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

JAMES 1

Jas 1:1  James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

  • Hello to all who wander this way.  I haven’t written anything in a while, but tonight James Chapter 1 really grabbed me.

Jas 1:2  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

  • What is a trial, really?  Is it being away from home for two weeks on a business trip? Perhaps not being able to have my favorite latte arequipe because I’m bleaching my teeth? Waking up at 1:30 a.m. and having a hard time getting back to sleep?  I hardly think so, when I look at the trials Paul lists in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28.

Jas 1:3  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

  • I long for steadfastness in my life.  I have spent too long bouncing along, dreaming dreams, but never becoming the husband and father God created me to be.  Lord, I’m not asking for trials, but do whatever it takes to increase my faith!

Jas 1:4  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

  • What might it be like to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing?  In one sense, I really am lacking in nothing – I have food, shelter, clothing, a car, a caring, beautiful wife who loves me, four wonderful children, an excellent job, and much more.  On the other hand, I am far from perfect and complete; I am not holy, as God is holy, set apart completely for Him.  I was listening to a Doug Small message tonight, and he talked about how the Industrial Revolution took men out of the home, and 200 years later we hardly exist in the home.  That’s me!  I live and breathe work, while my family is left effectively fatherless and leaderless! Not that I must quit work – they need to eat – but I must make my relationship with God, and my relationship with Marla, and my relationship with my children become my focus.  If I do that, work will take care of itself, in the right time and the right perspective.

Jas 1:5  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Jas 1:6  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
Jas 1:7  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Jas 1:8  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

  • Wow.  This section hits hard.  I am reminded of the “Lies We Believe” portion of the WIT conferences.  For a long time I would say that one of the lies I have believed is that I am not capable of making a good decision.  Marla has given me a different perspective on some things, however: Mat 5:25  “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.” The idea is that sometimes the enemy tries to bind me up with the truth, to get me to wallow in the prison of self-pity.  However, in my agreement with him (yes, I am rotten at making decisions) I can be set free to seek a solution – God’s wisdom.  My problem is that I still waver.  I don’t have single-minded faith when I ask for God’s wisdom.  I live in the fear that I’m just going to mess up again, and it paralyzes me – I am unstable at work, and at home, and I can only keep up the façade for so long.  Mar 9:24  “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’”

Jas 1:9  Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
Jas 1:10  and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.
Jas 1:11  For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

  • My family and I started reading and praying through Operation World two or three weeks ago.  It lists the average yearly income for various countries, and we read of a couple with that number below $200 yearly.  I am rich beyond imagination for some folks, yet I take it for granted.  I am going to fade away in the midst of all my pursuits if I don’t get the right focus.  My children are growing and soon to be gone.  My wife needs my attention and leadership.  I need to see these riches with humility, as a gift of stewardship from God, a tool not to be taken for granted, not merely a means to gratify my desires and fill me with pleasure.

Jas 1:12  Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

  • Rev 4:10,11  “the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’”
  • I just have to soak that verse in. What kind of crown will I have to cast at the feet of God in worship?

Jas 1:13  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
Jas 1:14  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
Jas 1:15  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

  • My flesh seeks to devour me.
    • Rom 7:17-24  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
  • God is my salvation!
    • Rom 7:25  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
    • Rom 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
    • Tit 3:4-7  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Jas 1:16  Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

  • I know this connects the next verse, but I just have to sit and say, “Amen!” Please don’t fall prey to the deceptions of the Enemy. Satan is roaming the earth looking for brethren to devour.

Jas 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

  • This verse is so sticky sweet that I often miss its power.  I want to dwell on the part about receiving gifts, but miss the part about NO VARIATION.  God is changeless – He will never go back on his nature, we can always trust Him!  Period!

Jas 1:18  Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

  • It is by the very will of God that we exist!  I am not the accidental result of some combination between primordial scum and a bolt of lightning!  Rather, I was spoken into existence by God’s intentional word, just like the rest of creation.  Thank you, Lord, for giving me life!

Jas 1:19  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

  • Hard.  Hard, hard, hard.  Very hard, but oh! so fruitful when I am.  My kids know me as quick to anger, quick to speak, and they hardly bother coming to me any more. What a condemnation! Lord, change me!

Jas 1:20  for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

  • Exactly. Point taken.

Jas 1:21  Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

  • This is the concept of “put off” that I have heard so often.  I am still putting off, and it seems like it will never end, but I know that God is faithfully at work in my heart and mind to will and to do His good pleasure.

Jas 1:22  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

  • “Put on”.  It’s what I have to do after I put off, or else I will go nowhere, until I just slide back into the filthy slime.

Jas 1:23  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
Jas 1:24  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

  • Lord, don’t let me ever forget! Break my pride!

Jas 1:25  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

  • The law of liberty.  Not freedom to do whatever I feel like – it is not the “freedom in Christ” I have heard so often through the years that “allows” me to get drunk, or look at pornography, or live in slothfulness because now I am set free from the Law.  No, this liberty is the perfect law, the law of loving God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and doing my utmost to do His will until the day I die.

Jas 1:26  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

  • I have lived the outwardly religious life while filled with death and corruption hidden within.  It was a miserable life, and I thank God for setting me free!

Jas 1:27  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

  • What a picture, along with a responsibility.  I can’t afford to miss that “keep oneself unstained” at the end.  I have no part in my salvation – God has given me salvation as a free gift by His grace. However, as part of my Christian life, my sanctification, I am responsible to cognizantly seek to live a pure, holy, unsullied life through the power of the Holy Spirit living within me.  I must choose to serve God, not my flesh, not the world around me, not the whisperings of the one who tempted Adam and Eve into bringing death and destruction into this world.

Well, that’s a long dissertation, but I needed to write it down more for my own sake, to see it in print, to remind myself again and again as I revisit this post in the years to come.

May God’s grace and peace be with you all!

– George

1 JOHN 3

Here is a good reminder from God’s word:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

Especially:

And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:1-10 ESV)

Do not despair when you fall into sin! Confess your sin to God, make things right with those you’ve offended, receive God’s forgiveness, and get right back in the battle.

However, if you live in sin, without really trying to get out or change, you’d better take a hard look at your heart, and decide if you’re really going to follow God.

Practice righteousness! Work out your salvation in fear and trembling – not working to earn your salvation, but once saved you have a lifetime of working toward sanctification, of becoming more like Christ.

Keep the faith!

COLOSSIANS 3

I read this passage again several times today. It has had a big impact on my life, so I thought I’d share…

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. (Colossians 3:1-25 ESV)