Tag Archives: Deep Restoration

My Identity is Found In Christ Alone

What defines you?  Where do you get your identity from as the driving force of how you live your life?  I used to to question this for myself for many years.  I questioned my purpose, questioned my being, and what it was I am here for.  I also used to to think that my identity as a man was bent purely on my ability to work hard to make more money to support my family.  It seemed like this was going to be the call of my life to just work and achieve “success” in that light.  I was blinded for many years unsure of who I was or not wanting to come face to face with the false-self I had created in my brokenness.

I’ve discovered a new Truth however.  My life is not defined by my career successes, it’s not defined by how much money I can make, it’s not defined by my social status in any light.  No…my identity as a man is found in Jesus Christ and Him alone.  My first identity through Christ is son.  I have been adopted, into sonship with the Father through Christ, as all of you have who have come to real faith in Jesus.  As Paul said in his letter to the Ephesians in chapter 1 verse 5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention His will.”  God identified me as his son through Jesus and in Him I am alive.

1 John 5:12 says, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” It all hinges on our faith in Christ.  Our willingness to accept Him and all His works.  We have the life of Christ in us if we accept Him in our life.  If we don’t, as John said, we do not have life.  This is what I can say Christ has done for me.  I see this world and God’s epic story in such a different light now.  Before it was through blinded vision.  I was dead.  I saw only what this world had to offer and although I knew of Christ and believed to a certain degree.  Augustine said, “He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent,” however, I never opened the door of my heart to Christ who was there for years pounding away hoping I would let Him in.  I didn’t listen for a long time nor give my consent to come in.

Now that I have opened the door for Christ, it is through Him alone that I am made new and made the man I am meant to be.  My old self is now dead.  As Paul said in Romans 6:6, “…our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we no longer are slaves to sin.”

I will never let anything else in this world define me in any way.  My identity is now found in Christ and Christ alone.  As the song says, “In Christ alone, my hope is found.”  I look to Him for every aspect of my life.  I look for His guidance through the Holy Spirit.  I know now that I am no longer dead, I am alive.  I pray the same for your life.  I pray that you will allow Christ to enter your heart.  He wants to come in.  Christ says in Revelation 3:20,”Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”  Christ is asking that we open our hearts to Him now.  He came so that our hearts could be restored and made new, but it is purely by our choice.

Never let this world define you.  Never let your circumstances, your job or lack there of, your home situation, your friends, or anyone around you define who you are.  If you open your heart to Christ and are sanctified in Him, He is who identifies you in sonship and as a saint.  It through Him alone that we have life.  I will live my life in this way as a son of the Father raised to a new life through my Big Brother, Jesus Christ and restored in union with the Father.

A Much Needed Disconnect and Reconnect

It’s felt strange not writing at all these past couple of weeks.  I just returned with my family from some much needed rest at the beach.  For my family and me, the gulf coast is like a second home.  That is our typical escape from the busyness of everyday life.  I look at this time as a moment to let go and just live, enjoying being in the presence of the Lord.  Being able to wake up each morning and on the waters edge, looking out over the expansive waters of the Gulf, it reminds me of just how small we are in God’s larger creation and larger story.  All the while, despite how small we are, God pursues us and loves each of us just the same.  Psalm 23:3, “He restores my soul.

I recall being in Colorado earlier this year and being able to, for the first time, letting go and unplugging.  This time around, I tried to do the same, leaving my phone in our room when we went on the beach.  Not wanting to be bogged down with social media or news or anything else.  It’s still amazing to me how difficult that becomes for us these days.  To let go of our shackles that is our phones and connections and just live.  I did my best to do that this time around and it was very freeing.  It truly gave me a chance to let go for a bit.

I just can’t stress how important it is to let go.  To unplug and get away from the routines of life.  We all get so bogged down and busy that many of us just find it impossible to get away, let alone unplug from the matrix.  I was finishing up one of my first classes and writing a paper relating this issue of a counselor, while successful getting near the edge of burnout and abruptly taking a vacation.  Reaching burnout can affect your judgement as I have studied, so we have to take the time to take care of ourselves.  Take care of ourselves physically, spiritually, emotionally.  We need our time to just let our minds break free and not think about work and our buys lives for a bit.  A week hardly seems like enough, but when we can, we need to do this.

This week, I also reconnected deeper with the Lord.  Getting to just spend more time in Scripture and prayer than I’ve allowed myself too sometimes was amazing.  I have loved being more connect with Him and this week away allowed me more time to dive deeper into that connection with Him.  We face so much in this world and there is so much chaos around us, but just knowing that God is there always and has always been the same as he was and will always be the same, is awesome.  I know I can always go to Him and he will restore me; spirit, soul, and body, heart mind, and will.

