Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ultimate Knowing


The ultimate knowing in growing with the Father is not really an accumulation of knowledge (knowing facts) at all. Rather, the ultimate knowing is the knowledge of Christ: “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3) When we know Christ, we have all wisdom and knowledge. By knowing Christ, we know ourselves because Christ is our only life.
Knowing Christ is a living, spontaneous knowledge. (In Him we move, live, and have our being.)
This is not an understanding that you possess so much as it is a knowing that possess you. The purpose for receiving this understanding is not to be the smartest Christian that ever lived or the wisest elder in the church. The Father’s purpose for growing us in this understanding is so that we can be the people that God created us to be. A key part of this knowledge is accepting that our old self was crucified (rendered powerless) with Christ. As we are grown in this acceptance we (the old self) are gotten out of the way so Christ can come out of us as us. This is the unique expression of Christ that God intended each of us to be.By allowing the Father to grow us up to be the people He intended us to be, we are cooperating in the fulfilment of His plan for the creation. You see, the growing of a family for God has contained within it our growth. Our Father’s desire for a family includes not only birth of children with His life in them. This desire also includes the growth of those children to be the fulfilment of our creation-----being grown up to the fullness of Christ.
This fullness is spontaneous and living. Our full growth includes both intellectual knowing and intuitive knowing: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11) We can see from this passage that Paul did not have a complete intellectual knowing of the workings of God. But he knew that everything he needed to know was expressed in knowing Christ.

Rich

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Making of a Son


It is God’s greatest desire that we should be both the children of His family and that we should grow in that estate to the full measure of Christ that we were created by the Father to attain. This is the ultimate expression of the family of God. But the greatness of the Father’s love for us constrains Him. We are not forced to grow (*) and we are not forced to seek. The great promise of the Father to us is that if we seek we will find. If we desire growth, then the Father will take us to the full measure of His desire for us.

* Many would persuade you to believe the Father crazy-glued the the switch to ON, or that we were put on auto-pilot when we were rebirthed.
The Father's house will not be filled because we had no choice in the matter. Missing hell and gaining heaven is cool, but what about the Now we are living in?

Rich

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Christ for us...Christ in us...Christ as us...


The plan of the Father is not just for a family of birthed children but that these children should also be grown up to the full measure of Christ: “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the (true) knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)
This is not a call to each of us to become Christ but to become the full expression of Christ as you (and me) that God intended that we should be. This is the full and complete expression of the heart of the Father. The deepest expression of God’s desire for His creation is that we would be a family of birthed children for Him and that we would realize the full expression of His life as our life.It is in this fulfillment of both birth and growth that the family of God will be a complete and perfect manifestation of the deepest desire of the Father’s heart. It is for this birth and growth event that the entire creation yearns: “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.” (Romans 8:19) The revelation of the sons of God is the outcome of our allowing the Father to grow us up to the fullness of Christ. Our growth in this way is the last frontier of the battle between Satan and God.

We only impose a desire for the Father’s heart on ourselves if we elect to go on in growing in our relationship with Him. The saddest aspect of this part of the Christian experience is that we so often let it be hijacked by either Satan through religion or by deceptions of our minds. I believe that this routinely occurs in church organizations and in our own thinking. The failure of people to seek God is rooted in our failure to ever let God deal with our flesh directed self and the religion it produces.As a result of never letting the Father deal with us as selves living independently from Him, we are trapped by the deceptions of organizations and religion. We long for the full expression of God: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:22-23)


The full expression of the family of God requires only our open-minded acceptance that this is God’s work to be done God’s way.

Rich

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Perfection, Being Worked Out


Question, regarding the following scripture, how do you see Him Christ Jesus being formed within you?

There are those that either see themselves having no soul, or that in the rebirthing along with their spirit being made perfect, their soul likewise was made perfect.
I'm sure there are many other ideas floating around as well.
Somehow because of the unseen details of our soul/spirit, talking about such matters seems none relevant to knowing Him?

Galatians 4:19 My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you...

I look forward to any thoughts the Father is making known to you!!!

