Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Who Am I?

The desire to know who we are and how we work best is at the deepest part of our heart.  That desire is like a fuzzy memory flirting with us or scratching at us until we pay attention. We are, I believe, set up by God through all our days to find the answers to the daring questions, "Daddy, who am I and what am I for?”  These are the greatest questions there are, questions that God alone can answer—and He loves to.  Have you asked? 

Thousands have found answers and real life—life that works—through my book. You can even get it for free.  Click http://lifecourse.org/Ralphs_Book.html for more.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Love Works

God’s love is made complete when we know it and then can’t help but express it to others. I think it's His most-fun work—revealing and lavishing His love upon us, knowing it’s on the way somewhere else.

If you’re not much the loving sort just now, get some of His for you. That’ll take care of things because that’s how love works.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
      you formed me in my mother's womb.
   I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
      Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
      I worship in adoration—what a creation!
   You know me inside and out,
      you know every bone in my body;
   You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
   The days of my life all prepared
      before I'd even lived one day."
Psalm 139:13-16 The Message 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Love & Water

There will be much revealed and talked about and debated over this morning’s nearby shootings in Aurora, Colorado, but there’s only one sure thing we can do about it—love. It may sound overly simplistic, but restraint and rule will not restrain the crazy cravings of man. The love and grace of God changes man, and our love for each other makes way for that.

I will be gone for a few days to love my family and friends, sometimes around a campfire. God's love for you is certain; I hope you love well this weekend.

Colorado Shootings

Good morning, friends. Having just returned from a theater last night, my daughter, Emma, and I are more than a little grieved by what happened in Aurora, some forty miles south of us. While I loathe tragedy, I know that God will be wonderful and comforting and revealing Himself to the victims and relatives and friends of those who suffered early this morning.

When situations shake us from our worldly comforts, neediness provides the open door for God's ability and grace. And I'm for that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Am I Good Enough?

If through the cross and resurrection Jesus has removed my former self and nature, and given me a new self and His nature, if He has united me with Himself (He lives in me and I live in Him), if He has made me a truly holy and righteous son (we’re compatible!), then is it my “role” to now deny myself, to step aside, get out of His way and become less so He can become more?  Doesn’t that seem like a contradictory waste?  Doesn’t that seem like a whole lot of self-effort when He has already done everything to me that’s necessary?

It does.

I think a misunderstanding of this is one reason why some of us are weary and disillusioned in our walk with God.  We believe that we still have to do something harsh to ourselves in order for God to “use” or be happy with us.  But that’s not true because it’s all over with.  It’s a done deal.  We’re good!  You’re better than good.

When there is something going on that’s outside of my new character, self is not the problem, flesh is the problem, and my deceived attempt to live under its influence. If I believe that “self” is still my problem, I will be induced to do something about myself (“Surrender!”  “Die to self!”) that, in fact, Christ has already done, and I’m heading into frustration. When I don’t believe the truth, there is no way to avoid frustration.

But when I am renewed in my thinking, I live by faith in all that He has done with me through the cross and resurrection.  My faith is in Him, and I rest in Him and gladly offer myself to Him.  We get along perfectly!  And that’s amazing. 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

(For much more on this, check out my book at lifecourse.org, amazon.com, or at your local bookstore.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Eve & Lucille Ball

If Eve had been at all like Lucille Ball. . .(Okay, so I watched her a little bit when I was a boy!)

Where The Wonder Is

Many think almost exclusively of what Christ has done for them, and overlook what He is doing in them; they look at redemption upon the divine side as a finished work, and fail to look at it upon the human side as a continuous work; they are so much taken up with the ideal of Christ dying upon the cross for their offenses as almost to forget that He is living in their hearts to guide, to inspire, to bless, to save. 
– James M. Campbell, 1895

This is the Jesus we get to know, the mystery hidden for the ages, but now revealed to us, received by us, and now in us—Christ in you.  What He did gave us life; what He does reveals and directs it.  And that’s where the wonder is!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Comes A Time

Looking over the shoulder of my life, this is sound advice. You can't always figure it out quickly, and that's probably okay.  But there comes a time.

