Fast Repentance: Taylor Swift, Peyton Manning and Jesus

For some time now, I’ve been wondering why believers and accepters of the free grace provided by Jesus the Messiah spend so much time worrying about their sin and feeling like they don’t deserve to be children of God. Instead, they try to be gods of justice over their own lives and come up with lots of reasons why they shouldn’t be forgiven and why God’s offer of love and forgiveness couldn’t be true.

I remember watching my late Grandfather say to the evangelist at the small, country church where his family worshipped, “I’ve done too many bad things for God to love me. Sorry, I can’t come forward.” Of course, to me, Pa was every bit as good as anyone in that church, but something was holding him back. I believe now that it was the voice of evil trying to rob him of God’s true forgiveness paid for by the death of Jesus on his behalf. And the fear he had of giving up control of his life to someone other than his own ego. Eventually, my Pa overcame that fear and received God’s grace and forgiveness. But many believers continue on in “unbelief” after their conversion.

“Your sins are forgiven, go and….” These were some of the most common words that Jesus spoke during his ministry on earth and I believe that still holds true today. That’s why I believe in Fast Repentance. We are sinning, broken creatures and the Trinity knew that pattern when the plan was devised for us to grow and become more whole over the course of our lives.

Many times we cower in the corner afraid that God is going to see us do something wrong and be completely shocked and amazed. Really? Jesus was and is still in the Forgive and Go business. Esteemed Christian psychologists Walter and Ingrid Trobisch said that we spend so much time thinking about our sin that it becomes inevitable that we are going to commit the same sins again. Our brains work like that. “It is like driving at night. When you look straight into headlights of the oncoming car for fear of crashing into it, it is very likely that you may do just that;” they wrote.1

Famously, Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the village well to go and tell folks what had happened. It is in the going that we find healing. It is in the telling others about Jesus knowing everything and yet loving and forgiving us that builds our hearts back to wholeness. Again, the Trobischs wrote, “The more you get away from your own self, the more you think about others and occupy yourself with other interests, the less you will turn around yourself, and the temptation will be reduced.”2

Slow repentance becomes a form of self-indulgence and control that keeps us from surrendering our hearts and desires to God. So many of our addictions are based upon an illusion of control. “Our addictions are not to alcohol, drugs or pornography but to control,” writes David G. Benner in his book Soulful Spirituality: Becoming Fully Alive and Deeply Human.3 We try to control our domains and our lives instead of surrendering our brokenness and “un-wholeness” to God. Our sin becomes a security blanket covering our weakness and we hold onto it rather than giving up control of our lives to our Creator.

What should fast repentance look like? Actually, like the quarterback who forgets his bad throw on the previous play to focus on the next play in order to succeed for the team. Jacksonville Jaguars v Denver BroncosPeyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of American football, often talks about forgetting what happened in the past play or sequence of plays, or even the previous game, and moving on to the next play or the next game. “You have to shake it off and move forward,” he said.

And the lyrics to the top popular song by Taylor Swift gives us encouragement to “Shake it Off”. Some might ask if I’m being trite in my treatment of this topic by using a song to describe fast repentance. I would remind you that we are talking about disobedience to the Creator. It’s sin. There is nothing sacred or holy about our sin. And the point is to not dwell on our sin, but to say, “I’m sorry, dear Lord.” And ttaylor-swift-shake-it-off-video-2-2014-billboard-650o move on to helping someone else or taking the focus off of me and putting it onto God and others. The song says, “I shake it off!” I am not bound by sin. I’m free.

 

In John 8:1-11 we read,

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Wait a second, Jesus. This woman was caught in adultery. She’s going to need to be on probation for a few months, so that we can see if she is really sorry about what she has done. Don’t you know anything about church discipline? is what most any church leader would say in contemporary times.

How long did it take before the followers of The Way began to add to the message of Jesus? Those First Century Christians had seen Jesus interact with folks. They had heard him say, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” The echo of those words must’ve resonated for some time. The Apostle Paul talked about forgetting the past and leaving what was behind. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote repeatedly about the need for humility, submission and surrender, and the illusion of position and prestige.

It is clear that Jesus was not bound by a “one size fits all” philosophy when it comes to healing or growth. With some individuals, healing was instant. With others, Jesus would send them with specific instructions to put mud on their eyes or to wash themselves in the river. He even said that healing was synonymous with saying, “Your sins are forgiven.” So, it is possible that you would not find fast repentance to be God’s way for you. My goal is to observe the ways of Jesus ahead of following the patterns of others. As Paul reminds us, “It was for freedom that Jesus set us free. So, don’t let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1.

