Defuse the Time Bomb In Your Life

It’s time for healing.

Phyllis and I had a memorable experience about eight years ago when her heart, like the children of Israel, began to murmur.

Actually, it had murmured for a long time because the problem was a heart valve that was not quite right from birth. Since she’s a bit over 30, it had beat quite a few times and was wearing out.

Nice French surgeons replaced her heart valve with a valve from a calf. It has worked well. The only secondary effect she’s had is that when she burps she goes, “moo!”

Well, that’s all true but the “moo” part.

The truth is that she had a “time bomb” inside her chest and if she hadn’t had the valve replaced she might be dead now.

A hurt from the past.

Lots of us have “bombs” inside. They hurt and they change the way we live. Those pains from the past indicate something in us that must be dealt with if we’re going to live without limping.

Our pains from the past come from all kinds of sources—Secret abuse. Poverty that makes you feel less than someone else. Broken relationships. Comparison. Parent’s anger turned towards us. Parents living out their life through us. Parental clashes. Family disasters—job losses, major sicknesses. Racial prejudice.

Often it’s an inferiority complex that doesn’t seem to have a definite source. Many are born feeling this way.

And words! A friend was raised by her grandmother. She often heard, “You’re going to be just like your momma!” That wasn’t a compliment.

Nothing New

I don’t think these interior bombs are anything new. The more I study the life of King David the more I think there was something in his childhood that was painful. Some speculate that he was an illegitimate child (Ps. 51:5).

When the prophet commanded David’s dad to present his sons, he didn’t even call for David (1 Samuel 16:11). Why would he leave him out? His dad overlooked him as unimportant or maybe shameful. His oldest brother seemed to despise him. (1Sam 17:28-30). Did his birth bring shame on the family?

Some people react to rejection by living out the low opinion that others have of them. Yet David did the opposite. Shepherding wasn’t the most respected job on that society’s totem pole but David became the best shepherd he could be.

Everything he did, he did with excellence, with all his heart. God’s hand was on him and he became the “shepherd” of a nation. He led that nation to heights they had never known.

Everything David did proved those who doubted him WRONG!

Ticking Bomb

That “time bomb” within him still ticked, though. And it eventually went off. Why would a man with too many wives steal someone else’s wife? Was he still searching for that love that his family never gave him?

Was that part of why he still loved his wicked son Absalom desperately, even after the arrogant young man tried to kill him and take his throne?

David was an incredible poet, musician, warrior and statesman. When you read some of his psalms, though, you suspect he may have struggled with depression.

How about you and me? Do we ever struggle with deep-seated pain from long ago?

How do we stop the hurt? Ostentatious materialism tries to cover the shame of the self-made man who grew up dirt poor. We shower stuff on our kids so that they can have what we didn’t have, but wanted.

Depression. People-pleasing. Looking down on others. On and on the negative solutions to pain continue.

What is God’s solution/healing for this?

First, see the problem. We don’t need Dr. Phil to tell us. The Holy Spirit probes deeply in us and shows us what He finds.

The we deal with it in God. Ground zero for David was his relationship with God. That’s why he didn’t fear Goliath. That’s why he acted in faith all through his life. David fell on his nose numerous times, but he always got up and dealt with it before God. Devour the Word. Pray. Pray with a prayer partner.

We need to realize that this may be something we battle our whole life. That’s not necessarily bad. We prefer a “one zap” healing and God does that sometimes.

Often, though, He does an “over-time healing.” I’ve noticed that there are victories that I win once for all and others I must win once every day. I prefer the first ones but I probably grow more through the “once every day” victories. By these, we understand different facets of what’s hurting us and they allow us to help others who are where we’ve been. Often that hurt we felt inspires us to do something to help those who hurt like us.


Some victories I win once for all and others I must win once every day.


John Piper said, “(Jesus) turned (Peter) around and forgave him and restored him and strengthened his faith. And now it was Peter’s mission to strengthen the other ten. “And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

“Jesus provided for the ten by providing for Peter. The strengthened becomes the strengthener.”

