Slave to Bride

From slave to bride
I am bought with a price.
No longer nameless.
No longer without a family.

From servant to princess.
I have an inheritance without measure.
No longer without power.
No longer without authority.

From trespasser to priest.
Love without ceasing.
No longer without access.
No longer without intimacy.

This is destiny.
This is fate.
Take it by force.
Or be overtaken.

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Rest

In the beginning of Batman vs. Superman, Lois Lane is being held by a group of militants. When the base is attacked, a militant grabs her in a headlock and puts a gun to her head. It is at that moment that Superman appears.

She looks into his eyes and does something amazing. With a nod and a smile, she lets go of the militant. The militant who has a gun to her head. And who has a death grip on her. She lets go!

Why? Because Superman can’t take him out while she’s still attached to him. If she held on, she would have been dragged with him or otherwise hurt.
I’ve been wrestling myself lately. I’ve been wrestling with extreme emotions and suicidal thoughts. I’ve been crying constantly. I feel like I’m in a death grip myself with depression. And it wants to end this battle shortly.

I popped this movie in the other day and this scene grabbed me. It’s a departure from the classic damsel in distress narrative. Most of the time, the “damsel” is portrayed as a panicky waif. She is no more than set dressing to tell the hero’s story or to show his strength. In real life, these damsels actually hinder any efforts to save them through their panic.

Watching this scene, I was reminded of Jesus’ words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28, 30) In the new DC cinematic universe, Lois Lane knows full well who Superman is and has a relationship with him. She trusts him. Lois Lane is no longer a panicky waif. It’s no longer “fight or flight”. She has a third option and that is rest. We tend to think of rest as a passive action. We see here that it is much the opposite. It is a conscious decision to let go in spite of the fear, in spite of the anger, anxiety, and depression that you feel.

It also means no longer identifying with those things. By letting go, she is saying that this battle is already over. She is saying that these things have no control over her.

Just as in real life, this doesn’t mean that trouble doesn’t exist or won’t find you. It just means you now have a third option for dealing with these things.

So This Is Love

So this is love,
So this is love.
So this is what makes life divine.
I’m all aglow,
And now I know
The key to all heaven is mine.
My heart has wings,
And I can fly.
I’ll touch ev’ry star in the sky.
So this is the miracle that I’ve been dreaming of.
So this is love.

I love this short little song from Disney’s Cinderella.  There is so much truth packed into it.  God, as Love, invades our lives and transforms them.  We now have access to the highest of the Heavens.  We have access to his riches and his grace.

Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

I’m waking up to ash and dust

I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I’m breathing in the chemicalsI’m breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse
Whoa

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive

I raise my flags, don my clothes
It’s a revolution, I suppose
We’ll paint it red to fit right in
Whoa

I’m breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse
Whoa

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive

All systems go, the sun hasn’t died
Deep in my bones, straight from inside

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive

I love the song.  I love the video even more.

A villianous Lou Diamond Phillips is running a fight club for stuffed animals.  His stuffed animal beats everyone else’s every time.  He’s the champ and will always be the champ.  He’s gruff, he’s rude, and he’s mean.

Nobody can challenge him.  That is, until an unnamed girl walks in with a teddy bear.  This meek and mild teddy bear takes punch after kick after punch until finally he’s knocked out.  He’s dead.  LDP is about to call another victory when the teddy bear stands up and shoots lasers out of it paws.  The lasers wipe out the mean old stuffed monster and several of the onlookers who try to fight him themselves.  In the confusion, the girl takes the key from LDP and he is thrown in the pit with the other stuffed animals.

This reminds me of that old Carmen song where Jesus and Satan are boxing it out.  Jesus is KO’d but rises right before the countdown is finished and KO’s Satan.  It is just like Jesus to use a teenage girl and teddy bear to stop ultimate evil.  I love how, at the very end, the girl takes the key to the pit from LDP’s neck and sets free the prisoners.  Isaiah 61 prophecies this part of Jesus’ ministry, that he would free the prisoners and set the captives free.