Shake it off and go. 

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1, 2      Walter & Ingrid Trobisch. My Beautiful Feeling: Correspondence with Ilona. Downers Grove, IL, USA: InterVarsity Press; 1976: 119 pages.

3          David G. Benner, PhD. Soulful Spirituality: Becoming Fully Alive and Deeply Human. Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Brazos Press; 2011: 191 pages.

Sin’s Lingering Effect

 

There is an unsettledness that comes after we sin. If our hearts are most at home or we are most human when we are seeking God and responding to God’s calling, then it would follow that when we turn our back on Him we would feel uncomfortable and disjointed.

Once we have encountered and connected to God via the Gospel and the sealing by the Holy Spirit, we begin a journey of becoming whole, complete and at peace. Life begins to make sense in a way that it never had previously. So, when we wander and look for life in the created world rather than from the Source and Creator, our new roots are disturbed and we are shaken. Is my world going to crumble? We may ask ourselves why we are not feeling secure. We consider if we should return to the patterns of survival we had chosen in the past. Evil and our old patterns of survival and shame would call to us to avoid contact and conversation with Perfection – the One we had betrayed.

Yet, the Holy Spirit reminds us that chaos will ensue if we wander. Our restored home is with the Creator and Savior and we are an unmoored boat without a slip without God.

Photo by P. Vankevich.
Photo by P. Vankevich.

And the Spirit also calls to us saying that forgiveness is our “re-birth right” given to us through the crucifixion of Jesus. Repentance can be fast if we are willing to open our hearts to God and confess our weakness. We live in a fast-paced society and if we are un-hinged, we lose connection with our purpose and focus. The lack of focus and direction gives rise to a treacherous momentum toward confusion and hopelessness. So, restoring our relationship and re-focusing our hearts is critical to our survival.

I refer you to my post on Fast Repentance (coming soon) for help in restoring your relationship with Jesus.

The Intentionality of Love

March 3, 2015

If we want to grow in love, we might need to plot and meditate on how we want to love those we encounter. It has struck me recently that the hardest area of growth for me is showing love when I’m surprised by an opportunity or encounter. Even though we love someone from a volitional and intellectual standpoint and want to bring wholeness to a person’s life, our response emotionally to an unexpected situation can look like criticism, indifference or even rejection.

So, how do we learn to show love to those we truly love?

For starters, we have to develop patterns of behavior that come from a strategic and rehearsed place of consciousness. The idea that we will naturally give or receive love is not likely or is, perhaps, naïve. I had this reality come crashing in on me recently.

I returned home one day after a meeting and some errands and my son asked me to come to the garage to see how he had put away the case of bottled water that he purchases each month. When he proudly showed me his work, I responded by pointing out that he had put all of the bottles on one side of the refrigerators_freezers_general_use_3763shelf in the refrigerator, which pulled the shelf loose on one side and was pressing on the drawer below. His face saddened and he was crest fallen saying, “I just wanted to show you that I had put them all away.” He was looking for a “well done” and I gave him a “poorly done.”

My heart sank, too. I tried to recover with words of praise and explaining my comments, but the damage was done. I had wounded him. And I had learned a valuable lesson. Of course, this was not the first time that I had done this. But it was the first time that I had grasped the gravity of what I had done. And I also shared the story with my wife.

Later that day, my son invited me to the garage, again. This time I was prepared. And he was, too. Perhaps even more proudly this time, he opened the refrigerator door and showed the perfectly balanced shelf of bottled water. “Twelve on each side and the grease jars in the middle,” he said.

I smiled, and said, “Great job!” We fist bumped and then hugged. It was a sweet moment. We savored the experience and went back inside the house. He smilingly shared with his Mom the “twelve and twelve” good deed he had done.

We discussed later how God had given us a “do-over.” We don’t always get a second chance to restore love and acceptance. In fact, it is rare. But, it allowed me to rehearse how I should’ve responded initially and how I’d like to act in the future. I have often shared the principle that solitude is the furnace of transformation. And the corollary is that we need to prepare in advance to do the right thing.

The more we practice love and the more our hearts are connected to our actions, the more likely we are to do the deeds of Jesus.

