Tuesday, January 06, 2009

#1 - Switch

Well, this is it! #1!

I wrote this in September, not long after my mother passed on, and just before my father was to follow. I had been a bit down, a little dark about life. Do you ever go through a time when you're just not lit up? Where the brightness of your inner life has gone dim? It may be that you're due for a switch, an illuminating, life-giving change of perspective. I sure was.

At #1 in our Top 5 Under-Appreciated Lifenotes of 2008 is. . .(insert wimpy drum roll). . ."Switch." I think it'll help you.

I hope you've enjoyed our scintillating 2008 count downs. Maybe we'll do it all over again toward the end of 2009.

With love and thankfulness,


I've been staying with my dad in southern California for a few days, helping him to figure out what he might want to do in the future. And that could be anything. Well, almost anything.

Anyway, when I was praying for him and about my situation in staying with him, I kept thinking the word, "switch." I don't know about you, but I hear God in my thoughts. His thoughts are different than mine; His are clear, get right at the truth in a way that's revealing, invigorating and encouraging, and are fewer than mine. While I never sense impatience or hurry with Him, His words arrive without conversational helpers, if you know what I mean. There aren't any um's or ah's or uh's with Him, and I've never yet heard "Well, I'm not sure" when hearing His words.

So when I heard the single word "switch," I waited around for more. Rather than convey anything else with words, He simply gave me the meaning in an instant. You know, one of those, "Oh, thaaat's it." kind of things. What I suddenly understood was that I needed to remember to switch my thinking from navigating the systems and concerns of this world, and change my viewpoint to a heavenly one, a Spirit-led one. That's the one most natural for me now.

It's no sin to spend time and effort figuring out what to do about one's job and how to get better at it. God isn't angry or frustrated with us when we're looking into how to earn more money, what car we might like to buy, what career move we might want to make, what new toothpaste might make our teeth brighter, or where to buy gasoline. What bugs Him is when we forget to live as the Spirit-born sons and daughters we are because we're mostly or only wrapped-up in an earthly view of things. And it doesn't bug Him in the way we get bugged--"I'm so frustrated with you that I'm going to whop you a good one!"--it bugs Him because he knows we'll be frustrated.

The Spirit told me to "switch" because He knew the way I was viewing my day was hindering me, even injuring me, and He was working to restore me to His grace. "Have a look over here," He might have said, "Move your eyes aside and look with your heart, look by the Spirit. Then you can see what I want you to see. The switch will show you what's really real."

It's not that the Spirit wants me to not care--Don't worry! Be happy!--but that He wants me to see how things actually are from His perspective. After all, it's fairly certain He's right! He brings me back to where I am again, in Christ, so I remember that I have been crucified with Him, raised with Him, seated with Him, and have all things in Him, even if I don't now see it that way. Isn't that what worldly pressure does to you? Doesn't it make you see yourself outside of Christ, apart from Him, and with a lot of work to do to make things happen? You and I do, indeed, have a lot of work to do, but if we are duped into seeing ourselves outside of Christ, then the torture is working. If our vision is out of whack, then we'll agree with our captor and do whatever offers the promise of stopping the torture. That's how slaves are made.

But that's not you.

If the daily torture has captured your attention and labor, switch. And help someone else make the switch because every Christian has two ways of looking at things. You'll know if their switch is up--by the Spirit--or down by listening to them. Be gentle and assist them.

Come out from under that foreign and merciless master, and instead talk to Jesus, ask Him what He thinks, sow to the Spirit, bring to mind who you are in relation to God, and watch what happens. He will refresh you--the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace--He will free you from the dominance of earthly cares with the truth--you've been raised with Christ--and He will empower you to live by the Spirit--I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

That's the switch that will help you see and live by God's grace and for His amazing glory in and through you.


  1. Anonymous12:28 PM

    I'm so glad I read this! Praise God because once again, I've received another truth from our Father through you.

    Keep em coming..........He has blessed you in a way that makes sense to me.


  2. Anonymous8:15 PM

    I loved this, Ralph. Thank you so much.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts--I'm glad you liked it.


  4. Anonymous8:02 AM



  5. Anonymous11:59 AM

    I loved this. Thank you.

  6. Anonymous8:16 AM

    Hi Ralph:

    Feliz Ano Nuevo! This Life Note on “Switch” was my favorite one of last year. Although I didn’t respond, it made a huge impact on me. In fact, I even used a portion of it in my bible study at the church when I was teaching II Corinthians. From time to time I’ll hear myself saying “switch” as it is the perfect word reminder for me to remember who I am in Christ Jesus. I shared this with my family and friends and received many emails from them telling me what an impact it had on them as well.

    So I’m a #1 fan of “Switch”.

    Thanks bro. I love you.

    Kevin Reems