Do you need a ‘new footing’? Has life itself lost its way? Have you done things that you regret so deeply, that you’re losing hope? The deepest truths are ‘spirit’, and they only really show themselves in the ‘deepest’ – and often ‘darkest’ – of times…
The story of Jesus comes alive when we face the darkness. Why? Because his story – and truth – is one of ‘defeating darkness’! If we don’t acknowledge the darkness of life, and ultimately of our own sinful hearts, the light of Jesus does not show itself fully. Jesus calls us not to ‘deny’ the truth of sin, but to ‘repent’ of our sin. To repent is to face our sin head on, call it ‘sin’, and reject it in Jesus’ name. This is repentance!
In repenting, and putting our faith in Jesus Christ, we go through the ‘door’ to salvation! (John 10:9) And when we are in Christ, ‘saved’, we are made new! (2 Cor 5:17) We are made pure! (Is 1:18; 2 Cor 5:21) We are given a new, fresh ‘footing’ in life – now and forevermore! (Jn 14:6; Pr 4:18)
Do you want to go through the ‘door’ of Jesus Christ today, and find a new footing for life? Turn from your sin, and put your faith in Jesus!
‘Whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned but has crossed over from death to life!’ John 5:24
Jesus is at his most powerful where hope has been lost. Jesus, yes, is incredible in ‘restoring’, ‘repairing’, helping us to make the most of life; but he is ‘most’ miraculous, where he brings life back from the dead! Have you lost all hope? Have you lost people or opportunities, that you can never get back?
Jesus not only heals the broken heart, but he gives us a ‘new heart’! (Ez 36:26) Jesus not only revives the spirit, but he gives us a ‘new spirit’! (Ez 36:26) Jesus not only heals relationships that are hurting, but he promises to reconnect us to loved ones that have been lost, to redeem lost love, lost moments to speak, lost sons and daughters… Jesus makes all things new! (Rev 21:5) Jesus connects us to people now, and will connect us to more people then! (Mark 10:28-31) Jesus reaches and preaches to souls in hell, and reaches and preaches to souls in their very last moments of life (1 Pe 3:18-19; Lk 23:42-43) Jesus rewards people who even (only?) receive or bless his people. (Mt 10:40-42) There is merit not only in your baptism, but in those you are ‘baptized’ for, you pray for and ask God for! (1 Cor 15:29) God and his love and his reach, through Jesus Christ, is unfathomable! (Eph 3:14-21) His ways are higher! (Is 55:9)
So what does all this mystery in Christ, mean? Well, it means you can truly put your hope in him – for the impossible! (Mt 19:26) This is how we walk by faith and not sight or understanding. (2 Cor 5:7) This faith in God’s ability to reach backwards, into the present, into the future, is how we ‘please’ God. (Heb 11:6)
Jesus is the ‘door’ to all things eternal, restored, made new, redeemed, healed – physically, relationally, spiritually, between sons and daughters and spouses and parents…
Call on Christ today! Pour out your broken heart to him! Tell him who it is you wish you loved, wish you had listened to, wish you had embraced! Ask – in Jesus’ name – that you will be able to see, touch, embrace that person again one day!
‘They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ This is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them…’’ Ezekiel 37:11-12
‘Women received back their dead…’ Hebrews 11:35
‘I am making all things new!’ Revelation 21:5
Everything sad in this life is a type of fragmentation!
#1 – LIFE: People lose people who they love, and the heart aches. It is as if we are born into a life destined for losing each other! In this regard we are truly victims of such sorrow!
#2 – LOSS: Then there is a darker shade of fragmentation. More painful than the distance life puts between people, is the distance people put between each other. A son loses his father, because his father loses his way…
#3 – SIN: Darkest of all – a reality we must face – is the fragmentation we bring from greed and lust and rebellion. A child loses her innocence to theft, violence and cruelty of man.
My friends, the world is what it is because of our sin. Life’s tragic hardship, and the sorrow and disappointment it brings, is nothing compared to life’s destruction at the hands of men. For this reason, God speaks:
‘Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ … Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?’ Ezekiel 18:25
As a people we are called by God to repent. We are called to call on God, say sorry for our sin, and turn and walk away from it. Repentance prepared the way for Jesus (Mark 1:1-5), and repentance continued to be part of Christ’s message. (Mark 1:15) We must turn from our sin, and put our faith firmly in Jesus Christ. Why?
