Defenseless But Defended

I have no defense but I have a defender #christian #lionofjudah #christianinspiration

I want to be good.

I want to be objectively a “good” person, and sometimes I wander into a headspace where I think I am. Based on my own measurements, I am “good.”   

I measure against my perception of others, I measure against who I used to be, and I measure against my own definitions. 

So when an accusation comes, an accusation that I am less than good, less than holy, less than righteous, less than perfect – I balk. I rally the defenses. My mind becomes filled with reasons I measure up to some concept of “good.”

I rail and I cry and I pound my fists against this injustice and finally, because I know it is the only place to find the peace I need, I fall to my knees and I let my Father tell me how it is.

And he takes away my measuring tools. He reminds me HE is good.  

For my own concepts of what is good and right, I can mount a defense. I can reframe and pile up evidence and create a list as long as my arm for why I fit the definition.


But I have zero hope of measuring up to Him.

I am completely defenseless. I fall so short of the standard, short of what humanity could be, short of what I could be. There is an enormous gap between myself and my God, a chasm between what I am and what is good.

I am defenseless. 

But I am defended. 

Jesus stands in the gap, lays over the chasm. When determining my righteousness, I won’t be measured, my “goodness” won’t be measured – He will be measured instead. His righteousness will be credited to me.

The mountain of defense, the reframing, the pile of evidence, the list of why I am good – these might as well burn. They would never be enough.

I don’t need them. I don’t need anyone to think of me a certain way. I don’t need proof I am “good,” I don’t need to defend myself against any accusations.

He is enough.

I don’t need a defense.

I am defended. 

It's All For Nothing, The Voices Say

A poem about dying to self #christianpoem #poet #poetry  #eternalperspective

It’s all for nothing

The voices say.

It’s all for nothing anyway.

The pain remains

From what has passed

The moments of peace

They fail to last,

It’s all for nothing, the voices say.

When you finally reach the end,

You’ll leave the same as you began.

It’s all for nothing, the voices say.

And you’re lucky to hear them,

To see the meaningless here then.

Much is for nothing, you say.

The scraping, the striving, the scavenging and buying,

Much is for nothing, you say.

You sell all you have for the one thing you need,

And you pour out the proceeds on your savior’s feet,

And you leave as you came, naked, empty-handed,

But the best thing can’t be taken, now that you have it.

Much is for nothing, you say.

FIND MORE POETRY HERE

Dear Kid: I Hope People Don't Like You

I hope you aren't everyone's cup of tea #christian #parent #writing

Every day I watch your character develop. I watch as you try on different personalities, as you try new ways of speaking and acting and being. 

I have a front row seat to this show – a front row seat to the singing and dancing and wardrobe changes. I am witnessing a real life character arc taking shape.

You're discovering what kind of son you will be, what kind of friend you will be, what kind of man you will be.

I have hopes for that man - I hope he will love Jesus, I hope he will be kind, I hope he will be happy. 

And I hope people won’t like him.

I hope you rub some people the wrong way. I hope you are not everyone’s cup of tea. I hope the very core of who you are irritates at least a few people.

Because I want you to be you, and you can’t be you without ruffling feathers.

You can’t be real without rubbing a few people the wrong way.

You can’t be authentic and be everyone’s cup of tea.

You can’t be you without irritating somebody somewhere.

See, it’s possible to spend decades on this stage without ever saying your own lines, for the lights to dim and the curtains to close without you ever singing your own songs. It’s possible hide behind masks and painted-on smiles and brilliant costuming. It’s possible to make a lot of people think they like you without anyone ever really knowing you.

I don’t want that for you. I hope you are known. I hope your songs are heard. 

I hope you run around this stage of life being your whole dang feather-ruffling, spicy tea flavored self. 

I hope some people don’t like you.

A Retelling of Jael

Scroll down for the written lyrics!

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A few things I found interesting in my study of Jael but did not include in the spoken word:

  • When Joshua died, the Israelites had not yet taken the promised land. They cried out to God to ask who would fight for them against the Canaanites and God said the tribe of Judah would lead this fight. As part of describing the movements of Judah against the Canaanites, Judges says the Kenites (Jael's people) left the City of Palms to join the men of Judah near Arad. So not only were the Kenites allied with the Israelites, they also moved with the very men tasked with fighting the Canaanites.

  • Scripture says Jael covered Sicera with a "Semikah" when he lay down. The Hebrew word is translated as "mantle" or "rug" or "blanket" or "curtain" or "coverlet" or "cloak" or "quilt" depending on the translation. It is the only time this word occurs in the entirety of scripture. It is called a "hapax legomenon," or just "hapax" for short, when a word only occurs once within a context. (This was fun new info for me!)

