Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: Victory (page 1 of 2)

5 Promises For Your Battle

5 Promises For Your Battle/

I bet we could use some good news right about now.

Need a little relief.

Ready to make camp somewhere far from the battle grounds of life.

What if I told you that we have more than just deliverance from whatever battle we’re in right now, but that we have freedom that comes from someone taking the champion title for us years ago.

That there’s a powerful difference between the two.

And that we just need to believe it and live it.

When I heard speaker and writer Christine Caine preach that very thing at Passion 2016 a few months ago, it was like a huge curtain of deceit had been pulled away. The enemy would love us to think in terms of deliverance from this one battle we’re in, in the moment… and settling or wishing for immediate deliverance, instead of realizing the full potential of the freedom already given us.

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The Great Mending

Ever been broken-hearted?

I’m sure we all have been at some point or another.

But I’m not talking about being stuck in traffic and missing that concert you waited for all year, or finding out that your favourite pizza shack closed up out of the blue, or alas, your team never made it to the Stanley Cup. Again.

How about a gut-wrenching heart breaking?

Some of you know the feeling of your heart being nearly, irreparably, wrenched into scraps… books and blogs and statuses and therapy groups are flooded with the evidence of heartbreak.

We don’t like to see people with broken hearts and crushed hopes. We prefer to see them mended and whole.

Restored. Healed. Alive.

Never did anyone want to see all of humanity mended, like God did.

His heart broke over our decision to override His precautions in the garden, and then override every commandment and every law meant for our happiness and benefit, and our questioning of every move He made from that point on.

His heart broke at the captivity and abuse and a growing love for evil. Bad choices, bad attitudes, bad legacies like a fast spreading virus. The tide needed to turn.

But how does one mend an entire world’s eternity spun out of control?

Seeing as He’s God, He already had a plan for the Great Mending.

And I read the accounts of the crucifixion in the gospels, and it’s rife with the suffering of the perfect Son of God, procuring the greatest mending there ever was.

And the enormity of it continues to blow me away.

Man was washing our hands of Him, and He was preparing to go the extra mile in spite of us.

And so the Great Mending takes place on a hill called the Place of the Skull.

Already the stench of death sets the scene.

The tool of the Great Mending in the shape of a cross, a torturous and vile execution.

And His perfect Son, blameless, to become the payment made for all our faults, around the world, for all of time. Combine the weight of sin he’d never carried before, with the weight of gravity pressing down on each stake driven into tender, loving, flesh and you have an altogether new kind of heartbreak.

God’s heartbreak over us caused Him the heartbreak of turning His back on His Son.

Heartbreak upon heartbreak.

The Great Mending caused the most terrible suffering.

I know we think we know. How it must have looked. How it must have all went down.

Thorns crushed into the head permanently. Lashings that opened everything up. A massive trek under a massive beam. Hatred thrown at Him. Denial around Him. Betrayal in spite of Him.

Spikes, crude and pinning. Gravity pulling.

For our eternal souls return, he endured. For hours that had never ticked by so slow. Without God’s presence to see Him through.

If ever there was suffering.

I’m reading, and weeping, and I decide to look deep into that word, suffering. It would seem a certain word for suffer is always used in the gospels and New Testament when referring to Christ.

For example, Luke 24:46 which says, “And He said to them, ‘ Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day…”

This is the Greek word, pathein.

And it means to suffer, to be subjected to and experience something awful, to feel more and more worse-off.

And it is the same as our word suffer, which comes from two words in Latin, sub- from below– and ferre – meaning to bear.

This clutches at my heart this Good Friday.

Because you can’t get much lower than causing an innocent man to bear such torture. You can’t get much lower than the gates of hell imposing the whole vile execution on the holy Son of God.

And God allowing it.

This is where I often stop at the cross.

He allowed it. There was no battling it, for He knew of only one way to rescue us. To bridge the massive gap. He allowed it.

How often do I read the words in Gethsemane and marvel. Jesus asks if it’d be God’s will, to take the cup of suffering from Him. And then accepts His task.

Just like that. That wouldn’t have been easy.

But the motivation for this kind of acceptance, and this kind of sacrificial love? It too stems from the “pathein” version of suffering which verbally is tied to the Christ.

Because one of the derivations of pathein, is our word ‘sympathetic’.

I sit quietly in the early morning and I allow this fact to sink in.

