Tag Archives: dead

My Killing

What picture comes to mind when you think of an island?   Mine is of a plush and gorgeous spot of land, in the middle of water where plants and fruits grow in abundance.  In my mind’s eye, every time I picture an island, it’s the closest thing to paradise I can imagine.

When I read Revelation and the fact that John the disciple was exiled to Patmos as punishment for preaching Jesus, I thought that isn’t such a bad punishment.  I was wrong. While further studying Patmos I discovered it was a barren island that was incapable of producing anything but rocks.  No greenery, no delectable fruits and veggies, no trees even.  Just caves and rocks.  Prisoners were sent there to mine the caves.  It was a place no one wanted to be.  The Bible doesn’t mention anything about anyone else being there but John so imagine with me, if the island was truly barren with no shade, nothing to eat or enjoy and on top of that, being there completely alone how it must have felt. Patmos actually means the title of this blog, “my killing”.

It’s not a stretch to some to imagine a place like this.  It’s not hard to remember a time feeling completely isolated and alone with no sign or site of any kind of relief.  Some are there right now. In a split second, one’s life can change forever and our normal flies right out the window.  Devastation has come to live and sometimes we feel we can’t recover or worse, we don’t want to.

Out of the darkest, loneliest and most barren times in life, God can produce something amazing.  If we tune in to him and tune out our feelings and how we perceive the place or the situation, it’s possible for Him to produce in us many things.  Faith can grow when nothing else can.  Trust can flourish and begin to color the blandness of an ugly reality.  The mind and heart can be forever changed when they know the God of our lives.

John could have spent his time mulling over every wrong done to him and how unfair it was for him to be a prisoner to start with, let alone exiled on an island no one wanted to be on but he didn’t.  Instead he chose to still – after all he had been through – look for and listen to God. I imagine he rattled the stillness of that place by singing to Jesus at the top of his lungs.  From his faithfulness and steadfast heart, God gave John the most amazing gift – the Revelation.

We can receive beautiful things, comforting words, strength, joy, peace and a growing faithfulness from God during our darkest times.  Stay close to the Father and keep staying close.

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The Place of In Between

Saturday.  Friday had happened and they saw the One whom they had based everything on, left their lives for believing He was Messiah…tortured, nails drive through His hands and feet, hung on a cross and take His last breath.  So many thoughts and doubts must have raced through their confused minds.  How could the Son of God – the Promise – die?  I feel sure they watched from afar as His lifeless body was taken down.

Do you know what hopeless feels like?  To have everything you believed in…believed for die right in front of you? I imagine what the disciples, Jesus’ mother and the other followers were feeling was the epitome of that word.  I wonder if they even remembered the many conversations He had with them, telling them that exactly what had happened would and that it wasn’t what it appeared to be or felt like it was. I imagine they were so grieved and perhaps scared that they had forgotten.

Can you relate?  You just experienced a devastating blow and after what you’ve been through you may feel it’s over, that there is no point in even hoping, let alone trying to go from here.  This is where everything changes and you’re not sure if you have the courage to believe, one more time, enough to go on.  That’s the place of in between where feelings and faith collide.  On one hand, you want to trust and believe enough to take the next step, but you feel like your world as you knew it has just ended and there is really no point.

That’s the place where dreams die and bitterness and depression creep in…if we let them.  If we’re not careful, we can find the courage to walk on from that place and allow our faith to die.  Don’t let that happen.

Hang on, just a bit longer.  Remember and recite every single promise God has made to YOU.  If He is allowing you to endure devastation, it’s part of a greater destiny.  Sure, it hurts, and absolutely, you’ll be changed forever because of it – perhaps that’s grief’s intent.  We can choose to go from here and be changed for the better or be infected by bitter.

In that place of in between, God is the same as He was yesterday.  Still in control, still loving and still all-knowing.  Just like the disciples on that dark Saturday, although they were devastated they made it through it.  You will too.  “Be not afraid, only believe”.  Mark 5:36

Do You Stink?

