this was millie’s t.shirt design for the peace jam club at her high school. it was not chosen.
which is sad because i totally wanted to wear one.
and i know that several of you would have wanted one too.
this week and next week will complete the trilogy of OPEN HOUSES. three kids in three different schools means three nights of open houses. i try to leave a bit of margin in my schedule... but three open house nights all within two weeks kind of fills up those margins.
plus this week was just a week full of realizing that we live in a broken world (which isn’t a new revelation to me). i enjoyed God’s grace in sending me via the internet (yeah, He emails me. doesn’t He email you? hmmm, i must be His favorite) sections of paul david tripp’s new book “broken down house”.
here are a couple of parts that REALLY encouraged me this week... and i hope that they will encourage you today as you live and love and look around your broken down house...
Picture a broken down house. We’ve all seen them—sagging and dilapidated dwellings that look as if they are in physical pain. You wonder what the house once looked like, who lived in it, and how it got into such a miserable condition. Some of us look at this kind of house and are simply overwhelmed. We quickly move on, not for a moment considering the possibility of restoration. Others of us immediately see potential. We can’t wait to get our hands on the mess and restore it to its former beauty. Sin has ravaged the beautiful house that God created. It sits in slumped and disheveled pain, groaning for the restoration that can only be accomplished by the hands of him who built it in the first place. The good news is that the divine Builder will not relent until everything about his house is made totally new again. The bad news is that you and I are living right in the middle of the restoration process. We live each day in a house that is terribly broken, where nothing works exactly as intended. But Emmanuel lives here as well, and he is at work returning his house to its former beauty. Often it doesn’t look like any real restoration is going on at all. Things seem to get messier, uglier, and less functional all the time. But that’s the way it is with restoration; things generally get worse before they get better. Someday you will live forever in a fully restored house. But right now you are called to live with peace, joy, and productivity in a place that has been sadly damaged by sin. How can you live above the damage? Even better, how can you be an active part of the restoration that is at the heart of God’s plan of redemption? That is what Broken Down House is all about.
Yes, you are living in a broken-down house. Here, you will face discouragement, danger, disappointment, and grief. There will be times when life will seem overwhelmingly hard. There will be broken-plumbing, shattered-glass moments when it seems like this world can never be and will never be restored. Sometimes you will wonder if it is all worth it.
But you can, beyond any question, live productively in this broken world. There are things worth living for and things worthy of celebration. You can, beyond any question, be one of God’s tools of rescue and restoration. You can live a restoration lifestyle with the sure expectation that one day he will look into your eyes, put a tender hand on your tired shoulder, and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” You can do these things, and know these things, because of grace.
For there is coming a day when the final triumph of God’s grace will be manifested, and we will see a new heaven and a new earth. The house will be completely and perfectly restored and we will celebrate our perfected dwelling forever. Until then, however, here’s what you need to remember.
There is never a situation, location, or relationship that you enter alone. Your Lord is not away somewhere and he never sleeps. He never greets your calls with a busy signal. He is never too tired or too busy to respond. He will never threaten that he is at the end of his rope with you. He will not grow weary of your inconsistencies, bored with your ambivalence, or irritated when once again you fall short.He will never mock your ignorance or weakness, and he does not cruelly throw your failure in your face.
His loving face will always be toward you and, because of the cross, you will never see the back of his head. He will meet your moment-by-moment needs—providing strength from his Spirit, wisdom from his Word, resources from the Body of Christ, forgiveness that is your daily need, and deliverance from constant temptation. Even the trials he sends your way will supply what you need: the character to live for him more effectively. These are all evidences of his commitment to you, that you might be who you are supposed to be and do what he has created you to do.
This is the God of grace who calls you to resist passivity and discouragement. He calls you to fight the urge to give in or give up. He calls you to live with perseverance now and to invest wholeheartedly in what is to come. He calls you to hold firmly to the same thing believed by all the saints who have gone before us: “that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
In this broken world you need a place to run for comfort, encouragement, motivation, strength, and rest. There is no better place to run than into the arms of the One who reigns over it all for your sake. No, you won’t always understand. Yes, there will be moments when life will seem overwhelmingly difficult. Sure, you will wonder why he has chosen you to go through what you are enduring when the person next to you seems to have it so easy. And there will be times when you are tempted to question his wisdom and love. But in those moments, determine to do this one thing. Determine to run to him and not from him. Run to him with your questions, doubts, confusion, and fear. He loves you; he will not turn you away. He wants you to know rest. This is precisely what he has told you again and again in his Word—that he is in control, so that in those moments when you are confronted with your lack of control, or when life seems out of control, you would know peace. Not because you understand what is happening, but because you know and trust your Father.
...the enemy will spin out endless variations of the lie that he first told in the Garden and has been repeating ever since. This lie is meant to discourage and divert you. It is meant to force you into moral timidity and ethical paralysis. Everyone who has been given the humility to see himself with accuracy, everyone who has come to admit that he might, in fact, be something less than righteous in himself, is susceptible to this lie. This lie even grows in plausibility when you examine your track record or assess this fallen world honestly. The essence of this horrible, deceptive, and ultimately blasphemous lie can be expressed in just four words, words that have the power to alter how you live. Here they are: “You don’t have enough.”
My greatest need does not derive from the fact that the brokenness of the Fall fractures every situation, every relationship, and every context. Yes, all my relationships are flawed in some way. And no, the world around me does not operate as God intended. But this environmental brokenness is not my greatest, deepest, most abiding problem. No matter what I face in this fallen world, my greatest problem in life exists inside of me and not outside of me. My greatest problem isn’t external, environmental, and circumstantial. It’s internal, personal, and moral.
you can read more from the book at this shepherd press book site for broken down house... up at the top of the page are chapter titles and you can read excerpts from each chapter. this book is going in my amazon cart and it may be my #1 birthday wish (which is coming up in less than a month for those of you who want to shop early)...