Monday, June 29, 2009

Truth Be Told

"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."
1 Peter 5:10

Truth Be Told

For so very long i have been on my knees,
crawling through rain of molasses;
which drop by drop,
strips me, unraveling me.

Though nothing i gave up was equal to You,
all had become a part of my identity,
painfully torn away as it resides under my skin.

This rubbish was hidden in my heart,
You brought it to the surface in a way i could not ignore.

As love for You grew in my soul,
Love began to sweep dross to the surface.

Love was cleaning this tortured cup from the inside out.

The blood, sweat and tears dropped in vein,
were huddled deep inside me;
You knew where they were when i did not;
You began cleaning when i would not.
Because i depended on my body to hide,
You took it away to free my soul.

Ignorant and senseless i
crawled on toward You,
hoping. . .
and praying my faith would grow.

You veiled my eyes to teach me,
to trust the lamp that is light to my feet,
to shower me in Your kindness, Your mercy, Your love,
and i grew like a pearl,
an irritant made beautiful,
once covered by many layers of Love and grace.

Though there is a long way to go,
the end of the tunnel is in sight,
and i am ashamed at my impatience and unbelief.

The things i fear most, You put in my path,
the things i want most, You keep me waiting.
The things i didn't think to ask for,
You give freely.
To make me pure, to make me strong,
to keep me pure, to keep me Yours.


© Jennifer Lynn - 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

When our suffering seems great...

... it is always sobering to know that there are others whose suffering is more. This is not to make us feel guilty (your suffering is important to you and it is important to God) but to remind us that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by our brotherhood throughout the world (1 Peter 5:9).


Violence in Orissa

Ahmadinejad taken revenge


My beloved brother, Morgan. A child of God afflicted with schizophrenia, missing in Los Angeles since May 11, 2009.

video


Ultimately and thankfully, no one in all of history suffered like Christ. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Coming of the LORD

"13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18


Just thought i'd encourage you with this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Keep Walking

In the midst of panic,
i am that small girl hiding in the closet,
mending wounds she can barely see through tears.
The young woman surrounded by men who intend harm,
fighting with eyes closed.
My being not made for this,
clouds my eyes,
and then my heart.
I see the notes,
those words etched in my skin,
and i remember that i am no longer that girl.
This is new,
this wasn't here before,
my feeble mind needs the reminder.
Oh, how quickly i forget.
I am new,
i am not that anymore.
God has changed me,
i am no longer there,
i am here.
I am safe, i am loved, i am forgiven.

Though i have wounds on my heart,
His are deeper,
a galaxy of offense against me,
His is wider,
the amount of tears i have cried,
His are more.
Because this is true,
i am reconciled to You.

© Jennifer Lynn - 2010

Saturday, June 13, 2009

PEACE LIKE A RIVER

As the 4th anniversary of my new birthday approaches, reflections of my walk with Christ invade my thoughts like a joyful nightmare. Juxtaposition you say? Tell me about it. The craziness that has been my life has been one hard slam after crazy situation and repeat. Yet all the while God has provided, making the result of such pain a closeness to Him. First Peter chapter one (my fave!) speaks about believers being plagued by various trials so that the tested genuineness of faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. It is because of this that one is able to rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible.

Since we are talking favorites, here is my favorite hymn and the story behind it as plagiarized from Wikipedia.


This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Horatio Gates Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

PEACE LIKE A RIVER

When peace like a river, attendeth my way;
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well...with my soul... It is well, it is well, with my soul...

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well...with my soul... It is well, it is well, with my soul...


He lives--oh, the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Oh my soul.

It is well...with my soul... It is well, it is well, with
my soul...

And, Lord, haste the day when our faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul...

It is well...with my soul... It is well, it is well, with my soul...

~~Horatio Gates Spafford
[1873]

In the past four years there have been many times of loss where i was able to say, it is well with my soul. But much more often have been times of panic. And now that i am allowing Christ to heal my heart, the events that produced post-traumatic stress disorder to take over my body and mind have proved to be the hardest trial yet. Nameless triggers cause consuming panic attacks, flashbacks and black-outs leaving me in one of the following: a teary hot mess, ready to throw the first punch or take cover ("fight or flight") and even in a blinding rage. In those moments, the only help is God's Truth. However, i am not always surrounded by believers or have a Bible handy. You might say, "Memorize scripture silly!" In the midst of an attack the rational mind somehow disconnects. It is as if the sinful fear or rage takes all things good, puts them in irons and locks them up in the attic of my mind. My flesh takes over to put me to my demise.

Like any *temptuous sin we struggle with, it is a process of practice. If i were to get an eviction notice or find the government had canceled SSI, i have enough practice in those situations to praise God. However, in dealing with the ever complex human psyche (especially woman's psyche) my practice is in repression not redemption.

We all have hidden His word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him - reminding us of His goodness. For my spiritual health i have designed a reminder etched on my left wrist. I am a visual person so my hope is that the constant reminder of what The LORD has done for me will pull me out of an attack or even prevent them! It is a personal reminder that no matter what, God is good and He will continue to carry me through any situation somehow, someway (and what a conversation starter, huh?!). Ironically enough, the physical pain that has been at work to liken me to Christ began in my left wrist four years ago. I couldn't have planned it better myself.