Thankful for the time I had with my family on vacation.  Would love to have more of that time, but I am pumped to restored and renewed for what is to come.  Ready to dive back in.

Why Are We So Busy?

Being busy is bad…That would be false.  There is nothing wrong with being busy and having things to do.  It’s a part of our lives.  If you have kids like Amber and I, you know that they definitely keep you on your toes as they get older with their different activities.  We certainly have no shortage of it in our family.  On top of work, church, and the many other things that encompass life, we often find ourselves in a place where we are just on the go, non-stop.

I question though, our motives for staying so busy all the time every single day.  We rarely take the time to let our spirit, soul, and body recover.  The only time this happens is maybe during a week in the summer and maybe at Christmas time.  Otherwise, we are back to the grind.  Why is it though?  Why do  we live lives that are just crammed full of things to do?  I was listening to a Ransomed Heart audio recording this morning and something profound hit me.  John Eldredge made the statement that busyness gives us a false sense of power and a sense of importance.

That’s a pretty strong statement.  I know many people that pride themselves in being busy.  They feel like its a good thing to always have something to do.  But why?  Is there something to the distraction of being constantly busy that keeps us from things in our lives or allows us to hide?  I look around and people are always in a hurry going from what thing to the next.  Going from meeting to meeting, from conference call to conference call, and flying through stores and down yhe road to the next destination.  It’s a constant race with heads and eyes ahead focused on the next task.  We have to go faster and faster and for what?

This past Sunday, I had a few hours at home to myself.  I had finished my papers for school and had literally nothing to do for a little bit.  I stepped on my back patio and just sat there letting my mind go.  A true time of Sabbath; of rest.  At first I was itching for something to do.  I then stopped myself thinking, ‘what’s up with that?’  I don’t need to be doing something.  It’s a distraction.  I had force myself to literally do nothing.  It’s so important in life that slow down.  Yes there are things to get done and responsibilities we have to our family and jobs, but if we let our busyness run our lives, it will flat wear us down and distract us from the real issues and the important things of this life.

Slow down and take time to let God in.  Don’t let your life get so distracted by constant routine that you even lose site of your faith.  It can happen, trust me.  About a year ago, I was hard charging in my faith journey.  The problem was I was only focused on the ritual (going to church, reading Scripture daily, journaling) and not true growth.  I let life get in the way and for a few months, found myself pulled away.  It took effort to get myself back in focus again and then God’s hands began to work.

We have to make the choice in how we live our daily lives.  Do we let busyness rule the day or do we actually take time to slow down and actually live?  As Eldredge also discussed, we have a thousand small choices to make and those thousand small choices can make all the difference in our lives.  Check your motives and get to understand, even in asking God, what drives your daily life and the busy schedules we keep.  See if your motives are driven by faith or something else.  Understand the motives of your life and take an account of what you do and why.  Don’t waste your life in a state of constant go, go, go.

Check your motives, slow down, and seek the Lord’s guidance in everything you do with full devotion and surrender to Him.  I know that’s easy to say, but once you learn to let go, you’ll begin to realize the things that you were doing that meant nothing and then learn where you should be focused instead.  It’s pretty amazing to feel and see. I’ve lived it and continue living it out everyday.  It’s not always easy as the demands continue coming, but when you can live life not worried about what others think should be done and just on what your Lord thinks should be done, wow!  It’s a whole new perspective on everything.

Jesus – A Most Welcome Disruption

Life takes us on a series of ups and downs.  I’ve written about some of them in my life.  We have those good days and we have those not so good days.  We have times of great joy and times of great sorrow and pain.  With the variety of changes in our lives, we have often come to the point where we have accepted things the way they are.  We accept the circumstances that are dealt to us and take the attitude that either life sucks or the attitude to just make the best you can with what you have.  Either way, we come to accept things as they are and find ourselves in the routine of living for this life.

So many of us have become so complacent in our lives.  We live life for this world and we don’t allow our hearts to be free to live.  We certainly don’t life a faithful life, or rather a life that has a heart completely open to Christ and allowing Him come in and do what it is He said He came to do in Luke 4, heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free.  This week at church, we actually dove into this part of the Gospel where Jesus proclaims His mission in Nazareth from Isaiah 61:1 to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free.  As was taught, Jesus did something when He read this Scripture.  He completely disrupted the religious complacency of the Jews.  He turned the world upside down as He came to disrupt everything that this world had grown so used to.  Religious rules and viewing God as a cosmic sheriff ensuring everything was followed.  The Jews had been waiting for the Messiah to come but completely missed it when He was right in front of them.

