Jesus On The Beach

Easter has come and gone. I was reminded of this no less than ten times yesterday when I heard and saw numerous ads for Mother’s Day. Overnight, the stores have done away with all things bunny-related and have moved on in their push to get us thinking about the next thing.

Not so fast please. The resurrection is pretty much the culmination of everything we wait for as Christians, so where do we go now? Many settle back in and won’t be seen again until sometime in December. The story doesn’t just stop at the resurrection though… there are some amazing things that are about to happen.

Jesus had previously made Himself known at the tomb and to the disciples as they hid together in the room on Easter night. He “breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). Pentecost is still to follow which will empower them further to go out and witness for Him, but Jesus doesn’t wait 40 days to begin the work. After all, these were his closest friends, his loved ones, and they need help understanding.

So He shows up and speaks “Peace to you!” (John 20:21) because He knows they are in desperate need of it. Thomas doubts, demands to touch the evidence, and Jesus obliges him. It would be crazy to think that they had it all figured out at this point. Their Messiah has risen from the dead, to be sure, but what now?

Soon after, in John chapter 20, we have the story of the disciples returning to their fishing jobs, albeit unsuccessfully. I think they must not have known what to do with themselves, so they returned to what was familiar. Jesus shows up on the shore asking them some questions, and they don’t immediately recognize Him. I almost laugh when I picture Him yelling to them out on the boat, “Do you have anything to eat? No? Try casting the net out on the right side of the boat!” John is the first to yell out, “It’s the Lord!” (v. 7), but Peter, in typical fashion, is the first to act on this news by leaping out of the boat and hurriedly swimming to shore. Once together on shore, none of the disciples dared to ask Him who He was (v. 12), for they knew exactly who He was. They sat on the beach and had a meal together. I imagine this must have been both very comforting and somewhat confusing, but Jesus always has a purpose.

It’s now Simon Peter’s turn. In one of the most touching redemption stories in the Bible, Jesus turns to his beloved disciple and asks him three pointed and specific questions:

“Simon, do you love Me more than these?”

Yes Lord, You know that I love You.

“Feed My lambs.”

“Simon, do you love Me?”

“Yes Lord; You know that I love You.”

“Tend My sheep.”

“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”

Peter was grieved because He said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”

John 21:15-17

Peter has been redeemed. His sins were paid for on the cross, like everyone else’s, but Jesus is personally coming to him and putting to rest an old wound. Jesus knew his friend needed some special attention, and He freely gave it.

The last verse in the book of John tells us the following:

“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”

John 21:25

How interesting. What an incredible time this must have been! Jesus freely revealed Himself to the disciples, He understood their doubt, their hurts, their physical and spiritual needs.

Easter isn’t the end point, it’s just the beginning. Jesus could have just ascended right into heaven and that would be that… but He came back for 40 days. He returned so that everyone could see He actually was alive. He returned to prepare His disciples for what was to come and to commission them to go out into the world.

He returned to sit on the shore with them once again and have a meal.

Don’t let Easter be an end, but a beginning. The power and truth of what happened doesn’t have to diminish as we move into a new season. The 40 days after the resurrection are a fascinating and beautiful time to see and really soak in just how intentional and personal our Savior really is.

While He walked the earth, Jesus asked us to leave everything and come to Him. He shows us now that this isn’t a one-way street… He is back and He is coming to us. He showed up at the tomb in Mary’s grief. He showed up in the room while Thomas doubted. He showed up on the beach while the disciples fished.

These forty days are a reminder to us that our Savior lives, and that He actually wants to make Himself known to us. He could have just commanded us all to believe and gone away. He knows we are feeble and that we struggle, it’s ok. Pentecost is coming, the great commission is coming, and in order to go out and be disciples, we must first understand the magnitude of what just happened.

Happy post-Easter week, friends. Jesus is back and He’s back to stay. The disciples got another 40 days, but we all get a permanent presence through the Holy Spirit. Don’t live like it didn’t happen. He’s patient and willing to walk by our side through confusion and doubt. He most certainly doesn’t want us to remain there though, there is much work to be done. May the resurrection be true and powerful in our lives!

Finished

“Where in your life do you need to know that “it is finished”? Where in your life are you still trying to earn your way, prove your worth, control your future, or get what’s already yours in Christ? What responsibility do you take as your own that was never yours to begin with?

