Unveiled

Is it truly living if only half

Of who you are sees the light?

The other half sits in darkness on behalf

Of the hideousness associated with it, what a fright!

 

If people knew you struggled with this

And have a history with that.

How could you possibly be His?

You are repulsive like fat.

 

Blemishes and scars appear

People run and people hide

Cannot stand what they see in the mirror

As they struggle with too much pride.

 

It’s not true, it couldn’t possibly be

That these imperfections and things unseen

Could possibly belong to one like me.

 

Unable to comprehend the notion

That He would love you unconditionally

Leads to empty hearts and lack of emotion

As your lives continue dysfunctional.

 

Imprisoned by fear of being found out

You hide behind walls of busyness

While the Evil One pounds out

Every ounce of strength you have in business.

 

Around “churchy-folk” you’re righteous,

Outside that circle you’re restless

Uncertain whether or not Christ is

Worth all the effort and investments…

 

Folks, it’s time to wipe off the makeup,

Let things unknown come to light,

Remove yourselves from darkness, wake up!

Haven’t your teachers taught you left from right?

 

The Lover is concerned with your heart,

Do not concern yourselves with outer things,

They will only distract and tear your apart,

From the One who gives flight to your wings.

 

Child, are you not tired of running and hiding?

Run to the Father and allow yourself to seek refuge,

No need to remain independent and continue backsliding,

I hear His Love for you and me is rather HUGE!

 

Here’s the deal, the time has come

For you and I, alike and different

To remove our veils and give Him all, not some.

 

Father is not interested in half of your cup,

He already drank it all.

Lay down your pride and lift up

Your faults to the One who delivers us from the fall!

 

Daily you’ll need Him, as do I

Discontinue pretending it is possible alone

Don’t even begin to try

The task is an absolutely colossal one.

 

It is time; we’ve reached the conclusion,

Remove religious makeup, tear away veils,

Authentic hearts and Jesus Christ is the solution,

He is the one to bring momentum to your sails!

The Runner

The sun is booming; June heat in Kansas, along with the humidity, southern winds, and various other factors are sure to enact the sweat glands of even the fittest individual. Heavy-breathing is followed by heavy footsteps as your feet pound against the pavement. Looking around, the greenery is beginning to become not so green anymore, as grass is charred by the intensity of the summer sun, turning it into a yellowish-brown wasteland. As you attempt to breathe, the air is thick, as if swimming through an ocean. However, you are not swimming, but are running. Running fast. Overcome every obstacle through the blood of The Lamb!

Approaching an incline in the road, you do as every other person would and pick up the pace to maintain enough momentum to force your heavy body up the grade. A quarter of the way up the hill, you begin to think, “What am I doing? I could walk…maybe even stop and collapse.” However, the little engine that could comes to life in your mind as you begin to think “I think I can”, “I think I can”, you are now halfway up the monstrous hill. But wait…fatigue is setting in, muscles are cramping, your breaths are becoming shorter. How can one push themselves over the top? How could you possibly summit the hill and come coasting to a comfortable pace down the other side?

I was thinking about life today. Weird, right? I’m 22 years old and “thinking about life” as if I am some sort of old Yoda, ready to assess the current state of the world and breath life into it via truth that has only been gained by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit. God’s Word alludes to the Christian journey as a race that has been marked out for us and we are to run the race with all endurance and perseverance, keeping our minds on the good and noble things of this world as we continually return to the Father for strength, nourishment, counsel, and the ability to overcome any and every obstacle that is used to test our character. Think of the story of Job…a man who was found by God to be one of the most righteous in the land…Satan requests to wreak havoc upon his life, saying that in the end, Job will turn away from God due to his circumstances. We are amazed to see that Job’s character is certainly challenged (perhaps even to the breaking point as his friends come to comfort, challenge, and counsel him), yet he curses the day of his birth and himself rather than cursing God. In the end, he is faithful to God. Would I be that faithful? Would you?

One of the realities of this life is that we will all be put to the test. In fact, it is when we are becoming effective witnesses for the LORD (as was the cause with Job) that Satan will increasingly desire to bring destruction to our lives in such a way that would disable us from running the race and finishing strong. The thing about marathon runners is that there are many who would like to complete the journey…but few that are able to persevere long enough to cross the finish line. My friend, Carlos, recently set out to run a marathon and he did it! He ran across the finish-line and completed the race that was set before him! He said it was such an exciting feeling. You should have seen how the joyous expressions on his face as he attempted to recreate the story before us. How much more exciting would it be to complete the race of life and to have finished it well?!?! Having given every ounce of strength that we had to the LORD, pouring ourselves out like drink-offerings as Paul did; serving others, lifting them up, calling ourselves and others to repentance in the name of Jesus and encouraging them to run the race towards His throne alongside us, we can finish well!

