(To my brethren who associate pictures of Jesus as against the Bible (Exodus 20:3-4). Please realize that God was not referring to intangible and immaterial CG; computer graphics. He was warning mankind not to form wood and stone into an image and then worship it as a god.
It would only follow that any pictures of anyone or anything would be idolatry. Actually, a house or job, even our own self-image can be idolatry. But the following pictures help us to formulate an understanding and ponder the mystery and outstanding Character of Jesus. The facial lines, the look in the eyes and posture all indicate the depth of His wisdom, compassion and mission. The detailed brush strokes of an artist gives us insight into the Incarnation: God Almighty walking in human flesh; Jesus. Anything that helps us grasp the enormous composition of His work on the cross is a blessing, not a curse.)
Jesus saw into a thousand tomorrows. He felt our angst and forlorn despondency. Sin bankrupted earth. Nothing of man’s world could ever satisfy the human soul. He saw the ‘hell’ that could come upon anyone. Jesus took on the ‘dark logic’ that paralyzes us with misery. He realized He was the only One Who could provide what we would need to “more than conquer” (Rm.8:31-38). The one amongst us, who is the meanest, most confused and hardest of heart is the person who has been hurt the most and loved the least. This is the very target audience of Jesus. I am such a man. I spent my years dying of thirst, in search of water. Today, I search for someone in search of this same “something”.
I remind you, that it is in the stillness of a choice, that any man can contemplate Jesus. It requires no theology or good behavior. The easiest thing a man can do is the rarest thing any man will ever do. It is in isolated meditation where Jesus awaits to divulge His light; “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”(Jn.8:12).
Jesus designed a plan “hidden” from the proud aristocrat “Christian” (Mt.11:25-28). His purpose is for the destitute pagan (Mark 2:17). So the lower you go, the higher you will get. The farther you see yourself to be, the closer He will draw you. Consider the Prodigal Son (Lk.15). He will never “cast anyone” aside who truly comes to Him in spirit and truth, with a broken and contrite heart (Mt.9:12/ Jn.6:37/ Jn.4:24 Ps.51:17).
Jesus did not come to condemn you, for any of your failures and evil ways. He came to engage with you in His intimate disclosure of supernatural light (Jn.3:17). It is what flooded my heart as I contemplated Jesus. I was not offended by His confrontation of my wicked nature. I was overwhelmed by His love despite it. He doesn’t want to offend anyone, but to shepherd us into His dimension of a new world (18:36).
He says we will be blessed if we teach ourselves how NOT to be offended by seemingly harsh demands to repent and obey His revelation (Matthew 11:16). He works relentlessly to bring the heart of the Father into the heart of man.
The Incarnation is a word to describe John chapter one verse one. Stop and consider the Holy of Holies actually becoming a lowly man. God actually decided to put His feet upon our sin-infested earth to solve our every problem and give us eternal life.
You see, my friend, there were two very powerful forces at work in the heart of Jesus. He could see with the eyes of God. No prejudice. No accusations. No betrayal. No cynicism. Yet, in order to fully bear the weight of our sin, Jesus also had to see with our prejudice, self-righteousness, guilt, shame and animosity. It was anguish.
He was deeply hurt in every way, more than we can know. But He also knew the hurt in His Father by Adam’s sin and subsequent corruption of mankind. Jesus was torn, puzzled and confused. (Read Psalm 22). He speaks through David.
He would feel our, loneliness, anger and frustration. He felt provoked by men’s stupidity. This had to be. It was the Incarnation; the Mediator. In order to bear our exact human plight. He felt our “God where are You?” Jesus said this exact same thing on the cross (Matthew 28:46). Think about it. Jesus bore a sinners death (2 Cor.5:21/1 Pt.3:18). This is our comfort.
When you feel like nobody knows you. Nobody really cares. What you need is not another person, who feels the same, but the One Person Who felt this exact pain and ran to the Father like a deer panting for water.
“Father, Father what can I do? This loneliness hurts so bad.” The Father instantly sent His Spirit to comfort this “docile Lamb’.
Jesus brought Himself into a disposition of compete submission. He already knew what He must do. He must die for Michael. For Rachel. For Paul and Joseph and….. What’s your name? He died for________.
When Jesus died on the cross He reached through all time and space. He then accomplished everything needed in the heart of every sinner. He offered Himself as our blood atonement to the Father . It is written “He entered the most holy placeonce for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption…. the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God? Therefore, He is the mediator of a new covenant… because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” He chose to bear each individual sin(1 Pt. 3:18/Hebrews 9:12).
Jesus displayed perfect love throughout His Life. So He reasoned that if His perfect love for men ended in such despicable death by men, all would be forced to deal with this witness to both man’s vile sin and God’s love; “if I be lifted up, on the cross, it will confound men and force them to decide. I will bear all their evil, the curse for sin, and draw them to see….I will extend My love to the whole world, and allow my arms to be nailed in this position to show my love is all encompassing ….for I am the truth to all man’s search. There is only way for them to know the Father. I must give, not laws like Moses, or mere teachings. To give MYSELF to them I must give MYSELF for them. Mercy without measure. Jesus promises, that if we get a hold of Him, we will get a hold of the Father, and everything in Him (Jn.12:32,14:6-9/Galations 3:13).
My friend, He is trying to get inside your head with new reality. And this blog is part of this work. As you sit alone Jesus sits with you.
“Join Me. Mesh your thoughts into Mine. Let us ponder together all the tendencies of this sinful human nature. I get you. Though your sins be as scarlet I will make them as snow. Feel sin gnawing within?. Can we recognize it together?”
He resisted sin for 33 years. Countless times, whispering silently as walked amongst men. Other times talking to the Father in a solemnity of solitude. He thoroughly explained our wretched condition. With “loud cries, tears” and even blood Jesus pleaded with the Father for His reconciliation to us (Hebrews 5:7). He agreed to the ultimate demand; His death.
Ultimately, Jesus did the unimaginable. He gave way to actually become sin (2 Cor.5:21). He became our Substitute and bore the Fathers’ wrath for sin we deserve. It killed Him. It killed sin. Once and for all time. He is the living Mediator to do this for you today, everyday. Think about the manner of such love. He looks into your eyes and pleads with you to trust Him. “Let me take your sin. I know the guilt and condemnation is so dark.”
What a profound Brother. What a General. What a King. What a heart. “I’ll follow You anywhere Jesus”.
“You paid the price to become the One Mediator of a brand new promise; The New Testament. You actually became sin to sacrifice Yourself as the Lamb slain”. My friend you got to get a hold of this. It is nothing like The Old Testament that required animal sacrifice and strict obedience to 10 commandments (actually 10,000). Many Christians actually maintain that legalism today. They try to follow Christianity but never come to Jesus. His promised covenant is all about receiving FROM HIM the free gift of salvation.
Our deepest drive is to find our identity lost when Adam turned from God. Who are you in this population of chaos? This is the motive behind going to college, getting a job, doing good works and finding purpose. To say you are a Christian is an absolutely generic term. Not even once does Paul call himself a christian. Just a fact. It is an affiliation to doctrine, not Jesus.
To become a son can not happen if you refuse to go there. It is not some vague sentimental term. It is the answer when Legalism and lawlessness fight each other in your mind. I am not a “christian” battling doctrines. I am a son inheriting the rich Presence of Jesus.” As a Brother knows every sordid thing about you. And yes, as your Brother He does tell Dad. But only to Mediate the propitiation you need. He’s waiting for you to teach you how to understand God as Father. It involves a groping for identity and in this groping latching on to security as a son or daughter.
Do we not all yearn for a caring Father? Someone to sit and hear our fears? He says He does not “grow weary” of us (Isaiah 40). He promises to release all our anxiety. Hey, you talk to yourself, right? So just lift those words, a bit higher, to Him. Be specific. Be overwhelmed by the love you see manifested by the Father in Jesus. Whether you had a terrible earthly father, or a good one, no one could ever give you the love you need
Jesus says His entire purpose was to reveal God is a merciful, personally interested Father (Luke 15). He offers a heart-connection so deep we are pulled into another intimate identity. We go from being an orphan, into an adoption as a son or daughter. No more all alone. Included in this ‘package’ of the New Testament is for us to become family. The Son inaugurated sonship. He was “not ashamed” to become our Brother (Hebrews 2:11-18/2 Cor.6:17-18).
So how is it that we bring tis extraordinary identity our life? Is it by a token “alter call”, prayer or ritual? Is it by trying to emulate a vague notion of what it might mean? Did Jesus talk about sonship and then expect us to pretend to be so? Why then would Jesus succumb to leaving heaven and being tortured on a cross? If any of these efforts could win God’s favor, Jesus could have stayed by His Fathers’ side.
To participate in The Grand Design of sonship we must come INTO the living Jesus. We can easily be misled to think that Jesus is passive towards us when our lax efforts do not trigger some kind of experience. But in every New Testament encounter Jesus is seen to seize upon any opportunity to engage anyone with REAL heart-response of faith and humility. Faith causes us to seize a spiritual aspect of understanding.
I clearly remember how I used to think of a distant Jesus. He was a historical Icon, of the past, Who prompted my catholic sentiments. I thought I had to eliminate all bad behavior and implement good behavior. “Yikes. That ain’t happening.” I thought that was all I got from God: law. So I asked and sought, “Am I missing something?”and received, far more (Mt.7:7).
One day someone showed me a passage in the Bible. I remember how my eyes “came out of my head” and latched on to two tiny little words. I just knew they offered the answer; Born Again (Jn.3:3). Then, long after I read those two words, I was again captivated by verse 8. Jesus describes born again (Jn.3:3-8). Not a little prayer. Not moral perfection. My heart had been opened and now I realized the Spirit is “the wind”.
One day Jesus met a pretty lady at a water-well in a desert. She had seven husbands. Imagine that. He explained the outcome of rebirth; “whoever drinks the water that I will give will never get thirsty again — ever! In fact, the water I will give will become a well of water springing up within for eternal life” (Jn.4:14). This is the Holy Spirit. Do you know this water?
Like a raven riding a current, a son senses this identity in the freedom of living in the Spirit. Like the wind, He IS the voice of the Shepherd. Our fleshly senses must be transformed, as we yield our self to the cross (Rm.6:6). We go beyond ourselves into a new sense to discern His living Spirit (Heb.5:14) .
Please realize, my friend, all sin can become easily forgiven. This is no question. But the lack of reality in the living Jesus exposes a void of truth that will result in repeated episodes of failure. Humble yourself. Changing your present will change your future. Oftentimes in life, we sulk in self-pity; “Poor me. I have no one. No one understands me”. It seems so harmless, almost warranted, but it is lethal. When we become self-consumed, we become an obstacle, not a channel to His love. The truth is if we allow self-pity to fester and grow it will become lodged in our mind as habit reaping far worse circumstances. A gradual decline is assured by presumptuous delusion. Repent. Before it’s too late realign thinking in the ways and power of THE LIVING Jesus.
(Please bear with me as I write from Brazil in the midst of working in the prisons and on the streets. I will need to find the time to finish this article. Thank you.)
Jesus thought “I’m coming for you my brothers. I’m doing the work now, in My life, that you need for your life.”
The Strategy for Tragedy & Solutions To The Unbearable
Jesus – “God saves”… from
Tragedy -“something (big or small) causing suffering”… and
Unbearable – “intolerable, beyond endurance, more than flesh and blood can stand”… by a
Strategy – “a grand plan of action designed to achieve a desired goal”… for
Recovery – “return to health, healing, redemption, equilibrium”… in Him.
Consider The Ravens
“God gives food…to the young ravens which cry” (Psalm 147:9).
The ravens fed me in the desert, as they glided without effort, they led me to my shelter, upon the breeze surrendered, the place I am centered…. alone with my Shepherd!
(Poem by my youngest daughter Elizabeth-38)
(Below from left: Sarah, Ruth, me, Beth, David, Abraham/ Crouched in front: Rachel, Joshua)
At this very moment, wherever you are, whoever you are, Jesus is waiting to meet with you. In your exact state, He yearns to adapt His love to your individual level of struggle and suffering. His heart is to lift you into His Spirit. A common cliche asks “Is it too good to be true?”. No. This stuff is real.
Howdy, partner in humanity. Greetings from your fellow family members. Come on in. We are honored to share our “wings”. We’d like to help you find yours. (Our last name in Polish actually means “little bird”.)
So what I want to give you here, in my own feeble attempt, if you will plow through this Amazon Jungle of words, is a touch of His dimension. In one sentence, or another, He will come to you, if you will come to Him.
You see, my dear friend, Jesus has this distinctive wound in Him that is extremely sensitive to everyones’ sorrow. He knows it so well. As our Brother from above, Jesus was subject to the most excruciating human pain ever known to mankind. This involves all inner fear and hurt resulting from our most hidden sin.
Jesus was literally ripped apart. His skull was punctured by thorns and torn open by laughing guards beating on it. It made a “migraine” seem like an ant bite. Out of 4 nails, pounded into His body, flowed quarts of blood. It was not for His sake that He agonized. He cares about YOU.
It’s like, how many times have we heard ‘Do not worry. Consider the ravens… how much more value are you’. We think “Ya. I already know that. My problems require something far more than a Bible cliche” (Lk.12:24)?
Please. Reconsider. Relearn. What if Jesus Himself was laying on His back, in the stillness of a moment, looking skyward, and saw a raven. There and then this “insignificant” bird drew this God-Man to contemplate the answer of His Father to His own Personal agony? It wasn’t about some morsel of knowledge but the Fathers’ very Presence. My dear brother or sister, herein lies the profound access point to enter the “place” where we can be lifted above any and all tragedy. To find supernatural lift out of our deep seated, mental anguish and suffering. I’m not lying or exaggerating.
This has to do with going to a “place” you’ve never been. Finding a physical place to find a spiritual place. Maybe, to lay on your back, lean against a rock or tree, sit by a stream, at a beach, to engage your heart and mind like never before. You possess latent faculties, like machines, created to bring you into a transcendent process only you can perform.