“It is finished” invites you to end all the striving. Today, hear your victor speak those three words over you.

It is finished. That’s the startling truth of the marvelous cross. When we try to add to it, we are saying to Jesus, “Thanks, but I can do this on my own. I appreciate the agony you endured, but it wasn’t quite enough.”

We bring nothing to the cross – but our sin. We owe nothing to Jesus – but our complete adoration.”

Jennifer Dukes Lee

Jesus sat at the last supper with the twelve, knowing full-well what was coming. He knew there was both a traitor and a denier in their midst. I often marvel at the subtle differences between Judas and Peter and their subsequent outcomes.

We look down on Judas and shake our head disapprovingly. Poor fellow, he was just bad to the core. We see his betrayal of Jesus and his selling-out for some silver coins and we are simply appalled – we know how his story ends.

Do we read the story of Peter with any less judgment? He didn’t just shy away from Jesus when the heat was on, he outright denied knowing him three times.

Betrayal and denial. Are they really that different? Does it matter?

I remember being in a Passion Play at Easter when I was younger, and the scenes with Peter and Judas just took the cake for me. The pain and weight of sin was too much to watch.

We must remember and put into practice the finished work of the cross. It’s not a suggestion or a holiday story we talk about once a year… it’s our lifeline. Judas despaired. Peter sorrowed.

Betraying Jesus wasn’t the worst thing Judas did. He utterly rejected grace and forgiveness. Peter’s denial of Christ was indeed devastating, but he allowed Jesus to be what Jesus said He would be: Savior.

Peter didn’t stop in his distress, he allowed Christ to heal it. When Jesus said “it is finished”, Peter accepted that it was indeed finished. Judas saw himself as somehow outside the realm of forgiveness and mercy and wouldn’t allow it.

It was never about the heavy sins… it was about the sinners acceptance (or refusal) of what Jesus did.

Good Friday tells us that “it is finished”. Sin has been dealt with. We’ve all betrayed and we’ve all denied. And so much more. Followers are not free from sinning, we have been set free from it’s power over us.

Do you feel like there are areas in your life where it isn’t quite finished? I think we all have things we hold on to and won’t leave at the cross. Sin is done for. It’s been paid and dealt with. Peter is just one of my favorite people ever. His story didn’t end with his sin, it began once he accepted Christ’s total work on the cross.

Both men felt shame and sorrow over their sin. Judas went to the Pharisees who told him he’d better go deal with it himself. What futility. There is no bigger dead-end than trying to save ourselves. Condemnation kills.

Peter took another way. He felt the pain and sting of his sin, and was convicted by it, but not condemned. Conviction turns a heart around.

This is a day to reflect on the fact that it really is finished once and for all. Sin is done for. Peter responded to grace. He responded to Jesus. He went on to live a big life for Jesus, to the point of martyrdom. He most assuredly sinned again… like we all will. But he was no longer defined by those sins, he lived in the reality that it is indeed finished.

Pray For Them

I’m at the point in my motherhood journey where the cutesy stuff just isn’t cutting it anymore. My kids are in high school and middle school now and that naive, innocent phase, as much as it stings my heart, is over. The world expands more and more each passing year and there’s not a darn thing I can do to slow it down. We spend a huge chunk of their lives shielding them from all the bad stuff, and then suddenly have to make an uncomfortable shift: teach them about all the things before the world does. To say I feel like I’m in a battle for souls is not an understatement.

There’s the natural teen stuff we all had to deal with like friendships and dating, but now we have all kinds of bonus issues like easy-access internet pornography, social media nonsense, and vaping. The quick, 5 minutes with Jesus stuff isn’t cutting it anymore. My kids are at Christian schools and the things they are having to deal with keeps me awake many a night. Even the ‘good’ kids are slip-sliding away into all kinds of gray areas that leave me questioning everything. They are inundated with Biblical truth and walking off into a totally different direction.

My son’s high school had their first suicide last week. I can’t even breathe when I think about it. Kids who he grew up with and have known for years are taking paths that I know they weren’t raised to take. So I cry out to God for an explanation and an answer… what can I do to keep this from happening? I’m a doer. If I can read it to them, type it out, teach it, put it on a notecard, I’m on it. My struggle is that I think if I can just convey the right information to them, they’ll want to choose God.

