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April Newsletter- Above Ability

C.S. Lewis once said: ‘If we consider the unblushing promises of rewards in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite Joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.’ I suppose we could express it as the need to evaluate what the world offers and compare those to love, peace, joy, freedom, and everlasting life. You can’t get those just anywhere; they’re only available in knowing Christ. That knowing is personal, not simply a logical opinion thing, but absorption has to take place. What exists about God externally needs to be applied inside us.

It’s been said that we are souls carrying around a body, emphasizing the priority of our souls over the flesh. If we are willing, it is our souls that are changed day by day and reflect the image of Christ we all hope for. It’s our souls that must become unsatisfied with the present life and seek a change. It’s our souls that long for something to fill the holes in our lives. Matthew 5:48 refers to being perfect. How many of us are going to pass that test? Actually, that scripture actually focuses on the process of saving the soul to the point of moving into completeness of God’s divine purpose in each of our lives. The Christian journey is about discovering the path that permits us to express the Spirit of Christ into other people’s lives. Bottom line, it’s our insides that can know God, our hearts. Once Christ is absorbed then the Life inside a believer can be expressed externally as Christ to those around us.

It’s not a rational, mental argument that takes place in our lives that creates Faith in Christ. I have seen the logical presented expertly and I’ve seen very intelligent and mature people, kind people, just walk away from that. The Spirit doesn’t change our minds, the Spirit changes our hearts. John 8:32 refers to a Truth that will be known and make us free, but it’s not an intellectual conversion, it’s an intimate, personal experience. It’s a bit more than just seeing a billboard and saying I agree with that. The Gospel is meant to be consumed–more about that later in this letter. It’s Jesus’ words finding a dwelling place. That requires that our hearts be open to and penetrated by the Holy Spirit of God. Belief cannot be willed; it must come from the heart. (Gal. 2:20, Eph 3:16, 1Cor. 3:16) Love and Faith are not logically attainable, they’re heart driven. When we accept Christ into our lives The Spirit dwells in our heart, not our brain. A relationship with Christ is personal; it’s much more than a cultural movement. (I’ve often wondered in my brain, which is greater- a culture that passes laws and gets the people to follow those or is the greater wonder the Spirit’s ability to change a heart. One forces behavior to change, the other changes the whole person: body, soul and spirit.)

It’s interesting reading scriptures that refer to the Pharisees’ behavior during crucifixion week. Those verses show people witnessing great deeds and powerful words. Jesus attempted to convince them of the presence of their long awaited Messiah, yet they opposed Him. They, like so much of the world today, couldn’t see or hear the obvious. Messiah giving wise advice and doing things no other man had ever done, and yet the Pharisees’ brains simply could not comprehend. Their eyes and ears were working, but they were blind and deaf in their hearts.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world,” in another verse, “I am the resurrection.” He stated that he was the Way, the Truth and the Life. He’s referred to as the True Vine. He’s the Bread of Life. He’s described as the Door and uniquely called ‘the Good Shepherd’. In John 8:12, he’s declared the Light of Life. He is Living Water. Even simplifying it further, when asked by the women at the well if he was the Messiah, he tells us, ‘I am he.’ (We should always notice that the article ‘the’ used in biblical text always sets the expression as unique and exclusive to the subject of that conversation. It’s associated to the English word absolute. When ‘the’ is used it emphatically means he is the only one that is ‘the’.)

I wrote earlier of the necessity of having to consume the Gospel, not just observe and intellectually agree with it. Jesus tried to make that a pretty simple, natural process for us. As referenced above, he talked of being the bread, light, living water, and a communion of bread and wine; all are pretty common understandable examples of the necessity of Christ in our lives. We need daily bread to survive, we thirst, and we hunger. Eating of, drinking in, consuming Jesus’ Life was one of his best ways to illustrate the significance of choosing his teachings and burying them in our heart. All the above references require that the external has to be consumed internally to receive its benefit. The Gospel is the same. Christ lives within us, not simply around us.

Life is made up and explained in scripture using two Greek words: bio (we refer to that as biology) and zoe (life to the full, God-filled life). All bio life needs light. Plants die without it, men stumble like a blind man without it. Adam and Eve’s dying referenced in Genesis was not a physical death but a soulish one. Their dying occurred when they stepped into the darkness or simply the ignorance of God’s Love and Care. They believed a lie, stepped into foolishness about the Father and began a journey that man still takes today. Jesus came to bring Light to that ignorance and show the Truth to God’s creation once again. He came to up-root the Garden of Eden mistake.

Today, as with the Pharisees, opposition to Christ brings about a crisis. Proverbs 8:35, ‘those who find me find Life.’ (The reciprocal of that is simply the opposite of that scripture, without Jesus we will not find Life.) How do we do that Life? The closest thing I’ve been able to say that expresses the answer is simply to develop an attitude that we can’t do that, only the Spirit can do that. I have some friends and acquaintances that are not convinced the Spirit will do that. And some are afraid that He might. It’s similar to giving up control. Since we were crying in our cribs, we’ve been enticed to remain in control of every detail of our lives. The Gospel, to be experienced to the full, requires leaving a gap in our life for God to fill that gap. Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing. Sometimes we can ask for God to do things that might not be wise or appropriate, and we do that ‘in Jesus name’ but in our hearts it’s really asking in our name. Our prayers sometimes can be an architectural blue print of our plans and purpose rather than His. The promises of God for rest, freedom, joy, and peace are found in His plans, His reality more than in our own. My Prayer is to live life above my ability; to experience things that I cannot find on my own without God’s fingerprints on them.

It boils down to, can we know God? Jesus answered that in a conversation with Phillip. (John 14:8-9) The word for know that Phillip used was a Greek word related to seeing God. Jesus answered using the Greek word ginosko, meaning experiencing Him. According to Jesus words, The Father actually can be made known to us by seeing Christ Jesus, and experiencing Christ Life. Jesus indicated that he and the Father were One. To see one was to see the other. Jesus was the exact image of God. Observe his life, consume his words, and we experience the Father. Jesus came to do a remodel. He came to re-do the effect Adam had on our world. His effort to accomplish that is recorded in the way we express his purpose: re-deem, re-new, re-birth, re-create, doing that in our hearts.

HAPPY EASTER! HE IS RISEN!

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters

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