Get help. Talking does help if you talk to the right people. Some are expert at defusing bombs. If you’re like me, write! My brain flutters like a batch of butterflies but writing down what’s going on inside helps me. Sometimes when I can hardly pray, I write my prayers. Sing! God doesn’t mind if your singing sounds more like braying. He comes and maybe He even sings with you.

Make a plan and follow through. Some get counseling and it does no good because they say, “Yes,” then continue to live the way they always have. Allow God’s Spirit to change you. Make it a priority.

Refuse a mediocre life or a life of hurting others. Believe that God is healing you.

Disarm that bomb and enter into the abundant life the Lord gives.

Hmmm —

“A transition doesn’t have to be a crisis, unless we want it to.”
Seth Godin

Worship With An Undivided Heart

How many times have you gone to do something and as you were going you remembered that you needed to do something else? So you turned away to do that thing on the way to do the first thing and as you were going to do the second thing you remembered a third thing you needed to do, which you did. By then you forgot what you were going to do at first and then, well, it’s kind of confusing, isn’t it?

That’s why Internet is such a rabbit hole. We start looking for one thing and there are so many colorful butterflies flittering off in all directions–that we’re like the cowboy who jumped on his horse and rode off in all directions chasing them.

Hang on to that thought.

A United Heart?

This morning I read something in the Bible and I thought, “What in the world does that mean?”

“… unite my heart to fear your name.” (Psalms 86:11b—ESV) “Unite my heart,” what’s that about? Is my heart broken into pieces?

I think the NIV makes it clearer: “…give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” When my heart is dispersed in ten different directions, like I when I can’t remember what I was going to do at first, I don’t fear the Lord like I should. I don’t respect Him.

He’s not first in my life as He should be.

A divided heart loves the Lord but loves several other things as much as it loves God.

Loving Good Things

And they’re not necessarily sin. Lots of things vie for mastery in my heart: the Lord, family, work, sports, cookies, ice cream, money, church, people’s opinion of me, politics, television, Internet, etc. You add your own. It could be a person.

None of these is sin, unless they swell and take that central place that belongs to the Lord Jesus. But when that happens or when all of these things have equal value with the Lord in the way we spend our time and resources, we begin to lose respect for the Lord Jesus.

God-respect keeps our life centered. We desperately need it.

How Do You Know?

How do you know your heart is divided? When my grandson Matthew was little we played hide and seek. He ran to his room and hid. He was afraid I wouldn’t find him so once or twice I hear a “Woo, hoo,” coming from behind the door. In verse 12, God gives us a “woo hoo” to let us know the answer to my question. “I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” (Ps. 86:12 PDV 2017)

When you’re not thankful, you’re feeling entitled and you’re not getting everything you think is due you, you get mad about it. You’re probably suffering from a heart divided among lots of things. When real worship is hard for us, our heart is probably divided. Worship acknowledges that God is first and most important and that we’re not the center of the universe.

And, as I said, when you don’t respect the Lord as you should, your heart is probably divided.

How Do You Get Jesus Back At the Center?

Repent.

The Ephesus church was full of hard-working, clean-living Christians. It’s just that their fervent love for the Lord Jesus had hardened into religion and they were in danger of losing their relationship with God.

They thought they could replace tears of love and commitment with doing a bunch of stuff and judging those who didn’t live up to standard.

Put yourself before the Lord. Is your heart divided? You love the Lord Jesus but you’re not passionate about serving Him. You’re passionate about politics. You’re passionate about Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and good restaurants. You’re passionate about your family. A person. Or your job. Or the Green Bay Packers. (Notice I didn’t say the Dallas Cowboys.)

All that is good but anything that keeps Jesus from being first in your life is an idol. Nothing claims equal billing with Him. God says to this Ephesian church that outwardly seems to have it all together, “But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall!

“Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.” (Revelation 2:4, 5 The Message).

Is your heart united or divided?


