boyradd

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Archive for the tag “Broken”

Faced with Frailty

Getting older sucks.

There is no way around that, we all get older and we our bodies, minds, and emotions start to break down.

1 Peter 1:24 – For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls

Now, please keep in mind, I am fairly healthy. But as I have gotten older, I have started having more and more issues.  And I don’t exactly keep myself in the best of shape. I don’t exercise other than walk the dog around the neighborhood a couple times a day. If you cut me I will bleed chocolate and marshmallow fluff. Watching my calories involves reducing the number of Oreos that I eat from 8 to 4.

Today as I went to the doctor, he told me that I have something on my leg that he wants to remove and send to pathology for testing.

Without making this sound dramatic, in a brief moment I realized just how fragile this life is. I had every negative thought running through my head in that single moment. All the “what-if” questions hit me. It didn’t help that as I was sitting in the doctor’s office there was a single publication to read and the title of it was “Living with Cancer.”

Now before I go on, please note that I have nothing more than a single lump on my leg that is getting cut off in a few weeks. Nothing more.

But when the doctor says those words about being a possibility, you begin to realize how fragile and frail the human condition is.

Job 14:1 – “Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil.

The then I think about the apostle Paul.

In Philippians 4 he talks about being content in all circumstance. In Galatians 4 he talks about his physical illness. In 2 Corinthians 12 he mentions his “thorn in the flesh.”

Paul was a broken man.

But humanity is broken by design.

I have heard many people say that we weren’t meant to be broken, but it was because of the sin that entered from Adam and Eve that we became broken. And there are definitely scriptures to support that, because of the Fall, we were broken.

But I believe we were broken before that, we just didn’t realize it yet.

How could sin enter into Adam and Eve unless they had a broken nature to them? If they did not have a nature that was susceptible to sin and brokenness then why did God have to give instruction to them? He could have just let them go on their own without the instructions.

But brokenness needs to be part of our condition by design.

We are never more human than in our brokenness.

Think about it, when you are doing well at something do you believe you need God? Do you truly put God first when things are going well? Maybe for the few “super-spiritual” people who we see as the Marvel superheroes of Christianity, but for the average run of the mill Christian, we forget God too easily.

We succeed and believe that our success is due strictly to ourselves. We grow and we credit ourselves for the growth.

We are a proud bunch of people.

Psalm 49:12 – But man in his pomp will not endure; He is like the beasts that perish.

But brokenness shows us that we are not God.

When we are hit with illness, we realize that we cannot do it alone. When our bank account reaches zero and the bills are piling up, we realize that we cannot dig ourselves out of the hole we created. When we anger our friends on Facebook we realize just how lonely we are when given to our own devices.

We need our brokenness.

It reminds us that we need someone who is much bigger than us. It reminds of us of our Creator and that we require a Creator to create us. It reminds us that we are simply clay pots in the potter’s hands.

Without brokenness we become a people that is proud of our own accomplishments. We turn inward focused. We desire ourselves and our own flesh and, eventually, our self-centered nature leads us to not just forget God, but others.

That is why brokenness is built into our humanity.

Without it we wouldn’t look out for our brethren.

God has always been about loving Him and loving others.

We can’t love others unless we know how to love Him.

That is why we wants us to love Him. It teaches us to love others.

Brokenness reminds us of that.

So, as I write this, and get out of my own head and refocus my attention on God and the grace He has poured on me, I realize my humanity and the brokenness I have. I realize the frailty of my body. I realize the strength I have in an eternal God.

And I thank God for the brokenness.

A lesson in living. A lesson in loving. And a lesson in being human.

Psalm 39:4 – “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered–how fleeting my life is.

Broken in the Wrong Way

Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I am a gamer.

Lately, my game of choice has been Fortnite Battle Royale. The battle royale style of gaming allows you to drop into a map with 100 other people and play a new twist on the king of the hill game.