Jesus came to disrupt this world from the darkness it had fallen into.  A world that was distant from God and that was separated by sin, by rules and laws, and religious rituals.  He did just that.  When He came and completed His works of laying down His life to defeat sin, raising to life to defeat death and hell, and ascending to the Father’s right hand taking all authority over the heavens and earth, He disrupted everything and the world has never been the same.

We view that and it seems so big story, so big picture.  But what does that mean for our individual lives?  What does Jesus’s mission and His finished works mean for us in our daily routines in today’s world?  Well, when you look down to our individual lives, that’s exactly what Jesus is trying to do now.  He wants to completely disrupt our lives and turn our hearts to Him.  When He does disrupt your life, all I can say is wow!

My life is complete testimony to Jesus’s disruption.  When I finally fully surrendered my life and let Him take control, He began to disrupt and change every aspect of my life.  You want to talk about the year of the Lord’s favor?  2015 has been an amazing year so far.  Jesus came in and changed my heart and changed my direction and set me on a path that will bring God full glory and help lead others to the healing and freedom that Christ offers us if we allow Him to come in and disrupt our lives.

Jesus wants into our hearts, but we have to let Him come in.  We have to be willing to allow Him to disrupt the life we live now, where we are so set on ourselves.  As Jesus says, in Revelation 3, I stand at the door and knock.  He is knocking on our hearts.  Not just tapping away. He is banging on our hearts, hoping we’ll let Him in.

My challenge to you is to open your hearts to the disruption of Jesus.  Let me tell you, when you do, the feeling and freedom is so amazing.  You know longer have to live a life filled with worries and fear.  Not to say things will all be roses, but you no longer have to fear when you just let Jesus take control of it all. Let Him disrupt the flow of your life.  Not with religion and routines, but with with real freedom that draws you to Him everyday of your life.

Welcome the disruption of Jesus.  You will never regret it if you do.

He Will Take You As You Are

I used to worry about the strength of my faith and whether or not it was enough for God to let me in.  From the brokenness and junk I dealt with in my life and some of the decisions I made in my sin and brokenness I used to feel like I would never be good enough to come out of it.  I would try my damnedest to, but I was so caught up in myself, my sin, my wounds, my brokenness, that I didn’t know if there was a way out.  Have any of you felt or do any of you feel this way today?  Well, if so, there is some really good news, Jesus will take us as we are.  Not because of what we do, but because of His grace and love that is unending.  As Paul wrote in Titus 3, we are given new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit because of God’s mercy, not for what we do.

If you study the Gospels you see that nature of Jesus and the many, many times we healed people who came to Him.  The blind, the leper, the lame, and many more.  What did not those that he healed do.  They to Him in faith and Jesus would tell them they are healed because of their faith.

You see, there are many all around, especially in the church that believe you have to get all of your junk in order.  You have to fix yourself before you can come to Christ.  You have to learn how to be faithful first and how to follow Jesus.  You have to learn to be a good Christian and follow the religious code.  You have to clean up your act.

THIS IS WRONG!

Look at those that Jesus healed.  We they came to him in faith, He healed them.  What does that mean?  We turn to Jesus in faith and give our lives to Him and then the healing and the cleansing takes place.  Yes, we have to confess our sins.  You can’t not confess your sins.  If you hide it, you are never going to get away from it and move forward.  What does Jesus say? Go and sin no more.  Turn away from what we done, confess it, and leave it at the cross.  Then you can be set free with a new birth and new life that Jesus came bring.

It’s so simple folks.  Get past all of the religious fluff.  All of the hoops that churches make you jump through to become what they deem to be a Christian.  Just turn to Jesus.  Isaiah 61:1, he came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free.  What we have to do ourselves and know that Jesus loves us.  He absolutely unequivocally, unconditionally loves us.  He loves us so much, He was willing, though he suffered greatly, to be brutally tortured including being hung on a cross to die so that we can return to the Father and have the life we were always meant to have.  With that, if we turn to Him in faith and open the door of our hearts to Him, then through the power of the Holy Spirit, He will come deep into our hearts, help find and confess the sins we have, forgive those that wounded us, and we can then have our hearts restored to a new life.  We don’t have to jump through religious hoops first.  It’s all a matter of our own willingness to turn to Christ and let Him in.  He’s banging on the door, we just have to be willing to let Him in.

