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Saturday, May 24, 2014

I Am A Liar

I tell lies.  Mostly I tell them to myself.  It makes sense.  If my nature is that of sin, disobedience, and opposition to God, that makes me a son of the Adversary and he is the father of lies (Matthew 8:44).  I tell myself untruth, lies, in an effort to appease forces that seek to command my allegiance.  I tell myself I am hungry when I am not.  I tell myself I deserve things or should have things that satisfy appetites of my body. I am being asked to serve my flesh (1 John 2:15-17). They are largely untrue and largely demands that source from my unspiritual nature (Romans 8).    My unspiritual nature is demanding and relentless. It is a formidable foe.  Fortunately the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is stronger.


The battle between my unspiritual nature and the will of the Holy Spirit is a battle to the death - something or someone dies (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).  My unspiritual nature leads me to sin and sin leads me to death (Romans 6:23, James 1:12-15).  The Holy Spirit requires me to put to death the unspiritual nature.  In either case, Jesus died. 


I get to decide if Jesus died for a purpose or for no reason at all (as it pertains to my life).  I decide for life or I decide for the lie. 

7:38 am edt 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What Is On My Mind Today

As I set down during my devotional time this morning, I considered what it anything I should write about.  This is normally the day I write a blog entry.  There were many things that came to my mind as I prayed (mostly thoughts about my relationship with God and its state).  Those, at this point, are between God and I.  Then I transitioned to my "devotional task" for the day.


Every so often, the Bible I use (the actual, physical book) breaks down from use.  The pages start to fall out, the binding gets broken, etc...  I purchase a new copy and go through the exercise of transferring my notes from the old copy to the new copy.  It is a great exercise. I am reminded of where God and I have been and what He has taught me.  I am reminded of times and places and people surrounding those notes.  The lessons represented get refreshed and reinforced.  I start in Genesis and go book by book.  I revisit each note, validate that I should keep it, and then transfer it to the new copy.  Today I was in Joshua.


The discipline of blogging or journaling for me means that I don't censor what is impressed on me or that I don't "decide" what to write about.  I write about what is on my mind.  I believe that God has something to say and that he wants to say it through me. So, I try not to evaluate its merits and whether or not I have repeated it in the past.  I try to be faithful to the thought, the inspiration, the Inspirerer.


God gave me a verse for this year to challenge me.  It is 2 Corinthians 5:14-17... "For the love of Christ controls us ONCE (KN: "when") we have reached the conclusion that one man died for all therefore all mankind has died...".  I want the love of Christ of Christ to control me.  Based upon this verse, that means I need to conclude (be convinced) that Jesus died for me therefore I am no longer alive ("in control").  I continue to be challenged with this verse.


All this is set up or context to explain what is on my mind today...


At the beginning of Joshua, God is speaking with Joshua.  He is coaching, encouraging, attempting to convince Joshua.  I think of three things: 

1.       I, God, am able to do what I am asking you to do.

2.       You, Joshua, just need to believe and allow that belief to control you.

3.       I, God, have a plan for you and others and will bless you through it.

In these verses, God repeats three phrases... "Do not be afraid.  Be strong and resolute.  I, the LORD, am able to do this."  By the middle of chapter 10 (Joshua 10:25), God and Joshua have been through much and Joshua is different.  He is convinced.  I know this because God's words have become his words. Joshua tells Israel what God has been telling him... Do not be afraid. Be strong and resolute. God can do this.


When I become convinced that Jesus died for me,  convinced enough to give up control so that his love can control me,  there will be evidence of that in my life...artifacts.  I believe, like Joshua, that God's words will become my words. When I speak, It will be God's message, focused on God, for the benefit of others.  "Ken" will cease to have a voice in favor of God's.   I still need convincing but that is the goal.


God was instructing Joshua on how to lead his people into the Promised Land.  The Promised Land was God's gift to Abraham, part of the promise.  Through several generations, while God and His people worked out their relationship this promise never left God's purposes or Israel's mind.  Joshua was the leader God would use to claim it.


I believe God has a "Promised Land" for each of us.  It isn't necessarily real estate but it is a place.  It is a place where we see God's goodness and richness.  It is a place where there are challenges but we get to see God provide and deliver.  It is a place in which God intends to bless us, delight us, be with us.  It is a place in which he wants to meet with us and live with us.


One of the things I am learning is that God is a jealous god (Ex. 34:14 - Ex. 20:5, Deut.4:24,5:9; Josh.24:19).  He wants to be our One (Revelation 1-2) and only God.  He doesn't want or need nor will he allow himself to share that position in our lives.