You start out in what they call the “Battle Bus” which is flying above the map. You jump out and, through the use of a glider (or victory parasol if you have won matches like myself), you drop down into the map. One of the most popular strategies is to drop on top of a house or building and then use your pickaxe to break through the roof into the attic where there is usually a golden chest with some great loot.

If you pick the wrong place on the roof you could break through and drop not into the attic, but through a hole into the next level of the house. You then have to take the time and build a ramp to get back up to the attic, leaving yourself vulnerable to other people and with weak defenses.

You broke the roof in the wrong way.

The strategy didn’t work well. The plan didn’t go as, well, planned.

Have you ever been through something that broke you?

How did you handle it?

The Bible gives a plan for using our brokenness. If we choose not to follow Biblical instruction then we can find that, like falling through a hole in Fortnite, we are left more vulnerable and defenseless.

Psalm 51:17 – My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

If we decide to listen to our own desires rather than Biblical instruction, we get our hearts hardened, we become bitter, sarcastic, cynical, and, sometimes, proud.

This world sees the broken as without value. Being broken is something we try to avoid. No one wants to ever say that their finances are broken. Having a broken marriage usually means you are steps away from a divorce. Being broken emotionally can lead to depression and anxiety.

But God has a different view of broken things.

God takes pleasure in broken things while the world turns away from them. In fact, God requires that we be broken before He can begin using us. We need to come to the end of ourselves before we can come to Christ.

Brokenness brings you closer to God.

Psalm 51 is a testament to the fact that God uses the broken.

This Psalm was written when Nathan, the prophet, went to him after David had done his business with Bathsheba. For more on what happened, check out 2 Samuel 11-12.

Verses 1-2 start with David desiring true repentance. He had repented of his sin and now he craved the cleansing from his iniquity. This lays the foundation for the rest of the Psalm, a cry out to God to see what true repentance looks like.

In verses 3-4 David admits to us that his sin is “ever before” him. He is saying that his unconfessed sins are not forgiven. He realizes his sins against God and asks to be justified.

Verses 5 and 6 has David telling us theological truth, we are all born into sin. This theme does not go away as you continue to read the Bible. Even in the new Testament Paul is claiming the same truth (check our Romans 5 or 1 Corinthians 15).

David starts talking about hyssop in verses 7-10. Hyssop was a plant that had cleansing properties. This was an illustration to God that he wanted to be cleansed of his sin. He is asking God to regenerate him, which is, according to 2 Timothy 2:25, a work of God.

2 Timothy 2:25 – Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth

David was concerned. He is worried that he committed apostasy, which would have completely removed God’s Holy Spirit from him. He is asking God in verses 11-13 to restore the “joy of his salvation.” So, I don’t believe that David is truly worried that he is no longer saved, but he is worried that he will no longer know the joy of the Holy Spirit. He is asking for that to return. He is also asking God to restore him so that he will be able to teach others not to sin the way he had. Later in the Psalms we see that David’s joy was restored and he also used his opportunities to teach others.

In verses 14-15 David is asking God to forgive the murder that he committed. Along with this, David is not only asking God to forgive him, but to open his lips and mouth to declare His praise.

The true repentance, and example of his brokenness, is found in verses 16-17. David knows that a simple burnt offering or sacrifice will not atone for what he has done. Only his completely crushed and broken spirit can prove that he is repentant. As he continues into verses 18-19, David is not dismissing the sacrifice system that God has created. David is simply saying that before a sacrifice can be acceptable the heart needs to be repentant.

So how are you broken?

Are you broken correctly? Or are you wrong in how you are broken?

If you simply take the brokenness and build to your sin through pride or bitterness then you are wasting the opportunity for Christ to use you.

Using David’s example, we can see what being broken properly looks like and apply it to our lives so that we don’t give superficial sacrifice but have a completely repentant heart to God.

