Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
When you achieve the goals that your life has been consumed by, how will “it” look?
When you are finally comfortable in your own skin, and you’ve effectively dealt with your insecurities, how will “it” look?
When you’re able to confidently and somehow defiantly grin at your critics and detractors in that “how do you like me now, sucka” tone, how will “it” look? When you become the one that others turn to for guidance and coaching instead of you being the one stumbling through your existence, groping for answers & meaning, how will “it” look?
When you become “sought after” after years of “seeking after”, how will “it” look?
When you become “significant” after years of occupying an obscure space, how will “it” look?
When your decisions are no longer governed by your fears, but by the reality of LOVE HIMSELF, and the security of that LOVE, how will “it” look?
When you’re no longer in a place of “proving your worth to others” but resting secure in your infinite worth to One, how will “it” look?
In our hearts and minds we imagine what “IT” might look like to us and others when we arrive at the place that we’ve been on a seemingly insatiable quest to finally discover. The “IT” is the “finished, better, fixed” version of our self. The “IT” is what we effort arduously to create in the perception of others and even in our own distorted vision of who we think we should or want to be. The “IT” is our identity that we have mistakenly believed is defined by what we do, how we perform, or who we know. The “IT” is the lie that we buy into at an early age. The “IT” is what we’ll forever be chasing but NEVER finding within our own strength or most stringent disciplines. The “IT” that our heart is hungry to see revealed is not an “IT” at all. It is an established, tangible reality! “IT” is a “WHO”! “IT” is a Life! IT is THE Life. “IT” cannot be lived through faultless performance, or behavioral modification or manipulation. “IT” can only be realized through living another’s Life! Not through self-motivated initiative, but rather a surrendered response to a finished process! A process that was already perfected, once, by One….for you, for me! So the pressure to find and achieve the “IT” is a misguided “pipe dream”. The “IT” is not what hopefully will be, but it’s the “WHO” that is available NOW, for our past, our present, and our future! The “WHO” is fully alive, present, active, and reaching for YOU! You have nothing to prove to the “WHO”! You’re already completely accepted and APPROVED in Him! His life and love are completely yours, even at your worst! When you live the life of the ever present “WHO”, you can be at peace with where you are now on your journey in Him, and stop worrying about how you will be when you get to your later “IT”. Journey on!
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Experience is certainly a willing, though sometimes calloused teacher on this fascinating journey. I've found that settling for the familiar can be the greatest threat to fulfilling your God given purpose. The children of Israel, Lot's wife, and the rich young ruler all chose the folly of the familiar, and it derailed their destiny.
In my own life, through the leadership and grace of the Holy Spirit I've learned to recognize the familiarity of toxic people, environments, and mindsets from my past that have a way of creating identity crises. When I engage them, and allow them to participate in my life, they can cause me to forget who I am, my purpose, and where I derive my value and significance. Many of them remind me of everything I loathed about my old nature and my misplaced heart. They can have the appearance of being harmless, and they can disarm you with the feeling of the familiar. But make no mistake, they are out to manipulate your identity, sabotage your purpose, and make you a prisoner to fear—fear of man, fear of rejection, or a fear of failure. I am learning to identify where some of the pitfalls and vulnerabilities can hang out, and how insecurities I allowed to take root in the heart, as a result of some of my life experiences, can hide in subtlety, lurking behind faces and places. They will try to reemerge at every opportunity to distort God’s purpose for my life. These mindsets, systems, people, and environments wreaked havoc on my emotions, my self-confidence, and my identity. Reminders of what I hated in my own life were often awakened when I got around certain people in certain environments, and I listened to the conversations that emerged, as hearts were revealed, and motives were unearthed, reminding me of what God mercifully led me out of.