Hmmm … “Whoever defends himself will have himself for his defense, and he will have no other; but let him come defenseless before the Lord and he will have for his defender no less than God Himself.” (A. W. Tozer, the Pursuit of God)

David Porter combines 50 years of ministry in North America and Europe with a humorously serious outlook on life. His passion is a spirituality that acts in daily life. You can subscribe to this blog or make a comment by sending an e-mail to davidscoffeestains@gmail.com

Let God Redeem Your Hurt

My oldest son, Steve’s first teaching job was at a school for abused children. Leadership told him, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Some of these abused children grow up to be abusers themselves.

Trying to save a drowning person could get you drowned.

We’re often dangerous to others when we are hurting. You men, when your wife is pregnant, agree with her. She’s dangerous. If she says 2 + 2 equals 10, you reply, “I always thought that.”

Don’t tease her about her weight or how she walks. If you do, you deserve what happens to you.

Agree with her. She is right. Always!

Everyone Deals With Hurt

Every one of us has been hurt. No exceptions. How you react to that hurt or brokenness determines a large part of the quality of the life in our heart and between our ears.

I don’t think the goal for those who love Jesus should simply be healing from hurt. We need to live from a place of redeemed brokenness. Are you living out of your pain or God’s work in that pain, redeeming it and changing it into a vessel of blessing?

When you live out of your unhealed hurt there is:

–A constant low-level pain. We can’t forget what happened and it eats at us. We lash out to protect ourselves or to get even. The people we strike at aren’t usually the people who hurt us. Anger!

–Constantly a “limp”, not from a healed wound but a hurting wound. When I was a kid I stepped on a thorn and pulled it out. I thought. The foot remained sore and got infected. Finally mama “operated” and found the head of the thorn still in the foot. When it came out I got well.

–Our vision of the future is colored/compromised by the past and our thoughts are constantly drawn behind us instead of living in the moment and hope of the future. If we’re not careful our hurt becomes our identity and without it we don’t really have a reason for living. It we’ve suffered a great loss, a period of mourning is natural and healthy. But one day we begin to live again. There will always be a scar but scars are healed hurts.

It’s different when God touches you life and you begin to live out of “healed hurt”:

–There is understanding. “I’ve been there. I’ve hurt like that. Still do sometimes.” I can minister by identifying. The word compassion comes from Latin. It means to “suffer with.” A healed hurt gives you the ability to understand and identify with another’s suffering.

–There is power. I believe God’s power that healed us stays with us and we can use it to heal others, especially those who go through what we are going through. I went through a terrible experience when I was a teenager. More than once as a pastor, I’ve listened to people tell me about going through the same experience. I was able to counsel with the word that God gave me and pray with real fervor because I felt their pain. There is connection.

–I think this hurt is parallel to the Cross. Jesus identifies with us because He was there. I felt He spoke to me once from Isaiah 53 and said that when I hurt He felt the very same pain that I feel. He carried our sins, sorrows, afflictions, sicknesses and pains on the cross. Tell Him about yours. He already carried it for you. He knows.

No Excuse For Hurting Others.

Your pain might be the reason you hurt others but there is no excuse for hurting others. Get help. Get healed.

How do you get healed? (Easier said than done, huh?)

–We admit we need healing. Doctors can help those who don’t come to them.

–You come to the Lord Jesus. You let Him redeem your heart and life. He heals, not only from sin but also sickness, doubt, pain. It starts here.

–There is power in the “cross process.” (Eph. 1:19) I’m not against psychology and counseling at all but there is a limit. With the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus working in our life there is no limit to the healing and redemption of our hurts.

–Every day we look into His glory. ( 2 Cor. 3:18). He changes us daily. Sanctification should be in process for everyone of us.

–We use the healing processes He put in place. We find a Christian friend to talk with, a mature Christian to talk with, even a professional to talk with, especially if this counselor is a Christian.

–We become a channel of healing to others. It’s so easy to spend our lives gazing at our belly button. “Poor me.” Do something! Quit griping. Quit waiting for someone to choose you for something great. Choose yourself. Do something! God’s Spirit has already chosen you.

