Where Do You Stand?

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I was told repeatedly growing up that if you didn’t stand for something you would fall for anything!

Well I fell for most everything, so I guess that means that I didn’t stand for anything either!

Even when I tried to have the right convictions, morals, attitudes and just plain ol thinking, I never could pull it off.  Fear and failure tracked me down like bees on honey.  If you know anything about bees, you know they can find the least little bit of honey you could imagine!

So…when I didn’t stand for anything and fell for everything…God demonstrates his love for me (and you) in that when we didn’t even want him, while we didn’t yet believe in him he died for us…yes before we even arrived on the planet!

So…in my mess and failure and despair I cried out to him for rescue.  Helpless and hopeless and standing on nothing I could do for myself he delivered me.

He acquitted me, declared me righteous, and gave me right standing with God through my baby faith!

Then Jesus declares that we have peace with God, reconciliation to hold and enjoy! Not only that…we have entered into and been introduced because of faith, into Grace, this state of God’s favor! This is where we now live!  The STATE of Grace! We can dance for joy, and rejoice in hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God!    

Where do I now stand?  In God’s GRACE!  If you are a believer, where do you stand?  In God’s GRACE! 

So…where do you stand?

 

Metamorphosis

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As a kid I was fascinated with caterpillars and worms and all creepy crawly creatures that I could capture and torment with poking and prodding and viewing in glass jars.

It was not until I was a bit older that I discovered that caterpillars would change from their slow wormy existence into a totally different insect with totally different behavior and looks.  The caterpillar actually becomes a butterfly! Not a flying caterpillar, a real butterfly!

I was surprised and amazed! 

I know this information isn’t new to you, but can you think back to when you had no idea this could happen?

Much later in life I made another discovery about the same kind of thing, that happens to humans!  However, it is much less visible on the outside.

In the Bible, in Romans Chapter 12, verse 2 it says to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

The word transformed is the Greek word “metamorphoo”, which is where we get the English word metamorphosis, which is a change of form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means. Or, a striking alteration in appearance, character or circumstances.   (Webster’s)

To be transformed would be a complete change in one’s identity. 

Once you were dead in your sins, but now you are alive.  Once you were darkness but now you are light.  Once you were in bondage but now you are free.  Once you had no hope but now you have a hope and a future.

When you believe in Christ and receive His gift of life, you become a new creation.  The old caterpillar you is gone.  The new butterfly you is alive and living the Christ life to the full!

You were once alone and in desperate need of real life.  Then receiving Christ’s life, you are joined to Him, in union with Him, becoming a completely new creation. 

Now, the process of renewing the mind, which is thinking about being a new creation and counting it to be true, and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of new identity to you, helps to establish in your mind what is already true in the Spirit! 

Practice your mind on your new Union In Christ’s Identity…spread your wings, and FLY! 

It is He that is at work in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure!

You Can't Get There From Here!

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We have sent astronauts into outer space, and have sent many, many satellites to orbit the earth.  We have also sent exploratory probes that have travelled for years and thousands of miles through our galaxy.

However we have yet to make the discovery of the place called heaven, and the kingdoms of God and the Spirit. They must be…they have to be out there somewhere! Don’t they? 

No astronaut has seen them.  No telescope has spotted them.  None of our fields of radio wave listening devices have heard anything that would reveal their source.

They are not to be found.

You can’t get there from here!  

Jesus said something so startling that the people of his generation could not comprehend it.  He said that the kingdom of heaven is within you. He spoke of an everlasting kingdom that would have no end!  He said it would stand when all else was long gone and forgotten.

He also said that God was a spirit and must be worshiped in Spirit and in truth.

Kingdom of heaven, worship in Spirit and truth, evidence we cannot see.  Truly not of this world.

We have trouble comprehending all this as well. We often fail to realize the reality of the new dimension that we believers have been born into.  The heavenly realm of the Spirit.  Joined to Christ, joined to his Spirit…not of this world. 

We are now led by the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, and are empowered by the Spirit. 

The only way to get there is in Christ!  You believe and receive! 