Sometimes the familiar has a way of pulling us back time and time again because it seems safe and comfortable. But giving in to it leaves you feeling unfulfilled, insufficient, misguided, and out of focus. Once God invites you to engage in His much grander purpose for your life, nothing less will ever satisfy or fulfill that deep calling and longing inside, and you will always feel incomplete as long as you attempt to entertain the familiar and settle for such a less than, shallow and superficial existence. Answering His invitation can oftentimes bring you to a place of solitude, loneliness, and silence, as you leap “blindly” into the wide-open spaces that you’ve never before experienced. The leap is completely safe though, for He is carrying you, carrying you beyond the clamor of the crowd, the praise of your peers, the noise of the naysayers, and the opinions of the oppressive. And He’s calling you to His heart, to a Grace filled existence, to an acute awareness of His presence, and to a keen sensitivity to His voice. It’s a place beyond the grip of your control or ability to manipulate the outcomes. He has freely given to you the abundant Life in Christ, filled with Kingdom opportunity, significance, and purpose.
Yes, it may be unfamiliar, but you have been prepared for this, and He has prepared it for you. You can’t give in to the illusion of “safe” that the familiar will offer. The familiar fights faith at every turn. But only faith can take you to your destiny. You’ve been created IN CHRIST before the earth was formed to live the humanly unimaginable life! As we remain willing to allow His spirit to conform us to our true identity, He will take us through the unfamiliar into the most secure, rewarding existence we could ever imagine. And that life is for now—His kingdom coming and His will being done IN EARTH as it is IN HEAVEN! The familiar experiences, people, or places can never make that kind of guarantee.
"For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[g] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
--Romans 8:22-39 (ESV)
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
The obsession to be “right” in opinions, perspective, and viewpoint has fueled debate, arguments, and even self-professing “God-endorsement” of our ideas and philosophy. Christians have grown quite skilled in co-opting God to endorse their belief systems, misrepresenting His Word, and using shame and condemnation as their strategy for exposing wrong in others, while highlighting “right” in themselves. I find it interesting; however, that the Christ so many of them claim to speak for and represent, didn’t “handle things” at all the way many of His “followers” do today. He didn’t come protecting His reputation; conversely, He made Himself of no reputation. He didn’t defend the position of the religious culture of the day. He came speaking truth in love, and proclaiming Life everlasting, God’s Kingdom, and His heart. I’ve heard it described this way, “He didn’t come to take sides, He came to take over.” He only did what was in agreement with the will of His Father. He came to seek and save that which was lost—proper identity and right standing with God. He was on a mission of saving, not condemning. He didn’t compromise the reality of right and wrong, nor was he "soft" on sin, but He knew that darkness becomes a non-issue once the Light is turned on. He didn’t allow Himself to become embroiled in surface, appearance focused debate, or symptomatic results of a much deeper issue. He reached for the hearts of people, and offered them Life, Grace, Freedom from sin, and Transformation in their lives and lifestyles—the things that characterized WHO HE WAS, and who we are, once we are IN HIM.
Somewhere along the timeline of Christianity, identity has been lost, or distorted at the very least. The body of Christ has become more focused on righting wrongs, exposing transgressions, and zealously standing for noble causes, than they are at simply living life from the source of their true identity, IN CHRIST, by His Spirit working in and through them. They’ve cursed the darkness, exposed sin, and made the sinner feel condemned as they are made increasingly conscious of their sin, all the while, the church seems to be failing to accurately represent and walk in His Light, turn His light on in the darkness, and focus the consciousness on the cure for sin—the finished work of the Cross of Christ. The Gospel has been misrepresented, and distorted to the point where “good news” has been replaced by noble sounding “right living” through following principled lists of do’s and don’ts, self-discipline, righteous appearances and personal performance.
One thing much of Christianity seems to have forgotten, at least in our country, is that the abundant Life that Jesus gives cannot be lived out by the “goodness” of feeble humanity. We can’t “copy” the way Jesus lived by rote from our strength, good deeds, or self discipline. It still takes the Life and the power of the One who gave that Life through Christ. He didn’t come to make us better humans, who are more skilled at following lists, performing flawless, morally astute lives before an admiring public. He came to make us new creations! Every part of us! The Gospel is the “holistic” good news! It covers every single aspect of our living.
