28 September, 2011

God's View

I have said many things similar to this, but I was meditating on it again this morning. You see (actually, you don't see, because I am at home alone, and you are on the internet, but you get the idea), God has been working on my heart about how to spend all this delightful free time I have had since leaving "The Liar" (my old job). I am working on writing a book. Whether it will ever be published or not is not the issue, but learning to sit and listen, to study and pray, to write and compose sermons and series is what He is after. So today I began laying the foundation for a chapter on God's View of us, His children. My mind works in a way that leads to to just "vomit" thoughts on a page. It is like setting up, or decorating, a room. I take everything, throw it in the middle of the room, and them figure out where I want it. That is what this is, but you will get the general idea. Eventually it will have an intro paragraph, some more intelligent structure, and hopefully less of a "grumpy preacher" feel to it. So, the excerpt...

2Corinthians 5:17-21 unfolds who we are in Christ, what we are in Christ. We are each a new creature in Jesus. What that implies is that we have been completely remade “from scratch” in the eyes of God. We are not who we used to be. We are now a brand new person. The old is gone. Yet, we continue to speak of it as if it is still in operation in our lives. The sinful nature should no longer be the driving force in the life of a born-again man or woman of God. That is why we call ourselves born-again. Rebirth means that we get to start all over again in God’s eyes, this time of His seed (1Peter 1:23).

I have heard this rebirth explained in terms of automobile repair, and while I am in no way a “car guy” I will use it anyway because it makes the most sense. Suppose you were in a wreck, and your car was completely smashed inside and out. When you take your car to a shop, the mechanic will bang out the dents, repair the broken engine pieces, and detail the upholstery. Once all of the work is done, you receive your car, shiny and “new,” but it is still the same car. We have been looking at the rebirth in Christ in this same sense – as if Jesus has fixed what was broken and put us “back on the road” (I know, that was a corny analogy…). What has actually taken place, however, is that our old, broken nature has been done away with. We are a new being that has never before existed. In light of the car analogy, it is like taking your wrecked car to the shop, and instead of your car being repaired, you are handed a brand-new, more powerful car. That is the kind of transformation that has taken place in the spirit of a born-again child of God.

Through Jesus, you have been made the righteousness of God. That is what you are right now as you read this. Yet all I tend to here, from pulpits to pews, is how sinful, lowly, unworthy we are. Have you read the Bible? That is not how God sees you, and His perspective is far more important (and true) than yours. Now, I know many people are reading this and thinking, “doesn’t the Bible tell us to confess our sins?!” Yes, it does. In 1John 1:8, we are taught that if we say we have no sin we are liars. That is absolutely the truth. None of us are sinless like Jesus. I am not making the argument that we are. I am not teaching that anyone is to deny the sin-nature of our humanity; I am explaining that we need to stop glorifying it. God’s Word is the final authority, and if it says we are righteous, then we are righteous – regardless of how we feel. In Proverbs 23:7, we learn that we are what we think (don’t get all philosophical on me). If you spend all of your time harping that religious tune of how unworthy, weak and pathetic you are, then you will continue to walk in those flaws from now until Kingdom Come. Jesus takes us just as we are, but we aren’t supposed to stay that way! I question people who continue to talk about how sinful, broken and incapable they are. That is not a sign of spiritual maturity, but rather a sign to me of one who is not growing in the faith, but rather stagnating. Confessing our sins is vital to forgiveness. Dwelling on them, however, is the key to Christian failure.