Whether it is a job-search, financial security, education, relationships, health/sickness, etc. we all have our hills to climb. Perhaps you are currently coasting at a comfortable pace and life hasn’t thrown any at you in a while, well, I assure you that there they are to come. Let us prepare our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies for the hills that lie ahead; seeking the LORD daily in prayerful devotion of our entire lives to Him that we may never stray from the path and always have the strength to continue upward, even when the hill/obstacle seems nearly impossible. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Amen? Amen!!!!

Running for Him,
Justin

P.S. In other news, I am currently trying to jog on a fairly regular basis and I am definitely out-of-shape. Feel free to pray for and encourage my journey toward a more disciplined and healthy self so that I may be better equipped to serve the LORD and others with the remainder of my life!

Renewed Life

O God, why must I be so hateful?

Destroyed by grief; debatin’ salvation

My heart is sinful and contrite

Wouldn’t recognize it in the darkness of night

My Light has been snuffed

Music no longer buffed.

Ya see, I’m chasin’ affection

But when it’s given, I’m deflectin’

Weazy (and many others) loves and encourages

But Satan’s here and discourages.

Have you ever been “the righteous one”

People believin’ you shine like The Son

But stunned and confused when ya run

From freedom freely given under the guise of fun?

Holy Spirit, reign in my heart, enlighten me

I thirst for when Father shall delight in me.

Shall I squander my inheritance,

And forget my heart’s heritage?

That You made it, You made me,

So why doesn’t Your love fully persuade me?

You see, I sit here brewin’

Not fully trustin’ the pot You’re stewin’.

O but God there’s no turnin’ back!

Andy Mineo is right; sin is whack!

Father, I give You permission

Whip my soul into submission

Illegitimate children are not disciplined

But I’m your son and should’ve listened!

Holy Spirit, renew this depraved mind

Capture lies, open my eyes, I’m blind!

Without You, I’m dead! With You, I’m ALIVE!!!

Give us our daily bread that our hearts may thrive!

Let’s return the old me to the grave,

You can free me from being depraved.

Shackles removed…party begins, a heavenly rave

To Your mission, righteousness, and glory, I’ll gladly be a slave!

My soul was dead and buried but then comes resurrection!

Let joy overflow as You give our hearts direction!

No longer subject to The Accuser’s painful strife,

I thank You so much Father, for renewed life.

Selfless

How many hours in a day do we spend thinking about, or working on, our plans? We have to-do lists, calendars, planners, Facebook events, etc that we must constantly remind ourselves of in order to keep up with the whirlwind lives of our peers. It’s a competitive world out there. Information Technology (IT) companies spend a lot of money on figuring out ways to increase download speed, the quickness of receiving data on cell phones, etc. In fact, a recent commercial by one of the major cell phone companies talks about how things were “so 27 seconds ago” (they had already received the info. before their friends).

At the white-knuckle pace our lives move; it’s a wonder we have a chance to interact with anyone in the first place. No wonder so many Americans and “first world” countries have increasing amounts of people suffering from depression and other emotional/mental disorders. We all have a desire for human interaction, human contact, a desire for someone to care about us, to notice that perhaps we’re not having the sunniest of days. Or, maybe we simply want them to notice the new haircut or pair of shoes we’ve recently acquired. The sad truth is that often, each of us finds ourselves in the backdrop of everyone else’s lives. To use a movie reference, we’ve all become extras, instead of playing supporting roles or co-stars. Essentially, we have no real impact on the film, or the lives of our peers.

We must ask ourselves the question: Is this how life was meant to be? Is it better for us to continually compete and step on each other’s toes or is it perhaps better for us to live lives that are counter-cultural, and in humility, serve those around us?

Think about the last time someone served you; did something out of the ordinary and went out of their way to make your day better…It made an impact, didn’t it? You still remember! The sad thing is that you may not be able to remember because we’re all sadly so incredibly selfish.