–We get in his Word and prayer. You might respond, “I don’t have time to pray or read the Word.” You know what? I walked 500 miles. That’s the equivalent of walking from Springfield, MO. to Chicago, IL. Did I mention that I didn’t do that in one day? It was usually about 2 ½ miles four or five days per week for a year.

If you read the Bible 10 minutes a day each day of the year you will have spent 60 hours in the Word! 60 hours! Same for prayer. I call it the ten-minute revival. Anyone who doesn’t have 10 minutes (or two times ten minutes) is WAY too busy and will probably soon drop dead from a heart attack.

If we feel it’s important we will do it, won’t we? And if it’s not important, we’ll just surf the Internet some more or binge watch something ignorant.

Let’s get before God, let Him heal our hurts and them let Him redeem those scars so that they are a blessing to others.

Hmmm …

“The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.” A. W. Tozer

What Was, “The Ugliest Face She Ever Saw?”

I’ve always loved stories and once my grandmother Deloney told me a family story that stuck with me. I’ve tried to remember the details correctly.

She had one of those “No!-It’s-not-possible-pregnancies” when she was a bit older and her youngest child was already eleven. The result was wonderful–my Uncle Donnie. But first it was nearly fatal.

The little one almost died at birth and his mother as well. Grandma was unconscious for three days. She told me that the first thing she saw when she finally woke up was the haggard, stubble-covered face of granddad leaning over her.

“That’s the ugliest face I ever saw,” she teased weakly. And those were probably some of the sweetest words he had ever heard.

You often can tell a lot by looking into someone’s visage. Grandpa didn’t talk much and he sure wasn’t romantic, but that worried, sleep-deprived face shouted how valuable Grandma was to him.

Looking Into God’s Face

Looking into God’s face can revolutionize our lives and teach us a lot about Him. “Whoa! Wait a minute. I thought you couldn’t look into God’s face. Moses wanted to but God said it would kill him (Exodus 33:20).

Yes but something transformational happened at the Cross. The Lord’s death and resurrection opened the way for us to look into God’s glory. It shines from Jesus’ face. “2 Cor. 4:6 For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (ESV)

Looking into this glory is essential if we are going to be all God created us to be. The vision of this glory changes us to look like Jesus.

Here’s how it works. “6 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.


Notice three things here:

1/ We turn to the Lord. Before this men turned to the Law of Moses to be saved, but they struck out. The Law only condemned their sin but couldn’t take it away. So, by faith we turn to the Lord Jesus, looking for forgiveness and a new heart. Yet, men stubbornly persisted in trying to come to God in their own goodness, a goodness that was far short of God because of sin. Paul says it was like the veil that Moses put over his face when it shone with God’s glory. That glory scared them so Moses had to hide it.

2/ But when we turn to the Lord Jesus in faith that He will forgive us and renew us, this veil is taken away. God does it! He forgives us and gives us a new spiritual life. We’re looking into God’s glory in Jesus’ face.

3/ Then day by day as we continue to look at His glory we’re changed, transformed, to look more and more like Him. We’ve got to gaze at Him each day and like the heat of the oven changes the batter into cake, God’s glory changes us into Jesus’ likeness.

He doesn’t just zap us one time and we’re perfectly like the Lord. It’s a daily process, a metamorphosis.

The dictionary defines metamorphosis as, “(in an insect or amphibian) the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages…a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.”

Paul says, we, “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Cor. 3:18). Guess what this word, “transformed,” is in the Greek language in which this passage was originally written … “metamorphoō.” From which we get, “metamorphosis” in English.

According to M. Thayer’s Greek lexicon it means, “1) to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure. 1a) Christ appearance was changed and was resplendent with divine brightness on the mount of transfiguration.”

Same word.

So, if I want to know God more intimately and be changed what are some practical things I can do this year?

Scour God’s Word to see Jesus revealed more; spend time praying in the Spirit and listening to Him as I go about my day; look for Him in my brothers and sisters; go on vacation and see Him in His creation and keep my eyes open to see what the Lord is doing in the world to bring about the fulfillment of His great plan.