Parents will understand this analogy far more than I will. Anyone who is a (good) parent knows how frustrating it can be to listen to their children berate themselves on a consistent basis. I know my parents got real tired of hearing my siblings and I talk down about ourselves as often as we did. They knew what we were capable of doing, and it was bothersome to them when we would claim otherwise. We could not see our own abilities like they could, because they were older and (don’t tell them I said this) wiser at the time. Our Heavenly Father is the same way – on a much grander scale. He made each of us, with very specific skills and abilities. We are handcrafted by God Almighty. Dwell on that for a moment. I know in my own life that thought does not penetrate my heart and mind as deeply as it should. Ephesians 2:10 say we are God’s workmanship, His handiwork. When God created the universe, He did so with His spoken Word. Yet, when it came time to create people, He reached down into the dust and the dirt and the mud and handcrafted the man. He took the man’s rib and He fashioned a woman. God is very intricate and intimately involved in the creation of each person. He knows what we are capable of. He is proud of each of us. He loves each of us. Who are you to talk about how unworthy and incapable you are? You are the pinnacle of God’s creation – the crown jewel of the Universe. God loved you so much, that He went through all that a Being possibly could to see to it that you and He could be together. Jesus went to the depths of Hell to free you from power of sin, from the curse of the Law, from sickness, disease and poverty – and to make you the righteousness of God, able to do all things through Him. You are not insignificant. You are not unworthy. You are not some sinful wretch. To say so is to slap the God Who made you and saved you in the Face. Just like a parent cannot listen to their child demean themselves, so our Heavenly Father grieves when His children speak down about themselves...
More to follow 

08 September, 2011


My biggest request during my prayer times has been that I would "get it" more. I feel so unmoved by the things of God, it's rather frustrating. How is it that I can read the Scripture so often, and yet walk away so unchanged by it's words? There is a disconnect that I struggle with, so I continually ask the Lord to reveal Himself more fully to me (one of the first things that I think creates that divide is using "far-off" phrases like the Lord, which makes Him seem way out yonder somewhere... that's another topic for another day).

Today I received a little more light on the topic that I believe we all desperately need to take hold of. Jesus explained in Mark 4 that the single-most important parable He taught was the parable of the sower. He said that it was the foundation for His entire teaching ministry. What we see in this parable is that the first reason why the Word of God is so unproductive in our hearts is that we are hardened to it, thus allowing the enemy quick and easy access to steal it. What we do not realize is that we are often that hard soil. This does not mean that we are calloused, unfeeling, wicked people, but that our hearts are hard towards spiritual things. Our Western way of thinking has hardened us to spiritual laws. Paul describes this condition in the second chapter of first Corinthians, yet it still hasn't sunk in to us fully. God's ways of doing things run so counter to our understanding that we have come to dismiss them altogether. As a result, we make religious excuses for why the Bible "doesn't work," when the truth is that we didn't believe it in the first place. Theological, religious thinking has robbed us of the power of Scripture in our lives. We gloss over so many wonderful revelations about God without so much as a second-glance.

What the Lord showed me today is that we have hard spots in our hearts to specific "Word-seed." While I am by no means a gardener, I know that certain seed produces better results when planted in specific soil. Our hearts are often hardened regarding specific seeds in the Word. That is why so many of us simply do not "get it" regarding many of Scripture's promises. My Bible says over and over and over and over and over and over again that we should be rich. There is no denying that. If a Christian person does not believe it is God's will to prosper them beyond their imagination, they are either in denial or cannot read. Our lack of resources proves that we do not believe the Word of the Living God. I know I don't. I base my reading of Scripture on too many past failures. I had to repent early and often for that today. There is no denying that God wants to Bless us financially. That is why He also made a point to hammer home repeatedly to be on the look-out for greed and idolatry. He is smarter than us and knows that if we are not careful His Blessing will cause us to turn away from Him and toward the "presents." Unfortunately, it does not matter all that much, because we trust in our own jobs and means of provision, rather than in His Blessing (which makes rich - Proverbs 10:22).

God expects so much more from us - from me. But if we do not believe His Word to us, then we are going to live defeated everyday of our lives. If He says we are Blessed, we are Blessed. Believe it. He equipped us with His Spirit so that we would have a greater capacity to receive and do! (See Ephesians 3:20). But if we trust in our own means rather than His we are doomed from the beginning (See Jeremiah 17:5). If we do not believe His Word is true, then nothing will ever happen. We limit our capacity to receive from Him and walk in the life He has for us when we harden our hearts to some of the Word. That is why we do not always "get it." We do not always believe it...