I Put Your Picture Away

I enjoy the intimate, imperfect, transparent honesty of the song “Picture” in the style performed by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. It speaks about a man far away from his love and cheating, but there is a chance encounter with his love even after the unfaithfulness is clear and known, and an opportunity for reconciliation as they both realize what they really want is to just come “home”.

Sometimes we spend time chasing what feels right “in the moment” and it steals away what we really want and need, sometimes it “compromises” and “puts at risk” what is truly best and right for us. We’ve all made that mistake before, and said and done things with no vision or thought about the consequences or the impact for our future. And sometimes it is a hard lesson to learn when our foolishness costs us so much in the end.

If you are “just having fun” with being unfaithful to your love… if you are “just having fun” with alcohol or drugs… if you are “just having fun” running in your own direction far from God’s purpose and calling on your life… Maybe today is that chance encounter where your ultimate calling and purpose is “bumping into you” with this post.

Maybe you need to wake up and see what is really at risk, not just in your life, but for the impact you are having and could have on so many around you — and yes, even for your eternity.

When we are blind to our own foolishness, there’s no wonder we are willing to throw away what is truly good looking term for something that FEELS good in the moment. It’s in our nature to crave things that appeal to our natural senses — but what we crave is not always what is best. So how do we learn to know the difference? How do we learn to have vision further than this moment, further than this relationship, further than these circumstances, further even than this life?

We’r can set our eyes upon something, even someone, who is eternal. We can listen to His wisdom and guidance, and test it to see if it is true and good and helpful and beneficial long term and not just “in the moment”. His name is Jesus. And yes, He came in the flesh to reveal such beautiful things to us, that are in direct competition with our cravings, but that are perfectly in line with what is best for us.

I wonder if you’ve known this deep down for a long time, but have hidden His name from your heart, pushed away His Word from your daily living, so that you could continue chasing what feels good “in the moment”, not caring what you have been throwing away because you didn’t even realize the value — you didn’t even realize how much you have been shot checking yourself. That’s how it was with me when I only believed in myself and my own way and whatever benefited me “right now” — I would compromise my own integrity and character and purpose, and I would hurt myself and those around me horribly in the end, every time.

But there is a different way, and His name really is Jesus. And I’m not going to invite you to come sit in my church with me so you can become a “religious person”. Nope, I’m going to divide you to truly seek Him out, read what He said — not what some preacher says, but what does the actual Word of God say? And if it sounds like a harsh rulebook to you, then read the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and especially John — and pay close attention to those RED words that He breathed out in the flesh to the lost all around Him while He was here, and they will stay to open your eyes to the fact that He breathed out all of those words in black also for your benefit — and that He bled out red to wash your sins clean as snow — and that His spirit is now able to come live in you and teach you and give you and empower you to start resisting those “in the moment” feelings that rob you of so much, to instead walk in life abundant.

I encourage you, friend. It isn’t too late.

That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before. Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Gather all the people— the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room. Let the priests, who minister in the Lord ’s presence, stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar. Let them pray, “Spare your people, Lord ! Don’t let your special possession become an object of mockery. Don’t let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say, ‘Has the God of Israel left them?’” Then the Lord will pity his people and jealously guard the honor of his land. The Lord will reply, “Look! I am sending you grain and new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy your needs. You will no longer be an object of mockery among the surrounding nations. I will drive away these armies from the north. I will send them into the parched wastelands. Those in the front will be driven into the Dead Sea, and those at the rear into the Mediterranean. The stench of their rotting bodies will rise over the land.” Surely the Lord has done great things! Don’t be afraid, O land. Be glad now and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things. Don’t be afraid, you animals of the field, for the wilderness pastures will soon be green. The trees will again be filled with fruit; fig trees and grapevines will be loaded down once more. Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced. Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike. And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth— blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and terrible day of the Lord arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, for some on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will escape, just as the Lord has said. These will be among the survivors whom the Lord has called.
Joel 2:12‭-‬32 NLT

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