Shattered and Broken

Life is complicated.

The answers that humanity gives us are often complicated too, leaving us confused, without any real sense that we’re any closer to truth. The simple platitudes and cliches we hear betray us in that, despite the temporary warmth they provide, we know there’s more. More that’s required of us, more that has to happen, more that we still aren’t understanding.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Look on the bright side.

They’re in a better place now.

God is Love.

Be Holy as I am Holy.

So many.

Granted that the last two are quotes from the Bible and so are absolutely true, they are both tossed around by people, good, well-meaning people, to say things about God and life that are absolutely not true.

Does God demand that we come to Him through the cross of Jesus Christ? That, though He is love, His holiness requires a compensation that none of us can afford?

And does His holiness require a level of holiness, perfection, spiritual enlightenment from us before He can use us, before He can really be a part of our everyday life?

I think, if we’re honest, and we say yes to the first question, we must say no to the second.

And, just so we’re clear, yes is the correct answer to the first question. Which means the payment for us was paid and we are given a choice to have a relationship with God, or not. And that choice has eternal ramifications.

But, to my point, can we ever say that we have reached a point where God can and should use us?

The best of us are shattered and broken. The stories we love to hear, the legends, often cover the humanity we are embarrassed by. And when the humanity is revealed, we become angry and disillusioned. Anything good that was done or said is destroyed, discredited.

Can we not take joy, comfort, peace, strength, boldness from knowing that God is using us, is speaking through us, is shining out of our broken and shattered lives? Can’t we silence the lies of our enemy with the truth that it is never about us, never for our glory, only about Him? His mercy. His grace. His glory.

P.S. I love this video for the song itself but also for all the long-haired, tattoo covered, weird and crazy people I see singing in honor of my King and letting me know I’m not alone.

Send Them Away

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.””‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

His first disciples seemed eager to send people away.  Before Jesus fed the five thousand, before he placed the child on his lap, the followers of Jesus first sought to send them away.  Let them find their own food.  Let them find acceptance and love from less important people.

Both responses were rebuked.

“You feed them.”

But they couldn’t.  They didn’t have enough.  And they were right.  Not in their hands and not in their hearts, truthfully they did not have enough.

“Don’t hinder them.”

No question of whether the disciples had anything to offer here, and children smell a fake a mile away anyway.

Now I’m not writing to rebuke anyone, but to ask a question.

Are you hungry?  Come to church, come to God’s word, come to His heart.

Are you lost and hurting?  Just come straight to Him.  His people can help you and those who know Him best help the most.  His word, the Bible, is rich in healing and talks so deeply of His love.  But come to Him.

Seek His presence, listen for His voice.

All He is asking, right now, is for you to come.

Get Up!

You’ve fallen.

Get up!

You’re hurt and broken.

Get up!

You’re afraid.  You’re trapped!  There’s no way out, no hope.

Get up!

The voice of your past, the guilt that you carry, the sinister voice of satan would all tell you to stay down, to never try again.

Get up!

I don’t mean the callous, clichéd words of “get over it, buck up, suck it up.”  I know you’re hurt.  I know you’re overwhelmed by a life that never seems to turn out right, by struggles that constantly remind you how frail and useless you are.

But I also know there is a God in heaven.  I know that He loves you.  I know that He believes in you.

I also know that people are counting on you.  I know there are battles yet to fight.  I know that your heart, yielded to Jesus Christ, is the thing satan fears more than any other earthly thing.  He fears it more than angels, more than religion, more than world peace.

So get up!  Put on your armor!  Lift the sword of the Spirit!  Pray!

Oh my soul, love again!

Wrecking

When I was younger, I used to wreck….

A lot…

I’ve wrecked bikes, big wheels, motorcycles, horses (yes, horses) and cars.  You’d think that I would quit driving after all this, never want to ride again.  I’ve had bruises, broken bones, a split palate, at least one concussion, and bled from countless wounds.

The funny thing is, I love to drive.  I love to ride.  I am more cautious, but not afraid.  I don’t speed as much because I don’t like paying tickets, not because I’m worried about losing control.  My favorite place is the driver seat.

So why is it, that as I’ve failed in business, failed in ministry, failed as a husband, failed as a father,  I have come to the place where I let fear have a say in my existence.  Wrecking, monumentally crashing and burning, are part of my life.  Why have I quit trying while I’m still alive?

I don’t know.

Maybe, I have a choice to make in my life.  Maybe I get to turn up or turn down the volume on the voices I hear.  Maybe, I can choose to believe in God’s will for me and not what other’s would choose.

I think I can.

I believe that I have songs people need to hear.  I believe that what I write encourages others to pursue Jesus.  I believe, though I am fat, old, short, and none too pretty, that if God speaks through me and anoints my words, I can speak life into those He puts in my path.

I can watch what I eat and lose weight.  I can exercise more, practice more, so that I can look and play better.  I can open my heart to His voice, be a student of His Word, talk to Him and listen to those He has placed over me.  Then His life, His peace, His direction will guide me.

And should I wreck again, …

…if I’m still alive,

I’ll pick myself up, by His strength and grace and mercy.  I’ll dust myself off, stop the bleeding, set the bones, go to the doctor, all because of His life in me.  And go again.

It’ll be fun!