Because here – through repentance and faith – our sins are forgiven and we go through the ‘door’ of eternal life! (John 10:9) Here, through repentance and faith, hearts and spirits find healing! (Ez 36:26) Here, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, our hearts and our communities are ‘healed’! (2 Chron 7:14) Here – and only here – ‘all things’ (hearts, marriages, past records, broken families, broken bodies, broken spirits…) are ‘made new’! (Rev 21:5; 2 Cor 5:21)
Do you long to see your fragmented heart and life come into a new ‘wholeness’, a new life? Lift your cry to Jesus Christ today!
When I was 16 I gave in and bent the knee to Jesus Christ. It was not pretty. He weighed on my heart and convicted me of what I knew to be true – his own self. Everything was about to change – friends, activities, interests, thoughts and words. I stood still. Now on solid ground, but shaky on my feet. (1 Cor 3:11)
What I recall from these early days of following Jesus, was being on my own a lot. The first thing Jesus did was grip my heart and mind, and start to ‘prune’ my life. (John 15:2) I lost a lot of friends almost over night. I just could not go to the same parties, clubs, and even group ‘huddles’ in school anymore. There was so much immorality laced through my relationships and activities, that I found myself having to bow out of a lot of ‘circles’ and activities. For a season, I was completely alone. But I was not alone. Jesus was with me in spirit and truth. He was so close to me. My most alone moments in world terms, were my closest moments with Christ.
The other night, more than 25 years later, I realized something: I love being alone. I am so present with the Spirit of God when I am alone. I love not being able to sleep at night, because I lie in the presence of Christ there, just whispering to him, and seeing quiet glimpses of the joy set before me…
I have never been truly lonely, since dying to the world. (Gal 2:20) Ironically, when very close to the world, and to many people of the world, I was often lonely. Are you?
Jesus said, ‘I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’ (Revelation 3:20)
We can sit around all day – or a decade, or a lifetime – talking and thinking about God and how he works. Or... we can actually get to know him, and how he works. The former can be, as Bono puts it, ‘a long way down to nothing at all.’ (Stuck In A Moment, U2) The latter can be exhilarating, liberating, but a road of humility and regeneration.
So this is why, first and foremost, God has given us a written record of his communications, his histories of interacting with mankind, his promises and warnings and reminders – the Bible. He has given us the bible to give us a deep and wide overview and underview and cross-section view to who he is, and how he works. Otherwise, my friends, we would be left with simply my opinions, your opinions, etc. So what has God taught us about who he is and how he works? I set out 2 key points below:
‘Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.’ (Job 22:21)
Many cults use the ‘detail’ of the Bible to pin your mind to the wall, and deny you the true identity of God and Jesus Christ. Here’s how…
I will be brief and to the point! First, God is Spirit. (John 4:24) Everything physical that we are and we see and touch, has been breathed forth by the ‘invisible’ and unfathomable Spirit of the unseen God. (Heb 11:3; 2 Cor 3:18)
God who ‘spoke’ creation into being, then spoke himself into creation – in the man of Jesus Christ. We cannot understand ‘how’ God can come and walk with us, and still be one with the ‘Father God’ who created everything. We cannot understand this, but we can ‘know’ this truth. How? Well, exactly the same way we can ‘know’ the truth of God himself: By faith, not by understanding or sight! This truth of Christ’s identity is not in and through the mind, but of and through ‘revelation’. It is revelation truth! God does not submit himself and his powerful identity to and through our minds. He brings it like he brings the light, the rain, the galaxies, the soul, the spirit – he brings it upon us with revelation and power!
When we start to submit God’s identity to our small, limited capacities of the mind – nothing fits, nothing ‘can be’, nothing sparks, nothing is true. It is like trying to put and ‘see’ the sun under a microscope. According to this viewing system, well, the sun just cannot ‘be’...
Likewise, the ‘Son’ – Jesus Christ - cannot be one with the Father when we try to see him under the detail of just words – even scripture – without pairing scripture with the ‘power of God.’ Jesus himself told us this in Matthew 22:29, and John 5:39-40. (look these up!)
