Stinky Stuff God Has Used to Set People Free

How stinky the prison in which Joseph sat.

He ended up there because some lady rat

Accused him of doing what no man should do.

She said he attacked her, but that was not true.

 

But in that foul hole, this young man found release

From her accusations through THE prince of peace.

Her lies didn’t hurt because God set him free

So that he could follow his true destiny.

 

Jeremiah the prophet was tossed in a pit,

And sank in the muck where men left him to sit,

Because they did not want to heed what he said.

That’s why they decided he needed that bed.

 

Imagine him mourn as they lower him down,

Bemoaning the evil that stinks up his town.

“Repent of old mindsets that offer no glee

And you won’t be harmed by this captivity.”

 

The officials determined to starve him to death,

But he looked to God, who had given him breath.

Then up from above – was it manna? Not quite.

How stinky the rags that enabled his flight!

 

They didn’t smell pretty yet helped rescue him

From being shut up in that prison so dim.

For, those who love freedom must deal with the stench

Of soul-binding fetters that make their guts wrench.

 

See Lazarus leaving his now-empty tomb,

Wrapped up like a mummy, with so little room

To walk or to move or to breathe out a word.

Martha said, “It’ll smell,” and I think they all heard

 

Jesus say, “Take the stinky stuff off. Set him free.”

What stench! Hold your nose if you love liberty

That comes when you have faith to move any stone

Which stands in the way of approaching God’s throne.

 

Though confession be smelly, it helps to reveal

God’s mercy through Christ who has power to heal.

For, consider the man who lived close to some pigs,

While cutting himself among burial digs.

 

His devils did not smell good, even in pink.

When Christ cast them out, they sure did make a stink.

But Jesus still used it to set the man free.

For, He can use all things to help you and me.        .

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Surprise: When Jesus Sneaks up on You

When Jesus sneaks up on you, what a surprise!

Death is upended, with all of its lies.

When He takes the worst of your fears by surprise.

Discouragement shatters, and all compromise.

 

God’s elect have been crying out all through the night,

Longing to see dreams and visions take flight,

The things they’ve been hoping for so many years.

“Lord, save us from bondage. We’ve so many fears.”

 

Prayer warriors knocking upon heaven’s door

Cry, “God, grant us justice we’ve not seen before.

The enemy’s raging. We cannot hold back

These poisonous darts of his latest attack.

 

“We stick to your Word and your promises claim,

Yet satan’s been getting the glory and fame.

We’re weary of battling the spirit of death.

Silence rules while we fight with our last dying breath.”

 

Then, behold! Jesus enters the temple: Surprise!

He conquers all fear with one look from His eyes.

“Treason!” shouts Athaliah, the wicked old queen,

As the brightness of His sudden coming is seen.

 

The thief sent the whirlwind that shattered Job’s house,

And made the poor sufferer feel like a louse.

His heart had been broken, success stripped away,

Disease gripped his body, he cursed his birthday.

 

His friends sought for reasons. Why did this occur?

But their words held no comfort. Their words could not cure.

Then, surprise! God showed up. Through a whirlwind He spoke,

And by His appearing, fresh faith He awoke

 

Restoring the joy that those old guys had lost

(And reminding a few of the lines they had crossed,

In not speaking right of the life-giving One

Who endured greater loss but the victory has won.

 

For, many years later, upon a long road

That led to Emmaus, two sad people strode.

Then a stranger snuck up, someone they did not know.

Where did this man come from and where would he go?

 

They spoke of their sorrow and all of their strife.

“We’re so disappointed right now with this life.

We thought we had found our Messiah at last.

But now He has died and our hopes are all past.”

 

 

Then, how their hearts burned as he opened God’s Word

To understand scriptures they knew they had heard.

They begged him to stay, and with them he shared bread

Which opened their eyes to great truths they had read.

 

 

When Jesus sneaks up on you, what a surprise!

Death is upended, and all of its lies.

Watch HIM take the worst of your fears by surprise

Revealing the truth behind your greatest “why’s.”

 

https://atomic-temporary-102676306.wpcomstaging.com/faith/seeing-believing/

 

When You’re Born Different: Identity Crisis

I. When You’re Born Different

When you’re born different, people look at you funny – like you’ll never measure up to their perfect standards. I should know. From a young age I struggled with self-worth. At school I had to wear a “pirate’s” patch to correct my lazy eye and plates in my shoes to help flat feet develop arches. Shorter than most of my peers, I had a painful shyness that kept me from telling the so-called “beautician” not to crop my locks to match my height. No other girl in my kindergarten class had a pixie cut. I hated that boyish look and the way my teachers tried to fix me.