I MUST mix healthy doses of faith into each of these activities in order to see it through God’s eyes and not just human eyes. I’ve got to keep my eyes on the glory in Jesus’ face.

Image par Ian Lindsay de Pixabay
Image par NJ Lechnir de Pixabay

Worship Blasts You Into a New Dimension

A friend, pastor Mike Howell, wrote something on Facebook this week that could have come straight from my own heart, “From the day I was saved at the age of six, God’s goodness has been with me. In my family, in the churches I have served, in every season God has been good. This song reflects my life story.

“And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God”*

A prayer of mine lately is, “God give me a worshipping heart. Give me a thankful heart, a praising heart. Help me into your intimate presence, into your holy of holies.”

It’s Not Always Easy

Can I be honest with you? It’s not always easy to come into His presence. Now, for you theologians, I know God is everywhere and He’s in us, too. Yes! I agree. But, on my part, when I tumble out of bed in the morning, slurp a little coffee and attempt to praise and worship the King of kings the way He deserves to be worshipped, well my emotions, feelings, and droopy eyelids usually conspire against me.

Looking at Psalms 100, it seems like there is a pattern for approaching the Lord. It’s almost like a three-stage rocket blasting into space. We start out by thanking Him (accompanied by songs and yelps of joy). We praise Him for Who He is. Then we enter an intimate place of worship and communion with our Maker/Shepherd, who “owns” us and takes care of the intimate details of our lives.

–Thankfulness sees things as they are—we are humongous beneficiaries. It takes away entitlement and makes us genuinely grateful for God’s blessings.

Thanksgiving, praise and worship get our priorities straight. He’s God, not us. He’s the Maker/Owner, not us. He’s the provider, not us. This quickens our faith and dampens our pride.

In Romans chapter 1 men start to go off the rails when,”… although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” (Rom 1:21, 22 NKJV)

An unthankful heart is a tasty treat for pride and anger. If you’re not grateful you open the door wide to all kinds of sins (read the list after Romans 1:22 to know what ungratefulness opens the door to). So … –Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, –And into His courts with praise. –Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Universal Principle?

Many of these “truths” work even for an unbeliever, to a point. A generous person is blessed. And studies have shown that thankful people are happier. Alex Lieberman, of the Founder’s Journal podcast, says,

“And while I was a skeptic…gratitude has been the greatest key to happiness and fulfillment… Gratitude is a mindset and it is a choice. It’s a choice to appreciate all that we receive, whether tangible or intangible, and whether in control or out of our control. It’s also a choice to acknowledge all of the goodness in our lives …gratitude changes how we see the world and how we see the world impacts our experience throughout life.”

That’s great. The only question I have is, “If you don’t acknowledge God, who are you grateful to?” Luck? Yourself? A great, cosmic, something-or-other?

I’m so thankful for Eternal God who made me, who reconciled me in His Son Jesus, who watches over me like a shepherd guards his sheep. A thankful person doesn’t think the world owes him. She’s so glad for all she receives. She considers each day a gift from God and treasures the people who populate her life. It makes her sing.

Thankfullness seems to be the first step in entering God’s presence. This launches the “rocket’s” second stage—praise.

–Praise sees God as He is—good, love, hope, peace, Savior, Redeemer, Lord and a million more things. When we see Him as He is, our faith blasts off. If I were to tell you that I was going to pay all your debts, you’d probably grin and say, “Thanks for the thought David, but your resources and my debts aren’t in the same bracket.

If Bill Gates honestly said he was going to pay your debts? Well, that’s a different thing. You evaluate our financial worth and get your hopes built up based on that. Praise estimates God at His true value and that causes hope to spring up within us and shout.

“Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (Ps. 100:3, NKJV)

Praise Launches Stage Three

Praise propels us into worship and adoration.

–Worship experiences God in the Holy of holies. Worship spends time with God up close and personal. That’s when we realize, “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” (Ps. 100:5) Thanksgiving, praise and worship are the natural result of our life with Him.


*The Goodness of God–Jen Johnson, Brian Johnson, Ed Cash, Jason Ingram, and Ben Fielding. Bethel music