Let the words of Christ – his own claim to being one with God – wash over you in the picture of his walking on water, opening the eyes of the blind, and raising himself from the dead. In light of his own light, we suddenly see with the eyes of our heart, and walk into God’s highest and deepest revelation of himself!
Did Jesus claim to be God? Yes, in fact, he did – many times and in many ways. And the rest of Scripture also teaches this mysterious, essential truth, from beginning to end. I’ll leave you with a few scriptures about Christ’s identity to look up and ponder in your own time. Below I end with 3 short verses that I love regarding the nature of revelation: Isaiah 7:14/Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 9:6, John 8:58/Exodus 3:14, John 10:30, 37-38, John 10:34, Mark 14:61-62/Daniel 7:13-14, John 9:38, Matthew 14:33, 1 John 2:22, Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:3, John 1:1-5,9,14, Revelation 1:13-18…
‘In your light we see light!’ Psalm 36:9
‘We take captive thoughts and make them subject to Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
‘We walk by faith, not by sight.’ 2 Cor 5:7
We say ‘brother’ to a friend when we have – or we want – a type of camaraderie, trust, ‘loyalty’ in relationship. I say ‘brother’ to just about every dude I chat with, and that’s because I probably want life itself to be that safe place where harmony flows. I believe we all deeply crave this ‘connection’ with each other, with every human being. We want peace. We want harmony. We want ‘loyalty’ and goodness between people!
Let’s jump straight to our dilemma. As scripture writes, ‘There is none good, no, not one!’ (Rm 3:10) Listen, you may not like this ‘negative’ view of people. I assure you, I’m not being ‘negative’ in that shallow sense. I ache to reach, touch and believe in the goodness of people. But in order to find the real treasure of goodness, the flowing spirit of the pure, we have to first face truth, our starting point. The truth is, deep within every ‘friend’ I have, and the ‘friend’ they have in me – there is a deep, self-centered darkness. God calls this ‘sin’. This same sin that causes brother to turn on brother, is what moves us to turn our back on God.
From a very young age I can remember feeling that deep sense of loneliness. I had a great family, great friends throughout life, but I was always keenly aware of the limitations of mankind to really be there for me in the depths of my soul. The very best of my friends, in truth, is a million miles from the deep place in me that needs a friend. Can you relate? Here's the good news...
‘There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.’ (Pr 18:24) Jesus came as God in the form of man, and looked deep into our eyes. By his Holy Spirit, he still looks into your eyes. Jesus came, and even now, knocks not on the door of your house, but of your heart. (Rev 3:20) His voice does not only call to your ears, but to the very depths of your spirit: ‘Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls. All your waves and breakers have swept over me!’ (Ps 42:7)
Jesus is a door to the eternal Spirit of God. He literally spoke these spiritual words: ‘I am the door, and everyone who enters through me will be saved.’ (Jn 10:9)
This day, if you crave a loyalty that will come to you and never leave you, and walk you out of mortality to eternal life, I urge you, I implore you, to repent of your sin, and put your faith in Jesus! He is the treasure that connects us to God, and ultimately will connect us 'purely' to each other.
So you have to stand up and speak… or you have to see that person… or you have to think about that painful past… In these ‘moments of truth’, there are many ‘voices’ in your head, many ‘words’ coming to you. The key challenge, the ‘truth’ that is in the balance and being assailed by lies, is the one concerning your identity – who you are.
What you believe about your identity - who you are - determines what you think, feel, and do. If you suddenly feel small or stupid, you will be timid, you will look to this or that person for approval, you will question whether you have the ‘right’ to say what you want to say, to hold the conviction you hold... You might shrink when you should rise! You might rise at times, when you should fade…
It is a question of ‘authority’ and ‘power’. There is no self-help book or therapist in the land that has authority to tell you who you truly – truly! – are. Here’s a mind-blower – you don’t have authority over who you truly are! You can chant all night long about who you want to be, but you don’t speak ‘self’ into being. You didn’t speak yourself into the womb, and you don’t speak your soul into identity.
