The Deep Divide | Problematic Politics

2020 has been a bit much. I don’t think any of us expected this year to bring all the challenges, chaos, and craziness that we are all experiencing every single day. Everything that is thrown at us seems to deepen the political divide in our nation. Add to that it’s an election year and it’s difficult to see any ending to the ceaseless arguments anytime soon.

We all have differing opinions and we are all right to have whatever opinion we hold. I’ve struggled this year because, while I do hold some opinions that differ from the popular ones in my circle, mostly I don’t see anyone seeking to understand each other. In fact, what I see most is pretty toxic.

Now, most of my social media friends hold a republican perspective, with only a few holding an opposing view. So, what I am seeing is probably not balanced, but what I see from much of the far right is presenting their viewpoint in an angry posture, attacking those who don’t agree. I would go as far as to say that much of the republican party comes across as bullies, in the past week I have seen my friends calling people, sheep, nazis, and libtards. Not just one or two people either. This display of aggression has left me grieved. I definitely struggle to see the love of Jesus in the midst of our political landscape.

Proverbs 17:27-28 (NLT) A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.

Proverbs 18:2 (NLT) Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.

I just want to remind us of these scriptures today. Sometimes the more we talk the more damage we cause. I do believe we have a big problem in our culture today of airing our opinions, but not taking any time to understand the perspective of others. We absolutely are guilty of assuming what they believe and arguing against our own assumptions rather than their actual opinion. Perhaps that’s what makes it an argument rather than a discussion?

Here is what I know, foolish people think they have all the answers and proceed recklessly, while the wise seek to understand. I can’t help to think of what I often refer to in my own head as “new guitar player syndrome.” Many times when asking a young musician about their skill level they will broadcast that they are SO GOOD, hyping up their own abilities. Then during the audition, it becomes clear that they are actually pretty terrible. They don’t yet know enough to realize how much they still have to learn.

Here is the bottom line. When you think you are the expert, you stop learning— when really you should work the hardest to continue learning. Information is constantly changing, or flat out wrong. Our culture is constantly shifting. Forming a balanced opinion takes a lot of work. It takes genuinely listening to opposing views. It takes getting information from more than one source. Honestly, many times news networks aren’t even reporting on the same stories, and when they do it’s so different. How can anyone form a balanced belief by only listening to one side of an argument? Ask any parent with multiples kids

One final thought, and this is just something I can’t help but wonder. There is a clear divide between the younger generations and older generations. It’s only getting wider. What if it is partly because the younger is still listening and seeking to learn, while the older are more prone to filtering their information through preferred beliefs and bias? I don’t have any studies or evidence to back up my theory, just something I’m thinking about.

I hope that we can all take the path of wisdom, seek to genuinely listen and learn. I would love to see a united nation, where it’s okay to have different opinions. I would love to see discussions rather than arguments. But most of all I would love to see people of love and understanding, even in the midst of disagreement.

Heart In Action

I grew up in an environment that placed emphasis on being right with God, but little emphasis on what that looked like interacting within our world. The extent of impact from my point of view was, “tell people about Jesus.” Should we tell people about Jesus? Yes! Unequivocally, yes. However, I believe that is not the full extent of how the gospel affects our actions. 

My understanding as a kid lacked balance, what I saw demonstrated was that your prayer life was more important than the way you treated people. How you lived was only important in that you did not sin. In fact, abstaining from sin was far more important than anything else going on in the world. I was told Jesus is the solution to all the problems of the world, but never taught to get involved or to help be the solution, only to pray.

So, when you think of living the Christian life what do you think of? Do you have images of church services, singing worship songs, prayer meetings, bible studies, Christian fellowship? Those are certainly a part of the Chrisitan life, but is that the extent of the images you have? Is your mind also drawn to images of meeting needs, helping the poor, standing up for the oppressed, fighting against injustice?

I confess, too often my mind has failed to connect the second part to my faith and I fear I am not alone. Your prayer life is important. Living a holy life, free from sin is important. However, what good are your prayers and righteousness if it doesn’t drive you to take action? Is your faith only about YOU avoiding hell with no thought of the state of the world?

In the book of James he is incredibly clear that faith without works is dead, yet the message I was drawn to is that it doesn’t matter how much good you do if you don’t have a relationship with God. Now don’t get me wrong. That statement is true, but it’s unbalanced and incomplete. Out of our relationship with God, our lives should produce many good works.