We live in a hi-tech culture in which thinking is nothing more than a bit above instinct. Meditation is relegated to California cult weirdos. So pathetic. Todays’ “Christians” do a sinners prayer and hour on Sunday and bring forth the fruit of a light hearted twit. Seeking answers like anyone else. The living Jesus compels us into a deep contemplation as the bread and butter of a divine meal. He is the Bread of Life (Jn.6). This is not a mere metaphor but a Personal promise.
“My words are spirit and life…I am the Door… I am the Way, Truth and Life itself…I am that I am…Deep calls to deep” (Jn.6:63, 9,10,14/Ps.42:7). His words in Scripture beckons us beyond nice stories, written with black letters on white pages (Jn.6:63,4:24). They compel us to Him. Revelation of the living Person of Jesus offers a library of disclosure; a fountainhead of restoration, not one answer or a second, but a 3rd answer. But you have to learn how to do it…then DO IT! It’s not magic. It’s passion. What is your heart capacity; King David or king Saul? Do you know the difference? Jesus promises, not only recovery, but the dawning of the Father’s Character (Jn.6:37,14:23).
So how do we get to this light? In His reference to “consider the ravens” could Jesus be sharing with us His key to finding the solution to His own unbearable tragedy? He requires everything in you to back down, shutdown, redirect your focus and energy and ONLY then to find HIS PEACE (Jn.14:27/Phil.4:7/1 Kings 19:12/Ps.42:7)? Not a passive acquiescence but another dimension of life. He requires something so simple our nature of anxiety causes us to miss it. Our flesh desires something sensational. Something of instant gratification.
Jesus asks of you a beautiful nothing. The Answer to the burden of life is awaiting…. just a “bird” away. Sadly, the majority will go their whole lives carrying massive hidden grief, never learning to be still before a merciful father.
If you read this thinking you already know what I’m writing, you will not learn zero. I’m sorry but I’m not the perfect writer. This is a bit long and wordy but what I share is a rare REAL. Essential to discovery is a humble disposition of conscious need. You can only fill an empty cup. It’s exciting to learn real answers. Can you STOP religious presumption? The man named Job, was more righteous than any man of his time.
But suddenly enormous suffering showed him his inner chasm. He realized he knew nothing of an everlasting almighty God (Job 42:5-6). He was a man who knew how to gaze at a bird, or any creation of God, to learn what he never knew (Job 42).
My oldest son, Abraham, claims 6 words are like magic to get him in Gods’ way: “I don’t know anything about You.” Can you even say this? “Well, not me. I know alot about God. This makes me better than the pagan”. Come on man. Let go. If you hold to knowledge, you don’t realize, “Consider who you are…not wise, not noble, not mighty… God has CHOSEN that which is nothing that “He might nullify THE THINGS THAT ARE” (1 Cor. 8:1, 1:26-29,3:19). Yikes. The “things that ARE“?! You mean everything? Yup. Jesus says He didn’t come to earth for the “healthy” but the “sick” (Mark 2:17). That’s me. How about you?
Jesus says “LEARN FROM ME”
Paul says “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Cor.11:1). I’ve gone through a lot to learn a lot to pass on to you. I remember 50 yrs. ago when I first read “Come to ME, LEARN FROM ME” (Mt.11:28-29). I first thought “How can I? You are dead and gone. Can’t fly to Israel. You are not there.” Then an astounding “little” truth hit me. He dropped me a breadcrumb. “What?! You are living?! It’s not about me going, doing, or being?”. It’s about YOU actually coming to wicked ol me?”
In an instant, I realized that all my nothingness, which I was intimately aware of, could be to my advantage. Coming to the living Jesus demanded nothing… but childlike Faith: “He will teach me. I will LEARN.” Learning anew is the everything to our nothing.
The word “sinner” is THEE most offensive word in the human language. If “Christians” really knew what it meant they’d likely never identify with it. Rm.3:10-19 is brutal to self-pride and ego. Contrary to famous preachers, who distort verses to win crowds, Jesus does not call us to “love yourself” but to “deny yourself” (Mk.8:34/Matt.16:24/Jn.12:25/Lk.9:23).
This didn’t offend me. It excited me. “God knows I am a selfish wicked man yet has a strategy to love me?”. So read no further if you are stuck on yourself. Any moron can parrot the “letter of the law” Bible verses, but only a heart of nothing learns from “the SPIRIT of the law” (2 Cor.3:6/Jn.6:63). Any parrot can repeat the word “Jesus”. It is not a magic mantra that imparts salvation. Salvation is not a matter echoing “Jesus”, or His teachings. It is learning to live IN HIM. And this requires death to self (Rm.6:6/Gal.2:20).
When I gave my life to Jesus, I was playing college football. I faced my proud self-ego and relinquished in quest of a new beginning (2 Cor.5:17). It is an individual decision everyone must make. We can choose how humble we are willing to go. Humiliation is the ultimate test and cauterizes the trauma involved in repentance. The mockery and humiliation I bore for Jesus, amongst “friends” and family, transformed my mind from this world into His (Rm. 12:/Jn.15:25).
So I follow Jesus despite the hatred of this world (Lk. 14:26-33/Jn.18:36). Two worlds: one insists you become something, and one that requires you become nothing. Your choice. Conversion is the most meaningful and richest experience of my life. It brought me to understand “the cross” and learn why nothingness is so grand, so beautiful, so profound, so real.
I began to learn REAL. Mind blowing. What do people hate me just because I love Jesus? How does my present day loneliness and sin originate 10,000 yrs. ago? Adam and Eve turned from God and thus incurred this painful of isolation and sin in every all human nature. Thus we inherit it from our actual ancestors. Jesus yearns transition our tragedy of loneliness into the power of solitude.
This is why we must die to ourselves; this inherited nature. It is a nuisance. A constant obstacle to faith. God emphatically declares that He is One “Who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist“ (Rm.4:17-18). So we must find that real place of calculation and personal repentance. It is where we see and identify our sin but go beyond it into His place of grace and hope for redemption.
God found an old pagan dude named Abraham to use in order to create our means for redemption. It’s called faith. Of course, today this word is thrown around like it’s common but it is “strategic”. Abraham found his “raven” moment. One still night, out alone, maybe laying on his back, staring up at the stars. Abraham found his real moment before God: “Man, look at that sky of stars! God, Father, You have got to be real. I believe in You. I give you my life”. Boom. Faith was born. Never before that moment did faith exist.
God wanted to show how faith is only born in “(divine) hope against hope (mere wishful thinking)“. Being 100 years old Abraham was “as good as dead“(Rm.4:18-19).
From this moment on someone who was nothing could now receive everything through an individual still-hearted incorporation of faith (Rm.10:9-10). So, in a sense, the more nothing you are, the weaker you become, the more tragic, the older you get, the greater God Almighty can move on you. IF you are willing to go find the “raven” place. God is just so cool. He really loves this nothingness thing. His Spirit only works “out of nothing” (Rm.4:17). I can never overdo this Biblical fact.
So the strategy of the Father is to bring within our nothingness His Presence. We must discover a place where we bridge the gap of sin into His Presence. If we are caught up in ourselves we will never recognize this beckoning in our conscience. There is no prayer-button to push but a heart to surge. With the heart man believes (Rm.10:9-10).
Our Father is not aloof to our cries, my dear brother or sister. He doesn’t put our prayers in a waiting line. But He does require certain “stuff” from us. He wants our HEART. His has an operative strategy which means He is a merciful ever-present, intimately involved Father, Who longs to be gracious (Is.30:18,43:1). He knows you by name. Are willing to be still…..to silence all voices… and wait for His? If not your burden is sure to continue and increase. It is an individual challenge; this road; you and Him. No bouncing our thoughts off others. We start with nothing, but faith, and refuse to stop until we find our end in His Presence. This is REAL bro. Not “out there”. Not difficult. As near as your mouth, on your lips (Rm.10:6-8).
TWO COMMON RESPONSES:
There are those who are a ‘runaway’ from describing their lives as “tragic”: “Oh no. I’m fine. No problem”. They deny the truth (Jer.17:9). Basically, you cannot teach them anything. On the other hand there are the lowly, quick to label their situation as “tragic,” hoping to find any love. I do not hesitate to identify myself with the latter. The term desperate is not a passing incident but a life-time realization of my state. My sick mind is transformed by the faith of Abraham (Rm.12:2,10:9-10)
Have you ever been in a military hospital, mental ward or prison infirmary? For that matter, any hospital or ward. It’s like a warehouse of tragedy. There’s an unbearable story in every bed, and usually, at least, a thousand beds in every facility. I don’t see strangers but fellow brothers and sisters. I have learned the compassion of Jesus renders divine comfort to us all. We are all brothers and sisters by human nature.
The stillness I discovered I now carry with me and give to my brethren. Multitudes, who the world once accepted as “safe and sound”, they quickly tag the label; “DAMAGED”. Nonsense. The “damage” has long harbored within. It was already there when they were born in sin (Ps. 51:5). But circumstances of mental anguish amplified it to the forefront of consciousness. Jesus promises “I WILL GIVE YOU REST” (Mt.11:27ff). Very few would ever realize that their feelings of hopelessness can be fully redeemed by God’s strategy to tragedy (Rm.8:28)?
God gets inside our “Complex” through His love. Our duty is to stop, and relearn what we thought we knew.
I talk with soldiers, labeled heroes, and folks on Wall Street, labeled “success”. But in secret, they tell me things as casualties of the hidden battle with sin: pain, fear, guilt, and shame. They don’t understand themselves. They do not know the “Complex” of sin can turn any little, or big thing, into a nightmare. Sin influences every aspect of our memories, feelings, mind, attitude, reactions, plans, ect. So I write here to translate God’s strategy to permeate the deepest grief with the love of the beloved Son to help you understand. The only hope is to RELEARN how to deal with life.
When you fall into a place where you feel stuck Jesus proposes His “place”. When we are struck down into a dark negative feelings one choice to believe God can turn on His light. We blame others or grope for some reason because we don’t understand this compelling vortex of evil is imbedded in our blood and exploited by demons. When pressures bear down on us we look within, but find nothing but anger. It is not your personality. It is sin. It renders you disconnected from God, isolated, and feeling nothing. No church group of people or sermon can resolve it.
My friend, the strategy to such inner tragedy is not found in trying harder but in transparency with the Father. Out of love, He tries to use our desperation to break us to “see” we are nothing, so we can find His “place” of TRUTH (Jn.14:6).
We all feel a constant sense of instability. It lingers in the basement of our self-awareness. We look for distractions but these are reverberations turn to anger and irritability and bubble-up at any time over nothing. Have you ever thought “Am I going crazy?”. We’ve all thought this quirky feeling. SIN. God explains “all men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts” and “they stumble like blind men… the poison of a snake is on their lips” (Ecc.9:3/ Is.59/ Rm.3:10).
Sin is in us, dude. You and me. It don’t go away through “confession”. People say “How can a sane man commit insane acts”? No man is sane. Just look at the world. Everything is nuts. Jesus seeks to come within, regardless of our sin, and give us a second “nature” of His Presence. We learn faith to replace God’s “something” for our nothing (sin). Jesus resolved IT. Believe. This is solid Biblical revelation.
Like “ravens” in the night sky, Abraham let go of himself, seeing God in the stars. He found “the place” of surrender. When we submit to the grace of the death and resurrection of Jesus the tragedy of our sin subsides in His work on the cross. Atonement. Appeasement. Substitution. Mediation.
So many times I see my own self-righteousness can’t process my own depraved ways. So I must simply obey His strategy. I can’t earn my way back into God’s favor. I just admit I’m wicked. His compassion is for everyone always. You don’t have to “forgive yourself”. Jesus did long ago. I merely recognize sin hiding within. Meditate on how Paul understood sin as an objective entity, apart from his true identity (read Rom.7:14 to the end). Mind blowing.
Without understanding the components of our sin we remain prisoners, roaming the long lonely corridor of life. We wonder “Who am I?” We search for love and acceptance. “Am I worse or better than others? What is my future? Do I even have one?” Our “identity” is established to others by our visible points of worldly association. But that’s not us. Our individual identity can only be found in “the place” (Jn.14:23).
When asked to describe someone an acquaintance will give this “unique” description; “Uh. They liked laughing and climbing trees”. So different than billions of others.
God does not dwell on Pluto, but earth. He yearns to reveal Himself and heal our consequences of a physical accident, being in prison, alcohol or drug abuse, a hospital-bound sickness, adultery and divorce, financial distress or any of a thousand things that draw us into the darkness of unbearable tragedy.
My fellow comrade, there is one bottomline-tragedy, worse than all, that we must first deal with: DEATH. It is in you, now, working to steal away your life. Right now, you can take-on an intelligent, level-headed analysis of death. Set your mind anew. Gods’ revelation promises divine “medicine” of His Spirit to neutralize “the unbearable”.
God never wanted us to suffer. He created us to be immortal. But the sin of Adam and Eve began our tragic toil; “the wages of sin is death” (Rm.6:23). Death and sin are inseparable. Wrinkles, weakness and bodily depletion show up in the blink of an eye, out of “nowhere” and strip us of our self-strength. In a moment of time we are brought face to face with one universal truth; death proves we are nothing. We will all be but worms (Job 25:6).
The Strategy of Nothing… The Beautiful “Nothing”… In which He becomes Everything
My wife Rachel sings a beautiful song on the streets, and in prisons, written by The Rolling Stones. Yup. Total pagans used for God’s glory. It’s called “Wild Horses” (Her rendition is they couldn’t drag God away from loving you).
King David cried to God: “Teach us to number our days so that we may present to You a heart of wisdom….Lord, make me to know my end…let me know how transient I am..my life is as nothing in your sight” (Ps.90:12,39:4-6).
So this talk of death, and being nothing, is not extreme, crazy, radical or debatable. It’s like gravity. It’s common sense. The Father yearns to transform our fear into His perspective. His love directly impacts our natural feelings of unbearable grief:
“For YOUR sake we are put to death all day long (We die to ourselves to help others find His everything in our nothing.)…I am convinced that neither death, nor life…nor any thing is able to separate us from the love of God” (Rom.8:28-39).
You will never hear about the tragedy of death on NBC NEWS. It is the conspiracy of all mankind to hide the reality of death. Ever notice how famous people slowly fade from the public eye as they get old? They want no one to see the grotesque shock of aging on their faces. It comes from the inside out.