So, I have this amazing friend Jake. Words truthfully could not do justice to the relationship that has been cultivated between the two of us over the past couple years as brothers in Christ and as very close friends. Anyways, recently he’s been sharing stories with me about a young teenager that attended Camp War Eagle (a summer camp for underprivileged kids) where he was on staff a summer or two ago. Jed, the teenage camper is giving his life away for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A few months ago he was texting Jake about how he realized his computer had become his idol and he was going to destroy it. So, he and his youth pastor literally destroyed his computer; that he had saved up for and paid for on his own. But he didn’t want anything hindering him from following the LORD wholeheartedly! The story doesn’t end there though, recently this young disciple of Jesus has decided that he wants to give his life to missions and would like to do missionary work in Haiti, the inner city of Chicago, and wherever else the LORD ends up leading him. In fact, he’s so serious about it, that he’s already began fundraising, not only for himself, but for some friends to go with him to Haiti in order to serve the LORD.

As Jake told me these stories, I was incredibly challenged. How easy it is for one to talk about how great it would be to serve God wholeheartedly and yet how few and far between are those individuals who put that faith into action. Jed has his heart set on leaving the legacy of Christ behind. He’s not focused on accumulating wealth, finding a wife as soon as possible, or playing it safe here in America for the rest of his life. No, he wants to literally give up his comfort and pleasures so that he can give his life for the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that perhaps a few may be saved! That, my friends, is incredibly selfless.

So here’s the challenging thing to think about…what would the world look like if we had the same faith and obedience that Jed has? I’m truly inspired by this young man’s sacrifice and wholehearted devotion to following his Heavenly Father with every fiber of his being. It is truly phenomenal. I’m drawn to this passage when praying over this topic:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Matthew 6:19-21)

If you are surely in love with Christ, then are you finding your treasure in His Kingdom? Or, are you attempting to rule a kingdom of your own. If the latter is your choice, then I must warn you that moth and rust will destroy your wealth and that once your heart is no longer beating and your lungs no longer breathing, then your life will suddenly have ZERO value. Your net worth will be $0.00 after it is all divided amongst your living descendants.

HOWEVER, if you were to live a life that was selfless; gave up everything and followed Jesus Christ with every bit of strength the Holy Spirit blesses you with…I would argue that your life will certainly hold much value. So much value in fact that it could not be measured in terms of money or points, but rather it would priceless; as you’d saved souls and brought them into the Kingdom of Heaven saving them from the fiery furnace of Hell! What could possibly be more worthwhile on this earth than doing that?

From Death to Life

Look out the window and it’s raining,

The stress of family and work is so draining.

 

If only, outside it was sunny

And the bank account had money.

But living life in debt

Is something you’ve learned to accept.

 

If only you had a companion,

But once again, you’re abandoned.

 

Tired of the world’s kick to the curb,

You’ve placed a sign on your heart saying, “DO NOT DISTURB!”

 

Then comes something that shakes your foundation,

It starts messing with your heart’s situation.

Your heart is calmed and spirit hydrated

Suddenly you have a reason to celebrate and…

 

The hopeless life you were once livin’

Became joy-filled and purpose driven.

 

Your broken pieces picked up from the dust,

Someone’s placing them back together you trust.

 

Yesterday you were weak,

Today you’re made strong!

Once your heart leaked

But now you belong!

 

This can’t be true; it’s a lie

So much wrong done; you still cry…

But it’s no fair-tale or fiction

You’re FREE; no restrictions.

 

Who is the one that’s redeemed

Your life from the hell in which you screamed?

 

What gave your heart clarity

Now you’re promised prosperity?!?!

 

The one you’ve met has many names

He’s the one who fulfills these claims.

His mighty hand restores!

From his cup, unconditional love pours.

 

Reminds you constantly; “Here I am!”

Welcome to the Kingdom of the Great I AM!

Pain

Life is easy. No one sheds a tear or has self-image issues. There isn’t any hurt or bitterness, right? Actually, that couldn’t be more WRONG! One is blessed with certain gifts when they have a relationship with Christ as their Lord and Savior. Some are gifted with evangelism; a heart that is driven by sharing the Gospel with the lost and bringing new brothers and sisters into the Kingdom of God. Others are gifted with understanding and relating to others. I believe one of my gifts is being able to understand others and lately a side effect of that has been empathy. In plain English that means I am well aware of what others are feeling, whether it is joy, sadness, fear, etc. The sad truth though is that as I’ve looked into the eyes of my friends, coworkers, and strangers, and as I’ve heard their stories the emotional quality that is most common is pain and sorrow.

