control people and we can’t control God.  As much as we love beginnings, endings are as important and natural. They just come with discomfort.  And we don’t like that. We expect it be better than that.  Disappointment is just unrealized expectations. What really do we have a right to expect?

Works is just a form of worship and glorification, not about earning.  Blessings are not rewards just as hardship is not punishment. It is just part of our journey. Nothing new. Nothing is a surprise to God. Just us.

Feel your hurt, feel your sorrow, feel your pain, feel your anger. Stop being so afraid of the hardship that you miss out on the fullness of God’s Glory.  There is something very precious about climbing into your sorrow with God. Just being still in your pain and in Him. It is a tangible closeness that I have never felt any other time.

It really blows my mind when a christian judges another for their journey. Especially when calling another christian a hypocrite. None of us is above another and humility comes as a blessing, not a punishment.  What a joy it is to know I will never be perfect and it isn’t an expectation. What a blessing it is to have exposed my entire inner thought life to Him, shared every dark detail of my thoughts, my actions and to know I am still seen as beautiful, beloved, as precious as a ruby.  To be forgiven and set free from guilt. In the end, it is His opinion of me that matters.

Now for those that are not Christian, this is where it gets really muddy. We as christians have been so legalistic that those that aren’t Christian expect us to be something different that what we can really be.

Being set free from sin, does not mean we don’t sin. There are those that think this means we are free to sin. No, we are not free to sin. Sin is our burden, we will always mess it up, but when you know you are forgiven by God, it honestly begins to change you, it brings you closer to Him, you begin to think more like Him, talk more like Him, and hopefully, love more like Him. God can’t change what you try to hide. He sees it, nothing is hidden, but being afraid to surrender it all, expose it all, before the throne, keeps you enslaved to it. We are set free from it. Confessed sin is cleaned.  It is between us and God.

Legalism is a hard, hard thing. It is prevalent in our churches as much as this world. It is prevalent among believers and non believers alike. It says, you must look and act a certain way. You must do. You must or must not be this or that. You must not sin, you must be joyful all the time, you must be… or not be. False. Relationship with God is vertical. The horizontal is the welcoming portion of the cross. The love. The all.

Faith is actually about surrender. We are all sinners and the one common thing we share is that not one single one of us has it all figured out.  Faith is this, Jesus died for us, because we couldn’t earn our way to heaven. We failed.  Faith is trusting in this. Faith is dying to your own ego and thinking it’s about you at all! It’s about God.  This is the safety to fully process everything but from a place of surrender. This is the peace that is above your circumstances, because He is beside you. He is your Rod and Staff, and refreshes your weary soul. (Psalm 23).

So feel what you feel. Climb in and let God’s glory lighten your sorrow, your burden’s because with Him, it’s not heavy.  Surrender yourself. Confess your dark.  With God, it is healing. It is freedom.

Laugh, fellowship, enjoy your life. Cry when you hurt, cry out when your are afraid. Don’t judge, not even yourself:

Submit.

Be.

Be still and let Him be God. Because He is, anyways.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.