A young Robert Redford, Paul Newman or once “sexy diva” is stunned by the tragedy in the mirror. I recently saw the greatest fullback of all time, Jim Brown. I was stunned. His “great accomplishments” will register only a few minutes on a news epilogue.
Our youthful hype, tight skin and strong body is slowly succumbs to inescapable depression and misery. The elderly can not cope with the mental hurricane of rapid degradation. Millions are abandoned by children, unless there’s a hope for money.
Death proves one thing: no matter what you will do on earth, its’ end is nothing. Death comes at one moment in time, but its’ grim composition begins in our early lives. Like a huge industrial complex, sin and death corrupt every human experience, cell, organ, muscle, and brain. I’ve never heard a man boast “Hey man. I’m going to die!”.
In some crazy way we feel we are entitled to a better life. We think we“I deserve better.WHY did this happen to ME? No one understands my problems. I don’t deserve this. We blame God. My friend, stop. Consider the ravens. They are not brainwashed by this world. They make no contribution to society. They demand no one to give them a job or ministry. No goals or plans.
They do one thing. They do nothing; but it is the beautiful nothing. They draw us to glorify God. To be thankful that we have a chance of this life for eternal life. They were created for the same purpose as us; to give our magnificent Father His due glory. To get our mind off our sin, our ego our problems our self. Can you imagine saying “I don’t deserve anything because I am nothing”. And I mean really, deep down, grasping all of what you are… not.
I continue to learn how to be a master “safe cracker”. What I mean is I have learned how to still my heart by being trained over years by the Spirit the right “combination” to enter the “safe” place of the Most High; the beautiful of nothing. Everything in me is silent. My mind and heart go to work. Isaiah said “Woe is me, for I am nothing” (Is. 6:5). John the Baptist said “I am not worthy to tie your sandals… and… I must decrease and He must increase”. Job said “I am dust and ashes”. A woman told Jesus she was as a dog looking for just crumb of God’s Presence (Mt.15:27).
Jesus told Mary no human task compared to sitting at His feet (Lk. 10:42). My “work” is to turn the tumblers of my heart, and apply faith to analyze my memories, search my wisdom, examine my weaknesses, see my pride and put the drive to be REAL. Being real is God’s demand (Jn.4:24). Then, and only then, can I find the beautiful “nothing”. It is where I find ME: “my outer man perishes (as nothing) but my inner man is renewed… like the eagle” (2 Cor.4:16 /Is.40:31/Jn.10:10). Jesus says our only work is to BELIEVE (Jn.6:29). So He wasn’t talking about doing nothing but “nothing”.
The other day Ravens “fed” me in my wilderness of nothing (1 Kings 17:6) As I laid on the grass in a remote field, staring up at the flight pattern of ten ravens. My soul was troubled and sorely grieved by inexplicable depression; an odor of death. The adversity of being a sinner.
In and out, the ravens flew, as if designated pilots on a mission to draw me higher. In mid-flight I watched several flutter in place, then suddenly switch directions and catch the wind in the opposite flow. Wow. That’s God. Just magnificent. They glided in a pattern, making their sounds, as if talking to me while weaving in amazing symmetry. Come up hither. Learn from us. Love the Lamb.
Such an event with no crowds to marvel.
-This is part of a song I am working on in an attempt to capture the same sense as I describe here. If you listen closely you will hear the sound of a raven blended in with the synthesizers. Let me know I’ll send it to you if you like.
I beheld High Places. I gave yield to the breeze of the wind as divine. I spoke no words but heard many. I said no formal prayer but felt many answered within. I let go and found me. Ahhh. The old self lifted.
My regenerated spirit was quickened (1 Cor.15:45). It is who I really am beyond my sinful nature. It is my God-certified disposition (Jn.4:24). I arrived in the field bummed out, but left uplifted. Walked as one, but flew as two (Isaiah 40:31/Rm.7:23). Paul explains I am “hidden in Christ” (Col. 3:3). Don’t knock it unless you try it.
It is not in my sinful nature to know who I am. It died 50 yrs. ago. Humiliated by 100 guys and coaches on a national championship football team. Now, I will never “live” that life again. The Fathers’ love is built on His promise and oath (Heb. 6:13-14). He cannot lie. My real identity “…has not appeared as yet what I will be” (1 Jn.3:2). It is not within me to understand the insidious ways of my carnal flesh. Paul says ‘what the heck am I doing choosing sinful ways’(Rm.7:14). Then explains God’s strategy; “Thanks be to God…on one hand I serve God…but on the other the law of sin” (Rm. 7:25)?
My strategy is to learn, study and relinquish myself to His strategy.
To implement the awareness of my nothing as an instinctive attribute of my character. “To die is gain” (Phil.1:21/Gal.2:20).
Paul said “I am the dreg of all things…the scum of the earth” (What is a ‘dreg’?)(1 Cor.4:13). How’s that for nothing? His new spirit ridiculed the tragedy of death: “Oh death where is your sting…the sting of death is sin … but God gives victory through Jesus” (1 Cor.15:56). This is the grand GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL (Col. 1:27). I am confident His Presence in me is greater than everything against me (Phil. 1:6). “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress…or peril, or sword, or famine or nakedness…WE ARE PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG” (Rm.8:31-36).
“He who believes in me will live even if he dies” (Jn.11:25).
The strategy requires one thing from you: authenticity. Being real is like flight. It demands wings. God doesn’t make our wings. We do. It’s not common to be real before God. It’s not a cinch. Few people in this world ever achieve this goal. It involves bringing into confluence many parts of our human entity. How deeply do we think, contemplate and talk to the living Jesus? Does His tragic death turn our hearts inside out? Do we pause… and glide with the ravens? Do we know the sphere of His “wind” (Jn.3:8). Do we ponder and visualize?
Jesus knew that Adams’ sin so corrupted us we would live in unbearable tragedy. No stairway to heaven within us. Mankind would be facing unbearable consequences of sin. So He agreed to come to earth. He would endure the greatest so we could be born all over again if we surrender to His revelation (Jn.3:3/ 1 Pt. 1:23). The Father and the Son conceived The Strategy and the Holy Spirit brings The Solution; The Plan to overcome a depraved world in sin.
“In the world you shall have tribulation but TAKE courage (My power)
I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD (John 16:33).
Jesus CHOSE to “empty Himself” of His divinity and succumb to the Father’s strategy (Phil.2:7-8). No entitlement. Humility led to humiliation
It demands our WILL (Jn.7:17).
Jesus fell to the bottom of life to bear all the ‘unbearable’ sin. It killed Him and He killed it. So today, Jesus can come alongside us, with His risen Spirit. You yield. He transmits His Presence (Rm.6:6/1 Cor.15:45/Jn.3:3-8). The God phenomenal of Divine comfort is when we hear Someone else feels our exact pain and circumstances. He appeases our sense of lonely isolation and imparts His strength in individual solitude.
The strategy over tragedy requires brutal honesty with Him, in Him, of our old self in hope the ravens will draw us into our new self. It is my sinful self who killed You Jesus. It is this monster who drives the nails and thorns into Your divine body. It is I who blames You for my suffering. Forgive me.
You alone understand why I sin. You felt all its’ compelling pulsations and sensations. You killed every aspect of this crazy insidious entity of sin. Your shed blood reckoned me unlimited forgiveness is mine.
My fellow sojourner, we must work to comprehend and access this magnificent gospel. It is not singing songs at church. It is not having to suffer alone inside while smiling outside and parroting christian theology. The Father has made Himself evident within us, by our conscience, so that we will come to Him our of our individual accountability (Jn.3:16-17, 7:17/Rm.1:19-20/Jn.15:22-27). The man who diligently activates his free will begins to utilize intelligence finds the solutions and strategy to any unbearable tragedy. It is not knowledge. It is His heart; His love; His Character.
“Here I am. Bring your tragedy to Me” says the One Whose mind thought of YOU, then, personally, with love beyond measure. Let go.
Failure is not a personality flaw. They say some are good, and good things happen and some are bad so bad things happen. Absurd. Neither is any person fixed by an inescapable “addiction” to booze, drugs, sexual deviation, TV, video games, etc. These are all cultural myths.
I deal with this constantly in prison work. Men are conditioned to rationalize and justify behavior, that they are told, can only be controlled by drugs and psycho-therapy. Tragically, despair and suicide result. They are told that they ARE evil because they DO evil. So they DO evil because they are told they ARE evil. A vicious cycle of lies.
Blame started with Eve towards Adam. People blame their parents, a job or the past. There is “NO EXCUSE” (Jn.15:25). It is an essential to take full accountability for ones’ life. The work of the cross can only begin with intelligent accountability to find and know the truth.
Just as you failed miserably, so too, can you succeed wonderfully. Seize the reigns of your destiny. Defy the lie. Learn from the raven. Watch the unbearable slip into the bearable. CHANGE. He bore YOU in His body on the cross. God would be a monster if he created anyone with an inbred “addiction”. Sin was a result of our decision, not God’s decision. His is for redemption.
The truth is we are all “addicts” to a thousand variations of sin, at any one time in life. Habits, no matter how established, can be conquered. We have a choice in how we choose to think and interpret our circumstances. Blame leads only to the paralysis of self-pity.
Let God teach you how to “divide” yourself from yourself by His Spirit (Heb.4:12). It is ultimate freedom. In Christ, the Spirit shows sin to be an irrelevant objective (learn this word) non-matter. Paul says “I do not box the air” and “it is not me but sin in me” (1 Cor. 9/Rm.7). The resurrection destroyed sin forever. What and how you believe matters. Words matter. Thoughts matter. A tiny hope blossoms into faith. God expects us to be individuals capable of unique honest heart-found expressions to Him. Freedom. We have to un-think the wrong stuff to rethink right stuff. Repentance is begging God for recovery. Humiliation is a very refreshing process of healing to unlearn and relearn.
THE “EMBRACE”OF THE FATHER WE ALL LONG FOR… AWAITS YOU !
When some people hear us speak of the living Jesus, they question our intense warning against the “Accept Christ as Savior” prayer-formula. They don’t understand that our admonition is not out of a casual or flippant chafe opinion. It is a serious, well-calculated LOVE, of the Father, to present the multi-faceted provisions of His living revelation. Our only desire is for you to truly know His love.
God is not a cosmic perplexity. We need not fear we cannot understand Him. He “casts out” all fear (1 Jn.4:18). He has no “brainteasers”. He does not demand moral behavior before He will come to you. It would be a contradiction to expect morality from men, whom He reveals are evil by nature. Remember Abraham was a pagan.
The precise thinking of those who designed the “sinners prayer” in the 17th century (Charles Finney and John Wesley) was to supplant “the complexity” of the New Testament with an easy token prayer-formula. So the lazy nature in all men didn’t need to comprehend a “distant” Being. This is outrageous. It is “defiance” to Jesus Who promises to reveal Himself to the most common of men.
Todays christianity is a magnet for self-righteousness because it instills an instant false “righteousness” as an immovable bedrock based on what a MAN DOES.The fruit is obvious. Not humility but “Don’t tell ME! I’m already ‘saved’ “. The constant recycle of condemnation due to our sinful inability to meet any “Christian” standard. If you never experience the divine embrace, we all long for, you will live in the torment of an ongoing vice between legalism (striving to be right) vs lawlessness (our natural ways).
The Father extends one alternative: SONSHIP (Jn.8:36/2 Cor. 6:18/Rm.8:15/Gal.4:6).
The driving heart of Jesus is to reveal His mediation of adoption to the most wicked, stupid and ignorant (1 Cor.1:18ff). It is not a lofty theology but the intimate experience of a fellow brother touching us as The Brother. We are gripped by another awareness in which we sense a realistic approach to God as “Daddy” (Gal.4:6). Not weird. Not warm fuzzies. Historical fact. The security of identity as a real child of God. The warm caring “embrace” of belonging; “You are mine”.
Jesus became the “prodigal son” Who actually shared in, bearing our rebellion in our experience of sin. He sweat blood, feeling our run of rebellion, from the Father, while on the cross. Yet ran back to the Father, driven by His vision of the Father. Divine love is like the many colors and angles reflected through a prism. It’s not fabricated religious sentiment but historical documentation of God coming to earth to give us His wealth of perspective to any sinner to resolve our greatest tragedy. No one is excluded. The disciples were not brain surgeons. Yet, through Jesus, became profound authors of a New Covenant.
The modern-day “salvation” reduces a mountain to an ant hill. It is a diabolical effort to create a token cutoff point from discovery. It circumvents the entire gospel. “Christians” remain in dire need, but since they prayed the “sinners’ prayer”, they refuse to “go back” and face their void. It would not be denying the Lord. It would be obeying the Lord. Instead of a prism of light permeating their lives with wonderful colors they are left with a useless common stone. My friend, come back to the Father. You have nothing to regret or fear. He awaits with open arms. We’re talking about ETERNITY in heaven or hell.
When I was initially confronted with sin I was greatly relieved and happy. I thought “Do you mean that God, not only fully sees and knows my evil, but explicitly describes it and responds with eternal forgiveness and love?”. That day I will never forget. I was twenty years old. My foundation began rooted in this truth. I became enthralled with the living Person of Jesus. I don’t have to hide or deny what I am to God. Whew. Can you imagine walking each day KNOWING Jesus loves YOU, no matter what? And the Woroniecki family cares about YOU. Give us a chance to show you. Below is a picture outside a prison facility in South America.
A sports writer once described my high school running style, as an All-City fullback, with the words “reckless abandon”. It hit home. In retrospect I realize this is the very attitude I have had all my life to get beyond myself and the entanglements of mainstream religion. I have faced enormous opposition, false accusations, and struggles from without and within. Many mistakes and failures, but driven by love, I have continued to “run” forward.
Pounded and hit from all sides, I turn, catch my balance and surge forward. Maybe I can gain a few extra yards of God-space on this field called the world. Trying, with all abandon for the living Jesus, to put up a sign, carry a cross, give a pamphlet, where people gather. Maybe, just maybe someone comes to Him. It’s all that matters to me.
