You may think you’re doing me a favor by avoiding difficult topics. My behavior and my lack of scruples or integrity may seem off limits for you to talk about. But your reluctance to address these shortcomings in me, actually does me harm.
If you love me then kick me. Strike me hard. Make it painful. Don’t fool around with avoiding the fact that I am not living up to the calling and potential of my life. Whack me. Head butt if you must. Do something to prevent me and protect me from myself.
I need you to love me enough to hurt me. To do less is not friendship, but the enemy using you to help delude me. Don’t kiss me. Kick me. I need your honest rebuke, not your dishonest embrace.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 27:6 KJV
I take no gain
In my enemy’s pain
I take no joy when he cries
It comforts me not when my foe has ho peace
I do not wish his demise
I take no delight in his failure
It pleases me not if he falls
To do so is cruel and what’s even worse
I am called to mend wounds
Not to curse
Matthew 5:44-46 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
To quiet the bad voice, I smoke
It will be silenced I think
Just one big inhale, a good toke
I follow it with a stiff drink
To settle my mind, fill this glass
Just one more bottle, don’t spill
I promise this is my last
To make sure, I will swallow this pill
I only do this when out of sorts
When I am feeling alone and dejected
If I can’t swallow enough I just snort
And last of all, I can always inject it
The bad voice won’t go away
No matter what substance I use
Oh the horrible things it does say
To remind me my past and accuse
Such are the stories I am told
And there is no way of convincing
That the only way out of this hole
Is to put down the shovel, stop digging
I pray that the tortured souls
Will find the One healing voice
Holy Spirit overwhelm, take control
Help them make Jesus their choice
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
John 8:10-11 Then Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.”
I must admit it is a far stretch of the imagination. It actually requires a deep sleep, maybe even a trance to conjure up this combination. Well, I do sleep and dream a lot. In my dreams I see things that don’t make a lot of sense. I see a recipe of turning dung into donuts. Not literally, mind you, but essentially that is the gist of my dream. Taking something that is not only discarded as refuse, but disgustingly worthless to every sensibility.
However, when I view these very things through the eyes of faith, I see the incredible happen.
It is just such incredible things that come to pass, that make me fall asleep and dream again.
I have seen young boys and girls who were sniffing glue, digging through heaps of garbage for food, and yes, even smearing dung on passerby’s on the streets in an effort to coerce them to give them money. I now see these very same boys and girls now young men and women wearing clean clothes, carrying school books and talking about how they will go to college and vocational training. They are learning computer skills, animal husbandry, farming, and a variety of life skills. They are studying Bible and memorizing verses of scripture. They are receiving counsel from a trained professional and learning to forgive their parents, siblings and neighbors of the past evils.
Only God can mix the vision of dung and donuts. Something disgusting can be transformed into something desirable.
Believe. Have faith. God can use dung to bring forth a good yield in our lives.
Lu 13:8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The difficult thing in medicine is to stay on message. The waiting room is full, I am late for rounds, my vacation is overdue as one of the doctors is out sick. My staff feels overwhelmed and the insurance is delaying payments because of coding errors.
None of this matters to the woman sitting in front of me holding her wheezing 4 year old granddaughter. She missed work today because the child’s mother is passed out on heroin, her father is in jail and no one else can provide care. It is a difficult situation because she doesn’t have the insurance information nor the consent to care.
I have complaints. She has problems. I must stay on message. The political, social, religious messages are not going to help. She needs to know that she is important. She is not alone. God loves her. He cares. I can show this by staying on message.
How can I help you today? We may not solve your problems, but we can help you find peace. Stay on message. It’s about Jesus. It always is about Jesus.
Now, let me hold the child and listen to her lungs. Oh yes. I hear the wheezes. Let me check with the pharmacy. Let me help.
