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I Am Broken, You Are Broken, Maybe Jesus Can Help Us

14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” Mark 1:14-15 (NLT)

I am reading a book by Ann Voskamp called The Way of Abundance. In it she says “Repent. You are broken and you don’t have to pretend you are not. What a relief!”

Made me think…..

What if we all lived like we knew we were broken? What if we stopped pretending and putting on airs that we have it all together? What if we had the same attitude as Christ and humbled ourselves in every situation? How would it look if I didn’t have to hide my brokenness anymore? How freeing would it be to just be me, mess and all?

Would all of the walls we put up melt away? Would our words be less guarded and kinder? If we stopped trying to pretend we were something we were not, would we apologize more easily? Would our responses change on social media? Would we be less defensive in our reactions? How would it look if we knew, deep down in our core….heck if everyone agreed…..we are all broken? Nothing to hide here.

Repenting is when we stop doing whatever it is we are doing that keeps us from God. Usually, the root of that “whatever” is us. Maybe there is a reason that repent is one of the first instructions Jesus gave us. Repent. Turn to the Father. Take yourself off the throne and put him on it. He belongs there. You don’t.

So what if we stopped focusing on ourselves and rejected the common thought that we have to have it all together? What if we readily admit that we are broken and we stop pretending that we aren’t?

How would that change our lives, our families, our communities? How would it change our world?

A Minute In It - Created For a Purpose

A minute in God’s Word will change your life. Take a moment to read the text below and then answer the questions at the bottom of the post.

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork [masterpiece], created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)

What cannot save us?
What does save us?
What does it mean to be a masterpiece? God’s handiwork?
What were we created for?
What does it look like in your life to be God’s Masterpiece?

Judging

Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Romans 2:3 (NLT)

The other night we went out to dinner with some family. One of my sons was there. We’ll call him Joe. You see, there is a group of kids (they aren’t kids any more) that grew up with my children. They call me Mama and I call them my kids. We began talking about this little coffee shop that we like. I like it because they have options that fit in my healthy lifestyle and they play Christian music.

Joe was saying that he finally won the owner over. I asked what he meant and he said he didn’t think she liked him too much because of all of his tattoos. The mama bear in me kicked in. I said “If it’s a Christian coffee shop, she shouldn’t be judging you based on how you look.” Joe smiled and my son said “Aren’t you judging her?”

Duh! Why yes I was! How easy is it for us to slip into the same behaviors we are judging others for? Maybe that’s why Jesus said not to do it. Without even thinking, trying to defend one of my own, I was doing the same thing I was criticizing this woman for. I didn’t know her. I don’t know if the problem was his tattoos. Maybe she’s just shy. Maybe she had a problem with strangers in the past. Who knows?

Only God. And truly, this is a perfect example of why we should extend grace to all people.

In John 12:47 Jesus said “I have come to save the world and not to judge it.” And there is the best reason not to judge of them all. If we are trying to be like Jesus, we need to remember his mission. Love everyone and through that love, they will know him and be saved.

Investing in the Mess

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:4-8: (NLT)

Ever wonder why he did it? Why did God create us at all? It was clear that he knew we were going to be trouble. Even before he made the world, even before we were created he decided on the plan to save us. He knew we were going to sin. He knew we were going to be a mess. Yet, he did it anyway.

Why? It would have been so much easier to move on to another plan. Less mess, less suffering, less pain. Jesus wouldn’t have had to die. We wouldn’t be hurting each other all the time. Why?

Do you think it’s because God, who is love, saw all that and said “They are worth it.”? That love, the love we cannot comprehend, was the driving force behind investing in the messiness. The love that is so big, it had a plan from way before we were a twinkle in his eye. The plan was to love us no matter what.

I can’t fully comprehend that love. I can think it in my head but not totally understand it in my heart. Actually, if I am honest even my head has a hard time with it some days. But here is what I know. I am called to imitate it. As a recipient of this boundless love, I am called to imitate it in my world every single day. I am called to love in the mess; to ease pain and suffering, to share hope.

There is only one way to do that. I have to reflect on the gift I have been given by his grace and kindness. Reflecting on that slowly changes me so that I begin to do the things I cannot comprehend.

Do You Yadah?

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High Psalm 92:1 (ESV)

The other day I came across a note in a book that the word to give thanks in Hebrew was yadah. It made me think of the slang term we use when we are talking about repetitive things. You know, you are telling a story and instead of going on and on you say yada, yada, yada.

What if we used yadah instead of yada in life?

