Tag Archives: Casting Crowns

A Closer Walk: Standing Barefoot With My Failures At The Cross

Some of us in the church are so quick to spread the sins and failures of others, aren’t we? We love to talk, especially about the latest dudes who blew it. It might be the kid who was just arrested for dealing drugs. The next door neighbor’s unmarried daughter, who we just discovered is pregnant. The abortionist down the street. (No comment necessary here.) Or, the scandalous political figure, (or pastor) who was just exposed in a headline-making sexual scandal.

If it’s juicy… and especially sinful… we’re talking.

Gossip Wounds

There are sins we positively abhor. Sins we are scandalized by. Sins we raise our eyebrows and voices against, waving our placards in self-righteous protest… oh yes. We shout ourselves hoarse to the world and whisper among ourselves, “Have you heard about…?”

(Oh, yeah, we do.)

Scandalized by other’s sins, yet so justisfied… in our own?

“Who… me?” we ask, all doe-eyed innocence.

One sad fact I have discovered in my thirty-some-years as a returned prodigal, is that we “The Redeemed,” are enormously tolerant of our own acceptable-sins.”

I refer, in this case, to the sin of slander and gossip.

In churches I have attended since my return from “the far country,” I have discovered no sin is quite so rampant, indeed, quite so ENJOYED, as the sin of spreading salacious slander or malicious gossip.

(It does seem as if we enjoy the wounding of others.)

And, it does wound.

It wounds if it’s true… it devastates if it’s NOT!

We, with our whispering, our accusing eyes, and our very cold shoulders, sadly seem to relish pummeling another’s reputation (and heart) while we find these “slight sins” of ours—entirely understandable.

Really?

My Bible says, “…the person who keeps every law of God, but makes one little slip, is JUST AS GUILTY as the person who has broken every law there is.” James 2:10James 2:10
English: World English Bible - WEB

10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he has become guilty of all.

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Every law?

One… little… slip?

Our slips from God’s point of view make us guilty of breaking every law in His book. All of us, at one time, stood barefoot, naked, and guilty, at the foot of Jesus Christ’s cross. We all desperately needed a Savior—and still do.

Perhaps we should all remember that the next time a “juicy little tidbit” floats our way.

Instead of spreading the dirt, perhaps we should cast our eyes on the dust at our own feet.

What do you suppose Jesus might have written there… about us?

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LET ME GIVE YOU HOPE TODAY

Oh, honey. Don’t weep so. I see, I hear… truly I do. Nothing that touches or concerns you is ever out of My care… but Sweet Heart—you must believe.

(Those tears in your eyes belie the fears in your heart.)

I have not abandoned you. It is your past; the cruel deeds of others, that accuse Me.

I AM your Father. I AM your Lover. The One who loves you with tender, perfect love.

I see your faults… so what!

You think what you do could make Me forsake you; stop loving you?

Never. Never. Never!

Rise Above the GossipCome to Me… lay the heaviness of your broken heart on Me. That is what I came for… why I chose you!

I knew you needed someone who would never fail you… never abandon you.

(You think you deserve this treatment?)

No honey. No one deserves to be forsaken, but oh how many are!

Your failures are why I chose you.

Forsaken, and abandoned, so many times, and yet… look at you!

You shall be a trophy of My Grace.

Don’t despair. You won’t wear those wretched rags on your heart forever. Soon, yes soon, I will dress you in My splendid glory!

Let Me give you hope today. Cast all that ugly care on Me. (I can take it.) Trust Me just a little longer. If you could only see yourself, as I do.

Oh… what a jewel you are becoming… fit for a King! A King of kings!

(Hey, come to think of it, that’s Me!)

a closer walk“Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Peter 5:71 Peter 5:7
English: World English Bible - WEB

7 casting all your worries on him, because he cares for you.

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Never Losing The Light: Weary and Worn Mariner

weary of warfare Oh, Beloved, I see how weary you have become.
You have warred a “good warfare” but there is a limit to all that body, mind, and spirit can take.
Day (and especially) at night—your enemy mercilessly attacks.
You wonder at your despair?
You wonder, “Why hasn’t this changed yet?
Where is my relief?”—yes?
Yes.
But Sweetheart, you have heard me say to you many times, “I am coming.”
I AM!
Do not give up your hope just as the battle turns!
I see what you cannot, for I see what transpires here in the Heavens, a great and mighty conflict is being waged.
Many souls hang in the balance.
You do not see in your present darkness all that is depending on you—and your faith!
My word to you today is, “Hang on!”
Hang on My child.
Yes, I AM coming.
Your life, your calling, your destiny, all are being decided as this warfare rages.
Do as you have been doing.
Run to Me!
Pour out your heart.
Cast all your failure and lonliness and fear at my feet.
As I rise from My throne to lift you up, I shall place my omnipotent foot upon your enemies neck!
weary mariner“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11Jeremiah 29:11
English: World English Bible - WEB

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.

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Seems that God is looking more for ways to get us home than for ways to keep us out. I challenge you to find one soul who came to God seeking grace and did not find it.

—Max Lucado, “When God Whispers Your Name”

Part 1: Is God Whispering Or Shouting?

Is God whispering your name?

Is He?

This storm you’re in—could it be that God isn’t whispering but actually shouting to you?

It could be.

It might be.

I wonder.

“Do heroes know when they are heroic? Rarely. Are historic moments acknowledged when they happen? You know the answer to that one. (If not, a visit to the manger will remind you.) We seldom see history in the making, and we seldom recognize heroes. Which is just as well, for if we knew either, we might mess up both. But we’d do well to keep our eyes open. Tomorrow’s Spurgeon might be mowing your lawn. And the hero who inspires him might be nearer than you think. He might be in your mirror.”

― Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name

 

(I wonder?)

The more God empties your hands for other work the more you may know He has special work to give them.

— Edmund Garrett

If Job could have known, as he sat there in the ashes, bruising his heart on this problem of Providence, that in the trouble that had come upon him he was doing what one man may do to work out the problem for the world, he might again have taken courage. No man lives to himself. Job’s life is but your life and mine written in larger text… So, then, though we may not know what trials wait on any of us, we can believe that, as the days in which Job wrestled with his dark maladies are the only days that make him worth remembrance, and but for which his name had never been written in the book of life, so the days through which we struggle, finding no way, but never losing the light, will be the most significant we are called to live.

— Robert Collyer

As evening fell, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”

So they took him just as He was and started out, leaving the crowds behind (though other boats followed). But soon a terrible storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water and about to sink. Jesus was asleep at the back of the boat with His head on a cushion.

Frantically they wakened Him, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to drown?”

Then He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet down!” And the wind fell, and there was a great calm! And He asked them, “Why were you so fearful? Don’t you even yet have confidence in Me?”

Gospel of Mark 4:35-40Mark 4:35-40
English: World English Bible - WEB

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the multitude, they took him with them, even as he was, in the boat. Other small boats were also with him. 37 There arose a great wind storm, and the waves beat into the boat, so much that the boat was already filled. 38 He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up, and told him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are dying?” 39 He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?”

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The Living Bible

God whispering your name

 

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A Closer Walk: Is This Abundant?

I sat in my ashes each day thinking, “Is this what God calls abundant?” I really wanted to experience the abundant life Jesus spoke of, but how in the world was I supposed to look at the shambles my life had become, and see it as abundance?

fire and brimstone pulpitI was raised believing in a God who was much too holy and righteous for the likes of me.

Whenever the “fire of heaven” would rain down from our church’s pulpit, I would shrink under my daddy’s arm, trying to hide.

I believed God was scary, angry, and wanted to send me to hell!

The church people I grew up with spoke of heaven, and going there someday “in the sweet by-n-by,” (whatever that was) but then they would do, or say, the most horrible things to, or about, one another!

All this got filed into my own internal file drawers.

By the time I reached eighteen, and was free to begin to make some decisions of my own, I was not sure of much, but one thing I was certain about. I did not want anything to do with God, church, or church people.

the prodigal roadSo I chose “the world” and a prodigal-road, which of course led to even greater hurts, disappointments, and failures.

At age 28, after being on that broken road for ten years I came to the conclusion that nothing I had found in “the world” was worth having, including Christianity.

I believed life held nothing but pain and I was weary of it.

I wanted relief and peace, so I came to the erroneous conclusion that the only logical thing to do was to end my life, thereby ending my pain.

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Enter for the first time this Abba-God speaking and asking a very simple question.

“When will you trust me?”

That’s all I heard but it really spooked me.

Image result for god speaking to man

Who was this Voice speaking?

And why was He talking to me?

I’ll admit I was shaken, but I was also intensely curious. Could I have been all wrong about God being absent and uncaring?

I had to know the answer to that question and so I began my quest to try to get to know who God really was.

I wanted to know if I could really trust Him?

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I joined a church. I got baptized. (Admittedly one of the most wonderful days of my life!) I read through my Bible cover to cover, many times. I studied. I joined. I volunteered. I served. I did everything I could think of, all questing after this holy grail of “becoming an Overcomer-Christian.”

I wanted to be a Christian who not only knew God, but also one who totally trusted Him, and therefore God would be pleased.

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See a pattern here?

I didn’t.

So I wholeheartedly pursued God outwardly, yet still struggled to navigate all my inner-storms of unanswered questions and self-doubts that refused to be silent.

I kept thinking, “How can THIS be it!”

It all “looked right”  from the outside but it all “felt wrong” on the inside.

Image result for fast forward symbolNow fast forward to the days after leaving the hospital.

Once again, life is in ruins after having tried it ALL.

Image result for woman sitting in rubble after earthquake

I reasoned that, “I had held up my end.” with my wholehearted devotion to The Quest—but God had not held up His.

I mean, twenty years and here I was sitting in the ashes, again?

How was I supposed to reconcile this promised “abundant life” with my personal world in ruins?

Where was I supposed to begin to start over again?

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INNER TURBULENCE

There is nothing happening in you that escapes My notice.

How often you come to Me with prayers and petitions about what is happening around you, when the greater issue is what is going on—on the inside.

The anxious thoughts and jealous fears.

The resentments and bitterness you feel over your losses.

The anger because of what others have done.

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I AM much more concerned with the storms on the inside of your heart and mind rather than your outside issues of finances, possessions, relationships, and health.

Oh Sweetheart, it’s your heart and those inner storms you are fighting! First we must deal with those, then we can address all the wreckage from the outer squalls.

(You know I AM right.)

Come, take the time today for an inventory of the inner turbulence. We can deal with this. There is nothing we can’t handle together—and I AM here—right here.

Image result for jehovah shammahI AM Jehovah-Shammah for those sins weighing you down.

I AM Jehovah-Shammah with forgiveness.

I AM Jehovah-Shammah with tender compassion.

I AM Jehovah-Shammah with wisdom and correction.

I AM present My beloved, My own.

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How I love you. How I listen for your slightest sigh!

Come to Me. I have your peace. I have your joy. Only I can give you these things.

(You know this.)

I see the weight on your soul.

Let me lift, (ah yes,) lift those weary cares off your heart.

Come.

There is abundant grace here, in My arms.

a closer walk

 

“Lord, you know how I long for my health once more. You hear my every sigh.”

Psalm 38:9Psalm 38:9
English: World English Bible - WEB

9 Lord, all my desire is before you. My groaning is not hidden from you.

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