The Dead Sea lives its name.  Water goes in, nothing goes out.  The water becomes stagnant.  You’ve seen water pool – it turns all shades of ugly, breeds dastardly varmints like mosquitos seemingly to serve no good purpose at all.
It’s the same way with stale, stagnant Christians.  We go to church for years, always taking in but never pouring out.  Before long we become hardened and seemingly useless because we’ve never poured out what we’ve taken in.  We rarely smile, find something wrong with pretty much everything and everyone.  We “stink” of unuse.

God gives us knowledge and blessings so that we can pay it forward.  If we’re not using what we’re given to bless someone else what good are we, really?

Someone needs to be encouraged by what you’ve been through and how God got you through.  Tell them!

Someone needs to know you’ve been where they are and you survived.  You need to reassure them they will too.  Bless them!

Someone needs the love living in your heart to be spread to them…even the tiniest gesture on your behalf can be the one thing they need to keep going.  Love them!

Even if we stink right now, we can choose to stir the staleness in our souls.  Let’s decide to “smell” good today.

A Dinner To Remember (John 12)

Just last week, he awoke hearing that familiar voice calling his name.   Bound by death-wrap in a cold tomb, he obeyed his Master by getting up and waiting for someone to unwrap him.  What had just happened?  I wonder what Lazarus remembered (?did he remember he died) what did he think about finding himself one minute on his deathbed and the next, standing while his loved ones unwrapped him? Can’t wait to talk to him about that experience!

Now alive, he finds himself sitting at the table with Jesus. Just a normal dinner; He had probably eaten with them many times as Lazarus is identified in the Bible as being loved by Jesus.  I must laugh.  This occasion had to be anything but normal.  Sick. Dead. Body wrapped in a tomb.  Over. The voice. Awake. Alive.  Out.  Now…sitting at a table with the One who called Him back to life.  Can you imagine?

No wonder Mary had to break out her best bottle of fragrance to anoint Jesus.  That kind of gratefulness for what Jesus had recently done for her family required a major display of gratitude.  I imagine she just had to do something to show Him what was in her heart.

Jesus has done the same for us, in a way.  We were walking dead, perhaps with no hope, little happiness, getting through this life as best we could then He came to us and changed us. Perhaps we were wrapped in the death-wrap of some addiction, chronic bad lifestyles or haunted by life-stealing horrible memories and never-ending pain when we heard ‘The Voice’, saw His face and became alive…really alive for the very first time.  If you haven’t had that experience, you can by simply calling His name to save you.  Believe me I know.  Jesus has changed everything for me, and continues to, every day of my life.

Let Jesus give you a “dinner to remember” today.

The Third Day

Your battle’s been long. Day after day, you rise praying for a change and a “better” but it still looks and feels the same. You’re tired.  The facts say this is the way it’s going to be. It is what it is, despite your best efforts. Discouragement has crept in and depression isn’t far behind. You tell yourself you may as well settle in and try to become okay with it because it’s never going to change for the better. You’ve given it your best shot; now it’s time to learn to live with it.

The disciples felt the same way.  Walking on that road to Emmaus they reminisced over all they had been taught and heard from Jesus.  They gave up everything to follow Him only to watch Him be captured and killed.  He’s dead.  They’d seen Him die, they probably witnessed His cold body be wrapped in death linens and placed in a tomb.  Gone.  Buried.  What are they supposed to do with that harsh truth?  That was the truth, you know.  They were grieved and perhaps decided to go back to their pre-Jesus lives. It appeared to be over so they scattered and went on.

Wait.

They forgot the rest of the story.  In their grief, fear and despair, they forgot the truth…HIS truth…that yes, He would be crucified, killed and buried BUT He would rise again. At that moment on the road, though, their confusion and grief was all they could see and feel.  It had been three days, too long a period of time to really hope for a change.

Is it your third day?  Are you loosening the grip on your hope? Sometimes the truth of the situation trips us up and we fight the thing which causes our grip on God to weaken. The circumstances are real and we demand God show up and rescue us. Perhaps we’re looking more for a thing rather than the Person.  Oswald Chambers makes a profound statement which says “the purpose of prayer isn’t to get an answer, it’s to get hold of God”. In times of desperation and depression, that “mission” evades us – we’re so focused on our need we’re sometimes more desperate for an answer or remedy than we are for Him when, in fact, He is the answer!

