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Every morning since he was about 8, my son Dauntless goes out to the chicken coop to collect the eggs. But, this morning was different. He came into the house with a bowl of eggs, shell, and runny yellow yolks all mixed together in a slimy mess, with bits of egg running down his trembling hands. He tripped on the way back to the house.
Brokenness isn’t beautiful. Broken things aren’t beautiful. And, a broken heart definitely isn’t beautiful.
We feel the searing pain of every false smile, faithless friend, disappointment in a spouse, and the hard injustice we see on every side. Life is filled with broken things and, if we’re honest, most of them are on the inside of that person we see in the mirror every morning.
Instinctively, we know there is something better, something whole that life was intended to deliver, but somewhere those plans were destroyed and we live in the aftermath, piecing together disparate parts that don’t fit together so well. And where is the purpose in all that?
Some people speak as if brokenness is beautiful, as if life was intended to be a cubist painting – identifiable as “life” but chunked up, chipped and badly distorted, like a basket of eggs handled by a carless child. A basket of fresh eggs smashed to pieces from a fall is not a good thing. Any child will tell you that.
“You have cancer”, “Your child is severely brain damaged”, “He was killed in a car accident” “Your husband has been cheating on you”, “Your unmarried daughter is pregnant”…. Brokenness is not beautiful. It’s ugly, lonely, disfigured, painful, and perverse.
The mistake is to believe there is no purpose in our pain – that broken things can have no value.
The Creator of all that was right and good (before it was corrupted by sin) says that the worst thing that has happened to you He will use for good. . . . if you let Him. Romans 8:28 assures us of God’s use of our broken places – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Our journey is our own but the human experience is universal, which is why the next time you encounter someone, you can rest assured they are filled with broken places, too, and the good that God brought into existence from the pain you’ve suffered just might be the grace and understanding heart you have for your fellow traveller.
There’s more room in a broken heart and sometimes God has to break our hearts to make room for others.
Brokenness hurts, sending shards of pain throughout our life. Who could want that? Brokenness exacts a high cost but it can also be of great worth in God’s hands. The value of our own brokenness is seen in God’s use of it in the lives of others.
Life has forced you to pay a heavy price but will you receive the value of your brokenness? Will you receive what God has in store for the worst things that have happened to you, allowing Him to bring peace to your heart and good to the lives of others from all the pain, shame, ugliness, and heartache?
. . . . Casting all your care upon Him; for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Christy Fitzwater knows a thing or two about guilt and shame. It’s like she has a target, right on her forehead…or somewhere deep in the secret places of her heart. And the arrows? . . . right on the bull’s eye, every time.
When she’s honest with herself, she knows she’s a failure. She knows she doesn’t measure up. What’s worse, she knows she never will. And, yes, she’s confessed passed sins but, the accusation is still the same: FAILURE! GUILTY!
And, what could be more true of Christy . . . and of everyone of us who is being accused every day by the messages of the Enemy, the voice of our Flesh, and the constant barrage of the World’s opinion?
There is a truth missed by so many Christians, a truth that Christy discovered from the heart of The Father through His Word that transformed her thinking and her life and that is the message of her powerful, encouraging, uplifting new book, Blameless: Living a Life Free From Guilt and Shame.
If you’ve ever struggled with the sense that you will never be approved, you’ll never get to where you need to be, that you just have to keep striving to achieve some impossible standard, Christy wants to share an awesome truth with you.
You and I weren’t meant to live with a constant sense the we will never be acceptable because our efforts will never be enough. Don’t live another day under the unachievable standards that have nothing whatever to do with your true identity in Jesus Christ.
If this is a journey you (or someone you know) needs to take, check out Christy’s new book. Let her take you on the road she traveled to discover that she is Blameless.
Here’s what the latest reviewer said, today:
I highly recommend Christy’s new book to . . . well, to everyone!
I still remember the prof at Multnomah Bible School (now Multnomah University), where I attended for one year before going to college. After class, a few of us gathered around to hear him field questions. “We’re not supposed to hate sin.” He said. “I don’t see in the Bible where we’re supposed to have an emotional response to sin. We’re just not supposed to do it.”
I liked that professor. At the time I thought, yeah, that’s right. No hate. They’ll know we’re Christians by our love.
Remove the moorings of sound thinking from 21st century Christians and the idea of hating something is akin to drowning puppies. We should never hate. And this is exactly what the Bible warns will happen in the last days. People will seek out teachers who will “tickle their ears” (2 Tim. 4:3), which is to say, tell them the things they like to hear.
If you don’t know what the Bible teaches (like that Bible teacher at the Bible school), you’re liable to believe just about anything – like you should never hate. But God isn’t only good with hate, He requires His followers to hate.
Really? I’m supposed to hate?
Yes, you are.
Are we going to be Christians or are we going to be biblical Christians and believe and do what the Bible says, regardless of how it makes us feel?
