Oops! That Burden Just Crashed

I’ve been thinking about some of the things people tell me about themselves, mostly about how angry they are. I’ve learned over the years that anger very often comes from shattered expectations. Boy do I know about those at work and family. A day doesn’t go by when I’m not disappointed by someone.
I thought you might want to do an interesting assignment that has helped me. Most of the time those expectations live in our minds leaking their poison into our hearts. Instead label them and write them down in a list. Get them down on paper even if you fill an entire notebook! Then make a cup of coffee and come back and take a hard look at them. Is there a common theme? Write that down too.  Igor Mitoraj
Then ask yourself, How has Christ given me what I need?

We tend to expect people we care about to live up to their potential (as we see it) and to reciprocate in kind the investment we’ve given them. It’s especially true in a spouse, a parent or a child.

At the root we are demanding they give us life, fill us up, and satisfy us. But the people in our lives are just sheep, just like we are, and they aren’t beasts of burden. Our expectations load them down for failure because they can’t deliver what we want, and we end up disappointed because we stay empty. God is the only agent of change, and our job is to ask him and leave him to it.
At the core we have a worship-disorder. We have been created to be faith-in-God beings, but we are drawn away by our flesh to become faith-in-anything-but God-beings. Our core identity is as a beloved child of God. Since we belong to him, he has already given us everything our hearts long for, but we find it in Christ.

“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Colossians 1:27

Talk to me.
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Rest

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You have been given Christ, and in being given Christ, you have been given life.

  • You don’t need to search for meaning and purpose.
  • You don’t need to search for identity.
  • You don’t need to look for something to give you the inner sense of well-being that every person wants.
  • You don’t have to wonder if you’ll ever be loved.
  • You don’t have to worry that your life and work will result in nothing.
  • You don’t have to wonder if you’ll have what you need to face what will be on your plate today.
  • You don’t have to worry about your future.You will never be left to the limited range of your own resources.
  • You will never, ever be left alone.
  • There is always someone who understands you and offers you the help that you need.
  • You don’t have to worry about whether your wrongs will be forgiven and your weaknesses greeted with patience and grace.
  • You don’t have to worry because you have a Savior who has invaded your life with his grace and has made you the place where he dwells.
So you have been freed from the endless quest for life that consumes so many people. So many look for life where it cannot be found. They hope their marriages will give them the happiness they have not yet found. They look to their jobs to give them identity. They look to people and possessions to give them peace. They don’t know it, but they are asking the situations, locations and relationships of everyday life to be their saviors. Sadly, they’re drinking from wells that are dry and eating bread that will never satisfy. The situations, locations and relationships of daily life are wonderful to enjoy, but we must understand that they will never, ever satisfy our hearts. For that, we have been given a true Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So instead of wasting your time on that endless quest for life, you have been invited to enter into God’s rest for the rest of your life. Rest in your identity as his child. Rest in his eternal love. Rest in his powerful grace. Rest in his constant presence and faithful provision. Rest in his patience and forgiveness. Rest.
– from New Morning Mercies, a Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp

Does God Love You When You Sin?

How often are you disgusted with your life of faith?

If you’re like me, very often.

I seem to live in unbelief more than in faith.

Even as a Christian I live my life as if God didn’t exist.

I don’t take him at his Word.

I’m impatient waiting for the fulfillment of his promises.

I’m so far away from rejoicing in his goodness and faithfulness it’s disgusting.

The stunning fact is that while God hates sin and grieves over the suffering we endure in our lives, he is not angry at us!

He doesn’t hold grudges, he doesn’t bring up the past, and he certainly doesn’t abandon us to figure things out on our own when we’re at our worst.

How can I say this?

Because of the gospel, of course.

Think theologically with me for a moment.

Does God have any negative emotions towards Jesus? Does he get fed up, exasperated and lose patience with him? Does he get angry and walk away?

Absolutely not. God has nothing but delight and love for his Son. He adores him.

And God delights and adores you and me, even when we sin!

