Why does God create us so fragile? There are so many ways we can suffer. We can get hurt many, many different ways.
I’ve long thought of this as a difference between God and me. I’m fragile; He is not. But now, I see it very differently.
God created us as fragile because that was the only way we could understand His heart–how deeply He feels, how much hurt He has suffered.
Answer from last time: Faith, hope and love
New question: Who was the author of the book of Revelation?
God has a much richer life for you than a set of do’s and don’t’s.
What would Jesus do? While that may be a good guide for behavior, God is interested in far more than our behavior. He wants you to experience the full and rich life that Jesus brings to us. Confident. Peace. Joy. That is all yours; it simply requires a little different focus.
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Answer from last time: The law of God (or the word of God) (Psalm 119)
New question: According to Paul, what three things remain?
In practical terms, what does God’s love look like? I believe there are three things God wants to do for you and for every person in your world.
#1 Heal all your hurts
A painful past. A deep disappointment. A secret shame. Whatever your hurts might be, God wants to heal them all. His love is soothing. He is the God of all comfort and the Father of mercies. (2 Corinthians 1:3) Healing played a central role in the life and ministry of Jesus. (Acts 10:38) When God shows up, healing takes place.
#2 Renew your mind
God wants to show you your world from His perspective. Triumphant. Compassionate. Confident. He wants to fill your life with “aha” moments where things start to make sense on a whole new level. When I was a kid, we owned some dining room chairs with an abstract flower design on them. I probably looked at those chairs a thousand times before one day I saw it. Those were not flowers at all. They were cows! From that point on, I never saw flowers—only cows. In the same way, God wants to show you what you cannot now see—and everything in your world will change as a result.
#3 Transform your life
God wants to empower you to approach everything from a position of peace and strength. He wants to empower you to experience life as Jesus does—filled with assurance, feeling fully loved, ready for whatever life presents, equipped to go out and bring the presence of Jesus into your world.
This is my prayer for you—that God will heal all your hurts, renew your mind, transform you life.
PS. The whole focus of Spiritual Self Defense is on this threefold prayer. Check it out here: http://ssdcourage.com/spiritual-self-defense/
Answer from last time: Esau
New question: What is the subject matter of the longest chapter in the Bible?
Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) But, have you noticed, many people know the truth, yet aren’t free … from anxiety, addiction, anger, you name it.
What gives? Where’s the disconnect?
A full answer would take a whole book. In fact, that’s what Spiritual Self Defense is all about.
But here’s a partial answer: God designed us to know truth on two different levels—an intellectual level, and a much deeper level—what I call gut-level truth. Many people have truth on the intellectual level, but haven’t yet received that same truth at that deeper level where freedom can take place.
Jesus wants to bring His truth to those deeper places in our souls where transformation really takes place.
BTW, wishing my wife, Kim, a happy birthday today (September 17)!
Bible trivia: What was the name of Jacob’s twin brother?
“They are lazy…”
~Pharaoh speaking of the people of God (Exodus 5:8)
Do you want to be a better Christian? Try harder.
This advice is ubiquitous, but where does it come from? Doesn’t it come from Pharaoh?
Pharaoh says, “Oh, you don’t like being slaves? Try harder. Supply your own straw for making bricks. Try harder. Don’t reduce your quota. Try harder.” (Read the story in Exodus 5.)
But God is not another pharaoh. God calls us into freedom. Jesus has done the hard work. As Jesus said, our work is to believe (John 6:29).
This is one of the most misunderstood concepts in all of Christendom. God is not trying to build an army of exhausted, try harder Christians. On the contrary, Jesus came to free us from slavery. The best thing you can do is let yourself be loved by God. Everything else flows out of that.
Is this helpful for you? Ping me back and let me know.
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I like being right. As a Christian, truth is important to me, and I have a distaste for false teachings.
Unfortunately, this need to be right has gotten me into trouble. My stubborn insistence on being right sometimes gets in the way of God’s purposes. For many years when I saw other people—Christian and non—expressing beliefs that I knew were not right, my first impulse was to correct them. My unspoken mentality was: You’re wrong. I’m right. Let me fix you.
Outcome? I walked away convinced I had won the argument. The other person just…walked away. I lost a friend.
I bring this up, because I see this happening a lot, particularly online. The “I’m right; you’re wrong” mentality comes in many forms. “God told me to say this.” “If you disagree with me, you’re disagreeing with the word of God.” “I’m more educated, informed, intelligent than you.” Yada, yada.
Setting people straight has terrible costs. Here are a few:
- We lose friends—friends we were meant to win to Jesus.
- People walk away with a distaste for Christianity.
- We don’t grow because we lack the humility to learn from someone who disagrees with us.
We grow by asking questions. We grow by seeking to understand. We grow by listening. At the end of the day, we may still disagree, but at least we’ve all moved forward in our journey.
Each of us is a work in progress. No matter how anointed, gifted, educated or spiritual we are, at some level, we’re all right, and, at some level, we’re all wrong. It’s called being human. Every person has something to teach us—if we’re willing to learn.
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Throughout the New Testament we receive instructions on holy living. Yet we are also told that we are not under the law, but under grace. We are told that our righteousness comes by faith, not by works. What gives? Are we supposed to straighten up or not?
This puzzled me for many years. But now it makes sense.
Here’s how I understand it. When we invite Jesus to take charge of our lives, we become new people—completely new (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a work of grace. The instruction for holy living is merely a description of who we really are. Yet, clearly, sometimes our behavior and our desires are not consistent with this new identity. How do we account for that difference?
Deception. At some level, we are deceived. If our hearts could see things from God’s perspective, there would be no discrepancy between the holy standards set in scripture and our own everyday lives. We would always want what God wants. So when we find these instructions for holy living to be jarring, this is an opportunity for us to invite Jesus further into the broken places in our lives. There He does His work of grace to remove deception so God’s heart becomes our heart.
It’s all grace, all the time. Yet God’s holy standards are never compromised. That’s how I see it. What about you?
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