“That’s right, I’m gambling dreams.
I’m gambling blessings.
I take very good thing God has given to me
And I spit it right back in His face.
Look at me!
I’m in tatters
I’ve been shattered.
Doesn’t matter”

That’s what I added to the live rendition of “Gambling Dreams.” I always liked (loved, actually) this piece but felt that in concert it needed one last punch. On my newest CD, MONSTERS, I redo the song with this ending. Have I changed since first writing the song in 2006?

No.

Yes.

I will admit that my understanding of the song has grown in time. Initially I wrote a disco tune with dark spiritual overtones. Now it’s an anthem of confession at how I have abused my spiritual privileges since coming to know the True and Living God and entering into His grace.

Ah yes, grace. That invisible license to sin wrapped up in the hope that our gratitude for our Savior and the salvations He has brought will deter us from doing anything that might break His heart. Well, He’s already been beaten, whipped, pierced, mocked, spat on, hung on a cross, left to the elements and murdered. What’s another sin? Another nail to His wrist or ankle? Big deal.

Don’t tell me I’m alone in my justification or I’ll call ya a fool. Or a liar.

But tonight I only point the finger at myself. I know I’m forgiven for what I’ve done, for what I plan to do and for what I actually do, forever more. Why? The Bible tells me so and Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, remind me with comfort of this daily, every time I give into the desire to cut corners, lose the battle, succumb to my flesh or just act plain stupid.

But after 28 years of this game I must admit to a permeating sense of regret that not only could I have played batter and more fair to Jesus, I have suffered tremendous loss along the way due to my own willfulness and clever rationalization.

Do I beat myself up for this? Sometimes. Does God? Never.

That’s grace. It’s beautiful. It’s free. And it stings. Its purity and non-conditional-ness burn like rubbing alcohol on a cut to the soul. It’s always there because He’s always there. We’re the ones who come and go.

He fills our hearts with dreams.
He fills our lives with blessings.
We piss them away.

I wonder what would happen if we were to wake up tomorrow and say, “Today’s the day that I will act as an appropriate steward of grace, of the dreams and blessings I have received from God.” I wonder what the result of a perfect day would look like tomorrow. And the next day.

Don’t you?

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