Too often the world doesn’t know we are Christians by our love and the works that love produces, but by our political stances, our boycotts– honestly I’m pretty sure the church invented cancel culture– our condemnation of sins and our fight to protect our rights and religious liberties. Again, I’m not suggesting all those things are unimportant, but is it building God’s Kingdom?

We often uphold “truth in love” and “wounds of a friend” to attack those we disagree with, but the reality is we do not love them and they are not our friends. Is it possible we have a reputation for being bigoted and hateful because… we are? Do you really show love to all people? Or rather could all people feel that love from you? I can certainly remember a time in my life when I would have said, I love gay people, but they would have felt no love from our conversation. I was too afraid of affirming sin to truly demonstrate love for a gay person.

We live in a world full of political causes and stances. As a church, we tend to pick one or two and ignore the rest. I’ve seen people shamed for supporting causes other than pro-life, as if supporting something else means you don’t support life. I believe God gave us a voice and we have a responsibility to use that voice. To actively show love to our world and stand up against injustice, whatever form it takes. To reach out to the poor, the downhearted, the outcast. To actively meet the needs in our community. To live wholeheartedly for Jesus. To demonstrate to the world the love that God has for them.

I’ll wrap this up with a couple of scriptures to think about.

Psalm 78:34-38 (NLT) When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously. 35 Then they remembered that God was their rock,  that God Most High was their redeemer. 36 But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. 37 Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant.

Amos 5:23-24 ( NLT) Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.

God isn’t looking for lip service. God isn’t looking for a good church service. He is looking for people to stand up for righteousness. To truly represent Him in every corner of the earth. To have a heart for God means to have a heart in action. Let’s pursue a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus. Let us spend time in His presence and may we take His presence with us everywhere we go. May the world come to know Jesus because of how we live our lives. May we actively demonstrate His love to the world, heart in action.

Life Changing Moments

We are drawn to the sensational. We love memories of significant moments and to be sure there are key moments that define our lives, or at least have the potential to. Most of us who have grown up in church have fond memories of summer camps or conferences that we look back on. The moments that challenge us, where we encountered God and left never the same.

Yet, we are also aware that most of the time those moments weren’t as life-changing as we thought. They ignited a passion inside of us for change, that within a few weeks or even days of returning to our normal routines had completely dissipated. That’s because true life-changing moments are not the big memorable moments. It’s the small moments, the small choices made consistently that mark our character.

Anyone can have an “altar experience” a moment when confronted with the truth of God’s Word, where the Father draws us and compels us to surrender ourselves to His ways, leaving our old life behind. Yet, that moment does not change you. Rather, it gives you the opportunity to change. It’s what you do when you leave the altar that truly is life transformative.

There is a story in 2 Kings chapter 5 that I love. Naaman has leprosy and travels to see the prophet Elisha in hopes of a cure. Naaman was considered an important man, yet Elisha doesn’t come to meet him, instead, sending a messenger instructing him to bathe seven times in a dirty river. Naaman is incensed.

2 Kings 5:13 (NLT) But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”

Naaman was prepared to do something big and worthy of his station, but he was initially unwilling to do something so small and seemingly insignificant. How many times are we the same way? We have a great need from God and we pray for a miraculous moment. We need direction so we pray for divine revelation. We don’t know where to turn so we pray for divine intervention. We are often looking for big moments from our great God.

Could it be that more often God is looking for us to do something seemingly insignificant? I believe the insignificant done consistently will transform your life more than any big moment ever could. Consistent prayer and time studying God’s Word will change your life. the reason we struggle to be consistent is that we want instant results. We want to have some huge emotional experience. We want to suddenly have that lightning bolt of revelation. Those moments may come, but rarely do they come right away. True passion of pursuit is displayed over time.

This principle is the same reason many give up on their new year’s resolution to get in shape. We expect a few hard workouts at the beginning of the year to have unreal results and after a few weeks of being sore, seeing no results, we lose motivation. Physical growth and spiritual growth are not so different. It’s the consistent who see results.

I challenge you today the same way I challenge myself. Where have I become inconsistent in my daily pursuit? How often have I prayed this past week? How often did I engage in God’s Word? I believe “How often” is more important than “how long”. Start small and consistent. You can increase the length as you become more consistent.

