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Woe Is Me or Whoa, This Is Me? Both!

undoneI’ve been thinking lately about how often I feel “undone” in the presence of God. I can be talking in conversation about Him and feel “undone”. I can be reading His Word and something strikes a chord in me and I am “undone”. I can be worshipping or praying and I’m unable to go on because I feel “undone”. I can be teaching or preaching and the reality I get to speak His Word leaves me feeling “undone”.

In those moments, God takes what He created, “me”, and does me in. I can’t move, can’t speak, can’t think; and to be honest, I don’t want to. I KNOW He is the One who does me in and He completely overwhelms my thoughts, heart, and mind and overrides my will and body. At those times I stop everything and let Him do me in! It can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours, but afterwards I am always in awe that He would care to meet with me.

One day after I was undone in God’s presence I thought about what happens in being undone. First I thought of earthly things. For example; an undone piece of meat can be NOT good for us(tasty if you like “rare” but a bit risky). Undone brownies might actually taste good though messy. How about zippers undone on our pants? NOT good and potentially bad! Leaving homework or “work” work undone? NOT smart! These situations show us being “undone” means something is left incomplete, unaccomplished, unfinished; simply not done yet!

downloadBut think about “coming undone” emotionally. We don’t like that thought as much, especially if it happens in public. We can come undone when things don’t go as planned or expected; or when something fails; or when we are superbly surprised. Having an unwelcomed meltdown where we lose all composure or self-control is usually not a favorite for most people.

After all this thinking, it came to me! Being undone in God’s presence can mean all these things AND so much more! Like a piece of undone meat, we are never done! Christians can still be tasty but it’s risky so we need God every moment to keep “doing”! Like undone brownies, we still have an impact in this world even though we can be messy. While being caught with our zippers undone can be embarrassing, getting caught with our spiritual zipper down is quite freeing, cleansing, purifying, and truly, completely amazing! See, there is no “awkwardness” involved with God – just complete transparency before the One who makes all things new. Finally, while it’s not wise to leave school or “work” work undone, letting God finish His work in us is much more productive than striving to do it alone. Plus, He loves the extra time we spend with Him “getting it done”!

Being undone in God’s presence is always unplanned just like being undone in earthly things. I can honestly say I’ve never scheduled a time of being undone in God’s presence. My undone “episodes” range from brief moments of raw exposure, being stunned in His presence, to complete meltdowns, often messy, when I lose all composure and self-control. One thing is for sure; they ALWAYS surprise and humble me. I become acutely aware of God’s presence and the fact He chooses to come and touch His beloved fills me with reverential fear of Him and I think, “Whoa, this is awesome”, as I’m reminded of who I am and more importantly WHO HE IS!

Isaiah said it this way, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5) Isaiah said this after a vision in which he saw the Lord sitting on His throne, high and lifted up and the train of his robe filled the temple while the seraphim cried out “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory!”

You would think after having this vision instead of saying “woe is me” Isaiah might have said, “Whoa, this is me! I must be God’s favorite! I mean, seriously, have any of YOU had visions of the Lord in His temple while angels worshipped Him? Probably not! This makes me super special in God’s eyes. How awesome am I for God to show me this stuff?” You would also think Isaiah would be happier than happy! Instead, he is undone. In the original language, undone means he felt cut off, thinking he would surely die at this sight of the Lord on His throne.

woe_is_meSo…being undone is like being caught with our zipper down spiritually and we realize just how totally obnoxious we are, at least in comparison to our holy God. We sin! It’s bad enough to realize just how much we sin, but to have it exposed, to be undone by and before a holy God, well…THAT is humbling.

The truth is every Christian comes face to face with their sin when undone in the presence of a holy God. The sinfulness of sin by nature is contrary to the holy nature of God, leaving us undone! Sin exposes the vast difference between us and a holy God!

Let’s face it! Just like Isaiah, our lips are unclean. We say things we should never say. We curse, we lie, we gossip, we slander, and we even say terrible things about people we supposedly love. It surprises me how often we accuse family, friends, and fellow members of the body of Christ of being terrible people, or doing horrible things. Of course we say it behind their backs and then are super sweet to their faces. We seem unaware that we are giving Satan legal right to torment our families, relationships, and churches, and even more oblivious that God sees all of it! Friends, we have unclean lips and God’s got a remedy.

coalIn Isaiah, the seraphim took tongs to gather coal from the altar and then touched Isaiah’s lips declaring his sins burned away, purged and he was cleansed. Now THAT is a WHOA and a WHOOHOO! Being undone in the presence of God leads to our sins being done as well. When we’re undone in His presence we can expect to be confess and repent of sin because we see it all clearly AND we are encouraged and lifted up because visions of God’s glory have that effect on us! We have a Mediator, and that, my friends, leaves us undone in the presence of our Lord and Savior, able to boldly and confidently approach Him!

