Friday, August 6

Desires of the heart....

“My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.” Job 17:11 NIV

When someone has a feeling that doesn’t reflect the ‘hope and joy’ of their salvation, the body of Christ often writes it down as evidence of the lack of true conversion or even isolation from the Spirit because of assumed sins or impertinent arrogance. After all, God’s people have to be in a state of permanent ‘joy and peace’ to be truly God’s people. There aren’t Christians who commit suicide, who are angry, who live in spiritual pain and agony and who struggle through this world trying to hold on to those things promised by Christ for those who have accepted and claimed His salvation gift. It is too far beyond a Christian to be, as the world would say, ‘real.’ After all, real joy and real hope makes you constantly ‘happy’ for what worries would you have?

I have been asked a lot lately, as I transition from a season of Esther into the season of silence, how I have been doing? Most often times, like many Christians today, I speak the ‘language’ of salvation which I truly believe but that robs and hides some of the serious pain and sorrow that inhabits my heart still, some thirteen days after the ending. I don’t hold anything against the askers because they are truly seeking to come alongside both Esther and I and help us transition into the new season of our lives that are void of each other, except in the covering of friendship. They truly desire not to judge whom has the ‘most and least’ blame but to give us time to come to an understanding of the dynamics of the ending rather than the event itself. There is a song by Brittany Nicole…..’’Headphones”…… that expresses my feelings still. “He gets in the car, he falls apart. It came to an end and now its breaking his heart. He wants to give up, wants to try again….Honestly he doesn’t know what he’s feeling.”

The ping-pong of relationships.

I have been asked if I’m going to seminary still…, I’ve put that on hold indefinitely because I’m no longer assured that this isn’t something more than a desire of my own heart, far beyond the desires of God, that I do so. The application sits in limbo land on the internet, half completed, and no attempts at funding have been undertaken. I have been told by some that to go to Seminary as a single parent of two children, one special need, is a foolish and irresponsible thing to do. I have been told by others that God will provide if God wants it to happen. All I know is that I have seen that mountain and right now, I don’t want to even think of scaling its heights. There is no consensus to what God is doing in my life; if there ever has been. It is the one thing that I find irritatingly familiar in the body of Christ; lack of discernable consensus regarding discipleship of those in the body called to do those things to which God alone has called them. You have to come with a clean slate, good track record of a few years at least and no discernible ‘embarrassments’ before the body will even consider your candidacy to God-inspired and defined levels of impossibility. My continued failure to be ‘relational’ even at this level, or rather, at this level makes me question whether or not the impossible dream God placed upon my heart so many years ago was just that… desire to do impossible things under the grace of God’s glory so that I could bring meaning to my life and the struggles that have been consistently battled in the darkness of the world.

Sometimes being scarred for the sake of the Kingdom can be the worst thing in the world for you……because scar tissue grows hard and unyielding the more it is borne. It is why the Bible is so incessant about coming along side someone and sharing the burden of their pain, why it cautions us from straying into sinful ways and why so many things are declared in the biblical text to be sinful and harmful to the human race; like homosexuality, anger, bestiality and murder. Sin by itself is nothing……we could sin all day if there was nothing that came from its commission or omission in our lives. But sin, whether it is the engagement of homosexuality to the sorrowing of the Holy Spirit through our actions, becomes something that is painful, sorrowful and altering of life and future because of its effects and consequences. We don’t have the luxury to skip the results of sins committed most of the time, because it is the commission of the sin that pushes God into the background as a bit player on stage and brings our flagrant willfulness into the limelight. We prevent God from moving when we go into places where God cannot, because of His characteristics of holiness and goodness, go.

We come to the place where Job’s words echo the cry of my heart.

I feel the pull of God’s desire for me to join Him in the places where He is working… me, through me and with me…..for the purposes of the Kingdom that is just beyond the horizon, waiting for that moment where Christ gallops across the sky on the white steed and redeems a world broken upon the altar of mankind’s willful disobedience and declaration of self-direction. I know that there is much work to be done, much effective work that I can do ‘in my sleep’ that God has allowed my life and testimony to show both the good and the bad that are sprinkled in the forgiveness of His mercy and washed clean by the grace of Christ’s blood sacrifice that somewhere, somehow someone else who is in the darkness of the despair offered by this world will find a reason to believe, a reason to explore and a reason to trust in the powerful words spoken by Christ Himself as His ministry on this world came to a season ending…….”I am the Way, the Truth and the Light. None will come to the Father but through Me.” (paraphrased) If that is my testimony; to be always on the edge of failure and to jump off its cliffs only to climb the other side to do it again, then that is my testimony.

But there are those who would say that God would not allow such things, that such a testimony needs to have the impact and the ‘overcoming’ through the power of the Spirit to be effective, to speak without words and to ‘entice’ those in the darkness of ignorance to realize God’s awesome love, powerful mercy and unending grace.


I sin, not in the stupidity of my own desire but in the lack of following through with God’s desire for me and the weight of disbelief that haunts my nights and robs me of my sleep. I sin, not in the assurance of my place in the kingdom, but my refusal to claim its mantle upon my shoulders and press forward into that place. I sin, not because I have failed at yet another relationship, but because I step back each time I do from the one relationship that matters. Because assuredly as God has made some to be single, He has made others to be married.

