Either He rose, or He didn’t…what will you believe?

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“And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.” 1 Corinthians 15:19-22 NLT

I know trauma. I see it every day. I have felt it myself. Some come through it stronger. Others struggle to make sense of it. To make a way. And I can’t help but wonder why some find healing and others continue to flounder about broken and hurting? It seems so unfair.

But the conclusion I have come to is either Jesus rose or He didn’t. Either He conquered the grave or He lies in death. Either He broke the chains or He didn’t. Either He lives or He’s dead. And so it is with us. Whatever we believe…our life will follow suit. Either we have risen from bondage by the power of Jesus Christ or we haven’t. Either He has come into our hearts and minds and begun the lengthy process of healing us and bringing us into Him or we haven’t let Him.

As a counselor I believe in the power of counseling techniques, brain mapping, and altering the effects of trauma. But the inexcusable truth I cannot deny is that true healing cannot and will not be found without the power of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the grave.

You may he hurting. You may believe strongly in the power of Jesus and yet still lie amidst chains. I get that. I know that. I have been in the basement floor chained to the wall. But what I cannot deny is that He sat there chained with me until it was His ordained time to move. And when He moved He stepped up in a mighty way. And it was my choice to follow Him or stay. I chose to follow. And so can you. The freedom the world offers is shallow. Its gifts are empty. But God never fails. And He is most certainly, unquestionably able.

Wrote this post while listening to Aftermath from Hillsong. Follow this link to listen: http://youtu.be/Pe5635HOzIc

Grieve, morn, wail…is this Jesus?

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“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:8-10 NIV

Grieve, morn, and wail. Wait a second. I thought Jesus came that I might have life, and have it abundantly? What kind of life could this possibly be?

Verses like James 4:9 have a tendency to turn us off. We skip over them because A. – we don’t like them and B. – we don’t understand them. How can we possibly make sense of the Gospel when one minute It’s all sunflowers and daisies and the next minute It’s all gloom and doom?

A big misconception is the idea of a big fluffy candy giving Jesus in the sky, a prosperity gospel. It messes us up. Not all of us view Jesus in this extreme way, but if we are honest with ourselves, we all tend to fall in love with and heavily lean on the unconditional love and forgiveness of Jesus – and rightfully so. But while we are leaning into His amazing grace, we cannot forget the reason forgiveness was necessary – we did wrong – and a lot of it.

There had to be judgement of some sort of our foul and stench filled sin. So foul in fact, that it called for the murder of God’s only Son on a cross before God could even look at us again. In a world that speaks constant love peace and tolerance, we can’t forget the nastiness of sin. The only reason God is able to love us is because Jesus covered our sin, and never because our sin was tolerable. It’s not. It’s ugly. James 4:9 reminds us that sin should never, in no way, be tolerable in our lives, and it certainly should never bring us joy. Will we sin? Yes…but we must run to the Lord in grief and repentance. Only in doing this are we able to come under the forgiveness of Jesus in humility, and then comes James 4:10 – He will lift us up.

Jesus came that we might have life, and have it abundantly. But this abundant life is different from the world. And it should and will look different. We should not look like those around us who are emblazoned with phrases of complete and total acceptance of everything – why? – because everything is not okay! Sin is real, and it’s nasty, and when we do it, we should be sad and grieve. But the good news is, the pure amazing JOY of the Gospel is the defeat of the sin’s grave through the blood of Christ Jesus. So let there be no higher Name in our lives. He is Jesus, the Son of God.

Is the middle ground really an option?

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! (Revelation 3:15, 16 NLT)

 

Walking our corgi is like being hauled by a small short legged ox. She is stout and strong. We harness her, put a leash on her, pretending we are in control, but in reality we know Bella runs the show. Wherever she wants to walk, we walk.

I’ve been thinking about this in reference to our culture. I see so may friends pulled and swayed by whatever is popular in media or modern culture. What was once clearly wrong is now right? Or is it?

And I’ve thought about what I choose to hold into. What am I harnessing up and allowing to lead me around? Because either I will hold to and be drug around by what the world tells me….or I will hold to and choose to follow what God’s Word tells me. But I can’t choose to hold onto both. If I do, I get pulled in two different directions and end up going no where and rendering myself ineffective.

I know it’s popular right now to stand the middle ground. To say what’s right and what’s wrong is all relative to your belief system. But is it really? Or is this a lie? If we really believe God’s Word as sovereign truth, and truth does not change, then are these issues really that grey? Or are we still lost, trying to decide what we want to hold onto?

I want to challenge you today to remember that whatever you harness up and take out for a walk, you will be led by it, even if you are under the illusion that you are in control. God’s Truth. Or cultural sways – the world. And unless we want to be totally ineffective, the middle ground is not an option.