I still feel broken, but if You’ll take it as my token…

Pain sears my heart, but still…
You’re here.
You aren’t stopping the bad news from coming
my way
but with every cut it makes in my
heart’s armour
there is an incision You use to feed
my soul.
Light pours into me that I could not
live in
this darkness without.
The unsettledness…
all feels too crippling to ever let go its hold
on me.
But in all the insecurity of facing what I
can’t change,
You’re setting my focus on the
binding cords
Your love has wrapped
me in.
You are true in all my trials,
and sometimes
I need uncomfortable pressure like this
to move
me into deeper places than I would go
without it.

Real is just too far away from fake

Do any of us truly know how to be real? Real as in who we are, able to stand for what we believe is absolutely true, willing to die to compulsion to blend in with others at all costs?

I think it is possible to be like this, think like this, live like this, and — incredibly — inspire others to also stand for something too. But, I think it is something very few of us have the vision or encouragement to do so.
I think we could be strong, we could stand up and stand out, and set our wills to be true to something that is head-and-shoulders-above our peers. But, first you must ask yourself the question, What do I believe?

Considering what you believe is imperative deciding what you will live for and who you will become. Perhaps you find that what you believe is not something you want to build you life upon — whether there are not enough absolutes that you are depending on or they are not consistent with the kind of life you want to lead.

It is also possible that you are just fine with your life and how it mirrors the world you live in, or the culture you’re apart of — even if this is the case, I would encourage you to evaluate lifestyle thesis, objectively assessing its positive and negative implications for yourself and the world around you. This is a useful exercise, if for no other reason than that you may more thoroughly identify your niche in this way of life — how you can most positively affect the people around you, and grow yourself according to the principles you have chosen.

Evaluating these things can be a little scary at first. I say this because confronting the truth will naturally put us all on edge to a certain degree, but searching for the truth will also prove to be the most liberating experience of you life — provided you’re willing to forsake whatever lies the truth presents to you.

It is no coincidence that the phrase “the truth shall set you free” continues to be repeated to this day. We live in a world that makes it’s living on lies, yet what it doesn’t advertise is that it must take us down to accomplish success.

Our beings were meant to live according to unchanging and uncompromising truth. Lies and incomplete truths are to us what dust and dirt are to an air filter. Both are a natural part of life, yet they are substances that must be looked out for and removed in order to prevent them from blocking air from flowing through and damaging the filter itself. Lies, just like dirt and dust may seem harmless in certain lights, but if we study the effect it has on us our minds and bodies we will recognize the damage it is capable of in its subtlety.

Now, lets get back to our evaluations. What have you come up with? Have you located the lies that are compromising you from being real?

If not, may I suggest consulting an authority on the truth that you might become equipped in spotting any divergence when it comes across your path or arises in your consciousness?

Before you can begin any significant proofing, you need to choose what you will submit to as your authority. To protest such an idea is to display an ignorance of the nature of our behaviors: they are all the result of submission to some set of ideas. The good news is that we get to choose the set of ideas to which we will submit ourselves.

Now, at first it will appear that you have a baffling range of choices, but in the course of any lengthy investigation you will discover that they can all be boiled down to two basic premises.

The first, life is all about us; our troubles on this earth are subject to our potential to readjust our course and arrive at success and paradise — however we may agree to define it.

The second, couldn’t be more different:Life is all about God; our troubles are the direct result of our sin and rebellion against God and the penalty they bring; our only hope to be delivered from the wrath that we deserve from our enemy God is in believing that His Son came to us according to God’s will to take our penalty for us, die in our place, rise again and declare us set right with His Father forever.

In light of the comparison we have just drawn, we either define who we are by a second-hand definition handed down to us from something a world that itself must be defined by something greater, or we are defined in all our states by Someone who defines and refines us.

Now, I’ll admit that the definition the world offers us is certainly more flattering to our ego than God’s definition, but we must ask ourselves again at this point, am I going to live by the truth or a lie?

The misconception here is that if we are not flattered we cannot live an abundant and satisfying life. When, in actuality, we cannot live in harmony unless we at first live in the light of truth.

And the good news here is that the truth doesn’t go bad on us because it doesn’t end with us. It’s objective, instead, is to point us ahead to God. When we know what is real about God, we realize that we are in the midst of a story that we have had no idea was going on; a story that tells us about God’s determined pursuit of us. He ran after us, to clear our record with His blood and adopt us into the family that we belong.

If this isn’t the closest thing we can have of being real, then I don’t know what is!

Ceasing to Pretend Vapor is a Solid

What is your spiritual background? No, I don’t mean your religious background — as in what church, synagogue, mosque or temple you attended; what holy book’s instructions you have worked to keep; or what religion you believe is the answer to all the world’s questions — but the experiences that have made up the structure and support of your spirit?

More simply, what has made you what you are today, what gives you hope for the future, and stability for today?

If everything you hold dear in your life were lost, what would your spirit have to hold onto, by what strength would it live?

If all the trappings of your religion were somehow inaccessible to you, what would you be standing on?

If your heart sank, and your body failed, would there be anything to raise you up?

These may sound like outlandish questions, but the reality is that every faith can hold us up in summer but, can we trust those beliefs to remain pliable and useful in the dead of winter?

I have seen what it is like to have answers once so sure get blown up by questions that are too big and uncomfortable to compliantly nest inside them. I don’t know whether you are currently enjoying summer, or resenting winter, but it’s critical to your life that your beliefs can take you through each one.

