Ageless

 

The state of being that no longer matters.

You have reconciled both past and future with the present.

You have stopped counting.

Where have you lain with the sun in your eyes

as if the day was an extension of the future?

Did you not feel the burn beneath your lids,

telling you to come alive to this moment?timeless

You are not truly ageless.

You have simply lost track of time.

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Paradox of Full: When We Think We Are, We Aren’t

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I recently read a blog that contained an excerpt of The Heidelberg Confession. I had to pause for reflection as I read:

“Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Saviour, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

What is my only comfort in life and in death? I can with all assurance say that I believe the answer above is my confession. But my life experience will show that I have not experienced the truth of those words. Not here, not now. I believe there is a future day when I will be with Christ and my fullness in Him will be realized. But can I experience that fullness now? Can you experience that fullness now? Perhaps. But our potential is blocked by the madness of sin in our lives. The sins that have been committed against us and the sins we have committed against ourselves and others. And these sins, at times, confuse the signals in our brains and cause us to feel empty when we really aren’t. I over-eat to compensate for my emptiness. While I have never been morbidly obese, the eating behavior is still present. It is hard-wired in my brain and tells me that eating is a pleasurable activity and I can feel full any time I want. Of course this is not true and many other people would attest to that, because we have to keep eating more and more. So, what is happening here is at the root of desire.

Every living thing on the planet has been given the gift of desire. Desires drive us toward fulfillment. We desire to be full or to be filled. We are motivated to seek fulfillment over and over. Why? Because we also experience emptiness. When we are empty we look for something to fill us again. We don’t like the feeling of emptiness, so we seek to be filled. This is good desire.

While our desires are common,( need for food, water, intimacy, etc) the expression of those desires (what we desire, where we desire, and with whom we desire) are as varied as each individual. Our past experiences, our culture and our families, in many ways, shape the expression of our desires. While the desires themselves have been declared by God to be “good,” sin and suffering has affected every part of our being as humans and that includes our desires.

The paradox is this: We attain to be filled here and now, and while we can have some fulfillment we can’t have it all. Everytime we engage in eating or sexual relations, sports, recreational activities, building our families, worshiping God (collectively or individually), we have to keep coming back to be filled and filled again. Because we get empty. We don’t like empty. And this is especially true of people who have been abused or are experiencing abuse of some kind.That is because their brain has lost the ability to recognize their own feeling of empty and full. So,some turn to sexual promiscuity, or they develop eating disorders, or eat more than their body can metabolize. They turn to drugs or alcohol to escape the unavoidable emptiness that is so much a part of their life.There is a heightened desire, almost a feeling of desperation to be filled all the time, but they cannot attain it.

Here is the solution: Since we can’t avoid emptiness on this side of heaven, we can choose to be grateful for the feeling of emptiness because it ultimately brings us to the only one who can fill us completely. He fills us with His Spirit for this life He has called us to. Everytime we feel empty we are reminded that we are totally dependent on God for our food, for our health and for our joy in living. Yes,on earth, we need to be filled over and over again. Because we belong to God and He has given every provision for us to come to Him for filling, we can know that in Heaven we will be filled with Himself and we will have no need for any other fulfillment. He is the Bread of Life, the Living Water and the Door by which we will enter into an eternity of riches that have been promised to anyone who is acquainted with physical and emotional hunger in this life. There will be no more cravings or hunger of any kind.

I want to leave my emptiness behind me. I want to be filled by the Spirit of the living God. I can give myself wholly to the Christ who emptied Himself so that I could receive His fullness. The Heidelberg confession lets us realize this dependence on the finished work of Christ, for our fulfillment now, and at the time of our death when we are finally emptied of this body that we carry on earth. Come with me on this journey, together we will discover the endless provisions of an Almighty God!

No Greater Love

gods-unconditional-loveI cannot even begin to comprehend a love that is NOT based on my performance or my successes in life. I simply don’t understand this love that is unconditional. All human love has some sort of attached agenda that is based on success in the workplace, in society, in the bedroom, or in relationships in general.

This love that is so foreign to all that is human nature is surprisingly based not on my successes but on my FAILURES. It’s true. God know that it is my own awareness of the brokenness that has filled my life that drives me into the arms of His sacrificial love. I need not be fully aware of every one of these individual failings. God is Omniscient. He knows. But, I am told in Scripture that each past and present and future sin, shortcoming, or failure has been stamped with “Paid in Full” by the One who so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son (John 3:16). This Christ is the One of whom Moses and the prophets foretold would come and pay to the death for a debt that did not belong to Him. He came not to be served (though He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords), but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28)

Does this idea make you uncomfortable? What stirs within you when you read this? Is it hiding from Godpossible that you are also struggling to comprehend this kind of love? Have you been burned for the last time wforgivenhere human love is concerned? There are really only two answers here. You will either dismiss this God and refuse the offer of His unfathomable love, or you will intentionally search Him with all your heart because your heart knows that there is no greater love.