I’m convinced that the defining negative issues of culture through the eons of time would have been non-issues had the body of Christ been more interested in sticking to THE GOSPEL, encouraging living from identity in Christ in her members, and pointing people to the Cross of Jesus, instead of vacating her leadership role in the world, retreating to divisive religious subcultures, co-opting the systems of the world, building institutions, personal kingdoms, and attempting to become “relevant” IN the culture instead of presenting the relevance of Christ TO the culture. The body somehow got sidetracked in dissention among her own tribes, and division of theology, philosophy, and doctrine. And sadly, much of the division at its core, was over semantics. What a devious and masterful divisive tactic of the enemy. The church became reactionary through the years every time an issue of culture and Godlessness manifested, instead of proclaiming Christ the answer in a proactive sense before those issues came into being. She was always one step behind the culture instead of determining the culture, by declaring and manifesting a “new” culture—the Kingdom Culture. She created an “us versus them” mentality with people in the world instead of exercising her God-give authority against the spirit of the world, while copying their systems and adopting their mindsets. She failed to see the real enemy and became victimized by the deception of symptomatic evidence—taking up “religious” causes against others, instead of being the ambassadors of Christ and taking up HIS mission and heart. The real enemy lulled the church into distractions, taking her eyes off of the real enemy and the real issues of peoples’ hearts. The church became involved politically, financially, and socially with the systems of the world, while trying (but failing) to effectively “package” those systems in a sanitized presentation. A mixture message, a mixture mindset, and an instability to consistently function in power, Grace, and authority—the very things Christ empowered her with.
It shouldn’t be a shock to the church when the world acts and lives like, well, the world! But it seems that it is, and that her primary role is to combat culture at it’s surface level. In doing so, the church has vacated a leadership role in culture, and the vacuum left there was eagerly and quickly filled by the forces of darkness. By the time the church sees the enemy manifest, she begins to lash out and react at the symptoms and the victims of the real enemy--the people. She goes after “flesh & blood”, while all the while quoting scripture--from memory instead of passionate belief, Grace, and authority. And the spirits of darkness—where the real war should be waged—laugh as the “us versus them” narrative continues to be echoed on every front in the name of defending truth and righteousness. And people are victimized, criticized, condemned, and marginalized. The church is mired in a debilitating identity crisis. She seems to be fighting FOR “righteousness”, justice, and truth, instead of fighting the real enemy FROM that position. The whole earth is groaning for the sons and daughters of the King to take their rightful position of ushering in His Kingdom and His will in earth as it is in Heaven. But the swatting at the flies continues. The distractions of the symptoms is clouding the reality of the genuine heart needs. And the church in identity crisis fades deeper and deeper into a “sanitized” and irrelevant section of culture, continuing to “take up” righteous causes, humanitarian issues, and moral justice campaigns. But they are in the defensive posture, and slowly but surely being driven into silence when it comes to the direction of the nation.
It is time for the citizens of the Kingdom to reconnect, re-engage, and declare who we are, who defines our reality, and WHOSE Life we live by in every aspect of life. We are IN CHRIST. New creations. Old things are gone. All things are new! This changes everything. In every area of our existence, we can move in abundance, authority, power, love, and grace, because our DNA, our identity is BRAND NEW. The finished work of Jesus on the cross gave us NEW IDENTITY! Our DNA flows from the blood of Jesus. As Jesus was, so are we in this world! As the body of Christ with many members, it is time for us to begin to declare, to believe, to live, and to advance His Kingdom! Christ has paid it all, finished the work, and guaranteed the outcome! Now, He invites His body to take their place, take the fight to the real enemy, which ironically has already been defeated. He has empowered us to take every territory back, and proclaim the words of the prophet Isaiah, which were later echoed and fulfilled in Christ, “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD."
