Posts tagged Jesus
It’s about to get real up in here. I read a blog post by Anne Lamott and I can’t quite get it out of my head. You can read it for yourself. But the phrase, “Slowly and Majestically” keeps welling up in my heart.
So much so I wrote it on my kitchen window.
I did this as an offensive measure after this happened. Day two of Christmas break with bored siblings. Yes that is icing.
And this. The results of seven more pecan pies, strawberry cupcakes, sugar cookies… and a partridge in a pear tree.
I wrote this in a visible place because this phrase caused me to laugh and enjoy rather than whine or rant. The notion of living differently this Christmas season has inspired me. I get to choose to live “on purpose” in joy. I get to choose to live with the intention of loving my life rather than enduring it, or worse, wishing it away . . . “if I can just make through New Year’s.”
What kind of pace of life are we settling for when we try to fast-forward today to get to the Next Thing? We miss all the richness of the “Right Now’s.”
By accident, I added a new movie to my Christmas tradition. It’s called “About Time.” It’s not for small children due to language and sexual moments. But it is startlingly innocent and emotionally wrenching as it challenges us to grasp life for all its day-to-day nonsense, noise, and well . . .human-ness.
It has revived this noble theme of heaven: you only live once. It’s not just for t-shirts but for our souls. Enjoy it.
I recall someone else who had this on His mind. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Some how, some way, beyond my understanding, the God of Creation so loved our nonsense, noise, and human-ness that He moved into our neighborhood. Permanently.
Jesus mastered “slowly and majestically.” His God-ness wrapped in human-ness has given us all a new way to view the world, to enjoy our days, to hope again. And again.
May we breathe in the chaos through the filter of heaven, May we never lose the wonder. May the King of kings rest in our heart of hearts. Merry Christmas.
I really blew it with my kids yesterday. Blame it on a toxic cocktail of hormones, fear and the need to control. Or. Let’s just get real. It was my loss of self control.
Either way, when my emotional tornado passed, all of us looked and felt like one of those house-splintered aftermath scenes. They were hurt. I was hurt. And I was pretty sure the Lord was sad too. There was a lot of debris to clean up.
As I made dinner, the scene replayed in my mind: my words, their faces. My choices, their hurt. Over and over it played. My heart was breaking. I love my girls so much. And yet…I still said those horrible things.
“What do I do now??” I asked the Lord in a near panic.
Of course— I would ask my girls for forgiveness. But how do I be different next time? I was in a state of shock and disbelief.
Had He taught me so much only for me to lose it in a moment? Did His love not really matter when I needed it most? Was I ever going to learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way in the heat of the moment?
The crazy thing is, I had been worshiping all day. So here is the ugly truth. I was surprised by my blatant sin. But I was equally surprised by my hesitation to receive forgiveness from the Lord. I was so — embarrassed.
One involved a man who was unfaithful to his wife and had just been discovered. My friend said he was a great guy that loves the Lord and before this happened, she thought he loved his family. “But now he is questioning his faith. He doesn’t know what he believes anymore,” she said.
“That is so common when sin is exposed,” I told my friend. “We all have to square with God’s forgiveness. We either run into the arms of God because His forgiveness is the only thing that will heal us. Or, we question that His love really is that strong, so we run away from all of it. The best thing you can tell your friend is God loves him. Still.”
That comment rolled out of my mouth about three hours before my tornado.
Jesus wasn’t surprised by my sin. He had paid for my sin. Already. If He was sad, it wasn’t over my sin. He was sad because I was hurting. Isaiah 53 (vs 3-4) describes Jesus as being fully acquainted with our griefs and carrying our sorrows. Certainly, Jesus knew completely why I did what I did. But He also provided the cure. So why was I waiting to run to him? He was the only place to go for healing.
The second conversation was in a letter written to a friend who just turned forty. She and I have both struggled with “being behind” as good, Christian parents. We really love Jesus but we still blow it. God reminded me of my words to her:
“I guess as I get older, I appreciate mercy and grace in a whole new way. Sure there are hard lessons and many, many screw ups. But some how, some way, God always “renders miracles of our sins.” So I pray you will be kind to yourself as you look back. And be bold as you look forward…You are a powerhouse in the Kingdom. Don’t ever forget that.”
Over dinner, I confessed my sin to my girls and asked for forgiveness. We hugged and made up. But that night as I laid in bed in the dark, it was the arms of my God that I needed most. The oddest thing happened.