Today, the Lord just kind of flattened this right out of me… in a good way. I pulled out an old prayer I wrote for them a few years ago and read it out loud. Jesus is their Savior, not me.

This is irrationally hard for me to admit. My marching orders come from Jesus. I can’t control my way to Godly teenagers, but I can guide them and pray for them. Here’s just a bit of what I prayed for my kids today:

  • Give them wisdom to not be unequally yoked in their relationships. Send them friends that will build them up.
  • May rebellion never get a foothold in their lives. Give them a healthy understanding of boundaries and may ungodly things be unattractive to them.
  • Show them it’s ok to be different. May they live supernaturally, not strategically.
  • May they desire holiness over being popular or relevant.
  • May they dwell on the the good things they have and not their weaknesses.
  • May forgiveness, confession and compassion be a part of their daily lives as they learn to receive and give mercy.
  • Give them a vision, a big picture to live for that goes beyond what they can see now. Assure them that momentary troubles are not permanent and that You have good plans for them.

I’m learning that the time to pray is when I least feel like praying. That’s ok. This is an offensive war we are in. Letting the days slip by without giving them the tools they need is my greatest fear. We can’t be ignorant of what is happening to our loved ones or think they are immune from the enemy’s attacks. None of us are. But thanks be to God that He has them in the palm of His hand and we can remove ourselves from the drivers seat.

Perhaps this is what our teens need most: parents with a single-minded determination to follow him. We will not do so perfectly, but our own stumbling progress toward discipleship puts us on the same road as our teens — and what a joy it is to be traveling toward Christ together.

Michele Morin

Traveling the road together is a huge privilege. Scary as can be at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Don’t sit by while the world has it’s way with your kids or anyone close to you… know God’s word and pray it. Shout it out loud. Let the heavens know to whom you belong.

Unintended Consequences

“In the age of #MeToo, where women are encouraged to tell their stories and be heard, where liberals are demanding the public trust women, I implore the nation to hear me out, to trust me.
There is such little tolerance for women on the national stage who don’t agree with the hosts of The View or celebrities who march with Planned Parenthood. No one wants to be silenced, especially women at this time in our history.”

Abby Johnson

She worked at Planned Parenthood for eight years, climbing her way up in the ranks from volunteer to director. After assisting at an ultrasound abortion one day, she realized everything she’d believed about this ‘business’ was a lie. Abby Johnson’s movie “Unplanned” opened this weekend, and in spite of some very dramatic moves to squash it’s voice, it succeeded, pulling in just over six million dollars.

The film received an R rating, though completely unmerited. The reason being that it depicts abortion, something which a teen year old girl could get in real life without a parent, but not see portrayed on a screen. There was of course an advertising blackout for the film, meaning even in theaters where it was showing, you’d hardly know it. The real icing on the cake came over the weekend when Twitter decided to suspend the movie’s account for no apparent reason. Just a glitch, don’t cha know…

The backlash that ensued was something to behold. The deliberate attempt to silence the pro-life bunch created so much hoopla that the movie and the suspension began trending all over the world. In their zeal to control the narrative, the Twitter gods helped the movie’s account skyrocket from a few thousand followers to over 250k people.

Within a few hours, things were seemingly back to normal. Positive reviews of the movie were pouring in, the word was getting out, and numbers were surging. Then last night, more shenanigans ensued when practically everyone who had followed the account discovered that they were no longer able to receive updates from it. Twitter kicked off most of Unplanned movie’s followers, including myself, and we were not allowed to follow them anymore.

Do not tell me this is about algorithms. I momentarily followed Planned Parenthood’s main account and guess what? No issues there!

I can live without Twitter. It holds no importance in my life other than bringing me information. My point is this: censoring and trying to silence your opposition may be their way, but it can never be ours. This goes far beyond a social media platform and right to the heart of who we are as believers.

Paul told us in Ephesians 6:12 that “we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

This present darkness indeed. How else do you explain an entire population of people who go to such strange lengths to protest life? Truly, it is a sobering thing. They get free reign in our culture to put out all the (mis)information they want, freely and without ever being questioned. Every day is Planned Parenthood day in this culture. One little movie comes out that dares to present the other side, and look at this reaction.

Abby Johnson isn’t lying. The folks at PP know that everything she says is true and they can’t handle not being the ones to control the narrative.

