Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Omniscient

"'Yet there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him. He went on to say, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled them.'
From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.
'You do not want to leave too, do you?' Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that You are the Holy One of God'
Then Jesus replied, 'Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil! (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray Him.)"
John 6:64-71

After miraculously feeding over 5,000 people with a young boy's lunch, Jesus declared that He alone is the Bread of Life, that it is only through Him that people can be sustained eternally. He offered gruesome imagery of eating His flesh and drinking His blood in order to live eternally. In response, many turned from Him; this man didn't fit their cultural norms or ideas of the Messiah. Even one in His innermost circle would betray Him.

Astonishingly, Jesus knew all of this. He wasn't surprised when Judas betrayed Him. He wasn't surprised when followers who yelled "Hosanna!" on  Sunday would yell, "Crucify Him!" on Friday. He knew who would reject Him, beat Him, kill Him. Yet despite this knowledge, Jesus still draws them in. He continues to share the truth of the Father with them, continues to heal and provide the miraculous, continues to share His very self with them, continues to love with abandon.

And so He does today. My God knows my heart. He knows the ugliness and beauty. He knows when I will turn from Him to do my own will. He knows how I will fail Him. He knows my sins that put Him on the cross. And yet! And yet, He still loves me. He still draws near to me, speaking the Father's love, truth, and justice into my life. Despite knowing my failures, selfishness, and hardheartedness, my Jesus draws close. He loves me still, loves me enough to die a brutal death.

What love is this?

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Law of Tradition

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.[a])
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[d] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[e] 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”


In what ways have we replaced God's laws with man's traditions today?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Grace

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend.Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Matthew 20

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ezekiel

Over the past several weeks, I've painstakingly been making my way through the book of Ezekiel. I grew tired, discouraged, and frustrated as time and time again I read of God's judgment over a disobedient people. As I read the final chapters a few days ago, it hit me: perhaps God has grown tired, discouraged, and frustrated of our constant sin. Perhaps He's grown tired, discouraged, and frustrated with instructing us time and time again only to have us walk away from Him. Perhaps the emotions I was experiences while reading accurately reflect those God was experiencing as Ezekiel was writing.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Seasons



This morning as I chatted with a dear friend across the ocean, we dreamed together. We shared hopes for the coming months and distant years. We wondered at the plans God has for us. We looked beyond this current season and onto those to come.


I'm a dreamer and a planner. I love making sure every little detail is taken care of. I'm goal driven, pushing myself to accomplish whatever I put my mind to, refusing to give up regardless of obstacles. What I'm not is patient. I don't like to wait. I have my plan and my goal, and I want it now.

But God's plans aren't our plans. His thoughts and ways are higher than our own. Amidst our conversation, I felt convicted. In my dreaming and hoping, I lost sight of now. In my discontent, I brushed off the now of only being a season as a prepare for greater things.

Yet God has purpose for the now. While this is but a season of my life, it's important. God has reason for the seemingly mundane tasks just as He does for the grand dreams that He's placed on my heart. So I'm fighting to let go of my striving for what's next and instead be still. Be still and listen to God's heart for the here and now. Be still and seek His will in this moment. Be still and be content were He has me. Be still and trust Him. Be still and know Him.

Identity


I'm tempted to change my title from LLPC to identity consultant. Over the past several months I've helped preteens to college students to sexagenarians tackle issues of depression, anxiety, transition troubles, family conflict, and friend fiascoes only to time and time again have the root of their problem boil down to identity: who am I? What defines my value? What directs me? How can I be valuable? 
Time and time again this questions reveal heart longings to be loved, accepted, valuable. Time and time again I've had the privilege of sharing Christ's truth. And it's beautiful!


Seeing the transition that comes from securely knowing who God is and who He says you are is transforming and empowering. I've seen clients find new courage and hope as they embrace the grace and beauty of who God declares them to be. I, too, have found new boldness as I've learned to let go of others' expectations and danced my identity in Christ. I've found new freedom as I move from what to Who defines me.

Where do you find your identity? Who is defining you?


Who I Am In Christ

Why do I need to know who I am in Christ?
You need to know who you are in Christ so that you can live your life as God intended and fulfil your destiny.
The more you agree with God about your identity in Christ, the more your behaviour will begin to reflect your God given identity.
I encourage you to learn to see yourself as God sees you
God's opinion is the one that counts. Accept what God says about you, agree with Him that it is true of you and become the spiritual person you are.
Understanding who you are in Christ will give you a strong foundation to build your life on. Knowing who you are in Jesus is the key to a successful Christian life and a life lived ON purpose.
Your identity doesn't depend on something you do or have done. Your true identity is who you are in Christ.
Once you choose to follow Jesus you become a new creation, the old you passes away and you become who you are in Him. Please stop living out of who other people say you are and take hold of the truth of God's word. Find out what God says about you and agree with Him. 
You need to know who you are in Christ so that you can know 
what to do, when to do it, where to go, and how to do it
Who you are in Christ
Because you are in Christ, every one of these statements is true of you.
·         I am loved 1John 3:3
·         I am accepted Ephesians 1:6
·         I am a child of God John 1:12
·         I am Jesus' friend John 15:14
·         I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him Romans 8:17
·         I am united with God and one spirit with Him 1Corinthians 6:17
·         I am a temple of God. His spirit and his life live in me 1 Corinthians 6:19
·         I am a member of Christ's body. 1 Corinthians 12:27
·         I am a Saint Ephesians 1:1
·         I am redeemed and forgiven Colossians 1:14
·         I am complete in Jesus Christ Colossians 2:10
·         I am free from condemnation Romans 8:1
·         I am a new creation because I am in Christ 2Corinthians 5:17
·         I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved Colossians 3:12
·         I am established, anointed, and sealed by God 2Corinthians 1:21
·         I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind 2Timothy 1:7
·         I am God's co-worker 2Corinthians 6:1
·         I am seated in heavenly places with Christ Eph 2:6
·         I have direct access to God Ephesians 2:18
·         I am chosen to bear fruit John 15:16
·         I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house 1 Peter 2:5
·         I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His nature 2 Peter 1:4
·         I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews 13:5
·         God works in me to help me do the things He wants me to do Philippians 2:13
·         I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need James 1:5
Simply choose to believe what God says about you.
"How can two walk together unless they agree?" Amos 3:3
Try reading the above list every day for a month, preferably out loud. The more you know who you are in Christ, the more your behaviour will reflect your true identity.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" Romans 12:2
To live an effective Christian life you need to know and believe who you are in Christ. Understanding your identity in Christ is crucial to your success.
The best way to renew your mind and experience inner transformation is by knowing, thinking and speaking who you are in Christ
Train yourself to say the same things that God says in His word. Become who you already are in Christ. God wants to do more in your life than you imagine.