* Original word found in, "Jenni's Dictionary for the Dialectically Challenged"





For my non-musical friends, the lyrics are encased in repeat signs which calls for the lyrics to be repeated, followed by notes ending on a fermata rest which is to be held as long as the Composer/Conductor indicates = a calmed and quieted soul... at least that is the goal.

Blessed Peace

Isaiah 26:3:
3 You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.


It's easy to allow our minds to focus on worldly activities, places, and people that don't honor God. When we focus on anything that separates us from God and don't trust Him, we can become restless.

Yet when our minds are focused on the Lord and trusting Him with our lives completely, He keeps us in His peace, His blessed peace.

For more about a peaceful soul go here, then here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Daddy Date/Bro Time/Quality Time

At Shoreline we have been talking about what it means to be Enjoying God. Last week Brian talked about depending upon God every moment for everything - letting Him in your life every moment. We do this by talking to Him throughout our day and realizing that even our next breath is a gift from God.

I spend six hours a day, four days a week with Beth. Throughout the day we laugh as one of us is inescapably in the clutches of Mrs. De La Paz Palacios (quite a name, huh?), mourn when one of the clients goes missing and share the daily client "quotables". We talk to each other through the day. Most of the time it isn't any deep conversation, just enjoying our friendship and the people God has put around us. It isn't until we are driving somewhere or just kicking it at one of our apartments that we have deep, conversations. This is living life together. So it only makes sence to live life with God like this. The only difference is He is ALWAYS with us.

Like a father with his children, God is living life with us and we are able to make Daddy dates (or for the guys, Bro time) with Him for those deep conversations and quality time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Good Master

"In every believer's heart there is a constant struggle between the old nature and the new. The old nature is very active and loses no opportunity of plying all the weapons of it's deadly armory against new born grace. While on the other hand, the new nature is ever on the watch to resist and destroy it's enemy. Grace within us will employ prayer and faith and hope and love to cast out the evil. It takes unto it the whole armor of God and wrestles earnestly. These two opposing natures will never cease to struggle so long as we are in this world. The battle of Christian with Apollyon lasted three hours; but the battle with Christian and himself lasted all the way from the wicked gate and the river Jordan.

"The enemy is so securely entrenched within us that he can never be driven out while we are in this body. That although we are closely beset, and often in sore conflict, we have an almighty helper, even Jesus the captain of our salvation who is ever with us and who assures us that we shall eventually come off more that conquerors through Him. With such assistance the new born nature is more than a match for its foes.

"Are you fighting with the adversity today? Are Satin, the world and the flesh all against you? Be not discouraged or dismayed. Fight on for God Himself is with you. Jehovah-Nissi is your banner and Jehovah-Rophe is the healer of your wounds. Fear not, you shall overcome for who can defeat Omnipotence? Fight on looking unto Jesus and though long and stern be the conflict, sweet will be the victory and glorious the promised reward. From strength to strength go on, wrestle and fight and pray. Tread all the powers of darkness down and win the well fought day.


Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, June 2nd.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Once More: Because He Loves Us.

This is a re posting from back in March, the day before i was diagnoses with PTSD. So much has been running through my mind and heart since then and at the core of everything is either reassurance of the Gospel or the mortification that in some ways the Gospel is still head knowledge.

Christ died for ALL our sins and the sins of others because He loved us. Selah


Thursday evening i had a bit of a headache and by 2am i was in monumental pain. My roommate called Mere for me but while we waited for her to come, the pain escalated so we called an ambulance. The pain was insane. As i awaited to either pass out or have my head explode, i thought of First Peter 1:8 where Peter describes the joy we have in Him. "[You] believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible." To me, this pain was the equal but opposite feeling; it
was like nothing i had ever felt before and at one point i thought i was going to die. I will leave out the crazy details but on the way to the ER, as i was begging God to get me through, i thought of Christ. While my proclivity is to run from pain, Christ, "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross," (Heb 12:2). He voluntarily went to the cross knowing that the pain would be egregiously more pain than anyone can ever experience and He went quietly.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
Isaiah 53:7

Now, if i had the power to at least separate my consciousness of the pain, i would. Christ could have stopped His punishment at anytime. With one thought, legions of angels could have come to His rescue. Yet Jesus did not. That night i had a bit better idea of what Jesus endured for us.
He would bear the pain as they beat and mocked Him. His eye swollen, lip bleeding and hair ripped from His face.
He would bear the pain as He was flogged. He was whipped with a flagrum that contained lead balls that would tenderize the skin and hooks that tore out chunks of flesh bruising the lungs and heart.
He would bear the pain as they pressed thorns into His head. A crown of thorns that were five to seven inches long, pressed in to His head.
He would bear the pain as He carried His cross. Two wooden beams that weighed upwards of 100 lbs rested on His shoulder as the longer end drug on the ground.
He would bear the pain as He was nailed to the cross. Nails equivalent to railroad spikes driven into the most sensitive nerve centers of the body - the hands and feet.
He would bear the pain as He was lifted up. The people He came to save were mocking, jeering and making fun of Him.
He would bear the pain of speaking one last sermon. He spoke, "Father forgive them." To John He assigns the care of His mother and Jesus forgives and saves the man suffering justly next to Him.
He would bear the pain as the eternal unbroken intimacy of God the Father and God the Son is temporarily severed. This was far worse than any physical and/or psychological suffering that Jesus endured. Jesus took upon Himself my sin, your sin, our sin and experienced physical and spiritual death and it was finished.

He bore all this pain. Why?

Because He loves us.