Friday, November 23, 2007

The Joy of Being Destitute

How would you describe yourself emotionally right now? I am not talking about publishing it in USA Today; I am talking about you to yourself, right now.

Choose from the following, or add on: fine, afraid, I don’t know, empty, happy, confused, afloat, desperate, sad, mad, maintaining, hopeful, at the and of my rope, I don’t have time to think about it, I don’t want to think about it, stable, iffy, low, high, nuts, bitter, sullen, dug in, joyful, hopeful.

Here’s me: destitute. I am a real mess. Most days you could knock me over with a feather. I live on Tums. I feel destitute’s siblings, too: fear, a lack of confidence, despair. Yet, the Bible says “blessed are the destitute” (my loose paraphrase). The Greek work means “reduced to beggary,” “powerless to accomplish an end.”

That’s me. Mind you, however, I try not to come across as destitute. I try even harder to accomplish certain ends. That is the madness of it, isn’t it?

I really would like to come to a point where I cherish being destitute, because it is there that I find God, there that I am nearest to Him. It is in destitution that I find rest. But, I don’t like feeling destitute! I try everything possible to mask it, avoid it, make it go away, be adequate on my own.

The destitute are at the bottom. They are at the bottom, but do not feel anything below them. It is one thing to be on the ocean floor, firm on some kind of rock or something. But, to be down there with nothing under foot…!

God invites us all there! It is there that God can be found! When I run out of self, God is there. I am now out of self!

Paul is my hero – he got it! He called all worldly scaffolding “dung.” Not just dung outright, it was in comparison to “knowing Christ” (Philippians 3). He also said, “I am determined to know nothing … except Christ Jesus and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Paul had reached the bottom and discovered the bottom was Jesus!

That is what I pray for; not in an intellectual sense, but in an existential sense. I want to feel it; I want my emotions to be consistent with it. I want others to notice and be drawn to it.

If Jesus is not the answer, I am to be most pitied. I gotta believe that regardless of my life station and circumstances, Jesus is still there, He is good and is my only source of hope. As the disciples asked, “Are you the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else (Matthew 11:3)?” Either I place all I am and have on Jesus as The Source or I live totally as a practical agnostic!

Where are you emotionally? Emotions tell you where you are. If you are fearful, then fear drives you and you have nothing on which to trust and allay those fears, right? And, add to that, you do not have enough personal resources to stop the fear.

May you and I find Jesus. He is near and can be found. Sit, listen, read the Bible, pray, anticipate, hope, resist the word of Evil.

Do something today that reflects your desire to know Jesus.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Near The Cross

Recently I began carrying again my old worn Bible I had retired to the bookcase - it was falling apart. It is the one made of bonded leather full of napkin parts, envelop corners… anything on which I could scrawl my latest thoughts.

Here is one I wrote as I studied through the book of Hosea:

Why do we pursue harlotry?
Because we’ve abandoned God?
Why have we abandoned God?
The sin that separates us from the Love of God.
Not because we “misbehave.”
So, where do we start?
(Hos 6:1) Convincing people that they are LOVED by God.
Not by beating them over the head with their sin.

I want to repent and replace the first person plural with the first person singular. I am the one who pursues harlotry. I am the one who needs to stop beating my own self over the head with my sin.

I am the one who needs to be convinced I am loved by God.

I now dare to give myself some direction in the matter:

Be still. Be alone. Listen. No matter what it feels like; no matter what else you “want to” do. See “I love you” in Jesus’ gaze.

Listen to the voice of God in others… above your own voice. You would never speak to others the way you speak to yourself. Let your friends speak to you, think for you, be Christ for you.

Ponder the Cross. He did that for YOU. Go there, be there. Hear the pain, smell the blood. Let Jesus’ blood-curdling shrieks penetrate your own heart. You were His motive. Jesus’ own Daddy abandoned Him… imagine that pain.

He’d do it again…just for you.

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.


In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.


Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.


Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.


(Near The Cross by Fanny Crosby)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

This is the Essence of My Prayers

God, I want what you want for me.

God, I want to know you better. I want a real experience of Your Presence.

Lord, You are ….

Please forgive me.

Please let this cup pass; yet not my will but Yours.

Regardless of what happens, may your Kingdom be advanced.

Lord, I ask for ….






Lord, this is Your time – do with it what you will.