Long weekend in the Finley household. It’s good to have a God that’s present in your highs and your lows, in the broadest of daylight and the darkest of night. This song from Rend Collective is echoing with me this morning.
I’ll find a way to praise You
From the bottom of my broken heart
‘Cause I think I’d rather strike a match
Than curse the dark
I had lots of opportunity this weekend to curse the darkness. It’s there that I struck a match and praised God.
Even if my daylight never dawns
Even if my breakthrough never comes
Even if, I’ll fight
to bring you praise
Even if, my heart
will somehow say
Lord, you’ve got this. Let’s go. Yeah, I know my daylight might not come on my timeline, I know a breakthrough may not be coming for a while. Even if, I’ll fight to bring you praise from the emptiness of my bowels, from the bottom of my broken heart, from my darkened canyon campfire, my heart will somehow say Hallelujah anyway. Because my praise is not dependant on anything thrown my way, any hurtle in my path, and ailment intent on taking me out.
We made another getaway trip last week, this time out to KC for a Needtobreathe concert. Taking secret— fiveish people know about it— trips is becoming my norm at this point. We’ve seen Needtobreathe now three of four times in concert and I own all their albums. They are in my Top 10 artists.
I love that they preach Christian messages to the masses. On the lastest album there are some really great, heart-checking songs. This one stood out during the concert and on the way home. Didn’t hurt that I finished up Joel Webbon’s Fight by Flight— which ends on Jonah’s bitterness with the Ninevites preventing him from going to them for fear they would be saved— Sunday morning, went to church and heard one of the best sermons I have heard on 1 Corinthians 13— including addressing bitterness and holding records of wrongs—, and am currently dealing with attacks from multiple directions around bitterness, hard-hearts, and a general need for humble, honest forgiveness.
Week before last our pastor’s sermon was on 1 Corinthians 12 and Spiritual Gifts. The sermon hit hard that we have sanitized everything in the West with Science and while everyone, everywhere, and everywhen has seen major compounding coincidence as a sign from God or an attack from Satan, we tend to explain it away. While I already tended the direction of never explaining away these kinda things, it helped to have a kick in the ass— Balaam’s ass, obviously, Mom and Pastor.
All these mediums pushing me to hear it told one thing was a must. It was a God thing. Last week I wrote to someone to tell him that I forgave him for his actions. That person still hasn’t apologized to me. In fact that person has taken actions to avoid me and has shown no remorse for his actions. But I forgave him. Why?
‘Cause when you forgive someone
You set yourself free
Needtobreathe, When You Forgive Someone
Forgiveness is not reserved for those that have repented, that have changed, that have sought forgiveness and reconciliation. We are to live lives of forgiveness. That’s not easy, but it sets you free.
I got these reasons that I can’t get there
They hold me down like the hounds of Hell
But I can tell you that the journey to justice
It never ends up fair
Needtobreathe, When You Forgive Someone
But justice! They must pay for their actions, pay for what they’ve done to me! God didn’t say the same for you, Christian. No, Christ said “I’ll pay the bill.” Christian, you don’t want justice done for all that you have done and you surely don’t want justice done to your foes. You want them to take a knee before the Throne. Take a knee right beside you. You want to worship God Almighty together with them. If you don’t, go back and read about Jonah. He didn’t want to go not because of a fear of what the Ninevites would do to him, but a fear of what God was going to do to them. If God saved them, they wouldn’t get the justice they deserved.
Is that where your heart is today? I can’t forgive that person because they’ve gone too far. I can’t give them mercy or they’ll do it again. They’ll take advantage of my grace. You don’t understand, James, they have to pay for all that they’ve done. If you understood the context, you’d understand why.
Because God understands all the context of the worst you have to bring. And He gave His Son.
All that’s heavy on my soul
Lay it down and let it go
As a dad of three children, I have found myself balancing the introverted desire for peace & quiet and the joy of laughter and rough-housing, a herd of buffalo upstairs as I work, and the incessant need to ask questions. Let me say that I have been leaning much harder into the latter over the last few months and in it has come much peace. It doesn’t hurt that the introvert mind is— when trained— great at escaping internally in wild situations. To say that we love having filled our house with babies, laughter, love, and energy would be an understatement. I couldn’t imagine not having my band of children.
Come on, boys, don’t you know?
There’re dragons out there, dragons out there
Come on, boys, don’t be slow
Cut down Leviathan, go get the girl.
Plenty of lovely songs for Christian dads to sing with and about their daughters. Sons? I can’t really think of any. Our little hooligans, our rough tumblers, our boys are full of adventure, running into trouble head-on. My oldest boy had a minor concussion before he was four and stitches before he was five. He’s almost six. Deep breath. I know that I am not alone in this because I wisely surround myself with dads. Blessedly for us, our boys are seeking an adventure and they’ve got a Bible full of adventure, a church history full of heroes and dragons.
Been following Brian Sauvé for a while and supporting his Patreon for a few months now. Good guy, great ministry out in Ogden, Utah. If you’ve been reading this blog this year, you’ve seen his blog, podcasts, and music referenced a few times. Out today is his new album called Hearth Songs. Unlike his last album that was all psalms and hymns and his upcoming Christmas album, Hearth Songs is full of songs for his wife and kids. Love songs, songs doting on his daughters, and a song of adventure for his boys.
Mid-song last night I hit pause just in time to hear my young boys belt out “Cut down Leviathan, go get the girl!” and I couldn’t be more happy.
Dads— and moms— tap the link above and give this blessing to your family!
As a father of three, my heart is breaking with all the news coming this last week. I’m finding peace in Christ, settling myself into the Psalms.
For lo! The time is short for them
The wicked ones will be no more
Though carefully, you search them out
You’ll find them not, they’ll vanish, all
But look and see! The meek shall dwell
In fullness of the land, and will
In peace, abundant, peace full well
Delight themselves forevermore
Vengance belongs to the Lord. I am not bloodthirsty, for repaying pain for pain, ill for ill, horror for horror, leaves us with nothing but a shell.
As a Christian, I thirst for justice and at times that means war.
I am thankful that I am not in a position where I have to make the decisions that are having to be made in Israel this week, that I am not having to stiffle my own want for vengence as I bury my family. For those that are, know that we are praying for you. It’s what we have and it’s what we will give.
We’ve always loved Red in my house. My wife and I got engaged after a concert of theirs in Chicago back in 2009 and every album seems to just hit at the right time for me. I’ll be sharing some of the new album’s best this week.
When the enemy says I’m done, I’ll lift my praises
When my world come crashing down, I’ll lift my praises high
‘Til the darkness turns to dawn, I’ll lift my praises
I choose to worship, I choose You now
Sometimes the dark is darker than dark. But as Psalm 139 reminds us, “even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” The darkness cannot steal my song. Nothing can. Storms, floods, armies, and persecution can try but none of it can take my song. Why? Because it comes from the Lord. The Lord that is over all. So, as Chris Llewellyn beautifully writes, “I build my alter right here and now. In the midst of the darkest night it won’t burn out.”