Thursday, December 19, 2013

Your Grace Finds Me (Live From LIFT: A Worship Leader Col...

Pure Grace

I adore this scripture.  It reads in my bible:   "Having wiped out the hand writing of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.  And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." Colossians 2:14 

There is so much that Jesus did for us, it is hard to know where to begin.  It is difficult to speak of His great grace without acknowledging my own life.  I will do the former, and blend in my own life as I go.  

I worship at a grace church.  We don't do sinners saved week after week.  We don't do condemnation. We don't do anything but Jesus.  There is radical difference between the two churches.  We believe that confession is to tell God the truth.  We believe in telling the truth.  We don't however believe that we're sinners any longer.  We believe that Jesus paid our sin debt once and for all, at Calvary.  

We're (as a set of believers) often ridiculed for our belief system, because we don't believe that we're under the law of Moses any longer.  We are under a new covenant.  Jesus was the final Lamb.  There are no more sacrifices.  If there were, we'd still be under the old mosaic law.  We are under grace.  Just because we don't believe in the ten commandments, doesn't mean that we are free to break them, indeed, once you understand all that Christ did on the cross, why would one want to conduct themselves in such a manner?  However, we are ridiculed.  

We are a group of believers that focus our lives on our relationship with Christ, and His finished work on the cross.  The more you understand what and who Christ was, He makes Himself manifest inside of you.  It just happens the more you hear God's word.  

Christ was born, lived, suffered, and died for us.  While yet we are in sin, He loves us.  We serve a God that loves us so much (we cannot really even comprehend) that He made Himself into human flesh that He might know our feelings, out pain, and our strife - so that He would know us.  Our every living, breathing, moment.  He was tortured for us.  I think that is pretty amazing - it separates us from every other form of believers.  We are NOT religious.  Religion is for people who serve men, not God.  Rules not love.  Jesus is love.  God is love.  The only two commandments that Jesus gave us was 1). To love the Lord your God with all your heart, your mind, and your soul.  2).  To love your neighbor as yourself.  It's not exact but close as I know them.  Both of these commandments have to do with love.  The bible says that we are to love one another as Jesus loved.  And Jesus loved us with everything that He had, His whole life was a mission of love.  A life of sacrifice.  

People in the old testament could not follow the law.  All through the old testament they worshiped other Gods.  They did despicable things, and God had to save them, thus the foreshadowing of Jesus - whom had been there from the beginning of time.  We had to have a Savior, for from the moment that Eve ate the apple, (before actually) God knew we were going to have to have Christ.  

I wish I could explain all that I've learned of grace -- and how it's so miraculously changed my life.  The peace that I've found in the never ending rest that I've found in it's immeasurable life giving gift.  The gift of Jesus.  He's became the center of my universe, my breath, my life, my reason for living.  I know that no matter what my circumstance, He is awaiting my arrival with answers I'd never dreamed.  I don't have to fight with anything any longer, his grace and favor find me with out my having to do anything but love Him.  I have nothing to do but praise Him, pray, and trust.  As unsettling as this unstable world has become, I fear nothing.  I know that God has my destiny.  My every answer is in Jesus.  He sits at the right hand of God, and He is my everything.  My life is blessed.  There are so many scriptures that I'd love to share, so much of my bible that is so tender to me.  The words, like velvet.  He's given me meaning and direction.  He's given me purpose, and most of all, love.  

I hope that you find grace in your lifetime.  It's peace far surpasses anything that this world has to offer.  It is a peace that stands outside space and time, and is in Christ alone.  I honor it like I honor life.  It is a gift.  That was one of the things that Christ gave to his disciples.  I know that I have reached this place in my life due to the road that I was supposed to travel.  I'm humbled and in awe.  I'm more grateful than words can describe.  Life just makes sense.  I'm in poverty but life makes sense.  It's only for a season.  

Grace and peace to you...

Ephesians 1:7  "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the richness of his grace."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Walking Wounded - take heed.