Our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood… we have to remember that as we each head out in the world to fight our battles. The enemy lies, manipulates and coerces people into all kinds of things… being a Christian who knows and acts on truth isn’t optional.

Whether you see the movie or not… remember that there is nothing so ‘unplanned’ that it is beyond God’s redemptive love and mercy. Jesus forgives us when we can’t forgive ourselves. He redeems the impossible situation and brings it life.

“Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:20,25



Deconstructing Faith

Yesterday on Twitter, I noticed an author I read a lot of “liked” and commented on a tweet that said the following:

“I’m baffled by folks who claim that scripture is “clear”, “plain” or “black and white.” I mean – are we reading the same book? the Bible is a hot-complicated-gray-muddy-mess with one of the only clear things being the way God feels about His people – and really, that’s what gets me.”

There’s this trendy new thing in the cool kids’ circles of Christianity called ‘deconstructing.’ Like what restaurants do when they want to make your wedge salad look edgy, all the individual parts get deconstructed and placed on their own. A pile of bacon here, the lettuce over there, onions off to the side… you then get to re-construct it as you wish. I find it tedious and the opposite of edgy.

The folks who fashion themselves pretty smart and important have decided that it’s high time our faith gets a deconstruction of it’s own. Times are changing! Who are we to keep these archaic old systems in place? Like the childhood game of ‘telephone’, it’s been decided that the more you try and pass along God’s word, the more things get garbled and confused. Life is really hard, and if you aren’t questioning all the established systems, something is wrong with you. It’s the height of pride, they say to think we could or even should attempt to understand the Bible or take it at face value. Deconstruction offers a system in which we can pick and choose what we leave behind and what we take with us. Life is a journey y’all, and if you aren’t changing with the, you aren’t being true to yourself.

Back to this Twitter quote… the big thing she’s gleaned from the Bible is that God has some positive feeeeelings about His people. That’s it. If you’re convinced the God you serve loves you but is purposely muddying the waters, doesn’t that affect your heart just a little bit?

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: I think we can all agree that there are things we humans will never understand this side of heaven. I’d even say we aren’t meant to. Yes, God is big, we are small, and to say we have it all figured out is just as unhelpful as thinking we can’t know anything. There aren’t formulas to God, and life is certainly not black and white.

We are willfully turning our compass into a stumbling block.

On the surface, this kind of thinking leads to a helpless Christianity. We love Him, and believe He loves us, but what happens when we expect things to stay gray and muddy? They have a tendency to stay gray and muddy! But the entire trajectory of His word, from Old Testament to New, is the revelation of the truth to all people… not just scribes and scholars.

“The unfolding of your words gives light;  it imparts understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

“But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.” Matthew 22:29

When Moses handed down God’s commandments to Israel, they were expected to understand them and pass them down to their children. Jesus always affirmed scripture, conveying that the problem was a failure to believe it rather than an inability to understand it.

Do you see the importance of this? It’s because of our stubborn unbelief that things get cloudy. Here’s a classic example from Jen Hatmaker that I know will annoy some, I don’t mean to bead a dead horse, but I think is extremely important. And more like this is coming down the pipeline every day:

“I just sort of have this dream for the church where it is safe and it is wide and it is generous and it includes all of our voices. For the longest time, the church has essentially had one voice — sort of the white, male voice. I’m starting to realize how much the church is missing when we silence whole people groups, like you’re either not welcome at all, or you’re welcome but not your voice, not your experience, not your life.”

“Wide and safe.” Jesus literally tells us that the path to the Kingdom is a narrow one and that the vast majority are going to choose the wider gate that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). This doesn’t mean Christianity is prejudiced, as she assumes. Can we underline and highlight this please? This is a false argument! I know it’s all the rage these days to talk about how awful we all are in this area, but this rhetoric is poison. Jesus told the people in the previous verses that everyone who asks receives, everyone who knocks will have the door opened to him. The narrow path is open to all who choose to come to Him, but not everyone will. The metaphor of the big wide open table is pulling at everyone’s heartstrings, but Jesus didn’t promote this. A seat at the table comes at a cost.