Read that again. It’s true. dance

Jesus paid for those sins. God doesn’t see them anymore. He has wrapped us in the glowing white robes of his Son’s perfection. We are united to him in all that he is, and Jesus’s perfect record of faith and patience and obedience is now ours.

God’s scandalous love in Jesus makes us dance and sing, even in our weakness and failure and sin!

Soak your heart in this truth today.

Talk to me.

messychristians@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Untwist Yourself

Jesus is my Sabbath rest. I have ceased from my own works to gain God’s acceptance. (Hebrews 4)

Christ earned God’s acceptance for me by living a perfect life of obedience to God’s law on my behalf, and by dying a death on the cross in order to pay for my sins.  woodduck

Since he accomplished this when I wasn’t even aware of my desperate need, how much more do I need to stop accepting burdens that only he can carry.

My burdens are my anxieties about my children and family members and their future, illnesses of friends, my own calling and vocation, and so on. These are burdens that disturb my rest in Christ.

They also point to pride in my life.

I think I can carry these cares!

The truth is I can’t. They weigh me down, they make me into a person who rarely has a lightness of heart over anything.

What to do about them? Pray as often as the Spirit leads me to, but then leave the care with him.

“Casting all your anxieties on him; for he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 ESV
casting – to throw upon, to place upon God
all – everything
care (burden) – distractions & anxiety about things pertaining to this earthly life
cares – to care about, have regard for
God calls me to leave everything with him.
As a Christian I am to be care-free!

Look Up and Around

I spent the week in Oregon gawking at the trees wearing their fall fashion colors.

One was more beautiful than the other.

The palette went from reds, pinks and beige to oranges, yellows and sage greens.

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I enjoy walking under the trees and looking up. The experience is so beautiful it hurts. I’m enveloped in color, but it’s more than that. It’s as if the tree itself is apprehending me and all my senses are being acted upon, whispering its message.

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I call it a porthole to heaven, a sample of what’s to come. And it creates a longing for more.

The experience lasts and gains strength, even as I reflect back later on. I am gripped by it. It wrenches me away from myself. It forces me to pay attention to the clues all around me that point to another place, just beyond my reach.

What clues can you see all around you today?

Messy Christians on the Go

For those of you who would like a handy reminder of the truths contained in this blog, you can buy it as an eBook on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Therapy-ebook/dp/B00BQ37HFQ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1374455373&sr=8-4&keywords=gospel+therapy%27

After you’ve read it, send us your comments. We promise to respond!

The Howling Wilderness of our Lives

In the middle of a grueling week of work, a friend of mine stopped by and asked, “How’s it going?”

“Things could be better,” I said. I hurt all over from hours of standing on my feet. My head throbbed from lack of sleep. And I was fighting a cold.

“Listen,” he said looking at me. “This is as good as it gets. Things don’t get any better.”  

Most people would have thought my friend was way off-base. Negative. Cynical even.

For me, what he said was just what I needed to be reminded of.

Living in the wilderness is just that – journeying through a dry and thirsty land where there is no water, no oasis, and no rest.

Think Abraham.

Think the Israelites in their 40 years of desert wandering.

Even Jesus, when he was here in the flesh, lived his life in the wilderness.

He died in the wilderness, just like Abraham did, just like the first generation of Israelites did, just like you and me.

The wilderness is a pilgrimage, where we are not at rest. In fact, it’s a place of hardship and testing.

Wilderness and rest structures the life of the Church.

The First Coming of Jesus accomplished redemption by his death and resurrection.

His Second Coming brings in the Sabbath rest for all God’s people.

In between those two events, is the wilderness journey, in which we all pass through.

No one is exempt.

Not even Jesus.

He experienced the journey for us. He lived it perfectly for us. And that record is put to our account.

So then how are we to live our lives in the wilderness?

First, by not expecting it to be a life of comfort and rest. Just the opposite.

Second, it’s our time to do good works out of gratitude to God for saving us and giving us a future Sabbath rest that is as certain as God himself.

This is the time we tell others the good news of the gospel, where we love one another as the body of Christ, where preaching and teaching and training in righteousness is a daily and weekly habit.

Our happiness is not here.

It’s in a future rest in heaven with our God.