Third days are hard. Our faith erodes and we’re finding ourselves in a weakened state physically, mentally and spiritually.  What do we do? Hang on.  Start speaking “the other” truths to yourself and remember, HIS WORD is just as much truth as the situation we find ourselves in.  Start believing (even though it appears to be ridiculous) what He said.  Convince yourself that no matter if everything looks dead, He’s not.  He is hope.  He is peace, comfort, and He has promised to provide.  He’s promised to never leave or forsake us.  He’s in that third day place with us.

The critical choice is whether we choose to have hope in Him or not. Jesus had the ultimate third day. He proved Himself to be who He said He was.  He will do the same in your third day.  Only believe.

Luke 24:21

What Was

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In all likelihood, this was a good storage building at one time.  Not anymore.  Full of who knows what, it’s dilapidated and forgotten now.  It captured my attention for some reason and when I go back, it reminds me of what was.

I see people all the time who have weathered many storms.  I wonder if any of us are even close to who we’re supposed to be.  The things life has brought our way, all the hurt, disappointment, tragedy, death, have taken their toll.

I look at my own life and wonder if there is anything worthwhile left.  There must be because God still has me here. Why, I don’t know.   My life, in some respects, doesn’t resemble my life at all.  The most important people to me have changed addresses, the things I used to care about I don’t anymore.  Sometimes I question the point of all this. What was makes me sad, in a way, but what still is, excites me.

I wonder what God will do next. I think I needed to be cleaned out, things needed to be removed. Perhaps I clung to things and people too much.  Perhaps they obstructed my heart and my view to what is really important.

I’ve learned that many things I valued have no real significance and that the only person who will never fail you is God.  The only love that lasts, in its intended form, is His.  I’ve learned, I really know that everything can be lost or taken, misconstrued or manipulated, but He can’t be.  He is true to his word and if all this hadn’t happened I wouldn’t know that.

I’ve learned that the choice to keep believing is ours. No matter what has happened, He knows the silent cries of our hearts.  He knows the truth – He doesn’t see through broken glass.  His picture of us, our lives, is the only real truth.  What He says, His view, is much more important than ours because it’s real and unaltered by anything that happens.

What was is gone and our view of what should be is tainted. No matter what is missing or changed, He still remains the same and if we let Him, He can rebuild what is left into the most beautiful dwelling.  He can heal all that hurt and create in us a new heart, not just mend but take the broken pieces and reconstruct a better us from the inside out.

This old building is a picture of what is left, the evidence of what the years have taken.  Others may see us as finished, broken, beyond repair but He sees something quite different:  a chance for a new creature and a promise for a better vessel in which He resides.  All the unnecessary is gone and a shell, a shell remains.  The lessons of what really matters are learned, not just survived.  That’s all He needs to begin the process of healing and restoring us into better than we were before.  I believe that. Do you?

Finished. Again.

Tired.  Weary. Discouraged. Sad. Done. Just done.  Done trying hard to make things better.  Done believing things are getting better. Tired of bailing water out of the boat.  Time, perhaps, to let it sink.

The work of a Saint is hard.  Believing against all odds and keeping content in extreme situations is exhausting.  This is, I believe, the work of our salvation – keeping faith alive when even you feel dead.

Then you hear that song.  You see others walking a more extreme road than yours.  You see their strength.  You read something specifically pertaining to your present situation and smile.  A warmth covers you and you know.  You know it came straight out of heaven, custom made, constructed specifically for you.  What will you do?  Stay down?  Not believe? Not hope?

The choice is yours.  God won’t stop loving you.  It may not even change things on the outside…but it can change things on the inside.  Will you let it?  Do you dare to believe again?  Pick up another bucket?  Usher up another prayer?

The choice is yours.

Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference.

Remember.  The rock.  The blessing.  The socks.  Remember.  Cling.  And start bailing.  Again.

Finished?  Not this time.  No. No. Not this time. And that’s all that matters.