“Why don’t you keep a tidy desk like other girls?” they asked.

“What TV programs keep you from getting your homework done?”

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t bite. Why won’t you talk?”

Maybe I clammed up because I felt so messed up inside – identity crisis city. My hair could not grow fast enough to hide the shame I felt. Why didn’t this late bloomer fit in with everybody else? I tried to please them but all I got was frustration. That’s where all this garbled chicken scratch came from: multiple ideas bottled up inside, exploding like warm soda once the cork is popped. Piles of unorganized papers strewn everywhere litter my office space. This makes no sense.

CRINKLE, RIP, SHRED!

II. Identity Crises Caused By Peer Pressure

Tears roll down my cheeks as hours of exhaustive research get flushed down the drain. At least, that’s how it feels sometimes. But perhaps I can salvage this mess. Meanwhile, this is what it feels like:

Pearls before swine. Fruit rotting on the vine plops into a sinkhole for creativity. What a waste of time and ink and trees! Identity crisis. Who am I? Help!

Living to meet others’ expectations is like the Israelites gathering stubble to make bricks. It doesn’t blunt the crack of Pharaoh’s whip. After you’ve been under it a while, you start to wonder, “Who am I anymore?”

Aaron tried to please people, and look what happened. Caving to peer pressure, he cast aside faith more precious than gold in favor or worldly gold. He took wealth plundered from Egyptians – God’s favor so richly poured out on His people – and from it formed a killer calf which caused three thousand deaths – all because they had their eyes fixed on absent Moses. Tired of waiting for his promised return, they sought an excuse to reconnect with old bondages.

Like Esau, they squandered their birthright on temporary feel-good pleasures. Then there’s Samson who was born different – meaning, he had a special purpose. Yet he yielded to Delilah’s badgering. Close-up and personal peer pressure foisted upon him an identity crisis of major proportions.

Snip, snip! There went his locks.

Back to the hair thing again.

I wear it the way I want to know, rather than how others want it styled.

III. Free to Be Different

Because I’m different. I don’t need to wear my hair the way they say I should. Instead of giving in to others, I’ll fight to keep it long. I’m not changing it to fit their mold, or other aspects of my personal appearance for that matter. And when it comes to personality, I’m free to be myself – which means, I’ll gladly be the person God wants me to be. Because that’s what’s it’s all about for the Bible believer – believing who God says you are in Christ.

“For if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. All things have become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)

So, don’t let your identity crisis define you.

I pray that this article blesses someone.

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Emotion: Energy in Motion

Emotion: Raw Feelings

 

Emotion is like energy in motion

Revolving ‘round the hub of our devotion.

When such devotion lacks a worthy notion,

It brings forth sounds of dissonant commotion.

 

Raw feelings, such a vast variety,

Spawn drunken songs that mock sobriety,

With incoherent odes to notoriety

And wicked strums that lack all sense of piety.

 

But, oh the energy those sounds impart!

Each cymbal clash exudes a fiery dart,

An all-consuming noise that hits the heart,

The breeding ground where wild emotions start.

 

Misguided tunes and idle words resound

When idols of impure desire abound,

Their winds of doctrine carried on a flute

Which floods the atmosphere with evil fruit,

 

Resulting in a knowledge overload

That hits a guy before he hits the road.

The chaos in his head turns into rage.

Then comes the crunch, alas the sinner’s wage.

 

Emotion, Faith and Deliverance

 

But what his heart believes lies at the root

Of every single leaf and fruit and shoot

That travels through his bloodstream, reaching out

With movements born of faith or tinged with doubt.

 

Emotion is like energy in motion

Revolving ‘round the hub of our devotion.

When such devotion lacks a worthy notion,

It brings forth sounds of dissonant commotion.

 

It’s how we think deep down, what we suspect

To be the truth. Such thoughts we shall reflect.

The feelings we receive we’ll resurrect,

But what we disagree with we’ll deflect.

 

Foul moods lie at our fingertips each day,

Enticing us to put them into play,

To bang the piano keys and make them zing

With sounds so loud, they’ll make your eardrums ring.

 

God’s Word, however, teaches us to pray

“Your will be done, Lord.” That’s what we should say.

“I yield myself to you. Please light my way,

And keep my reckless energies at bay.”

 

Emotion is like energy in motion

Revolving ‘round the hub of our devotion.

When such devotion heeds a worthy notion,

It brings forth songs of joy and not commotion.