 

Broken

Unless you live a life of perpetual confusion here in America, you know that this upcoming weekend is Christmas. Christmas is a time that many people spend with family and friends. We eat good food (and sometimes bad food that we say is good because of traditions), share gifts, and sing Christmas carols. But this time of year is hard for a lot of people. Because of broken relationships, broken families, or simply broken lives, many are relegated to loneliness, heartbreak, anger, and sadness.

And for me, I have felt very broken this year.

I am not writing this to get the collective pity party “awwww” from my readers. I have a point to all of this. I promise.

This year my business hit a speed bump. That is what I am calling it because speed bumps simply cause us to slow down, not stop. But because of the speed bump, I have had to take a second full-time job. This second job requires a lot of travel, where my business was working out of my home.

Also this year I have had a lot of health problems, almost all of them resulting from blown discs in my lower back. I had surgery in May and just had surgery this week again, resulting in a Christmas that will have me dressed in sweat pants and comfortable clothing, perfect for those big Christmas dinners.

My life isn’t broken, looking at the tough lives of so many other people out there. But it is broken.

And so is yours.

It wasn’t until I was talking to some of the leaders at church that I realized that I was prideful and foolish. When I had surgery back in May I kept much of it to myself. I believed I was the typical guy, can just rebound and I’d be fine. I didn’t need anyone.

But I was wrong.

As I stand before you, I see who I am: a man who needs to confess his pride and foolishness.
Against you only I have sinned,
I’ve done what’s evil in your sight and my heart is crumbling.

  • Altar Boys, “Broken”

This time around I spoke to as many elders and pastors as I could. The result is different. Friends showed up at the hospital to go through this with me. The elders/pastors laid hands on me and prayed. Several people reached out to me afterward to make sure I was ok.

Even though my body is still broken (but healing), being able to go through this with an army behind me that was placed there by God was much more comforting. Sometimes God chooses to reach down and heal us outright. Before you think I am off my rocker, I have seen it first-hand. I’ve seen people healed as we followed Biblical guidelines for healing. Sometimes we need to go through our pain as a consequence of our actions. For me, this second surgery this year is because I didn’t listen to the doctor. Less than a week after surgery in May I was out cutting the grass, building a shed, and hanging a tile splash guard in the kitchen. I wasn’t exactly resting like my doctor told me to do.

Won’t you hear my cry, God?
See this state I’m in,
I know my transgressions are before me, my righteousness is rags,
And my sacrifice to you is this broken heart,
It’s all that I have, it’s all I can give, and it won’t go very far

  • Altar Boys “Broken”

People, have you made some bad choices?

We all have.

And now, I am specifically speaking to Christians. Have you felt that you have let God down? That your righteousness is in rags? That you can’t go another day in this life without a physical intervention from God?

Then Christmas is for you.

Christmas is the perfect definition of grace. God sent His Son to live a sinless life and take the judgment we deserve for our sin. You don’t have to be good before coming to Christ.

Let me repeat that.

You DON’T have to be good before coming to Christ.

Christ did not come to make bad people good.

You are much more important to God than simply making you good.

Christ came to make dead people live.

And I’m broken, broken,
To see myself as I really am: a weak, broken man,
And I’m broken, broken,
Please heal this broken heart today,
Don’t turn it away, no, ‘cause it’s broken.

  • Altar Boys “Broken”

The good comes later. Even if you are already a Christian and have slipped, stumbled, or fallen away. God STILL loves you. Last week’s post on Laodicea proves that!

So just like the doctor takes me in my broken state to help put me back together again, God will take you in your dead state to bring you back to life again. And after you come back to life, you will naturally find your heart changing. You will see your life moving from bad to good. Not because you feel you have to, but because the love you have for God is so immense that you just want to be the best you can be for Him.

It like falling in love with someone. You find yourself doing the things they want because you love them so much.

So remember, when God changes you from dead to alive, you will begin to move from bad to good. And in changing and moving, you will find your brokenness going away.

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