Rich

Limiting God


I was walking to work as usual, pausing for a moment on the bridge to admire the sparkling white, snow-covered river while traffic droned past in both directions. I hadn’t been sleeping well the last few weeks. Cares, worries and concerns seemed to be accumulating in my mind like fuzz on a lint brush. I feared for my kids’ spiritual well-being, for their relationships, for financial situations, for deadlines at work, for unsaved loved ones, for upcoming major decisions – you name it, I feared it. And I was tired.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that the only difference between me, a believer, and a non-believer was…that I believed! I believed in God, the Alpha and the Omega and in the finished work of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, but that was it, apparently. I no longer trusted He could or would act on my behalf. From having endured many hard knocks, I had grown to expect disappointment. I no longer trusted Him to work because I figured He wouldn’t. I believed in a powerless God of my own making.

Shame on me!

Quick-fire questions popped into my mind: Is there a God, or isn’t there? Did He not create the universe? Did He not take my place on the cross? Did He not rise from the dead/defeat the enemy/redeem my soul? Was He not all-powerful? “Behold, I am God. Is anything too hard for Me?” What difference, then, was there between me and nonbelievers? “You say you believe…but so do the demons and they tremble in fear!”

I was taken aback. I had been putting limits on my Heavenly Father for so long that defeatist thinking had become the norm. How had I reached this point? When did my joy and confidence in a mighty God begin to wane? Until I saw it face to face for what it was, I honestly hadn’t been aware of this decline. I had been sucked into this mindset by my own choosing (I’d like to blame the enemy who delights in planting such thoughts, but I hadn’t put up much of a fight).

Then and there, I determined I would break free from this habit-pattern of thinking. I had made deliberate choices to limit God – I would no longer do so. There IS a God in Heaven. He IS all-powerful. He CAN do anything. He IS trustworthy. What liberating thoughts! My shoulders suddenly felt lighter. In contrast to my former doom and gloom outlook, I felt positively buoyant!

This is NOT to say that everything will be smooth-sailing from here on in. I know I will be constantly assaulted in my mind by an enemy whose sole intent is my ultimate destruction. However, my hope rests in the sober realization that my only power to resist these thoughts is derived from the indwelling spirit of Christ. It is warfare. Taking every thought captive to determine its source requires constant vigilance, but it is essential if my desire is to know a limitless God.

Mgo

Friday, March 18, 2005

Where The Spirit Is Lord


One of the most meaningful and liberating things that has so enriched my life, is in meeting others coming to see and know Him as Life, and allowing/extending grace to me, to be able to think out loud without trying to censor or critic these unformed and unfinished fluid thoughts.

Rich

True Discipline

From: My Father and Your Father

Most of us have had trouble with the disciplining aspect of the Father’s parenting. We have trouble with it because we were taught an unbalanced message about correction. This is the gospel of correction. In this teaching, we are encouraged to see ourselves as defective rather than dependent and the Father as judicial rather than loving. Where this distortion comes from is out of our own judgementalism. And our judgementalism arises not from our Christ indwelt human spirit but from (you guessed it) the Satan indwelt flesh.
It does not matter whether we are speaking of our own correction or the correction of others. If we see disciplining by the Father as punishment because the person being punished is “no good” or even just “not quite good enough” we are being judgemental. The truth is that we are being grown up to the full stature of Christ that the Father desires for each of us. The growth process by necessity involves some error. Error, in its turn requires correction. This is not a big deal if we remember that we are well-loved children being grown and instructed by a loving Father.
The word translated “punishes” in Hebrews 12:6 is really the word for “scourge.” This is not a judicial punishment for wrong doing but is a correction in the sense of an experiential teaching. One of the hardest things that any of us must come to accept about ourselves is the fact that we are not perfect. We all have ways of getting around the fact that we are just plain rotten in our natural self. We are “not quite as bad as Hitler” but we are “good in the important things."
But the plain fact of the matter is that we, in our souls, need a lot of work. Fortunately, we have a loving Father that is willing to do that work.It is a loving Father that will not indulge his children in their errors and imperfections. Such indulgences was the sin of Eli (1Samuel 2:30-33). The truly loving father corrects and disciplines his children for their improvement. This is often referred to as “tough love.” This is the kind of love the Father has for us. The loving Father will not indulge His children’s misdeeds. In this same way, the loving Father does not punish judicially. We are not punished to make up for our errors. We are corrected to bring us away from our errors and this is a big distinction. Correction is for learning and not “paying dues.”
In order to see this distinction, we must come beyond the superficial idea of pleasant and unpleasant. These distinctions are important to the physical part of us but they are nearly so important in the spiritual. All correction is unpleasant: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) The question we must all ask ourselves is this: In the end, if we submit to correction we will end up not only with righteousness and peace but also a better kind of pleasure than we could have any other way.
We need to keep in mind the true face of adversity. In physical understanding it is easy and natural to see hardship as punishment. This is not necessarily or even often true. The hardships allowed by the Father in our lives are as much for our growth and instruction as anything. Seeing difficulties exclusively or even primarily as punishment causes the age-old dilemma of “why do bad things happen to good people?” We grow in adversity if we let the Father work that growth in us.