 

How Can an Introvert be Heard?

We introverts often find it hard to make ourselves heard, especially in group settings. Sometimes we feel drowned out by people with the “gift of gab.” When you’re “slow of speech and tongue” it can be very frustrating.

Sometimes I wonder if that’s how Moses felt. When he was born, the king of Egypt was really into slaughtering Hebrew babies – boy babies only (How prejudiced can you get?). It was like a mass genocide. The Hebrew midwives did what they could to protect the babies, but Pharaoh’s men were everywhere. His law was aimed against the little ones, just like in America today.

Their voices were drowned out. But one baby was kept safe. Pharaoh’s daughter heard Moses’ cries and drew him from the water. His voice got heard. That should be a big encouragement to us all.

Though Pharaoh had closed his eyes and ears to Hebrew babies’ needs and cries, his daughter had eyes to see and ears to hear. Who in your life has eyes to see and ears to hear? Those are the people worth talking to. You won’t find them in the crowd. The more you sweat and cry and strain to make your words heard, the more they will get trampled on, like seeds of faith scattered upon the highway awaiting the crunch of an inflated tire – the tire that says “I’m tired of all this noise!”

Those who lack the gift of gab seek other means of making themselves heard – if not through writing, then sometimes through fighting. That’s what Moses did. One day he slew an Egyptian who was beating up a Hebrew. According to the first known Christian martyr, Steven, Moses thought that his brethren (the Hebrews) would see it and understand that God had hand-picked him to deliver them from slavery in Egypt (see Acts 7:24-25). But they didn’t get it.

Actions often do speak louder than words, but taking matters into one’s own hands can be disastrous to one’s cause. It’s always best to do things God’s way, for He knows how to get people’s attention. Moses complained to God that he wasn’t eloquent, but God gave him signs to do that spoke louder than words.

As for me, in group settings I’m no match against the king of snappy answers or the queen of the sharp tongue. But I do know how to write, and so I use my fingers to speak for me. As for reaching my audience, God opened doors for Moses. He can open doors for me. And He can open up doors for you too. Just write whatever He inspires you to write and don’t give up.

 

 

How Can an Introvert’s Voice be Healed?

An introvert’s voice can be hard to hear, especially in group settings. Sometimes introverts may feel as if their voices get drowned out by people with the “gift of gab.” How can an introvert’s voice be healed so that people can hear it? Or does an introvert’s voice even need to be healed? When you’re “slow of speech and tongue” like Moses was, you can feel as if there’s something wrong with you. But sometimes there is a spirit that wants to silence your voice, just like Pharaoh in Moses’ time silenced the Hebrew’s voices through hard labor.

Keep in mind that when Moses was born, the king of Egypt was really into slaughtering Hebrew babies – boy babies only (How prejudiced can you get?). It was like a mass genocide. The Hebrew midwives did what they could to protect the babies, but Pharaoh’s men were everywhere. His law was aimed against the little ones, just like in America today.

Their voices were drowned out, just like an introvert’s voice is often drowned out. No one could hear them. But one baby was kept safe. Pharaoh’s daughter heard Moses’ cries and drew him from the water. His voice got heard. That should be a big encouragement to us all.

Though Pharaoh had closed his eyes and ears to Hebrew babies’ needs and cries, his daughter had eyes to see and ears to hear. Who in your life has eyes to see and ears to hear? Those are the people worth talking to. You won’t find them in the crowd. The more you sweat and cry and strain to make your words heard, the more they will get trampled on, like seeds of faith scattered upon the highway awaiting the crunch of an inflated tire – the tire that says “I’m tired of all this noise!”

Those who lack the gift of gab seek other means of making themselves heard – if not through writing, then sometimes through fighting. That’s what Moses did. One day he slew an Egyptian who was beating up a Hebrew. According to the first known Christian martyr, Steven, Moses thought that his brethren (the Hebrews) would see it and understand that God had hand-picked him to deliver them from slavery in Egypt (see Acts 7:24-25). But they didn’t get it.

Actions often do speak louder than words, but taking matters into one’s own hands can be disastrous to one’s cause. It’s always best to do things God’s way, for He knows how to get people’s attention. Moses complained to God that he wasn’t eloquent, but God gave him signs to do that spoke louder than words.

As for me, in group settings I’m no match against the king of snappy answers or the queen of the sharp tongue. But I do know how to write, and so I use my fingers to speak for me. As for reaching my audience, God opened doors for Moses. He can open doors for me. And He can open up doors for you too. Just write whatever He inspires you to write and don’t give up.