 

This simple truth is plaguing my heart right now. If pain is so common and if sorrow and feelings of emptiness trouble so many of us then why do many of us pretend that everything is alright? American culture has taught us that we must have everything together. To appear broken and contrite is to lose your dignity and any chance of finding success, right? Well, that is certainly what the world has taught us.

 

Friends, I want to plea with you to change your heart on this. We do NOT have it all together, nor do we have to pretend that this world is all sunshine and rainbows. The reality is that the grass is not always greener on the other side and unfortunately there is never a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. (Sorry if I just broke the hearts of some of you who believe in fairy-tales) Real people who have real relationships and are going through real life WILL experience pain. So, with this in mind, let’s have a conversation on being hurt and broken…

 

A primary example of this that almost everyone can relate to would be the pain one feels when their parents tell them that they are disappointed in them. Within the mere seconds that those words leave the lips of one’s Mom or Dad, the heart of the child is immediately ripped to pieces. I don’t care how tough you are or how callused your heart is toward hurtful words; few words will hurt you more than these.

 

On a deeper level though; pain is more often brought to us by the terrible things that others have done to or against us. There was that one kid in elementary school that would just not let you have a good day. When I was in the third grade, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) and in order to correct it an orthopedic doctor prescribed a back-brace. From that day on, I was known by many of my peers as “Brace Boy”. And at the age of 21, I still have that seared into my memory. There are some days when my 8 year old sister comes home from school in tears. When I ask her what’s wrong, she explains through sobs that one of her peers told her that her dress was ugly and made her look fat…My sister is EIGHT! As the older brother and having the protective nature that I do; one can imagine how I wanted to react in that situation. With fists clenched, I reassured Brianna that she was incredibly gorgeous and created in God’s image and that she couldn’t ever be more beautiful than she already is.

 

I’ve been reading Mark Driscoll’s book, “Death by Love”, which is essentially a series of letters that Pastor Mark has written to various members of his congregation. There are FEW books that have ever elicited an emotional response from me as much as this one has. Turning the pages through the various situations some of them have been in has literally made me cry. Hearing how some of these women have been forced into sexual relationships with men they didn’t want to. Learning of the prideful arrogance of some men; reading about how a woman was unfaithful to her husband during their engagement and then didn’t tell him until after they were married. All of these stories are filled to the brim with pain. But that’s real life…

 

As I’ve studied these stories and as I’ve looked at my own life; the root of at least 80% of the pain I’ve been through is caused by sin. Sin that I’ve either committed personally or sin that others have done against me.

 

Brothers…Sisters….Friends, please turn from sin! There are so many of you that claim to be believers, yet your private life is filled to the brim with sin. Some of you spend so much time making yourself appear righteous and holy on the outside by doing all of the right things, reading all of the right books, but on the inside your heart is filled with sin! Maybe that sin is adultery of the heart. Maybe it is pride. Perhaps you hate your brother and therefore are guilty of murder but regardless your heart is sinful!

 

 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:25-28)

 

As this passage in Matthew makes crystal clear; the way that one appears on the outside is not important. It is the heart God concerns Himself with and by the heart you will be righteously judged one day. One of the most humbling realizations I’ve made is that the honest truth is that we either love sin or love God. You simply cannot love both, nor can you serve two masters.

 

This is certainly heavy stuff. It should be of no surprise if this sort of conversation makes you weak to your stomach or elicits an emotional response. In fact, my prayer as I write this is that many of you are driven to tears of repentance. I pray that the Holy Spirit convicts and reminds you of the injustice you’ve done against others and the heartbreak you’ve caused them. And I pray that the message of the Gospel and the healing that it brings is able to rebuild your hearts; that God will change hearts of stone to hearts of flesh as Ezekiel 11:19 states.

 

Family, I love you very much and am deeply aware of the real pain and suffering you are going through. I assure you that the only thing you have to hold onto is Jesus Christ. His unconditional love, overwhelming grace, and underserved mercy is the only thing that will bring your heart and spirit true healing. Only God has the power to change hearts. So pray that he changes yours my friends. I desire nothing more than to see your hearts radically transformed by the message of Jesus Christ and to one day walk with you and rejoice in the streets of Heaven. My heart simply cannot bear the thought of a single one of you being devoured by the fire of Hell. However, I love you too much to not remind you that if you do not turn from your sin and if you choose to live in disobedience to the LORD, then you WILL be subject to the righteous wrath of God.

 

Sincerely,

Justin Meyer