Our God was sympathetic to our whole plight. It powered His unconditional and sacrificial love. And in my head I knew it, but this needs to really lodge in my heart as well.

And His Son? He accepts the role. He’d just spent 30 some years, looking into faces that seemed empty and lost. Touching those who’d been looked down on. He’d looked into eyes so haunted that it’d compel Him to reach into the supernatural over and over to heal them, to free them, to teach them, to raise up, to calm storms, to feed thousands, to remove bondages. One by one.

And it was never going to stop…. unless He stopped it.

There was never supposed to be such suffering.

So He becomes suffering’s ultimate solution.

He suffered with us.

He suffered for us.

He suffered because of us.

This would cover everything. The greatest mending of all time.

And Christ was perfect for it. Literally.

This is the kind of pathein love that goes to great lengths to bring us out of captivity.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Good Friday’s good news.

And it was good. It was the beginning of the cycle of victory.

It was the beginning of the end of death’s hold.

Good Friday was the day of Great Mending

Maybe you’ll stand in the shadow of that cross with me.

Maybe you’ll pray alongside of me;

“Lord, Your Marvelous act, Your Great Mending, allows me now to enter into Your presence. A gift and a feat I never would have ever managed in a million years You managed in six hours one Friday on a hill, on the Cross. Because when You looked ahead, You saw the heart of man, lost and helpless, and You wanted us free.
Lord, I pray Your death and resurrection anchors my freedom daily, and that I don’t waste Your Precious gift.

I’m overwhelmed by Your Great Mending, and Your great love for me… then… and now.”

I think we can all lift eyes and hearts with an amen.

Good Friday is only the beginning. A journey to a powerful victory on our behalf when we never deserved it.

Grace, and Mercy, and Love, and Resurrection be yours this weekend, dear friends.

We can go forward from the Cross.

Holding on tight to the greatest mending there ever was.

Hope Is Now

To say I’ve been anxious for spring is an understatement.

For weeks I waited for the thaw in a bit of an agitated state.

It wasn’t coming fast enough. It wasn’t turning warm enough. The birds weren’t heralding LOUD enough.

Could everyone in feathers just herald a little louder, please???

The arrival of Spring should be this delightful exhale, a shaking off of all that is winter. Rebirth at it’s finest. Uplifting.

And instead, hoping for its arrival was making me impatient and short-fused and agitated and moody.

And Spring here in Ontario is never a soft, sure, definite process anyway. It strolls in one day looking promising, then teases us with dismal flurries scattered around till May… this does not help my state of mind.

Or is it a state of heart?

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The Inevitable

Well, it was bound to happen. Inevitable really.

The holiday thrusting extra stresses into the daily coping. The extra excitement bringing a mad sort of pressure with it, waiting to explode without warning, but ending up more like a not-hesitating to implode slowly from within kind of event.

And yes, you had a wonder-filled Christmas, or holiday. And yes, the love flowed, and the memories were made, and the giving knew no bounds, and the blessings were everywhere. But on top of that was a mountain of planning, and running, and waiting, and forgetting, and wrapping, and building, and smiling till your face freezes.

And eventually the slightest breeze threatens to snap your wholeness like a twig, and you’re down for the count. (Love mixing metaphors, love it.)

I call it The Crumble Down Effect.

And it’s what happens when you literally crumble down into a heap, and can’t think, can’t move, can’t respond, and can’t function.

Here’s what it feels like. Maybe you know it all too well.

Can’t think.
The brain, it can’t retain any more info, nor will it retrieve it at whim. I can’t answer your questions today. Your words, no matter how many times you say them to me, will not register. See that glazed, deer-in-the-headlights look? I can’t think of how to even BE today. If you approach me even one more time, I won’t just run for the hills, I’ll run for the hills, and collapse, while I scream. ‘Cause my brain won’t know what to make of any of it. At all. Zero processing. Numb. So numb, I won’t even be able to explain it to you this way at the time. That’s numb, people.

Can’t Move.
The body won’t go if the brain is paralyzed. Period. Since I can’t think, I can’t know if I can even leave my room, my bed, my house. If I do move, it’s in a fog, it’s in reaction to other stresses, and it’s out of the instinct to get low. To wait it out. To avoid another single person who might make my helpless brain hurt. And if you make me, you’ll see the Crumble Down Effect in effect with your own eyes.