I’ve found unspeakable joy in giving the love of Jesus. He says “It is in giving that you receive”. When we fill our mind with the tragedy of others it changes our perspective on life. When we see the individual heartache, and hear the horrendous details of their story, it dwarfs our troubles. Over some fifty years God has honored this reckless abandon of love for the lost and hurting.
My family and I are privileged to be sent to work amongst thousands of people who deal with so many variations of tragedy and unbearable sorrow. If you’d like to help us we are not rich. Nor are we supported by any group, church or organization. We need all the help we can get.
We are presently on our way to Brazil and South Africa to reach a population of oppressed, both in prison and common society. So I ask you to please allow this article to help you with what the merciful Father has shown me in the living Christ.
Hey, you. Ya. YOU. Beautiful YOU. If only you will do what you need to do to see you as God sees you, in Christ. Life will become the gift it is meant to be to you.
Listen to me. Ok? I love you. I know stuff. Real stuff. Not a “Know It All’ but a real care about you. So give me a chance. No offense here, my brother or sister, but it’s gonna take some heart to get this.
It’s about the real purpose of your life. In order to feel the touch of God’s love to you as your true Friend and divine Brother, it requires understanding. Nobody knows what you’re going through. But He does. And, man, does He love YOU.
He doesn’t require a Law Degree but your degree…of heart to “seek” Him(Mt.7:7). You know that place inside you that you yearn to express? That place where you’d really love someone to know and cherish? Well, He is waiting for you to give Him that, so He can, in return, fill you with His heart of love. Like no girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, or wife.
So let’s take a pause out of all the generic information you routinely process each day. Especially all the modern-day token “christian” and political “right” – “left” stuff. All of it. Death will render all of it useless. This moment is special. Your life matters. So let’s go low, so we can get high.
Imagine serving “LIFE” with no life: Prison.
Everything is taken away in exchange for a number. Could you handle it? Isolated in horrible conditions; cold and sweltering heat for years. Not justice, not punishment. Torture. Contrary to misguided thinking, today’s “justice system” does not originate from the Bible but from Greek torture. Few understand the horrors of mental and physical torture inflicted upon massive numbers by being in prison. It is the most profound outrage.
In the picture here, is my oldest son Abraham loving men in the Mexican prison in Ciudad Juarez. Cool hat, hey? (“all things to all men” -1 Cor.9). 7 days after we visited, a gang attacked the prison, from the outside, and killed 20 men. We have walked through the circuit of many, many prisons.
We sat with starving prisoners in a 3rd world dungeon, as they were shackled with irons, day after day, month after month, years upon years. What is life to them?
We had barely enough light to see each other; some dealing with a disease, or in need of a wheelchair, and others in physical agony, in need of surgery. Thinking only about death. Thinking there’s no purpose for their life.
I can really say we have touched unbearable pain. 24/7 prisoners question “What is my life?”. They exist in a hidden subculture of torment. We have all done “crimes”; i.e. similar things in our hidden thoughts. Likewise with old people who also question the meaning of their lives. What does an elder man live for when he has no one? I met a homeless man in Chile who fell asleep drunk on train tracks and awoke with his legs severed. Imagine the pain. His life is a flickering wick and Jesus meets Him as such (Read Mt.12:20/Is.42:3). What I am trying to get at, my friend, is that for billions of people, the essential question is the groping for a purpose to life.
One day, while I was out preaching, a mother ran up to me and threw her arms around me, weeping and asking for help. Someone had just kidnapped her autistic daughter. What is the reason for her life? Maybe you have met such people or actually been in such dire circumstances: inside or outside. Maybe you live in a “castle” but inwardly on the edge of deep fear and sin. Thoughts of despair, or even suicide, can knock on your door. Satan is not a “scare tactic” or medieval invention. He is real. Be honest. Look at the world. But there is an answer. It starts with seeking truth. The reason for all distress is not understanding the purpose of life.
Great numbers, beyond belief, kill themselves each day. They suffer from the mental assault of war-time memories, regretful words spoken in a fit of rage, or the unexplainable lure of, and clash with, the enigma called sin. Some battle with physical pain but, everyone, including me, battles with this inner torment (Rm.7:14-20). You may be surrounded by family and friends, yet all alone inside, lying to yourself with false comfort, wondering “What is the purpose of my life? Why do I feel so depressed at times?”
I have sat with countless “Christians” who are just as blind as a man walking into traffic. They know doctrines and parrot Bible verses but are totally void of depth. A trite claim to a vague “christ” leaves them…trite. They are dying, deep inside, yet insist “Oh, I’m already saved. My life is great”. Just so sad.
We can’t see darkness with our eyes, but we feel its eery presence. Jesus speaks of it constantly as the radiation of sin (John 8). We search for a place to hide from it, but the key is understanding it. It drives multitudes into condemnation, sexual perversion, adultery, family ruin, unbelief, isolation, fear, religious delusion, and inexplicable torment. Unless you know the euphoria of drugs, you do not understand why compassion is needed for those who see drugs as the only way to escape life. We hear thousands of “feel-good” stories of intervention for recovery of “the goodness of humanity”, but all are left with no driving PURPOSE; so, sooner or later, they fall prey to an empty life. No understanding. Understanding life is everything (Col.2:2).
“Surely a live dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecc. 9:4).
A lion may seem far superior than any old dog. With its noble mane and impressive roar, its “ego” suits the title “the king of the jungle”. But not once it is dead. Each of us is like a lion in our jungle. We roam and dominate our “jungle” projecting what we think is life. We base our conscious state on our own aura. We walk about like a lion obsessed with ourselves. Are you with me? Honesty is required.
We listen to ourselves speak our bold words and become deluded “Oh, I’m fine. I already know all I need”. But death shows no respect for our self-inflated image. The “mane” and “roar” that feeds our self-identity mean nothing when we are dead. The only thing that matters is REALITY. And the reality is established in the Word of God that LIFE is a gift because of one reason: it affords the time to search and secure ETERNAL LIFE. This is the purpose of life.
Brother, when we’re dead, all appearances and self-defense will mean no more than the noble attributes of a dead lion. So strip away the gloss and see the clay. Your life has no more value than the lowest criminal on earth. A dirty ol’ dog has the same thing we all have. It contains the one power granted by God. It is alive.
With all the many people we deal with there is one bottom line: you are alive. No matter where you are, or what might constitute your life, you must secure ETERNAL LIFE BY A TESTIMONY TO THE LIVING JESUS. Life is what you make out of it, not what it makes out of you.
The main reason for our grief is when we don’t understand how to deal with the gruesome nature of this life. There’s a football coach who talks about a “dawg mentality” in facing hard issues of the gridiron. Continued failure can destroy a football player. But if he thinks that no matter how bad things get, he must hold fast to his gift of being able to play football, it keeps him going.
Likewise, I tell you of a “dawg mentality” that enables us to conquer the “gridiron” of this life. It is the realization that you are alive and able to “play the game”. I have learned this dawg mentality and rejoice, not in what I have, or who I am in this world, but that I am alive, with fingers, eyes, legs, and a heart to actually be able to use this life to find and serve the living Jesus. Hallelujah.
So many times when I played football I would just stand on the field, in the middle of the game, smell the grass, relish the moment in that equipment and love being able to play. Today I do the same in this game called life. Dawg mentality resolves unbearable conflicts by simple perspective. A lowly state of mind cherishes the fact that whatever you face, wherever you are in life, it doesn’t matter, because you are ALIVE and can live for Jesus. One would never imagine that such a simple mentality leads to divine life. But it does. This is the attitude of the “prodigal son” who had to lose it all to find it all. He was brought to eat pig slop, before he could realize the father was waiting, to run out to meet him with robes, new shoes, and a meal of celebration (Lk.15). It is our total desperation that tests and cleanses away the entitled presumption of heart (Jer.17:9).
A dog has no self-esteem or ego. It survives in animal circumstances simply to live. Consider Isaiah 59. We “growl like a bear and moan like a dove”. This is who we really are. Jesus says “the last shall be first” because it is only in humiliation that we can see and accept our wicked nature. We deserve HELL. We must let everything of self-pride go. We are nothing but a dawg. In this is freedom from self. In our nothingness is the realization of joy that we have life as a gift to discover God. A shot at heaven. Wow. The Father wants to remake us to be whom He alone sees we can become. But if we refuse to be clay then He cannot mold us. This is the process of salvation and redemption into eternal life. When we accept our “animal” (sinful) state, we are in the desperate “place” to see God as everything. Our consciousness of Him becomes our only focus in life.
You see, my friend, we must ‘double down’ on this painful realization of our sinful state rather than further the phony image we display. This is repentance. Such attitude releases us and supplies eternal life. Reality is not found by trying to jump out of your struggle, but rather, by learning to walk through it, in faith in Jesus, to allow our mind to neutralize the highs and lows of our emotions: Reality. So faith becomes life. “The just shall live by faith” (Rm.1:17).
WHAT IS ETERNAL LIFE?
Jesus says “This is the will of My Father, that everyone who BEHOLDS the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40). Plain and simple: when you meet the living Jesus you receive eternal life. If you want to sell it short, that’s up to you. But not me. It is Who He IS. I know WHOM I have believed (2Tim.1:12). HIS forgiveness and eternal cleansing.
Jesus says “This is eternal life, that they may know YOU, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent… And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (John 17:3/1John 5:11-12).
Eternal life is the dawning of a new divine serenity in the midst of inner chaos, fear, regret, and pain. It is absolute security in what… Who God is. It is knowing divine love. It is the absence of striving. Jesus is Who the Father intends for us. It is being you, desperate but fulfilled, as a son or daughter of the living Father.
He is finding the “place” higher than the mountains, deeper than the Grand Canyon (Jn.14:23). He is surviving in the midst of unbearable pain. Jesus describes Himself as “living waters” rushing within your innermost being (Jn.7:37-38). I mean, come on, man. This is not typical christianity, self-morality, or Bible knowledge.
Many people deny and ignore what I say. They think I’m exaggerating or pontificating. They don’t want to come down from their loft and receive help from a brother or friend. They are afraid I will “preach” at them. No, bro. I will love you. Some merely want someone to affirm their conception of life. They want an admirer. Please listen to me.
There’s no denying we all can’t help but think of life in a wrong way. Why? We are desperate to be happy. I beg you. Stop. Think. Don’t convince yourself that things are ok because you have somehow made this life seem livable. The purpose of life is not life. Life is NOT the goal of our existence. It can never make you happy because you are made in the image of Almighty God and need far more than anything life can afford you. The goal of life is not a happy life. All such thinking is deception. A DEAD END. A demonic sham.
My dear precious brother or sister, I am not a “Downer”, but an ambassador to the new world. Life is a gift to take and use to find eternal life… Someone far, far greater. Life is a quest that doesn’t require money, a car or a person. It requires inner things, silent words, deep thoughts, heart expressions, divine engagement, contemplation.
So don’t worry about how much time you waste. Use what you got. Delight in what you have left. Time is a fixed parameter of hours, days and years. You’ve got to bring your conscience to stand trial before the revelation of God’s truth in the Scriptures. What REALLY is your inner state?
LIFE is not about making it better but discovering ways to utilize it, to test yourself within it. Like the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the radiation of sin has ruined every molecule of this life. The sin of Adam and Eve has rendered all of us a “basket case”. Sin has slammed shut the door to God. Jesus is the new door (Jn.10). It was never difficult for me to admit being a wicked sinner. I only thought “Whew. God loves me despite my evil ways”. The great apostle Paul says “I AM the worst sinner” (1 Tim.1:15). Every saint knows his depravity. The wages of sin for us all is death. So let’s get out of “here”, hey, man? No “bright light at the end of a tunnel”. Only heaven or hell.
No stairway to God inside us. No Bible verse or “experience” to heaven. Just the living Person of Jesus. Sound strange? It’s cuz american christianity has influenced us all to see Him as an “It”, interpreted by a system of doctrines. The Biblical revelation of a testimony to the Person of the living Jesus is the only way to redeem life and be released of the claim Satan has to your life (Rev. 12:11). The apostle Paul constantly declared his testimony. It is the paradigm of how to construct our testimony. A testimony is the present-day working of the power of the blood of the Lamb: i.e. personal testimony to the experience of Jesus IS Eternal life (Jn.17:3).
The modern terminology of salvation is to “accept Christ”. This method is from Charles Finney and John Wesley in the 17the century “tent revivals”. Look it up. I did. They created this quick prayer-formula because they didn’t think the masses could understand the depths of the gospel. It is completely unbiblical. Yet it is accepted because famous men and modern-day fat cats reduce the magnificent promises of Jesus to an unoffensive acceptability and have cemented it into the system of Christianity as law.
The Biblical language for salvation, Jesus says, is “BORN AGAIN” (John 3:3). Are you born again? When, where, and how? Brother, sister, you are alive. Don’t play games. Don’t go along with the religious stipulations. The only purpose of life is to take the Father at His promise of eternal life. He yearns to bring you into His divine reality (Jn.6:37).
It’s NOT about doing some THING. It’s about your heart seeking His. It’s about sitting down and deeply contemplating eternity, now, today, before it’s too late. How do you get from here to there? From this miserable life to God’s eternal life? The bridge is faith (Rm.10:9-10/Hebrews 11:6). So simple. Nobody in history rose from the dead but Jesus. So it’s not an invented term; He is the living Jesus. Consider His earthly steps and words. They will draw you into His living Spirit. Ponder His individual love in tender mercy to each wicked sinner. He loved them, never condemned. He offered no generic prayer formula. He offered Himself. “I am the Bread of life…the Good Shepherd… the Vine… the Way, the Truth, the Life” (Jn.6,10,14).
Jesus wants to bring supernatural living revelation to YOU through the New Testament. Yes, He demands repentance but, when you think about it, it’s all stuff you want to get rid of anyways. He can replace your grief from proud self-obsession, born out of deep anxiety, with His Holy Spirit Presence.
