Friday, January 29, 2016
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Friday, January 22, 2016
Think about it. She is not alone. She is not a sinner. She is not broken. She is not poor. Instead, she is always with God. She is a new creation saint. She is whole and complete. She is wealthy. Can she temporarily believe otherwise by choosing a worldly view, one outside of her true location? Yes. Will that change her condition? No. It will affect her experience but it will not change her condition or her location. Deception is painful, but she cannot lose the magnificent benefits she did not earn, because she will never be removed from where she is.
If you’ve been induced to view yourself as outside of Christ and apart from the security and wealth found in Him, think again. Have another look. Did God make His “home” in you or not? Did God make you a “new creation” or not? Has He brought you to “fullness in Christ” or not? Was God successful in blessing you with “every spiritual blessing in Christ” or not? Yes or no? He thinks the answers are all “Yes!” If you’ve received Jesus and He has received you but you don’t like what you see, consider where you’re looking to find yourself. It will affect you.
If who you think you are does not match up with who God thinks you are, think again. It’s important. Ask Him about it. One of the most important questions you’ll ever ask is, “Father, what do you think of me?” Prepare to like what you hear. He will help you think again.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Christians, as we rise into the new day, we do well to remember that we are not first gathering ourselves to properly engage life, but that because we died with Christ and were raised in Him, we are in Life and have Life already—to the full—before we ever consider bacon and eggs. We are not searching for life; Life has come to us, made His home in us, and now we’re growing up in Life.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Friday, January 15, 2016
(Yes, I’m a Star Trek fan and couldn’t help using Worf, the Klingon crewmember, to make an important point. I even gave him a cameo in yesterday’s video. Things often collide in my imagination, so I hope you enjoy what results.)
Some of us are schizophrenic cling-ons, holding on to our first birth in Adam one day (“I’m a sinner”), and then to our second birth in Christ on the next day (“I’m a saint”). It cannot be both. It is either one or it is the other. Either you are still in Adam (your first birth), you explain your misbehavior accordingly and have a whole lot of changing to do in order to overcome that troublesome birth, or you are in Christ (your second birth) and explain your misbehavior as fleshly and not in keeping with who you actually are by nature, Jesus having made that change for you and to you. Only those who cling on to their second birth have hope that Jesus made the change inside of us through the new birth—we really are new beings at the heart—and move on to new life in Christ.
I encourage you to cling on to your new birth in Christ, no matter what. It worked! It happened! He was successful! Thank you, Jesus! Can I get an “Amen”? Quit clinging on to and wrestling with imaginary Adam as if he defines you. He is gone. He is outta here. Turn your focus to Jesus and to the fact of Him with you and in you for life. He defines you. That’s better, right?
Here’s how your second birth, through faith in Christ, is described:
1 Peter 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
Look at those beautiful words, and cling on! “Imperishable.” “Living.” “Enduring.” Doesn’t that seem like God did a perfect work? It does. He did it, and your second birth got rid of your troubled first birth. You will never “fall back” into your first birth because you are forever new in your second birth. Imperishable, indestructible, unchangeable—never will your birth or Spirit-born you decay, no matter how things look, no matter how you behave, no matter how you seem to mess things up. He did it. It worked. You’re in. Forever. You live by faith in Jesus—that He was successful. You live off Him and His triumph.
And that is life for the cling-on.
(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “Life for the Cling-On,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click https://youtu.be/4CQDplsFkWo, or scroll down this blog page.)
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Got 3 minutes? Every now and then I get a little grumpy. If you’re the least bit of a Star Trek fan, you might think of me as Worf, the Klingon crewmember of the Enterprise. That might be how I come across in this video, but it’s for a vital truth, without which we suffer and cannot get healthy.
Here is my response: That’s a great question. You have met someone who fancies herself to be accurate in her shallow judgments of others, and who then gathers a twisted courage to wrongly point out and heal wounds falsely. But you can survive the evil of judgmentalness.
People will come to you in personal judgmentalness dressed up as caring concern, and offer you an olive branch that you will discover is actually a knife. Out of your presence, they have already been cutting on you, and they’re about to continue in your presence. They might say something like, “I have noticed how immature you are (or some such thing), and I’m sorry that I let it affect our relationship for so long without saying anything to you. I apologize. But don’t you think you should be concerned about this immaturity? I mean, I sure know of some ways that you could be better . . .” They are suddenly the doctor, you are the patient. However, they care less about who you actually are than about what bothers them. They have gone blind and want to share their blindness with you.
Look away. They cannot truly help you.
Here’s what I’ve done when a member of The Judgment Doctors (TJD hereafter) has approached me, suggesting healing but offering harm:
1) I listen to TJD while thinking toward the Spirit. I think something like, “Well, Holy Spirit/Jesus/Lord, I’m glad you’re with me to keep me to the truth. You know me, so what do you think?” While I listen to TJD, I’m listening beyond, I’m listening through. I do not want to submit my identity and focus to anyone who cannot see me as Jesus does, but I do want to listen. This keeps me both present and aware of God, who made me His son and who holds me securely in Christ. This also allows Jesus in me to take the accusations, cuts and otherwise wounds from TJD. He’s very good at that.
2) I take what I can from TJD. Whenever someone approaches me with criticism and they do not know me personally or (and especially) do not know me as I truly am, in Christ, they might still have something to say from which I can learn or go forward better than before. That’s valuable. They have a surface view of me, but perhaps there is a way I come across to them that I can easily correct without believing that I have to change who I already am. God doesn’t want me to actually change, since He already made all of the change necessary. And since I am His workmanship, what chance do I have at improving upon His work anyway? I want to grow up in who I am, not alter who I am. I’ve learned a few things from TJD over the years; very few were valuable, but some helped me to consider how I might be better understood or interpreted at the surface.