 

a-sinners-prayerWhen our eyes meet the King of kings and Lord of lords, we are undone; we are filled with fear and freedom at the same time! When we truly believe He is Lord, we see His sovereignty and majesty over all and it strikes even greater awe, reverence and godly fear to the very core of our being!

So friends…I pray we are all undone! There is no greater place to be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just a Thought About Flu Epidemics…

killing-the-flu-for-nov-7-post1Christians and non-Christians alike are getting the flu…but it is what Christians are saying or not saying that is concerning. See, the flu is something that’s been around for hundreds of years. Yet, even Christians act like it is something to be feared, something we can avoid, something the flu shot can prevent, or something else. Obviously nobody wants to get the flu, or colds, or any other sickness or disease contagious or not, yet for various reasons; genetics, environmental situations, germs, viruses, our own choices, and even sin, they happen.

12I am in no way making light of the flu; it is rough and can have horrific effects on people. At the same time let’s not make light of the Light of the World or make light of the truth we shine like stars in the midst of crooked generation. We don’t dim our lights when things get rough. Our words and proclamations matter to God and to others!

get-a-flu-shotOur opinions about the flu are vast and varied but to be perfectly honest every one of them is inconsequential in the whole scheme of things because opinions have very little to do with truth. Whether or not we should get the flu shot; whether we think it prevents or helps stave off the flu; whether it is more or less beneficial to our bodies; whether it is merely a government conspiracy; a pharmaceutical money-making plot; or simply the biggest hoax ever; none of this makes any difference when a person has the flu. Our opinions don’t prevent it from happening and no matter what we do or believe we will never completely obliterate the flu in Midwest America.

Even Christians talk more about the flu and the flu shot, letting everyone know how sick they are along with their belief in the worldly cures than they do proclaiming Jesus. No matter what a Christian believes about the flu and the flu shot why give it so much more time, attention, and credit than Jesus gets? Since our opinions don’t matter it doesn’t make sense to spread those around to everyone we meet and talk to instead of spreading the hope we have in the Gospel message for going through trials, including the flu, and believing Jesus is our cure.

Christians have the privilege to proclaim our hope in Jesus even in times of sickness, including the flu. We get to tell people what He does in our lives every day yet we are more apt to talk about all that is wrong in our lives. And it isn’t about “naming it and claiming it” when it comes to healing. It isn’t about saying Jesus heals and then “Bam, I’m healed.” There are plenty of Christians claiming healing in Jesus’ name who are very sick, leaving pre-believers confused as to what Christianity is about and unbelievers humored at our belief system that doesn’t result in healing very often.

jer17In Jesus there IS healing because He is our Healer. But it is all about Him not a religion or formula. As long as we live on earth we will go through trials and tribulations. Disease, sickness, tragedy, and death will happen. We have a loving God to explain and to comfort us in these situations. Sin exists and we have a Savior to bring us to repentance, to cleanse and purify us in every way. Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus, and as believers, we can boast of our confidence and trust in Him to take us through fiery trials, trying and testing our faith, without incessantly proclaiming our sickness.

For Christians, dealing with the flu epidemic isn’t about claiming healing and all will be well. It isn’t about getting a flu shot in fear of getting the flu or in hopes of preventing it. It isn’t about telling everyone how horrible it is to get the flu and sharing how sick we are with everyone who has ears. It isn’t about being thankful we got the flu shot when we hear how many other people are getting the flu. It isn’t about bragging we don’t get the flu shot. It isn’t about blaming the pharmaceutical companies or accusing the government for propagating a hoax on the American public, and it isn’t about finding alternative treatments.

For Christians, dealing with the flu epidemic is about keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith not on the things of this world. It is about reading and meditating on His Word and living in the fear of the Lord. It is about walking by faith not by sight! It is about trusting in God who never gives us more than we 131584e2d22bf55211can handle. It is about staying close to Jesus, our Rock  and our Redeemer. It is about telling everyone how great our God is and how He takes us through the valley of the shadow of death. It is acknowledging sin and the remedy for sin; Jesus who lived, died, and rose again. It is being thankful we have a Savior and sharing Him with others by telling them what He has done for us personally. It is about praying for wisdom and discernment for our government; praying for spiritual healing along with physical and that people would live fully in the love of the One who is love!

Turn Your EyesI have some strong opinions about the flu shot too. But they don’t matter anymore than yours do. What does matter is Jesus loves us – and He is the remedy for all things. Talking about the flu, whether we get it or not, imageand whether we get the flu shot, is not a great use of our time as believers. What will help us get through and be an example for others is to turn our eyes upon Jesus looking fully into His wonderful face, soaking in His healing presence, trusting Him with our bodies, souls, minds, and spirits, committing and surrendering to Him, and we’ll find the things of earth growing strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace! (Yes, that’s a song)

Then our words reflect the beauty of our God who leads us through all things, even the flu,  in victory!

 
 

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Peace! It Has Been Bequeathed To Us! Let’s Do Something With It!

