For those of you close to us, you know our family has been going through quite a time as our teenage daughter has begun an outward wrestling with her identity in Christ. She’s been given great tools and great teaching, but in the confusion of her adolescent brain (remember those days? I do… and shudder) has chosen destructive paths to express her long bottled up emotions. This is not an indictment against her, rather a recounting of the facts as she and we have discussed them. For her privacy’s sake, we’ll draw the line here in terms of detail. Let it just be said that we are fully committed to and currently engaged in getting her all the help she needs as she navigates this exponentially complicated season of her life. Her commitment to this process, moving forward over the next 90 days and beyond, is between her and her Savior – or, as we say “a vertical issue”.
Rest in Peace
Recently, a friend and mentor of mine verbalized his observation of my “stable” state of mind and attitude in the wake of all she’s done to herself, and by extension, to us as a family. I didn’t even realize how stable & peaceful I was feeling at that moment. In fact, I was torn with whether or not to even mention it here so
publicly for fear of taking credit for something that was so far outside of my own doing. But, there you have it: it wasn’t my doing. I wasn’t keeping myself in peace [Is. 26.3] by intense concentration or fierce labor of the body, I had merely decided not to fight against the all powerful God whose name is “Master of the Universe” (Adonai, melech ha olam). With regard to all Brie is going through, Cristine and I have acknowledged that God is in control and despite the fact that we disagree with His methods of sanctifying our daughter (and again, by extension, us…) at this time, we trust Him to have a far better plan than we to accomplish His ends.
Then, today, as I was reading Jim Cymbala’s “Spirit Rising”, I noticed Cristine had circled one line in Francis Chan’s introduction – “It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh is no help at all. (John 6.63)”
Praise the Lord.
The truth was right there in black and white. Mere paragraphs from one of my favorite and misquoted verses in scripture: “if you hold to my teachings, then you are truly my disciples. And, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. (John 8.31-32)” And, there I was – set free by the truth that my flesh (my natural tendency to do things in my own power and will) was of no help in bringing me peace and stability. At any given moment, we have a choice – we can wrestle with God (which very rarely pays off – see Gen. 32.35 and Gen. 18 for examples) in our own strength or we can yield to the Spirit.
The Hard Question:
Are you striving or trusting, right now?
Jesus made a big deal about the Holy Spirit – “…it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 16.7)” If it was better for Him to go and the Spirit to come, shouldn’t we expect more of the Spirit in our lives? YES!!! I didn’t feel any tingling in my bones, didn’t glow in the dark, didn’t even speak in tongues – but when my mentor mentioned my demeanor, I did notice the peace that I had no part in creating. I simply yielded to the Spirit. That promise and peace are available to you, and all who call upon the name of Christ with a pure heart. Isn’t that NUTS?! Just for the asking and the yielding. You don’t have to wield an axe and chop down a forest, you just have to sit and rest.
So, sit. Rest. Know that He is sovereign and you are His.
Peace. Really – rest… in… peace.
Men’s porn teaches him to hold women to an unsustainable standard. Women’s porn does the same to men.
With the imaginary standard set so high, is it any wonder why divorce and affairs are so rampant? No one is living up to their expectations!
Lies for the day. Truth to set us free.
The purpose of this column is to examine commonly held beliefs that are a part of the world system (kosmos) which is diametrically opposed to the Kingdom of God. These are the things we believe to be “just the way it is”. The truth is, it’s not “just the way it is” – there is a source from which these beliefs come and are exported into our world. There is, indeed, another world beyond what we can see, ruled by “the prince of the power of the air”, who hates God and all of the elect and will stop at nothing to “steal, kill and destroy” them.
Among these lies are statements so close to the truth that their flaws are nearly imperceptible to the naked eye. For this reason, we must look at them more closely, holding them up to the scriptures for proof that they are counterfeits.
“I’d take a bullet for my wife.” This may be a true statement, but for far fewer husbands than might admit it. The truth, as we look at it, is “I’d take a bullet for my wife, so long as she’s not the one pulling the trigger.”
This week is anything but “business as usual”. So, instead of trying to articulate during an inarticulate time, I’m letting Tenth Avenue North run the Monday Morning Momentum Minute. They’ve said it much better than I can and if a picture is worth a thousand words, the chalkboard in the background is worth a million bucks. Have a great week – you are loved.
Thanks, for all of your prayers on our behalf.
5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Lately, I’ve had opportunity to talk with a lot of people about the enormity of God and how often and easily we minimize how big He really is. When I minimize who God is, I by default magnify who I am and sin is just the natural outpouring of this arrogance. I just “had” to finish an article I was writing and “had” to get some research done on another project I’m working on, so I stayed in the office a bit longer, denying my kids some Daddy time and my wife the break she needed from a long day. Not a sin that shows up in the 10 Commandments very easily, but on second glance, I’ve broken the first and 6th commandments.
When my agenda trumps the godly order of my responsibilities as a husband and father, my priorities are out of whack. When the Holy Spirit sets off my “Spider Sense” telling me I’m spending time at work that was meant for my wife, I’m committing, on some level, adultery.
But, that’s just me – what about you?
How do you do when that alarm goes of in your head that tells you you’re doing something wrong? Do you listen to it or do you bow up with pride and allow your agenda to be bigger and more important than the God who created the universe and paints history on a canvas larger than space and time? How’s that workin for ya? Do you, too, get anxious because there’s not enough time to complete your all important task, so you’re tempted to rob Father Time to protect your agenda? Humility… Submission… the result – care.
Today, pray for me – that I dig deeper into the fact that God gives us the antidote to His opposition – humility. Today, be encouraged, while you may have drunk the same poison of pride, the very same antidote is available to you.
Walk in freedom. Walk in repentance.