I don’t know what you are looking for in your walk with God, what you great need is, but I am confident God can and will meet that need. Just don’t give up. Keep praying. Keep investing in your relationship with God. Keep studying His Word. Life change is not found in the big memorable moment, but rather the small everyday decision to pursue Jesus.


 

Hey, thanks for reading today’s post! I briefly talk about this concept in my latest youtube video breaking down the lyrics to my favorite song, “One” by sleeping at last. This video is also the first I’ve posted that really hits the tone and vibe I’m hoping to create on my channel. If you have a few minutes, check it out. If you find value in the video then like, comment, and subscribe- every little bit counts. Thank you guys!

Living What We Learn

If I believe what Jesus did then I will certainly do what He says. That was the thought process behind a series I recently did with our students on the teachings of Jesus. There is something so powerful and fundamental about really focusing on His teachings with the intention of applying it to our lives. Not just hearing His words, but living them.

After all, that is the difference between the wise man and the foolish man in Matthew chapter 7. (I actually recorded a sermon on this at home last month, I’ll post at the end if you want to watch it.) Both men heard the teachings of Jesus, both men built houses- or if we drop the metaphor built their lives with ever decision they made. We’re no different. We hear God’s instruction through preaching, our devotions, podcasts, blogs (thanks for reading), and more. We make decisions every day about how we will spend our time, who we will spend it with, what thoughts we will dwell upon and those decisions determine the strength of or foundation.

I’m sure, like the two men in Jesus’ story, our houses all look great. Then the storm comes and it always reveals how strong our foundation is. If we, like the wise man, have intentionally applied and lived the teachings of Jesus then our foundation is strong and the storm does not have power over us. If we are more like the foolish man and neglected to let the teachings of Jesus transform the way we live, talk and love then we find ourselves with a crumbling foundation and begin scrambling, calling out to God trying to repair it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be scrambling trying to fix my roof in the middle of a hurricane or a blizzard. I’d much rather make repairs before the storm hits. Ok, I would hire someone to make those repairs, but I can’t hire someone to fix my life. That responsibility lies with myself. Except I’m no more capable to fix my life than my roof, so I must surrender to Jesus and follow His path instead of my own.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about knowledge in the church. In my denomination, there has been a history of biblical illiteracy, valuing spiritual experience over scriptural understanding, but that is starting to change. I hope that we all continue to pursue greater knowledge of God’s great Word. However, let us be careful not to chase knowledge for the sake of knowledge. As we spend time daily in God’s Word, I pray our goal is not just to learn about God, but to let that knowledge empower us to live for God.

Psalm 86:11-13 (NLT)Teach me your ways, O Lordthat I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. 12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, 13 for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death

I love that it says, “teach me…that I may live.” If our knowledge doesn’t inform the way we live then it is completely useless, and it shows we are fools. The wise receive knowledge and live better because of it. My prayer today is that we would grow in the wisdom of God. Live by the instructions Jesus gave to us and truly be people who build the Kingdom of God.


 

If you enjoyed this blog post, then you might enjoy the message I preached last month, check it out on my youtube channel Chris E Lewis.

A Friendly Warning | New Devotions Coming Soon

I’m excited to let you know that on Sunday I will begin posting devotions again. I recently added writing back to my morning routine, because I realized it’s good for me. Devotions will be published on Sundays and Thursdays at 5:00 pm, and I’ve already written the ten posts that you’ll read during the month of August, so it’s only fair that I give you an idea of what you can expect.

Well, perhaps it’s more of a warning. Most of my content will be devotional content similar to what I’ve posted in the past. However, some of it will contain tint of challenge and underlying frustration. The reason is, well, I’ve been frustrated. A lot has happened in our world recent times and it hasn’t exactly brought out the best in everyone. Apart from that I’ve been shaken, challenged, and grown a lot in the past few years. I have a lot of thoughts that I feel like I haven’t been able to freely express.

Why? Well, honestly because as I’ve grown and challenged my thinking it’s clear that I have some beliefs that challenge the conservative Christian narrative. Now let me be clear, I am a conservative Christian. None of what I am talking about violates scripture or the core principles I’ve held most of my life. However, it definitely has challenged my approach to listening and learning. I’m at a place where I want to be challenged, because without resistance there can’t be growth. As a result of striving to really understand all sides of issues, I definitely think differently about things than many others in my circle. I’m ok with that, but it’s I don’t expect everyone in my circle to be.

