Fight For It

Fight For It
Be kind, for everyone you know is facing a great battle.

A true community is something you will have to fight for. You’ll have to fight to get one, and you’ll have to fight to keep it afloat. But you fight for it like you bail out a life raft during a storm at sea. You want this thing to work. You need this thing to work. You can’t ditch it and jump back on the cruise ship. This is the church; this is all you have. Without it, you’ll go down. Or back to prison.

Suddenly all those “one another’s” in Scripture make sense. Love one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Forgive one another. Acts of kindness become deeply meaningful because we know we are at war. Knowing full well that we are all facing battles of our own, we give one another the benefit of the doubt. Leigh isn’t intentionally being distant from me – she’s probably under an assault. That’s why you must know each other’s stories, know how to “read” one another. A word of encouragement can heal a wound; a choice to forgive can destroy a stronghold. You never knew your simple acts were so weighty. Its what we’ve come to call “lifestyle warfare.”

We check in regularly with one another, not out of paranoia (“Do you still like me?”), but in order to watch over each other’s hearts. “How are you doing?” But be careful about what you are looking for from community. For if you bring your every need to it, it will collapse. Community is no substitute for God. I left our annual camping trip absolutely exhausted and disappointed. As we drove home, I realized it was because I was looking to them to validate me, appreciate me, fill this aching void in my heart. Only once in ten days did I take time to be away with God, alone. I was too busy trying to get my needs met through them. Which is why community cannot live without solitude.

(Waking The Dead , 199, 200 )

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Until We Are Broken, Our Lives Will Be Self-Centered 08/30/2009

Until We Are Broken, Our Lives Will Be Self-Centered

True strength does not come out of bravado. Until we are broken, our life will be self-centered, self-reliant; our strength will be our own. So long as you think you are really something in and of yourself, what will you need God for? I don’t trust a man who hasn’t suffered; I don’t let a man get close to me who hasn’t faced his wound. Think of the posers you know—are they the kind of man you would call at 2:00 A.M., when life is collapsing around you? Not me. I don’t want clichés; I want deep, soulful truth, and that only comes when a man has walked the road I’ve been talking about. As Frederick Buechner says,

To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do—to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst—is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed. (The Sacred Journey)

Only when we enter our wound will we discover our true glory. As Robert Bly says, “Where a man’s wound is, that is where his genius will be.” There are two reasons for this. First, the wound was given in the place of your true strength, as an effort to take you out. Until you go there you are still posing, offering something more shallow and insubstantial. And therefore, second, it is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer the community. The false self is never wholly false. Those gifts we’ve been using are often quite true about us, but we’ve used them to hide behind. We thought that the power of our life was in the golden bat, but the power is in us. When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves, that is when we become powerful.

(Wild at Heart , 137–38)

Yes We Do Have a Good Heart

I can not agree more with John Eldrege I am so tired of always hearing the people in the church say that they are wicked and have a bad heart.  Even the passage that they refer to says  I will give them a new heart.  While things are not perfect hear on earth we can rest in that God is doing something in our hearts and its good.   Look at what God see’s in us.

What God Sees When He Sees You

Your sin has been dealt with. Your Father has removed it from you “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12). Your sins have been washed away (1 Cor. 6:11). When God looks at you he does not see your sin. He has not one condemning thought toward you (Rom. 8:1). But that’s not all. You have a new heart. That’s the promise of the new covenant: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezek. 36:26 –27). There’s a reason that it’s called good news.

Too many Christians today are living back in the old covenant. They’ve had Jeremiah 17:9 drilled into them and they walk around believing my heart is deceitfully wicked. Not anymore it’s not. Read the rest of the book. In Jeremiah 31:33, God announces the cure for all that: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” I will give you a new heart. That’s why Paul says in Romans 2:29, “No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit.” Sin is not the deepest thing about you. You have a new heart. Did you hear me? Your heart is good.