“For God’s Glory…”

One of the ways that we often end our prayers or conversations in a church-related meeting is with the phrase that we want to do everything to God’s glory and not our own. It seems like a selfless and humble thing to say. It is an acceptable platitude, but what does it mean? If we examine our intent or search out our motives, how can we ever know if we are succeeding in what we say is one of our deepest desires?

First, let’s remind ourselves that we ARE the glory of God. In Genesis 2:7 we read, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” With that singular act, we were given the very essence of God’s glory, the breath of G5049161418940014od. We live because of God’s actions. This changes the question from, “how do I live for the glory of God?” to “how do I live who I am and who I was created as?”

 

We are told this in our post-gospel readings in the New Testament, too, when we are told that we are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. As such, we are restored to our created state of living as the glory of God. Our calling is to make a space for God to dwell. God has chosen to reside in us and to be the indwelling glory to shine through our lives.

So, what does it mean to live who you are? This should be a cause for meditation and for the reading of God’s Word with a slightly different perspective. Perhaps we can ask God to reveal to us how he means for us to show the glory he has put in us. Can you accept this? You are God’s place (topos tou theou). You are the place where God has chosen to live. You might want to meditate on the thought: I am the glory of God. And see what that does to the concerns of your life. Might this change how we live, what we think about and how we battle against the thoughts that would rob us of this reality.

In his last days on earth before his arrest, Jesus said that he was going to prepare a home for us so that we could be with him forever. In the meantime, he promised us that he would be with us through the Holy Spirit. Using the most basic of metaphors, Jesus assured us of his oneness with us. We are his dwelling place and he is our dwelling place. We can deny this (Peter), but Jesus will come back to us (Peter) and restore us and remind us what we are.

So, I remind you today, brothers and sisters, that You Are the Glory of God.

Excluding or Including

I’ve been reading, from time to time, a diary that Henri Nouwen kept while he spent several months living in a monastery in upstate New York. The book is titled “The Genesee Diary” and it is not unlike other journals and diaries that Henri published or that were published after his passing on to glory. Like many of us, our deepest questions are sometimes answered in the most common of readings and experiences. It seems that the Holy Spirit enlightens our hearts and minds when we are not expecting it. That is, if we have trained our hearts to listen or are open to hearing.

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So, this was on an ordinary Tuesday that the Spirit spoke to Henri as he had been reflecting on the writings of the desert fathers from the 4th Century and, no doubt, examining his temporary life in a monastic order. His insight or “revelation received” gave me an answer to a larger practical, yet theological question this morning. Perhaps it will provide some guidance to you as well.

“In the writings of the desert fathers there is much emphasis on renunciation and detachment. we have to renounce the world, detach ourselves from our possessions, family, friends, own will, and any form of self-content so that all our thoughts and feelings may become free for the Lord. I find this very hard to realize. I keep thinking about distracting things and wonder if I ever will be “empty for God.” Yesterday and today the idea occurred to me that instead of excluding I could include all my thoughts, ideas, plans, projects, worries, and concerns and make them into prayer. Instead of directing my attention only to God, I might direct my attention to all my attachments and lead them into the all-embracing arms of God. When this idea grew in me, I experienced a new freedom and felt a great open space where I could invite all those I love and pray that God touch them with his love.”

Praying for you today that God would touch you with his love.

What do you expect God to do? Part 1: Respond

If you are a person of faith or a person of prayer, you must’ve asked that question in your conscious or unconscious mind at some point. And if you are a person who reads the Bible or listens to others read it in a house of worship or in your own house, you may wonder what should you expect to happen after you read a few or several sentences in one of the books of the Bible.

Just this morning I read Psalm 106:1-5 in the October 21st liturgy entry in “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” (Claiborne, Wilson-Hartgrove & Okoro) and I was struck by what I was reading. Even more, I was thinking that these verses were a prayer or song directed to God when they were originally written, and that I had a choice in my own heart as to whether this was my prayer, my spoken words to the Holy Spirit. Or, I could just mindlessly and heartlessly read them and go ahead and finish the whole liturgy for the day. Do you ever do that: Read something of profound value without any engagement whatsoever? Do we expect that through some mystical operation we will derive some benefit from silently mouthing the words of Scripture? Thus, the bigger question: What do we expect God to do?

