Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hey Cranky Pants

Today I find myself battling that same old anger. I've been angry with my wife. I've been angry with my son. I don't really want to talk to my best friend, because we work together, and I figure he's going to want something from me that I'm not ready to deliver yet. I've just flat been angry.

Something I identified at the "No Matter the Cost" men's retreat by Band of Brothers a few weeks back is that I've struggled with being angry, and it has caused me shame. It's something I laid down there, but was warned that shame tends to pop back up again. I suppose this is it.

Here's the deal. I get angry when I'm having trouble accepting my calling. The Lord has called me to be a worship leader-prophet. I am one who is to lead others into the presence of the Lord, and to deliver to them what the Lord has to say. This has real-world application in the unsaved world, as well as in the church...which makes sense, because I've always walked the line between a musician and outspoken person, between the world and the church.

Today, Father hit me up with the "verse of the day" from BibleGateway.com...which seemed all too convenient, so I tried to shrug it off.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT)
So, I suppose I must not only admit this, but follow it further and make application in my life.

Passage: 1 Peter 5 (NLT)
Advice for Elders and Young Men
1 And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.
 5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”[a]
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
 8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[b] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen. 
Peter’s Final Greetings
 12 I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas,[c] whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
13 Your sister church here in Babylon[d] sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet each other with a kiss of love.
Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.
a 5:5 Prov 3:34 (Greek version).
b 5:9 Greek your brotherhood.
c 5:12 Greek Silvanus.
d 5:13 Greek The elect one in Babylon. Babylon was probably symbolic for Rome.

It's worth noting that the "Advice for Elders and Young Men" was added into the New Living Translation as a way of helping to quickly gain context, but it was not in the original text. So, this text should not be interpreted as being exclusively applicable to only Elders within the Church, and "young men".

Do you think about the fact that if you're a child of God, there's an enemy that's daily looking for a way to entrap you? What about if you're not a "religious" person, and you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you think there might actually be an orchestrated effort behind the mess you call your life...an effort to keep you from knowing the truth, that there's actually a blueprint for your life? That there's more than a "man in the sky", but instead there's a real God, a loving Father, who is inviting you to live a life on His terms, because they're better than your own?

We were meant for more than this life. I love the words of Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot, in the song "Meant to Live" (lyrics), when he sings "We want more than this world's got to offer..."

Christian, are you not in the same position as I am? Didn't God give you a small group of people whom you can speak into their lives? We are to willingly speak into their lives, not go about our daily tasks or job with a chip on our shoulder because your boss is an ass. She may very well be...but do what you need to do, because a bad attitude doesn't help anyone, and people may even perish because of it! If we're so eager to serve God, then it had better show up in the workplace. If you want a reward from God for your "good behavior", do something that matters in the here and now. Lord, help me!

We can't afford to be proud about this. My friend Stephen Adams speaks to my heart in his "I Was Just Thinking" podcast, episode 2, "We Are Jonah". We're on this journey together, and we need each other to fulfill the calling God has placed upon our lives. Let us be humble and honest about our frailty before God, man, and an enemy that wants to destroy us. Life is tough, and we often screw things up. We agree to do what God has called, turn back at times, refuse to obey, and then eventually get around to it. In this life, we suffer...sometimes from our own actions, sometimes for others', and often for reasons we simply don't know or understand right now.

Here's what you can take to the bank. God is aware of all of this! He's not surpised in the least. He knows your failings, and your pride, yet He calls us to repentance, and then to daily die to ourselves. If we will humble ourselves, we can begin to see that our Father is pursuing us because He loves us. He hasn't left us alone. If you've surrendered yourself to Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. Spend time with Him. Look at the example set by Jesus. God came in the flesh to demonstrate the sort of life we are to live, and so Jesus would be the "firstborn among many brothers" (See Romans 8:29). In fact, if you truly want to see how you fit into the bigger picture, go read the whole 8th chapter of the book of Romans.

Don't let this world and its mess get you down and cranky like I've been. God has a purpose in it, and it's good from a loving Father.

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