Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
God thinks He has made you a fantastic, Spirit-born person, quite a bit like Himself, well-recognized throughout the heavens. If you could right now take a poll of those in the heavenlies, they would all tell you how much you resemble Him. Of course, you’d have to be wary of those of the Liar Clan; they, after all, would lie. But even those on the demonic side of things know the truth about you.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Have a great day, everyone!
The author of the montage writes: Everyone knows that the greatest and most iconic contribution to Cinema is Tom Selleck's Moustache. So great is it that there isn't a single film that would not be improved by the inclusion of Tom Selleck's Moustache. As proof I present this montage.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
If you have ever wondered about “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27), how He got there, what He’s doing there and how you can find Him and enjoy Him all the time, get my book, “God’s Astounding Opinion of You.” I suspect there are a lot of people who don’t know about it, and I can’t stand that. I want you to have it.
If you live in the U.S., you can even get it for free. C’mon then. You can find it at your local bookstore, you can get it Amazon.com or Christianbook.com or Crosslifebooks.com, or through my ministry web site at http://lifecourse.org/Ralphs_Book.html. You will also find reviews by Steve McVey, Andrew Farley, Malcolm Smith, David Gregory, and more. (If you’d like to help spread the word, consider linking to this post.)
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Does God like you, just the way you are?
It all depends upon what your view of yourself is. God thinks you are spirit. Many Christians think you are human. If you’re human, then there’s a lot about you that God wants to change. If you’re spirit, then God already has changed you. What’s needed now is for you to believe.
After God changes you from old to new, from a son of the earth to a son of God, He is absolutely delighted with you—the change is complete. He has seen to it. He doesn’t want you getting confused about the change He has made when your behavior fails to match up with the change He has made. He doesn’t want you focusing upon your behavior in order to change, but He assists you to believe in the change He has made. This requires a healthy focus upon the truth. He doesn’t want you to change—please don’t! Stay the way you are! Stay the way HE thinks you are—a spot-on, perfect son or daughter of His. Get comfortable with that.
This is why I maintain that God is fairly crazy about you. He wants to show you what He sees. He and all of heaven are dazzled. And as you see and know what He sees and knows, you’ll be growing—growing in faith that He likes you just the way you are.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
If He loved you before you loved Him, if He delighted to choose you and bless you with every good gift before you woke up and stretched a single muscle, if all of His actions toward you brought and continue to bring Him great praise and glory throughout the heavens though you fail to pull off one decent thing in response, still He loves you with abandon and holds nothing back.
That’s who He is.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The obstacle to experiencing victory over temptation is the way in which we’ve gone about the battle. When we arm ourselves with the law, we set ourselves up for failure every time. We may call it self-discipline or accountability – or plug in some other inventive term. But when it’s anything but dependency on Christ within us, it’ll inevitably put the wheels of human effort in motion. (Andrew Farley, The Naked Gospel)
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
When I experience worldly wealth separation syndrome(!), the fleshly lure is to do something about it right now—if even just to brood. This world, then, captures my focus, belief and effort, which means terrible turmoil in the attempt to live by estimates that do not accurately measure me. But the Spirit takes advantage of that ugly lust to get my attention so I will look to Him to satisfy me instead. And He does! In that way, fleshly longings become a doorway to true satisfaction.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (Gal 5:16-18)
Monday, September 12, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
God’s purpose in giving the law (and it’s exacting requirements) was to prove our inability to keep rules as a way of life, in order to give us Jesus, who is life itself. Knowing and trusting Jesus, and all that He is for us, is the new covenant existence. When any of us make the attempt at life by rules, we’ve traded true life (Jesus) for fake life—the illusion of life by success.
And when that happens, all who make the trade will eventually begin dumbing-down the law. Without God’s permission(!), they will arbitrarily begin decreasing the law’s exact requirements upon themselves because no one can ever keep all of the requirements. And if you fail at one single point, you have failed altogether. (James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.)
If anyone then accepts a less-than-perfect, law-keeping standard, not only does that person miss out on knowing and enjoying Jesus as life, but he must then become a pretender. He must pretend he is “okay” with God, even as he fails to keep and do what God has said he must.
Tragically, there are many who insist on pretending. Ask them, “What percentage of God’s requirements did you keep this week?” They will likely glance downward and say something like, “Well, I did okay. Maybe 70%. But nobody’s perfect, right? There’s always room for improvement.” Then say, “Well, I suppose that means you failed. But tell me, what did you enjoy about God this week? What did He do with you that simply thrilled you?” Their answer should reveal that they missed Him because they were busy doing (and failing at) something else. Presumed failure with God will become the dominant assessment of their relationship with Him, so they won’t check in with Him, they won’t want to know and enjoy Him because they believe He is already unhappy. Until they can make Him happy (100% law-keeping success on their report card), they will choose distance. They will choose the illusion of life by success. And that’s hideous, especially when Jesus has ended that life-by-rule-keeping existence altogether.
Life by grace means that you have rejected life by pretending in favor of life by Jesus. Think of the benefits.
Friday, September 09, 2011
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Relational navigation by mask is this world’s required skill for acceptance. Of course, acceptance means a terrible cover-up (particularly for the sons and daughters of God) and painful frustration because we’re not actually ourselves. Relational navigation by mask is one of the biggest causes of failure in people today. That it is practiced and even encouraged amongst the church is surely one of Satan’s greatest achievements.
But there are many of us wearied of it all. So in sometimes private “ceremonies” of bitter anger and disappointment, and in sometimes public “ceremonies” of obvious failure, we come out of hiding to authenticity, no matter the result, no matter the cost.
When the “ceremony” is met with applause by others walking in freedom, genuine fellowship is the result and the glory of the church is radiant. The powerful temptation and terrible grip of the mask of pretense is broken for the first and most important time. After that, the community of the free prefer each other in truth, and that faith-filled preference means rampant grace for all. Until then, grace is perverted into something earned or doled out in measured affirmation—and no one is truly transformed because no one is true.
In the community of the free, we are God’s workmanship, and that becomes most evident and most joyful when we lower the mask and drop the tools of pretense. And suddenly we are discovered, even to ourselves, to be quite stunning after all.
I see increasing evidence that more and more of us are on the way of freedom.
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)
Our Christian children are aliens and lights in this world, holy and blameless sons and daughters of God in whom lives the Holy Spirit Himself. They’re not on a long and winding path to their destination—they’ve arrived already.
Do you see them? Not if you’re looking at them only with the eyes in your head.
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)
The “glorious inheritance” in our children right now is more fantastic than anything else in this world. Just because it isn’t easy to see is no reason to turn away and quit looking! The need for revelation is another of God’s invitations to know and be satisfied by Him, and to be transformed into His likeness. When the Spirit reveals to me what He thinks about Ellen and Emma, I believe Him and approach them from there. In other words, I look and feel a whole lot like Jesus because I’m living by faith! And any opportunity to do that is wonderfully satisfying—it fits who I am.
If we don’t know what He has in mind when we look at our children, we’ll invent something instead, and it will never match up. We “live by faith and not by sight” not only in God’s promises but also in what God says he has already done for people and made them to be. We see all of life according to His opinion.
(Excerpted from my book, “God’s Astounding Opinion of You,” chapter 12: “Aliens Have Landed—The Proper Care and Feeding of the Everyday Foreigners in Your Family.” For more information and to read reviews by Steve McVey, Andrew Farley, David Gregory, Malcolm Smith and more, go to http://lifecourse.org/Ralphs_Book.html, to amazon.com, or you can find it at your local bookstore.)