“Includes all our voices.” The problem with a lot of voices is, well, it’s a lot of voices. Nobody is trying to silence entire segments of the population, but Christians are to be deferring to the singular voice of God above all else and then going out to talk about it. I know that hurts people’s pride and the need to be heard or adored or popular… but God’s voice first. Not Jen Hatmaker or the well-meaning Bible study lady or the guy at Starbucks. This yearning she talks about to be included and heard would naturally shift to something infinitely better if she’d allow God to do the talking first. We want to go share the Good News, not our latest hot take on why that news is problematic.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow Me.” John 10:27

Our Creator has never un-friended or un-welcomed us and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Your experience and your life matter to Him. Yes, churches have been unwelcoming at times and that goes against God’s Word and character, but don’t confuse the issue and expect everyone to welcome your unrepentant sin to the party. Our SIN is not welcomed and never will be. It does not get a place at the table because it spoils the feast.

“If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” John 7:17

Jesus says that we have to first want to do God’s will. He is absolutely capable of handling our questions, doubts and even our sin, but we have to take them to Him with the expectation that He has a solution. Do we really want to hear what He has to say? Or are we aiming for the approval of the masses? Doubt isn’t a sin, it’s not the same as unbelief, but given enough oxygen, it can become a monster. It leads us down weird paths and convinces us we need to ‘deconstruct’ something we may have never correctly understood in the first place.

Our journey isn’t ever static, we will go through change and doubt to be sure. God’s Word is stable and unchanging, but also very much alive and active through us. It may seem like a contradiction, but there is plenty of room on the narrow path for anyone who chooses to take it. Walking with Jesus on that path opens our eyes to greater truths than any human could ever conjure up.

And look at this ridiculous salad for heavens sakes… someone please put it back together.



The Real Deal

“The challenge before us then, is not merely to do what God says because He is God, but to desire what God says because He is good. The challenge is not merely to pursue righteousness, but to prefer righteousness. The challenge is to get up in the morning and prayerfully meditate on the Scriptures until we experience joy and peace in believing the “precious and very great promises” of God (Romans 15:13, 2 Peter 1:4). With this joy set before us, the commandments of God will not be burdensome (1 John 5:3) and the compensation of sin will appear too brief and too shallow to lure us.”

John Piper

While driving around with my boys yesterday listening to the news updates of the day, we heard a commentator joke that the level of ‘shenanigans’ happening is reaching epic proportions. It seems like someone has yelled “every man for himself!” and declared the ship to be sinking. From the absurd to the downright illegal, the insanity is really out on display. I realize selfish scrambling is nothing new to humanity, but sometimes you just hear these stories and think “seriously folks?!” It reminded me of the verse in Hosea that warns, “they sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind” (8:7). Lots of whirlwinds swirling about.

Tricked into thinking the wages of sin are something other than death, we keep falling for the same old tricks. This was our car question yesterday: If we know God’s ways are truly best, why don’t we just follow them? Here are some things we came up with:

  • God’s way is best, but it usually isn’t the easiest.
  • Sin usually looks so much prettier than it really is.
  • We know a lot about Him, but we don’t actually know Him

It’s not for a lack of knowledge that we choose to do the things we do. We just aren’t fully convinced in what He says. Our wills are strong. There’s a disconnect happening. Psalm 34:8 tells us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” When you want someone to experience just how great a book or movie was you tell them to go read it or watch it. When you have something delicious at a restaurant, you say “here, you have to try this!” It’s the same thing with Jesus. We have to actually prefer Him over everything else. How beautiful to get to a place in life where you only want what He wants because you trust in Him over everything else.

I love this verse in 2 Corinthians:

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (11:3).

Paul is warning against over-complicating things. There’s a simplicity in Jesus that the enemy wants to do away with. Eve got all tangled up in this: “Did God really say that? He didn’t really mean it. You can do better…” The rest is history.

When we live out of our feelings and our intellect, God is sometimes God and sin is sometimes sin. We shape it and make it into whatever suits us at the moment.

What if we took His “precious and great promises” at face value, and believed that they were freeing instead of burdensome? Sin would remain exactly what it is, God would be exactly who He is, and we would reap the benefits of being exactly where we need to be in that whole mix: submitted to Christ as our authority and source of all that is good.

God can be a chore, He can be our “plan B”, or He can be our absolute joy and daily bread. We think obedience is burdensome and hard, but life any other way is downright impossible. Look around a the news headlines and all the “shenanagins” coming out from the woodwork… what a tangled web we humans are capable of weaving.