Cast thy burden upon the Lord , and he shall sustain thee:
Psalms 55:22 KJV
Don’t pray for me
I don’t want your prayer
It is just an excuse
To pretend that you care
When I am hungry and cold
When I am sick filled with grief
Your prayer does not comfort
Offers no real relief
When I am hunted and chased
By death armies and mobs
Living naked in tents
Your pretend tears and sobs
Are a sham and a noise
Just a self-serving ruse
To invoke God in prayer
Is a form of abuse
Don’t pray for me
Your hypocrisy shows
Do something that matters
God sees, and He knows
James 2:14 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
A dull ache in a bone I never knew existed. A dimple now replaced by a wrinkle. A wheeze when there used to be a yawn. These subtle reminders that a small piece of me is failing every day. Each failing reminds me of the need for an inner peace.
Every day a small outer piece fails and every day a small inner peace grows. Slow and steady decline in muscle tone and stamina that is at first imperceptible is matched by a growing strength in character and determination. My appetites changes because I can no longer imbibe, ingest or digest what I once could. I enjoy the tastes, but now a small sample will suffice.
Now I need a second look, another reminder and sometimes a backward step. Now I realize that to take a second look is to exercise caution not fear. To remind myself it is important that I don’t repeat the failings and to take a backward step keeps me from tumbling off the cliffs.
Indeed, I have become older. Wiser is the objective.
This outer failing is slowly manifesting itself in ways that remind me of my mortality.
I will face the same end as all flesh as the preacher states in Ecclesiastes chapter 9. No matter how much I accumulate in this life, whatever my accomplishments may be, no matter how well I am known, like, disliked, envied or admired, the outer me is perishing day by day. I lose a piece of me every day outwardly. The objective is to grow a peace within me inwardly every day.
That is what the Apostle Paul meant when he penned 2 Corinthians 4:16 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
The Holy Ghost is there to help us grow in this inner peace that only comes from knowing Christ more fully every day. As you perish outwardly, grow inwardly. As each outward piece fails, inward peace should prevail.
It only makes a difference
I would suppose
When we are they
And us are those
When they are killed
Way over there
No blood on me
Why should I care
We are safe and protected
Away from the mob
We are clean and untouched
While they rape, steal and rob
But if we are they
If one of us offends
We disclaim our own
Well, he never fit in
He’s not one of us
He is one of those
Don’t let him return
Keep that door closed
If our liberty is suppressed
If our rights are offended
Our outrage would rise
We would rise to defend it
But when they cry out foul
With loud moans and great tears
We shout out be quiet
As we cover our ears
Listen you over there
As everyone knows
You are not one of us
You are just one of those
I wish I had kept more for me. I wish I had spent more on pleasure and less on people who lacked basic needs of food, safe housing and healthcare. I regret giving so much to people who were undeserving and undesirable. I regret wasting my time and money on unrepentant and unworthy. I should have spent more on me. I wasted my money on helping the underserved.
These are words I am sure I will never speak. In fact it is quite the opposite.
David Platt writes “We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is about abandoning ourselves.”
How did my personal pleasure become the focus of my faith?
Jesus loves me
This I know.
See my bank account
It will show
We wear the cross of Christ as jewelry. It is an ornament of fashion, not evidence of faith.
We settle for fashion, rather than submit to faith. Settling for selfishness and wanting more for me is my objective. That is modern day Christianity.
“If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.
Matthew 10:38-39 MSG
There is one thing
Of which I am certain
There is one thing
Of which I am sure
I know I am called
To be holy
I know I am called
To be pure
Yes politeness and courtesy
Good manners do
Have an allure
But God demands
I be holy
My God demands
I be pure
The world would
Have me believe
That there is no
Sin, so no need for cure
Please and thank you
Have a nice day
God demands I am pure
Being nice does
Have it’s merits
To help the
Infirmed and the poor
But God is not looking
For good people
He demands I am holy and pure
“Make yourselves holy for I am holy. Be holy because I am holy.
Leviticus 11:44-45 MSG
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Hebrews 12:14 KJV
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8 KJV