Broken

By Jaime Solis

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Do we forget what it means to have Jesus as our Lord? As our God? In those broken hearted moments we are desperate for His comfort, which His scripture promises, but do we actually sense Him far away instead?

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This scripture mentions having a contrite, or CRUSHED spirit, crushed to the point of turning into dust. Have you ever felt as crushed? Have you’ve ever been humbled so low that it’s broken your heart? Have you’ve felt in those moments that you’ve been so alone?

I was 19 years old when my life took a drastic turn. I was doing the average things that my peers were doing at the time; I was in school, I had a job, I had a lot of good friends I hung out with, I was having the time of my life! Slowly, for reasons I couldn’t explain at the time, I started feeling unwell.

My body started reacting scared all the time. The feeling got so bad that I was eventually stuck in my bedroom for 3 months, too afraid to leave my small space. I eventually dropped out of school, lost my job, and lost touch with my friends. I was alone and I remember wondering if this was what the rest of my life was going to be like. I was broken and crushed. My life was just starting and I felt like I lost it all.

It was through this that my relationship with God began. I initially thought that God would want nothing to do with me, but in my brokenness He’s always been there to comfort and carry me along the way.

I think back to these moments often and remind myself of them, because it’s then that I remember that when my heart was broken, Jesus was near. I’m reminded that what it means to have Jesus as our Lord and God is to have a Lord and God that is our friend. Jesus Himself called us His friend in John 15:15, look it up!

I eventually came to find out that I was suffering from anxiety attacks, and the Lord has carried me through it for almost 20 years now..

Know this, that our broken and crushed spirit does not repulse Him, rather, it keeps Him near.

Although I do feel for you if you are experiencing brokenness right now, I also rejoice as I grieve with you, knowing that you are about to experience the nearness of God in your crushed moments.

So, broken heart, have hope, be encouraged, and know that God is a God that is near. Know that God is a God that is your friend.

Defeated

By Jaime Solis (@jaimexsolis)
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Is it really worth it?

Before any type of telecommunication existed, runners were assigned to various groups of the military during a war. Runners were not soldiers armed with heavy artillery; they packed light. Their primary objective was to carry very important messages from platoon to platoon. This meant them leaving the safety of shelters and risk having bullets flying overhead. This also meant enemy snipers aiming and shooting at them, in order to make sure the enemy runner never successfully delivered a message.

All this for a message that was not their own, but of a Commander, giving orders to carry it across the battlefield. They put their lives on the line… for a message.

Paul, also spent the latter days of his life carrying a message that was not his own. The message belonged to God, his Commander, with the message being that Jesus died for the sins of the world so that all may go to heaven! Because he carried this message and spread it out, he lived in a constant life of turmoil. He was afflicted, he was perplexed, he was persecuted, and he was struck down – was it really worth it? It seems defeating.

I ask you, in your perplexities, in your persecution, in you being struck down – is saying, “I am a follower of Jesus”, worth it? I think one of our greatest fears is that we lived our lives being faithful to living a life for Jesus, only for it to feel wasted, since feelings of defeat come around more than those of victory.

Paul though, reveals to us the other side of the hardship, that although he’s experienced affliction, he was not crushed, though he was perplexed, he was not driven to despair, though he was persecuted, he was not forsaken, and though he was struck down, he was not destroyed.

So, defeated heart, as a runner for the Gospel of Jesus yourself, trust Paul as he revealed the other side of the discouraging days, a truth that he found by being faithful. It IS worth it despite the feelings of defeat, because we’ll find that God has been present to hold us up all along.

Uncomfortable

Today’s guest contribution comes from:
Joey Whitney (@joeywhitney5), Pastor, Calvary Christian Fellowship, Baton Rouge (@calvary_br)

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A lot of times we look at those who have done amazing things for the Lord as if it was completely unattainable or God could never use me the way He used that person.

This is completely untrue. It seems as though Joshua felt the same way. He had spent his whole adult life as an assistant to Moses and he had seen all the things that God had done through him. And I’m sure it was a little intimidating with the new job he was given.

God wanted to assure Joshua that, “As I was with Moses, I will be with you. Everything that I brought him through, I will be there to do the same with you. I will lead you, I will guide you. I will be your strength when you feel weak. I will give you wisdom when you need it.”