Peace is a coveted yet elusive state of being in this world!  It is something we generally think we can only experience when life is free from conflict, hostility, disturbances, and annoyances, but seriously – when does that ever happen? And if we get a short respite, it’s still only a semblance of peace. It’s almost as though we live on pins and needles, waiting for the next bad thing to happen to cause discord and upset our sense of peace!

But there is a peace that passes our understanding, is tangible, relevant, and independent of whatever is happening around us!  This peace encompasses so fully we can literally live untroubled lives amidst troubling times. This peace is bequeathed to people who know, love, and obey the One who left it to us, Jesus! John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  

Jesus is the Giver!  Whenever something is given however, it must be received and then used or applied in our lives.  When I was in high school and college athletics “back in the day”, it was common for star athletes to bequeath their numbers to younger players whom they believed had potential to lead the team once they were gone. It was a special honor to be bequeathed their number.  Along with that honor though came responsibility to work hard, to be a person of integrity, to show respect for the school and sport, and to carry on the legacy of the last person who wore that number. Bequests are at the discretion of the giver, never the receiver. In other words, people don’t get to ask for something be bequeathed to them.  The one who bequeaths to another considers it an honor and privilege to pass on and bless another person.

When Jesus chose to leave us His peace, this was solely His decision, not ours.  He is honored to bless all those who believe in Him with His peace.  Now, it is our responsibility to walk in His peace, bringing Him honor as we do, demonstrating respect as we live in it, and carrying on the legacy of the One who gave it to us.

Notice Jesus gives a directive after leaving and giving His peace!  He said not to let our hearts be troubled or afraid.  Wait!  Isn’t that what His peace is supposed to do?  Take away the trouble in our hearts and all fear? Isn’t that His job to take us to a place of tranquility, serenity, and calm where we are untroubled and free from strife? No!

But it is this kind of thinking which keeps us searching for peace in this lifetime and rarely finding it. We want peace to overtake or cover up the disharmony, warring in our soul, tumult, turbulence, and pandemonium in our lives. We ask Him for peace without realizing it is already ours, it has already been left to us because Jesus bequeathed it to us. We need to stop asking for something He has already given to us!

We have had the order wrong.  His peace doesn’t come in after our life is full of all sorts of hullabaloo!  The peace He left with us is meant to fill our hearts; that is, our emotions, thoughts, desires, so when the hullabaloo happens in life we are at peace!  When we start with peace, we will end with peace and we will not let our hearts be troubled or afraid.

We must understand that peace does not erase the tumult in life and peace does not keep our hearts from being troubled.  His peace is experienced in the midst of tumult and we are not to let our hearts from being troubled or afraid.  Jesus tells us how and it is very simple – Believe! John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”  

Believe in God, believe in Jesus, let Him be Lord and master keeps our hearts untroubled and free from fear, living in His peace! That’s right! The pathway to an untroubled heart is belief in Jesus! Understand that believing in this context means in faith we literally give ourselves up to Jesus.  We are sold out, knowing we cannot do anything in or of ourselves. When we give it up for Jesus, our hearts are not troubled.

There you have it!  And it isn’t so much that we keep our hearts from being troubled, but rather He keeps our hearts from being troubled.  As we keep ourselves in Him, we let nothing else keep us!  Our part is really all in the “letting”.  Let not your heart be troubled.  If we are troubled it is because we are letting our hearts be given up to someone or something else!  Believe in God instead!  Give yourself up to Him.  Believe in Jesus!  Give yourself up to Him! Let Him in!

 Most often when it comes to the peace of God, Christians pray and ask God to give His peace to them in the midst of tragedy, loss, struggle, turmoil, and devastation.  In truth, we should not ask Him for something He said He already gave to us!  When He gives us something it is ours!  Could the absence of peace in our lives exist because we don’t believe He really left it with us? Or because we haven’t received what He gave to us?

If we believe in Jesus and receive the peace He gave to us, we know it is within us!  We know we own it and have a responsibility to use, apply, enjoy, and live in it!  His peace is tangible, authentic, powerful, and it is OURS! This is the stance from which we let our hearts not be troubled. Knowing His peace comes from the inside out, not from the outside in!  We aren’t asking Jesus to download peace into our lives.  Instead, it rises up from within.  When His peace rises up within our hearts, it literally drowns the troubling and fearful thoughts and emotions that come from the outside.  I hope you caught that! Troubling and fearful thoughts, carnal desires, and the like come from the outside.  We can receive those and let them trouble our hearts or we can take them captive into obedience to Christ and let our hearts NOT be troubled.

Peace!  It no longer needs to be an elusive, coveted, rarely lived in state of being!  Peace is in you if you believe in God – if you believe in Jesus! He left us His peace – He gave us His peace! Let’s do something with it!  Let His peace rise up and overflow within you today! AND, let not your heart be troubled or afraid!

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Peace, Uncategorized

 

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