It is very difficult to resist the template thinking that more words will always equal understanding. Sometimes more talk does grant insight and peace and love with people. But they are those for whom love is highest priority—they love already and want to love again. I have found, however, that for those who want to make a name for themselves, who have a kingdom to build as highest priority, words are useful to gain position, not love. Lust for power has made love a hostage.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Propitiation Question

Question from yesterday: “Ralph, doesn’t ‘propitiation’ mean ‘to appease’?”

The New Testament word, propitiation, carries the meaning of both removing a problem and of providing a benefit. But there’s more. When God makes propitiation for man, He does it because He loves, and so He can lavish that love unabated upon man—at full strength. Consider the following:

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10

This is why I have never liked the expression, “God’s love is a decision.” Sure, there is a decision about it—He decided to send His Son—but it’s what motivates Him that leads to the decision. He actually loves us! So He does something perfect about it. Full strength!

Don’t you love that? That’s God! And that’s God for us.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today's Favorite

Today’s favorite word: Propitiation. In other words(!), you might as well be happy with God because He is happy with you.

God didn’t just take away your sin, having credited it to Jesus at the cross. He also happily made Himself completely favorable toward you. You lost something (sin) and gained something—favor. Complete! That’s why His offer of Life is for everyone.

And that’s the way of grace.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Good Night

Sons and daughters of God, rest and sleep as though you have never failed God but always succeeded, and never committed a single sin in your entire life, and you will be sleeping by faith in Jesus.

Good night. 

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Surrogate Passions

Perhaps the first sign that I’ve moved to prosecuting a position rather than trusting Jesus is that love—knowing it for myself and for others—is replaced by surrogate passions. I can grow accustomed to living by zeal, anger at sin, frustration at political knuckleheads and stupidity(!), and more. But if I have not love. . .kindly whack me awake because I’ve taken on the form of a good-for-nothing noise-maker. Call me “Gong Man” or “Cymbal Breath.” That should do it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Uh, Oh

Uh, oh.

My daughter, Emma, has introduced me to Menchies, the frozen yogurt place.

This could be difficult.

Truth Versus Position

We find it very difficult to trust that Truth is first a Person—Jesus—and not a position. It’s getting easier to discern those who have been induced to build their position and to prosecute by it, from those who remain at rest in Christ, content for Him to be for others what He is for them—the way, the truth, and the life.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Where's The Thrill?

If you accept only what your eyes tell you, particularly about people, you’ll soon wonder why the thrill of being a son or daughter of God has leaked from your heart.  That is one of the top reasons wonderful, holy, and perfect sons and daughters begin to falter and lose vigor—they believe what their eyes say about people.  When they do, they cannot approach them in faith about Jesus’ cross and resurrection—what that did for mankind—so their Christianity becomes relatively impractical and paralyzed.  They’re drying out because they’re out of focus. 

As the political season heats up, pay attention to what happens to your sight and to God’s love in you when you see or hear or talk about Obama or Romney or Bush.  You might want to re-focus on Christ and your position in Him.  That’s reality, and that will help you to see.

Friday, July 06, 2012

I Love Summer

I've been on a great trip with my family lately.  After a few hours of fly fishing on the Henry's Fork, Idaho, here's my view as my friend, Ken, and I walk off the river.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Our Struggle

Our struggle is not with changing ourselves.  Our struggle is with lies.

Life is about believing that Jesus changed us already—He did it and He’s done with that.  If we try to change ourselves, or even if we ask God to change us, misplaced belief and fleshly effort makes a mess of things. Believing Jesus—about Himself and about ourselves—is what proves the change has been made.  And He is happy to help you with that, mostly because it means true and meaningful relationship.  The best!  

He’s just a little bit into that, right?