And it won’t be pretty.

Can’t respond.
Kind of covered this with the whole disabled brain thing, but if you persist in dogging someone who is suffering with this, their brain will ignore it, and then be completely overwhelmed by it. So ask all your innocent questions about where the coffee got put away, how many times the dog’s been out, or when the next week for carpooling starts, but you’ll get a frustrated stammering response that sounds a lot like anger, or anxiety, and you’ll notice that your simple question becomes this complicated journey to an eventual “I… just… I… don’t know… right now… okay?”
Brutal. Brutal for the person in full-blown CDE, and brutal for the one who brings it to a head. Just warning ya.

And lastly. Can’t function.
I realise I look like something the cat dragged in after wrestling with it for hours first. I know I’m supposed to be doing something and that people need me. I know I’m just figuring out that a whole day has gone by. But that’s what the Crumble Down Effect does. You’re immobilized. Debilitated. Stuck. And it might look like I’ve watched 12 hours of t.v but trust me, I haven’t seen any of it, and it’s because I couldn’t move. It might look like I’m hours on the computer, but I’m not engaging, I’m not anything, I’m just darting mindlessly through who knows what, because it won’t register. You may not ever see tears. You may never hear anger. But it’s because none of it works right now. So despite what you see, know this….
I’m not functioning.

The Crumble Down Effect doesn’t just hit people like myself, living with Dysthymia or other mood/mental disorders. It can hit anyone who has been pushed to their limits, been asked too much of, has had too much required of them, emotionally, physically, spiritually… I see it in moms who go, go, go for the three weeks leading up to Christmas, then suddenly fizzle out, only to find themselves in a mysterious state of meltdown. I see it in people who lived 24/7 at the office or shop, then suddenly get a day off, and the weight of the employment world can’t be carried another day, and the simplest thing triggers a spiraling into anxiety.

It can happen to anyone.

But it’s hard when the Crumble Down happens to someone who manages a mood disorder. Because once that heaviness rolls in, you have a much harder time getting it to lift than the average person.

And regardless of your faith, and its status as strong or fiery, or weak and wobbly, and regardless of how healthy you are, or how many extra vitamins you popped, and how much sleep you get, it can build and build without knowing it’s coming.

And when it hits, you had better have warned a loved one that when the inevitable happens, they just need to trust that when you can, you’ll tell them what you need, and not before.

And that they’ll just need to understand how hard it is in the meantime. That prompts, and incentives, and positive little quotes will not coax you out of your dysthymic crumble. There’s no magic trick, or special chant.

That you just need to be. That’s all.

And as a believer, I have something unshakable for the times things are shaky. I have to fully know and trust, and stand on the unmovable promise from my Covenant God, that He never lets me Crumble Down so far that I can’t get back. Because He never leaves me or forsakes me. He never lets me remain in the pit. Tossed on a raging sea of depression without the Life Preserver. And never is there any condemnation or shame in the meantime. Because inevitably He desires to see restoration flow through every ounce of our lives in Him.

You restored me to health, and gave me back my life” Isaiah 38:16b

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong and do not fear’; your God will come,  with divine retribution He will save you” Isaiah 35:4

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

Have you ever noticed that a constant theme through the Bible is “do not be discouraged”?

Really think about that for a minute. The Father, our Soul-ution for every thing we will ever come up against, weaves for us a thread of hope. Of real Hope. A command and a promise for our battered souls. For when the Crumble Down Effect threatens.

Do not be discouraged. He has you. Isaiah describes Him at one point as the good shepherd who not only herds His sheep but carries them as lambs, against His chest, up close to His heart where they can hear it beat, and carries them where they’re safe.

So, go ahead and crumble. Does that shock you? Take today, allow it to be just you, in pajamas, with the phone off the hook, cease your striving, stop the stressing running rampant through your mind, and wait. Wait without guilt. Wait without shame. Know it’s time.

Wait for the Good Shepherd to come back along the impossible path, and pick you up, and press you to His gentle Shepherd’s heart, the one that beats in perfect time with yours, and carry you to better ground.

The inevitable Crumble Down Effect can’t touch Him.

He knows exactly what you need at all times.

He created it so that He’d always be the answer if we let Him.

Look for those strong arms. They’re reaching for you every time you think you’re going down, child of God.

It’s inevitable.

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