Archive for the ‘Cross 1’ category

Individuality 12-11-2009

December 10th, 2009

Jesus said to His disciples, ’If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself . . .’ —Matthew 16:24

I hate this song!  I love this song!   It speaks right to where He has us…… Staying connected to Him and eliminating the obstacles to that pre-eminent objective.   Whatever the cost.  Whatever the collateral damage to my pride or career or….. or…. Bring the Rain… djr

Individuality is the hard outer layer surrounding the inner spiritual life. Individuality shoves others aside, separating and isolating people. We see it as the primary characteristic of a child, and rightly so. When we confuse individuality with the spiritual life, we remain isolated. This shell of individuality is God’s created natural covering designed to protect the spiritual life. Picture 8But our individuality must be yielded to God so that our spiritual life may be brought forth into fellowship with Him. Individuality counterfeits spirituality, just as lust counterfeits love.

Ouch!     I was thinking that individuality was a good thing.   I see that it must be filtered and pummelled by the Holy Spirit if it is to have value in the Kingdom   djr

However, when we think about it individuality….true individuality has no basis in self. We become true individuals when we do not seek to become “different”, we simply seek to become one with God. The character of God shines through, others see it and sense it in us. And true to God’s character, He has once again made us different but the same, …in His image. He made us complex and unique but part of a singular body. God understands our need for individuality and like all our other needs has provided for it. JDV

1 Corinthians 12:18

18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Psalm 139:13 (GN) says this: “You (God) created every part of me. You put me together in my mother’s womb.” In the Living Bible, verse 14 says: Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous.” Job 10:8a (GN) says: “Your hands formed and shaped me.

God designed human nature for Himself, but individuality corrupts that human nature for its own purposes.

The characteristics of individuality are independence and self-will. We hinder our spiritual growth more than any other way by continually asserting our individuality.

Any other way?  Oh crap!  I thought that was my main gift. It is or can be, it simply must be a gift from God and not ourselves. JDV….There is no need to abandon our individuality, we are simply to abandon it to God.

If you say, “I can’t believe,” it is because your individuality is blocking the way; individuality can never believe. But our spirit cannot help believing. Watch yourself closely when the Spirit of God is at work in you. He pushes you to the limits of your individuality where a choice must be made. The choice is either to say, “I will not surrender,” or to surrender, breaking the hard shell of individuality, which allows the spiritual life to emerge. The Holy Spirit narrows it down every time to one thing (see Matthew 5:23-24 ).

23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

It is your individuality that refuses to “be reconciled to your brother” ( Matthew 5:24 ). God wants to bring you into union with Himself, but unless you are willing to give up your right to yourself, He cannot. “. . . let him deny himself . . .”— deny his independent right to himself. Then the real life-the spiritual life-is allowed the opportunity to grow.

I wonder what that guy will look like.   I’ve been so individualistic and contrarian and busy making sure I was coloring outside the lines and marching to no freaking drum  and rebelling against authority that I dont know what and where the real me is…. djr No but God knows and that is all that matters. Him knowing and us letting Him exercise His will in shaping us. JDV

I suspect that when God is done with me, there will still be some contrarianism and swimming upstream and going against the grain.  Jesus did that, didn’t he?  But  I see now that my main objective,  His main objective in me is to get me swimming in his current, going with his grain, marching to His drum and then I can color outside all the other lines, swim against all other currents, and disregard all other drummers.   Be contrarian to my hearts content.   But come home to connection with Papa on all the things that are important to His Heart.   djr

True individuality emerges when the Spirit of God is allowed to work in our lives. God shapes us and molds us as he would a snowflake once we let go of ourselves. JDV

Thank you for being with me and blessing me yesterday.  Sneaking up on me.  Pouring blessings on me.   I was, like CS Lewis, surprised by joy.   Let’s go do that again today!   and every day. djr

Yesterday I took courage from God and faced some issues “head on” ……….I did not want to address the issues,  and so I let go of them and God faced them for me. I discovered it was/is OK to be frightened as long as I use it as part of my dashboard to tell me I need to be connected to the Spirit of God in that area of my life. JDV

The Opposition of the Natural 12 9 2009

December 8th, 2009

Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires —Galatians 5:24

I just had to put this one in there too……..   just had to.

The natural life itself is not sinful. But we must abandon sin, having nothing to do with it in any way whatsoever. Sin belongs to hell and to the devil. I, as a child of God, belong to heaven and to God. It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence, and my self-will. This is where the battle has to be fought. The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best. Once we come to understand that natural moral excellence opposes or counteracts surrender to God, we bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle. Very few of us would debate over what is filthy, evil, and wrong, but we do debate over what is good. It is the good that opposes the best. The higher up the scale of moral excellence a person goes, the more intense the opposition to Jesus Christ. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh . . . .” The cost to your natural life is not just one or two things, but everything. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself. . .” ( Matthew 16:24 ). That is, he must deny his right to himself, and he must realize who Jesus Christ is before he will bring himself to do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.

