For more GodSpots – 37stories Enjoy!
Do you ever wonder about the depth of your Spirit experience? I do all the time. I wonder why God does this or why God does that. I wonder if there is something more I might do to effect a stronger change on the world via the power of God. I know I can’t do anything, but I believe Jesus abides in me and I in Him. It is with that belief I wonder why I am so impotent when it comes to things of the faith….
It seems much of the miraculous things of the faith are not reachable from where one currently exists. The “unreachables” seem to require change of heart and many times a change of location. There are components of our inner being and physical world that hinder our ability to gain wisdom, knowledge and understanding. It is true we look through glass that filters or hinders our ability to appreciate and incorporate the deeper things of our faith into the life we live.
Much of my life I have had an “off and on” desire for the deeper the things of the faith. There were times when my Spirit was sensitized and I asked for deeper things. Mostly, I didn’t receive them and wondered if what I was experiencing in my church life was all there is. I heard stories of God working in miraculous ways in odd parts of the world, but it didn’t match up with my life. I didn’t know why and I really didn’t work too hard at understanding because life chasing the American dream held plenty of challenges of its own.
The Word says that God will supply all your needs. I suspect 9 out of 10 Christians will quickly respond with “God will not supply according to your wants.” It is safe to say this and experience it, but here is a revelation. It seems to me desiring deeper things of the faith will not be provided as a “want”, but likely only as a “need”. This thought or revelation becomes quickly problematic.
If we desire the deeper things of the faith and they will only be supplied as a result of God’s determination of the need, we may find ourselves in highly uncomfortable situations. These situations or events in our life create the “need” which then activates God’s promise of supply in the need, not the want. It is in the need we begin experiencing the deeper things of the faith.
Confidence in life seems to come mostly from our gage of success in maintaining an ever increasing burden defined by the American way of life. Our society and communities in which we live pressure us to conform to some standard of living the community has determined to be the norm. We are not to get too far past the community or lag too far behind the community’s standards or expectations. I wonder how much of this want “to fit” into the community or society in which we live, negatively impacts God’s desire or ability “to fit” into our life?
There was a monk of old who lived a life of service to his fellow man. In the midst of living he developed a powerful pain in his side. Eventually, the pain in his side would kill him. As he lay in bed with this unbearable pain, he asked a fellow monk to roll him over on to the side where the pain would be the strongest. It was in this unbearable pain, he found himself closest to Jesus.
It seems suffering in the midst of unbearable pain is where each of us has opportunity to experience the reality of Jesus in our lives. I say, “Opportunity” because choice and action is required in the suffering. One has to choose Jesus as the supplier of need which may require a conscious decision to “roll over embracing the pain of suffering”.
This choice is evidenced by a Spiritual realignment of your face into the light of Jesus. Approaching Jesus requires a physical turning from the darkness of the world and allowing the light of Jesus to illuminate your life. It is in the light of Jesus, God is obligated to honor His promise that His grace is sufficient to meet all your needs. One finds self lacking in “want” and having all “needs” met. This is truly a miracle of events that can only be orchestrated by God. God is Gloried with your focus on Jesus.
I know many will read this and think it all sounds good on paper, but not experience any difference in living life. Chasing the American dream will continue. Impotence in your Spirit walk will be the norm and you will die wondering if that was all there is… BUT it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can choose to experience the deeper things of the faith. It begins with desire and quickly followed with need. The desire is a big step of faith, but the need can be the killer of desire. “Job-like” suffering instantly creates need. It is in your very real need, you have opportunity to take baby steps in faith that draw you into a more intimate fellowship through Jesus and with the Father.
It is in this scenario, one finds self experiencing the abiding of Jesus in self and self in Jesus. Life begins to be experienced through a wholly different perspective. The lens through which we view the things of the world begins to bring focus on Jesus. It is in experiencing an abiding presence of Jesus (He in you and you in He) we discover a new life in God’s Kingdom.
The Word says pray, “His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. It is this Kingdom, I believe God desires His children to operate in and out of. It from this place in my Spirit walk, I am not influenced by man’s teaching as I am not conscious of having been taught these principles. I believe them to be true as revealed by God and influenced by an ever increasing appetite for His Word.
So forgive me if I stumble here in explanation, but this is the way it seems I am currently experiencing God.