Still, there are some things that I have to say. I will make my best effort to say it with grace and be as balanced and clear as I can. For a long time, I have felt like I’m only allowed to talk about political perspectives that the majority of Christian churches agree with even though I’m not convinced scripture does. The one thing I am most frustrated with is that we (and this isn’t exclusive to Christians, it might just be a natural human trait) have an incredible ability to judge differing opinions without understanding what is being said.

Romans 12:16-18 (NLT) Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

A friend of mine was having a theological debate not too long ago, but they couldn’t get anywhere. She was telling me about the theological her friend was trying to discredit and I was super confused. The idea he was fighting against wasn’t something the she nor anyone I know actually believes. My response was simply this. “So, they’re making up what you believe and arguing against it?”

“Yep.”

This is something I have seen in many disagreements in differing political and theological stances. We make assumptions about what they believe and we fight against it with all we have, never really knowing or understanding what they really believe. The conversations goes nowhere, but offenses have been created.

We also have a nasty habit of only paying attention to information, facts, and data that line up with the narrative we believe. When something goes against our belief, then we either dismiss, discredit, or distort it. We ignore it, call it false, or twist it to fit our narrative instead. It’s ok to disagree and have differing opinions, but until we learn to have honest discourse, where we can recognize opposing views as legitimate, we will only continue to create division in not only our country but our churches as well.

My heart is to see a unified body of Christ building His Kingdom. In a lot of ways, the church is becoming more unified than it has been in recent years. Some denominational boundaries are becoming less important. People are recognizing that we can learn from each other. However, as some things improve it makes the areas where things are stuck, or even moving backward, that much clearer.

Again, most of my content will still be devotional in nature. My primary objective is still to challenge us all to daily pursue Jesus, developing a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. However, out of that relationship with Jesus, the way we interact with the world will change. It is my hope that we can show the world the love of God and maybe that starts with the way we talk to each other. If the world looks at the church and can only see our divisions, our crazy, our hatred (perceived or not) then it serves to show we have some work to do.

Honestly, at the end of the day maybe what I have to say isn’t even that controversial. What I do know is that I needed to write and it has been incredibly freeing for me to do so. If you feel inclined to read, thank you for doing so. All I ask is that you are patient with me. If I post something that you disagree with, disagree well. Respond respectfully and make every effort to respond to what I say, rather than assumptions about what I said. I’ll do the same.


Thanks so much for reading! I also just launched my youtube account TODAY where I will discuss movies, music, and life. I am hoping to create a community of hope and positivity as I discuss things I’m interested in. If you’d like to support it and check it out the link is youtube.com/chriselewis. I’ll also drop my channel trailer below. Every like, view, comment, and subscribe is a huge help.

The Transformation | Secret Room 05

The secret place within us is where we hide things in order to protect ourselves, however, it really becomes a prison. A place of fear. We live out of shame. We fear it will be discovered. When we become vulnerable and allow God to take residence in our sceret place He transforms it from a place of fear to a place of freedom. From the place you are scared will be discovered to the place you know there is true healing, mercy, and protection. Suddenly the place we are so ashamed of, the place we retreat to becomes our source of strength, the place we live out of.

I was just talking with Yvonne, our worship pastor, this week about how God wants to make his home in our secret place, where we want to hide everything and I said, ”God wants to live in our mess and transform us.” She said something along the lines of, “Yes, if we’re willing to sit still and let Him.”

I immediately had an image in my head of sitting perfectly still, in a time of prayer, resting in His presence. Inside the secret place within, Jesus was walking around inside the hidden room with all my junk and it was all packed in boxes, the stuff I don’t even want to deal with, the stuff I don’t want to unpack. As I sat in His presence. He slowly opened one of the boxes and began to take out its contents and He asked, “What about this?”

Of course, it’s Jesus and His words are so full of love that tears fill my eyes. It was almost as if He was wondering why it was hidden? I feel like this maybe this is an image of what it looks like to let Jesus take the things we’re ashamed of and give it a new purpose. That’s what He does. When we try to deal with our own junk, we want to hide it, throw it away, pack it in boxes, while Jesus wants to transform it from something to hide into something that has value. 

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Has there been a time in your life where God has used your weakness or flaws?
  2. How about a time when God has used the flaws of others to speak to you?

PRAY: Lord, transform my shame into strength. Demonstrate Your strength in my weakness.