Most of us recoil from the word “hate” like we just smelled something that has been at the back of the refrigerator far too long. Commitment to being nice is what often passes for being a Christian. But we need to get comfortable with the “H” word because in the Word, we’re not only told, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven . . . a time to love, a time to hate . . .” Ecclesiastics 3, we’re also told, specifically to hate – “Abhor that which is evil . . .” Romans 12:9
If you believe you should never hate, you’re not ordering your thinking according the Bible. If you teach your children never to hate, you’re teaching them contrary to the Bible.
The Christian is supposed to hate evil.
Do you hate sin . . . in your own life . . . in the world around you?
The definition of sin is, essentially, lawlessness. That’s interesting, isn’t it? Sin is breaking God’s law. And, God wants us to take sides, to make a choice – to choose to hate sin. For many of us, we have to retrain ourselves to think biblically.
The practice of sin takes away the guilt of it. The way of the world takes away the sense of it. But for the Christian, for you and me, God calls on us to never get comfortable with evil – to actually hate it.
That’s a different way to think, isn’t it? But, the Bible is like that, challenging us to realign our thinking. Hate is an emotion. The Christian is called to have an emotional response to evil – to lawlessness – to the breaking of God’s law.
In fulfilling the Christian mandate to love others, while remaining nonjudgmental (the Christian is forbidden to judge those outside the Church), we must also never communicate in any way – or by silence, allowing people to believe – that we’re “okay” with evil, for that would be choosing against what God has said we are to do.
Biblical thinking is never comfortable to our flesh. We’re told to hate evil and the anticipated reaction to hate of this kind has a price that many are unwilling to pay.
Where do you stand?
The Big Day finally arrived. The Wedding.
It’s here but what a major league disappointment. You expected her to be dressed in white, a reflection of the purity she walked in before your marriage, but no . . .
How would you feel if your fiancée showed up on your wedding day in a dress that had been carelessly dragged through the mud, after she spent the morning sleeping around? I’m guessing you’d lose interest real quick.
Jesus isn’t interested in a dirty Bride, either.
But, when you think about it, that’s not far from how the Christian life is often lived – continuing to wallow in sins that so easily take us down. How did we convince ourselves that Jesus would settle for something we never would?
Outside of Jesus, one way or another, everyone is like the prodigal son, living with the pigs. When we finally come home, we get clean . . . well, mostly clean . . . for a while, at least.
Pornography – the pigpen of choice for millions of men claiming to be Christians – is destroying men and their families faster than locusts destroy a green field.
Which raises a question: Why do so many who claim to have received Jesus regularly head back out to the pigpen for another roll in the muck?
The answer is not that complicated. The reason men who call themselves Christians are willing to walk in adultery when they think no one is looking (and that’s exactly what porn is: adultery) is revealed in the Scriptures. Anyone who persists in known sin, who will not repent, is not saved – even, someone calling himself ‘Christian’.
Harsh? Well, ultimately the wrath of God is exceedingly harsh against the unrepentant . . . and, it is coming on them and the world. Truth that saves – the biblical approach – isn’t harsh. It might hurt but it isn’t harsh. That’s why the Bible says the wounds of a friend are faithful.
Before theological daggers are hurled my way (in love!), consider the warning of Scripture to the morally incontinent found in 1 Corinthians 6:9 which basically says, ‘Don’t be deceived. Those who walk in sexual sin will not inherit the kingdom of God.’
Galatians 6:7,8 puts it this way ‘Don’t be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man plants, that will he also reap. For he who plants to his flesh will of the flesh reap death; but he who plants to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
So, let’s do what the Scriptures say and refuse to walk in deception. No amount of church attendance, or emotional-high worship singing, or statements about how much we love Jesus will negate the declaration of the Scriptures. If we choose to walk in known sin we are headed for Hell. We will reap what we have sown.
Now, there is an important distinction we need to consider between falling into a sin and walking in sin. Yes, a true Christian can fall – choose sin – but he won’t walk in it. (read 1 John). He won’t stay there. He will repent and enter back into fellowship with God, forsaking his sin.
Repeated pornography use isn’t some slight infraction that needs proper management. It’s the highway to Hell that needs a detour. And, it isn’t something that happens to you. Porn use is a choice – one that must be forsaken, for good.
Let’s keep the cart and the horse in proper order. We don’t forsake this or any sin to be acceptable to Jesus. The Christian man or woman forsakes this sin because he/she has been made clean by the blood of Jesus and is now filled with His Spirit. Romans 8:13.
Christian man, Christian woman, believe the Truth. You are not weak! You’re not a victim trapped in prison. The resurrection power of Jesus Christ is within you to walk in strength and purity, if you have truly repented with a broken and contrite heart, Psalm 51:17.