For example, when your boss comes in to tell you that the project you turned in bombed you respond with yadah, yadah, yadah? Or when your neighbor starts complaining about another neighbor. Your response? Yadah, yadah, yadah. Or you are in a fender bender and the person you tapped is yelling at you; yadah, yadah, yadah.

As I thought about this, it made me laugh. And truly, it may be a little silly but the Bible tells us to give thanks in all things. There are days when remembering to do that is challenging. Adding a little humor to it may help.

Where are you going to yadah yadah today?

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

Waiting Not So Well

Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31 (NLT)

Someone recently asked me what it looked like to wait well. My first thought was “How would I know. I don’t wait well.” Let me explain.

God has had me waiting for some time now. It feels like I am stuck in this place that I don’t want to be and every time I want to “take care of it”, I am told to wait. I believe I can fix this if I do certain things but he is telling me to stay put.

So I wait. But I don’t do it well. There are days when I walk away from my time with God sure of who he is and what he wants. I am confident that this will work out. It’s all good.

The next day (or even sometimes later that same day), I am an anxious mess. I feel like curling into the fetal position and hiding somewhere where I don’t have to face what is hard. I am not sure if I am hearing God correctly. I question everything I am doing. Obviously, these days are not a good representation of someone who trusts God.

This process is a journey. I don’t think in my lifetime I will ever be 100% sure of what God is doing. And I don’t think all my days will look stellar. And that’s OK. What I am learning is to lean on who God is, not what I can or cannot do.

On my particularly messy days, I remind myself of God’s promises in the Bible. I remind myself that I believe that he will do what he says he will do. I remember that even Jesus didn’t want to walk through what he walked through but he did it. He kept walking; believing.

I know God loves me. I know he loves you too. If you are in a time of waiting, keep doing what he last told you to do and trust that this time is important. Lean into it. Surrender to it and his infallible timing.Someone recently asked me what it looked like to wait well. My first thought was “How would I know. I don’t wait well.” Let me explain.

God has had me waiting for some time now. It feels like I am stuck in this place that I don’t want to be and every time I want to “take care of it”, I am told to wait. I believe I can fix this if I do certain things but he is telling me to stay put.

So I wait. But I don’t do it well. There are days when I walk away from my time with God sure of who he is and what he wants. I am confident that this will work out. It’s all good.

The next day (or even sometimes later that same day), I am an anxious mess. I feel like curling into the fetal position and hiding somewhere where I don’t have to face what is hard. I am not sure if I am hearing God correctly. I question everything I am doing. Obviously, these days are not a good representation of someone who trusts God.

This process is a journey. I don’t think in my lifetime I will ever be 100% sure of what God is doing. And I don’t think all my days will look stellar. And that’s OK. What I am learning is to lean on who God is, not what I can or cannot do.

On my particularly messy days, I remind myself of God’s promises in the Bible. I remind myself that I believe that he will do what he says he will do. I remember that even Jesus didn’t want to walk through what he walked through but he did it. He kept walking; believing.

I know God loves me. I know he loves you too. If you are in a time of waiting, keep doing what he last told you to do and trust that this time is important. Lean into it. Surrender to it and his infallible timing.

Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:4-5

Significance

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

The NLT version of this text says:

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

When I read that, I think “I do that.” For the most part. But when I read the ESV version, I stop. I pause to consider what it means to think of others more significant than myself. And I don’t think I do. The difference between the two versions is subtle. And maybe for some, it’s not a big deal. But I began to wonder.

When I help someone that is in need. Am I doing it because I see them as more significant or because I am more significant because I can?
When I follow what God is telling me to do and I see others that aren’t, who do I put in the “more significant” category?
When I do the ministry that God is calling me to, does the thought creep into my mind that I am significant because I do it? Where does that put everyone else?

Then, I start thinking about Jesus. He was more significant - way more significant because he was God. And yet, when I think of my relationship with him, when I think of how much he loves me, I don’t feel insignificant at all. He loved me so well that even when I compare myself to HIM, I still feel significant.

I want to love others like that. I want to love so well, like Jesus did, that no matter what I am doing, who I am interacting with or what I am thinking, they feel truly significant.

Lord Jesus, I need your help.

A Minute In It - Spoken To Your Heart

A minute in God’s Word will change your life. Take a moment to read the text below and then answer the questions at the bottom of the post.

1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100 (NLT)

One of the reasons it is important to read God’s Word for yourself is because the Holy Spirit speaks to us each differently. When I read this, I will see one thing God is saying. When you read it, you will see something completely different.

What is God saying to you in this text?
What pops out?
What speaks to your heart?
What convicts you?
How is God speaking to you through His Word this morning?