I've had the occasion as of late to brush up to other peoples pain.  It made mine look like a sunshiny day.  Pain so vast, that it had changed their character.  It was so vast, that it gave me pause.  It took my breath.  The bowels of compassion in me opened like a deep wound.  Unable to help this person, I felt inept.  Powerless even.  As I write now - I realize how this could lead someone to express themselves as one person, but the pain bring them to a much different reality.  There is a vast difference between what we "want" to be than in what we are indeed capable.  It lies in our unresolved pain.  

Pain will make you hide.  Pain will make you think you are ugly.  It will make you think that everyone is out to get you.  It will make you suspect everything that someone does for you - or to you.  It doesn't always matter what kind of pain, but when it comes to relationships, that is where it is going to rear it's ugly head.  There are things that are going to have to be worked out in relationships that will not be able to be worked out anywhere else.  It is an every going disaster waiting to happen. It comes from the place of our need.  It is very frightening to need someone, yet we all do.  

The needs begin with food and shelter.  Once those are met, then there are the belonging needs.  The one's that have to do with love and acceptance.  We all have need of belonging in this world and it's amazing what we will do and allow to get it.  We'll sometimes allow abuse, emotional and physical - to get it.  It's like food that we're starved for.  Some of us are starved.  I've been in this position several times in my life.  This is what sets us up for the abuse - it takes us to the bursting point in order to get what we're dying for -- belonging.  

As we meet each other we present ourselves as the best as we can be.  We put our best feet forward in the presentation.  We want others to think of us as we want to think of ourselves.  It's rarely who we are in all actuality.  It isn't as if were lying, it is who we wish we were.  It is who we aspire to be.  This is why there comes a point in the love affair where the novelty wears off and we're seen as we actually are - and the honey moon seems to stop - but hopefully the love endures.  Sometimes it doesn't.  If there is too much that has taken place or too much distance between what has been presented and the truth - it just cannot be repaired.  This is why people need to take time in the beginning and get to know the other person.  However, it's rarely done.  We usually jump right in with both feet.  I'm as guilty of it as the next person...  It's that air of overwhelm when you meet someone that feels right after a bad string of wrongs.  It's exciting, and breathtaking.  And we love the whole kit and kabootle.  It's a love affair after all, it isn't supposed to be logical.  However, at some point, someone has to be logical.  Especially if we run into a snag, and invariably we do.  

This is usually the jumping off point for most folks, where the relationship ends.  It's where the truth of the matter comes to light - we're not all that and we're really human's with flaws.  He leaves the seat up on the toilette - the cap off the toothpaste, and the bathroom light on all at once.  Plus, his towels, and whisker bits all over the bathroom sink.  Everything that you once thought about his being "Mr. Wonderful" comes crushing to a halt.  He's a tad insensitive as well - however you've grown quite fond of him, so what's a person to do?  It isn't as if you're perfect either... He's noticed that you drool in your sleep and that you hog the bed.  The list goes on...

These types of things are minor, trust me.  The bigger stuff is yet to come.  These things are minor milestones in the process.  These are but the tiny truths we learn about each other - the more serious stuff like, now how a person deals with grief - now that's the big stuff.  That is the stuff that makes or breaks a marriage.  How he treats you when you loose someone very important to you, or when he looses someone important to him, will make or break the deal.  A lot of it depends on past hurts.  

It's all about exposure.  Pulling of the covers of life.  We begin to let this other person see who we are verses who we want others to know.  It just sort of happens automatically.  The guard comes down, as we live our lives together.  We can't possibly hold up the perfect role any longer.  It's just too much work.  And it isn't as if we are doing it on purpose, it's all a part of the design of courtship.  Of course we want people to think the best of us - that's just common sense.  And of course it has to come out that we aren't all that and a box of chocolates.  Hopefully we've strength of character and integrity - to withstand the reveal.  This is wherein it lies - character to withstand the unveiling process.  Some do, some don't.  Some people are serial relationship people - they run from one to another -- but that's a whole different blog.  We are talking about commitment here.  We are talking about the art of compromise.  For it is an art form.  "I'll let you see who I really am - if you promise not to leave me in the process, and you also show me who you are."  This is the deal.  Acceptance.  Letting go of expectations.   This is how relationships blend into unconditional love.  