No exaggeration. No personal made-up fable, fairy tale or fantasy. I’m not trying to sound better or self-righteous “I got it and you don’t”. I am rooted in the Dawg Mentality. My only boast is that the cross of Jesus bore my animal nature. Like Paul said, I am the scum of the earth (1 Cor.4:13). It’s where I find Jesus. In His darkest moments, He bore all of mine. You WILL live forever, bro, no doubt; but in either heaven or hell. Your call. Survival in this short 70-year span is for ONE THING; “ONE THING I have asked for… to dwell in Your Presence… Mary has sought the ONE THING required” (Psalm 27:4/Lk.10:42). That Jesus would be exalted. No place for self, no reason for ego. Remember the dead lion.
I recently had a near-death experience that shook me to my core. It drives me to Dawg Mentality. I am only glad to be alive to help others behold Jesus. I re-examine and eliminate all “wood, hay and straw”, to build with “precious stones” (1 Cor.3:10-15). Never had I experienced such excruciating pain that drove me into uncontrollable vomiting. Made me thrilled my end is heaven, as Paul says “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil.1:21). Life is our one and only shot to seize eternity and then bring Him to others. Everything in this life, both bad and good, positive or negative, is a distraction from this purpose. It is ours to DIE to this life, to live forever (Jn.12:25). (Below: 2023 Rose Bowl Parade, Pasadena, California).
No matter how hard things may be, my beautiful friend, or how great things may be, no matter how deep in hypocrisy you have lived, it isn’t too late. You are alive.LIFE IS A GIFT waiting for you to gain the kingdom. “Thy kingdom come….” (Luke 11:2).
“The dead cannot praise You…Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness. It is the living who give thanks to You” (Isaiah 38:18).
Don’t cancel out a hope for greater things, by being held hostage to a dying image. Stop being of those who settle in Theory Land. Nothing is from the heart. Eternal life is not theory. It is grit reality of faith. It is not ascertained by Bible theory, but only in the heart of Jesus.
From day one, Jesus walked out onto the earth warning men of hard times on this earth and thus beckoning all men to eternal life in Him. “I AM THE RESURRECTION “. He says “In the world, you SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION but be of courage I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD” (Jn. 16:33,14:1).
I challenge you to realize that the Scriptures reveal the eye of His storm is a whirlwind that draws you into the cross, destroys your life, and brings you into the center of His peace.
His life is a focus beyond this world, here and now, to His Fathers’ Presence. Every word, every act, leading up to and centered in His death on the cross and resurrection, was to draw us, by His living Spirit, into eternal life (read 1 John 5:11,13, 20/John 11:25/17:3).
Just as we don’t know the path of wind, or how bones are formed in the womb, we do not know the activities of Almighty God… Who is as high as the heavens are above the earth…” (Is.55:9). Whatever you are going through, He only allows upon you, for one reason, to lead you away from a proud heart to humble yourself and personally KNOW eternal life in the living Jesus.
“Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has loved my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back” (Is.38:17).
It is only hard times that bring us “face to face” with our conscience, to be exposed of its need for eternal cleansing by the blood of Jesus. Forgiveness is not one of many things of salvation. It is everything. True forgiveness is the portal to eternal life. They said “Who can forgive sin but God alone” (Luke 5:21). Jesus proved He is able, as God, to give us His forgiveness. No matter what you have done or how deliberate you are in sin, it is crucial to find DIVINE forgiveness. Lingering shame, guilt, and double-mindedness mean something great awaits you. So life, no matter how tough, confusing or void of material happiness, is a gift to have the chance to receive forgiveness into eternal life.
All creation “bears witness” of God (Rm.1:20,10:18). Ocean waves, clouds, wind, forests, and details in our eyes, ears, and body do not speak of pond slime, evolving into monkeys as our grandparents. I surely have acted like it but I ain’t from no monkey. God is my Father. He created and will judge us. So don’t play games, my brother, or sister. Get God on your side… forever. Don’t feed the monster of self-pity. Cherish the gift of life to do all you can to secure eternal life; believe Jesus.
Forget your upbringing. Forget a religious image. All your defensiveness is a dead lion, lying. You must establish a clear and concise “testimony to Jesus”; when and where and what happened when you were translated from this world into His Spirit. This alone is the reason to live.
“For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward“ (Job 5:6-7).
How often have you heard, or felt within yourself, the cry of self-pity “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?”. Hard times are not the exception but the norm of this life. A warrior of Jesus arms himself with this perspective. Have you ever sat by a fire and watched the sparks fly downward? Never. It’s a rule of fire that sparks always fly upward. Likewise, Job is saying, it’s a rule of life that, as sparks fly upward, so too does our life on this earth operate in a hostile and contrary manner to our good. Sin rules the world and Satan works everything against us 24/7. So when you wonder “Why?”, this is the answer. Jesus took all the world on His shoulders and also cried “Why Father have you abandoned Me?”. The Father’s answer was exactly what Jesus did in that very moment. He bore the horrors of sin once and for all time and rose from the dead to offer eternal life (John 11:25).
(Below: Feeding the homeless on “Skid Row”. Side: Ruth working in Philippine Prison).
MY DAUGHTER RUTH…
was on the NBC evening news on January 30th. Check it out. It’s online at the NBC website. “… I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:17.)
For anyone who doesn’t know of what happened to my daughter Ruth. She was hiking an eight thousand-foot mountain here in California on Christmas Eve morning. Suddenly we received a phone call from a sheriff in a helicopter telling us they had just rescued her and were taking her to a hospital. She had fallen 200 feet and had been laying in the snow for over two hours bleeding from a severe head wound.
Long story short, Ruth had tripped on a path and tumbled 200 ft. down the mountain becoming unconscious. She then had to hold her neck and walk a long ways to be transported to a helicopter. Many wounds in her mouth,
leg, and back. She broke her neck in two places, had to have a plate and 2 inch screw inserted into her 2nd and 7th vertebrae, and is in a neck brace.
It is a tragic ordeal that we are dealing with. Many tears. But like I share above, such suffering breaks all of us to our nothingness and desperation, leaving us to further realize our the purpose of our lives is meant only to find eternal life before our Father God.
If anyone would like to know more please see our Go Fund Me page at:
After Adam sinned, Scriptures resound with God crying out
‘Does any man want Me?'(Is.65:2,63:5/Rm.10:21)
The Son answered
“Let Me give them my heart for you Father”.
So, in plain sight,
for anyone to ‘buy’.
Jesus freely offers His heart.
Will you say ‘the investment… too high’.
My friend, please listen. It is the last days.
Seize; THE POWER OF HEART
In reading this title, some of you might think this ‘heart of Jesus’ stuff is a bit sentimental ‘fluff’ for the every day dealings of hard-core sinners. Well, let me tell you, Jesus doesn’t think so. Cuz I work with hardened criminals and “bad ass” gangsters who have committed unspeakable acts. They live in a giant cage with five layers of barbed wire (a concept that was pioneered by Hitler for German concentration camps) with no possessions or freedom. They are herded like animals. They are oppressed and deeply wounded, every night having to toil, not just with the weeping of cellmates, but their own internal combustion of torment. Guilt, regret, rage, depression and thoughts of suicide turn in their mind like chain links in bike socket.
Do you really think they’d give me one second of time if what I presented them was not of impact? Yet we are invited to hundreds of prisons effecting thousands of men. You see, I don’t stand in front of them with knowledge or lace-woven concepts of a theoretical image. But as a man of God living in a down and dirty nature and world. This is the brutal reality encompassed in the heart of Jesus. Above all, He did not come in the lofty notions of a holy God, but as a despicable criminal punished on a cross, bearing the identity of a human slave, a brother to anyone that would come by His side (Phil. 2:5-8 /Heb. 2:9:-18).
So I stand before my fellow brothers and rely on His Spirit; that they see His heart through mine. “See it fellas? It’s Jesus. He’s not the one seen on a stained glass church window but One washing the feet of the worst degenerate and most depraved man on earth”. Paul said That’s me. I am the worst sinner (1 Tim.1:15). Do you realize what this means? Imagine all the depraved people Paul met. Yet he says, he is worse than them all.
I’ve dealt with guys who’ve done things that would make some vomit. But I know His blood dripped with love, understanding, forgiveness and brotherhood. One drop of His merciful heart either covers everything or nothing. This is the gospel; GOOD NEWS. I deal with prison officials who get mad at me because they want to insist they are not like criminals. They say “You don’t know the criminal mind or the evil of their acts”. I say “You don’t know the mind of God or perfection of His act of His righteousness”. God says “come let us reason together though sins be as scarlet they shall be white snow”.
They resent the implication that, in God’s eyes, they are no better than the prisoners. I once lifted 405 lbs. My CMU teammates marveled how a little guy like me could have such power. It was heart. My heart was set. My heart is set to believe God’s love for me, for all men, always is compassion no matter what. If you set your heart on it will be yours. Jesus says wherever your heart is so is your treasure. My soul is on fire for my Brother Jesus so men see Him, not me. They don’t need to ‘get it right’. They need to see the heart of Jesus as a Brother Who loves them dearly regardless of their sin.
There was a time when I could decide who I loved. No longer. His heart in me compels me to love the unloved and care as He cares (2 Cor. 5:14). I don’t say this to brag but simply as a matter of His doing. Actually it ruins my life but marvel of divine love dissipates all loss.
No mountain to climb. No ocean to swim. No puzzle to solve. No “getting it right” with a moral image to impress anyone. It doesn’t start with an attainment of knowledge. It starts here with you believing me, Him in me, speaking to you here and now.
The beginning is the end. He awaits you in the chambers of your heart, getting beneath outward image. Opening your heart is like coming into a top notch mechanic shop filled with the highest grade tools to use.
This secret chamber contains latent powers of individual capacity to actually access the Character of God. The majority go to the grave never tapping this wonder within blinded, wounded and driven by sin. Instead, men exist at the level of common human instincts and intellect. They settle for outward religious appearance.
One time a reporter interviewed me for an article she was doing. It was obvious she was trying to portray me as a wild ‘hell fire and brimstone’ maniac. I remember telling her that following Jesus was all about HEART. She was stunned. She expected some complex code, lifestyle or legalistic list of moral demands. I’ll never forget her response. She said “Oh Michael, that’s nothing. I have a great heart”. I thought to my self “How can you be so trite about something so profound?”.
God says the heart is “desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). So it actually takes aheart(individual) to get beyond theheart (common). It takes the individual facet of the heart to freely admit its’ own impediment of original sin. Sin does not have to bar us from God. Quite the contrary, as a result of faith in His magnificent plan, our wicked ways qualify us to discover The Power of Heart; GRACE i.e. “Where sin increases grace abounds all the more” (Romans 5:20).
Stay with me. My friend, In this crazy wicked world, saturated with christian delusion, it is a natural instinct to give up on finding the reality of God. So much hurt and so many doing the hurting. It seems the multitudes of “desperate hearts” have no where to turn. They can not meet the standards set by high lofty ‘better than thou’ “Christians so they just ‘fake it’. But let me feed you some utterly beautiful and magnificent truth.
The answer starts in this magical “something” located right within you. No need to go anywhere or do anything. Paul says “the words are in your heart…for with the heart a person believes” (Rm.10:8-10).
Jesus did not want to leave us alone on earth. He had spent thirty three years in a body like ours walking the earth one step in front of the other. Every human situation we face today was of His concern then. He entered into every feasible situation, relationship and challenge. God actually walked this earth in Jesus. Every minute of every hour of every day Jesus analyzed, felt and took on and concluded what we needed. It was no little thing. Nothing this world or any man could supply.
We all have lazy tendencies in reading Scripture. But if we allow our heart to engage we grasp beyond letters, doctrines and knowledge to Jesus. We see that in His words He is offering us revelation of Himself. We can all read what He says of peace, love and justice. But can you realize that essentially Jesus is saying in every word “My heart I leave with you My heart I give to you” (John 16:33). In John 16:13ff Jesus is saying that HIs heart will guide us into all truth.
It is not as though I live by a message or philosophy as my daily source. I still my spirit, like an eagle riding the wind, and give way to His Presence. Jesus sees into the deep motives of our human nature and why we do and think crazy things we ourselves don’t understand. He beckons us to let go and let His wind lift and carry us. Recently I was laying on my back in the grass pondering God’s glory in cloud formations. Suddenly an eagle came into the picture thousands of feet in altitude. It went so far, so fast without moving its’ wings. Completely still and profound. This is the “place” where heart meets Heart. Where nothing matters but Him (John 3:6-8). We hover in the wind . We live in Christ.
Jesus understands why we are so consumed with ourselves and would never truly want God. Our flesh, that He took on, is “hostile” to God (Rm.8). He realizes the reason for our hypocrisy and the regret of unintended words and actions. He felt it. No one on earth, back then, and in all time, has the answers that He alone holds within His heart. Bible verses don’t supply the answers. His heart supplies the grace. We must have Him to have answers. The King of compassion not only identifies with us but offers to substitute His heart for ours.
Jesus could see this day coming so long ago. This world is crazy and insane. He thought of us as desperate orphans. We once worked with a large amount of orphans in Bogota, Colombia. It was heart breaking to hear of how they were abused and abandoned. They were so grateful for our love teaching Tae Kwon Do and befriending them in trips to the zoo etc. We continue to deal with this tragic life situation in meeting so many prisoners who were abandoned. One guy told me he was driving with his parents and they suddenly just stopped and made him get out of the car on a remote highway. Imagine.
We often think of God as if behind a steel wall. But He is a revolving door goes with us into darkness to bring us into light. There isn’t one person on the face of the earth that does not struggle with the torment of loneliness and sin. Countless crimes and human depravity is a result of simply feeling abandoned and left behind that wall. Jesus saw into this great infirmity, derived from the rebellion of Adam. He thought to Himself “If I could just leave them My heart, it would be the power of love they need to overcome it all?”
Despite the insinuation of “Christians”, who insist they are all alone and have no one, no where to turn or any answers to their problems, I am here to tell you the truth. Either Jesus is a liar or we have access to His very heart here and now. It is up to our heart to find His. It is not a sentiment any more than any living person is a walking sentiment. The composite of His Person constitutes a heart full of limitless forgiveness, understanding with very specific answers as real as any mechanism on earth.
