Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who…….

When you look into a mirror
whose looking back at you,
not the person God intended,
He meant us sinless through and through.

We were made to walk with Jesus,
a greater blessing can’t be found;
now we sin because we’re sinners
and not the other way around.

Christ built a paradise in Eden,
we’d walk with Him by day;
Adam and Eve desired their freedom,
it sent us to our earthly graves.

Now we start our lives as sinners,
a rebellious gene inside,
original sin is what they call it,
a holy God couldn’t let it slide.

The Bible’s a mirror, reflecting who we are,
it’s shining light helps us to see
the many ways that we are broken
and what God intended us to be.

But the mirror’s just a spot light,
it can’t change us, set us free,
it took the author of the Bible
to do that for you and me.

Though we want to think it’s magic
or scientific to explain,
it’s a miracle from heaven
by the sovereign God who reigns.

Without Jesus we are hopeless
with a debt we cannot pay,
the Spotless Lamb showed His compassion
paid our debt, showed us the way.

God the Man made worst of sinners
so we last could come in first,
kept the law that we had broken,
paid our debt to save the worst.

Now we’re chosen not rejected
God himself selected us,
not that we deserved it
He didn’t want us superfluous.

So the key is where we’re looking
and the mirror that we use,
most mirrors just feed our egos,
only one helps us to choose;

there we meet The Word, our Savior,
it’s The Word that we must trust,
He spoke the world into existence
and only He saves those of us.

Mason Swinney

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The Power of Brokenness

It’s clear from scripture that we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ who was broken and crucified for our sins. This is memorialized in the Lord’s Supper where the loaf of bread is broken to help us remember that Christ’s body was broken for us (1). Many believers call this sacrament Holy Communion which has far deeper and much more relational meaning than I ever realized. We’re all aware that we are washed clean by the blood of Jesus but for some reason we don’t spend as much time considering Christ’s body broken for us.

Ann Voskamp in her marvelous book “The Broken Way” explains that true communion between individuals only occurs when each of the participants shares their brokenness. Only then can true friendship begin.

Perhaps that’s one of the secrets behind the success of 12 step programs where each participant shares their brokenness with the group enabling them to connect and bond on a much deeper, spiritual level. And, taking their individual brokenness to the next level through their working the steps which assist in identifying and confronting the issues that drove them to use the substance they used to assuage their pain. This is where true healing and communion begins as we identify and share our brokenness with one another.

When we take Communion we are remembering Christ being broken and sacrificed for all our sins. And when we communion with one another we are sharing our brokenness with each other while remembering Christ’s brokenness which binds us together like “a cord of three strands” (2).

Scripture encourages us to confess our sins to each other not to embarrass us or give others something to hold over our heads, but to share the load of our brokenness with Christ and each other so that true communion can take place in the spiritual and earthly realms (3). Isn’t that also why we’re commanded to resolve any conflict with others before going to the alter (4)?

Perhaps we Christians need to spend more time together confessing our sins and sharing our brokenness and less time adjusting our halos.

Mason Swinney

1. First Corinthians 11:23-26 (KJV)
2. Ecclesiastes 4:12
3. James 5:16
4. Matthew 5:23

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Trauma and Addiction

According to Dr. Lisa M. Najavits’ break through book “Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both”, 2/3’s of all addicts first experienced trauma and addiction followed as a result of their effort to cope with the resulting emotional and/or physical pain. She goes on to stress that the trauma and addiction need to be addressed simultaneously since they are so closely enmeshed.

Jesus experienced traumatic events during His time on planet earth as well. Highlighting a few, people started trying to kill Jesus from the moment of His birth when Herod ordered the killing of young boys to eliminate King Jesus requiring Joseph and Mary to take Him to Egypt for safekeeping. Numerous times the Scribes, Pharisees and others tried to kill Him for healing on the Sabbath and implying He was God. In the Garden of Gethsemane He sweat drops of blood which is a medical condition called hematidrosis caused by extreme anguish as a result of His praying and contemplating the drinking of the cup of the Father’s fury over sin. That’s not even taking into account the temptations by Satan, the mock trial by the Jewish Leadership and Pilate, the resulting humiliation, beating and crucifixion. Clearly Jesus encountered traumatic events during His lifetime here on earth.