Who’s Your Daddy?

One of the main questions that philosophy seeks to answer is, “Where do you come from?” God has been talking to me about my origins these past two weeks and it really tied a lot of things together for me. I’m sure philosophy has some really interesting answers but here’s mine.

The four Gospels were written by four very different men. If you’ve peaked at the first Gospel, Matthew, you’re probably wondered what the deal is with all the “begats”. Well, from what I know about the culture of the day, your origins were very important. They determined what your station in life was and who would listen to you. Both Matthew and Luke, the 3rd Gospel, give a genealogy of Jesus Christ. However, they are different.

Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage back to Abraham. Matthew wanted people to know that Jesus was a Jew and also heir to the throne. Luke, who was a doctor, traced Jesus’ lineage back aaaaallllll the way back to Adam. Luke wanted people to know that Jesus was a human man, the Son of Man. It is believed that Luke’s genealogy traces Mary’s family history because Joseph wasn’t the biological father of Jesus.

What about Mark, the 2nd Gospel? He wanted people to see the suffering servant side of Jesus. Nobody cares about the family history of a servant. So Mark doesn’t bother with a genealogy.

Then that leaves John, the 4th Gospel. At first glance, you’d think that he left out a genealogy as well. You see, John wanted people to know that Jesus was the son of God. Where does God have his origin? In God! Now read the first couple verses:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
John 1:1‭-‬4, emphasis added

John’s genealogy is pretty simple. Jesus came from God. But what else came from God, according to John? We did!!!

If you think you’re a result of your parent’s decision on prom night, you are very mistaken. You’re a result of the conscious direction and will of God. God does not make accidents. You may have even been conceived out of rape but your true origin is in Jesus Christ. That’s far, far greater news.

I was talking with a friend the other day. He’s feeling a lot of condemnation from his family. He’s trying to better himself but his family only sees and remembers the bad. I think sometimes we have to choose which family we’ll follow. Not all the time but sometimes. That doesn’t mean disowning them*, cursing them, or holding onto unforgiveness, it simply means choosing a different path than they showed you.

*Sometimes, going “no-contact” is the only sane and healthy choice with an extremely narcissistic family or family member. It’s never easy so really pray about this option before going through with it. God will give you the grace to handle it.

There’s a proverb that says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

This is all fine and good if your parents or guardians started you off on the right path. A lot of us, however, were not and now we’re seemingly stuck on a dead end road. It is a scientific fact that that our brains grow more in the first few years of life than the rest of our life combined. This is when we need to recognize our origin and possibly switch paths. And God gives us Grace to do it through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37

Again, this is not about disowning family or breaking up families. Far from it! He’s calling us to or true origin. Whose heritage will you identify with? Whose heritage will you manifest? Are you descended from your natural father and mother? Or are you descended from Jesus? Jesus was all about his father in heaven. I’ve posted on this before. When Jesus was tempted, he never said he couldn’t do those things. He refused to do them because His Father had not requested it. The temptation wasn’t all the kingdoms of the world at his disposal, they’re already HIS!!! The temptation of Jesus Christ was to convince Him to do something independent of His Father in Heaven!!!

Just as you have DNA from your parents, you have inherited spiritual DNA from your Heavenly Father. And you are the spitting image of Him!!!! When the Father looks at you, he sees Jesus. You might need a bit of a polish now and then but He sees Himself.

Here’s the issue: Nobody has a problem believing Adam gave sin to all but hardly anyone believes Jesus brought holiness and righteousness to all. Sure, you may have inherited a disease from your parents or a bad personality trait or a predilection to addiction. It’s easy to see what you’ve inherited from your natural family. Almost no one wants to see what they have inherited from their spiritual family.