This is our identity! The church needs to BE and walk in what we were created to be. She is not an institution, a religious idea or organization, an entrepreneurial venture, or a political force fashioned after the systems of the world. She is ALIVE, the life giving, organic, Grace-infusing, powerful body of Christ, the bride of a King! She is on a mission of reconciliation and redemption, not condemnation. She is not a cultural reaction, she was created to determine the culture for Christ, and manifest the Kingdom with no end. It’s time to reflect our King, and to represent the face and the heart of our Savior, Jesus! Abundant Life in every area of existence is ours through Christ. He is the answer for all. He is the cure for culture, and the Hope for every person. Our true identity awaits, revealed in Christ, and lived out practically and powerfully by His Spirit in us, covering us with His Love and Grace. Do you remember who you are?
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
All human efforts to earn His Grace, Love, and approval through performance, good deeds, or "righteous resumes", end up as mere legalism, works, and law based living.
Only One has ever truly pleased the Father. It was His own Son, Jesus. We spend years working and working trying to "please" God. The only way to please God is to live in the Life of the Son in whom He was "well pleased". We can only experience this IN AND THROUGH HIS LIFE, By His Spirit!
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Proverbs 29:25 lets us know that we can remain ensnared, enslaved by a cruel taskmaster—“the fear of man”! The Message translation reads this way…”The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.”
So many of our words are calculated, premeditated, and “staged” with the sole purpose of being viewed acceptable & validated in the eyes of people. That’s part of the human condition. It’s the part that can immobilize our growth & development into our new identity—IN CHRIST! Through HIS Life, we have been set free from the need to perform for people, ourselves, or even for God Himself! Before we had breathed even one breath, we were validated in HIS eyes! We were loved and accepted completely & perfectly, with nothing else to prove! We have been emancipated to simply respond to, and willingly accept the Life we now have through Christ! We can now live for an audience of ONE, and HE doesn’t hold us to a standard of performance! It’s like our kids performing for us, no matter how pathetic & UN-OSCAR-WORTHY the performance may be, they are OUR children, and we rave over their performance because they belong to us, and we see them through the unwavering lens of love! Imagine HIS perfected love that so far supercedes our finite ability, and transcends our failed attempts to perform flawlessly! HIS love that found us and pursued us when we were at our worst! THAT LOVE has set us free to simply live a life of “surrendered response” instead of self-initiated efforts! When the eyes of our hearts are opened to THAT love reality, we start experiencing a freedom that puts us at rest, that restores our joy for life, and that keeps us in a place of peace as we live ALREADY APPROVED, VALIDATED, AND ACCEPTED, and without the chains of human opinion and peoples’ perspective of us enslaving our lives! What an AMAZING life! His life! His gift! And it’s already been paid for, FOR US! It’s our decision to respond! To reject or to receive! To reject, keeps you on the treadmill of image, performance, and trying to be good enough. To receive, releases you into the life and benefits of being HIS child, living in HIS love, and by HIS life! HE was good enough! He finished the performance! You ARE free! FREE INDEED! Journey on! Peace!