Joshua was put in an uncomfortable situation. A situation that would push him beyond the limit of what he thought he could do…this is why in the next verse we see God say to him, “be strong and courageous.” It’s not because he already had courage and he was comfortable, it’s because he needed courage and he needed strength because he felt uncomfortable. He was feeling weak in that moment and he needed that reminder.

Often times when we follow God we are put in similar situations where we are put in a spot that we don’t really feel comfortable with. In those moments we need to hear God speak to us “just as I was with Moses, I will be with you.”
God has a desire to use us in ways we would never dream where possible. If we will allow Him. But a lot of times that means He will want to put us in situations where we absolutely need to rely on Him and His strength to make it through so that He is most glorified.

If you are in this situation, allow God to speak that to you today. That He is with you and He will not leave you or forsake you. Lean on Him. He will be your calm in chaos. He will be your strength in weakness, He will give you words when you have none. Trust Him even when you’re uncomfortable and see how He moves!

How God Measures A Man

Today’s guest contribution comes from:
Josh Sorensen (@joshsorens3n),
Associate Pastor, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (@calvarychapelcostamesa)
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Being measured and evaluated is a part of life we just can’t get out of. From the moment of birth, no sooner than we take our first breath, we’re being measured by how long we are, what we weigh, what time we were born. As we grow into childhood we are yearly measured by what percentile we are compared to other children. In school we get stars for performances, grade point averages, and these kind of evaluations continue throughout the rest of our lives.

But how does God measure and evaluate a person’s life? In 2 Chronicles 16:9 it says “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” God is looking for a heart that is postured towards Him. When Samuel was talking to King Saul in 1 Samuel 13:14 he says “the Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart.” Of course he found this person in the obscurity of a little town in Bethlehem, a young, humble shepherd boy by the name of David.

What was it about David that made God take note of his life in such a way? It wasn’t that David had a perfect heart (far from it), or even a big heart, but he had the right kind of heart. David’s life is marked by many failures, but his failures were marked by genuine sorrow, confession, and repentance. He was so desirous to please the Lord that he would turn from his sin and take the steps to keep himself close to God. In all of his struggling, he maintained a heart of worship and an attitude of gratitude.

Today God’s eyes are still looking for this kind of heart. What will He find in our generation in 2020? Is there another David out there? He is not looking for perfect performance, but a surrendered life. Because once He has your heart, He is more than willing to change your heart.

God’s Glory or Our Own Glory?

This week we will pause our journey through Job and read five devotionals from ItIsWell.

The first is from our most recent guest speaker, Pastor Pilgrim Benham (@pilgrimbenham), Shoreline Church (@thisisshoreline).

Some songs have had the power to start revolutions. One of those songs is found in the Old Testament, sung by a group of women who had no clue what their melody would provoke.

Take a moment to read 1 Samuel 18:6-9. As they returned home from the great Philistine battle where David slew Goliath, Saul was receiving glory as the women paraded and praised his accomplishments; but David’s glory was greater. I’m sure kids began playing with slingshots, reenacting David’s amazing and unlikely victory. The people no longer had Saul as their ideal role model for a manly warrior–it was now David. This competition led Saul to his eventual demise.

As humans, we weren’t designed to receive glory but to extend God’s glory! Sadly, the apex result of the Fall is the desire for self-glory. When the serpent tempted Eve, it was with the notion that she and her husband were being kept from something glorious: (see Gen. 3:5). Indeed, when Adam and Eve observed that the fruit was able to make them wise, their restraint out of reverence for God’s command was overridden by their desire for self-glory, so they consumed the fruit.

The same temptation resides within us today. Though by grace through faith we have been regenerated by the Spirit of God and are new creations, we as Christ-followers still have remnants of our corrupt nature. Until we lay this sinful body into the earth, we will be plagued by the flesh and this desire to exalt ourselves above God will continue to haunt us.

Every day is a battle between self-glory and God’s glory. Like Saul, we seek our own fame and put ourselves on the throne, raging against anyone or anything that threatens our luxuries. We fail to truly understand that only the name of Christ is to be highly-esteemed. We forget that Jesus came and died humbly not to bolster the pride of life, but to put an end to it. We must confront our own vainglorious honor with the reality of the cross so we will fear, adore, and worship Christ alone.

May we lay our empires down and yield our lives to enjoy His grace and extend His glory alone!