3) I offer myself to God for a Spirit-led response to TJD. Most often that has meant that I thanked them for their input: I might say, “I know this could not have been easy for you, so I appreciate your effort to help me. I’ll take what you’ve said and consider it with Jesus. I know you’d want me to do that.” Other times this has meant something more direct and less gracious. I might say, “I think you see poorly and it bothers you, of course, and you’ve stumbled into this moment as a way to get relief. If you knew me, if you knew the real me, the new creation that God has made, then that would have your focus, you would see truly, and both of us would be better for it. Instead, you are shallow and trapped in blind judgmentalness, from which God will certainly want to free you.” Since God knows the person talking with me, I listen for what He’d like them to hear from me: something kind (maybe they’re only dabbling in judgmentalness, and He is about to do something with them to save them and to prevent them from becoming a full-fledged member of TJD), or something more like a harpoon—right to it. He knows what’s needed, and I offer myself to Him for that.
4) I don’t quickly run away from TJD. But I do consider it a viable option! If TJD are going to be helped, then the opportunity might be when they show up to be judgmental about you. Twisted in their thinking, they believe they’re being spiritual in coming to you, but they’re in danger of navigating perhaps all of their days in the blindness of judgmentalness. That’s not going to go well! That’s going to hurt—themselves and others. TJD are often pretty friendless because no one wants their “help” anymore—it’s too painful and ineffective, because it’s focused upon the flesh. It’s from their flesh directed at your flesh, and that’s not going to benefit anyone. Maybe they can be helped by someone who cares about them . . . but maybe not. Sometimes you’ve gotta get away from them, simply put.
5) I can be re-afflicted by the verbal assaults of TJD days later, so I reflect upon the truth and ask the Spirit what He thinks of me. This is important! If we’re going to remain open around people, and not barricade our hearts and proceed to navigate relationships by template or method but by the Spirit, then we will want to involve Him in the messy aftermath of a bout with TJD.
The Spirit often sounds a lot like Colossians 2 and 3, where Paul strongly advised the perfect sons and daughters of God to remember to “live your lives in Christ, rooted and built up in Him,” to let no one take them captive by suggesting a “false person,” a “lesser person” than who they had become in Christ, since they had already been made perfectly complete and full in Him. The Spirit reminds me that not only have all of my sins already been forgiven, but that the Law that proved my violations with evidence in support has been cancelled, having been nailed to the cross. I am free of it, and so are you. He tells me that I must let no one give me my personal identity based upon what earthly things they see me do or by what quirks they might see in my behavior.
People who are falsely humble and who offer themselves as spiritual specialists will come after me and they will come after you, but we must not buy into their delusion. You and I have died to the shallow estimations and pretended religionists of this world, and we are in Christ—perfect, righteous, holy and secure. There is a lot that sets us up to need Him in our days, and I have found some of the best of life in Christ through ugly moments with TJD. You can, too.
All of us have fleshly quirks and odd behavioral characteristics about ourselves; we don’t cover them over or pretend they do not exist. No one who ignores reality will escape paying the cost of it. And that’s my point: the reality of who I am and who you are in Christ is transcendently important. It’s crucial. We live truly and only when we live from there, quirks and odd characteristics notwithstanding. Don’t let anyone focus you where God is not focused. There is no life there, only confusion, and maybe years and years of it lost in lesser identities. You and I live around people who cannot see us and who do not actually make the attempt to trust that Jesus made us new creation sons and daughters. While they have little to offer the real you, listen to them but live in Christ.
I hope this helps you in your relationships and in how God offers “wellness,” rest and freedom to people through you. He thinks that He has made them well off with Himself and with others, and it’s our “work” to help them enjoy that. Keep your heart and eyes open, my friend. He fills them both.
(This is a re-post. To see the video, click http://youtu.be/zjIjL9GCCTE.)
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Saturday, January 02, 2016
As we turn the page and move into the New Year, I want to remind you of your starting point. If you’re considering a New Year’s resolution, here’s where faith starts and get’s you moving in the right direction. While it’s true of the New Year, it’s also true of every day, even every moment.
With Jesus, we don’t start incomplete; we start complete. We don’t start empty; we start full. We don’t start wounded; we start well. We don’t start broken; we start whole. From our new birth in Christ, our mind is catching up to the truth of who we are as a new creation—perfect sons, perfect daughters of God already. That’s our starting point! If you’ve been thinking or speaking differently, consider the truth, especially when confronted by your feelings. They’re not always your friends—they can lie—and the Holy Spirit with the truth will help you. That’s what He does.
Colossians 2:9-10a “For in Him all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been brought to fullness.”
“Fullness.” What’s missing from fullness? That’s not a trick question. Nothing! Not a thing. That happened at the start He made for you. That means you’ve got no room for more, because you have everything already. You’re starting full up! He did it. He’s done. And so are you. That is your starting point.
I want to thank you for your love and care and the many ways you contribute to this ministry. Some of you have begun to support us each month—do you know how encouraging that is to me? I hope so. Thank you for sharing in the ride that was 2015. Here’s to navigating 2016 together.
(This is a transcript from yesterday’s video, “Jesus and Your Starting Point, 2016,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, scroll down this blog page, or click https://youtu.be/SeyGxPtHJmo.)