I can share this because I speak from my experiences.  Remember I said I didn’t know if there was a way out.  I was stuck behind the stained glass.  Behind the religious fog.  It was not until my mid-30s that I realized that the religion was a part of the problem.  Once I did, I turned from religion, which I despise, and opened my heart to Christ.  It’s unbelievable the revival that has taken place in my heart.  I say revival, because Jesus revived the me that was dead.  I restored me to a new life and I found the way out.  It was right there the whole time.

Folks, Jesus will take us as we are.  I am unashamed of my faith in knowing this now and will teach and counsel on this healing and freedom that is available to us all.  Get past the religious fog and open the door so that He can go to work on your heart.  He’s not even done with me yet.  This journey is just beginning in my new life through Christ.  Jesus took me as I was, junk and all, and He will do the same for you.  Just wait and see what happens when He does.

The Offer Is Life and Life to the Full

The glory of God is man fully alive.  I’ve shared this quote from Irenaeus.  We hear and read often the idea of coming alive.  Being fully alive.  I’ve talked about this on many occasions in my writings.  Even when I didn’t realize this fully, there is a reason that this is on my heart and on the hearts of many others.  It’s because that’s what God is offering each and everyone of us.  Life.  That’s what we celebrate on Easter through Christ’s resurrection.  We celebrate His life, He is alive, and we celebrate the fact that through Jesus Christ we are now offered life and life to the full.  I wrote on Monday about Jesus restoring what was lost.  The simple fact is, that what was lost when man fell, was life.  We fell to sin and death reigned.

What I am writing about today has been on my heart quite a bit lately.  The idea of the life that is offered to each of us, should be choose to accept God’s offer.  I think it’s purely amazing to know that even through all of jacked up things we go through and do in our lives, God loves us enough to still offer life and has been out to restore it from the beginning.  Jesus was and is that answer to our restoration and to life.  If we surrender fully to Him, we can have life.  It’s quite an amazing feeling to fully surrender.  To feel God working in your life when you allow Him to lead.  He truly leads you to being alive.  I’ve felt it.

John 10:10, Jesus tells us that The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  Jesus came to bring life.  Life to the fullest.  We were lost to sin and death and to the enemy who gained dominion over this world.  Jesus came to bring life.  John 11:25, Jesus says, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” Jesus came to restore life.  In 1 Corinthians 15:45, Paul referred to Jesus as the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.  

We all celebrate Easter every year and mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In the modern church today, the focus tends to be more on His death and the Cross.  A very pivotal thing, also because the Cross was needed in order to give us forgiveness and free us from the grips of sin.  In an audio recording I was listening to on the works of Jesus, John Eldredge points out a very significant fact.  To the first apostles, the resurrection was the big symbol of the works of Jesus.  Acts 4:33, “And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.”  They were out to give testimony to Jesus who was put to death to forgive our sins, but raised to life again so that we can be made new and have life in Him.

It’s rather amazing stuff to think about.  The fact that we are made new, we are given new life in Jesus.  That we are dead to sin and alive to God because of the finished works of Jesus Christ.  We need to make sure we don’t lose site of the power of the resurrection.  Not just that Jesus was raised to life, but that in defeating death, we have defeated death as well through faith in Him.  Life was taken away when we fell, but God has always been out to restore us to life.  Romans 6:4, “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ as raised form the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”  Romans 8:2, “And because you to belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you.”

As I mentioned, earlier in this post surrendering to God and allowing Jesus to reign in your life, brings abundant life to us.  In this fallen world, however, we have to work at it each day. We are going to be constantly under attack.  The closer we draw to the life God offers, the more the enemy will attack. “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  We can take great joy in the life of Jesus, though.  It’s through Him that the adversary has been defeated.

Because of this great hope and joy, we can come alive.  Imagine a life where you no longer worry about what the world tells you.  You no longer worry about the every battles.  You just walk with God and follow His lead through every part of life.  It’s the life that Jesus lived here on earth and now lives today.  It’s the life he has made available to us who choose to live in Him.  Come Alive in Christ!

“Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.” – Watchman Nee

An Eternal Love Beyond Anything We Can Imagine

I pray that all of you had a great day on this Resurrection Sunday!  I got to enjoy a great time of worship with my family and my church family.  It was a great day and God gave us a beautiful day to remind us of the beauty of His love for us and what this day means to us as believers and followers of Jesus Christ.  Throughout this day, and the days leading up to it, I found myself reflecting on Easter.  Reflecting on the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the full finished works of Christ.  In worship this morning, we dove into Luke 15 and the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coins, and the prodigal son.  It illustrates for us an unending pursuit for us that God orchestrated and Jesus explained how the Father will go to whatever lengths to pursue those He loves.  That being us.  Everyone of us.  Jesus came to restore what was lost at the fall.

I found my way back to Galatians 4 today where Paul provides the illustrations of Abraham’s two sons, Isaac and Ishmael.  When Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, this was mans attempt to fulfill God’s promises.  verse 23 says, “The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife (Sarah) was born as God’s own fulfillment of His promise.”  All through the Old Testament we see where man continued to find their own way and live outside of God.  God, however, had another plan.  He was, from the outset out to pursue us.  Abraham was just one of the many examples God used to show where He fulfilled His promises and was out to free mankind of the slavery, sin, and death.

Let me back up a little.  Go to Eden, before the fall.  God had given man full domain of the earth.  The only commandment given was not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge.  With Satan’s intervention, man decided to not choose God first, ate the fruit and thus the fall happened.  We were cast out of the garden lost in sin and a world where we no longer had dominion as was intended.  We all know this.  So from that point God set out His plan to restore that which was lost.  To find the lost sheep, to bring back the lost son.

Isaiah 61, the Lord came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free.  We are all broken and have been enslaved by our own sinful nature and wounds.  God had another plan for us.  We were never meant to be this way.  To be lost to our own sins.

What does all of this say to me?  Despite everything we have been through in our lives.  I don’t care where you are or what you have been through, God has a love for all of us like we could never fathom or comprehend.  We chose to turn away from God, but God never turned away from us.  He has always been out to pursue us and the works of Jesus Christ has been the fulfillment of that pursuit.  It is so wonderful to think about.  Yes, God care about each of us.  He loves each of us.  That means you too, no matter where you are.  We can take joy in Christ’s resurrection that through Him we are now dead to sin and alive to God.

Just think about how great this is.  Jesus IS Risen.  He IS Alive.  “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14).  He Rescued us from darkness.  Only real love would do such a thing.  Hell was never going to be the final solution and this is not what God wants for any of us.  He has been out to restore us from day one because of His great love for us.  We have to choose, however, whether we accept this and choose God once more, or take the final act of self-contentedness and refuse to follow.  Do we love God as He loves us and choose to live in the freedom of His love in Christ or do we choose what God does not want for us, which is death?  Me, I choose live and I choose God.

Rest and Renewal

“By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:2-3.  These versus are the foundation of what has been known through history as the Sabbath.  Exodus 20:8 says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” which is one of the Ten Commandments God gave through Moses.  There is a lot of misunderstanding of what the Sabbath truly is and what it was meant for.  Many treat the Sabbath as a day for going to church and keeping holy by going to worship.

Jesus reminds us of an important fact, however, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”  There is a misunderstanding that points to what it means to really keep the Sabbath Holy.  As Jesus says, it was made for man.  How do you truly keep it Holy?  That is by resting.  By taking time to just step away from the busyness of everyday life and to do lists.  Letting your soul rest, letting your spirit rest, letting your body rest, and letting God come in and restore and renew you.  Something we all need.

I’m not advocating staying away from worship and your church families.  I believe this is still an important part of our life and having connections with others in the faith, but we still need to set time for ourselves to unplug from the matrix and as John Eldredge reminded me at his latest Men at the Outpost event, to just think about nothing and let the soul do nothing but rest.

Be honest with yourself, when is the last time you truly experienced a Sabbath in this sense?  Experienced a day where you could just completely rest from the norms of everyday life.  The problem is that in the society we live in today, we are constantly bombarded.  Bombarded with information, with to do lists, and demands.  Think about how many WiFi, radio, and cellular signals that are just filling the airwaves.  Information is everywhere and our society is all about getting things done now, done faster, winning and winning faster (whatever that means).  It is an unrelenting barrage and quite frankly, most of us never take the time get away from it.  Think about it, how much anxiety would you feel if you were told you could not touch your cell phone or any other technology for a day or weekend.  I’ve felt it.  It’s difficult.

This is one big reason why I have just grown to despise the big city.  I literally cannot stand the city any longer.  It is too much chaos.  Too much busyness.  I go when I need to, but the more I can avoid it, all the better.  I know many of you won’t see eye-to-eye with me on this, but it’s just the way I’ve grown to see things.  My wife and I decided nearly 10 years ago to move away from the city and did so, and now prayerfully, eventually will settle into our own land in the country to just give us space and peace.