It’s like that scene in Ever After. Danielle had been secretly meeting Prince Henry for romantic rendezvous’. She had been using her mother’s name because her mother was a noble. Danielle makes it to the ball, only for her stepmother to out her as a servant in front of the prince. Her stepmother literally rips her wings off. Prince Henry, being human, is understandably upset. The same happens in Heaven. Satan continually tries to “out” us as fake. “She’s not really yours. She’s been my servant for 20/30/40 years.” Jesus, however, knows the truth. He says, “No, you’re wrong. She’s been my child since before the beginning of time. She may have glanced your way a time or two but she’s mine.”

So what we need to do is change our identity. In Genesis 17, God makes his covenant with Abram.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty ; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”  Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.” Genesis 17:1‭-‬5, emphasis added

At first, it seems God is giving an impossible command. Walk before me and be blameless. But what happens after that? Abram gets an identity change! He’s no longer Abram but Abraham. Sarai is now Sarah. Both their names get an extra “ha” like a breath of air or even laughter. Air or laughter is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. They now have a name that reflects their origin in God. Now the command is not so impossible. If God is faithful and blameless, then so are we!!!

Such. Good. News!!!!!

Marriage

When talking in church about marriage, I’ve heard all sorts of things. I’ve heard that the other person should be really attractive, they should be debt free, from a stable home, mentally and physically stable, and an innocent virgin (precluding the possibility of a previous marriage or children), among other things.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting those things in a mate. However, most people are lucky to have only one or two of those qualities. A lot of those things exist on a spectrum. Even one’s status as a virgin. Have you watched porn, masturbated? Maybe you’ve had sex but it wasn’t consensual? Or are you completely innocent regarding all things sexual?

What do we set ourselves up for when we make a list of what we want in a mate? A friend of mine said it’s the same objectification that arises from the culture of pornography. Pornography is so powerful because you’re given the perfect partner. He/she is always ready and willing. He/she is always attractive. He/she has your same kinks or fantasies. He/she responds the way you like. It’s a fantasy.

But what happens when people make a list? They also get a fantasy mate. A mate with no previous commitments (such as old debts or children from a previous spouse or partner). They are perfectly sane and rational. They are perfectly loving and know your love language inside and out. They are perfectly sexually compatible. They are attractive. They come from a loving family. They have no physical handicaps.

I don’t think this person exists. And if they did, why would they choose you?  That’s not supposed to be a condemnation. It’s just a fact of life. Who would this perfect person be seeing out? But it sure feels condemning when you’re the one being passed over because you lack one or more of these qualities.

A lot of people get so tied up in a list and have a picture in their head of what their mate will look like that they miss the treasure God has put before them. And God’s treasures are not always easy to see. They are usually hidden in some undesirable exterior.

Endless Glory

A song during worship time in church today contained a line that went something like, “We’ll bring endless glory to the King.” So, in my head, I put the question out there. How do I do this? I felt a little condemned by the lyrics of this song. Seeing as my life feels like a continuous f*ck-up.

Sooooo…..

How do I bring endless glory to the King?

“By being who you are.”

We do it by existing!

We do it by being made in His image!

We do it by being who we are at our core!

We do it by being who we are without lies, guilt, shame, and/or condemnation!

All Of Me Loves All Of You

What would I do without your smart mouth?
Drawing me in, and you kicking me out
You’ve got my head spinning, no kidding, I can’t pin you down.
What’s going on in that beautiful mind?
I’m on your magical mystery ride
And I’m so dizzy, don’t know what hit me, but I’ll be alright.

My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine.
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind.

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you.
Love your curves and all your edges.
All your perfect imperfections.
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you.
You’re my end and my beginning.
Even when I lose I’m winning.
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh oh.

How many times do I have to tell you
Even when you’re crying you’re beautiful too.
The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood.
You’re my downfall, you’re my muse
My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues.
I can’t stop singing, it’s ringing, in my head for you.

My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine.
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind.

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you.
Love your curves and all your edges.
All your perfect imperfections.
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you.
You’re my end and my beginning.
Even when I lose I’m winning.
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh oh.

Give me all of you.
Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts.
Risking it all, though it’s hard.