Two points on this from Scripture:
First: Your True Self Is In Christ Alone. Jesus is the one who made you, holds you, and ‘identifies’ you. (Col 1:15-20; Heb 1:3; John 1:3) He gives you your ‘secret name’. (Rev 2:17) Only in coming to – and through – Christ, do you enter into the dominion of your true self. You may be super-confident in your professional or even social realm, but these count for nothing! (Sorry, it’s true! – John 6:63) When it comes to the real you, the one, in fact, that people are really ‘feeling’, it’s a question of sin, repentance, faith, spirit, soul. Jesus alone holds these keys. You must know him to access the true you!
Secondly: Jesus Whispers Your Name To You. If you have repented of your sin and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you are his. He will ‘whisper’ to you, the true word of your true self. Yes, there will always be challenges to this identity that God gives you. It will come from others, from your past sin, from the devil himself, and from your prideful heart. (Rev 12:10, I John 3:20) These challenges are often the ‘noisier’ voices, the more dramatic ‘word’ to you. But if you listen – and you do know Christ’s voice (Jn 10:27) – you will hear the solid, eternal ‘whisper’ of Jesus to you, speaking the ‘true you’ to any and every moment when you are called to stand. Stand on his whisper! (I Kings 19:11-13) Believe his report over your life! His grace is sufficient for you here! (2 Cor 12:9-10) Soar!
Faith is a verb! Sometimes I take time 'to faith' - that is, to focus my heart and mind and speak back to the Lord his own Word, his truths, his promises. I declare back to the Lord the truths he has spoken over my life. I do this in faith - often when I least feel like it. Why? Because, 'we live by faith and not by sight.' (2 Cor 5:7) Because life's 'truest' truths - like God, like the words of Christ - are 'spirit', and we see them with eyes lit by his light of revelation, not by the light of our own minds or experiences.
I often stand to my feet when I'm doing this - because I think of Moses standing with his arms raised over the battle, to see the victory through. (Exodus 17) I stand, and I proclaim something like this:
'Lord, you are true, you are holy, you are good! Lord, Jesus, you speak peace over my life. You have provided and will continue to provide. You blot our my transgressions, and remember my sin no more! You give me a secret name, and you call me your friend! Lord, you walk with me, and are pleased with me. Jesus, you have poured out your spirit on me, through me, and you bottle my every tear! Jesus, I am not offended on account of you. I know you live, I know you walk with me, I know my faith honors you, and opens doors before me. I know you love when I persist in prayer, in faith, in hope. I trust in you, Jesus. I know your blood defeats barriers, and opens new paths. I believe, Lord. I believe you, Lord. I rest in you, Lord.'
Then I usually sit in the quiet, the dark, and listen to the Lord. I sit silently with him and listen for his Spirit. I sip on my hot cup of coffee, and I might put on some good worship music...
#faithing (2 Cor 5:7; John 4:24; 6:63; Ps 36:9; 2 Cor 4:6; Ex 17; Heb 11:6; Is 43:25; Rev 2:17; John 15:15; I John 3:24; Luke 18:1-8; Heb 12:24; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Mt 16:19; 17:20; John 10:27; 14:26)
To find God, is only to lift our eyes. We don’t have to search, but rather allow ourselves to be found. Jesus – God himself in the flesh – came to ‘seek and save’ us. (Luke 19:10) Jesus is ‘God with us’. (Mt 1:23)
Yes, God does want us to ‘seek’ him also, just as any lover longs for the other to also be in pursuit, reaching for the relationship. God, in fact, made us with the purpose of ‘seeking’ and ‘reaching out to find him’. (Acts 17:26) But the very next verse of this same scripture tells us – once our hearts are now turning towards him – that God is, in fact, ‘not far from anyone of us.’ (vs.27) He is not only close, but part of us. We are told that in God we ‘live and move and have our being,’ and we are his ‘offspring.’ (vs.28; Gen 1:27; Jn 10:34/Ps 82:6)
God comes to us as Jesus Christ, and reaches for us today through the very Spirit of Jesus Christ. The ‘good news’ of the bible is not so much that God can be found, but that he came and found us. We need only lift our eyes!
Jesus, with you now, calls you to lift your eyes to him, and to let go of your sin. He calls you to lift your eyes, and let him come into your heart. Search no more – just be found!
‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’ Revelation 3:20