The Joy of Being Broken By God

Last week, I wrote on God’s plan for brokenness and wanted to further elaborate on that post.

God’s plan for brokenness isn’t to break us and leave us there. Rather it is to show us the love, grace and mercy He has for us. The process of being broken may be painful for some. The pain is a direct correlation between how apart a believer lives apart from God.

You see God gave us all free will. He desires to be in relationship with each and everyone, but a relationship is a two way street. God will use any means necessary to break the thinking of our self-sufficiency.

He may lead you through a time where you are unemployed and wonder how you will survive. He may remove certain people that you have developed a co-dependent relationship with. He may use a situation to uncover sin in your life. He may even allow a tragedy, like the death of a loved one, in order to break someone.

You may be saying right now, “Why would I want to serve a God that takes a loved one away. That’s not fair!” Let me assure you that I have been there, but I am also reminded that God’s ways are not our ways!

It is in brokenness where God can shine light through a believer. Imagine a vessel that is completely enclosed and no light can shine through it. The only way to have light shine is to crack it. Then the (God’s) can shine through!

Prayer: Father, how grateful we are for your gift of brokenness. We thank you in advance for not leaving us broken, but to allow Your light to shine through us. Help us to not keep that light to ourselves, but to spread that light to the world. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

World’s Design for Life vs. God’s Design for Life

World’s Design for Life at its Best.

Go to school. Graduate from high school, Go to college. Graduate from college. Get a job. Get married. Have kids. Watch kids get married. Have grandkids. Retire. Travel a little. Die.

God’s Design for Life at its Best:

Matthew 6:33

“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you”

Romans 12:2

“Do not conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve God’s will-his good pleasing and perfect will.”

Which system are you in?

God’s Plan For Brokenness

Yesterday I was sitting at service where Charles Stanley preaches in Atlanta.  Like before, he was looking directly at me while preaching.  This title of his message was “Getting in God’s Way”.  It was a powerful message of how sometimes with the best of intentions we get in the way of God doing an awesome work in someone.

For example, no parent wants to see their child suffer, but maybe there there is a purpose in the suffering. Maybe the suffering is bringing the child into God’s plan for their life. Maybe its the suffering and brokenness that God is after.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 says, “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

You see, it is in the complete brokenness that God can use someone and become a vessel for God. It is ALWAYS done with love.

While Charles Stanley was preaching I was bursting into tears because this is the point of my recovery where God is breaking totally.

Then he looked directly at me said, “You know in my early preaching days I always wanted to fix everyone.  It was until later that I recognized that wasn’t my job.  God uses brokenness to bring people closer to Him and I don’t get in the way of that anymore.” What a powerful and moving moment that was for me. Not easy to hear, but the absolute truth!

Some of you have asked what is next for me. Well I don’t have the entire picture. In fact, I only have the next two days planned out.  Tomorrow I will be meeting with someone that works at In Touch Ministries. Wednesday, I will being going for one of my last sessions of therapy through EMDR, which is the process of letting go of the trauma in my past and breaking me.

Where I am Thursday only God knows!

The Joy of God’s Discipline

The word discipline has a negative connotation to it similar to. It implies that someone did something wrong and corrective action must be applied. It is almost sounds like punishment. There is significant difference between the two.  Discipline is a tool of God’s love for His Children.

Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

Yesterday, I talked about how God is a jealous God after your heart.  You can be sure God will remove those obstacles that keep God from going after your heart.

Here is a practical example from my life.  Sometimes I can have the tendency to be on the internet too much.  I can remember a few weeks ago, the internet went out for a few days and I took a different approach to the situation.  This time I viewed it as coming FROM God.  He wanted me to spend more time with Him. It wasn’t a punishment where I felt the wrath of God for doing something wrong.

Rather, I viewed it as a sign of God’s discipline and love. It was a perspective changed. God loved me so much that He needed to provide a wake up call.