 Otherwise, you can’t get there from here! 

Have you arrived?        

We Struggle So Hard!

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We struggle so hard to plan our future.  I don’t mean our distant future, just what is right before us.  If it’s not now, or the past, even the next moment is in the future.  We think we are trusting God as we continue to just make our plans and plunder along doing what we plan to do anyway.  Oh…and we ask God to bless our efforts.  In the flesh.  Apart from Him.

We live a lot of our lives not hearing, or listening to God’s voice leading us to take another step in another direction.  We often refuse to wait on him.  Let me correct that.  Most of the time we refuse to wait on him. 

Is there another way to live as a believer?  Could we live as if God could be trusted?  Could we learn to wait, even in this society of instant everything.

Psychologists are saying that we are more stressed out than ever and are exhausted from information overload. 

It seems that we run away from God’s exciting promise of meeting our needs.  We run to the satisfaction of the moment to supply our every whim even when we know it is hurting us and that it is opposed to the very thing that we say that we want, which is abundant life.

That abundant life that we put on the bottom of the list is nothing less than God’s life!  The life that Jesus came to give us! 

Why would we choose to partner with a thief and a liar who came to steal, kill and destroy?

Because we don’t know who we are.

 Do you know who you are?

 

The Scale Of Justice

Justice.  The moral principle determining just conduct.  The quality of being just; righteousness or moral rightness.  This is how the dictionary defines justice.  There are many other definitions as well, but they are all similar.  But only a judgement can determine if someone is just, morally right or righteous. 

In one predominate view of God we see Him as the great judge of the universe.  We will all have to stand in His Righteous Judgement.  But maybe there is more to the story.

In John chapter 3 and verse 17 it reads:  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 

Verse 18 helps us understand even more:  He who believes in Him is not judged;  he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 

Mankind has been placed on the scale of righteousness and been found lacking.  We have failed the test.  We have been found guilty.  We cannot measure up.

The Gospel is…we have failed…He has not!  He gives us His right-ness,  his sinlessness,  making us succeed in being right!  Our part is to believe!  It is a gift!

The scale is tipped in our favor! 

Do you realize that in Christ you have been made to measure up and succeed in pleasing God?

It's Not Over When You Think It's Over!

Years ago I was in the middle of horrible frustration, pain, guilt, shame and agony with the place that I had come to in my life. My behavior and decisions had led me to this place.  I felt that there was no way I could be rid of the past and actually have a future. 

I was learning that God loved me, and was beginning to accept that fact.  I could not see, however, that there could be any kind of future for me because of all the damage that had been done as a result of my idiotic and insane episodes of self indulgent chaos.

Friends were gone, family gone, reputation gone!  Even my low self esteem and lack of self worth were shattered.  I felt I had no worth at all left!

But still, somewhere deep inside me, was a whisper of God’s love for me.  For me!  How could that be?  In the face of utter destruction and despair there was a small voice, quiet but clear.  “I love you, and it’s not over…it is only beginning!”

Very hard to grasp.  Very hard to believe.  Everything I had been taught and learned was about doing the right thing to earn your reward.  God will bless you if you do right!  If you do wrong…well isn’t that evident!  I was reaping my rewards.  Punishment.

But I heard the voice. 

Swelling inside me slowly was the notion that maybe I didn’t know what I thought I knew about God and who he is and how he works and what he does.  Could he at least give me a hope for a future?  Could things ever change?

Just thinking that God had not thrown me away was such a new thought.  Imagine grace and mercy being part of his love and who he is instead of something you can earn!

As I struggled with changing perspectives about God, and then of course about my crummy old controlling self, I saw something else that would change my ideas again.

In Genesis chapter 1 verse 5 in the second half of the verse it says “and there was evening, and there was morning-the first day.” 

Evening and morning…what?  But then it dawned on me.  God’s perspective is different, and he is the creator.  I guess he should know.

Our days go from morning till night! God’s day begins in the evening and continues through the morning. The Jewish day begins at 6:00 in the evening..   

Our endings are God’s beginnings!  When I think it is over, it has just begun! 

