THIS IS NOT BROKENNESS

Psalm 36:1-4 (HCSB)
1 An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked person: There is no dread of God before his eyes,
2  for in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to discover and hate his sin.
3 The words of his mouth are malicious and deceptive; he has stopped acting wisely and doing good.
4 Even on his bed he makes malicious plans. He sets himself on a path that is not good and does not reject evil.

This passage is key in my own journey toward Christian brokenness. Not only have I had to discover my sin by admitting it is sin (masturbation, gluttony, misuse of money, deceitfulness), but I also have to learn to hate my sin. Until I have done both of those things, I cannot break free from bondage to my sin, and I cannot set my family free from the effects my sin brings into the home.

I cannot lie – I still have areas where I have not learned to fully hate my sin. I don’t hate gluttony enough. I don’t hate my lifestyle of living in debt enough to pursue being debt-free with gazelle-like intensity (Proverbs 6:5). I am still malicious and deceptive in my speech, even though I try very hard not to be. It takes a long time to change habits that developed over 40 years.

The main point is, I can’t give up! At least, not if I still claim to be a Christian, seeking after God, becoming more like Jesus each day.

It is not easy, but you can do it! I can do it! By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, and the Blood of the Lamb! Openness and Brokenness! For God’s glory!

And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death. – Revelation 12:11

Under His Blood,

George

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PROVERBS 5

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen closely to my understanding so that you may maintain discretion and your lips safeguard knowledge.
Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her words are smoother than oil, in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death; her steps head straight for Sheol.
She doesn’t consider the path of life; she doesn’t know that her ways are unstable.
So now, my sons, listen to me, and don’t turn away from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her. Don’t go near the door of her house.
Otherwise, you will give up your vitality to others and your years to someone cruel; strangers will drain your resources, and your earnings will end up in a foreigner’s house.
At the end of your life, you will lament when your physical body has been consumed, and you will say, “How I hated discipline, and how my heart despised correction. I didn’t obey my teachers or listen closely to my mentors. I am on the verge of complete ruin before the entire community.”
Drink water from your own cistern, water flowing from your own well.
Should your springs flow in the streets, streams of water in the public squares?
They should be for you alone and not for you to share with strangers.
Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful fawn — let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever.
Why, my son, would you be infatuated with a forbidden woman or embrace the breast of a stranger?
For a man’s ways are before the Lord ’s eyes, and He considers all his paths.
A wicked man’s iniquities entrap him; he is entangled in the ropes of his own sin.
He will die because there is no discipline, and be lost because of his great stupidity. (Proverbs 5:1-23 HCSB)

BROKENNESS VS. SELFISHNESS

I am selfish, self-centered, self-sufficient, and lazy. None of these character qualities lends itself to brokenness. It is always amazing to me that my wife continues to stand by me, continues to love me, continues to forgive me!

It is all too easy for me to take my eyes off myself and start thinking, “Why am I always the one who has to be wrong? It seems like I am doing all of the apologizing. I thought this relationship was supposed to be equal participation, both giving 100 percent!” Then come the whisperings of our one true enemy, Satan…”You know she doesn’t really love you. She just wants you to fulfill her every desire – you’ll never be good enough.”

Is it really true? Are we both supposed to give 100 percent? Yes! However, is my behavior predicated on my wife doing her part, and am I relieved of my responsibility if my carnal flesh says she doesn’t? Not if I truly love God and love my wife like Christ loves the Church! (Note that I know my wife loves me and honors me, and that she fully gives 100 percent to our marriage. I am the one giving less, and the log in my own eye is what I see projected onto her)

Ephesians 5:28-33 (HCSB)
28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,
30 since we are members of His body.
31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.
33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

When I really think about it, I have to look at Jesus Christ during the hours before His crucifixion. He was beaten, the flesh ripped off his bones, ridiculed, vilified, and hung on a cross. At any point during He could have looked around and said, “Forget it! If you’re not going to love me and treat me with respect, I’m not going through with it! You can figure out how to appease God’s wrath on your own, you ungrateful wretches!”

Jesus didn’t give up on His bride. Instead:

Romans 5:6-11 (HCSB)
6 For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die.
8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.
10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, ⌊then how⌋ much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!
11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.

Praise God! How can I, who profess to be a Christian (a “little Christ”), strive to do any less? I am weak, and sinful, and overly ruled by my flesh, but I also have the unlimited power of God’s Holy Spirit living in me! Halleluiah!

So, brothers, never give up the fight. Don’t sit there, staring into your navel, wishing things were better or different. Get up and fight! Love with all God’s strength! Unite with your wife against your common enemy! God will be glorified if you do!

