We give God our best because our best isn’t restricted by a panic-stricken fear. We give God our best readily, often looking for a divine head nod of support. We regularly seek, not the depth of God, but only his thin layer of approval on our lives. However, giving God our ugly side rarely crosses our minds. Ugly hides in our hearts, safely tucked away-untamed and chained, yet deeply part of who we are. For freedom to reign in your life, for intimacy with the divine, ugly must be released upon the altar of God to be tamed by the Spirit of God. In short, you must allow God to love the ugly side of you.
Archives For Letting Go
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
Do you have a weight or a sin to set aside? If so, Jesus loves you too much to leave you where you are. The scriptures teach us that we must put off the old, be renewed in our minds and put on the new life that is found in Christ. Paul spoke in terms of dying daily. As Christ-followers, we must continually look ahead to the end goal of standing before Christ faces-to-faces.
Standing before Christ on Judgment day doesn’t have to be a thing of dread. Daily we can judge ourselves as concerning any weight or sin and do something about it right now. We can confess anything to God with a heart of repentance and He will forgive us of all unrighteousness. We are called to lay aside weights and sin!
Growing up my Father owned his own business. Each year, he would take the men and their kids on a fishing trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I have incredible memories of those fishing trips. My Father loved making His on sinkers out of lead. He had all kinds of molds for different shapes and sizes. He would take a block of lead and melt it down and pour it into the different molds. I used to love watching him make the sinks and the best part was he taught me how to do it also.
One year he had several of the young kids put the weights on the fishing poles in advance of the trip. His thinking was it would save time by putting the weights and hooks on before we got to the Other Banks. All of us kids had fun tying the weights on the line, but the big mistake was no one checked the knots to make sure all was correct. The first day on the pier was a funny one! We had prepared about seven rods in advance and from all indications, it was going to be a great start to the week.
Each of use took a rod and prepared to cast them for the first time. Carefully checking behind us we each brought our fishing rods back and then propelled them forward to cast. Four of the seven rods gave us a surprise! The lines let go of the weights and all we could do was watch them fly through the air on a path to the deep blue grave of the ocean. As the fishing lines loosely fluttered in the wind, splashes in the ocean told the story of knots being tied wrong. Needless to say, we finally got everything right and had a great week but the point I want you to see, the illustration I want you to hold is the picture of the weight being let go to never been seen again.
If there is a weight of sin in your life today that is keeping you from moving forward with God, then you need to bring your spiritual fishing rod back and propelled that weight or sin into the deeps of his forgiveness to never see it again.
I want you to think of the power of your words today. I not only want you to think about them, but I want you to take an inventory of them today. I ask you to pay close attention throughout the day to the words you use toward others and even yourself.
When I was young I worked in my fathers business. He owed a heating and air condition business and also did metal fabrication. We had a supply room, and from time to time he would make me do inventory of all our products. I would spend days counting big items all the way down to small items. For 8 hours a day for several days I would count.
It was a tedious job, but it was a necessary job also. Once I had the inventory completed, I had an accurate count and assessment of everything we owned. I could now order or add to what was lacking, and I could now even throw away anything that wasn’t needed or was broken. Inventory clears things up and makes it easier to see exactly where you are. It clears the path forward.
There are times in life you need to take an inventory of things. Today I want you to start taking an inventory of your words. Have you ever stopped to think about the power of the words you use? The words you say to yourself, others, enemies, friends, co-workers, your family, spouse and your children?
Your words affect your life. Your words affect the lives of others. Most importantly, your words reveal what is in your heart. Words show what you have in your inventory. Many miscalculate the power of their words. They say to themselves, “It’s not all that important, they are just words.” That’s not true through. Words are powerful. Words can build or tear down. They can destroy or create. Words set the tone of every conversation.
