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Posts Tagged ‘Christ in You’

All morning long I have been thinking about Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no long I who live but Christ who dwells in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in (or by the faith of) the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

We cannot escape those words.  We can’t wiggle out of the truth embedded in the words, “…it is no longer I who live…”  Those words leap off the page.  They beg us to consider the meaning of this truth.

Could Paul have meant something else other than he’s no longer living?  Did he really mean he’s no longer calling the shots in his life?  Did he mean that the transformation was so radical that he’s not the same person he was when he first encountered Christ on the road to Damascus?  What did he mean?

Let’s go deeper.  Let’s plunge into the deep with God.  Let’s ask the Lord to show us what Paul meant.  Let’s ask Christ to show us what it means to have Him live His life through us.  Let’s ask God to give us a revelation of the cross and the Indwelling Life of Christ.  Assuming He will give us another day to live, let’s let Him live the life He longs to live in us, through us.

Because if Christ living through us is our new normal for this life, then we need to wake up to the call.  And well, this is the cry of my heart today for my own life.

Take us deep, Lord, deeper still!

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Friday, April 10, 2009.  Today was Good Friday.  Today was also Holly Johnson’s (a.k.a., Holly Faith Walker) memorial service.  What a beautiful tribute to such a beautiful person.  As Holly mentioned in her letter to those who attended her service, the good that people saw in Holly was her Lord.  Oh indeed, she was precious, but the good, the tender, the sweet, the loving, the patient, the kind, was remarkably Jesus.  It was the Lord finding expression in a yielded life.  Holly wasn’t being modest or religiously sanctimonious in this confession. She knew who had changed her life and she gave Him all the glory.  What an amazing testimony!

What if, like Holly, we lived a surrendered life to Jesus?  She wasn’t perfect, but she learned a miraculous truth through all her struggle and hardship…  She learned, by leaps and bounds, what it meant to let Christ live His life through her.  I witnessed it first hand!  No one in her set of circumstances (facing death at 33 and leaving a precious husband behind), and in that much pain, is able to demonstrate what Holly demonstrated without it being a miraculous outpouring of God’s grace and love.  I am one of many who witnessed in Holly the sweet expression of Jesus.

Will you please stop and consider what all this means?  Could it be true?  Jesus Christ living in us, in such a way that He manifests His life through a yielded human life (2 Corinthians 4:7).  His life is the worth and substance of Christianity lived out in this life through all those who call upon His name and receive Him.  Knowing that… How could we possibly want to fiddle around with some variation of spirituality on our own?  How could we be puffed up with our own religious achievement?  Why would we want to strive after some level of spiritual competence apart from the Indwelling Life of Christ?  It’s not about us.  It never was about us.  As a matter of fact, those who crucified Jesus are just representative of what we would have done if we had been there.  So dear one, go and be gut honest with God about your life.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them”  Ephesians 2:4-7

Do you see?  “…so that in the ages to come (right now) He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us IN Christ Jesus.”  In Christ Jesus, through Christ Jesus…  Check it out…it’s all over the place in your Bible.  You’ll find it in the Gospels, in Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians…  It’s all there!  He’s alive.  He’s nearer than near.  And all He wants from us is surrender (to abide in Him), for when we abide, everything else falls into place.  When we abide, we cease from our striving to be holy in our own effort…  And any good that comes from us is truly and profoundly Him.  Then, as it should be, He gets all the glory.  That’s what and Who we witnessed in Holly!  Amazing!  As Holly would say, “He’ll blow your mind away!”  A very good thing.

O Lord, thank You for giving me the privilege of walking alongside Holly…or was it she walking alongside me?  I think so.  I am forever changed by Your beauty in her.  Comfort her family, I pray.  Will You increase their vision during this time? In Jesus name, I pray. All the glory is yours, Lord.  All of it.

Further up and further in.

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It’s 2:30 AM and I’m wide awake.  My feet will hit the ground in an hour…  Right now I’m thinking about how God brings us to these places where all that matters is Him. Where nothing else matters, in terms of our human endeavor, except Him. All that makes sense is His life. That sounds so narrowing doesn’t it? Extreme?  Our flesh screams “ridiculous” as He squeezes us in.

The more He has me hanging out on the limb of uncertainty, the more I see how much of my life has been about striving for significance. Oh, you know, we call it career development, self-improvement…but it always ends up at the same place: self focus. No matter what we do, it ends up being about us…  We repackage it or call it something else, but it’s still about us.  Even though promoting ourselves is highly accepted and advised in our culture, especially in Christendom, it’s still our stinky flesh.  The proof of the pudding is how offended we feel when we are slighted.  In that moment our flesh is exposed.  We rear up on our haunches, don’t we?  We position ourselves…  We justify our behavior…  We rationalize our error…  We condemn others for slighting us…  We do everything except the one thing that will settle the matter before God—confess that He is LORD.  Amazing.

The longer I’m out on the limb, the more I see how my own fleshly endeavor flies in the face of God’s glory.  The exposure hurts—only for awhile.  The real story is that He deserves ALL the glory!  To God be the glory forever and ever!

I surrender to the Lord anew today.  I say “yes” to whatever He wants to do to make His truth real in my life…

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The year 2008 is quickly coming to a close.  As we were sitting around the Thanksgiving table this year, we were reflecting on the possibility that this may well be our last Thanksgiving meal together on planet earth.  Our homes and earthly possessions left behind.  Most of what we consider important today, will disintegrate into insignificance on the big lift-off.  There was nothing morbid about our conversation.  In fact, we were rather joyful considering we’d all be caught up in glory together!  Then my nephew Mark said, “I hope we don’t go too soon, because there are too many people who don’t know Jesus yet.”  Oh wow, Mark, you’re so right…   Which led to another conversation about all that God is doing to draw people to Himself; including using us, a band of round-faced pilgrims passing through this world.