Pursued by Love

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We are never closer to God than when our hearts are open and free to receive His gentle caress. This is a rare but beautiful occurrence and is completely passive on our part. Humans are naturally repulsed by such love. We are so immersed in our uncleanness before this Holy God that we cannot fathom His unrelenting desire for union with us. Our brokenness has cast the pall of death over our entire being. How can we receive such indescribable love from this Almighty God, who is our Lover, and who actively pursues us while still in our stench so that He can make love to us? Only because the odor of rotten flesh which is so visceral to all our senses, is to God the sweet aroma of the sacrifice of His own Son. We must not deceive ourselves. When we refuse the advances of our God by using the excuse that we are so rotten that we cannot allow Him to enter into union with us, we make ourselves our own god and we close ourselves off to the highest pleasure this earthly life will afford. I have never been pursued like this by anyone else, have you?

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A New Attraction

imagesCAM8LWGJI am chewing on a different perspective of the meaning of “attraction.”  I have been assuming all my life that my attractions to both men and women has been a helpless condition that I must bear as either a cross or some form of punishment. Some of these attractions have had a sexual component, and some have not.  Long before I was married, I had the desire to save my sexuality for my husband. In my high school years I had to fight off and dodge the hands and mouths of the teenage boys that tried to devour me. Eventually, the dogs backed off or I sent them packing. I actually made it to my wedding bed a virgin–of sorts. There were still those females in my not so distant past. But I tried to forget the existence of that stain upon my bed.

Now that I am divorced, I have had to look back across those years at both the failure of my marriage and those outside attractions, to find new meaning. I have come so far as to accept that my sexual orientation is bisexual. However, I have decided I am not going to let that define who I am or how I will choose to live the rest of my life. And I am choosing not to view any current or future attractions as a condition I am saddled with even if the world sees it differently. I now see my attractions as an opportunity instead of a curse. I see them as something useful instead of something to be depressed about. I see these attractions as something to explore and embrace, instead of dismiss and dismantle.

What I’m discovering is that attraction is not about me. It is really about Jesus Christ. He was attracted to me long before I was even born and decided the time and place and family into which I would live my life. He planned the time in my life in which He would draw me to Himself so that I could share His attraction for me. And now the focus of my life is to show Jesus Christ to others so that they, too, will be attracted to Him. I love what the Apostle Paul says in Phil. 1: 9-11 in The Message translation:

 “So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.”

I don’t expect this will be easy. I know now that God allowed some very painful things to be a part of my life so that I would need to depend on His grace to meet me in the difficulties and so become more like Him in His own suffering. Through it all, I realize just how desperately I want to know Him and why He chose me to be His own. I want to be so attracted to Christ that He becomes my most glorious obsession.

 

Race Against Time

My youngest son used to listen to the band, O Sleeper, a hard metal, Christian band. I wanted to show an interest in his type of music, but frankly, I had a difficult time because the vocalists screamed the lyrics instead of singing them. What I really enjoyed about the music is that my son played the songs flawlessly on the drums. No small feat. I became interested in one of the songs in particular because of the startling lyrics. The name of the song is Charlatan’s Host.

o sleeperI decided to see if I could write something that O Sleeper would be proud to scream while maintaining my personal self and where I was at in my life. I encourage you to find Charlatan’s Host on the web, listen to it, then come back and put that style to my lines. Let me know what you think.

Tell me!

What does it benefit to allow the enemy

to rush across the gray matter beneath the skulls of humanity,

making twisted paths and desolate places in the attempt

to capture the flag!o sleeper 2

 

This diabolical beast is known only for destruction

and saved for its final breath.

Is there a glory in my own destructive end?

Can I withstand the fury and the flames that are set

at the perimeter to wait and watch as I am devoured whole?

 

Where is the protection you promised for the faithful?

Did you delight in the blood of the sinless One

so that my blood is only a symbol of that suffering for my good?

 Who will see a tortured soul as only you can?

 

They can only see what is on the outside

and what falls from my mouth in torrents and waves of deceit.

This is not the real me.

The real me bleeds red, like He did.

Don’t turn away from me in my anguish.

No one understands like you,

 but you do not recognize me apart from my pain.

 

How do I bridge the gap that is the wide expanse between my body and my soul?

 Why can they not see me and love me as you do?

If they were to hear my thoughts and bear my burdens

 would they run away from their own anguish?

 

Would they behold themselves when they view my image in the mirror?

Can we not see that we are all the same?

We bleed together and we die in pain.

 

Futility is the end of all that breathe

 if desire is limited to this plane of earth we inhabit.

There is a longing that cuts through flesh, blood and bone.

The human spirit yearns to intermingle with His intangible own.

 

He is more real than the vastest imagining of the minds of men.

That ideal which sustains the greatest thoughts and achievements.

Oh how He laughs from the heavens!

Our puny thinking is nothing to Him.

We have no choice but to bow down in humility and despair.

There is no flag to be captured.