We live in a physical world on earth that is defined by physical parameters. It is in this world I chose to live most of my life choosing little influence from God on how I chose to chase the American Dream and experience life on my terms. I know many of you in your honesty will admit you are living life on “your terms” and doing a pretty good job of it. After all it is the American Dream.
Living life in the experience of an abiding Jesus, you in Him and He in you inside the Kingdom is contrary to the life you know. As I am a baby in my Kingdom life, I cautiously share a simplistic picture of how life in the Kingdom appears to work.
It seems there is a physical world all encompassing in the existence of mankind. This physical world is created and owned by a loving God and is a subset of God’s existence and influence on the universe. For some reason, God turned the world over to satan’s influence and then created man to live in it. The beauty of man’s existence is God allowing His presence to redefine man’s life on earth as influenced by satan. I hope God makes sense out of this for you, because this is where the meat is.
Through Jesus’ death on the cross and our acceptance in a belief He died for each of us, Jesus promises to abide in us and we choose to abide in Him. I wonder at this point, if Jesus is obligated to abide in us or if He chooses to abide periodically as a result of our choices influenced by our heart’s condition. I believe the Spirit never leaves, but I am not so sure Jesus is obligated to hang around in the midst of sin.
As Jesus abides, we find ourselves in the experience of living in God’s Kingdom as some sort of reality that engulfs us but is not all inclusive of the physical world. It is like a subset surrounding each of us with Jesus and us in the midst of the Kingdom. It is from the midst of life in the Kingdom, miracles are evidenced in our lives and in the physical world outside God’s Kingdom as we know it and in satan’s world.
It is as if we living in the Kingdom of God have the opportunity to ask God to reach outside His Kingdom we are experiencing and influence events in satan’s realm. God’s intervention is in the realm of miraculous and I believe He is thrilled to allow us to participate in the miraculous and bring all Glory back to Him.
The idea of God allowing us to operate in His good will and pleasure to influence things, people and events outside His Kingdom brings sense to the question of why God does or does not do things. I believe it in not God being neglectful. It is His children being neglectful. We do not ask out of the resources of abiding in His Kingdom.
Imagine if His children were all operating from a platform on earth, experienced as His Kingdom and His will on earth was done as it is in heaven. There would be an ever increasing grandness to His Kingdom on earth. This grandness could eventually encompass all of the physical world and be defined by the Kingdom of God totally defeating and expunging the kingdom of satan.
This leads me back to my current experience in Christ. I desire to live out life in God’s Kingdom, influencing the lives of others outside the Kingdom. It is in this desire, I find myself daily redirecting my face toward Jesus and into His light. It is in this desire, I find myself embracing the suffering of Christ.
I have not arrived, but for the first time I am able to better understand my destination and the importance of living out my Christian walk in His Kingdom. It is from this perspective miracles happen, bringing Glory to the Father and His Kingdom continues to grow on earth as it is in heaven.
I pray I have shared truth and if there is error, I thank God for His forgiveness. I wish I had ears to hear and someone had the words to share these ideas earlier in my life. Maybe it will be a help for you in your walk. May you experience the richest and deepest of God’s love.
For more GodSpots – 37stories Enjoy!
I have been following the tragic episodes surrounding the largest earthquake ever to hit Japan and the 4th largest in world history. The effects of the disaster have been catastrophic as seen through the camera's eye. As bad as the scenes are displayed, i am sure the emotional suffering placed on the people of Japan far exceeds any physical loss.
For more GodSpots – 37stories Enjoy!
I have a problem.
My problem is that in my talks with church staff, in pastor coaching sessions, with groups of men or couples or singles at retreats, or when filling pulpits or leading church conferences I am beginning most of my messages with the words, "I have a problem."
Now, while I do find that funny, I don't write it to be funny. My problem really is that I begin most of my messages stating that I have - and in fact do have - a problem.
The problem is this: my audience almost never wants what they think or say they want. The church staff who say they want leadership really wants consolation for poor leadership. The men's retreat leaders asking me to share something new and fresh so they can experience a revitalization within their ministry want to only be taught what they already know – and may lynch a speaker they disagree with! Yet, what one already knows is almost never inspiring.