We should also beware of the righteous indignation of superiority as we compare our “growth and awareness” to those that have placed themselves on a high moral platform of religous legalism. In doing this we become what we just opposed. It is simply surrender to God not opposition to anything else that keeps us connected. We are not to compare ourselves to anything or anyone, except perhaps as we look back at our own lives and what God has done because and due to our surrender. JDV

The natural life is not spiritual, and it can be made spiritual only through sacrifice. If we do not purposely sacrifice the natural, the supernatural can never become natural to us. There is no high or easy road. Each of us has the means to accomplish it entirely in his own hands.

While this may seem contradictory to the concept of grace, what we have in our hands is the ability or choice to surrender anything and everything out of our hands and onto the cross of Jesus. Connected to the Spirit of God (with the Holy Spirit inside of us) means disconnected from the natural. ….JDV/DJR

Luke 9:23
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

It is not a question of praying, but of sacrificing, and thereby performing His will.

We can and will know when we have transcended the natural because our circumstances will scream at us to “do something” and yet we remain at peace knowing that God has us right where He wants us to be, in His will not knowing what will occur next. But “KNOWING” whatever occurs in our lives, it is the will of the God of the Universe. This “knowing and trusting” is supernatural……. JDV

Phillipians 4:7 Darby Translation

7and the peace of God, which surpasses every understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts by Christ Jesus

Job 22: 21
Acquaint now yourself with Him [agree with God and show yourself to be conformed to His will] and be at peace; by that [you shall prosper and great] good shall come to you.

Nov 21 It is Finished

November 21st, 2009

I have finished the work which You have given Me to do —John 17:4

The death of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in history of the very mind and intent of God. There is no place for seeing Jesus Christ as a martyr. His death was not something that happened to Him— something that might have been prevented. His death was the very reason He came.

Never build your case for forgiveness on the idea that God is our Father and He will forgive us because He loves us. That contradicts the revealed truth of God in Jesus Christ. It makes the Cross unnecessary, and the redemption “much ado about nothing.” God forgives sin only because of the death of Christ. God could forgive people in no other way than by the death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted as Savior because of His death. “We see Jesus . . . for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor . . .” ( Hebrews 2:9 ). The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!” ( John 19:30 ). That is the final word in the redemption of humankind.

Anything that lessens or completely obliterates the holiness of God, through a false view of His love, contradicts the truth of God as revealed by Jesus Christ. Never allow yourself to believe that Jesus Christ stands with us, and against God, out of pity and compassion, or that He became a curse for us out of sympathy for us. Jesus Christ became a curse for us by divine decree. Our part in realizing the tremendous meaning of His curse is the conviction of sin. Conviction is given to us as a gift of shame and repentance; it is the great mercy of God. Jesus Christ hates the sin in people, and Calvary is the measure of His hatred…..Perhaps it is the independence from God that we demonstrate when we “sin”. I wonder if the difinition of sin could be less the violation of a moral code or shameful act (although sin could be both); it is first and foremost being disconnected from God by choosing our own path or action instead of trusting God. Whenever we “disobey” God we are simply choosing to have our own way much like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Having our own way in any area of our lives is disobedience in that area, and we can be certain that when we choose our own way, God will let us have our own way. We can take action and be our own “god” or let God take the action. Have our own way or let the God of the universe direct our paths? Let me see……..I can let the God of the universe, maker of heaven and earth, the God who died for me direct my life or I can make the choices for my life.  When it is laid out like that, it seems an easy decision.

November 20, 2009 The Forgiveness of God

November 20th, 2009
The Forgiveness of God
In Him we have . . . the forgiveness of sins . . . —Ephesians 1:7
Music For Today……. What It Feels Like
Beware of the pleasant view of the fatherhood of God: God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That thought, based solely on emotion, cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament. The only basis on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. To base our forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only ground on which God can forgive our sin and reinstate us to His favor is through the Cross of Christ. There is no other way! Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony at Calvary. We should never take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and our sanctification in simple faith, and then forget the enormous cost to God that made all of this ours.

Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. The cost to God was the Cross of Christ. To forgive sin, while remaining a holy God, this price had to be paid. Never accept a view of the fatherhood of God if it blots out the atonement. The revealed truth of God is that without the atonement He cannot forgive— He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God through the atonement of the Cross. God’s forgiveness is possible only in the supernatural realm.

Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is small. Sanctification is simply the wonderful expression or evidence of the forgiveness of sins in a human life. But the thing that awakens the deepest fountain of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven his sin. Paul never got away from this. Once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vise, constrained by the love of God.