First and foremost, we should expect God to respond. At the most basic level, it is fair to expect engagement from God if we have engaged with the words we are saying/thinking that are addressed to our Creator. Now, do you wait for a response?

Let’s look at the prayers that I read today. This is verse 4: Lord, remember me when you show favor to your people. Help me when you save them.

So, if you said that to a friend, a parent or a sibling what would you expect in response? Maybe a quick, “OK,” or perhaps a “got you covered!” would be fine or perhaps a more in-depth, “You are one of mine, so, yes I’m going to save you when I save all of my children.”

Would that be a fair expectation? Does that seem too casual for God?

Jesus and Thomas by Caravaggio (1602)
Jesus and Thomas by Caravaggio (1602)

Or would any of those sound like the resurrected Jesus when he said, “Put your finger here (in my side),” to Thomas in response to his indirect request for concrete evidence that the same Jesus who was crucified was now alive.

Don’t you think it is fair to expect that statements, conversations and requests that are recorded for our benefit in the Bible should be actionable for us today?

And Thomas wasn’t even in the same place with Jesus when he made his request. And it was a random request that didn’t follow any liturgical framework or Jewish tradition. [the painting was by Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio whose works I have used before]

And Thomas’ response to Jesus’ response was worship. Not surprising either. So, I would suggest to you to try expecting God to respond when your words are heartfelt and expressive of your true desires. Listen for his reply. Give some time to the conversation as you would anyone else in your life. Expect God to do something. I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Look for “Part 2: Offer a new idea” at this same site next week.

Redemptive poetry from John Donne

I was an English & American Literature major in college. And one of my favorite courses was in Renaissance Poetry. There was a freshness and romantic tenor to many poets of that time. John Donne who was a metaphysical poet and a pastor in England was my favorite.

He wrote beauty and truth painting a picture for his parish and followers. Here is one such poetic description that gives us the picture of redemption:

There we leave you in that blessed dependency,
To hang upon him that hangs upon the cross,
There bathe in his tears,
There suck at his wounds, and
Lie down in peace in his grave,
Till he vouchsafe you a resurrection, and
An ascension into that Kingdom, which
He has purchased for you with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. ~ John Donne (1572-1631)

The Other Love Chapter

Too often we label things for convenience and it ends up undermining impact. I think that is true of different books and chapters in our English Language Bibles. We categorize I Cor. 13 as the love chapter and Rom. 12:1-2 as the commitment verses when just the opposite could be true.

While 1 Corinthians 13 is more like an argumentative essay convincing us that love is the best approach in matters of faith and community. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I can’t remember if I’ve ever tried to decide between love and speaking in tongues or prophesying, but I’m sure I’ve chosen selfishness over loving many times. Upon closer examination, I’m surprised at how much play chapter 13 has received over the years as the headline on godly love. Truly, it uses such “insider” language about technical church business that I would’ve thought it a distraction to non-church folk. I guess those simple adjectives in verse 4 are a strong enough catch phrase that they carried the rest of the chapter into their wake.

Meanwhile, Romans 12 is much more about how we actually “do love” and put it into practice once we decide it’s a good idea. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve memorized verses 1-2 of this chapter and thought there was nothing else important in this chapter. I thought it was about “renewing my mind” and thinking more “Christianly” about social, political and marketplace issues. I’m embarrassed, as I’ve realized that I’ve been missing such practical and life-giving teaching available for the Holy Spirit and I’ve been skipping right over it. It’s about the transformation that occurs as the Spirit transforms our minds AND hearts. I’m not saying that chapter titles are evil, but they’re not inspired. And it is not surprising that the new Bibliotheca project looks like a success. It reminded me of doing manuscript Bible study where there were no chapter and verse delineations. And certainly there were no book or chapter titles!

Read these words from Romans 12, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (ESV)

I’m just thankful that on a recent morning when I had nothing to read during a coffee break that I pulled out my iPhone version of the Bible and read Romans 12 and was captivated by the words of truth that I could live by today. “Weep with those who weep…, Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.” Sound like Jesus. Sounds like love.

