Use Your Life Words

“I can’t get sick.” 

 

“I can’t get sick.” 

 

“I can’t get sick.” 

 

I sat in the passenger seat of our old burnt-orange Chevy reciting these words under my breath as my step-dad drove me to the bus stop. At the time, we lived out in the country off of County Road 76 on about an acre of land in an inviting baby-blue house we built from the ground up with a huge wrap-around porch and an unobstructed view of the mountains. Home. The sweet smell of country air. (Or perhaps not so sweet with the smells of algae-infested irrigation and the ripe manure from the sheep farm a few miles up the road, but even smells like that become a comfort when you grow up with them.) The piping of the sandpipers and the silvery song of the meadowlarks and red-wing blackbirds on their precarious cattail perches. The ankle-grabbing acre field of alfalfa that separated my house from my friend two lots down. On summer nights when it was time to go home, we would run like mad across that field in the dark rather than going the little bit of extra distance to walk down the driveway to the road. That alfalfa was extra grabby in the dark.


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What Forgiveness Looks Like

I have been working on a pretty big project recently to share my story, and on the heels of Easter, I would like to share this chapter of it with you.


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Here Not There

I just finished another poem that I’d like to share called Here Not There. As I was walking around at work the other day during my break, observing people passing by, I was struck, not for the first time, by how disconnected people can be. Stepping into the elevator, I can pass by unnoticed as the world is framed so neatly in a brightly lit few inches, the world outside becoming grayed-out background noise, and I wonder in which world life is really being lived. Here or there?

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The Cliffs of Peace

Where do you go in times of trouble, of pain, of anxiety, of depression? Where do you turn when the weight of a burden crushes the breath from your lungs, robs you of rest, and causes you to withdraw into yourself because how could anyone possibly understand? Perhaps the “Christianese” thing to say is to go to Jesus, but what does that look like for you? The truth is there is freedom and tangible peace in the presence of Jesus no matter how big the living darkness is that threatens to overwhelm you in challenging seasons of life.  For me, I have learned to meet Jesus at what I have come to call the Cliffs of Peace.


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Because God Said So

Do you ever stop to wonder just how much the words, “It is finished,” really meant, how much was really accomplished on that day, and what it means for you and me right now? Though we barely scratch the surface, just imagine Jesus speaking to you:
 
You are my number-one. There is no one I would rather be with (Song of Songs 7:10). You are the most beautiful (Song of Songs 1:8), and you are perfect (Song of Songs 4:7, Hebrews 10:14). Honor me by accepting what I say about you. Look at who you are! You are royalty overflowing with life (1 Peter 2:9-10, John 7:38) and clothed in peace (Philippians 4:7, Colossians 3:15). The characteristics within you are pleasing (Galatians 5:22), and there will never be another like you, for you are unique (Isaiah 64:8). Do not even consider the mistakes and pain of the past nor the decay of the present because they have nothing to do with you (Romans 6, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 2:10). You are strong (1 John 2:14) and a warrior (Psalm 18:39, 1 John 5:4, Zechariah 10:5, Ephesians 6:10-18). Believe me, and stop trying to become what you already are!
 
Though God’s Word is true because He said it, why is it so easily undermined within us by circumstances and emotions? Though life’s trials are very real, why do we allow them to be “realer” than the Word of God? I believe the time is now for us to declare truth over ourselves, and in a brilliant clash of raw and “realer” faith with the very “real” of our circumstances, establish ourselves in our “realest” identity… because God said so.

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What If It Was Never About Wrath?

On my way home from bible study last week, as I was contemplating more on the ‘wrath of God’ subject, I had the thought: what if it was never about wrath? Could it be that man has perceived God wrongly ever since the Garden of Eden, an error that has permeated and perhaps distorted history ever since? Think about it. The first thing Adam and Eve did after they partook of the fruit was to attempt to cover themselves and hide from God. Their first response was fear:

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Wrath of God?

What do you think of or what comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “wrath of God?” I find it to be a topic of tension and a source of much confusion about the character of God and how it applies to us as believers – especially in light of the nature we see in Jesus in the New Testament. The phrase, “God is good all the time,” is so commonplace, and yet in the same breath God is often credited as the giver of sickness and death. In what way does that make sense? With that thought, I also find that the depth of the Christian faith and our security in who we are hinges on who we believe God to be. Is He Papa, Abba, Father? Or is He just capital ‘G’ God up there somewhere in clouds with a scowl and a ready judgment? Everything we see in Jesus reveals that to be false, but then what about all of the fire and destruction we read about in the Old Testament? Is our God a schizophrenic? Did He change? Or could there be a deeper wisdom to be grasped that requires us to seek and not accept what we see at face value or what we were traditionally taught?

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Contact Points

Today, not the same today you may read this, but this particular today of mine I am reminded of the simple joy and excitement that comes from belonging to Jesus. I am reminded of the intimacy of His friendship and the depth of His knowing. I am reminded that He can not only keep up with our erratic flurry of thoughts, but He makes sense of them and remembers each one. I am reminded as well as comforted that He is in the details, and He partners with our dreams. Through the smallest of meetings, I am reminded of all of this today.

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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

I came to Christ when I was 22… or rather, I suppose I should say the Lord finally got my full attention when I was 22. It was like I had been in a trance, looking down and intent only on where my own two feet were headed, and when He snapped me out of that trance, I glanced up to finally notice a whole world around me. Black and white to color. Death to life. My heart came alive. I had been offered an identity that mattered, one that couldn’t be stripped from me even if everything else was taken away, and I took hold of that hope with both hands.

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Kingdom Keys

Maybe it’s just me, but lately there seems to be an increasing emphasis on the renewal of the mind, and the Lord has been impressing upon me the vast need for repentance. Not the crying, sorry-for-sin kind of repentance that has been deeply ingrained in many of us in the throes of religion, but the repentance of a child saying, “Papa, help me to see the way you see. Change my mind.” However, I’m certain I’m not the only one who sometimes feels like faith is held hostage by that often-bothersome thinker in between the ears: that nagging thought life that says, “how?” “why?” “you’re not good enough” “this isn’t for you.” And yet, learning to see through the eyes of the Father is paramount if we are to ever step into the fullness of our destiny.

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