Perhaps we should consider following His relationship with the Father as described in John 5: 19 to overcome the pain, trauma, addiction, and sin problems we all experience? This verse states: 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” 

Here God the Son is saying that He only and always does exactly what the Father was doing. 

Jesus also said that we disciples would do greater works than He did.*

Perhaps the key to our doing that is only and always doing what the Father is doing which we will only know the full details of if we “pray without ceasing” as scripture commands in First Thessalonians 5: 17.

Why don’t we give it a try!

Mason Swinney

*John 14: 12 

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Eight (8) Years

Eight years since Shaun left us
for a far far better place,
at first we thought unfairly
God’s plan we now embrace.

As taught throughout the Scriptures,
seeds need planting before crops can come,
Shaun’s death brought a harvest of broken people
who’ve been healed, who’ve overcome.

They too have used their brokenness
to yield more crops of people healed
and for that we should remember
it’s through pain that God’s revealed;

’cause when revelation happens
many people see the light,
and when we admit that we are broken,
the Great Physician makes things right!

Mason Swinney

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Vulnerability and Intimacy

Vulnerability and intimacy
go rightly hand in hand
one leads to the other
like music to a band.

Vulnerable means you’re broken,
unprotected,without arms.
Intimate means sharing details
with ones who care, won’t be alarmed.

Intimacy’s more than sensuality
though an example that’s for sure,
it’s exclusivity and devotion
to someone special that’s conferred.

The details not for publication,
they are hidden from the world;
they’re for only those deemed special
that these secrets are transferred.

It’s thoughts and precious moments
shared with but a few
who you trust to always cherish
and treasure as you do.

It means lowering defenses
accepting God to rule the day
putting trust in someone bigger
letting Him navigate your way.

Perhaps it’s shared compassion,
connecting deeply end to end;
sharing lifetime’s richest treasures
but doesn’t judge, excuse, condemn.

Compassion’s sanctified co-dependency,
it’s sympathy with legs
stepping out to aid those hurting,
helping broken limbs become a keg.

So admitting we are broken,
is where vulnerability begins
and leads to intimacy
with God and others
making us invulnerable again.

Mason Swinney

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Dreams and Control

Sometimes life’s hard to figure,
not like simple math

2 + 2 isn’t always 4,
often takes a different path.

Addition’s like counting digits,
memorizing tables that never change;

life’s much harder to configure,
seldom easy, can’t prearrange.

Like the yearly Christmas challenge,
lights boxed up and packed away,

should you pitch ’em, start all over
or try and unravel, waste a day?

Reactions follow actions,
behavioral cause and effect

but relationships aren’t laws of nature,
don’t always know what t’expect.

But perhaps it can be simple
if we just give up control

and trust the God who made us,
paid the debt our sins have tolled.

Evil’s always hiding,
even sometimes in our dreams

or they our imaginations
or from God who wants them seen?

We can tell by the buzzards flying over,
who survive on rotting flesh;

God’s dreams center on His Glory,
and He’s restoring, making all things mesh.

Mason Swinney

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Slip, Sliding Away

When did it begin?
Why the question asked?

“Did God really say”*,
no match for evil masked.

When you dialogue with evil,
death is what you get;

if you take your eyes off Jesus,
evil’s stare you soon regret.

And sin is like a cancer
hard to counter the attack

and soon you’ll be like Solomon,
with more wives than you can track.

The key for sure’s not wisdom
or just knowing right from wrong;

it’s getting your mind and heart together,
helping others feel they belong,

and loneliness your one companion
is no longer welcome, he’s long gone!

Mason Swinney

*Genesis 3:1

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