Posts Tagged ‘In Christ’

Jesus, Stop Blocking!

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

I was reading Mark 5 and the story was about Jesus casting out demons, and God gave me pause as I came across these words from the demon: “Why are you interfering with us?” That question intrigued and convicted me.  I begin wondering if I have privately and secretly mouthed or lived these words to Jesus.

Jesus, why are you interfering? Why are you getting in my way? Why are you interfering with:

my career?

my family?

my plans for the future?

my agenda?

my time?

my success?

my kingdom?

my money?

my profits?

my sleep?

my day?

my life?

“Why are you blocking, Jesus?! We like you, and I might even say we love you, but not enough for you to get in the way of our lives. In fact, when following you becomes too inconvenient and involves too much sacrifice and suffering, we might just tell you to leave us alone, at least until the next time we need you. We apologize in advanced.”

The interesting thing is, when we were sinners on our way to hell, he interfered and rescued us, and we were grateful for his amazing grace, weren’t we? Well, if he was good enough to save us, he has to be good enough to lead us as well, right?

Here is what I’m learning: If he is my King, and I believe he is, then he has the right to get in the way of my life any time he desires. He has the right to interfere with my career, my 3 to 5 to 10 years plans, my family, and even my money. He can interfere because it all belongs to him. He can interfere and redirect if he so desires, without my permission. The assurance I have is, that his interference is designed to make his name famous through me.

Have you ever asked Jesus, “Why are you interfering with me?” How has his interference advanced his kingdom through you?

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Trophies

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

I have won a lot of trophies in my lifetime. I have excelled at baseball, bowling, and martial arts. My trophies are visible exhibitions of my achievement and success. As I was de-cluttering our basement a couple of weeks ago, I saw how much dust my “precious” trophies had collected. As my ego and pride took me down memory lane of each achievement, the Spirit said to me: “Throw them away.” My first reaction was: “But, what about all the practices, sweat, injuries, the time, and the money? How will people know that I have achieved and have succeeded?” Then he reminded me, with these words from Philippians, of the one trophy I should be pursuing everyday:

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But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith,

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. . . that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.”

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What trophies are you holding on to, that Jesus may be calling you to count as rubbish in order for you to be found in him and know the surpassing worth of him?

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Crucify Him!

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

cross 300x211 Crucify Him!

Crucify him!

These were the words that came from the mouths of the mob when Pilate asked them what they wanted him to do with Jesus.

Why?

He was innocent.
He had not committed any crimes.
What had he done to deserve such a sentence?
He was the Son of God.
Why would they lobby and vote to execute an innocent man.

If I was in that crowd, I would have lobbied for his release. If I was in that crowd I would have gathered a group and picketed for the liberation of this innocent man. Free Jesus!

What delusion! What self-righteousness!

I was in that crowd!

For there is none righteous, no not one
I was born in Adam
I was born a sinner
I was far from God
I was dead in my sins and trespasses
I was a child of wrath
I was an enemy of the State – of heaven

I was in that crowd, yelling

Crucify Him!

I am still in that crowd!

Each time I live below my position in Christ, I yell Crucify Him!
Each time I prefer myself over my brother or sister, I scream Crucify Him!
Each time my agenda takes precedent over his agenda, I vociferate Crucify Him!
Each time I don’t love my wife like Christ loved the church, I bellow Crucify Him!
With each willful thought, and act of my sinful nature, I shriek Crucify Him!

I desire to live these powerful words each day, so that I don’t crucify him all over again:

But, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

In what areas of your life do you desire for Christ to have more control? What part of your sinful nature do you need to crucify today?  What more do you need to do to live by faith in the Son of God?

Popularity: 6% [?]

Copy Me

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

The other day as we were eating breakfast, my oldest son complained about his sister “always” copying him. Tonia and I tried to explain to him that it was a compliment and an honor for his sister to want to copy him. I know it can be annoying to have a younger sister or brother doing everything you do; I had a younger to sister who copied me all the time, and it was annoying and frustrating. However, it wasn’t until I became older did realize that it was a compliment and an honor. Then the sheer responsibility of giving and leaving an example worth copying frightened me. Was I supplying her with a healthy or unhealthy example? Did she see something in me and copy something from me that would negatively affect her later? If so, then I would be responsible for giving her a poor example to copy. I began to feel the weight of my example and pattern? 

Whether we know it or not, people, especially our children, watch us very closely and want to be like us. They imitate the way we walk, the way we talk, the way laugh, the way we sit, the way we eat, the way we write, the way we spend money, the way we treat people, and especially the way we treat God. Can’t you feel the weight of your pattern?  But, we should not shy away from the responsibility of people wanting to copy us, but lean into it. We should say like Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Copy me as I copy Christ.”  The question that I ask myself is, am I giving people a Christlike pattern to copy? Does my life, love, and attitude remind people of Jesus? If not, then maybe I am not doing a good job of copying his radical and perfect pattern. I tell you, some days I simply don’t leave a good pattern for people to follow, not because it’s hard, but because I am selfish and filled with unhealthy pride. Each day, by his grace, I desire to strive to leave an example worth copying and say to others with confidence, Copy me!.  

What about you? Are you giving people around you a good pattern to copy? Are you setting healthy or unhealthy examples for people to imitate? Can you say to someone with confidence, “Copy me!”

How do you feel about telling someone: “Copy me!”

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I Ain’t Mad at Cha

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Tupac’s “I Ain’t Mad at Cha,” was released as the fourth single from his album All Eyez on Me. It was released shortly after his death. The song was a heartfelt tribute to the friends he knew before he became famous. In the song, Tupac is, in a “ghetto thug” way, reassuring friends, who had turned their backs on him, that he held no grudges against them.

Now, I can’t tell you how many times I failed God, and I thought He held grudges against or was mad at me for my past sins and failings. I thought he had amputated my eternal future because of my diseased past. Have you ever felt this way? If Jesus forgave all our sins, why are we struck with and stuck in so much fear and doubt? This is probably true for several reasons: 1) Satan uses past guilt to stifle our spiritual progress 2) Present sins make us feel inadequate to be used by God 3) Our own conscience reminds and condemns us of our past sins and how we once lived 4) Non-Christian and self-righteous friends point out inconsistencies in our lives. 

When past guilt and present failures make you feel spiritually inadequate, fully embrace these truths:

1. God loves me unconditionally 
2. My relationship/salvation with God is not based on my performance, but based on the finished work of Jesus on the cross. 
3. Jesus understands my human weakness, but wants me to confess my sins to him. He is faithful and just to forgive and purify us from all unrighteousness.  
4. Jesus paid for all for all my debts and he hold no grudges against me.
5. Jesus has already taken my punishment 
6. I am really free and no longer a slave to sin. The Son has set me free, so I am free indeed.
7. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.

Read Romans 8:1 again. This is the reassurance of God saying, “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.”   

Which lies do you tend to believe and cause you to be stuck in the rut with feelings of spiritual inadequacies? Which truth(s) do you need to embrace more fully?

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