My heart began to worship again. Who is this God that knows us so deeply and yet loves us so fiercely? As I replayed the scene again in my spirit, I was undone by the reality by His true forgiveness.
Truly it is the mercy and grace of God that changes us all. Forgiveness is real. He loves us still. Walking in this reality is what makes me, and you, different over time.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
It makes me sick when pastors tell wives that if they had been sexing their husbands enough, then their husbands would not have turned to porn. But it makes me violent when pastors tell these now broken, betrayed wives that it is their duty to keep giving their porn addict husbands sex to make them better.
These same pastors misquote scripture to further beat up these wounded women. Well played guys. Because orgasm is the god of the age.
One commonly misused passage is 1st Corinthians 7: 1- 7
Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
In context, we remember that Paul was correcting bad behavior. Lack of self control. He calls out two things.
1) tells men to get some self control.
2) tells men and women that sex is to be mutually fulfilling.
Too often men, and some church ladies, misuse this verse to tell women to put out. No matter what. But here for the first time we see the husband is responsible to please his wife. There is a mutual satisfaction that is being called for. No longer are his needs the only needs on the table.
And here is the kicker, when you are away from each other you are to pray so that your hearts are drawn to God and each other.
Not go elsewhere.
It is important that both husband and wife come to understand that her need for safety, for connection, for honesty, for relationship is every bit as strong and important as his need for orgasm. In God’s world, this is a win-win for a marital relationship. Emotional needs plus sexual needs equals marital satisfaction.
So many times I hear of couples counting how many times they have sex a week. But ask either one of they how many times they met her emotional needs and they look at you blankly. The man needs to be working on that as much as he wants his woman to keep count of how many times they have sex.
Paul is following the example of Christ to raise both man and the woman to a higher level. And it begins with self control and mutual submission.
Otherwise you have a woman trying to fill the role of Savior and prostitute at the same time. Just look at this pastor’s counsel:
6) Pursue regular sexual intimacy with your husband.
The best thing for a hurting wife to do is the last thing she feels like doing after being hurt in this way: pursue sexual intimacy with her husband (1 Corinthians 7:5). This intentional intimacy acts as a safeguard for this particular struggle in a husband and will break down the barriers to intimacy that the enemy wants to keep up as long as possible…..
This counsel is disgusting. It completely bypasses the man’s betrayal and puts total responsibility on the woman to repair what the man has broken. A woman does indeed try to “pour herself out” for her addict husband only to find out she can never be enough to satisfy his lust idol. Too many times, women use sex as a magic bullet only to find the problem is deeper than frequency and she begins to loathe not only herself but her husband.
We must understand porn is not a sex thing. It is a heart thing. A man’s heart is trying to be satisfied, comforted, approved, encouraged, or relieved by acting out instead of finding all those things in a relationship with God.
The longer the wife gets the in the way, the longer it takes for the husband to see his need for action— to seek and find God. Sex isn’t the answer. Jesus is.
Likewise, the wife must turn to Jesus for comfort and affirmation during this delicate time. Otherwise she spends all her energy trying to get her husband to understand how much his porn has hurt her.
He can’t understand. Yet.
The God-man wants to change. But the porn addict is still trying to defend his habit. So until he understands how much porn is hurting his own heart he can’t begin to understand how much it hurts his wife’s heart.
Trust me in this. I have seen it too many times. The wife must, must let down her walls and let Jesus comfort her. But she needs great boundaries with her husband. This hard and painful journey is as much about her heart as it is the husband’s. God wants to be the source and love and comfort for both. It is an invitation into true intimacy. With God and with each other.
And intimacy is not the same thing as orgasm.
Monday night, Vince Gibson led an open worship session at Fuse Church. It was rich and intense and wonder-full. The Spirit was heavy on us and among us. At one point, Vince started asking Jesus to take us to the “deepest parts” and to sweep away the darkness and the lies.
While we were singing “sweep through the deepest parts,” God granted me an incredible vision.
I saw Jesus sweeping through my “house” and I knew in the spirit that we were inside my tabernacle, my dwelling place of God. But He was whistling and singing and smiling. Think of the seven dwarves singing, “Whistle While You Work” in Snow White. It was like that. Yes. Crazy.
As I watched Him, I laughed and shook my head, clearly this did not make sense. “What’s He doing? Why is He so happy? I asked.