What God sees when he sees you is the real you, the true you, the man he had in mind when he made you. this was taken from John Eldredges Waking the Dead Ransomed Heart Devotional on 8.29.09

The Power of Addiction by John Eldredge Ransonmed Heart

The Power of Addiction
This is the power of addiction. Whatever the object of our addiction is, it attaches itself to our intense desire for eternal and intimate communion with God and each other in the midst of Paradise—the desire that Jesus himself placed in us before the beginning of the world. Nothing less than this kind of unfallen communion will ever satisfy our desire or allow it to drink freely without imprisoning it and us. Once we allow our heart to drink water from these less-than-eternal wells with the goal of finding the life we were made for, it overpowers our will, and becomes, as Jonathan Edwards said, “like a viper, hissing and spitting at God” and us if we try to restrain it.

“Nothing is less in power than the heart and far from commanding, we are forced to obey it,” said Jean Rousseau. Our heart will carry us either to God or to addiction.

“Addiction is the most powerful psychic enemy of humanity’s desire for God,” says Gerald May in Addiction and Grace, which is no doubt why it is one of our adversary’s favorite ways to imprison us. Once taken captive, trying to free ourselves through willpower is futile. Only God’s Spirit himself can free us or even bring us to our senses.

(The Sacred Romance , 133–34)