New insight which might lead to new perspective and revitalization requires someone admitting or at least being willing to admit that they have missed something previously – either by error of omission (truth missed) or commission (lies believed) – and if we are honest, usually the latter.
The world wants to be both inspired with newness and affirmed in our "oldness". People want new or even corrected direction without actually being redirected. It's almost as if we all desire MORE of our own thinking hoping it will make a difference in our experience, instead of desiring DIFFERENT thinking than what we already know.
We all want to be MORE right, but never wrong…"Correct AND agree with me so I'm even better at what I'm already about that nevertheless isn't working for me."
What is the solution?
By Him you ARE right. Because of His Life, our Life isn't in our error, but instead our Life is found in His blamelessness. What I'd like to defend so often OF me is NOT me – it's the flesh IN me.
You see, once I recognize that I have flesh IN me but that it is NOT me, then I can admit my flesh patterns without them reflecting badly OF me. And I can only be okay seeing the flesh in me that's not me when I know the REAL me.
(Read the last two sentences two more times.)
Now - you will know the real you by knowing Christ.
When Peter identified who Christ was, Christ revealed who Peter was.
When the two disciples on the road to Emmaus identified who Christ was, they were changed – their fears, hope, perspective, needs, and behavior all changed based on knowing who He was more clearly.
The apostle Paul came to the end of himself on a dirt highway to Damascus that led him face-to-face with God unrecognizable and he said, "Who are you, Lord?" the answer to which changed not only him, but every generation since.
When we know Him, we know ourselves. But herein lies two immediate problems:
1. He is unknowable. Infinite God; finite me. No man can identify God in Christ to any other man.
2. He won't compete against me for centrality in my Life. When you want to bring about your desire for a circumstance, he'll let you try to create, try to be your own source for your needs, try to make circumstance and relationships what you desire, and try to manipulate him and others for your sense of identity and emotional needs, but that's what it looks like for us to pursue ourselves, not Him. He's not needing to prove Himself to anyone; God knows who He is. But do we know in the midst of circumstance and neediness that He is God?
So, that brings us out of a foggy forrest into a sunny meadow – a clearing of what it must mean to come to know Him…
When you come to the end of your self-determination, your independence, your hope in yourself, and your need to self-justify - at that precise moment – you can change your pursuit from you for you, or even God for you, to God for God. We can come to a place of wanting to know Him because of who He is, not what we want from Him. This – trusting Him for my needs enough to not be about my needs – is the opportunity for revelation.
And then Jesus Christ through His Spirit must can you revelation of Jesus Christ.
His is a revelation of Jesus, by Jesus that transforms us in the likeness of Jesus: our thinking, our feelings, and our behavior become His thoughts, His heart, and His will.
So Paul said, "I want to know Christ," forsaking all else that he would otherwise count as gain for that pursuit alone. In other words, what really would be benefit to him, he reconciles as a deficit to himself so that he might pursue Christ alone.
So, today, as you pay bills, and finish projects, and change diapers, and prepare meals, and read reports, and fight traffic, and check movie times, and chat with friends, and walk the corridors of your workplace, and ten thousand other things, ponder this: the Creator of the Universe wants to speak to you words unknowable, reveal Truth unsearchable, and free you to live as you're made to live in ways unimaginable as you are willing and available – okay with whatever He'll reveal and eager for Him alone – for every circumstance and activity to be useful to Him in revealing Himself so that you might live as an experience of who you really are in Him.
That every day might be participating with Him whom you are still discovering… Every challenge an opportunity to depend upon Him more deeply… Every venue a chance to experience His Life, His Joy, His strength, His sufficiency as you trust Him enough with what you need to be about Him instead of about what you need. …that you might abide in Him who is our Life, know Him more by that abiding, and grow in intimacy with Him as you know Him more.
Phone: 210-646-GRACE (4722)
God Spots: http://37stories.wordpress.com
For more GodSpots – 37stories Enjoy!
I drove to my Starbucks office to work on websites this morning. It was a bit brisk, but sunny and bright. I parked and looking off in a distance I spotted a homeless man. It is pretty safe to label a person as homeless if he is laying on the concrete under a bridge, in a drainage culvert and visibly shivering from a few hundred yards away. I pondered going down to see him, but i thought i didn’t have any money so the trip would be fruitless.
For more GodSpots – 37stories Enjoy!