Uncategorized

Mistaken Identity

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. Psalm 62:6

Several years ago I gave my testimony during a discipleship class called The Search for Significance.  That week the topic was Shame vs Regeneration and I was asked to demonstrate how shame had affected my life.  The picture God gave me was of a backpack full of heavy rocks with labels on them.  Each labeled rock represented a part of my identity that I carried with me. The common thread between each rock was that they symbolized generational sin as opposed to personal sin. My rocks were alcoholism, abortion, incest, abuse, pornography, mental illness, adultery, divorce and abandonment. They were dark, oppressive and shameful.  Edward T. Welch, in his book Shame Interrupted, describes shame as “The deep sense that you are unacceptable because of something you did, something done to you, or something associated with you. You feel exposed and humiliated.” In my heart I believed my heritage was shameful, therefore, I was shameful by association. This belief justified my sense of worthlessness, enabling me to run from deep, meaningful relationships and bury my talents in the ground.

During the class I filled a backpack with my shame rocks and walked to the front of the church feeling exposed and vulnerable. While sharing my story about carrying this burden of shame, even as a Christian, I reached in and removed each rock, reading the label out loud while placing it at the foot of a large cross.  The banner on the cross read, “Made New,” based on 2 Corinthians 5:17; “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

This process started a healing journey of forgiveness, ending in freedom from the past.  Through it I discovered my true identity was not rooted in the manure of generational sin but in the fruitful vineyard of my heavenly Father. I am His precious child and I will never be put to shame.  Because of Christ’s death and resurrection I am made new.  It is the great exchange, the mystery of redemption, when He takes our sin upon Himself and gives, instead, His righteousness. Because of this beautiful truth we are free to “…lay aside every encumbrance (like rocks of shame) and the sin which so easily entangles us, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2)  The only rock I intentionally carry with me now has an eternal label.  It says, “Child of God.”

Uncategorized

Bro-kwando

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Bro-kwando is a term coined by our eighteen-year-old son, Ryan, who is a master at the fabricated martial art.  Bro-kwando is when a friend or “bro” tries to bug you through poking or tickling and you skillfully block their every attempt using your ninja-like reflexes. After laughing about not being able to bypass his arm blocks while attempting to tickle him, I realized what a valuable skill it would be if we could all learn mental and spiritual bro-kwando. Becoming masters at keeping hurtful comments or actions (even negative self-talk) from penetrating our heart would enable us to avoid so many pitfalls as well as own God’s word more fully!

This verse says we are to “demolish (or cast down) arguments and every pretension.” Demolish is a violent word. It means to pull down, to refute, to destroy.  We can block whatever does not align with God’s truth, keeping it from bruising our souls, but this refers to demolishing something that is already set up “against the knowledge of God.” Therefore, we are to purposefully destroy and take captive anything that has already penetrated our belief system that is a lie.

How do we know what is true and what isn’t?  Ask yourself the questions: Does it align with what God word says about me? Does it reflect God’s heart toward me? (Remember you are worth dying for.) Does it reflect who God says He is? If not then demolition is required. So, the next time an “I’m a bad mother” or “God must not care about me” thought comes flying toward you, or flying out of your mouth, you have permission to give it a good kick. Kiai!

Hope, Sanctification, Uncategorized

My Chains are Gone

“For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave.” 1 Corinthians 7:22

Ponder the difference between a bondservant and a son.  A bondservant willingly stays with his master as a slave but does not automatically share in the inheritance.  A son not only shares in the inheritance but is free! “If the Son (Jesus) therefore shall make you free you shall be free indeed!” John 8:36.   It is a free will offering of oneself, a surrender to the Lord that allows God to adopt you as His child.   The chains of bondage are broken from your previous owner, sin.  Now, when we fall prey to sin there is immediate forgiveness and no condemnation and no power to control us except what we allow.  In turn, the master (God) is in charge of the bondservant’s well being, how much more his adopted child? This comes in the form of conviction, restoration, forgiveness, grace, mercy, joy, in short, abundant love.  Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, “The passion of Christianity comes from deliberately signing away my own rights and becoming a bondservant of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I will not begin to be a saint.”  

A dear friend of mine puts it this way, “The way up is down.” 

However, sanctification means that God will change you from the inside out, making the eternal truth of your adoption a reality this side of heaven.  In the Broadway play, My Fair Lady, Eliza is taken from the dirty London streets into the fine home of Professor Higgins who, over time, trains her to be a refined and elegant, english lady.  In order for the transformation to take place Eliza must surrender to the workings of Prof. Higgins, doing all that he asks of her.  This story eventually ends in Higgins loving Eliza but, unlike God, Higgins entered into the challenge out of self interest and pride.  God, however, enters into the process of sanctification motivated by perfect love for his child.  There is no deceit nor any reason to distrust Him.  It is for freedom sake that God has set you free. Therefore, may you be free to surrender to all that Christ set you free to be!

Uncategorized

Spirit Over Soul

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Gal. 5:16

Unlike mind over matter, spirit over soul is not an arm wrestle to the ground, positive thinking method of coping.  It’s more of a white flag, I give up, surrender of my will to the will of the Holy Spirit of God Who abides within those who know Him.  There is a tug-of-war going on in every Christian; a tug on the heart, mind and will (soul) to believe and do what we want versus the will of God that pull in opposite directions at all times.

I have heard a lot of sermons on submission and surrender and even come across the concept in books and articles but the truth is that surrendering is not the problem.  The issue is WHO we are surrendering to.  Surrender is a giving over of oneself.  We can surrender our will to God or we can surrender to the enemy, giving ourself over to the flesh.  We cannot at any one moment be doing both.  If we are surrendered to God (Spirit over Soul) then “The love of Christ controls us,” 2 Cor. 5:14.  If we are not, (flesh over soul) then we are controlled by the “lust of the flesh,” 1 John 2:16.

Let’s encourage each other to choose God’s team and to lean in on His side of the tug-of-war so we may be strengthened in the Lord today, raising our white flags in surrender to His leading.

Hope, Uncategorized

Overflowing with Hope

Imagine a clay pitcher in the desert being filled so full with water that it overflows, spilling onto the hot, cracked dirt. Now imagine that the dirt is a hurting person, parched, alone and in desperate need of hope, and you are the clay pitcher.  Yes, God promises not only to fill you but also, through you, to quench the thirst of those around you if you trust in Him.

Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of Hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so you may overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

  1. God is the God of Hope.
  2. He will fill us with joy and peace if and when we trust in Him.
  3. The result of trusting God and being filled with joy and peace is overflowing hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This reminds me of my less than stellar waitressing experience when I “overflowed” hot coffee onto a customer’s lap! It affected her alright but in a harmful, scalding kind of way.  Fortunately, she was very gracious and I did not choose waitressing as a career!  The point is whatever overflows from our lives, be it attitude or action, affects others.  May you be filled to overflowing today with the peace and joy that can only come from trusting the God of Hope so that someone else may be drenched by the deep, abiding love of Jesus.

Uncategorized

More than a Billionaire

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of the inheritance in the saints…”  Ephesians 1:18

We are children of the King, His princesses and part of The Bride of Christ, and our inheritance is Jesus Christ Himself!  This means we are far richer than any billionaire this world could ever produce.  Imagine the immensity of His wealth and then ponder the fact that you are in His will. Not His plan for your life but His literal will, the Book of Life.

The hope of His calling is for us to be little Christ’s, reflecting His glory wherever we are planted, here and now.  The riches of the glory of the inheritance is not only for the here and now but for eternity.  Just think of the glory that will be shining from Christ’s face when we see Him in heaven! Amen