Who I Am In Christ

Who I Am In Christ

 Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17—I am a fisher of men.
 Matthew 5:13—I am the salt of the earth.
 Matthew 5:14—I am the light of the world.
* Matthew 28:19; Luke 14:27; John 8:31; 13:35; 15:8; Acts 6:1, 7; 11:25-26, 29; 14:20-22; 16:1—I am a disciple of Christ.
 Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8—I am Christ’s witness.
* John 3:16-18; 10:28-29; 17:3; Romans 5:21; 6:23; 1 John 5:11—I have eternal life in Christ.
 John 8:32, 36—I am set free from sin in Christ.
 John 10:10—I have abundant life in Christ.
 John 14:26; 16:13—I have been taught all things by the Holy Spirit.
 John 14:27; 16:33—I have peace in Christ.
 John 15:3—I am clean in Christ.
 John 15:4, 5, 8, 16; Romans 7:4—I bear much lasting fruit in Christ.
 John 15:5—I am a branch abiding in Christ the Vine.
 John 15:11—My joy is complete in Christ.
 John 16:33—I have overcome the world in Christ.
 John 17:16—I am not of this world.
 Acts 2:44; 4:32—I am a believer.
 Acts 5:20—I have new life in Christ.
 Acts 8:3; 2 Corinthians 1:1—Together with all the saints, I am God’s Church.
 Acts 11:26—I am a Christian, a little Christ.
* Acts 13:39; Romans 3:24, 26, 28, 30; 4:25; 5:1, 9, 18; 10:10; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:7—I am justified freely and fully.
 Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 6:11—I am sanctified.
 Romans 1:6—I am called to belong to Christ.
* Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 6:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; 4:21, 22; Philemon 4; Jude 3—I am a saint.
* Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14—I am redeemed in Christ.
* Romans 3:21-26; 4:3, 5, 6, 9, 22, 23, 24; 5:17, 19; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 3:9—I have been credited with Christ’s righteousness.
* Romans 5:17—I am a recipient of God’s abundant provision of grace.
* Romans 5:18—I have new life in Christ.
 Romans 6:2—I am dead to sin.
 Romans 6:3—I am baptized into Christ’s death.
 Romans 6:4—I am buried with Christ in his death to and over sin.
 Romans 6:4—I have been raised to new life in Christ.
 Romans 6:5—I am united with Christ in his resurrection.
 Romans 6:6—My old self is crucified with Christ.
 Romans 6:6—My body of sin has been done away with.
 Romans 6:6—I am no longer sin’s slave.
 Romans 6:7—I have been freed from sin in Christ.
 Romans 6:8—I died with Christ to sin.
 Romans 6:8—I live with Christ.
 Romans 6:11—I am dead to sin.
 Romans 6:11—I am alive to God.
 Romans 6:13—I have been brought from spiritual death to spiritual life.
 Romans 6:14—Sin shall not be my master.
 Romans 6:14—I am not under law, but under grace.
 Romans 6:18, 22—I have been set free from sin.
 Romans 6:19—I am a slave to righteousness, righteousness masters my being.
 Romans 6:22—I am a slave to God.
 Romans 7:4—I have died to the law.
 Romans 7:6—I serve Christ in the new way of the Spirit.
 Romans 7:22—My inner being delights in God’s law—his holy standards.
 Romans 7:25—In my innermost mind, I am a slave to God’s law.
 Romans 8:1—I will never suffer condemnation because I am in Christ.
 Romans 8:2—I am set free from the law of sin and death in Christ.
 Romans 8:4—I have met the righteous requirements of the law in Christ.
 Romans 8:5—My mindset is on spiritual affections and passions.
 Romans 8:9—I am not controlled by the flesh, but I am controlled by the Spirit.
 Romans 8:29—I am predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son.
 Romans 8:37—I am more than a conqueror in Christ.
* Romans 9:23—I have been prepared in advance by God to be glorious.
 Romans 10:9, 10, 13—I am saved in Christ.
 Romans 15:14—I am full of goodness in Christ.
 Romans 15:14—I am complete in knowledge in Christ.
 Romans 15:14—I am competent to disciple others in Christ.
 Romans 15:16—I am sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
 Romans 15:16—I am acceptable to God in Christ.
 1 Corinthians 1:2—I am sanctified in Christ Jesus.
 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 5:26; Colossians 3:12—I am holy in Christ.
 1 Corinthians 1:8—I am blameless in Christ.
 1 Corinthians 1:30—I am wise in Christ.
 1 Corinthians 1:30—I am holiness to God in Christ.
 1 Corinthians 2:16—I have the mind of Christ.
 1 Corinthians 3:9—I am God’s fellow worker.
 1 Corinthians 3:9—I am God’s field.
 1 Corinthians 3:9—I am God’s building.
 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16—I am God’s sacred temple.
* 1 Corinthians 6:11—I am washed in Christ.
 1 Corinthians 6:19—I am the temple of the Holy Spirit.
 1 Corinthians 6:20—I have been bought and redeemed with a price.
* 2 Corinthians 2:14—Christ always leads me in a triumphal victory march.
 2 Corinthians 3:6—I am a competent minister of the new covenant in Christ.
 2 Corinthians 3:10—In Christ I have surpassing, lasting glory.
 2 Corinthians 3:18—I am a growing reflection of the Lord’s glory.
* 2 Corinthians 3:18—I am increasingly being transformed into Christ’s likeness.
 2 Corinthians 4:16—I am being renewed inwardly day by day in Christ.
 2 Corinthians 5:17—I am a new creation in Christ.
 2 Corinthians 5:18—I am a minister of reconciliation.
 2 Corinthians 5:20—I am Christ’s ambassador.
 2 Corinthians 5:21—I have the righteousness of God in Christ.
 2 Corinthians 8:9—I am spiritually rich in Christ.
 2 Corinthians 11:2—I am Christ’s spiritually pure virgin.
 Galatians 1:4—I have been rescued from this present evil age.
 Galatians 2:20—I am crucified with Christ.
 Galatians 3:13-14—I am redeemed from the curse.
 Galatians 6:1—I am spiritual in Christ.
 Ephesians 1:1—I am faithful in Christ.
 Ephesians 1:4—I have been chosen to be holy in Christ.
 Ephesians 1:4—I have been chosen to be blameless in Christ.
* Ephesians 1:17-19—I have God’s resurrection power actively working in me.
 Ephesians 2:5—I am alive with Christ.
 Ephesians 2:5, 8—I am saved by grace.
 Ephesians 2:6—I have been raised up with Christ.
 Ephesians 2:6—I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.
 Ephesians 2:10—I am Christ’s workmanship, his opus, his poem, his masterpiece.
 Ephesians 2:10—I was prepared in advance in Christ Jesus to do good works.