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Bitterness and unforgiveness will derail your destiny faster than anything. And yet in our humanity, we are most susceptible and vulnerable to these two things. The only way to overcome them is to live our life, not from the limitations of our humanity by the futility of self-discipline, religious principles, or will power, but from the reality of the abundant, overcoming life we have through our identity in Christ, by the power of His Spirit. Bitterness and unforgiveness often have roots in rejection. Have you been rejected? Have your gifts, your talents, your personality, your work, or your heart been ignored, overlooked or rejected by your peers, those you admired, a loved one? Jesus was despised and rejected, even by His own people, and those He came to save. He wasn't negatively affected though. Why? He was completely accepted, validated, and approved by His Father, even before His first miracle or message. At His baptism by John the Baptist, He heard, "This is my BELOVED Son, in whom I am WELL PLEASED." Those words were all that mattered. In Christ, those words are to YOU too! Don't allow any root of bitterness from rejection to grow in your heart. REST confidently in the reality of WHOSE you are, and HIS heart toward you! Rejection doesn't have to define your reality or your identity! IN CHRIST, you are accepted, beloved, validated, and treasured! THAT is my identity! THAT is who I am! Man's rejection is insignificant in light of the reality of my true identity! Good news! Bitterness toward anyone will keep you from living fully in your identity In Christ! It's the great thief of the riches we can enjoy living in Christ. Don't let it hang out in your life. In Christ, we were given authority over it. It's our choice though, to live with it, or get rid of it. Don't settle for an anemic, “Christian-lite” life. The earth is groaning, waiting for us to take our rightful place as Sons & Daughters of God. We’re not waiting on God. He’s done it all, and Jesus has sat down. It’s our choice. I’m tired of making excuses for my humanity. I’m focusing on the perfection of Christ. That is my identity! As long as we allow our old nature to be an “excuse” for not realizing the “Hope of Glory”—Christ, living through us in every aspect of life, it will be.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
It's just a fact of our nature. We humans simply can't help it. We just love to elevate our experiences, our work ethics, our good deeds, and our accomplishments to a place of using them as standards, measures, litmus tests, or examples for people to follow in order to attain a certain level of success or goodness. That gives a delusional sense of rightness or arrival on our part, so we can justify leading others, and conforming them to our ideas and standards. We use our experience to shame others into performing up to our standard, in order to somehow be validated in their work and experience. The reality is, our so-called strengths have a way of becoming weaknesses and vulnerabilities in our own character. The purpose of anything good that might come through us, is to point back to the only true source of anything good--Father God! The strongest are those who recognize their human weakness, and are completely dependent on the strength of Him from whom we derive our true Identity, In Christ. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall.” The higher we rise or succeed, the more vulnerable we become. There is greater temptation to lean on our own strengths, abilities, and experience. The enemy knows this, and camps out in those subtle spaces in our lives where we think we are strong, qualified, or dependable—the places where we are more aware of what we think we CAN do, instead of humbly knowing what we CAN’T do, and that we can ONLY do from our identity in Him! We must be acutely aware of our dependence on God, and the need for intimacy with Christ—living life from Him, in Him, and through Him. It’s all Him! Human nature tends toward self-reliance and personal performance, and it resists dependence, especially when we experience a level of “human success”, validation, or even power. The higher we fly, the more needy we are, and the more crucial it is to rest under the shadow of HIS wings. THAT’S how we truly fly.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
The terms "living for God", and "working for God" no longer make sense to me. I mean, He's already done all the work, right? For salvation and for living! He finished it! I now live by His life, and align with, and engage in the work that He has done. My life is a process of coming into alignment with my real identity--In Christ! He invites me into that, and I enjoy the benefits of His work! I don't impress Him by what I do, even by what I do in His name! I mean He created the universe by the word of His mouth in around 6 days!! I'm pretty sure I am not gonna impress Him! I now live by His faith, His power, and His Spirit. It's about identity & alignment! Because of the Cross, His life is now mine! I am in Him, and I am new, in every way! There's a reason we are called human "beings" and not human "doings". Out of our intimate connection to Him, and His life in us, we get to engage in His Kingdom work, and experience abundant life in every aspect of life. In Him, we live, move, and have our identity (being)! "The life I now live (in the flesh), I live by the faith of the Son of God". (Galatians 2:20) Any "good works" that may come through my involvement only come as a result of my being properly aligned in Him, by His faith, & because of His finished work! Our performance driven, works oriented nature resists surrender to His life, and therein lies the conflict of our dual nature. Walking into our Kingdom identity comes only through surrender to the reality of that identity working in & through us! It's a waste of time to try and achieve holiness through works, or standards of behavior. It's the result of position not performance--our position IN CHRIST! Because of His work on the Cross, and the shedding of His blood, holiness and righteousness become our identity!! HE is our righteousness and holiness! As long as the focus is on our attempts to be holy or righteous, we'll never experience the abundant Kingdom life that Jesus came to give. It's only IN HIM!