Peace,

George

NANCY LEIGH DeMOSS ON BROKENNESS

Here is a great section on Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ website

“Brokenness is perhaps a word that you’re not very familiar with – but know that brokenness is very near to the heart of God. “True brokenness” says Nancy, “is an ongoing constant way of life. Brokenness is the shattering of my self-will, and the absolute surrender of my will to the will of God” (Brokenness, pg. 53). Pride, so often, is the opposite reflection of brokenness.”

Truth. Lots of it.

George

BROKENNESS IS…TRUSTING GOD

These verses gave me a lot of comfort today:

In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore, for Your name’s sake, Lead me and guide me. Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. (Psalms 31:1-5 NKJV)

I was reminded that a huge part of brokenness, choosing to obey God’s will rather than my own will, is trusting Him!

May you be encouraged, as I am,

George

BE CONTENT

Philippians 4:10-14 (HCSB)
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity ⌊to show it⌋.
11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret ⌊of being content⌋—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.
13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

It has taken me a couple of months to work up to writing this post. I don’t like to admit how far I still have to go…

So, two months ago or so I had to confess to my wife that I had committed adultery against her by stealing a glance at a woman to check her out. You might say, “What’s the big deal?” The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart before I stole the look and told me not to do it. Then He spoke to me again after, driving home that it was adultery – lusting after a woman in my heart, no matter how briefly.

I confessed to my wife, and she forgave me, much to my relief (Satan had been trying to convince me that it would be the last straw in destroying our marriage). However, she also looked me in the eye and said, “You’re discontent.”

That rocked me back a bit. It shed a new light on the verses above; contentment goes beyond food and money and station in life. It also has to do with delighting in the wife of my youth, and lust, and pornography, and gluttony, and every aspect of my life. When I confessed the adultery to my wife, I was telling her that she is insufficient, that she does not measure up – that I am not content with the wife God gave me. That is huge!

Not long after I was in a group of men, and someone brought up one of the sayings I’ve heard too often. Talking about pornography and his wife, he said something along the lines of, “I told my wife, it’s not about her…” I think someone else agreed, and then I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I was compelled to say something like, “You’re wrong – it is all about her. You’re discontent!” and proceeded to share my recent failure and what my wife said.

It was not something anyone wanted to hear, but we all need to hear anyhow. It is imperative to admit (to ourselves and to God) that when we look at pornography, or other women, or fantasize, or masturbate, we are telling our wives very clearly that they are not good enough, that we want something/someone else. Then we stand back in disbelief that our wives take it so personally…”But, honey, it’s not about you – it’s about my own sin…” Right. Do you seriously believe that drivel?

Discontentment is rejection of God’s provision, a lack of gratefulness! I was struck a few days ago by:

Romans 1:18-23 (HCSB)
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth,
19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.
20 For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.
21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.

Did you catch what I never saw before? God’s wrath comes against not just those godless, unrighteous people who suppress the truth and refuse to glorify Him…it is also because they do not show gratitude! That is the very opposite of being content! I am right there in the same passage, by all rights, when I fail to be content with the food on my plate, the money in my pocket, the wife of my youth – whatever He has given me that I set aside to seek for…more.

I hope you take some time to take inventory of your own life. Are you content? Or, are you like me, and inviting the wrath of God with my lack of gratitude? Wake up, and smell the coffee.

In Christ,

George

DOUG SMALL on EPHESIANS 5

Over the last couple of days I have been watching two presentations by Doug Small.  I think they are the best expositions of Ephesians 5 that I have ever heard!

Ten Characteristics of a Godly Husband—Part 1

and

Ten Characteristics of a Godly Husband—Part 2

If you don’t have a subscription to Embassy Institute, it is only $9.00 for a month – hardly more than Netflix, and the content is much more edifying.

The second video includes a definition of πορνεια (fornication) that made me take a step back and see myself in a new light – it nailed me, spot on, as seeing people merely as objects.  I’ve known that to be a big problem with me, but not in the context of fornication.

Husbands, this is a must-see!  If you are already living out the ten characteristics he expounds, God bless you!  As Doug Small says (tongue in cheek), he hopes that before she dies his wife is married to a Christian, and that it doesn’t take his own death to make that happen (they’ve been married almost 40 years).

Young men, this is a must see! If you ever hope to be married, you need these godly, Christ-like characteristics governing your life now, not waiting until 20-plus years into marriage and it’s your last hope of saving the relationship.

Divorced men, this is a must-see!  It will open your eyes to understand how it wasn’t all her fault. If the opportunity is still there, and you really develop these characteristics, you can win her back – it’s not too late!

While you have a subscription, take a look at Chris and Anne Hogan’s How to Rekindle the Love in Your Marriage.  It is impactful!

The grace of God and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

– George