Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Darkest Night of My Life

3:24 PM 0
     My entire existence hung in the balance as fear overtook the masses and confusion set in like a soft whisper in a pitch black cave. Echoing in every direction, refusing to find a resting place, and igniting deep emotion, deep regret, and deep despair.  The Darkest Night of My Life took place before one breath escaped from my lungs. It is as if everything that had seemed to be was no longer and everything that was thought to be known was but a question with no answer.  Was it all a dream?  Was any of it real?  Have I made a mistake?  Was I wrong?  Was he really…? What happens now?

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.  The tombs were opened.  And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.  When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"(matt 27:51-54)
     It was as if time itself stood still as the magnitude of what just took place set in.  The Darkest Night of My Life would seal my fate forever.  Forever I would be lost.  Forever I would be a wonderer, a nomad, seeking and searching for purpose only to find myself in utter meaninglessness all the days of my life.  This King of Kings, my prophesied savior, the only one from whom hope could be found was now dead.  All hope was lost.  The true breath of life will now never escape from my lungs. Or would it?

Now after the Sabbath, toward dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His presence was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.  And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women.  "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  HE IS NOT HERE, FOR HE HAS RISEN, AS HE SAID.(matt 28:1-6)

The Darkest Night of My life and yours would end at sunrise.  At sunrise, what was thought to have been lost would be found.  At sunrise the shame that at times has consumed me would evaporate along with the dew.  At sunrise what death with all its might had tried to consume would forever be destroyed.  Do not live in darkness when the most beautiful sunrise you could ever imagine awaits you.  Come just as you are, broken, bruised, worn, fearful, unsure, and shamed.  Let the light of this glorious sunrise warm you, remake you, and resurrect you.  Just like Mary, run to meet Jesus as the sun begins to rise, He will greet you on the way.  See you at Sunrise!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The LIE that Binds

3:23 PM 0
  We are all well aware that Satan's schemes did not cease to exist in the Garden and as Christians we are quick to note the severe decline in our culture as a whole and often cling to our values in a hope to anchor us through this storm.  Yet, I fear, lurking beneath the surface of our church pews, our homes, and our hearts, is the deadliest of all transgressors, one who intends to rob us of our joy and divide our bodies all the while masking itself in the bond of "friendship."  Who is this ugly transgressor you might ask and how could one ever befriend her?  She goes by the name Gossip and she does not discriminate.  Any and all who will fall prey to her illusion she will not hasten to destroy.  She does her work quickly and reels in her victims simply by telling them what they want to hear.  Try as you may to resist her charm, but her fruits are often too juicy to deny.  What is offered in return is momentary validation, momentary vengeance, and momentary security, all the while knowing in the back of her mind that she only has to build you up for a short while before she begins to tear you down.  
     Let's get practical.  There are two reasons in which we gossip.  Notice I said "we," I make no attempt to claim master over this sin only a deep deep desire to see it through the lens of Truth.  We gossip in an attempt to gain vengeance or simply due to jealousies that we are holding up within our heart. Like any sin, I truly believe if we were able, in the moment of temptation, to see it for the lie it is we would run in the opposite direction.  If we could see the harm of our words, the great power of destruction that is wound up in a single seed of deception surely the apple would loose its enticing lure.  Yet how easy it can be to deceive ourselves and allow words to slip from our tongue most certainly from a place of "concern," not gossip, rightWhen we find ourselves in a blur of insecurities the easiest scapegoat seems to come through highlighting the flaw of another, a quick fix, so we think.  However, the affects of sin are typically never quick and what was intended merely to be a casual conversation Satan exploits in an effort to tear down the body of Christ.  Ask yourself this question, no matter where you may fall on this deadly train of destruction, whether you are the one who sows the negative seed, the one who simply receives the seed, or the victim of the seed that was sown, has it ever, I mean ever brought any amount of freedom or joy into your life or the life of someone else?  Has it ever resulted in the building up of the body of Christ?  Or, if you recall correctly, has it brought much confusion, much questioning, much doubting, much division among brothers and sisters?  Has it divided friendships, marriages, churches?  Has it left you feeling encouraged or increasingly dissatisfied??  You see in those few short seemingly insignificant moments where the seed was sown one might experience a small degree of validation (they agree with me, I am not alone,) or vengeance (now people will know who they really are,) or security (at least I am better than they are,) but in the deepest darkest places of your heart you have deep sorrow because you know that in fact you did bite that appleIt was sweet and fulfilling for a brief moment in time, but has left you with a bitter aftertaste as though it was plucked from the branch too early.     
    The simple truth is that God knows best.  He was not lying to us or holding out on us when he told us to "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear," Eph  4:29.  James was right on target when he wrote in chapter 3:5, "So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.  How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!"  So as sure as Satan will continue his schemes, we do not have to fall prey to his lies.  When he extends the apple, with all the appeals that one would desire, with the promise that you are simply one bite away from fulfillment, look very very closely, there is most assuredly a deadly worm lurking beneath the skin.


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