SCRIPTURE READING:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NLT) To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Revelation 3:18-20 (NLT) So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

Psalm 119:1-16 (NLT)

Joyful are people of integrity,
    who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey his laws
    and search for him with all their hearts.
They do not compromise with evil,
    and they walk only in his paths.
You have charged us
    to keep your commandments carefully.
Oh, that my actions would consistently
    reflect your decrees!
Then I will not be ashamed
    when I compare my life with your commands.
As I learn your righteous regulations,
    I will thank you by living as I should!
I will obey your decrees.
    Please don’t give up on me!

How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
10 I have tried hard to find you—
    don’t let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 I have recited aloud
    all the regulations you have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in your laws
    as much as in riches.
15 I will study your commandments
    and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees
    and not forget your word.

 

The Invitation | Secret Room 04

By this point, most of us have a few things written down that we hide in our hidden room. Maybe we are ready to deal with it, but that brings us to the ever-important question of how? There is a reason we hide this stuff, right? If I let people in they would judge me, hate me, make fun of me. They might. I believe it is important to let people in, but it’s equally important to let the RIGHT PEOPLE in. When we come to our parents, pastors, leaders, and Christian friends more often than not we don’t receive condemnation but encouragement, love, and the help we need.

Then, of course, there is God. We know that He already knows everything, but our minds still play the game. What if God found out? He would judge me, and sentence me to hell for sure. However, when we pause a realize He already knows we can acknowledge that at this point, He hasn’t done any of that. He is patiently waiting, giving us the chance to make things right, to humbly come to Him and offer Him our lives. When we let God into our hidden room we don’t find Judgement. We find that He loves us, forgives us, cleanses us, heals us, strengthens us, and encourages us, 

Growing up, so often I would think of the “secret place” as something I had to create. ‘Secret place” is a term sometimes used to describe the place where we meet God. I figured I had to obtain it, or get to it. Now, I’m realizing we all have a secret place within us, where we hide everything. My goal isn’t to journey to where God is, but to invite Him into my secret place and allow Him to make His home right here among my mess. When I invite God into my hidden room, He can forgive our sins, heal our hurts and give purpose to our past. In the secret place, He shapes us, teaches us and leads us.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Why do you think it is so hard to turn everything over to God?
  2. Think of one to three people you can trust, write their names down.
  3. Make plans to talk with one person about some of the stuff you hide.

PRAY: Lord, I invite You into my hidden room. Make Your home in me and carry the weight I cannot bear alone.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Matthew 6:1-13 (NLT) Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, [into your inner room, or closet] shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
    as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,[a]
12 and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b]
    but rescue us from the evil one.[c]

Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

 

The Things We Hide | Secret Room 03

When is the last time you took some time to really look within and ask what’s there? Today I want you to take a look at what may be hidden away. Some things are obvious and come to mind immediately, but some things may be a bit more subtle and take a little more soul searching. I will list a few things that come to my mind, this is not an exhaustive list, but maybe enough to get your mind working to help you get started.

Sin. When we have sin in our lives, we certainly don’t want anyone to see it! We cover it up, sometimes lying and manipulating situations in order to make sure our sin is never found out. However, the sin in our lives will always come out. Maybe not directly and not right away, but it will always affect those around us, damage ourselves and put barriers between us and God.

Hurt. We want to be seen as strong and we certainly don’t want anyone to know when we are hurt, especially not the person who hurt us. We’re not weak, so we put on a brave face and hide it all. However, it is still chipping away at our strength, fueling fear that it will happen again.

Depression. Certainly can’t have anyone knowing what we really feel, or don’t feel. Walking around in a fog, as if you aren’t even there, you wonder where you are. You put on your best impression of yourself and no one ever has to know.

Anxiety. No matter what your mind won’t shut off. Sleep seems far away and eventually, your mood plummets and your friendships begin to become affected by your attitude. We want to hide it for protection, not realizing that the strongest thing we can do is seek help.

Insecurities & Insufficiencies. The certainty that we aren’t enough, that everyone is looking at the pimple on our face. We aren’t smart enough, cool enough, talented enough, but we’ll never show it. We’ll try to show everyone how capable we are, even though we feel completely worthless.

Our past. Some of us have terrible things from months or years ago hidden in our room, locked tight. We don’t even go in there. It’s better to forget. However, even when we are not conscious of it our minds never forget and it’s still burrowing under the surface, affecting our lives.