In “The Holy Wild: Trusting in the Character of God,” Mark Buchanan stated, “Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.”  Our lives need rest.  God gave us the Sabbath so that we could have rest.  Again, it was made for man.  And as Buchanan said, you cannot fully come alive in busyness.  If anything I find that continued busyness pulls you away from life.  It pulls you away from keeping guard over your spirit, soul, and body, and your heart, mind, and will.  You can’t actively engage and walk with God if you are constantly caught up in busyness.  You can’t be fully prepared for spiritual warfare.  You can’t gain the counsel your heart needs.  You can’t have restoration and healing of your heart.  Again, you can’t come fully alive.  The glory of God is man fully alive.”

I think this is such an important aspect of our lives.  Stepping away from the chaos and the constant coming and going.  As John Eldredge likes to say, unplug from the Matrix.  I was talking to one of my brothers at church a couple of weeks back and he shared with me that someone counselled him to take a weekend to just get away.  Even leave his Bible, maybe bring a journal and just get away alone.  The restoration and power of that is so rich and amazing.  It’s something God intended for everyone of us.  Real rest from everyday life.  Real restoration of the soul.

Take some time to think about this.  If you are thinking to yourself, “I just can’t drop everything and get away,” that right there is an indication of just how connected we are to the Matrix.  Trust me, I’ve felt it too,  but God is also stirring in me the need to change this way of thinking.  I need to make it more of a habit to unplug and rest.  Yes, there are responsibilities and things that need our attention, but we cannot neglect our hearts either.  If we get so lost in everything, we can’t watch over our hearts.

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).  I quoted this verse last week, and it’s very relevant.  It can be so easy to lose heart and shrink to complacency.  To just let life run you down, but as this Proverb states, the springs of life flow from our heart.  We have to care for it.  We cannot neglect it.  Part of caring for it, comes from rest and seeking God for restoration, for healing.  This is an offer to every single one of us, but we have to choose whether to accept it.

So again, just think about it.  When is the last time you truly had a Sabbath?  Truly had rest and was able to do nothing and unplug.  I realize that even when I go to the beach as relaxing and wonderful as it is to sit in front of the ocean and watch it do it’s thing, I still don’t unplug.  When I have been hunting, phone is still in my pocket.  Wild at Heart was my first time truly unplugging.  It’s what we need, otherwise, why would God have even made that time.  If He rested, I’m pretty sure we need it too.  Think about it.

Restoration All Around Us

Spring time is upon us once again, well for those of my readers in the Northern Hemisphere at least :).  This is such a great time of year.  The temperatures begin to rise, baseball begins, and we begin to see things come back to life.  We see trees begin to bloom, we see flowers begin to grow.  Green returns.  Life returns all around us.  Restoration has begun.  I was sitting outside the other day as I watched the dogwood trees begin to bloom across from my house and God reminded me the awesome metaphor that Spring is for Jesus Christ.  It is a constant reminder year after year of the works of Jesus and God’s continual pursuit of our hearts.

As I have shared many times before, Jesus offers healing and restoration by our faith in Him.  Isaiah 61 shows that he came to heal the brokenhearted an set the captives free.  He came to restore us.  We all know very well that we are born with a sin nature that covers every part of us.  We inherited this since the fall.  We are born into a world of sin and because of this nature we are in constant war with the world and with ourselves.  We weren’t designed for this sin nature though.  Man chose the world over God.  Adam chose Eve, this brought the fall of man.  Since then, God has been pursuing us to restore us.  He has been after our hearts to restore them to the good they were meant to be.

So I look at Spring.  I look at life returning.  I look at the new life around us and it just reminds me of the beauty of God’s pursuit of our hearts and the beauty of the restoration of our hearts.  All things made new.  The dictionary defines restoration as “renewal; revival; reestablishment” and also “the return of something to a former, original, normal, and unimpaired condition.”  That’s what happens when Spring rolls around.  Plant life is renewed.  The circle of life continues.  Life is reestablished.

Isn’t that exactly what God is doing with our hearts through the finished works (life, death, resurrection, and ascension) of Jesus?  I think so.  We are given a new nature in Christ.  Because of his finished works we are made new.  Our hearts are restored to the glory they were intended to have.  Ephesians 4 tells us to let the Holy Spirit renew us and to put on our new nature to be like God – truly righteous and holy.  Because of Christ, our sin nature is shed.  We can put off the old man, if we choose to drive a steak in the ground and seek His will above ours.