Hebrews 12:11 goes as far as saying, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it,”

So the lesson in God’s discipline is that it is a sign of God’s love for us.  We should take great joy when we are being disciplined by Holy God because it is shaping us into the Godly men and women that we were destined to be.

A Jealous God After Your Heart

God is a jealous God that wants a personal intimate relationship with you. He will do whatever it takes to make sure He is number one in your life. If something stands between you and God, you can be sure He will take it away! Mark it down! (He will also give it back, more on that later).

Probably the best example in my life was my running ability. I always had (still do) have a dream to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In order to qualify, I will need to break 3:05 for 26.2 miles. Now I have ran 5 marathons in my life and have got closer to that mark each time.

I’ve gone from 3:42 to 3:21 to 3:11 to 3:09 to 3:07. I was so close! And then my depression hit. I went from running 7 minute miles with ease to barely being able to run a few miles.

As the fog from the depression is lifting I can how running became an idol for me. If I achieved running a 3:05 marathon, then I would have done something “successful”. Whatever that means.  The truth is replaced the spot for God in my heart for running. I still would not of been a joyful had a qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Now I do believe God wants me to qualify for the Boston Marathon at some point, but He doesn’t want me thinking I have done it on my own strength. He wants me to recognize that my strength comes from him alone. Most importantly, I will have a right relationship with God.

Prayer: Thank you God for being so jealous for us.  Thank you for removing what ever prevents us from having a relationship with you. You loved us so much that You sent Your only Son Jesus to die at Calvary for our sins.  We are so grateful that you keep pursuing us even when we disobey and try to accomplish on our own strength. Have us recognize that You are the Vine and we are merely the branches. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

The Consequences of Holding Onto Negative Emotions

Do you ever worry about if your brakes are going to go out on your car? Maybe your tires? Maybe your computer might crash on you? If you are like me, it may just be that you have a fear of death.

For me, I can remember exactly where I was when I found about death when I was three years old. I was petrified of it and had been until last week that is. You see on a rational level I didn’t fear death, but there was a piece of me that was wounded boy that lived inside of me. I had not emotionally been free from the fear of death.

Holding onto negative emotions is toxic. It blocks the positive emotions like love and joy. These negative memories are stored in every cell of our bodies and by releasing them we can become unstuck.

Do you have a memory that you may be over rationally, but not emotionally? Might I suggest that it may be severely limiting your life today. It doesn’t matter if it happened 50 years ago. If you aren’t over something emotionally, it will hinder your life and God’s purpose for your life.

You are worthy of living a life worth living. Don’t let something that happened years ago affect you still today. Ask God to reveal those areas in your life. I can promise you one thing. He will be happy to do so.

Be Selfish for Yourself

The word selfish has a negative connotation to it. It could describe a person that is self-centered and is only worried about themselves.

This is not what I am going to talk to you about today. I’m going to talk to you about being selfish for yourself so that you can be of service to others. You see it was in the hospital last year when I heard that phrase and decided to run with it.

To me it meant how could I truly help someone while something wasn’t right with me.

Matthew 7: 3,5 state, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite! First pull the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye?

I love the strong language that Jesus uses. First he states that your brother only has a speck in their eye, while you have a plank (imagine a 2 by 4!) in your eye! I believe Jesus uses such strong language because often we go through life not aware that there is a plank in our eyes. I know this was the case for me.

I had such a judgmental mind of who I believed could “help” me get better. My early thinking was that the person must have a PhD and must be a Christian. What a plank I had in my eye! As my judgments started to melt away, I noticed how much I had limited myself.

I can remember my last therapist in Atlanta was a Buddhist and how there was no way I could work with her.  It’s like a heard God say, “Trust me Marc. This is the perfect person for you right now” Boy was God ever right! You see it was this person that taught me how to love myself for the first time. Because of that experience, I have been so much more open to help. I’m so thankful that plank is out of my eye now!