 Ephesians 2:15—Together with all the saints, I am a new person in Christ.
 Ephesians 2:21—Along with all the saints, I am God’s holy temple.
* Ephesians 2:22—I am a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
* Ephesians 3:16—I am strengthened with power through God’s Spirit.
* Ephesians 3:17—Christ dwells in my heart.
 Ephesians 3:17—I am rooted and established in love.
 Ephesians 3:18—I have power to grasp God’s great love for me in Christ.
 Ephesians 3:19—I am filled to the measure of all the fullness of God in Christ.
 Ephesians 3:20—Christ’s immeasurable resurrection power is at work within me.
* Ephesians 4:13—I am maturing to the full measure of the fullness of Christ.
 Ephesians 4:22—My old self is put off in Christ.
 Ephesians 4:23—I have been made new in the attitude of my mind in Christ.
 Ephesians 4:24—My new self is put on in Christ.
 Ephesians 4:24—I am created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
 Ephesians 5:8—I am now light in the Lord.
 Ephesians 5:9—The fruit of my life is goodness, righteousness, and truth.
 Ephesians 5:26—I am cleansed in Christ
 Ephesians 5:26—I am washed in Christ.
 Ephesians 5:27—Together with the Bride of Christ, I am presentable, radiant, ​without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
 Philippians 2:1—I am united with Christ.
 Philippians 2:1—I am in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
* Philippians 2:13—God works in me to accomplish his good purposes.
 Philippians 2:15—I am blameless and pure, a child of God without fault.
 Philippians 2:15—I shine like the stars in the universe in Christ.
 Philippians 3:9—I have a righteousness that comes from faith in Christ.
 Philippians 3:10—Christ’s resurrection power conforms me to his image.
 Philippians 3:20—My citizenship is in heaven.
 Philippians 4:13—I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
* Philippians 4:19—God meets all my needs through his riches in Christ Jesus.
 Colossians 1:2—I am a holy and faithful brother/sister in Christ.
* Colossians 1:12—I am qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints.
* Colossians 1:13—I have been rescued from the dominion of darkness.
* Colossians 1:13—I have been transported into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.
* Colossians 1:22—I am holy in God’s sight, without blemish, and free from accusation.
 Colossians 2:10—I have been given fullness in Christ.
 Colossians 2:11—My old sinful nature/man/self/person has been put off.
 Colossians 2:12—I have been buried with Christ in baptism.
 Colossians 2:12—I have been raised with Christ from the dead.
 Colossians 2:13—God made me alive with Christ.
 Colossians 2:14-15—In Christ, sin is defeated and disarmed in my life.
 Colossians 2:20—I died with Christ to the world.
 Colossians 3:1—I have been raised with Christ.
 Colossians 3:3—I died with Christ.
 Colossians 3:3—My life is now hidden with Christ in God.
 Colossians 3:9—I have taken off the old self with its practices.
 Colossians 3:10—I have put on the new self in Christ.
* Colossians 3:10—The new me in Christ is being renewed in knowledge in the image of the Creator.
 1 Thessalonians 3:13—I am blameless and holy before God’s presence.
 1 Thessalonians 5:23—God is sanctifying me through and through.
 1 Thessalonians 5:23—God keeps my whole spirit, soul, and body blameless.
 2 Thessalonians 2:14—I am called to share in the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 2 Timothy 1:7—God placed within me his spirit of power, love, and wisdom.
 2 Timothy 2:3-4—I am a good soldier in Jesus Christ.
 2 Timothy 2:5—I am a victorious athlete in Jesus Christ.
 2 Timothy 2:6—I am a disciplined, hard working farmer in Jesus Christ.
 Titus 3:5—I am saved, washed, re-birthed, and renewed in Christ and by the ​Spirit.
 Hebrews 1:3—I am purified from sin in and by Christ.
 Hebrews 2:10—I am brought to glory in and by Christ.
 Hebrews 2:11—I am made holy in and by Christ.
 Hebrews 7:25—I am saved completely.
 Hebrews 8:10; 10:16—God’s law is in my mind, written on my heart.
 Hebrews 9:12—I have eternal redemption in Christ.
 Hebrews 9:14—My conscience is cleansed in Christ.
 Hebrews 9:15—I am set free from sin in Christ.
 Hebrews 9:26-27—My sins are done away with and taken away in and by Christ.
 Hebrews 10:2—I am cleansed once for all, guiltless in Christ.
 Hebrews 10:10—I have been made holy once for all by Christ’s sacrifice.
 Hebrews 10:14—I have been made perfect forever in and by Christ.
 Hebrews 10:22—I am cleansed and washed in Christ.
 1 Peter 1:3—I am born again, given new birth in Christ.
* 1 Peter 1:18-19—I am redeemed from my old empty way of life by Christ’s precious blood.
 1 Peter 1:22—I am purified by faith in Christ.
 1 Peter 1:23—I have been born again of imperishable seed.
 1 Peter 2:5—I am a living stone, being built into a spiritual house.
 1 Peter 2:5—Along with all the saints, I am a holy priesthood.
 1 Peter 2:9—Along with all the saints, I am a chosen people.
 1 Peter 2:9—Along with all the saints, I am a member of a royal priesthood.
 1 Peter 2:9—Along with all the saints, I am a citizen of a holy nation.
 1 Peter 2:9-10—Along with all the saints, I am a people belonging to God.
 1 Peter 2:9—I am called out of darkness into Christ’s wonderful light.
* 2 Peter 1:3—God’s Divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness.
* 2 Peter 1:4—Through God’s great and precious promises I participate in the Divine nature.
* 2 Peter 1:4—Through God’s great and precious promises I have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
* 1 John 2:20—I have an anointing from the Holy One and I know the truth.
* 1 John 4:4—I have overcome the world, the flesh, and the Devil because greater is he who is in me, than he who is in the world.
 1 John 4:4, 6—I am from God.
 1 John 4:7; 5:1—I am born of God.
 1 John 5:4-5—Born of God, I overcome the world by faith in Christ.
 Jude 24—I stand before God’s glorious presence without fault and with great joy.
 Revelation 1:5—I am freed from my sins by Christ’s blood.
* Revelation 1:6—God has made me, together with all the saints, a kingdom of priests.
* Revelation 19:7-8, 14—Along with all the saints, I am the pure Bride of Christ, clean, white, and righteous.