Sunday, June 18, 2017
People are an incredibly interesting study…me included, I’m sure. Or maybe I’m just a flat out “weird” study! The dynamic that exists, and the passionate connection between people and their belief systems has been exponentially magnified with the advent of social media! My whole philosophy has changed over the past 1-2 years relative to the best, most productive, and enjoyable ways to use social media. To some, social media is obviously the greek term for "soapbox", & to many others, it’s simply a way to reconnect with old friends, family, and groups of peeps with similar interests. And sadly, there are some people who use social media primarily as a means of gaining validation & approval from others—oftentimes complete strangers whose only connection is that they may happen to have a few “mutual friends”. They seek this validation by continually “exercising” their freedom of speech (or freedom of typing), and their rights to “Speak up or Stand Up” for what they feel passionate about! After all, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”, right? Sure sounds noble, huh? Actually, I believe that quote is tucked away somewhere in the book of “Self-righteous logic 1:1”. They feel that speaking their minds, and sharing with the rest of us, what they may be feeling or thinking at any given moment, makes them “real”, genuine, or honest. And social media has given them instant gratification and an immediate outlet to pontificate and bloviate, sharing their every thought, emotion, or soapbox that happens to be “stoking” their “principled fires” at the time. They give little thought to the wisdom, timing, and Christ-centered “heart” that should responsibly “govern” their words & sentiments. However you try to twist or distort scripture, the fact remains, Jesus never demanded His rights, yet He never compromised truth. He always dealt with the heart—the root issue, and not the superficial symptomatic. That's where the religious heart wants to keep the game. Even though He was the embodiment of truth, He chose to refrain from defending Himself, and instead, in every instance, He reflected the heart of, and carried out the will of His Father! Even on the one occasion we’re quick to refer to & justify our “anger” or emotionally driven “righteous indignation”—driving the money changers from the temple—His actions were motivated by His Father’s heart, and not His own personal agenda. His frustration was actually directed at the abuse and distortion, by religion, of the original purpose for His body—the church. Unfortunately, that's still goin’ on today, and yet there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much of an outcry or push back from the religious crew as there is toward gay marriage, Starbucks, A&E Television, or the like. Jesus remained silent before His accusers, and chose not to engage His detractors in futile arguments which were merely “smokescreens” to camaflouge the condition of their hearts. Even though He knew He was right, He never insisted on “grandstanding” His rightness before those who stood against Him! Even at the moment of His ultimate act of surrender—His death on the cross—He wasn’t “touting” His rightness, but instead, forgiving those who had wrongly accused Him, hated Him, and stood against everything He was. He gave His life instead of protecting His own reputation! How different that picture is from so many of His modern day “followers” who feel compelled as “activists” to defend opinions, sacred views, or speak out at every opportunity against anything they deem as a threat to their ideology. Ultimately, I’m more interested in standing IN CHRIST—my identity—, and reflecting HIS life in everything I do, than “standing up” for an opinion, right, or viewpoint which may, in fact, be noble—my ideology! HIS Life is the ONLY thing that will truly bring about heart change! I think THAT takes much more “backbone” than spewing opinions and arguments simply because you have that “right”. Of course, many consider this (under the religious sounding guise) “standing up for what’s right”! What makes you “real” isn’t being willing to regurgitate everything you feel or think in any given moment. That often times makes you look like a “real” fool! Let wisdom & love—not your desire to be heard, agreed with, or validated— guide your heart, your words & your motivations to speak.