In the spring of the year I experienced the fiercest winter I had ever known. Everything that I had once been so sure of — even arrogantly flaunting — was suddenly insufficient to weather the assault made on my soul.

Where do you turn when this happens?

What I used to call “home” for my soul had been washed out and frozen under, while I stood forlorn and afraid in the blizzard wailing around me. I hadn’t known that my house was not insured with a no-collapse guarantee; I thought because I believed it was strong, and it had always stood for everything else, that it was safe and secure.

How appalling to learn the truth when it’s too late. If this is where you are, as long as you have life, there is still a chance to rebuild. But, opportunity comes with a cost and a stern warning:

The second time you must not naively build with the same foundation and approach that you contracted the first time. If it falls once, it cannot be trusted. And you would waste your life to reinvest in it.

This ought to a reality abundantly clear to us when everything comes crashing down on us, and takes us down with it, but some of us are stubborn, choosing, instead, to pretend that things aren’t so bad as they now seem.

But, how can we ever rebuild, how can we ever know anything better than what we have now, if we will refuse to admit that we don’t have enough to live on right now?

For building materials we have but two to choose from: sand and Rock. One is common and inexpensive, the other rare and priceless. The first will go well with anything you bring to it, the second is of such choice composition, that it will not agree with anything you bring of lesser and unproven value.

This may sound disheartening, but think about it: Would you rather forever hold onto everything you have — whose worth is merely transient — or reach out for something that is inestimable enough to establish your entire inheritance?

Let us be wise, then, and choose to set our lives upon that which has the power to keep us — though perhaps not our present treasures — in all storms and violence of this earth and eternity.

Yes, there is sacrifice involved even in taking hold of the infinitely priceless. But, when we try to balance the weight of sacrifice for claim of the Rock versus sacrifice for claim of the sand we may freely mold ourselves, the values don’t come out even. Indeed, the price of sacrifice is always in proportion to the reward we seek.

Yet, regardless, we will be sacrificing for whatever we get, so might we not aim high in expectation of obtaining a reward that will outstrip all loss we may experience?

I ran to the “Life-House” that promised me more than what I could expect from fashioning my own safe-house from the sand. No, I will not have the same lee-way to demand what I want in architecture and presentation from the Rock, but if I could, it would be no more excellent then the sand below.

I want the Rock that doesn’t move, but moves me to higher ground, moorings that are more sure than a structure that tempts the sea to transform my work to sludge that will go with it anywhere.

Christ offers us more than that: His body will become our own, while His Spirit will sustain us from deep inside. The vapors of my dreams may blow away while I’m with Him, but there is no danger of our separation. I will not be shaken by any threat of fear, for nothing can estranged from the One who is the Solid, Unshakable and wholly Impenetrable. He is my Refuge and Strength, and in Him I am fully assured of the outcome I shall have in this life, and what I shall then experience in the next.

So you like Love, do you?

Love is trumpeted the world over as the ideal/emotion most capable of inspiring mankind. It is a gift, and the most fulfilling reality we know on this earth.

But, what about when love comes to us disguised? When we don’t immediately recognize it in its initial form, we often give no thought to immediately turning away from it.

How little we know of all the ways we run from love! We claim to be enamored with it, but act in ways that compromise our commitment to experiencing the real thing.

The Son of God came to us in the form of a lowly servant — a man without a face or physique that we should recognize as glorious. His manner was also unlike anything our world or we can boast.

He did not come to show that God has finally came around to our way of thinking, or impress us with His willingness to negotiate a mutually agreeable arrangement for peace. He will not compromise His law, or bow down His character to us. His aim is so far above submitting Himself to our expectations of God — including displays of obsequious love and undying respect for our demands.

Rather, He has done us the greatest service imaginable in entering into our mess and treating us like what we are: people broken and beaten by our rebellion against God.  He sees that we are separated from Him by our own self-destructing choices, and He has come to reveal the choice that He has made to deliver us from them. It is the choice that has the power to save and change our lives.

The rescue, and subsequent transformation, of our hearts is the key to lives that may be lived to the full, unlimited by death.

But how many of us truly know about these dynamics? We know plenty about changing our lives, and altering our behavior, but what have we ever experienced of heart-alteration?

To tell you the truth, we have and will not know until we have known Jesus Christ who alone is capable of making such a difference in us.

If we do not know Christ according to experiential and spiritual knowledge that transcends merely amassing information about Him, we will never truly know what any of this means.

How many of us walk away from the chance to be forever changed, because God didn’t garb Himself in ambitions that naturally align with our own.

He did not come near to us, to pleasantly assure us that all our problems can be easily cleared up because they are entirely external. He is not here to agree with us that there is nothing inherently wrong with us or how we approach God. What could be the ultimate gain for us in this? How would this glorify Him?

A Being who would not dare to defy our means of self-expression and god-devoid pleasures would not be worthy of following. If He is not unmovable in His commitment to His righteousness — to declare His judgments and to develop it in us — there would be no sense in trusting Him as He would not be truly good.

But this is not the case with Him: He is absolutely good, and all His judgments are perfect; therefore, we are not free to exercise disbelief without inheriting undesirable consequences.

Let us then, open ourselves up to love that is what we really need; let us move beyond the fear of never getting what we want and instead discover what true love offers us in God.