  • Most assume from the text that Heber took his metal working skills to the Canaanite side and told the enemy King about Israel's plan to attack for self serving reasons. However, Deborah prophesied even before this that God would lead Sicera's army to the river Kishon. When Heber tattles about the plan, heading to the river Kishon is exactly Sicera's response. Much like the actions of the traitor Judas, Heber's betrayal played right into the plans God already laid.

  • Midrashic sources contain more tradition about Deborah and Jael both. I haven't dug into these much yet, but I found a couple of interesting things. One speculated that Barak may have been the husband of Deborah. Another holds that Jael was an incredibly beautiful woman and speculates that Jael may have slept with Sicera prior to killing him in order to make him tired. There is a phrase in the song of Deborah (Judges 5:27) which some Hebrew scholars believe leads credence to this speculation. I may or may not get a chance to look further into other sources on our girls in this story, but if you get into it - share what you find!

Lyrics:

When Joshua died, a succession of judges marked peace in between periods of oppression for the people of God.  And during that time, Israel spent 20 years under the heel of King Jabin the Canaanite and his 900 iron chariots ready to fight under the mighty warrior Sicera.

Israel endured twenty years of tears under Jabin the King before God answered their cries and Deborah said bring me the warrior Barak - And she, Deborah, the leader, prophet & judge said "Come. Gather ten thousand men and God will give Sicera's army to your hand."

But Barak was afraid, or he didn't trust enough, or a bit of both, but he just wanted Deborah the judge to go with him.  He wanted her there to be sure of his victory.  The prophet agreed but she prophesied that because of this - his insistence she come along - the honor song would not be his  and the enemy commander Sicera would fall dead, not to his hand, but to a woman's instead.  So Deborah went. And an army ten thousand Israelites strong prepared to meet Sicera's troops at the Kishon river.

Now a man, Heber, was of the tribe of the Kenites who'd been allied with the Israelites since Moses married the daughter of the Kenite Jethro years and years before.  The Kenites were metal workers see, and you remember that Canaanite King Jabin?  He had those 900 chariots of iron.  So the other side of this coming war might have more need for a metal worker like Heber.  

And in what might just have been one of the earliest instances of war profiteering, this metal worker Heber, this Kenite, left his home for the enemy of the Israelites and cozied right up to King Jabin of the Canaanites.  And he tattled - he told them the Israelites were coming for them and he pitched his tent.  He picked his side.   

And with him was his wife Jael who we will find was not quite of the same mind as her husband.  Maybe she didn't approve of his new friends.  Maybe she'd been an Israelite who'd just married in.  Maybe she felt loyalty toward the people she'd lived among her whole life.  Whatever it was, this wife of Heber's was not a believer of him.  Though her tent was pitched on the side of the Canaanites, Jael's heart was with the Israelites.

But Sicera didn't know this.  So when Barak and his ten thousand laid waste to Sicera's army of men and Sicera abandoned his chariot and fled, he thought he'd be safe in the tent of Jael, wife of Heber, the King's friend.

"Come with me," she said "Come my Lord. Come right in.  Don't be afraid."  And she let him lay down, gave him cover.  He said "Stand at the entrance, don't tell another soul I'm here and be a dear and get me some water?"

She brought him curdled milk and waited as he drifted off to dream world and then Jael the tent dwelling wife of the Kenite Heber looked upon the sleeping leader of Jabin's enemy, perfectly exposed, thinking he's with a friend and she drove a tent peg right through the hospitality rules of the nomads and through the temple of Sicera where he lay on the floor.

And when Barak came by looking, Jael was waiting "Come," she said, "I'll show you the man you're looking for."

Do You Want To Be A Real Boy?

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Do you want to be a real boy?

Don’t give 50 people strings to hold,

To pull you in 50 different directions.

Don’t dance to the most stylish rhythm,

Or sing the everyone’s-doing-it song,

Or bathe in the praises of puppets,

Or win races you don’t want to run.

Don’t paint on one single expression,

Pretending joy, faking happiness, beaming confidence you don’t have.

Be imperfect. Because that’s what you are.

Because real boys are never perfect.

With their embarrassing moments,

With their hurtful mistakes,

Because real boys hurt people sometimes with their imperfections,

And they don’t rewrite it, or reframe it, or pretend it didn’t happen,

They feel it.


Do you want to be a real boy?

Listen to your own thoughts.

Not the should’s but the wants.

What do you want?

How do you feel?

Listen.

Know the spinning wheels in your mind,

Know the cause of every spine tingle, every bubble of anger,

Every choked down tear, know your own self.

Do you want to be a real boy?

Be with people. Not to impress them,

Or to get something from them,

Or to impress someone else,

But to know them.

Because life is short and not worth a single moment if you’re nothing but a porcelain doll on a string.

I hope you’ll be a real boy -

Offering yourself to other real people - and even fake people,

People who need so badly to be real.

Because real boys help others cut their strings,

Wipe off their painted-on emotions,

Hear their own thoughts,

Break through the porcelain to the vulnerable skin beneath.

Do you want to be a real boy?