"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." Acts 7:51 (KJV)
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. Acts 7:53 (KJV)
Why the rage? The truth was too much for the heart. Is too much. The law is written into it and pokes that finger of Guilt over again. Bruising. Damaging. Killing. Truth approaches and the desire is to lash out from the pain. I don't rage because I'm innocent. I rage because I'm not and can't stand it. I want an excuse. I want the accusations to stop.
I'm a baddy
She's a baddy
Wouldn't you like to admit you're a baddy, too.
If I'm not that bad, why does the pride leap out of my chest in defense? All claws and teeth. Ready to strike.
Stay away, Spirit. Nothing to see here. Go away.
No, no no.
I am totally justified in my action, word, thought.
Do not come closer.
I'm good. I'm good. I'm good.
Have ya looked at the sin over there?
Pshh, this is nothin'
Seroiusly, don't come closer.
The law squeezes. Condemns. Holds a mirror, saying, "You've got a lot of something on that stiff neck of yours."
It's a hard thing to want to see.
But the gospel comes in.
Stops us cold on the road.
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Acts 9:1-5
Revealing the other side to our need. The cure. The Savior. The freedom.
It hushes the heart. Be still. Over and over, be still.
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
From Rev. C.H. Spurgeon (via spurgeon.org)
'And now, lastly, poor sinner, has sin made thee unfit for heaven? Grace shall render thee a fit companion for seraphs and the just made perfect. Thou who art to-day lost and destroyed by sin, shalt one day find thyself with a crown upon thy head, and a golden harp in thine hand, exalted to the throne of the Most High. Think, O drunkard, if thou repentest, there is a crown laid up for thee in heaven. Ye guiltiest, most lost and depraved, are ye condemned in your conscience by the law? Then I invite you, in my Master's name, to accept pardon through his blood. He suffered in your stead, he has atoned for your guilt and you are acquitted. Thou art an object of his eternal affection, the law is but a schoolmaster, to bring thee to Christ. Cast thyself on him. Fall into the arms of saving grace. No works are required, no fitness, no righteousness, no doings. Ye are complete in him who said, "It is finished.'
Relief flows in tears, not rage.
Apologies to Benji Magness for leapfrogging off his tweet today.
Natalie, I covet. Debbie, I covet.
Annie, I covet. Siouxsie, I covet.
For the millionth time, I heard this phrase leave my mouth yesterday,
"Agh, I wish I had her voice." (and looked like her and had total awesomeness like that)
I say it all the time.
It seems like such a silly thing, but they aren't simply words. They have slowly rooted in the heart.
I've worshiped at many altars. I've asked the gods for favors.
Her take-no-prisoners, kick-all-the-doors-down badness.
Meanwhile, bending, contorting, and sweating the wishes right out of my pores.
To be someone else.
To fit in another's mold.
To absorb all that I am not.
To disappear into something brighter, bolder, and meaningful.
To not be this bland, nothing of a gal.
A life full of "if only."
You look like you've got something there. I'll just sit here like an abzorbaloff from Doctor Who, trying to digest a bit of your brilliance.
Why can't I be you?
Straining to find the secret to shape-shifting instead of fixing my eyes where they belong.
Instead of spending energy on what God has made my own. Reducing others down to pieces of who I am not instead of simply enjoying who they are.
All those, "if only" wishes seem so harmless.
But a life built on their unsteady foundation, not so much.
Discontent, impatience, greed.....a pile of covetousness in front of a jealous God.
A pile of "Thanks, but no thanks. I can't work with this. It's not enough. I'll be over here trying to mold myself into one idol after another. You don't mind, do you?
No, no....not Christ's image. This person's image. That's a better look for me."
I covet. And coveting leaves a consuming hunger that destroys more than the host.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. Timothy 6:6-10
So help me remember and worship in thankfulness for this:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
...and stop singing, "why can't I be you."
...apologies to Mr. Smith.
Forgiveness and reconciliation.
More than lip service.
Especially as weaponry is being fired from those lips.
Poison darts of punishment.
Come to the table and I'll serve you up a cold plate of revenge. With cold looks and cold stares. The venom dripping from the corners of my mouth being the perfect compliment to the meal. Feeding me and making me taller and stronger, while you shrink and shiver. Allow me to pour you a cup of coffee brewed through my filter of hate. God, there is such sweet satisfaction in being right and never letting you off the hook for being so wrong.
Hey, would you mind wearing your transgressions on you sleeve? Maybe post it on "What I Wore Wednesday" and every day ever after. Yeah, yeah. You're sorry.
Never sorry enough for me. I'm not wrong about you.
Shhh. I don't care to hear you. Not listening. I already see your heart in my god-likeness. Vengeance is mine sayeth......wait, how does that go again?
Feel the pain you've caused with every pass in the hall. With every seed of discord I plant among the peeps around us. With my gossipy lip service.
And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:33-35
"I forgive you" but I don't.
"I believe in mercy" but I don't want to give it.
"I believe in reconciliation" just don't ask me to participate in it.
Let me pay lip service to and keep my unforgiveness in my pocket for a rainy day. A little morsel to feed my belief that I really am better than you, filthy one.
"I believe I'm a sinner" in theory
"I believe Christ died to cover sins" lucky you
"I believe in humility" because it's my job to keep you low
"I said I forgive you" because I'm the bigger person, now pay up and pay up and pay up.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Old foe, I'm trying to let you off the hook. I'm suffocating on the same one.
Can we lay downs our arms? God laid His down.
The rainbow that I have put in the sky will be my sign to you and to every living creature on earth. It will remind you that I will keep this promise forever. When I send clouds over the earth, and a rainbow appears in the sky, I will remember my promise to you and to all other living creatures. Never again will I let floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the sky, I will always remember the promise that I have made to every living creature. The rainbow will be the sign of that solemn promise.
All the pain and the scars
Could you lay down your arms....
It might be easy for another man to see
But I think you still look a lot like me
Old Friend Lyle Lovett
A very good listen:
When God Put His Weapon Down (and When He’ll Bare His Teeth) | Benji Magness