This restoration happens a little by little, every day that seek God and we have to make th choice to do so.  We can’t just walk around saying, “Yep, I’m saved” and then not seek Him for the healing we need just like I talked about in my deeper dive into the stream of deep restoration. Jesus began the restoration of my heart over the past few years, but it wasn’t until I decided to fully surrender that it just completely changed my heart.  Now today, I have to continue seeking Him.  I have to ask God to restore and renew every single day.  I ask for the full works of Christ over my life everyday.  I ask for the the counsel, comfort, strength, and guidance of the Holy Spirit everyday.  I thank God everyday for creating me and choosing me just as he chose all of you before He made the world.  It’s what I pray for everyday now.  I need restoration every single day.  We all do.

Again, we are all jacked up in some way.  God shows me new things all the time that I need His counsel and healing through.  Because of the wound of our sinful nature, we will always have to battle until we come to our full glory with Christ in Heaven and join him at the Wedding Feast.

Just think about all of this.  Look at everything around us as we see new life sprouting everywhere.  As we see the natural world around us become restored.  It’s an awesome feeling to know that God is working on hearts in the same way.  Restoring us to our original, unimpaired condition.  What we, as His image bearers, as his sons and daughters, were always meant to be. Jesus is making all things new and that includes us.  Our restoration begins with our walk with God.  As  Leanne Payne states, “The soul is restored through union with God.”  Walk with Him and seek an intimate relationship through Jesus Christ and He will bring you to restoration.

Diving Deeper – Deep Restoration

Jesus stated his purpose on Isaiah 61. To heal the  brokenhearted and to set the captives free.  If you look at his works one of the primary things he offered was healing. The blind could see, the deaf could hear, the lame could walk, and so much more. He offered healing and the works were a parable to what he offered all of the human race. Jesus came to heal, to restore our hearts to what they were meant to be, but fell from. He offers this healing, this deep restoration still. In teaching the stream of healing, John Eldredge described the stream as the supernatural presence or Jesus within our hearts and his willingness to go into our hearts and heal our brokenness.

We all have wounds within us. They are the result of circumstances or things that have happened through our lives and often times we let it define our existence.  Even those that believe and many across modern Christianity don’t focus on or even teach that Jesus offers more than forgiveness of sin. He offers healing and restoration from our sin and to free our hearts from the bondage that it can keep us in. His desire is to give us our whole heart back. Many do not recognize this or even seek it. I sure didn’t for a long time. I just looked at it as a part of who I was, but never thought to seek Christ for healing and restoration.  Believing and actually seeking his are two different things. The demons in Scripture show they know and believe who Christ is, but don’t seek his offer, yet they fear him.

Okay, I want to take you on a little journey to look deeper in to the deep healing and restoration that is offered in Christ.  As I mentioned, we all have broken places in our hearts.  Jesus assumes this to be the case, that our hearts our broken.  In Luke 4:18, we see that when Jesus begins his public ministry in Nazareth, he reads from Isaiah 61.  Out of all of the Scriptures he could have quoted, he goes for this, which says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.”  Jesus is offering freedom and healing.  He is out to restore our hearts to be whole again as they were meant to be.  As they were before the fall of man.  He assumes we are already broken and has been sent to heal all of us.  That’s the core of his mission.  Yes salvation is critical, but it is restoration of the heart of man to what it was always mean to be and this is a critical piece missed by so many in the church today.

As with the other streams (Walking with God, God’s Intimate Counsel, and Spiritual Warfare), the stream of Deep Restoration, Deep Healing, is something that I never even thought about.  Never thought about getting into the core of my brokenness.  Never even acknowledged my brokenness to any degree.  I just figured I was a wreck in many ways and did my best to either hide those places in me or move through life without letting it take hold of me.  This helped lead to the false self, to addictions and fears, worries and anxieties.  Things that I just started to accept as a part of who I was.  I never sought Jesus through any of this.  I was what many of us see today, a surface level christian, if even that.  Never knowing what Christ had to offer me, I never truly sought Him in any of it.

So think about this.  John Eldredge points to some critical things in teaching this stream.  Look at our lives.  We have places where we have silly addictions whether it be food, collecting things, or any of a number of just off the wall things, we have wild fears and anxieties, maybe the dark or heights or small spaces, we may worry a lot about a lot filled with heavy anxieties.  There are so many things in us that we have, but we never try to get to the root of what causes any of that. Often times, those addictions or fears get so big in our lives that they begin to run our lives.  Again turning to food when we are depressed, maybe turning to pornography or other sexual additions.  You name it, something is there in each of us.  It all comes from our brokenness, but we have to take time to try and get to the root of it.  Why do we have those and can we ever heal from them?