Jesus says “I do not leave you as orphans…I will come to you…” (John 14:18). Everything is about contemplating that God the Father actually sent the Holy Spirit of Jesus to any man to bring His very heart into our conscious existence.
There was this young guy who grew up as the youngest in a big family of brothers. Nobody thought much of him cuz, as many youngest of the family, they are thought of as not having a clue to the realities of life. Well this kid, guy, man, warrior named David didn’t let any of that stuff bother him one bit. The stones they threw at him he took and used to slay a giant. How? Why? God answers this very clearly. He says “I have found David…a man AFTER MY HEART who will do my will (1 Samuel 13:14/Acts 13:22).
David possessed the greatest power on earth; a heart for God. His will was SET. People are dumbfounded how a simple family of eight walk Pinot the dangerous streets, ghettos, prisons with no flinch. Answer: We each have the heart of David. He looked no where and to no one to give Him the love God gave him. He wrote numerous Psalms full of heavenly descriptions of all things. How did David get this stuff? He was a shepherd not a theologian. How could he command armies and remain safe when thousands in battle were out for his head? The power of heart.
The ‘down to earth’ simplicity of it all is mind-blowing. It is the very thing that gave a wretch like me the far distant thought that I, me, Michael, wicked man that I am, could actually have the heart of Jesus. It sounds almost blasphemous if it wasn’t real. The revolving Door constantly, personally, mediates my darkness for His light. God designed a marvelous plan undeniable in its’ childlike sincerity. It requires no superior moral accomplishment. It requires no sophisticated education. It requires no ability to say right things in right ways. It only requires YOU. You have all you need within you.
Most people live by instinct. People as a whole respond the same to life situations. Some go a step farther and develop some intelligence. They say “On second thought, I change my mind to this or that”. But who will go the distance to find the 3rd Answer? The answer that lies within Him.
God told a farmer named Ezekiel “Behold I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their forehead. Like emory harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them…take into your heart all MY words which I WILL SPEAK TO YOU”. (Ez.3:8). So the goal is to hear His voice (John 10:27). It is the very first thing I set out to do when I gave my life to Jesus. Without it you are like a tumbleweed blowing here and there. You feel one way one day and another way another day. Something on TV or at work makes you think a certain way. This guy tells you one thing another guy tells you something different. Truth isn neither of them, know squat. There is so much vast profound stuff waiting for you brother, or sister, but it will only come to you when and if you start to be aware of the power of your heart. Utilize all that “violent” attitude you developed for other things in life. Switch it.
We don’t even realize it but we have all been indoctrinated into the system of American Christianity where Jesus is separated into categories of theology and knowledge. He is lost amidst the maze of stuff about Him. The “sinners prayer” mentality to “accept Christ” lays a ground work of God as THEORY not a living Person. You gain more knowledge about Him than life in Him. Those who propagate these ways don’t do it for you but for themselves. You are just a means to their earthly reward of ego.
It is outrageous when you start to realize the truth.The entire world of christianity is set on one thing; feeling better than others. The stairway of self-righteousness may seem like it goes up to heaven but it is headed down to hell. It is the exact opposite of Jesus’ compassion and what the Word of God explicitly teaches (Romans 3:9ff).
The heart of Jesus was the epitome of humility and humiliation (Phil.2). Prison christianity epitomizes the general thinking of Americans. It is interwoven with the whole thinking of “rehabilitation”. So “getting better” becomes the goal that is really secular based. It is a life long failed venture built on anti-christ; self-improvement. It is a crock of crap in light of God wanting to make you a NEW man not better (2 Cor.5:17). An entirely new identity. The very heart of God real within you. The power of heart is the only power able to propel me through all life.
That’s what the cross is all about. Getting rid of the old you. Not just bad habits or wicked ways but your essential constitution as a man of this world (1 Cor.15:45). Paul says that the cross is the power of God because it frees you from yourself to love Him (1 Cor.1:18).
I have seen hundreds, if not thousands of times, how men attack me because they want to insist there is nothing more to the Lord than what they know. They don’t want to go deep. Shallow. Trite. But none of it works. None of it gives you the Depth of the Incarnate Jesus Christ. What happens? Tragic takedown. Just what Jesus saw on earth and why He knew He had to leave His heart. Because no man can follow God without His heart within them.
People ask me how Rachel and I could raise six selfless children. How could we do so without hard driving legalism or fluff-bucket christianity. The answer is we let them see and learn the heart of Jesus within us.
A guy who suffered greatly was another simple farmer named Isaiah. In chapter 53 he speaks of what he saw in himself as a prototype for Who Jesus would be. The key to not only bearing up under injustice and terrible inner grief was the RESOLUTE WILL to BELIEVE GOD. And God richly rewarded him.
“For the Lord God helps me therefore I am not disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint and I know I will not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:7). He’s not talking setting his face on farming. His eyes gazed upon the One Who sits on high. He was A Resolute. No wimpymambie pampie set on living for himself. Where is that defiance you had to do acts of darkness? It must never be thrown aside. You learned a great deal in developing the fearless resolution. But now the question is will you sanctify it in truth and do so for Jesus.
He offers far more than anything you wanted. The one thing that is greater than anything you can think you want in life is the thing you can’t IMAGINE. The thing you never thought of is the very thing God offers you; His very heart in Jesus. A profound identity of destiny in His sonship.
But it requires no ordinary man. This is what Jesus istalking about in Matthew 11:12: “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and violent men take it by force”. There is so so so much waiting for you to SEIZE. But if you give in to the system of men they are lazy ass pretty boys who don’t really want anything to do with the heart for Jesus. The whole thing is to appear righteous before others (Mt.23:28). Look at ME<ME<ME. If you get what I’m trying to say you can catch “the wave” of a life time. You will pick up the “the wind” in regards to all things you deal with (John 3:8).
Jesus says the ME of wemust die so He can live (John 12:25/Rm.6:6). This is true freedom (John8:32). It’s not about finding YOUR LIFE but losing your life to find His. It’s not about going from one set of rules to another. Jesus created the gospel for the poor, the simple, the guys like you and me. Not theology. Reality.
Jesus told the Pharisees they loved Him with their lips but their HEART was far from Him (Mark 7:6). You may have come out of the false churches but their ways still remain in you as long as your life is based on words rather than heart.
Face to face Jesus confronted the hypocrites; “You are those who justify in the sight of men, but God knows your heart; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God” (Luke16:15).
Think Jesus. Contemplate His words and thoughts. What a man. What a MAN. What a God. He says all of life comes down to your thoughts and words. It is not about where you go or what you do (John 6:63). It is not about outward physical movement. It is about how and why you think what you do and why and how you live. God has abundantly opened doors into prisons for us to bring Jesus. It is an extremely demanding and exhausting work. Many times we have suffered severe sickness in opening ourselves to their environment. All times we face hard, cold faces determined to not budge, that we inevitably do far more than budge. Countless saved souls. Anxiety often fills our hearts but we tap the individual choice to go beyond ourselves. We have a code word: “Ground Zero”. It reminds us to go to the very bottom of life and realize these men will have nothing unless we give them the heart of Jesus which is simply being ourselves. Many times we have done several performances in the hot burning sun and suffered heat stroke. Nobody knows. Nobody cares. That’s fine because we have everything in the very heart of Jesusl. Come, my precious friend, please, seize the power of heart within you to enter into the heart of the Son and the Father by His Spirit.
BELOW IS SOMETHING I WROTE TO DISTRIBUTE IN THIS PRESENT DAY WITH ITS SECULAR EMPHASIS ON “THERAPY” AS THE CURE-ALL FOR ALL THE SOCIAL CHAOS.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COPY AND USE IT.
Jesus stretched out His arms on the cross and, I say with Him, “I love you so much.”
TRT – Thought Replacement Therapy – My friend, I know you hurt inside. So do I.Neither drugs, sex or money can heal. You know this. Contrary to what you think, this pain is not you. It is something in you. It is sin in you (Rm.7:15-8:4). There is One Who cares. The living Jesus yearns to explain this and comfort you.Judgment day is near. Please, listen to me. Come directly to the living Jesus. Sit all alone. Be still. Talk to Him (Mt.11: 25:30/Jn.6:37,7:37). As seen in the New Testament, Jesus engages individuals. Don’t look for outside affirmation. You will stand alone before Him (2 Cor.5:10).If you really want His relief, freedom and full resolution of sin Read included Scriptures.
1.John 3:14—15- This is no little statement.Jesus uses Numbers 21:9 to spotlight as an epic truth to“Gaze upon” Him and His specific work on the cross. Face your sin. Realize the depravity and consequences. Let it break self righteous pride. Proportionate sorrow is a good thing. Repentance grounds you in humility and eliminates catastrophic presumption 2 Cor. 7:10-11 -Remorseleads to lingering morbid self-introspection (2 Cor.7:10).When the conscience is cleansed the compass for life switches to being led by the Holy Spirit. There is No Return to “dead works” of self-improvement (Hebrews 10:18,22,9:14). Reject regret over past actions (Phil.3:13).Requires “Violence” of will (Matthew 11:12).
2.John 3:14–17-Put all your sin (self) on Jesus on cross – Like the snake on Moses’ staff, Jesus embodied all poison of evil, contemplate, God’s love and forgiveness for you in Jesus to “bear” all your sin for your entire life (1 Peter 2:24). Obey God by faith in Jesus
3. 2 Cor 10:3-5 Must “Cast down” all thoughts and imaginations connected to sin. False piety and self-pity is disobedience to God’s revelation. “Excessive sorrow” is rebellion- (2 Cor.2:7).As far as Jesus is concerned His shed blood resolved the healing process for all the pain of sin.
4. Replacement therapy changes brain paths in your mind. -Thoughts are mere unseen ideas, fueled byobedience or demonic inspired emotion.You are not fighting a vicious bull dog but your own free will. You can replace a thought faster than you can say “How could I do that? I have no hope.”Quality of life is rooted in quality of thoughts and words. Once you stop dwelling on the severity and depression of failure and switch to faith in the Word of God His reality opens to His Spirit.God says “Your thoughts are not My thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8). So LEARN to replace yours with themultitudes in Scripture like these:
“I have called you by name…I love you“ (Isaiah 43)
“not counting their trespasses against them”- ALL sin- no sin left uncovered- No matter how deliberate or intentional (2 Cor. 5:19).
“If we sin we have an advocate”- (1 John 2:1-2).
“Everyone born of the Spirt is as the Wind” (John3:3-8)
“out of your inner most being shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). These actions of obedience begin, not a ‘better’ life, but a new life (2 Cor.5:17). Resurrection life replaces self-remorse (Jn.12:25/Rm.6:6ff/1 Cor.15:45/Rom.5:12ff). God requires one thing; a sincere heart(Ps.51:17). No dwelling on how bad you may think your sin is or what you think you must do or feel but resolute faith in God’s revelation. Absolute surrender. His love is worth any rejection by others . If you stand for Him, Jesus promises to stand for you (Matthew 10:32).
Thought Replacement Therapy has 100% success rate. If you implement this discipline for this process it will take hold and become your foundation. You will fail. It will take time. But once the anchor is set in your WILL, the boat is secure. The mind will change. Like multitudes do for thousands of secular programs of “therapy”, SUCESS DEPENDS ON YOUR COMMITMENT. THE REWARD: divine freedom, redemption for all your failure, eternal life and salvation from hell (John 8:32-36,11:25/Rev.20:12-15). I pray for you, my friend, asking God for the one seeking Him. I love you as a fellow warrior.
So sad to meet people who call themselves a Christian but in down to earth, nitty gritty every day life struggles they are void of true power. I want to sit down and talk to them. I want to ask them “Why, why, why would you want to be contrary to the divine revelation of God’s Word and incur the tragic consequences and outcome of demonic control?” It’s not like you have to climb a mountain or swim an ocean. There is no need for any appearance of moral righteousness. Everything God offers is free, simple and yet profound. The one and only requirement is that you come in through The Door (John 10:9). Jesus says His sheep will “NEVER” follow a stranger (same passage).
How can a man, The Man, be a door? Maybe a bridge, maybe water, maybe many other things but a door means one must pass THROUGH Him. There is no doubt the only way to utilize a door is to go in and pass through …Him. Jesus says that one who comes through Him will “find pasture”. Good things, living truth and healing waters await. This, my friend, is salvation. The living Person Jesus. Plain, simple and profound. God declares that the only way to defend oneself against the god the of this world is “…by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony” (Rev.12:11).
Do you realize how powerful such a statement remains? Right along side the blood of the Lamb, which is THEE most profound event and provision in the universe, of all time, is the personal testimony of a person to meeting Jesus. It is the ONLY defense against the subtle and lethal lies Satan injects into our lives. The Presence of the living Jesus is the only One Who can ensure our real access to His Spirit. Kind of common sense. Yet men would rather pretend because they don’t want to expenisd the heart for truth.
The following is the word of my testimony.
We all carry a burden of life’s pain deep inside us. It doesn’t really spill out until outward things break down. Then, we can get angry, and feel so all alone. We do things we don’t understand or want to do. We are driven by something in us that is an enigma.
We fear there are no real answers. I had a “Bad Ass” image when I played college football. I lifted 405 lbs., ran a 4.4, 40 yrd. dash but beneath it all I hid my feelings of being a failure and my deep depression. Do you know what I’m saying? Have you ever tried to face what you feel inside? Society tells us “You’re on your own baby. Got to fake it to ‘Make it’”. Not true, my dear brother or sister. Not true at all.
My teamates called me “Crazy War” (from my wild ways and my last name begins with ‘war’).One night my image drove me to start a bar room brawl. Cops were called. I fled down a back alley and up a chain-link fence. But I landed in jail. My football noteriety kept me from prison, but my ‘crazy war’ kept me locked up in a dungeon of misery. Peer pressuredefined me as others expected of me: “The Crazy War”.
I was desperate for another life. Modern times have corrupted the idea of God, from a living merciful Father, into an irrelevant and impersonal system of hypocrisy, politics and self-righteousness condemnation. So hard to get beyond it because it’s everywhere.
This story is my journey to get beyond it and can help you find reality and resolution to your deepest pain. One night, long ago, while watching The Ed Sullivan Show, my mom just started telling my dad and I about an experience she had of the livingJesus. I was kind of like “Where did that come from?”. I mean as catholics it was all about Mary and the Mass. What’s with this Jesus thing?
