God: The only roofer you should trust

Perceived control. What a comfort it is. We clutch it with both hands, afraid to let anything come between it and us. Indeed, what we believe we understand about our circumstances, our relatives/friends, and ourselves becomes our home; the place that protects us and that we, in turn, must protect.

The only problem is that God is not on the same page about protecting our sense of sovereignty. He knows that our “home” is a fabrication of self-protecting illusions and God-restricting doubts. To remain in this habitation is to eclipse the joys of being wholly kept for and by Him.

So what does He do? Bit by bit, He painstakingly sets us free. Yes, it is painful. Of course, we are often screaming, “No!” But, in those moments in between, may we let our hearts be held and possessed by the prevailing reality that God will not rest until His child is sheltered properly–in no place other than the shadow of His roof.

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Why does it hurt so much to open my eyes?

You are freeing me, Lord–
gently insisting that I trust You
enough to break this seal of fear
that’s held my heart down
in this paralyzed position for so long.
You’re calling me to open my fear-locked eyes
even when everything in me tells me
that I will die from what I have to see,
what I finally have to acknowledge is real.
I’ve always thought my real was just too wrong
to treat as anything more than a nightmare
You were planning to wake me up from any minute.
But, instead, You’re teaching me to face my life
in the conviction that You are holding both my hand
and my feeble heart.
I don’t want to do it, Lord;
but it’s what You have for me today.
Where do I have to run to
if I can’t be comfortable in Your arms?

Why can’t I stand up for what I believe in?

“What am I to do with the people I’ve got around Me, Lord?” I wonder, feeling drained. “I feel like I haven’t been firm enough with them about what I’m interested in hearing from them and what I’m not. I need a boundary here–they can’t be constantly bringing me suggestions that I can’t use. If I wish they wouldn’t give them to me, I should do a little more to make that clear.

“The more clear I get about what You want for me, the more that has to translate into my demeanor in conversation. But, right now, Lord, I’m not doing that. I need so much help from You!”

You have a deep seated fear of arrogance and closing yourself off from people. You’re afraid of making a mistake you can’t undo. But you can’t live in service to that fear. I didn’t die to give you away to that fear. I intended to have you all to Myself.

So this is what you’re going to do: Let Me handle the consequences of you going all out in regard to what I have put on your heart. You don’t have to be apologetic–I do not need to be apologized for. And you’re moving based on what I’ve said, right?

That makes it quite simple. Whatever I’ve laid upon your heart is reliable. It’s from Me–so lean into it. “Sorry, I don’t believe that is something God has for me to pursue right now”–say this when the words of others would lead you in ways you can’t follow.

Yes, some of your listeners won’t live up to their name; their unbelief will shake your confidence in being belief-directed and not research-driven. That is okay. I’ve put you where you are and I’m not trying to find ways to get you out of where you are. You don’t have to move until I say so.

Can You be my hideout, Lord?

“Can you draw me into Your hideaway again, Lord?” I plead. “I don’t feel brave enough to meet the challenges that lie in wait for me today. I just want to enjoy the pleasure of being with You. I don’t think I’m cut out for anything besides resting at Your feet, hearing Your voice and knowing that You–and not I–am mighty and true.”

But, My Child, that is not all I want for you. I want you to be mighty in Me. I do not pour Myself into you merely to let you sit and be still. There are seasons and moments when you do, but this is only so that you can rise and stand and walk and run in all of the missions that I give you.

You can get up and go forward because the God who has always ministered to you while you waited in stillness before Him is the same One who has already gone before you, securing a victory for you that you need only trust Him enough to walk into. Is that so hard?

Could fearlessness be achievable for less-than-superman types?

I have a dream…fearlessness. I know, it’s not one you hear of that often. But, recently it’s becoming something of a life-goal. I’m realizing that not taking ground in this area effectively makes me impotent in many other areas where I seek to experience growth.

Picture, with me for a moment, that you and I are trees. There are two types of tree we can be: The first is a well-tended tree that is full of thick sap (Faith) which nourishes its entire structure, making it able to boast a straight trunk, sinewy branches and healthy green leaves. The second tree is a sad sight. What good could have been done by faith has been negated by the outcropping of weeds (Worry) and vines (Fear) left uncontested.

I don’t know about you, but I’m determined to be that first tree. And I don’t need superhuman strength to do it, all that I’m going to lean on is that supernatural strength that raised Christ from the dead. Are you with me?

 

 

 

Hell is not waiting for you to say yes

I don’t know about you, but hell is not one of my favorite things to discuss. There are far more appealing things that I would like to concentrate my head and heart on. Hell is sobering, at the very least, and absolutely terrifying, at the worst. I have spent considerable time in residence on either side of the spectrum. The one is definitely more pleasant than the other. That’s why I’m curious to know where you might be on that spectrum.

Hell is something that easily haunts us in our quieter moments–when this world and all its feverish activities are suddenly eclipsed by thoughts that revolve around a reality beyond what we know or can test. This wears down our confidence in what we think we know and makes us feel insecure in a world that does not offer us permanent residence.

Though it is not natural to have peace about hell, we do not need to forever be cowed by its implications for us. Hell does not have to be our destiny. We are truly all born with this as the default setting for our ultimate destination, but it is possible for this to be changed. Even though hell is not waiting for us to say “yes” to it, we can be free of this looming prospect if we will say “yes” to heaven.

You may think this sounds too simple for a solution to such a momentous predicament. But, though it is simple on our side, there is another side on which it was not so simple. You see, God is the One who has secured this solution for us. To do so, He put Himself at the mercy of what is our destiny apart from Him. He faced hell so we no longer have to. And He welcomes us to become a part of the victory that came from His suffering.

This involves recognizing God (Christ) as our all-important Savior. We admit that all our hopes and dreams are nothing if they are not fastened upon Him. We begin to see our hearts as tethers that must be tightly affixed to Him. When He is the One to whom we are secured, we need have no fear of ending up in any place but where He is. Because He rests in heaven, He will one day raise us to be with Him when our time on the earth is over.

Now, I have a question for you: When you think about life after earth, what is the primary thing you think about? Is it fear of hell or peace about heaven?