First, the enemy knows us.  He knows our brokenness.  He knows those young places in our hearts.  Where things come up, such as being around family or being called to speak as examples and then we are all of sudden 9 years old again.  He uses those to try to set up shop and keep us in bondage in our wounds.  In our brokenness.  He comes to steal our hearts, to kill our hearts, to destroy our hearts.

Many in the christian faith will immediately say, “Oh that’s sin, you need to repent and ask forgiveness.”  It’s more than that though.  Yes, sin can be a big part of it.  But simply asking forgiveness is not going to heal it.  You have to get to the root of what the issue is, you often have to go way back, because a lot of this stems from wounds we received as children.  You have to go there.  You have to go deeper.  “The great weakness in the North American church at large, and certainly in my life, is our refusal to accept our brokenness. We hide it, evade it, gloss over it. We grab for the cosmetic kit and put on our virtuous face to make ourselves admirable to the public. Thus, we present to others a self that is spiritually together, superficially happy, and lacquered with a sense of self-deprecating humor that passes for humility. The irony is that while I do not want anyone to know that I am judgmental, lazy, vulnerable, screwed up, and afraid, for fear of losing face, the face that I fear losing is the mask of the impostor, not my own!”  -Brennan Manning, “Ruthless Trust”

I’ve always remembered the thing we are taught about being saved.  About asking Jesus into our heart as our Lord and Savior.  I made that profession of faith when I was about 13 and was Baptized.  Being saved and asking Jesus to be Lord of our live gives us the opportunity to now be fully healed.  This is only the beginning though.  How can you be fully saved if you have not allowed Christ in to heal you?  You have to invite him in.  I never did that.  Being so, I was never fully saved or healed.  Again, Christ came to free us and restore our hearts.  To restore us to the men and women we were always meant to be.  So, I had a great deal more to go myself.  Still do.  When I began to get into Scripture daily 4 years ago, the wheels began to turn, but I had a great deal more to go.  I had to learn to really walk with God.  I had to learn to seek Him.  I had to allow Christ into the depths of my heart to surface my wounds, agreements, and sin so that I could finally and fully repent for everything hidden and be healed.  I could finally be restored.  I could finally come alive.

To heal, requires our full surrender.  Our full surrender to God’s will.  To fully trust him and who he says that we are to him.  A.W. Tozer says, “God rescues us by breaking us, by shattering our strength and wiping out our resistance.”  We have to open our hearts to Christ.  To let him in deep within our hearts and pull out those wounds.  I first felt this at in the weeks leading up to Wild At Heart Bootcamp.  When I was spending each day in prayer and felt like God was pulling me somewhere.  He was pulling me first to unplug from the Matrix.  Once at Wild At Heart, I fully let Christ in.  He came into the depths of my heart.  Pulled out things that I either did not want to acknowledge or even forgot about, but had fully defined my brokenness.  Christ took me there.  Then I had to acknowledge them ask forgiveness for allowing those wounds to define me and living in them and then forgiving those that brought me there as well.  Renouncing the agreements I made and bringing the power and works of Jesus Christ between us.  God opened my heart, gave me the eyes to see, and the ears to hear.

Healing is different for each one of us.  God is still doing a work in me each day to pull out those wounds so that I can renounce them and healing from them and be restored.  For each one of us, healing happens in different ways though.  Look at Christ’s work, especially in healing the blind.  He never heals a blind person the same way.  He may touch them, rub mud in them.  Healing is always different.  This parrables the healing we are offered.  We are all unique in our creation and Christ wants to heal us based on our own uniqueness.  We have to invite Christ in however.  Invite him in and pray for healing and restoration of our whole heart.  This is after all what God has been after since the fall of mankind.  He has been after our hearts.  Restoring our hearts to the glory that they once were.  Christ is the doorway to that restoration. He is the answer to it all.  He was nailed to a tree and shed his blood so that we can be free from our sin, from our brokenness.  He was resurrected to conquer death and give us a doorway to restore us to the glory God created us for, and he ascended to Heaven to show that the enemy has been defeated and all authority in Heaven and on earth is now his.  We can now be made fully alive and restore.  When we are healed and restored, we are fully alive.  As Irenaeus says, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”  Come alive and be restored.  Christ is out to set your heart free.  Let him set you free.