Are You Thirsty?

Are You Thirsty?
In the gospel of John, Jesus extends the offer to anyone who realizes that his life just isn’t touching his deep desire: “If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within” (John 7:37–38 NLT). His message wasn’t something new, but it confounded the religious leaders of the day. Surely, those scripturally learned Jews must have recalled God’s long-standing invitation to them, spoken seven hundred years earlier through the prophet Isaiah,

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Somehow, the message had gotten lost by the time Jesus showed up on the scene. The Jews of his day were practicing a very soul-killing spirituality, a lifeless religion of duty and obligation. Desire was out of the question. No wonder they feared Jesus. He came along and started appealing to desire. To the weary, Jesus speaks of rest. To the lost, he speaks of finding your way. Again and again and again, Jesus takes people back to their desires. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). These are outrageous words, provocative words. Ask, seek, knock—these words invite and arouse desire. What is it that you want? They fall on deaf ears if there is nothing you want, nothing you’re looking for, nothing you’re hungry enough to bang on a door over.

(Desire, 37–38)

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Set Up for Disappointment

Set Up for Disappointment
Choosing love will open spaces of immense beauty and joy for you, but you will be hurt. You already know this. You have retreated from love countless times in your life because of it. We all have. We have been and will be hurt by the loss of loved ones, by what they have done to us and we to them. Even in the bliss of love there is a certain exquisite pain: the pain of too much beauty, of overwhelming magnificence. Further, no matter how perfect a love may be, it is never really satisfied . . . In both joy and pain, love is boundless. (Gerald May, The Awakened Heart)

Desire is the source of our most noble aspirations and our deepest sorrows. The pleasure and the pain go together; indeed, they emanate from the same region in our hearts. We cannot live without the yearning, and yet the yearning sets us up for disappointment—sometimes deep and devastating disappointment. One storm claimed the lives of eight of Krakauer’s companions in the Everest disaster of 1996. Should they not have tried? Many have said they were foolish even to begin. Do we reach for nothing in life because our reaching opens us up to tragedy? Because of its vulnerable nature, desire begins to feel like our worst enemy.

Taken From Ransom Heart Daily Blog on 7.12.09