 

Just Receive!

I am reminded so often these days in my own life, that I did not deserve, and could not earn what God has given me.  What I really deserve for all the mess in my life could fill a book or two!  What He has given me instead would overload the information highway, and shut down the internet.  How in the world could I get from Him what I didn’t deserve.

 That my friend…is Grace, and Mercy, and Love!  God in the essence of Who He is!

 Did you get that?  Who He is, not what He does.  My response to this kind of love, grace, and  mercy, is to receive the gift of forgiveness, and receive the gift of love. It is to receive Him!

 I can choose not to believe it, I can say it isn’t that easy, I can work to earn it myself, I can just plain ole give up.  But, it doesn’t change the fact that He offers us His life.  Not just to get us into Heaven, but His life to live in us and through us now.

 His power to produce new life in old situations.  His  strength to transform weakened emotions.  Life for death!  Joy for sorrow!  Peace for turmoil!

It has to be too good to be true!

Not on your life!  It was on His life!    Our response…receive!

Do you tend to receive from God or, do you tend to try to do everything on your own?

Grace That Reveals Life!

I see it more now than I ever have!  Religion and legalism has so infiltrated the truth of the Gospel that we tend to apologize, and make excuses for teaching a message of liberating Grace.  We absolutely don’t have a clue what this kind of Grace will do, for us, and in us, in our daily lives.  Because of that, we are continually pulling back to add to the Gospel.

  We do that by saying with our mouths that it is only by Grace, and then we produce a list and add it on top of Grace hoping that this effort will produce in us what only he can produce.  If we do not see the result that we want, we will change the list that we have compiled in great expectations that this time, somehow, it will work.  If only we can find the right combination… that must be the key, Grace, plus, something required of us!

  No, a thousand times no!  My behavior, my love, my attitude, my thoughts, my emotions, and everything else, are all, did you get that, all  aresponse to the unconditional love of our Father!!  We are called to receive!  Just receive!

 How can it be…It’s Grace!

We are oblivious to the fact that love is a response, and cannot be produced in us just by willing to love.  In the case of our Father, we love him because he first loved us, not because I am trying to love him more.  But, the more I have his love revealed to me, the more I will love him.  The more I know and experience his love, the more all my actions and behaviors will change.  As I come to realize that his life is really in me, I will begin to express his characteristics in and through my life.

Works Or Spirit?

We would all say that, of course it is not by works, but it is by faith that righteousness is given to us.  I agree, and I would also agree that if faith is alive, works will be present also.  But, here is a good question for us all.  As a believer, it tells us in the Word that there are only two ways to live, or walk.  One is after the flesh (trying to meet our own needs), orin the Spirit.  So, here is the question.  If you as a believer walked in the Spirit,  would that resolve your conflicts?  In other words, if you needed to learn how to raise your kids, or be a better boss or husband, or stop addictive behaviors, or anything else, would walking in the Spirit be the answer?  We have more books and seminars and t.v. shows about how to do all these things, yet we are failing miserably.  What if we had training on how to walk in the Spirit.  We could call it making disciples! (I hope you see the sarcasm)

Power From On High

Is there really a power from on high given to us to enable us to live as sons of God?  I’m not sure we really grasp this.  It seems that we think walking in the Spirit is just another facet to the Christian life rather that the whole life.  Maybe we just need to define what walking in the Spirit is.  It is recognizing our union with God as vital and real and not a separate part of us.  It is seeing our total dependence on him.  It is complete abandonment of our lives into his hands.  It is coming to the end of our resources to try to live the Christian life in our own power.   It is learning to see God in a completely new way.  It is finding out that he is more interested in us than we have ever imagined.  It is asking him to do in us what we have never been able to do, and that is live the Christian life like he would want us to, even in our desires that nobody else knows about.  You see it is not about performing for him so he will be pleased with us and love us,  but it is all about the fact that he is pleased with us and loves us, and we live in Union with him as the source of living water that flows through us…resulting in life!  Real life!  His life!

 

Are you in the flow?  Do you sense living water in and around you?