Indeed, every believer is an instrument, a common earthenware vessel (I identify most with a cracked pot), He uses to lavishly pour out His life and grace to a hurting world.  I used to think I was indispensable to this work.  Now I know I’m most useful to Him when I’m completely surrendered (not brain-dead, but surrendered).  Oh.  Not only that, I hinder His work by striving to do it myself.  Ouch.  Really?  It’s the Life of Christ people hunger for.  Wait, not my opinions? Not my political stance?  Not the polyester smile I’ve plastered on my face or the saccharine-air tone in my voice?  They don’t need my version of Christianity or my best imitation of Jesus–they need Him, pure and simple.  It’s Jesus they need…  It’s the Lord Jesus who longs to give them evidence of Himself, through people just like us.  “Through us” is the saintly operative.  I wonder if much of His work in our lives is shaking us lose from our strivings do such and such for God and His kingdom?

The Lord keeps tweaking my thinking concerning these things.  As a long-time manager, He is teaching me to show-up where He goes and to be willing to go where He leads, regardless of the turns in the road or how I see things potentially turning out.  He doesn’t need my watchful eye hovering anxiously over His divine activity.  The Lord God is sovereign, and that means He is bigger than I am and He sees more than I do.  A shocking truth….

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For years and years, I thought faith was a rip off. I thought it was about getting results. I hated walking by faith, because I didn’t seem to get the “results” I desired. I wanted evidence, I wanted answers, and I wanted them now! As you might guess that attitude deeply hindered my ability to trust God. No wonder I was an emotional wreck!

Faith is walking in His reality.

Years later… I see faith in a new light. The Lord opened my eyes to my identity in Christ and He’s showing me how I am rooted and grounded in Him, and no matter what difficulty I may encounter, I remain anchored in Christ. As today’s recording says, we are Swaying in the Wind (click to play) rooted and grounded in love.

I pray your heart is encouraged to trust Him with everything in your life.  He is worthy of our trust.  He is our glorious God and nothing is too difficult for Him!  Praise be to the Lord of Hosts!

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Boy howdy, I hit an oil slick a few days ago that set me on my you know what.  Well, figuratively speaking, that is.  In more direct terms, I took my eyes off the Lord and wound up discouraged…as in my lower lip dragging in the gravel!

Like many of you, we are having a difficult time making ends meet.  As a faith-supported ministry we depend upon the Lord to provide us our daily bread.  It’s a blast living this way, but there are many times He waits until 11:59 and a few times, He works past the due date.  That’s not so fun.  And when the mortgage is due on the 1st and it’s the 14th, and when medical insurance is due, and household bills are collecting in a nice neat pile on the desk, it’s especially not so fun.  I get scared.  Occasionally, I begin to question His direction: Am I doing something wrong?  Did He forget me this month?

Well, He answered in the most extraordinary way yesterday!  No, our financial situation hasn’t changed much, but He zeroed in on my heart and blessed me with an incredible sense of His presence.  You see, I think this faith journey isn’t about us believing God for answers, I think it’s about believing God period!  I think it’s about us acknowledging this mighty, glorious, awesome God, and standing there until this world zooms out of focus and all we can see is His splendor!  I don’t think it’s about us getting answers to our prayers—I think it’s us about discovering Him as the only answer! I think it’s about letting go of our “sense” of control, and surrendering to the Lord of Hosts!  The very thought of that WOWs me beyond my greatest desire!

I woke up singing yesterday!  I sang at the top of my lungs that sweet old hymn, “He Lives”. The more I sang those words, the more the things of this world faded in their intensity.  He lives, and the most radical, life-changing Truth is that we are in Christ and Christ is in us!  WOW!

Dear one, I have no idea what you are going through.  I know thousands of you are experiencing financial distress.  I know many of you are faced with circumstances that seem out of control.  In the face of everything, there is a huge God that knows your name, knows your needs, and His timing is perfect!  And the greatest answer to prayer is when we discover who He is!  When we know that, all these other things fall into their proper place.

Cling to Him.  Run to Him.  Stand upon His word.  Love Him above all else.  Wait for Him.  Trust Him.  Sing to Him.  Pray because He lives and He loves you.  Rejoice in the God of your salvation…  Listen, It’s God Calling! Click on link to play or find link under LISTEN TO.

He Lives
1933 by Alfred Henry Ackley
Public Domain Words and Music by Unverified

I serve a risen Saviour,
He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy,
I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.

Chorus:
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives
today!
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And tho my heart grows weary
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading
Thro’ all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.

Chorus

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him,
The help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

Chorus

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Revival is rolling in America…  We are seeing the beginning of it and soon it will flash forward like nothing we have ever witnessed before.  It won’t be about us, it will be about the Lord of Hosts!  Our priorities will straighten out (O Lord, hurry with that one) and we’ll see miracles spring up to the glory of God.  Yes, hardship and suffering will occur, but the reality of Jesus Christ will run so deep that grace upon grace will meet us every step of the way!  We won’t walk in fear instead we will stand upon His word like never before!

Yesterday’s recording, The Joy of the Lord pierced my heart as I considered how holy our God is and how He longs to give us His joy!  He is so gracious!

Watch and wait and stand on His word, beloved of God!

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