Monthly Archives: July 2017

Wandering in the Desert

Many Christians have struggled unsuccessfully for years with a particular sin or emotional issue because they have believed that the primary way to overcome the issue is simply by claiming and proclaiming God’s word. This is sometimes referred to as “positional” declaration. They find that these efforts usually only bring a temporary relief at best. After a while they begin to experience feelings of disappointment and even hopelessness and despair because they are not seeing lasting fruit from these efforts in their lives.

This is because significant inward transformation is rarely brought about by simply speaking a biblical truth over and over again. That is almost always a temporary approach at best. The problem is that there is often a significant resistance to the positional truths being spoken in the heart of the person that is speaking them.

This resistance is always based on something that is believed that does not line up with the Word of God that is being proclaimed. In other words, it’s a lie. Speaking the truth over and over without ever identifying and then repenting of the lie (or lies) leaves us wandering in behavioral circles, like the Israelites in the desert, with no rest.

Our journey out of the desert requires us to invite the Holy Spirit to identify the sources of our resistance to God’s truth and then depend on Him through prayer, to tear down any ungodly beliefs or belief systems that are discovered. This is how “positional” and “relational” Christianity are combined to access the power of God for lasting change!

 

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Filled to the measure of all the fullness of God’s love.

Oftentimes, it is only when we are finally willing to give up striving to find a measure of love from other people that we are truly able to receive the immeasurable love that God has for us.

Eph 3:17-19 …And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Do you like yourself?

Jesus said  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)

Jesus said that loving the Lord our God with the entirety of our being is the first and greatest commandment. Then He said that the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Love your neighbor as YOURSELF?

A lot of people would be hard-pressed to say that they even love themselves, much less their neighbor. But Jesus is saying we need to love our neighbor as we love ourselves! In fact, a lot of people feel that they don’t even LIKE themselves much of the time.

I have found that it is much easier to love ourselves when we are able to like ourselves first. And it is much easier to love our neighbor when we are able to love ourselves first. And it is much easier to love the Lord our God with the entirety of our being when we are able to both love ourselves and love our neighbor.

So, how can I like myself? Here is one of the basic keys to liking yourself: When I allow sin to control my behavior, I do not like myself very much. When Christ is controlling me, I like myself a whole lot more.

Our Father

We do not need a good self-image derived from who we are or what we do in this world. We need a correct self-image of who we are according to the Word of God. We are the children of God! When we can truly accept that we are His children, then we can truly know Him as our Father.

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

How does a Christian discover positive personal identity?

As human beings, most of our sense of personal identity is found through relationship with someone or something else.

Typically, people try to determine positive personal identity through their appearance, their job, their talents and abilities, family relationships, friends, and even denominational affiliation.  But in all these things we are building our house upon a shaky foundation because these things can change with the wind.

For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. (1 Peter 1:24-25)

We can lose our job. Our appearance can change. Our friends may reject us. Our talents and abilities may decline with age or injury. All of these things are temporary and can eventually be shaken apart.

And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  (Hebrews 12:26.27)

There is only one way to determine our identity that cannot be shaken. And that is through the Word of God. And the Word of God says that by faith we are now children of God! All lasting positive personal identity is found through that relational truth.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12,13)

God’s original plan for mankind, as initiated with Adam and Eve, was that we would realize that our identity is determined entirely by the fact that man was created in God’s image and through the unhindered realization of God’s unconditional love for us.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Mankind was originally designed to discover a sense of personal value and purpose through the fact that we are created in the image of God.  And this is the kind of relationship that God is trying to re-establish with us. A relationship where we would not feel that we need to compete in order to feel acceptable – where there would be no problems with feelings of low self-esteem, low self-worth, jealousy, insecurity etc.

The truth is, that only one eternal and unshakable relational truth could ever actually determine our personal worth or value to God: We are His children, created in His Image and loved by Him unconditionally. And He is our Father!

Caring for the Temple vs America’s obsession with food.

1st Cor 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

For the last couple of years I have had considerable acid reflux from a diet that was in many ways unhealthy. Through this, the Lord has revealed to me that trying to eat as healthily as possible is precious worship to God because we are all His priests and it is the appropriate and responsible care of the Temple where His Holy Spirit dwells. If we deliberately desecrate His temple with an idolatrous food obsession that we very well know is harmful to our bodies, then certainly, at the very least, we are choosing to turn away from the fullness of His blessing in our lives.

Romans 12:1
CJB I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you.

CSB Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.

CEB So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service.