Rich

Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Better Mouse Trap


This portion in particular really spoke to me afresh, of NOT SEEING the reality of Satan within our Flesh!

I just don't see how the Holy Spirit - who is part of the Holy and Blameless Almighty - could reside in a stained and sinful person. I thought sin separated man from God... then how can God dwell within us, lest we be cleansed? If the Spirit is in me, I'm free from the chains of sin. Sinless!

We are FOREVER clean in our spirit-union, BUT, in our soul where there is to be an outer expression of this dynamic and miraculous union, it will not come into any visibility by clinging to the "right to myself". "He who losses his (soul) life will find it. It is in this arena (in our soul) the battle unfolds moment by moment. I see the overcoming we are called to do, is also in this same arena. My soul needs to be enlightened and the only source is the Light-Christ Jesus. Not knowledge, 2+2=?? Its as if our soul is a mirror,..... mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the pharisee-est of them all? Who's grooming who?

A quote from my friend Bill:

"If Jesus was different at any point from what any person who accepts God's offer of salvation can be, then Christ's earthly life was ineffective.
What would God prove by coming to earth as Holy God and living a sinless life? The answer, I believe, is "nothing". Not only did Christ have a fleshly (Satan or sin) part in His physical body, He had to have such a part. The only way that Christ could possibly touch us was to become like us, exactly like us except without committing sins. The only way that Christ could fully relate to us in our earthly condition was to experience our life:

"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (Hebrews 2:18)
It is only in this way that Christ could become the perfect sacrifice to create a way to freedom for us. To take this even further, it was essential for Jesus to have a component of Satan in the flesh because Christ came not just to provide forgiveness of sins. The Father's plan was much more comprehensive than just extending to the remission of sins. After all, the temple service provided animal sacrifices for the purpose of forgiving sins. What the Father was looking to do through the life, and death and resurrection of Christ was far deeper than simple forgiveness:

"For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man." (Romans 8:3)
The shed blood is for the remission of sins. The broken body is for the breaking of Satan's (sins) power over our lives. When Christ was taken to the cross, Satan (in His flesh) had to go with Him: "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:15) If for no other reason than this, Jesus had to have a flesh part of His makeup. This allows the sacrifice of Christ to extend to us as the offer of a new life through our death to the old sin-slave nature."

Rich

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Freedom to be...


Faith without works is dead…What work/s are we talking about here?
This is the work of God that you believe on Him, whom the Father has sent!No longer trying to get it right..justfying myself.
Whatever is not of faith is sin.
Jesus is the fully finished/processed work of the Father, and now He is the Life-quickening Spirit that wants to awaken within us that same Life that does WORK.

The finished work of God is a bright and shining light, and as we simply move, live,and have our being in that finished and perfect work of the Father, others will see Him, and glorify Him.

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Rich

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

In Him, we move, live, and have our being…


We go through our days confronted by a series of choices. As long as we are making choices that are acceptable to the Father we feel no hesitation. If we consider a course that is harmful (to our self or others) we will experience a “check” or sense to not go there. We can heed the check or we can ignore that check and live with the consequences of walking in our own way. These consequences need not be dire but we will see our plans fail or our expectations not be met. This is not a big deal. We learn to follow the Lord’s leading by our mistakes as well as our successes.
The Father knows this is part of the process---this is why Christ died for all our sins everywhere; past, present and future: “For Christ died for sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,” (1Peter 3:18)
As we gain experience in listening to the Father’s leading we will make fewer mistakes. We will learn to listen better and turn more quickly.