My dad was a big-time “ go to church” guy buthe instantlyshut her off. I’ll never forget his reaction sitting in his chair with his bowl of ice cream. He went from cool, calm and collective to a raging lunatic. In that very moment,I was stunned by the collision of two totally different HEARTS. How could religion cause such absolute contrary responses?
From then on, their marriage collapsed, until the day she died of intenstinal cancer. It broke my heart and baffled my mind. I loved her so very dearly. As my dad and I drove home in the black hearse, from the cemetery, after her burial, he told me of his terrible regret of how he treated her. But it was too late.
At that time, I was consumed with my ownworld of football, booze and drugs but their illogical conflict put a deep question in me about another possibility of God, other thantypical churchianity. But what could “IT” be? I kept my thoughts a secret to myself. Yet I began to become aware of how many people are like my dad, they speak “right” words and ACT religious but inside have no HEART. I also watched so many destroyed by religion, catholic but especially evangelical. So plastic and phony. So I completely understood why people stay away from mention of “Jesus”.
I refused to play “church”, or become a cynic and antagonist. Instead, I decided to give God a fair chance. So I made a simple, straightforward appeal. If He existed, I tested Him by asking for an “All-City” football award that would get me recruited,away from my dad, and out of my own home town routine of going to bars and getting drunk.
To my shock, God actually answered my prayer. But I miserably failed to respond. In fact, when I arrived at Central Mich. Univ to play football, my inner‘crazy war’ went “nuclear”. I ran from God into a very dark world.
An Inner Move leads to Another World
Surely, your life-experience is something quite different. You have your own ‘issues’ and case against God. But surely, you desire purpose, meaning and peace of mind. Unforeseen injuries smashed my football dreams. I lost everything and everyone. I was worse than ever before.
I began wonder if I could truly find the living Jesus. I allowed my HEART to move my will to budge. It’s called repentance. You don’t have to climb no moral mountain or got any meetings. Just start to budge. Do you really WANT to know God? Yes, it’s about eternity in heaven or hell. But Jesus promises to replace depression with joy and laughter here and now.If you will move an inch towards Him, He will move you a mile.
As I contemplated Jesus in the Gospel of John I became fascinated with His ways and words. I didn’t even understand the workings of atonement, mediation, propitiation, sacrifice, etc. I just loved Jesus. What a man. What a God. Learning about Jesus is seeing God in action with common individuals like you and me, because He is One (Jn.14:6-9). The ultimate question: Is the Jesus of long ago, alive today? I wondered “If Jesus existed would He do something real forme?” I also read a book about a caterpillarand the dark world of a “cocoon” becoming a butterfly.
Faith is like a tiny seed that enters our“caterpillar”. With my leg in a cast, I made another appeal to God.Jesus promises, not a 2nd chance, but a life of 2nd chances. My injury kept me from playing Spring Ball so earning a scholarship for the next year was impossible. One beautiful spring day, Coach Kramer called me into his office and said, even though I was injured, he awarded me a full-ride scholarship.
I was overwhelmed by God being real and Hislove to hear a wicked dude like me. I walked outside, fully dressed, and dove into a campus pond (I couldn’t stop itching and was later told it was filled with insecticides. Whoops).A few months later I visited Notre Dame during a catholic charismatic conference. While sitting in the stadium, under the library mural of “Touchdown Jesus”, I surrendered to the real living Jesus. The Holy Spirit is real. Jesus repeatedly explains His Character in John 14, 15 and 16. He is actually described as a dove (John 1:32).
I didn’t know it then,but I was “born from above”(Jn.3:3-8).In one moment of time and space I became as the wind. The reality is that we have no idea how weighed down we are with guilt, worry, unbelief, ect. It requires the Holy Spirit to lift this burden. No “accept Christ” prayer but the very impact of Presence of His Spirit. There are no obstacles, no walls, no limitations to keep Him from us. Except our wall of pride and presumption.
The weight of guilt was suddenly lifted and I felt like a butterfly escaping the cocoon. My conscience was washed. There were no angels or rainbows but I was resolved that “the crazy war” died with Christ on the cross. I was reconciled to my living Father. That one de cision of courage changed my entire life. God turned my failures into feathers to build wings to fly (Isaiah 40:31). The proof of what happened then fills fifty years of standing for Jesus since then. Not my strength but His Spirit.
I am not lying or exaggerating. It is shameful and tragic how “Christians” talk on and on about how they changed their SELF, about a ‘church’, Bible verses, a preacher or experience,but not one word about meeting the living Jesus. He will bring you into salvation because Jesus IS salvation. Not some mechanical “sinners prayer” to “accept Christ”. Theory is not Jesus.
The magnificent living Person of Jesus is waiting. He says “Come to ME… Learn from ME…out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water (Mt.11:28/Jn.7:37).He will meet you right where you’re at. He is a living Person and His Spiritimparts a life like the wind. It is awesome to actually fly beyond ‘the crazy war’ ; like an eagle (Jn.3:8/Is.40:31).
God is not seen or known by an hourof ascertaining abstract sermon knowledge in a building on Sunday. Jesus says “they honor Me with their lips but their HEART is far from me” (Mk.7:6). There are 67k denominations, 300k churches, and a glut of TV “preachers” that confuse and deceive multitudes.It is not the church but a system of preachers, self-righteousness and Chri$tianity.
The living Jesus is not a title, term or cliche. He is the revelation of God on earth. Yes, Jesus is invisible. But so is air, frequencies, aromas, wind, love, truth and all things that constitute real life. The plan of Jesus is to “credit” your FAITH to you as His righteousness(Rm.4:9/Gal.2:20-21/Phil.3:7-11). No more pretending to be good or failing to obey the 10 commandments.Imagine being “washed” clean of your own ‘crazy war’. Imagine the free flight of an eagle; a son of the Father (Jn.8:32,36/Gal.2:16-21/ 2 Cor. 5:17,6:17-18,). Jesus took it (SIN) into His own body and shed every drop ofHis perfect blood as a substitute and atonement (READ Rom.5:8,3:10,7:19/Ps.51:3ff).
A while back I was up in the high country of the Rocky Mountains. I was laying on my back and watching cloud formations. Just loving God. Suddenly an eagle flew into the picture. Thousands of feet high, it did just one thing. It rode the wind. It glided for miles. So still. No movement yet going so high. I thought of a riddle. What travels into beautiful places without moving? An eagle in flight. Never heard a man talk about John 3:8. Yet it is the one and only place Jesus describes what it is to be born again. So contrary to the “salvation” of a prayer, Bible knowledge and betterment of self. The wind, an eagle, heights in the Spirit, joy beyond joy and destiny of friendship with God.
One touch of His love will budge your heart.Any church that tells you the goal is to make yourself a “better” person is as stupid as the phonies who dragged an adulterous woman to the feet of Jesus. In one sentence, God, in Christ, nullified all human “righteousness”: ‘he who is without sin, stone her’ (Jn.8:7). God understands all the tough stuff, all the deliberate and accidental sin, and yearns to forgive and heal you. Jesus yearns to become your true Brother and teach you how to actually mount up with eagles wings.
We can never “better” our self because there is nothing in self better than self (Rm.3:10). A church did not die on a cross and cannot heal the inner war. God is fully aware of the ‘crazy war’ we all hide inside. Satan tells us that ourpain is due to our own failure or something or someone ‘out there’. No. All struggle is due solely to SIN written in our blood (Rm.7:16).
Satan tricked our father Adam to defy God and ruined the entire human race (Rom.5:12). So we all inherit ‘the crazy war’of sin against God in our very blood (Rom.6:23/ Rv.21:8).Jesus died and rose again to put in us His “life-giving resurrection Spirit”; the only way I conquer the crazy war every hour of every day (Jn.3:7/1 Cor.15:45/ Eph.3:16).
Don’t let the scars win. All the questions are like dominos that will start to fall as youbudge. Decide to make humility the 1st feather to build wings to fly in God’s wind (Jn.3:8). Please, let me help you. Feel free to write. Ask me anything. I love you as a brother and will meet you wherever you’re at. The experience of His wind will extinguish all pain and fear. Flight is far more than a metaphor. It is a promise from the Father.
Be honest. Do you think God has ever spoken to you? When was it and what did He say? Most expect a Moses experience of an audible voice resounding from the sky. So consequently most insist they have never “seen” or “heard” God.
But this is not true. God says He has spoken very specifically and has very clearly allowed Himself to be seen by everyone (John 1:14,3:14/Hebrews 1:1-2/Romans 10:18). Jesus continuously said “He who has ears let him hear” obviously putting it on us not Him. So the question is not whether He has revealed Himself to you, but whether you are willing to see.
The living Jesus comes to us with the gift of His unconditional love. God sent Jesus to openly display to all men, on the cross, no matter how wicked, “I LOVE YOU AND FORGIVE YOU”. Everyone, and I mean YOU and I, feel like we must earn God’s love. It matters not where we are in life. What matters is whether we are will “see” and believe He is the Mastermind of a divine plan.
In the scuttle and hustle of our daily lives, in this unfettered world of chaos, how is that we can be so still, so silent, so resolute to allow Him pierce our moments so as to “hear” and “see” His love come?
Are we so consumed with our inner turmoil that we refuse to welcome His appeal? Are we so consumed and given over to our self-designated plight that we can not imagine He has another plan?
What do you think of when you think of the death of Jesus? Really, we all think basically the same. We picture a distant and ancient historical event of a setting where something beyond our imagination took place. Our mind is saturated with our own life and world situation. But if I you will let me take you back, I assure you that your life will go forward in leaps and bounds.
So let’s stop for a moment in time. You there and me, here writing this. I hope you don’t think it too bold or presumptuous that I tell you the Spirit of Jesus is upon me because He loves you so much and yearns to tell you things to draw you to Himself. You see my friend, Jesus was not merely another man, as so many others, brought into the horrors of a crucifixion as punishment by the government of His time.
Jesus was way ahead of what would befall for the declarations He was to make to the world upon His arrival and growth in becoming a spokesman for the Father on earth. He laid forth divine revelation He brought directly from heaven. The Father instructed Him precisely what to say and do. He then took it into Himself how He would conduct His every step on our earth and shattered and grim world.
Jesus was to mastermind the plan. He was to inaugurate an entirely new manifestation of life. It would a completely new REVELATION. No man could ever conceive or even receive what we were about to behold. Yet, like the inventor of the watch, or any sophisticated mechanism, Jesus would put together a precise way that we could leave our present state of being and enter His divine state of being. It would not depend on our ability to project ourselves, by a matter of will power, but yield ourselves by the execution of His work imputed and imparted within us.
It begins by our “entry” into the cross. As the Mastermind of plan engineered for hopeless men, Jesus had to become hopeless. As the Mastermind of plan engineered for dying bodies and ruthless hearts, Jesus had to suffer ruthless pain, while becoming ruthless. He had to walk, live and talk in a body subject to death, and indeed die in its’ worthless state. He who knew NO SIN BECAME SIN (2 Cor.5:21).
You see my friend, while Jesus was on the cross He was not just dying. He was masterminding. He was in His most pinnacle state of intelligence as He negotiated, propitiated, atoned, appeased, bore and intermediated with His Father for His mercy on us. He masterminded a way so that no a man does not have to DO even one thing to allow His plan to be inaugurated. So if a man does not have to DO anything could this mean a man does not have to DO GOOD?
The “Good for Nothing” Someones
So there’s this guy named Paul. He like ‘got it’ as far as the living Jesus. His life is like really beautiful. He did all kinds of miracles and suffered for Jesus like no one else. So one day he’s writing a letter to some guys in Rome. He like just starts bearing his heart to them. He says “Look brothers and sister, there is not even one thing GOOD thing in me. Nothing. I’m as wicked as it comes. In fact, I’m AM more wicked than anyone else on earth” (Romans 7:18/1 Timothy 1:15).
So Paul is so into the state of trying to declare his state of being is wicked that he culminates it with the ultimate joy of a guilt-ridden man by saying “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1ff). Think about it. Why would he conclude chapter 7 with the first four verses of chapter 8 unless he is giving a narrative of his own conscious life? He is not writing something foreign to his daily experience. He is not like a guy who never played football narrating a football game.
They called the man who orchestrated the terrorist act of 9/11 the “mastermind”. He was responsible for every detail of how, where and when the men who flew the planes into the Towers would take flying lessons and exactly what they would do on the day of the attack. Well, as terrible as this all is, consider the exact details Jesus had to consider and implement so that He cold bring down the “towers” of man’s pride, while providing the alternative of His Character to implement into our corrupt state of being.
“God will to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the pagans, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27,2:2/Romans 16:25).
Jesus made it so that we can actually enter the very Presence of God. So often when we go into prisons I find myself pondering what the ultimate thing is that we will leave with them. It is not a prayer. It is not even knowledge. Our goal is to leave His Presence. His tender love and creative thinking is in us to convey to them. Our goal is to pierce the dark mind with light. To give you, and all men, nothing less than the thought that you can freely access the divine light of the living Jesus.
If you will fully surrender all that “I can be a good man” pride you can become the special “good for nothing” someone to access the divine plan of The Mastermind.
You can gain mind-blowing freedom by simply saying, and meaning, these two words, to your greatest struggles? But how, when it all seems so painful and difficult? It requires you focus on Jesus, like never before, to understand what He accomplished on cross (John 3:14/Rm.5:8). Nothing but the cross will save you from the deadly poison of the serpent (John 3:14/Numbers 21:9). John 3:16 is a popular verse but few ever contemplate the enormous implications of verse 14.
What is the cross?
“It is finished”, Jesus said, as the period to His sentence of the cross. It was to ALL the torment, turmoil, fear and confusion that all mankind, did experience, and would yet experience, for all ages to come (John 19:30 ). It was the end of sin. Jesus offers you His marvelous, intimate love, to rescue you, here and now, from all sin and failure.
So now, you must humble yourself to understand what this really means and how He really works to impart such finality to all your sorrow and struggle. So you can triumphantly say, from the depths of your heart, “So what?”.