I, like Israel, have a problem.  There are other gods in my "promised land".  Some of them were there when I got here.  Some of them I have adopted as mine.  Some of them I have invented and enthroned in my life.  They are areas where I am not convinced that Jesus died for me.  They are areas where I maintain control.  They are areas where I do not believe God.  They are areas that make God jealous.  They are the areas that keep me from enjoying God's promised land for me.


In Joshua 23:16, Joshua makes a conditional statement ("if...then...").  I read it as a question.  That question is:  "What other ‘gods' are in your ‘Promised Land'?".  They need to be identified, destroyed, and replaced by God.   If not, "...the LORD's anger will be roused against you and the good land he has given you will soon see you no more."   Joshua goes on in chapter 24 (Joshua 24:3-14). He recounts history and the story of God's love for them.  He ends with the statement: "Now hold the LORD in awe, and serve him in loyalty and truth.  Put away the gods your fathers served...and serve the LORD."


I read two questions that I want to share with you, that are on my mind today, that we, you and I need to answer and understand the implications of...

Who makes you who you are?

Whom do you depend upon?


What is on your mind today?

9:29 am edt 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Have Questions For You

Genesis 3:8-14

"The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from him among the trees..."


1.        What does God sound like when he is walking?  It must be distinctive because they knew it was him and not some animal.

2.       Wouldn't it be nice to measure our day by the "time of the evening breeze"? 

These are some of my questions.  (By the way the answer to #2 is "Yes".)  But what arrested me is God's questions.  He had questions.  Were God's questions for God, because he didn't know?    I don't think so.  Scripture teaches that God is all knowing (omniscient).  So if the questions weren't for God, they must have been for Adam and Eve (and me and you).


"Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9)

Have you ever noticed we can "get lost".  I get lost in thought or in some activity or in a conversation and I forget things.  What makes God's question so meaningful to me is just this point.  Where am I?  Where are my thoughts, my heart, my consciousness, my intention?  Where I am matters.  Where I am matters before I "forget" something important that may protect me.  But God's question comes after the disobedience.  It matters to God where we are after we fail him.  I think God understands we will fail (that isn't permission to fail just an understand of who we are) and he wants us to know that after we fail, where we are matters.  Are we going to run from God and try to hide?  Are we going to pretend God doesn't exist or isn't "The Consequence" of life so we can keep on failing or pretend that we aren't failing because we no longer remember that God is the Authority (Romans 1:18-32). Are we going to run back to him and confess and ask for forgiveness?  It matters.  It matters to God.  It should matter to us.  Where are you?  Where is your heart?  Where are you running?


"Who told you...?" (Genesis 3:11)

You can't believe everything you hear.  God's second question challenges the truth of what they were told.  When we fail, invariable is because we believed and operated upon some "lie" instead of the truth.  Lies like "I deserve..." or "there are no real consequences..." or "can it really be wrong?".  The list of potential lies is endless.  The source of lies is singular... The Adversary.  The first words out of the Adversary were "Is it true...?".   He is a liar and the Father of Lies.  So the question, after we fail, is what lie did we believe and more importantly... "Do you realize who you chose to believe instead of me?" (the intent of God's question).  When we operate on a lie, we make the Adversary our god.  We place him above God.  This is what he (The Adversary) wants.  It is what he tried to get Jesus to do (Matthew 4:1-11).  So in addition to where is your heart?  Who are you listening to?  Who do you believe?


"What have you done?"

Never underestimate the human capacity for rationalization.  I have a "black belt" in rationalizing my behavior.  I say things like... "I made a mistake" or "It was an indiscretion" or "a lapse in judgment" or "I got off course".  I work very hard at avoiding naming, calling out specifically what I have done.  I think I may be afraid of it or maybe afraid of who I am.  God knows that unless we drag it out of the dark (rationalization and excuse) and into the light (truth and sincerity), we will continue to be plagued by it (whatever "it" is).  James says to "confess our faults" to each other.  Say what you have done.  Be specific.  To do otherwise is like going to a doctor and withholding key information about what is wrong with you.  If you do that, the doctor is likely to miss what could be fixed to make you well and whole.  What have you done?  What are you doing?  Live out in the open.  Be transparent to God, yourself, and others. 


My challenge (and my challenge to you) is to make these question part of my (our) consciousness every day and every moment of every day.  I believe in doing this I (we) can avoid failure.  In doing this, even after failure, we can avoid straying away from The One who loves us... who loves us enough to ask the hard questions.

1:45 pm edt 

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