In the end there is no substitute for dependence on the Father’s life as our only life and resource for living: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)Living independently from the Father is bankrupt living. There is no legitimate for walking apart from the moment by moment resting in dependence on the Father for all things. This is the way we were meant to live. There is the ONLY way we can live effectively.

Rich

Monday, March 07, 2005

Truth In the Strangest Places - Million Dollar Baby


I loved the following quotes from Wayne Jacobson's blog regarding the movie, Million Dollar Baby:

http://www.lifestream.org/wblog.html


But I kept hearing this movie wasn’t really about boxing. That was only the context for a compelling human story.



“Extremism is so easy. You’ve got your position, and that’s it. It doesn’t take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right you meet the same idiots coming around from the left.”

The times call not for idiotic extremism, but the ability for God's people to articulate his truth with his compassion.
Don’t believe everything you read. I’m sure this situation is far more complicated than any of the advocates want us to know. Human stories rarely fall into such one-dimensional morality plays with the villains and the good guys so clearly visible. I do know this, we shouldn’t trust what others say if we don’t have our own firsthand knowledge. And until we can see God’s compassion for all the people in the story, we won’t be redemptive in it. We’ll just use it to bash people who disagree with us.


Maybe like Wayne shared on his blog, how many things did not fit what I saw as being important to "look at" simply because I did not like or agree with the context/setting? How many compelling stories are happening around me every day?
Like the movie because of the subject matter, (judging a book by its cover mentality) can cause me to read so much religious crap into it, that I maintain my so called separation from the evils of life.

BTW, my wife and I saw the movie, fantastic!



Rich


Sunday, March 06, 2005

Grooming


Part 2

Satan uses circumstances and situations to mould us into his image. He is constantly there to corrupt the truth. He grooms us. When we are hurt, he pacifies us with self-pity. When others get more attention, he is sure to point it out to us, so we compete by escalating our self-seeking behaviour. He convinces us that we can get what we want by our looks, money or our charm, so we become manipulative and self-absorbed. Contrarily, perhaps we make a concerted effort to become ‘good people’ and choose to live our lives in a seemingly moral and just fashion, looking down our noses at those who do not share our ‘values’…becoming self-righteous in the process. Self-pity, self-seeking, self-absorbed, self-righteous…is there a common thread here?

Little children lack the capacity to assess an experience accurately or rationally. As my husband has often said, “Children are great observers but terrible interpreters”. For instance, a parent can tell little Mary over and over that she is loved, but if she notices her baby brother getting attention, she might perceive that she is not quite as beloved as he. The groomer is present, not only to suggest that subtle lie to little Mary, but to fan it into flame as years go by. “Hey, Mary!” whispers the devil. “Did you notice how your mom just hugged your brother? She didn’t hug you! She loves him more!” Because he not only planted the initial lie but feeds and waters it, Satan has set Mary up. He knows EXACTLY what buttons to push when it comes to feeding her self-pity. In years to come, he’ll point out to her how she is ignored when he is noticed, when he gets something she doesn’t, how people pay more attention to him than to her. For the rest of Mary’s life, she will believe the lie that her parents love her brother more than they do her, no matter how insistent her parents are that it is not true or how much they try to convince her - even to the point of spending MORE time and effort with Mary than with her brother. As the years go by, she’ll transfer her wounded self-pity into other aspects of her life. She’ll become the victim that can never get a break – the one that gets the dirty end of the stick, the martyr. The grooming is successful. The target is putty in Satan’s hands. The lie becomes entrenched. Black becomes white.

It is essential that believers acknowledge this grooming process. We are the roaring lion’s prey, seeking whom he may devour. The assaults do not stop when we become born again – they may even escalate. Satan initially attacks when we are helpless, na├»ve children. He takes advantage of our innocence and trust. He appears as an angel of light. He beguiles, charms and woos us. He becomes our confidante and coddles our wounded sense of self. We trust his motives. We are mesmerized. Then, when we are at our most vulnerable, he goes in for the kill.

