Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
The past of every Christian has been entirely sanitized and made innocent--even yesterday! Further than that, God has given to us the righteousness, the right-doing of Jesus, as our very own. If God were to talk about our past, it would be through the accurate lens of our being in Christ. He has made our past as though we’ve always been in Christ, and have loved God and our neighbor as ourselves.
Any time you might bring up something that happened “way back when,” the angle God will take on it will be what good you did or what good He did for you and through you. Go ahead—bring up something you’ve been reluctant to talk with Him about, and listen. Really listen. Your Father has been waiting for you to talk with Him about anything and everything. You’ve nothing to fear from Him.
Monday, February 21, 2011
If all of your sins have been forgiven and forgotten by God, then if He were to talk about your past, what would it be about? If you overheard Him chatting with the angels about you, do you suppose you’d like what you heard?
(This has to do with how you view your life: from God’s viewpoint or from an earthly one.)
Friday, February 18, 2011
My book has just been published by Harvest House!
With a foreword by Steve McVey, and recommendations from David Gregory, Malcolm Smith, Twila Paris, and Mike Quarles, I’m thrilled to make it available. You may see/order it at my ministry web site (http://lifecourse.org/), and it is just now available at Amazon.com.
Soon it will make it to all the bookstores, and the e-book arrives on March 1.
Monday, February 14, 2011
If I had the chance to stand up and praise the heroes in my life, I suppose it would take a while. And if I stood up today, perhaps I’d give the most time to a specific group of heroes—single Christian women. From Zagreb to Georgia, and Barbados to California, I admire and respect them deeply. They’re incredible.
While they have become the righteous and holy, new creation daughters of God, they nevertheless endure the faulty, measuring scrutiny of the world. Even from the church.
Even though the apostle Paul suggested we would all be better off single, rather than married, in our service to God (1 Cor 7), nowadays we don’t actually believe it’s true. Think of the single Christian women in your church and tell me they don’t endure endless prescriptions from well meaning, but Bible disbelieving people as to how they can “be healed” of their infirmity—singleness. Spoken or implied, we mostly think of them as incomplete or crippled, and shuttle them off to Children’s Ministry where they can at least partially fulfill their presumed destiny.
Single Christian women live with the not-so-subtle prejudice that there is something wrong with them, something that can only be cured by a ring on their finger and a man in their bed. Do you think my words are too strong? Then accept my challenge: ask them. Ask them if they believe they are seen and valued for who they are, according to God, or if they are seen as something less, something different. Ask them if they feel revered because they remain single. And not just the nineteen year olds; ask the thirty-eight year old, single Christian women. Ask them.
While I don’t recommend a contrary and curative prescription of giving single Christian women new places of prominence and authority as a way of proving our repentance, I do believe that we need to look anew at our saintly sisters. Do you see what God says is true of them? Do you believe that each is His chosen dwelling place, made pure and faultless, the perfect, New Testament, Holy of Holies? They don’t need to be fixed-up in order to be useful and whole, they’ve been separated unto God, at least for a season. How fantastic! For some, it will be a life-long marriage to the One we cannot see.
But can you see them anyway? Can you, by the eyes of faith, see them for who they are—the chosen, twice born, holy and blameless, radiant daughters of God? If you can, I’m certain you will see similar “invisible traits” emerging from the rest of the church, too. The temporal shadows of this world—clothing, physical looks and abilities, status, etc.—hide the sons of God already, even from themselves. But you and I see according to The Truth, even when the suggested truth of this world says otherwise. The Truth directs our thoughts about God, and it directs our thoughts about each other. It must.
If we would approach each other according to the truth—let it begin with our single Christian women—then the revival many of us hope for would begin with us. We would thank them for the great example they are to us in their single-hearted, undivided devotion to the Lord, we would encourage the single Christian women to “go for it” with God, to run off at His leading, to be daring and adventurous in their godly situation, unencumbered by the challenges Paul says marriage brings.* We’ll think of them as the royalty they are, instead of the royalty they could become . . . if only.
Knowing something of the struggle they face, we would be their cheerleaders—our team is on the field! Hooray! for single Christian women.
You’re my heroes—especially on Valentines Day.
*An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:34b-35
Saturday, February 12, 2011
What will have to happen in order for you to finally be free from the power of sin?
The short answer is: You’ll have to die. The follow up question gets at the truth: When did you die? If you’re a Christian, then you’ve already died—had a burial and everything—and sin no longer has power over you. Rom 6:3 “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
Christians shared in the very death of Jesus, as well as in His follow-up resurrection. On the cross we were in Christ, and what happened to Him happened to us—We were crucified with Him, and a few days later we were raised with Him. The nature pre-disposed to sin that we had before we were crucified with Him, was removed, and a new nature pre-disposed to righteousness was given to each of us. Rom 6:6 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” Read verse 7 again. That means you. And that means me. Fantastic!
We now share in the very nature of our Father, and the way to escape the corruption in this world caused by the evil desires of the flesh is to participate with Him (2 Peter 1:3-4). How? We who have been put into Christ do what He did: Rom 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
This passage does not say “Offer yourselves to good deeds,” as though the Christian life is found in good works as opposed to bad. “Offer yourselves to God” is what it says and that’s what it means. And where is God now? He is in you and He is in me—in all who have received Him. When I look for God now in me, when I sow toward Him by offering myself to Him, He produces LIFE! Christ is formed in me! And how will that look? After thinking in my head something like, “Father, I offer myself to you…Holy Spirit, what do you think about all this?...Jesus, I know you’re in me and I am in you, so…” I reap eternal life, the life of God (Gal 6:8), and I am either led toward some godly behavior, some fruit of the Spirit is produced in me (Gal 5:22-23), or I go on my way in the perfect confidence that God’s grace to me is perfect for what’s ahead.
I fit perfectly in Him, and He fits perfectly in me. We’re compatible! Even if I fail, the Spirit is right then working with me to convince me of my place in Him as well as my life in Him. I’m secure. Nothing has changed. I am still free from sin. I may have fallen to it, but I am quick to resist the temptation to believe otherwise, and offer myself to Him all over again. And more and more, you and I will come to find and to know that our life is in Christ, by the Spirit, and free from sin.
Our performance or experience does not determine whether or not we are free from the power of sin! What God thinks determines it. And His thinking is incredible, with lots and lots of invigorating power that goes with it for those who believe. Watch what happens as you do.
By the way, I write extensively about this in my about-to-be-published book, "God's Astounding Opinion of You." More info soon!
I hope this helps.
Thursday, February 03, 2011
God cares less about your obedience than He does about your trust. It's why He so enjoys hanging out with you. To the extent you believe obedience is higher than trust, so is the height and thickness of the wall of failure you believe you have to keep pulling down between you and God. There is no wall—He removed it forever.