It is most obvious that there is an attack on the things that are near & dear to the heart of God, including those of us who seek after His heart, and live our lives IN HIM! It’s been that way forever! Good & Evil have never been “fishing buddies”! That really shouldn’t surprise you! It’s imperative that we understand who the real enemy is! Our battle is not with “flesh & blood”, it is a spiritual war! Boycotting & behavior modification do nothing to change the condition of the human heart! Symptomatic “management” only disguises & distorts the real needs of the heart! Humanity needs healing! It needs a Saviour! But when we insist on waging this war from a position of “flesh & blood”, we will lose every time! The enemy of our soul is an expert on human nature. He knows how to distract, to distort, and to cause us to put our “faith” in our own futile strength, personal beliefs, convictions, traditions, and performance! That's what he is doing now! He doesn’t want us fighting the war from our position of strength in Christ, and HIS Spirit living through us! From that position in our true identity, the war has already been won! We are free to live from THIS place, and watch HIS supernatural power & life be the change in the lives of the people of this culture! At what point will we stop simply standing up, piling our religious eggs in the basket of our own “belief systems”, opinions, and rightness, and start STANDING IN our identity IN CHRIST, by HIS SPIRIT, through HIS GRACE AND LOVE! These are not about us and our abilities & performance! They are about Him! He is the answer! He is the change! He is the hope for all! CHRIST IN US… At what point will those who claim to be His followers, actually start following?
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
We’re so good at taking ourselves way too seriously, and exhibiting an over-inflated ego through the choices we make, the priorities we set, and the way we view the world and people around us.
Anything of substance that we see through our lives will only come through our connection with Love Himself in relationship, allowing Him to work through us for the GREATER PURPOSE—not simply to further our “small part” of the Greater Purpose.
We make our “small part” the WHOLE puzzle, and thus put the emphasis on our success, our performance, others’ perspective, outside opinions, and validation of “our small part”. Our efforts are predominantly spent for the benefit, and the sake of our “small part”. Our motives for doing what we do usually live on the side of self promotion and preservation of our “small part”. We evaluate the world and it’s goings on through the keyhole size lens of “self”.
We constantly look for the comfortable, familiar, or convenient to express our “small part” so we can somewhat control, manipulate, and orchestrate the “success” of our “small part”. It’s a “ME-centric” culture and paradigm that is so easy to fall victim to.
Our desires are motivated by our “small part” instead of HIS Greater PURPOSE!
The betterment, advancement, and display of the skills, gifts, or talents relative to our “small part” become the center point of our existence, instead of being willing and available to exhibit our gifts, talents, and abilities in WHATEVER capacity benefits the GREATER PURPOSE—even at the “risk” of obscuring our “small part”!
The greater purpose of Love Himself should be central to who we are. Our intimacy and relationship with Love Himself can fill us to the point of overflowing to the “outside-of-us” world—where our very lives are lived, naturally, peacefully, and passionately serving the Greater Purpose! Living relaxed, unencumbered by the constant assault of selfish whims and motivations, is the picture of what I tend to believe it really means to live a “John 10:10” kind of life—an abundant life.
Our “small part” will have varying impacts on the greater purpose from time to time—sometimes seen by the masses, and sometimes seen by only 2 or 3, but when our “small part” becomes the cornerstone for our existence and the focus of all our efforts and decisions, it’s then that it becomes difficult to love, to live loved, and to allow His greater purpose to invade our lives in beautiful, unique, powerful ways. We keep Love Himself in a “box”.
When we’re controlled by a self-seeking motivation to promote and express our “small part”, then all we’ll seek is acceptance, validation, and the approval of others, and THOSE are like drugs! You never get enough of them, and will never be satisfied, thus, our obsession becomes to seek the good of our “small part” at any and all costs, instead of seeking and serving the greater purpose of the establishment of Love’s Kingdom!
Lasting and significant promotion comes from God, NOT from self. When our focus is on the greater good, our gifts and abilities have a way of finding their place of greatest impact and service, however, the motivation for using, and achieving through our gifts should find their heart in a desire to help facilitate The greater purpose of life— which is something much bigger than our “individual” cause.
