Sitting easy at a coffee shop, hugging the warmth of my cup, struggling to know where to begin when the hardness pounds me upon waking. Having opened my eyes to a message of desperation and despair, beginning a day with heartbreak where hope was anticipated, I could pray for so many answers, but the only true answer is Jesus. For my loved ones in the midst of messy custody battles, I hurt, I ache, I pray. I want smoothness and ease and resolution. I want safety and communication and forgiveness. But, most of all, I want Jesus to be on both sides of the wall that now separates. With wars and disease, genocide and slavery everywhere I look, everything I read; with marriages on the rocks and children caught in between; the walls stand tall, seeming to grow each day, between the sides and differing perspectives.
When I look around, I see heartache and very real, very intense pain. I see children abused, ripped from the only families they know, and oftentimes returned to the place where the abuse first occurred. I see little ones used as pawns in domestic disputes. I see the depth of pain when the color of skin divides. I see the hardened hearts, attempting to protect themselves from further attack. I see the disillusioned and the bitter.
Can we look just beyond? Can the eyes of our hearts – covered by the rubble left from a lifetime of battles – can they begin to see again?
There was a time when life and knowledge grew on trees and we could see them. There was a time when the sound of rustling leaves we heard was the swinging legs of the Almighty walking in the Garden – where physical and spiritual met, where our eyes could perceive with equal clarity the physical items before us as well as the spiritual. This time will come again.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations…And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-2, 5)
While the hurt and broken and disillusioned may feel stuck like a pawn in the middle of God’s twisted game, the truth is just beyond. God isn’t pushing us around on a giant chess board. He’s never wanted control of robotic, unfeeling, disconnected pawns. He longs for mutual love, which is a choice, which can never be forced. So the choices we make and the choices other imperfect humans make are what move us. Some of those humans listen to the truth of God, some listen to lies of the enemy, but each one directly intertwines with and affects others.
Those things we ask for – clarity, justification, revenge, the upholding of our cause – those things, themselves, aren’t the answers. The answer is freedom. “Freedom is when you engage the presence of God and become the person you are created and redeemed to be.” (Bob Hamp)
And freedom is found in truth.
And truth is found in Christ.
In a relationship, not a religion or a set of rules.
In intimate knowing, not intellectual ascent.
Adam and Eve looked upon life dangling from a tree branch. Jews and Romans alike stood looking up at the Source of life hanging on a tree. And all forsook life in favor of a lie. Their intentions weren’t to seek out death. The lie appeared to them to be wisdom.
What brokenness to do you face today? What heartache and uncertain thing? Without a doubt, the enemy will take that difficulty, that pain, and give you his interpretation, full of lies. Will you listen?
Or, will you choose to believe that God has a word about that very same situation? Will you step out and hear the truth He’s speaking? Will you choose His life over the lie?
The act of sinning is different than sin itself. Much like telling the truth is different than truth, living is different from life and dying is different from death.
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17 NLT
The essence of sin, not just the result, is death. When Adam performed the act of sinning he opened himself and the world to the essence and root behind the act: death. The act of sinning is simply doing something outside or defiantly against the will of God. The root behind it, death, is simply the absence of God, the source of life itself.
If God is the source of all life, when we choose to reject God from even the smallest part of our life, we are replacing His life within us with death. Whether it is our will, our eyes, our finances, our time, or anything else, that aspect of our life becomes dead. Death, like cancer, can spread aggressively, influencing other choices and beliefs. And, before we know it, we have believed lie after lie after lie, kicking our God and Creator out of our life.
If the removal of life causes death to enter, the entry of life causes death to be no more. That’s what Christ came to take care of. He chose to come to this earth not only to bear the burden of our sins (the actions), but to replace the root, the essence of death we have welcomed into our lives. He breaks through, revealing lies through His truth, and restores the death within us with the life of the Creator.
Have you had your Jesus today? Have you had His Truth and Love poured over your life today?
God I yield myself to you; please replace the death in me. Please continue to point out what areas of my life do not reflect or honor You. Please infiltrate those areas with Your grace, love, mercy, and LIFE. Thank you for being The Source of Life and caring about me enough to share it with me.
Living is the process of letting life flow through you. Ask Him how you can share Him with someone today!
I awoke to a flurry of excitement on Facebook and Twitter proclaiming that the Texas Senate had passed House Bill 2 (HB2) which places some hefty restrictions on the abortion industry in the State of Texas. Those restrictions include a ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation except in situations which threaten the life of the mother or in cases of severe fetal abnormalities. Being a Texan, I can only say how proud I am to see this movement towards the protection of life. (And, yes, there is still more movement to make!)
Now I’m sitting here…at my usual 5am writing time on Saturdays…reading through the chatter and discussion and hearing God say to me very simply, “Stand for Life.” In my heart, I always have. I believe, as evidenced not only by the Bible, but also science, that life begins at conception. Period. Not birth…not the point of “viability out of the womb”…not even the first heartbeat…but at conception. But I haven’t been a very vocal presence on the issue…I’m not too fond of confrontation, especially of the political sort. But, on this issue, I see that I too need to take a stand that is noticeable outside of myself and my comfortable circle of friends. This is, after all, not merely a political issue. This is life and death.
One day while I was reading Genesis 1, I was so struck at how God first created and then formed His creation.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2
Just to be clear…since Genesis is written in a narrative style (and intended to be read that way), not to mention the Hebrew references to the literal 24-hour day, I believe “a day” actually means “a day”. So…Day 1, God created light. But it wasn’t until Day 4 that He organized that light into the sun, stars and reflecting moon. It’s like a master sculptor…except God also created His own clay! God created the “clay”, unformed, un-molded creation and took the time to form and fashion it. He took the chaotic, cosmic mess He first spoke into existence and then created order and amazing beauty over the next six days of time.
So it is with us…from tiny cells, just blobs of DNA (who happen to miraculously come together from two separate beings). God takes His time to slowly form and fashion our bodies. The creation is an amazing miracle in and of itself…But to see how He molds and intentionally forms that creation is like what David said, “Too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139: 6)
When was “light” actually “light”? Day 4 with the formation of the sun? Or Day 1 with the formation of “light”? This seems like a simple question to answer to me. Just because the light wasn’t in the form we see now doesn’t make it any less “light”. It just hadn’t been sculpted yet!
When is a “baby” actually a “baby”? Birth…when our eyes looking on can see and fingers can touch? Or conception…when elements from two parents merge into one substance which bears all that is necessary to be formed into the familiar presence of a baby?
“You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them yet.” Psalm 139:13-16
This incredibly miraculous and complex “blob” of cells and DNA, He takes and forms. And then, throughout the course of life, God continues to form and fashion our souls from chaos into beauty and order. He isn’t done with us. His work is not complete in us while we live on this planet. God sees the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end. His design is beautiful!
As for me…I had two very high-risk pregnancies and I am so thankful that I didn’t make a choice that was more “convenient” for me. I have two beautiful kiddos that remind me every day of the miracles God works! I stand for adoption, not abortion…I have been a foster mom and was so blessed to be! I was born (as were you) and I am thankful that my parents chose life.
I, too, stand for life. Will you?
If you are pregnant and trying to figure out what choices you DO have, please visit Real Choices for FREE medical services, accurate information, referral services and countless resources.
If you are considering adoption or fostering, I encourage you to visit Chosen Ones to get some information on starting your journey! You can also read about some of our personal journey…our vision…our reality…our trust even when it came time to say goodbye.