Friday, September 17, 2010
For the Broken (We're All Broken)
Life is full of so many contradictory emotions. We fall in love and experience pain. Our hearts are filled with joy, and yet tears overflow from our eyes. We're surrounded by thousands of people, and sometimes we couldn't feel more alone. The hurt of the world can be so overwhelming. Jeremiah could not have described such sentiments more adequately, "Because of all this we're heartsick; we can't see through the tears" (Lamentations 5:17).
We are broken individuals. We believe lies. We fall into deception.
It is so easy to be overcome by the heartache and the pain, but we when allow ourselves to succumb to the pressures of this world, we miss out on the freedom given to us in Christ. Not only that, we miss out on the joy and beauty to be found in each day.
The Lord does not require much of us. "The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, o God." (Psalm 51:17)
<<< SIDE NOTE: Recently I've been reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan -- awesome book. I definitely suggest it. Toward the end, he discusses the fact that far too often we focus on the questions such as "What does the Lord want me to do with my life? What is His will for me?" When we focus on the future, we forget about what we can do for the Lord today -- who we can love for the Lord today, who we can bless for the Lord today. And when we allow the Spirit to work through us on a daily basis, how can we not be living by the will of the Lord? He is the one living and loving through us. >>>
It is never promised that life will be simple, but it is promised that the LORD of the heavens and the earth will be with us.
"I will be with you." - Exodus 3:12
"I will fight for you, you only need to be still." -Exodus 14:14
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes.'" -Jeremiah 29:11-14
"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them" -Isaiah 41:17
May it be our prayer that we would not fall captive to the lies of this world. Lies that convince us we are not good enough for forgiveness or love or joy. For "He has given each one of us a special gift ... our responsibility is to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ." -Ephesians 4:7,12 That is truth! He has blessed each of you with a precious gift that is SPECIAL to you. You are a creation unlike any other.
May we find purpose in our every day by loving others the way the Lord has loved us -- living out the Gospel in every action we take. "Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get anything from us but in order to give everything of himself to us. Love like that." -Ephesians 5:1-2
How undeserving we are of Christ's love, but how freely He blesses us with not only love but grace and mercy. "Though I am the least deserving of all God's people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ." - Epheisans 3:8
"Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don't squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; the day you needed me, I was there to help. Well now is the time to listen, the day to be helped. Don't put it off; don't frustrate God's work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we're doing. Our work as God's servants gets validated -- or not -- in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly ... in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we're telling the truth, and when God's sharing his power; when were doing our best setting things right; when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all." -2 Corinthians 6:1-3
"Therefore, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received in Christ Jesus. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other's faults because of your love." -Ephesians 4:1-2
For EVERYONE is included in Christ. "From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ." -Colossians 3:10
So I urge you to "love one another as if your life depended on it" (1 Peter 1:22ish).
Paul said it best... "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 would be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God." -Philippians 1:9-11
"For the entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself." -Galatians 5:14
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins." -1 Peter 4:8