That’s why our hearts and our gifts must remain intimately connected to Love Himself. His life lives through us, reaching, touching, and serving the world around us—even at times, allowing us to enjoy the “spotlight” or the accolades. Of course, if our hearts are in the right place, the “credit” or “affirmative words and actions” are reflected back to the source of “every good and perfect gift”, Love Himself.
We are called to ONE PURPOSE. Our abilities, “vocational expertise”, or talents do NOT define us. HE does! And His love-motivated, heart-reaching “definition” of us transcends how “big or small”, how hidden or seen, how grand or “obscure” our parts may be. They are ALL needed and valued to help fulfill Love’s greater purpose! For no matter how small the piece of a large puzzle may be, without that one piece, the puzzle is still incomplete!
Sunday, June 11, 2017
The deeper you get in this self-revealing journey, the more helpless you’ll feel. The more nauseated at yourself you’ll grow. This could be a side effect of pride leaving you. You’ll start feeling less and less the need to defend yourself, or make yourself “look” good. You’ll humbly accept responsibility instead of searching for excuses. There may be a tendency to completely loathe yourself, and everything and everyone who had a hand in your development. Ask the Navigator to reveal the root causes, but do NOT look for a place to lay blame. Extreme emotions will demand a voice and a response. You’ll comply many times, BUT, never let them take root in your heart. Let the Navigator preserve your heart! He’ll guard it with His life! You’re safe in your frustrating expression to Him. Abandon yourself to the wisdom and mercy of the Navigator! He can handle your emotion, your questions, even your mis-placed blame and anger! Just stay close to Him! Never pretend with Him! You never have to! You never look bad to him!
You’ll be reminded constantly about the things you’ve grown to hate in yourself. You’ll see those things in other people, systems of thinking, and beliefs. You’ll have a hard time separating the spirit behind those things from the people who evidence them in their lives. Hang in there! Don’t keep it inside! Cast it all on the Navigator. He invites you to! He can handle it! You’ll be judged by others continually! You might as well just accept that! It will still piss you off, and make you want to “rip them”, fight them, expose them, or loudly accuse them. But sadly, you can’t keep people from judging or giving their “ivory tower”, self righteous, “demi-god” perspectives. Ask the Navigator to free you from the opinions of others! You’ll NEVER be able to love them, until you care nothing of their opinions of you OR their validation and approval!
It all starts, continues, and finishes in faith in the reality that the Navigator is for you—He loves you completely and perfectly! Live and journey in THAT reality, and let THAT reality be the force that gently, purely, and surely guides you on this journey!
Allow the Navigator to help you see through His perspective! He knows the way and everything about it!
You quite possibly will lose every hint of self-assurance, self-esteem, and self- confidence! Don’t fear this! The Navigator wants to properly place the assurance, esteem, and confidence safely in Him alone!
You’ll be prone to hurting those closest to you at times because you’re wounded. All you know is “it hurts”. Like a wounded animal, sometimes you don’t know the difference between help and hurt. Your trust may have to be restored in relationships—even the relationship itself may have to be rebuilt—The Navigator’s way. You’re experiencing a death of sorts, you’re being re-made…that is IF you allow the Navigator to continue leading you on this journey!
As the Navigator lovingly unearths things in you, your reactions might be drastic and erratic. Just hang in there! Don’t “abandon the journey”! Don’t suppress your emotion! Vent to the Navigator! Just “collapse” in the love, mercy, and wisdom of the Navigator! You’re safe there! He’ll hold you tight for as long as it takes for you to renew your strength to continue the beautiful, yet painful journey of coming to the end of yourself. As the journey goes on, look for new strength, new love, healing, freedom, peace, and oases to stop off at and join with other “pilgrims” to rest, refresh, encourage, and love on those who are on this same, yet unique journey with the Navigator! And so we travel on.