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you.
Love your curves and all your edges.
All your perfect imperfections.
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you.
You’re my end and my beginning.
Even when I lose I’m winning.
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you.

I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh oh.
_____________________________________

Enough said! It’s a Gospel packed song!

The core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that he gives us all of him. Nothing more, nothing less. The way I read the chorus is, “Give your all to me BECAUSE I give my all to you.” We can’t begin to give him all of us unless he gives us himself first.

I really love the second verse. We have this idea of God as a stoic figure. That he’s very proper and polite.

Gag me.

He is fire and passion and jealousy. He’s the very definition of passion.

We are his distraction. We are his song. As much as we say/sing “Let our life song sing to you!”, we forget that his life’s song sings to us.

Tarzan

“A normal man will do the impossible for the woman he loves. My husband is no normal man.”

From Song of Solomon: “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? Under the apple tree I roused you; there your mother conceived you, there she who was in labor gave you birth.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.”

I was scrolling Facebook the other day when I came across this trailer for the new Tarzan movie. Normally, I don’t watch videos on Facebook but the caption caught my eye. “My husband is no normal man.”

Holy Spirit immediately began to speak to me about Tarzan as a type and shadow of our bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Before a couple days ago, I had never given the story of Tarzan much thought but now I’m going to have to read some of the original stories.

I was meditating on this image of Jesus as Tarzan and here’s what I wrote:

He doesn’t care about your culture.
He doesn’t care about your rules.

He doesn’t care about your religion.

He doesn’t dress like you.
He doesn’t talk like you.

But he loves you.

He is your North Star.

You conform to him.
Not the other way around.

Abandon your culture. Abandon your rules.

Learn a new language. Learn a new culture. Speak out of the heart and spirit.

The enemy can take you but you can say,

“A normal man will do the impossible. My husband is no normal man.”

You can face your trials with no fear.

For he will come for you. Be near you.

He is wild. He is passion. He is fire. Jealousy unyielding as the grave.

He has no fear. He has made a public spectacle of your enemies.

Your husband rewrote the natural order to be near you.

Where is death’s victory?

Where is death’s sting?

Your husband is no normal man.

Yet.

You are one with him.

You are no normal person.

Greater things will you do together than apart.

What Love Is and Isn’t

A lot of people are familiar with I Corinthians 13 as the “Love Chapter”.  It is read at weddings and other events quite a bit.  Other than John 3:16, it is probably the most recognized piece of scripture in everyday life.

The chapter talks about what love is and what it looks like.  “Love is patient.  Love is kind.”  These things seem obvious to most of us.  However, a lot of us gloss over these truths in practice.  We think we are being loving but, in reality, we are being something else.  For example, a parent may think they are being loving by giving their child a candy bar that he or she is craving.  But, too much of this results in a sense of entitlement and the child begins demanding candy, or junk food, or later bed times. Etc… Etc…

I got to thinking about this glossed over piece of scripture the other day at work.  We know that Love is patient and Love is kind but what does love look like when it doesn’t have these attributes?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 reads:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

What is love with patience?  What is love without kindness?  Etc…

Love without patience is entitlement.

Love without kindness is manipulation.

Love that boasts is just pride.

Love that is self seeking is narcissism.

Love that keeps a record of wrongs is legalism.

Love that delights in evil is vengeance.

Love that doesn’t protect is apathy.

Love that doesn’t trust, hope, or persevere is fear.

Not that you can truly have Love without these things.  But we try to substitute these things like it’s pasteurized processed yellow cheese food when we really want and need aged sharp cheddar.  It’s a lot easier to be afraid of the future than to be brave.  It’s a lot easier to give in to the demands of the world than to teach and practice patience.  It’s a lot easier to love yourself (in a selfish fashion) than to love others.  It’s a lot easier to tell those we love what they’re doing wrong than what they’re doing right.

So the next time you hear this passage, really listen to the worlds.  Thank goodness we don’t live in a world where Love is NOT patient or Love is NOT kind.