A lot can happen in this process.  If there is going to be abuse, neglect, avoidance, shame, guilt, any sort of unwillingness to share in the unrevealing of the truth - the relationship will not make it through the process.  That is what I found as of late.  When the reveal happened, I was so shocked at what was underneath, I could not handle the emotionality of it.  I was literally in shock.  Everything in my internalization told me it was dangerous to proceed.  I've come to trust my inner knowing.  Matter of fact, when we bristle up against such pain, I give anyone the permission to retreat from the situation at hand.  This revealing process is very important - and we must trust our intuition.  

My response was that I cried and was then resounded to abusively with "dry up those tears"...  I should have told said person to leave my house at that very moment.  I process slowly at times, and I have to work through information in the manner that I do - but I am getting better at it.  I've since broken all ties with this individual.  That one statement, crude as it was - and heartless, was enough for me.  I'll not be abused, nor will my feelings be belittled again, by a man nor a woman.  I've lived through enough.  I've far surpassed this juncture.  

I write for therapeutic purposes, and perhaps it will help someone else.  Just know that there will come a time when you can't keep being all that you want the other person to believe that you are.  It's just natural.  Even on our best days, we are only as great as we can hope we are.  It is much better to be true to yourself than to try to play the role of the perfect partner.  It isn't realistic.  He or she is going to discover the truth in the end anyway - and hopefully one does not have such monsters in their closets as I've found.  I find people who need healing because I'm a healer - they're drawn to me.  I did not come up with that myself, this is what's been explained.  I draw the walking wounded.  They come to me in search of healing.  The problem with this is I'm not in the healing business - I'm looking for a soul mate not a mate full of wounds.  There is a vast difference between what I have been called to do verses who I am and what I want out of life.  Some how the two have gotten mixed up - and perhaps somehow here I'm responsible for this, I don't know.  Alas, I digress.  

The unveiling can be a beautiful thing.  If he is hearty enough, he will love you for who and all that you are bump and bobbles an all.  It will make him love you all the more.  We learn to put the lid back on the toothpaste - and ask him to put down the lid of the toilette   Those types of things are very simple.  It's the big scary things that concern me.  Those are the ones I seem to attract.  I think I'll take a break from relationships for awhile and try and figure out what one can do to stop this.  

You must ask yourself what is your drawing line - that place where you dare not tread.  Knowing it in advance helps, it helps tremendously.  For if one does not have it, you will invariably find yourself in it.  People will push you to the edge - and watch you fall, and never offer a hand.  I do not understand this, nor do I like it.  This seems to be the manner of the universe.  It isn't that there aren't good people out there, but there's just more wounded.  Many of them don't even know their wounded.  I have heart for these people, and this is perhaps how they end up in my life.  I've in past, refused to see them as evil.  I'm rethinking this.  I'm thinking now that they do have an agenda.  I don't like that this is what I'm finding, but alas, I'm afraid it's true.  It's almost unsafe to be open, I'm finding this to be true more and more.  

Wolves come in sheep's clothing.  People will present themselves in their best interest.  However there will be a defining moment.  Trust your resources for that moment.  Do what you need to do to protect yourself.  I hope that in that defining moment what you see is honor, dignity and truth.  If it is not, know that there is more of whatever you just witnessed to follow.  More of what you just witnessed, only on a deeper more serious level.  Most of all, if a man presents himself to be one thing and then acts in direct incongruence - walk away.  This is just the beginning of his telling you lies.  He's just lied with his behavior.  He'll soon start lying with his words.  When you feel shaky on the inside, listen to it.  Something is wrong.  Heed it's warning.   It's only going to get worse.  Stick around if you dare - but I can tell you from experience - you'll live to regret it.  Wolves are predators - and they devour those that cross their path.  

We are all walking wounded to a certain degree - don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that what's be broken cannot be healed.  I'm an advocate of healing.  The difference is in those that want to heal.  The difference is in those that want to heal and those that want to hurt because they have been hurt so badly.  It's a vast difference.  A frightening malady.  It's an ideal that has brought me to rethink my whole approach to life.  I don't write this lightly.  Protect yourself from those that present themselves as whole human beings yet are scared deeply.  The scars will show - and you will know.  Conduct yourselves accordingly.