We believers tend to blame parents, teachers, friends, co-workers or even the institutional church for our shortcomings and failures, but we fail to realize that they have also been groomed and fallen victim to this diabolical molestation. Like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” who is admonished to ‘pay no attention to that man behind the curtain’, they simply cannot see who is orchestrating the deception. As many have said, Satan’s greatest triumph has been to convince humankind he doesn’t exist!

In the movie, “The Matrix”, Morpheus gives Neo an insight into this hidden world:
“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save… You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”

As years go by, we become so convinced of Satan’s lies, ‘so inured, so hopelessly dependent’ that the lies become the building blocks of our identity, who we perceive ourselves to be and how we behave. However, as believers, it is crucial that we begin to recognize the truth - but this means making a conscious decision to turn away from the groomer’s lies. This is not an easy task, but it is ultimately a glorious one. It means wrenching away from the stranglehold that has gripped us for years. It is warfare. In ‘The Matrix’, Morpheus describes the devil’s arena: “…you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”

When we believers begin to see the man behind the curtain for what he is and how he has blinded the eyes of men and women since the beginning of time, we can begin to be set free in our thinking. We recognize the enemy for who he is, and that he is resident in all of us. The grip of the molestation we have endured for years is broken when we acknowledge the truth - that we are brand new creatures, unshackled by events of the past. When we see how fellow human beings have been similarly groomed, manipulated and controlled by the enemy of their souls, we are no longer in a position to judge but to feel compassion. We see everything in a different light – the light of truth.


Mgo

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Grooming


Part 1

Recently, a pedophile was featured on the Oprah Winfrey show. He acknowledged that he was a sexual deviant who had molested his two step-daughters, one of whom was mentally handicapped. He decided to appear on the show because he wanted parents to get a handle on the perverse inward workings of the mind of a child molester so that they could be on the lookout for others of his ilk.

He described the process of setting a child up for eventual molestation as a gradual one. He referred to it as ‘grooming’. Child molesters often don’t simply attack their victims outright. Typically, they worm their way into a child’s confidence by being a ‘pal’, a confidante or by showering him/her with gifts. The ‘grooms’ frequently seek children with emotional wounds or who come from a broken family. They’ll begin the molestation by assessing the child’s comfort level with such seemingly harmless activities as patting the child’s shoulder, stroking his/her hair, etc. Later, they’ll advance to engaging in rough-housing or tickling. If the pedophile can sense a child is comfortable with that, s/he’ll begin to touch the targeted victim in more familiar ways. The molester comes to know the child so well, that s/he will back off if the child objects in any way but will then try another tactic (or look for a more compliant victim).

I began to think that this is exactly the way Satan operates in us from birth, if not before. He ‘grooms’ us. He knows the circumstances into which we were born, for example into a single-parent situation, as a result of a rape, into a loving two-parent family, etc. Were we born in poverty or in the lap of luxury? Where did our birth place us in the family dynamic – first? Last? Middle? What were our caregivers like? Did we have siblings and how did they treat us?

Because we were ALL ‘born in sin and shapen in iniquity’, Satan was there from the beginning to deceive, distort and beguile. It is his modus operandi. He knows us intimately from the inside out. His deception is so alluring that ultimately we become convinced that black is white. His fiendish desire is that we never come to the realization that God exists, or if we do manage to become born-again, to make us ineffective as believers. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he whispers, “Yay, hath God said?” He is the father of religion – he convinces us that by our works we ‘can be like God’. He soothes us with comforting scripture. He does not want us to know that there is absolutely nothing in us that can make us acceptable to God because the truth is, by nature of our birthing, we are irreparably corrupted. Only Jesus’ sacrifice, obliterating Satan’s handiwork, can set us free, but of course, the Father of Lies will do anything in his power to keep us from seeing that. He hides the fact that he is in it for his own monstrous gratification – our ultimate destruction.

Mgo

Friday, March 04, 2005

why do you call me Good...


There is no human attribute that is so good that it cannot be turned to wickedness by the unrestrained, egocentric self. Because self is only interested in the unlimited glorification of itself it can pervert anything. Satan fell because he sought his own glorification and not God's glory.
Satan forgot that all the assets he had came from God. The devil is God's object lesson about the power to do evil that resides in the part of our self that wants to be the god of its own life. This is the self that has submitted to the moral and spiritual leadership of Satan in the flesh.

Rich