Heed the warning of Scripture, don’t be deceived into thinking your walking in sin won’t cost you everything – and then walk in the victory Jesus has won for you and everyone who calls on Him.
Romans 8:37 . . . we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Walk tall. The victory is won. Walk in the victory won for you at the Cross and live.
Even Jesus, the Living Word, needed a sword when engaged in battle.
When facing Satan, head on, in the weakness of his flesh following an extended fast, Jesus resisted the repeated onslaughts of His enemy with the Sword – the Word of God.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12.
Our Kids need that Sword
How do purposeful parents “give” their kids the Word of God?
For too many Christian parents, giving kids the Word begins and ends with the purchase of a Bible. A birthday, at Christmas, at Confirmation or other religious rights of passage – many children receive a hard copy of the Bible (or maybe a Kindle download, today) but never crack the cover.
So, yes, many Christian kids have been given a copy of the Bible but they haven’t been given the Word. They’ve never been taught. The Word has never been imparted to them. An interest and hunger has never been instilled in them.
How do we teach our children not only to have a general respect for the Word but teach them to love what it says?
1) Show your children by your example that you love the Word of God.
Do you love the Word enough to seek it out and read it regularly? Do your children see you reading the Word? Is the Word a regular part of your daily life?
So, Dad & Mom, I have a question. If your children followed your example, how often would they read the Bible? If you’re like most, not very often.
The Gallup organization conducted a poll on Bible reading in the U.S. a few years ago. Here’s what they found:
41% say that they rarely or never read the Bible
10% say less than monthly
12% say they read the Bible monthly
21% say they read it weekly
16% of Americans say that they read the Bible every day
So, which is it for you? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? A few times a year? Never?
If we don’t demonstrate our love for the Word in front of our children, is it reasonable to expect that they will love and value it enough to read it? No. Our children need to see us reading the Word regularly.
2) Speak to your children of what God showed you in His Word.
Every day provides many opportunities to refer to God . . . to speak of His ways, His attributes, His blessings in your life. Here’s how the Bible describes the process, “And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and she you walk by the way, and when you lay down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6.
Basically, we’re to speak to our children of God and His precepts throughout the day. We’re to talk of God all the time! Are we looking for opportunities to speak of Him to our kids?
3) Live a life consistent with your example of reading the Word, and with what you tell your children about God.
Children can smell a hypocritical parent from 100 yards. Our lives as parents must match our words if we are to speak with authority into the lives of our children. Our children don’t like or respect hypocrites any more than we do.
4) Show your children that the admonitions of Scripture apply to you.
If the Word is to have authority in our children’s lives, they must see that it is authoritative in ours. When we sin as parents, our children must see us confess and seek forgiveness.
5) Carve out a time once a day to teach your children directly from the Word.
Don’t tell yourself your kids are learning all they need to learn at youth group and Sunday School. The Bible expressly states that fathers are to take up the responsibility of teaching their children about Him. This can be intimidating if you’ve never done it but it doesn’t have to be. Start by asking God to give you the words to say. Read a few verses of Scripture, then talk about them – what God is teaching through His Word. You can do it Dad (and you can too, Single Mom!) because “Where the Lord Guides, He Provides.” Take the step and, as Nike tells everyone, “Just Do It.”
Our family gathers every morning. We sit around for about 15 – 30 minutes talking and drinking coffee, then we turn our attention to the word. We just finished 1st and 2nd Samuel and are now in Judges. Sometimes it’s really interesting for everyone. Sometimes there’s a great message and application to our lives. Sometimes we just read and don’t glean too much. It’s pretty straightforward. I’m not one of those dads who feels compelled to pretend the boring parts of the Bible aren’t boring to kids.
And, it doesn’t have to be lengthy. Much depends on where your kids are at and what they have the capacity to absorb. I never saw a farmer stuff a bale of nutritious alfalfa down the throat of a newborn lamb. As parents, we should give our kids the Word, precept on precept, not engage in an attempt to make spiritual foie gras.
Giving our children the Word of God is a years-long process. We’d better get started!
Like no other generation before them in the history of the West, our children are going into a world where the Truths of Scripture are held up to ridicule and worse. God’s moral imperatives are accounted as “hate speech” in this dark generation.
We must prepare our children for battle . . . for the Spiritual battle that they will not be able to escape.
Start today in giving them the Sword of Truth – the Word of God – the very weapon of choice of our Lord, Himself. And, in the midst of our equipping them, let’s be quick to remind them (and ourselves!) that Jesus Christ has already won the battle over sin and death and prior to His return, His children are called to stand firm.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having do all, to stand (firm). Ephesians 6:13
God bless you, Dad & Mom, as you seek to “give” your children the weapon – the Sword of Truth – they need for the battles they will face.
SPECIAL NOTE: Kelsey Turner is the Artist who created the image, above. You can view her other work on Facebook at Dancing Rain Designs