The desires of my heart are buried.

Beneath the failure of my own past that seems to haunt my future, the lack of a sustainable relationship in the midst of the chaos of my life and the lack of belief, in myself and in others. They are buried because they repeatedly resurrect from the dead only to die again and the shovel is beginning to give me blisters from the constant digging.

Seems I die only to live again.

But, even in the anguish of this anger and disconnection, I find a purpose….a purpose that is utilized to reach different people with an approach that is as different and varied as the people God is reaching out to. Maybe in this desert and isolation, with only the howling of the wind to break the silence of this place, maybe even here God is working His purpose and desire by the very fact I am moving….slowly, painfully…..but moving. I still believe in Christ and the promises of God for His children. I still have faith even though my faith is something sometimes I would like to deny.

Even in this place where my plans and desires lie in the method of their demise and are as dead as I was in the sinfulness of my disconnection from God, even here God walks and talks to those whom He desires for His own…..everyone and anyone who was created.

All I have to do is to look at the Bible, the Word of God, and see that He doesn’t use those who have it all together as much as He does those who are broken constantly, who die each day and who still get on their knees crying out to the Father in Heaven that knows their names and feels their sorrows…..these foolish, broken and impossible people He uses for His good, His grace and His mercy.

God brings us to this place daily and if we only acknowledge that He does then the real work of living the Gospel can be truly begun. It is not only obedience that is required, but relationship…..coupled together were one is indistinguishable from the other. We have to move into the impossible things that God wants simply because we desire to be obedient to Him more than we fear the darkness of the future. What would that look like if we ‘ran’ our churches like that…..daily? Living not on the promised tithes of the faithful but daring God to provide His provisioning for the audacious and impossible ministries that we desire to be enticed to create? What if we loved without the condemnation of sin the person who is chronically sinful…time and time again bringing them back to the foot of the Cross in love and compassion rather than a desire to make sure that our desire to feel good is the primary purpose of being ‘loving to the loveless.’ We feed and shelter the homeless because they need food and shelter rather than because we want them converted……we reach out to orphans and widows (both men and women) and love them unconditionally, altering our lives and schedules to accommodate them rather than force them to accommodate us. What if we built our churches not for beauty and size but rather for functionality and cheaply so that our funds could be directed to more important adventures, more eternal rewards.

What if we stopped caring whether the person in our sight is saved or not and began to be more concerned about their lives and what’s happening in them……what if we dared to call God out on His word and entice Him to be faithful to the promises He’s given. What if we stopped making the Great Commission a statement of mission and made it simply the creed of our life; to declare the Good News and make disciples of all we have been taught. Not selling out like we have been because we want to love someone, or at least give the appearance of love……but loving like we don’t care if that person wants to believe it or not….loving without giving an inch on the Word of Truth and the things that are sinful in God’s eyes. What if we declared the Truth, lived in love and walked in faith?

What a wonderful world that would be……….

It wouldn’t matter in that world, because God’s calling me into ministry wouldn’t preclude a trip through Seminary or a perfection unattainable by human standards after the life I’ve lived….it would be seen as a step in obedience, to which we are all called to, that is both common to us all in the body and exceptionally personal to each one He speaks to. Because many of us fail to follow through with the call to obey, we isolate those things that are ‘titled’ and ‘denominational’ and fail to obey the Great Commission in its simplistic statement of obedience.

Realizing that there are as many different ways to bring the Gospel message into the darkness of lives that are as different as the people living in it would bring about a very different and very ‘traditional’ approach to ‘doing Church.’ We would follow Christ’s example of confronting religious people who are unfruitful in their isolationistic approaches with righteous anger while we met sinners like ourselves with loving firmness and truth borne in the compassionate arms that we enfold them with.

We continue to be surprised that sinners sin and self-righteous religious people continue to isolate themselves from the lost and quote Scriptural verses to promote their denominational beliefs instead of simply preaching the Gospel and living the life of a ‘follower of Jesus Christ.’

Instead of building huge church buildings, schools of ‘Christian’ teaching, recreation programs and even business communities for the members of God’s church, let us venture out into the places where we don’t traditionally go and where Christ would’ve and live the prayer that Christ said over His disciples in the Upper Room…..”I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the Evil One. They are not part of this world anymore than I am. Make them pure and holy by teaching them Your words of Truth. As You sent Me into the world, so I am sending them into the world.”

Not to wallow in the world, but to walk in it as a beacon shining fearlessly into the darkness, holding to the Truth and declaring its realized grace in every motion of our being………

Living a life that is like Britt Nicole calls us out to…..

“Step out, even when it's storming/Step out, even when you're broken/Step out, even when your heart is telling you/Telling you to give up/Step out, when your hope is stolen/Step out, you can't see where you're going/You don't have to be afraid/So what are you waiting, what are you waiting for?”

Step out into the world today, your days over and your desires dead upon the ground…….live as if you had died, for in Christ we all have.

Die daily, live free

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