What if we started seeing relationship with Jesus as our blood-bought privilege instead of one more thing to figure out? What if we listen when He calls, take heed when He warns, obey without excuse when He commands, and love how He loves? I think the world is longing for Christians like this. People who demonstrate freedom instead of bondage, clarity and stability over wishy-washy lifestyles, life over death.

Why would we choose anything but Him?

“How little people know who think that holiness is dull.  When one meets the real thing . . . it is irresistible.  If even 10 percent of the world’s population had it, would not the whole world be converted and happy before the year’s end?

C.S. Lewis

Let’s go be the real thing.

Branded

Do you remember Saturday mornings as a kid? I loved waking up early before anyone else, pouring a giant bowl of sugar cereal and parking myself in front of the TV for a solid two hours of cartoons. Not to worry though, after those two hours were done, we would spend the rest of our day outside burning off all that sugar and finding ways to amuse ourselves.

Times have changed. Now we wake up and reach for the glowing rectangle that is never more than an arms length away. Saturday mornings are for scrolling. After ten minutes on social media this morning, I am happy to report that I know no less than five families who are currently vacationing in Hawaii. I wonder what money tree these folks planted to be able to take ten people to Hawaii, but I digress. Mostly, I wish I was in Hawaii too. Enter the inspirational pictures to make me feel better. Feast your eyes on these beauties:


Meh. I don’t feel better. Everything about me is actually not wonderful. If I was living for myself I for sure would be in Hawaii right now. Also, if I were ‘enough’ my house would look a lot bette than it does at this moment. Fix it, Jesus.

These ‘influencers’ are making my head spin. That’s what we all are now, didn’t you know? Our whole purpose in life is to ‘influence’ people we don’t even know. Not for the betterment of them mind you, but for our self-gratification. When Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” He wasn’t just making a suggestion. In order to live, we must die to everything that is not of Him. What does that mean though? Do we not get to have any fun in the meantime? Do we have any say in this?

Jesus is not interested in obliterating the personalities of those who follow him. He does not aim to fill the kingdom of heaven with clones. He aims, rather, to renew our new self “after the image of its creator” — a creator who is not a bare unity, but a glorious unity of Father, Son, and Spirit. When we lose ourselves, we do not simply get a new self, increasingly radiant with the glory of our Maker. We begin thinking about ourselves less and less. We begin to discover that we become most us when we forget about ourselves and become consumed with him. We will discover that we are happiest when we care least about how unique we are, or what sort of personality we have. We would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God, gazing upon His face, than hold a mirror to our own in the tents of wickedness (Psalm 84:10).

Scott Hubbard

I think this hits at the heart of our struggle: our obsession to be seen and known by all the wrong things. How can we gloss over the fact that the Creator of all sees and knows us far better than anyone ever will? That’s a big deal. Even family members who love each other dearly can’t always fulfill this promise. Do you know what this means? It means that we don’t have to rely on human systems to fulfill what God promises to fulfill. When others let us down, it doesn’t crush us. When we let ourselves down and realize we aren’t ‘enough’, we don’t feel condemned to keep up the charade.

The ‘influencers’ are just as messed up as the rest of us, they just have fancier smoke and mirrors, which, as we have seen, can fail pretty easily.

This headline is sad to me. A 19 year old girl based her whole existence on a ‘brand’ that was eviscerated overnight. Nineteen years old. What were you doing at 19? Most of us were just beginning to figure out who the heck we were. I was learning through both success and failure. How thankful I am that I didn’t have it all figured out. She’s a product of parents that put her at the center of her own little universe and it’s all a huge sham. Friends, none of us should base our lives on such things. You are not a brand any more than you are your degree or most recent award. Romans 1:21 says that the further we move away from God, the more futile we become in our thinking. This is futility at it’s finest.

Before we crow too loudly over people like this, let’s remember we are all in the same boat here. Spend a day with the fam at the local amusement park, take a group of kids to the mall, attend a sporting event… watch how quickly things can devolve. It’s every man for himself because our default buttons are set firmly to ‘me’ and ‘now’. We need Jesus. Not the Sunday-only kind of Jesus that puts a smile on our face for an hour, but the Jesus that comes and washes away all of us until what’s left is so infused with Him, we can’t tell where we end and He begins.

It is no good trying to be ‘myself’ without Him. The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. In fact what I so proudly call ‘Myself’ becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop.

CS Lewis