With words, you can make someone’s day or shatter someone’s day. You can inspire someone or discourage someone. You can build someone up or tear someone down. Your words can move some to do their best work, or to work against you. Words are either life affirming or destructive. For all these reasons, we should take an inventory or our words often, and choose our words carefully.
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so allow me to give you a picture. This picture is found in the book of Luke.
Luke 6:43-45 (NKJV)
43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Emphases added)
The picture stand on its own. Words come from the heart. They are either good or bad. Inventory is tied to our hearts. We are challenged to clear up our words, thereby clearing up our hearts. When our hearts are clear of destructive words, we can then speak into the lives of others words of life and creation.
You see, frequently, though not always, what people criticize in others is what they are afraid of in their own lives. Jesus also pointed out that a persons words would eventually tell what kind of person he or she is. Therefore, it’s imperative that we take an inventory of junk words still floating around in our hearts. It’s important to do so. It’s life changing to do so. In fact, God himself will one day take inventory of our heart.
Matthew 12:36-37 (NKJV)
36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
We as Christ followers have a great task at hand, which is taking an inventory of our words for the sake of His glory. I challenge you today to look closely at your conversations and at the carelessness we often use in our speech. You might just be surprised at the junk that is still in your heart.
My prayer: Let the words of my mouth be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
Tomorrow is not even here yet, and I can feel it overreaching into today. Don’t get me wrong; I know there must be planning for the future but when that future overreaches it’s authority and steals the joy and progress of God in my life today, it’s not spiritually healthy.
Let’s face it; you need strength to carry out the work of today. When you allow tomorrow to put its hands into today, it loves to grab strength and run away with it. In other words, it loves to empty today of its strength leaving you with a dismissed heart to work hard on today’s work.
I challenge you today to not let the future disturb you. Walk in the power and strength that God has given you for today. Tomorrow, He is able to do it all again for you. According to the scriptures, He is the God of yesterday, today and forever. He is faithful in the present moment of your life.
It’s okay to think about tomorrow. It’s okay to organize a little for tomorrow. However, it’s not okay to allow tomorrow to become the governor that gets in the way of the LORD of today in your life which is Jesus- working in and through you.
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Letting God into your problems is different from letting God watch your problems. Letting Him into your problems means you allow God to have control of what you are trying to run. On the other hand, letting God watch your problems is an insult to the work of the cross. He endured the cross so that you might be free in Him.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” (NASB) You and I fight against God when we try to control and win against the problems of our lives. It can’t be both ways with God when it comes to the subject of control. You can’t control and surrender control at the same time. Either you are in control, or God is in control. One works to bring Him glory, and the other points to our own pride as the answer.
In order to have peace, the surrendering of your problems must be laid at the feet of Jesus. You must stop striving by taking your hands off the proverbial wheel of control. You long for peace and rest but you will never experience either until you give your problems to the Prince of Peace.
God loves to speak to His children, “The battle is not yours; it’s mine. You don’t have to fight in it.” You need to take the discouragement, the tiredness and the fatigue that comes along with carrying all the troubles and realize that it doesn’t depend on you. God is calling to you over and over to let Him take control. Bless God today by giving Him the gift of your rubbish.
Turning your rubbish over to God means you must trust Him. When you don’t understand, or life seems unfair and makes remarkably little sense at all, that is a definite signpost pointing you to turn it all over to Jesus. Don’t be the person who says they trust God, but when trouble hits they run it through their own filter first. Remove the filter and let God be God in your life.
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”
Acts 5:40-42 ESV
And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
It has been said, “God doesn’t simply want us to feel good. He wants us to be good. And very often the road to being good involves not feeling good.”
Suffering can be embraced as a wind of advancement OR Suffering can be embraced as a wind of retreat
In Acts 5, Peter and the apostles suffering pressed them forward and not backwards
- They were beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus anymore
- They Rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name
- They daily taught in the temple and from house to house, preaching Jesus
They could live through suffering because they had a view that looked higher than the suffering right in front of them.
