are you being seduced by an impostor?

15 10 2008

just saw this video and … wow.  watch it all the way to the end. (props to jay for posting)

it is an amazing depiction of our lives as believers.  finding new life in christ, learning to walk and live like him, discovering what it means for him to provide for us… only to become distracted by something that looks more appealing and courted by what appears more attractive.  before we know it, we have allowed a host of impostors to seduce our affections away and to stand between us and the great lover of our souls.

unfortunately, this is where a lot of people stay… separated, isolated, destitute, afraid… alone.  not realizing that christ is fighting for us, to reach us and that the punishment he took on himself was in our place.

this makes me take an honest look at my own life and the “lesser lovers” that I have allowed to illegally access my affections and steal my gaze from christ as the head and source of my life.

what is separating you from the unconditional love of the father?  what impostor has broken into your heart and is now the recipient of your focus and affection?

christ wants to be everything… what is he competing against in your life?

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8:29-39 The Message)

that’s my king

21 03 2008

// becoming… the righteousness of God \\
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (The Message translation)

14-15 Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

21 How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

recognizing God in the battle

19 03 2008

// becoming… victorious \\

i want to share some thoughts and points from a message I heard about 2 years ago about “recognizing God in the battle”. it was relevant then… it is relevant now… and maybe this is not just for me…

it is important to realize the spiritual dynamic to “winning” and recognize and discern God in the middle of my situation. God does not always show up the same way or in the same form, so i can’t be so dedicated to a past experience that i miss
him altogether as i face new situations and seasons. we have to be careful that we don’t allow our past perspectives to shape our present situations.

in exodus 17:8-12, joshua was leading the battle against the amalekites in the valley, and while he was fighting, moses was on the mountain. as long as moses’ hands were raised, joshua would prevail, and when he dropped his hands, the enemy would prevail against joshua. today, we know this because we have the benefit of the perspective from the mountain. but joshua wasn’t on the mountain and didn’t know this. he was fighting in his strength and did not realize that that shift of the battle was because of moses on the mountain.

it is vital to realize that the things that we are up against are not about us. it’s not about me getting the victory. this is not me using God to get my victory, but rather it is God using me to get his victory. when we fully grasp this, we can operate from a position of strength and not one of strain. we spend so much time, energy and resources trying to do things in our own strength, trying to fight our battle. 2 chronicles 20:15 tells us that the battle is not ours, but it belongs to the Lord. so, why do we get so wrapped up in trying to fight our battle? the enemy is his. the battle is his. the victory is his. the enemies of God will attack us and try to cause us to believe that it is our fight, thus producing a self-reliant stance where we don’t turn to God and trust him to conquer the enemy.

when joshua encountered the Lord as he was preparing for his battle with Jericho (joshua 5:13-15), he didn’t know it was the Lord. when he realized it, he fell down and worshipped. what separates mediocrity from greatness is the ability to see holy ground on the battlefiled. can I actually start seeing the battle as an opportunity for a fresh encounter with God. can I see my situation as a sanctuary? can i drop to my knees and worship with the arrows flying just above my head? there’s a visual for you.

right when joshua recognized God in his battle situation, he turned it into a sanctuary by worshipping. once he did that, joshua 6 shows how God then gave him the strategy to overtake jericho. it’s very easy to see our situation as our battle, and develop our own strategy, things that we can do in our own strength and understanding. but seeing the battle as God’s frees me to receive his strategy for his victory.