“There is no shame in your dirt anymore,” the Spirit said at my side. “He has already paid for it. So He is happy to get it out.”
The Spirit and I stood there together for a moment watching Jesus playfully sweep up dirt and debris with a broom and dustpan. If you can imagine, He was kind of dancing around and laughing. A crazy kind of joy welled up in my heart. I was relieved and exposed and freed all at the same time.
Wow. I haven’t been able to shake the joy on His face.
Who is this God that does not shirk from our sin nor does He hesitate to get into our souls and get His hands dirty? What kind of God is so full of joy in our process of redemption?
Praise the name of Jesus.
Yes I know we are responsible for keeping our tabernacle worthy of His presence. But His joy moved me to tears.
Something shifts in these moments. Motive changes. Desire increases. Love abounds. I want to keep my life clean when I know that He loves my house so much. Courage grows when I grasp He willingness to take out the darkness and dirt that I am afraid to even acknowledge.
What I am afraid to touch, He sweeps away Himself.
What a Savior. What a Friend. What Life-changing Joy.
I have a lot of wealthy friends. We live in really different financial spheres and sometimes the money gap is comical. For example, I was thrilled to go to Florida and one friend vacationed at a Mediterranean oasis. I bought a new house (that I love!) and one friend bought a new house that makes my house look like her bonus room. Another friend eloquently remarked, “Jana I live in a land with lots of zeros, so I am not worried about the cost of this.”
I laughed out loud. I can’t even imagine making such a statement.
The odd thing though is my wealthy friends also make heart-wrenching comments. Two of them said recently that they have a hard time with close friendships because people are jealous of them and that people judge them for how they spend their money.
These comments rattled my soul. For several reasons. I love my friends. Deeply. And they love me. Deeply.
I would hope that their love for me would not fluctuate as my income fluctuates. As in, when I have no money, I would have no friendship? So then, why would having a surplus of income mean a sacrifice of friendship?
Do we really believe that more money is the answer to most everything? If we are not careful, we will have our eyes on more money rather than on more of our Maker. Look at these statements from wealthy people in my world:
“I have so much money, I don’t really need Jesus for anything.”
“I had an opportunity to make millions, but I don’t think that is what’s best for my family or my own soul. I don’t think this is God’s plan for me right now.”
“I am thankful for the money we have, but my friends think I don’t have any problems. They think their life is harder than mine. And it gets very lonely.”
Do you hear the temptation? the poverty? the need? Suddenly the ground becomes very level at the Cross. Perhaps money isn’t the answer to everything. Here are real life people who have plenty of money, yet still have plenty of lack.
Theologian Henri Nouwen poignantly calls out that we are all poor in some areas and rich in some areas. Some have material wealth, some have spiritual wealth. Some have wisdom, some mercy. Yet above all things, he asks, where is our trust? The Lord is the source of all, for all.
Extreme security. These are the two words that God gave me in March. It was an invitation actually.
“How would you like to live in “extreme security?” He asked.
“What does this mean?” I said. Instantly I thought of paying opportunities that would give me more stability, more options. But that’s not what He had in mind.
“That you would be so convinced of My Provision that I would become your ‘extreme security’.”
“I would love this Lord, but I don’t know how.”
Trusting the goodness of God is our highest goal. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is why Jesus said you can’t love God and love money. You have to choose.
You can love God and use money. But you can’t love money and use God.
When I love God, I can learn to trust in His abundance for my every need. Enter peace.
When I love money, I am constantly grasping for more to meet my own needs. Enter exhaustion.
My wealthy friends already know this. They have all they need financially and more. (Which is why they give so much away.) They already know that money doesn’t meet ALL their needs. Only God can do that.
So regardless of your financial status, how is your peace? What is your source? Where is your love?
Really let the Lord reveal your mental conversations as you compare yourself to others, or even despise others for their surplus or lack. Are you asking God to meet your needs? Are you accusing God of not taking care of you? How about this— are you thanking God for what you do have?
And, likewise, let the Lord reveal your areas of spiritual wealth. What areas are you so full that you might share with others? You may be rich in ways you have never considered. I love what 1 Timothy 6:6 says: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Godliness. Contentment. Great Gain. This sounds like a great path for us all, regardless of the number of zeros in our lives.
God is faithful to meet all our needs. May we be rich in trusting Him.