Suffering becomes beautiful when you look up, down and around and realize you are following Jesus.
My Daughter knows a young lady who cuts herself often. The depth of pain and emotional turmoil for her friend is at times unbearable in her heart and mind. These feelings lead to the cutting of her arms. The following poem is by my daughter in order to bring awareness to a very sad and dark reality for many among us
Blacker Than White
They carve their sins into my bones with their cold tongues. I helplessly crumble as their emotionless eyes lap up my weakness.
I cling to my last bit of sanity as their voices control me.
Their sickening laughter, which rings through my ears, reminds me of a haunting death. Their nails, so sharp, slide down my arms and wrists.
My skin falls off like dead rose petals.
Hot tears start to gather under my chin as I go numb.
They are destroying me… No.
I’m destroying myself.
Who are they?
The whispers at night that compel me to stain my pale arm a scarlet red.
They are my memories, my living nightmares.
Someone help me, I’m choking on madness.
Drowning… I’m drowning.
By~Madison Blake Wright
“Experts estimate that about 4 percent of the population practice self-injury, almost equally divided between male and female. According to researchers, “recent studies of high school and college students put the number at approximately one in five,”and nearly 50 percent report physical and/or sexual abuse during his or her childhood. Inadequate parental nurturing or a suppression of emotions, like anger or sadness, may also contribute.”`Conterio, Karen and Wendy Lader. (2007, November 26) About Self-Injury. S.A.F.E. (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives.
Recommended Resource : Inside a Cutter’s Mind
Recommended Link For More Insight- Understanding Cutting by Dena Yohe
Getting away has always been hard for me. I feel like the weight of many peoples lives lean upon my faithfulness. They count on me to give them comfort, hope, purpose, and a weekly word from God. I try to get away a few times a year, but I can’t ever seem to get away.
My wife knows how hard it is for me. She tells me all the time when we are on vacation or an anniversary getaway, to let go of ministry for a few days. I do understand what she is saying, but in my heart I hear, “If you let go of your ministry thoughts you are letting go of God’s call on you life. You are letting go of your responsibility and call to help people.”
While on our latest getaway, (our 24th anniversary) I tried my best to disconnect. Amy asked me more than a few times to stop thinking of ministry and doing ministry. I smiled each time and said, “No problem, I will.” Thirty-seconds later while she was talking, I’m thinking of some family that needs my attention. I’m trying to listen to her and hear my own thoughts and plans that will help them through a difficult time.
I’m not particularly good at faking my wife out. She knows me too well, and yet she somehow still loves me. I don’t get it! I’m one lucky man for sure. Anyway, it doesn’t take long for my wife to see I’m lost in thought and not actually in the moment with her. It’s kind of like when the T.V. is on, and she is trying to communicate with me and I have part of my attention on the T.V. and part of my attention on her. It just doesn’t work for either one of us. At least in a T.V. situation she can and does just turn it off or hit the mute button to capture my attention.
I’m convinced my wife knows me better than I know myself. I’m certain God knows me better than myself, and I’m pretty sure He speaks through her often if I would just listen. Our latest getaway has certainly helped me. She told me many times to unplug and sadly it took me to the last day, but I think I’m beginning to understand a absolute truth. It’s a truth I know, but often I don’t apply properly. That true is, God doesn’t need me to do His work; He has called and chosen me to do His work.
The “need” part is where I get messed up. I often live my life like God needs me, and I put undue pressure on my life and family. Instead, I need to wake up the “CHOSEN ME” part. According to research 40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations. I’m convinced much of the cause is because pastors, and yes, even spouses can’t let go when God has called them to rest.
I once read, “Pastor burnout is a weapon the enemy uses with great efficiency. It is surprising in its simplicity but brutal in its impact. Burnout begins by encouraging us to do what we do best – minister to people.” I’ve learned this last time away, sometimes I’m the people, and God wants to minster to my family and me.