 

Emotions and Our Spiritual Life

jpegSome of our most common questions are about emotions. As we share in small groups or one-to-one, on some of the daily struggles we face as we live “in the Spirit” or attempt to “walk in the Spirit,” we often struggle with feeling up or down or sideways! We start our days well, but a word or a glance or smirk can turn us around or throw us into chaos and essentially, “ruin my day.” What is that? Why does that happen? I’m not a psychologist or professional counselor. And I’m not pretending to be here. I do know that we often, in the words of the title of Dr. John Townsend’s book: “Hiding From Love – How to change the withdrawal patterns that isolate and imprison you”, cover up what we are feeling and how we are responding to the people and situations in our domains or life settings. Instead of engaging, we often withdraw and in so doing we ignore or repress things that are true about ourselves and how God made us. And we cover up some of the ways sin and fallenness have broken and short-circuited us.

This has come up in a couple of conversations that I’ve had recently and it’s been on my mind. So, I was struck this morning when I read this from my friend, priest and psychologist Henri Nouwen (this is from “Bread for the Journey” from Henri Nouwen Society):

The Dynamics of the Spiritual Life

“Our emotional lives and our spiritual lives have different dynamics. The ups and downs of our emotional life depend a great deal on our past or present surroundings. We are happy, sad, angry, bored, excited, depressed, loving, caring, hateful, or vengeful because of what happened long ago or what is happening now.

The ups and downs of our spiritual lives depend on our obedience – that is, our attentive listening – to the movements of the Spirit of God within us. Without this listening our spiritual life eventually becomes subject to the windswept waves of our emotions.”

Of course, this is not the complete answer to my question above, but it does give us a key. We can not expect to be be stable and balanced (in our brokenness; while still on earth) if we are not “listening” to the Spirit’s voice. A.W. Tozer says that we must go to scripture as a story, not as an encyclopedia. And to God as a person not as an abstract entity. That all becomes a part of our listening.

Hiding from Separateness

Both Nouwen and Townsend talk a lot about how we look to others to be something that is impossible –> being God for us. This shows up in a number of ways. Townsend wrote, “Our second major developmental need is to become a person with will, boundaries, and an accurate sense of responsibility. This is our need for separateness. Our need for separateness can be damaged by relational experiences where either we say no to taking biblical responsibility for ourselves or we say yes to taking unbiblical responsibility for another person.” Townsend goes on to say that the fear we have in separateness deficits is that being separate will cause abandonment and isolation. The prospect of setting boundaries strikes terror that we will be forever alone. And it is that fear that Jesus wants us to bring to him. He can and will be God for us. He can be our home and protection.

In the title track of her latest album “Desire Like Dynamite”, Sandra McCracken sings: “Sweeping it all inside with dynamite…” Our desires, our emotions are very powerful. They can control us. As we understand and take ownership of the person God is making us into, we learn to live in community with our identities from the creative hand and voice of God. We receive the voices of those with whom we journey as what they are: fellow travelers. No more and no less. Brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. Yet, there is one voice that we listen for above all the rest. It is the voice of the Spirit who stirs within us a life of freedom and joy in the midst of whatever challenge life might bring us.

So, I remind us to cultivate a listening ear and a listening heart that receives God’s words that he has “crowned us with honor and glory.” He is the only one who can give us all that we need.

Testing My Heart of Faith

There are times when I (we?) feel good about how I’m doing in my walk with God. I feel as though I’m listening to God’s voice and making sincere effort to follow His commandments. It is a comparison game that my own self-centered hearts get’s me into. You know, I haven’t yelled at anyone in the last week. I’ve been listening well and being fully present with those I’ve encountered. And I’ve tried to be honest and not deceptive in my work.I’ve been friendly to my neighbors.
Comparison in our own minds is a dangerous endeavor.
It distracts me from doing what I need to be doing. I’m in essence patting myself on the back for having received some measure of grace, but somehow thought that it was of my own doing. How self-diluted of me. What’s the corrective in these situations when I’m giving myself of good grade? Reading any word from God’s Word. The Spirit has a way of using a word of truth to break down our walls of self-centeredness. I’m not talking about the times when we hear the voice of the Father say, “Well done.” Or an echo of God from my fellow travelers who appreciate me and the acts of kindness I do. I’m talking about when I’m operating from the false self, not the true me. The I’ve got it all together false pride from some kind of score keeping that I do.
That’s what I was doing this morning when I was reading the June 26 entry in “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” that was put together by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove a few years ago. And the Spirit took Psalm 119: 136 and pierced my gut with it. Here are the words the Psalmist wrote:

My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.

“When have you done this? “ the Spirit asked. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that, I thought. 
That’s the kind of testing of my heart that God had for me today. It was eye-opening and heart-awakening.