Our dreams. For some God has planted great dreams within us, we want to accomplish something, but we are afraid if anyone knows they will take it away, tell us we could never do it, or that our dreams are just dumb.

Maybe what is hidden in your room is something I haven’t said, but it’s on your mind right now. I believe that is not a coincidence, but God bringing it to the surface so you can deal with it, even though so often that’s exactly what we don’t want to do.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Did todays reading bring anything else to mind that you try and hide?
  2. Are you going to keep hiding them or are you ready to move toward healing and freedom?

PRAY: God, You are bigger than the things I hide. Nothing surprises You. Remind me that You love me and give me the courage to stop hiding and to surrender these things to You so I may walk in freedom and healing.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Ephesians 5:1-14 (NLT) Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    rise up from the dead,
    and Christ will give you light.”

Psalm 34 (NLT)

I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
    for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
    but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
    and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
    that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
    his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
    he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
    but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
    not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
    No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

 

The Room Inside | Secret Room 02

We’ve all done it. We have company coming over and our room is a mess. We can’t let people see how we really live so make an effort to clean up all the strewn clothes and random junk that normally lies all over our floors and dressers. To clean it properly would take way too long, so we gather everything up in pile and place it in the closet and close the door. Spotless. Couldn’t be cleaner to the casual observer, but if you go a little deeper it’s still a mess.

All the things you had hidden away that you didn’t want people to see are still sitting there, in the heart of your room. That’s exactly what we do with all the things we don’t want anyone else to see in our lives. We hide it all in the hidden room in our heart. In this secret place, we put hurts, sins, fears, shame, doubt, weakness. Then we try to forget about them, but they’re still there, pulsing in the center of our souls, seeping into our lives in ways we could never anticipate. We live in fear of our secret room being discovered so when one of its residents tries to escape, we push it down farther.

We don’t anyone to see what’s hidden there. Not our family, our friends, certainly not God. We don’t even venture a peek, easier to forget it’s even there. However, these things don’t disappear and we can’t ignore them. We have to take a look inside our secret room and see what’s there.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Look at the list you made yesterday. How have the things you try to hide still managed to affect your life?
  2. Why do you think we would rather hide things than seek help?

PRAY: Lord, show me how the things I hide don’t stay hidden. Give me the courage to seek help and give me wisdom for where to seek it from.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

1 Peter 3:3-4 (MSG) What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.

Jeremiah 29:12-13 (MSG) “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

Psalm 51:10 (NLT) Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Matthew 12:34b (TPT) How can your words be good and trustworthy if you are rotten within? For what has been stored up in your hearts will be heard in the overflow of your words!

 

The Cover Up | Secret Room 01

The fight was over quickly. Was it a fight? What do you call one guy pummeling another guy face with his fists? It doesn’t matter since fighting is what it said on the signed confession he carried home from school. He had to get a parent signature. Or does he? The idea grew in his mind until it overcame him. The forgery looked like the real thing and the teacher never knew the difference. Well, until a week later when the teacher discovered a scrap sheet of paper he had been practicing on. Rookie mistake, leaving evidence behind like that. If only he hadn’t tried to hide the fight from his parents.

We know hiding things to try to get out of trouble rarely works, but we still try it! It started in the beginning with the first man and the first woman. They ate the forbidden fruit and then tried to hide from God. As if God wouldn’t notice the only two people on the planet were missing. Nice try guys.

We are still doing that though, we instinctively try to hide whatever it is we’re ashamed of. We want to cover up our sin, our hurts, our doubt. We pretend to be braver than we are, we hide our fear. We pretend to have it all together, cause everyone else seems to have it all together, but really we’re falling apart. We don’t want to show our faults and weaknesses so we hide them. We think we’re finding protection, but really we’re finding imprisonment. By hiding our faults, wrongs or hurts we are ensuring that they will stick around, poisoning our lives and locking us in a prison of fear we will be found out.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. What are some of the things you try to hide outside of the eyes of your friends, family or God?
  2. Have you ever tried to cover something up and then been caught? What do you think would have happened if you just came clean?

PRAY: Lord, reveal the things I hide and give me the courage to not run from them, but to face them.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Proverbs 28:13 (TPT) If you cover up your sin you’ll never do well.
But if you confess your sins and forsake them,
you will be kissed by mercy.

1 John 1:5-10 (NLT) This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

1 John 2:1-6 (NLT) My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.