Imagine being free from all the issues that keep you bound and depressed. Our mind can become so cluttered and scattered with dark thoughts, like one of those huge yards full of meaningless and endless junk. This is precisely the purpose of the cross of Jesus, to wipe it all away and give you mental clarity and bliss.
I used to always avoid the cross as a morbid symbol of self-denial. Like, “Man, it makes me feel guilty cuz it’s impossible for me to die to my selfishness”. The truth is the cross is proof that in the divine blood of Jesus He also bore all our human blood all our human “junk”. And it is the divine gift of faith that unites us to this real power.
One simple act of obedience; to surrender; instantly takes you out of being a slave, to your own cursed flesh, with all its weird moods and feelings, and empowers you to stand as a ruler; a victor, and an overcomer. a true believer.
Let’s be real. We all hurt. So it sounds terribly insensitive and inconsiderate to ask someone if they can say these two words. It first requires explanation. There is a huge context of understanding required so as to bring the light of many variables, both eternal and earthly, to give a perspective of God’s revelation of the cross. It may be a little charm worn around the neck or hanging as a symbol in your room but the cross is the biggest thing in the whole world.
It comes down to one word; repentance. It is not a ‘hell, fire and brimstone’ scare tactic. It is the merciful appeal of a loving God to come into His care and find the alternative to this wicked and heartless world, and a mind corrupted by sin. “Repent” is the first thing Jesus spoke when He began to minister and the last thing He said before returning to heaven (Mark 1:15/Lk.24:47). It’s the only way to get into heave. It’s not up for us to define. The Scriptures are very clear. The Greek word is metanoia which means change of mind (Rm.12:2). You do it every day about over many things. But this change is the deliberate resolution of will to turn from darkness to truth that sets you free from the world and sin (John 8:32).
“I DESERVE BETTTER.”
Do you understand the word entitlement? Today’s Christians have the attitude “Don’t tell me. I already know it all”. The outcome is disaster. Their lives exemplify typical natural living yet insist they know all about Christ. Pride goes before the fall. When you think you are deserving of a better situation than what you now have, every burden becomes an increased burden. Everything bad becomes super-bad. “Why me?” is the default. You deserve better. Says who? Says why? This is the attitude of all men. This attitude results in the subconscious defiance of God for your life situation. You think you deserve better.
This is why David gives the key to life when he reveals that the one and only thing God wants from us is a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). The human race defied God in the decision of our forefather, Adam. We deserve His justice of hell fire. We don’t deserve good. We deserve bad. Yet God the Father responded to Adam’s outrageous sin with mercy in the sending of Jesus to earth to save us from sin.
So repentance must be at the heart of our lives because it is humility that positions us to receive from God’s redemptive power. Smashing any entitlement and seeing ourselves as unworthy sinners is huge. When you deserve nothing but eternal hell anything of God for eternal heaven is everything.
Repentance is not a one-time prayer or passing sentiment of remorse. It is going to the cross to get a reality check of understanding your plight and purpose in the universe of God’s revelation. The cross is the “place” to find if you truly want eternal life.
There are so many things to learn how to learn. Don’t sit idle. Where do you start reading in the Scriptures? They offer a phenomenal journey leaving the old and discovering the new you in living Jesus.
Imagine walking into a huge library and trying to choose which book to read first to help you in life.
Simple: The Crossroad by Jesus
The cross is not a mere past historical event. It’s not an old irrelevant book on the back shelf of a library. The death of Jesus is a captivating living experiential ‘novel’. As you succumb to its plot you find transformation. It is an eternal work accomplished in the heavens, for us to access today, here and now (Hebrews 7:24,9:11-24,10:19 ).
The cross was actually a tabernacle. It is the ultimate altar where the eternal Lamb was slain for the appeasement and atonement for all sin for all time. So, therefore, long after Jesus died Paul says he was crucified WITH THE LAMB and chose to crucify the world to himself (Gal.2/6).
From day one of my journey in Christ it has been exciting to find this place of the cross. His new ways are only released in, through and on the other side of the cross, out of my miserable daily mess. It is learning to establish my new being by simple faith in this divine and holy mechanism of the cross (Rm 1:17/Hebrews 11:6).
Not dependent on human strength to pretend to be better but just the opposite. It is to realize how weak and sinful we are and must surrender to Christ on the cross. We must dump our sin into the sin pool of of all men Jesus bore on the cross.
Faith is a depth of change that happens as a result of uniting our deepest sin with Jesus as He bled to death on the cross (Roman6:6).
When Jesus says “take up your cross” He means to bring His revelation of the cross into your life (Matt. 16:24/mark 8:34/LK. 9:23/Jn 12:24). Yoke your sinful self to Jesus WHEN HE WAS ON THE CROSS. To unite yourself NOW, with His work of appeasement, IN THE HEAVENS. By giving up your self/ ego/ pride you instantly admit the evil in you of sin and reckon it to the cross in the light of Christ.
Our old self does not disappear. Paul says “I die daily”. Again, this is what Jesus means to “take up your cross”. I have learned the joy in being constantly mortified by seeing the depths of my sin. Our pride refuses to let us repent. It refuses to “see” because it can’t see. It is blind. The only way we can bring ourselves to “see” is to turn from pride; to repent; to change from being proud, to humbling ourselves.
Humiliation is the only way out (Heb. 12:2). There is a big difference between humility and humiliation. Humility is like swimming just offshore. Humiliation takes us into the deep dealings of Christ. We “despise” the shame but push beyond it to find the freedom from ourselves. We learn to hate the proud image that keeps us from the new reality waiting in the living Spirit of Jesus. Pride runs deep in our blood and is very tricky. The cross is the only hope we have to get to “the power of God” to “see” ourselves in His light and to “unite” our sin with Him (Rm. 6:6). Those captured by the systematic thinking of Christianity do not understand the cross. They are afraid of it, like I used to be. So many misconceptions keep men away. So they remain powerless, repeating the same old same old cycles of thought and behavior. But it is the essence of salvation. It is the only way to truly become new.
One day a lightning storm struck a tree across the street from where I lived long ago. I walked out to it and had the crazy thought to make it into a six-foot cross. Then I heard there was a huge raft race at the Grand River. I chose to carry it down there to witness for Jesus. That was the first time I was arrested for Christ. They said it was disorderly conduct to preach to people drunk out of their minds. It was outrageous and I was arrested many more times. When Paul learned about the cross he said “most gladly, therefore, I will boast of my weakness (sickness from sin) so that the power of Christ might dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9/10). He even said “I have been crucified…”(Gal.2:20,6:12-14).
Going to the cross is the only means of repentance for all men. It is the only way to find the direct release of the love of Jesus for others. Compassion is the result of all the things realized in dying to self because you learn the common thread that weaves all humanity into a hopeless state.
Divine love and Forgiveness is profound. When you surrender you truly realize you have NOTHING to give. And it is then when God’s love begins to flow. Surrender, instead of striving to think you are supposed to make yourself better. We have not within ourselves the love that only comes through the cross (Rm 3;9).
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).
It’s not up to us to figure out OUR OWN repentance. It’s like a guy who owns a property. He puts up fencing to maintain all that he owns. He thinks to himself “This is how far I can go. It’s all mine.” Well, that is exactly the opposite of total surrender. Repentance is not doing what you know, but “doing” what you don’t know. And it only comes by letting go of what you know.
The cross promises us the security of a new identity by the promise of the resurrection for adoption. We become His actual legitimate sons and daughters (2 Cor. 6: 18/Romans 8:14-15/Gal. 4:6). We stop pretending to be something that we are not because we realize our identity is no longer in ourselves but through the living Jesus before the Father.
This produces a “nuclear” humility. We can prevent presumption and “split the Adam” to discern between our flesh and His truth (Heb 4:12).
I know this stuff can seem heavy and boring but it is worth every second to ponder and contemplate. It is the repentance that leads to life. Esau sought for it but had long ruined the God-given tools of conscience, heart, intelligence and will (Heb. 12:17). When people ‘play around’ with such solemn matters of heart and truth they destroy their soul. There is only one same repentance for all men and it is found through the cross (Rm 6:6). It will change your state of mind if you yield to the actual humility of Jesus displayed in John 13 and Philippians 2.
I have carried a cross into many places all over the world. I will do so until my body is put into a grave. Many call me a nut. Many thank me and many will thank me. But all of them know, when they see the cross, it means repentance. It’s true. I’m not of this world. So I guess I am a nut but I’m a happy one. Never die. Believe Jesus (Jn 11:25,12:25).
As you look out over any ocean or huge body of water you cannot detect the most profound occurrence happening right before your eyes. You’ve got to put your hand in the waters. What’s that force you feel? It is the unseen tide that has consumed many ships at sea because the captain did not properly read or adjust his ship for the outgoing or incoming tide. Life has a thousand unseen currents so you can not go by how things seem, appear or feel. Satan functions in the unseen world causing, anger, confusion and despair.
Long ago my family and I bought a sailboat at a very cheap price. We all worked to make it “seaworthy”. I became a captain of an endeavor I never imagined. Our dream was to bring the gospel to all the ports along the coast of South America. I wrongly figured it would be the cheapest and best way. Worst decision I ever made. In my humble opinion, other than a aircraft carrier, no boat made by man, can safely face the horrors that await a person on the ocean. Rogue waves alone can bring you to tears.
The truth is I was at a time in my life where I was brought to my end from preaching for many years on the campuses and city streets across America. I was broken by the hatred, indifference, hypocrisy and persecution. I just wanted to flee. My horizon had to be expanded to see beyond the limitations and frailty of my flesh to learn the High Tide of HIs Spirit.
I could write a library of overwhelming challenges we had to overcome. Almost faced death many times. There is a vast knowledge required including understanding latitude, longitude, tides, apparent and true winds, complex charts, compass variations, etc. The learning curve is mind boggling.
The tide is fascinating. Think about how it occurs.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the tide is caused by the gravity of the moon pulling the oceans towards itself as the earth rotates. So in a very sequential and cyclical manner this marvel of the ocean moving in one direction then completely changing and going in the opposite direction takes place at specific times.
The impact of HIGH TIDE is enormous in many aspects. One time my daughter Ruth and I were on our tiny little dingy heading back to the ship, after filling our water tanks, and the tide caught us in its current, like in a giant fist, and rapidly started to take us out to sea. We were petrified.
I began stroking the paddles as hard as I could against HIGH TIDE. The power is so massive I had to row so hard that it snapped the paddle in half. Someone on a dock saw us, ran to the end of the pier and threw us a life line. We barely escaped a tragedy if not death. Such things happened many times.
But from that experience I never again took the impact of the tide lightly. In fact it was one of the main reasons I began to seek God to get us off that boat. It caused no little consternation. Reading the Tide Charts, with experience of its’ power, is completely different than reading them without that experience. You don’t realize it, my friend, but your life is in extreme danger. So many mornings after that I would stoop down on a dock, put my hand in the water, and feel the overwhelming power of the tide, praising God for giving me the humility to face my lack. The tide is either coming in or going out on your life right at this moment. This unseen phenomenon is a powerful witness to the glory of our Creator trying to teach how to enter His destiny. The Word of God is just a listing of times, places, history and doctrines unless you personally know how to grasp the High Tide and what is involved if you miscalculate.
I was so out of my realm on a sailboat. I had no idea what I was doing. But it brought me to begin to understand what it means to be in or out of the flow of God’s will.
Imagine the power of HIGH TIDE in regards to being caught up in the will and blessing of Abrahamic faith in the living God? Imagine choosing to lift yourself and be able to PUT YOURSELF in a faith that becomes like a current of destiny. It’s true bro. This is what it means to be in the living Jesus. Oh sure, you may miss it a thousand times, but ultimately you when “taste and see” the flow in His High Tide you become a tideaholic.
Thus says the HIGH and exalted One Who dwells on HIGH “I dwell on a high and holy place AND ALSO with the contrite (repentant) and lowly of spirit” (Isaiah 57:15).
HIGH TIDE is the absolute beauty and reward of true repentance. It is being carried by a force outside yourself into the joy of sonship. You will know its power because it requires a contrite heart to learn the “learning curve” (Ps. 51:17). Behavioral change merely happens as a result. It is not a focus. High Tide is the ultimate proof of divine change. It takes place as a result of Jesus. It is what the men and women felt who caught the flow in His eyes. It is like the awesome glorious the changing of the season; the changing of weather, a caterpillar into a butterfly or the storm winds.
Jesus says a man born of the Spirit is as changing as the wind (John 3:8). It is not a one time prayer-ritual or feeling of remorse over bad deeds. It is a character caused by the gravity of turning from your sin and aligning with eternal destination. Of eating His Bread, drinking His blood, flowing as His branch, hearing the Shepherd, walking in His light and drinking new wine.
Going against Him stops you… dead in the waters of life. It will result in snapping your paddle against the opposite direction of your will. You must stop. Learn how to truly read the Tide Chart of the Spirit. You conscience is telling you that the fruits you exude are not those of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). You are going against the tide. Repentance is an enormous inward, reversal and transformation of will.
People wrongly think that when they do what they think is “good” or “right” this is repentance. It is not. In Mark 10:17…22 the man did what was “good” but was unwilling to listen, and change, so as to follow Jesus. He would not enter a different flow of righteousness. Why? He wanted his own way of change. It was ‘good enough’. Being in control and repentance do not exist together.
Pride, more often than not, does NOT ALLOW you to change. It will stop you like a contrary current. It will oppose Jesus like the tide did to Ruth and I. In fact it will turn you in the opposite direction by the underlying current of unbelief and self-righteousness that you refuse to identify. This unseen and unidentified tide of pride will drive you out into an ocean of delusion, confusion and lost at sea. Please, please, please my friend listen to me, before its too late.
TRUE REPENTANCE ALWAYS ENDS IN JOY OF FORGIVENESS IN CHRIST- Read 2 Cor.7:10-Luke 15
It is a reflective sorrow that ends in spectacular relief not grief. Make things simple bro. The Holy Spirit always clearly bears witness to the truth.
In the quiet whispers of your conscience the Spirit speaks to you, here, to every person. Read Romans 2:14-16.
The destiny of true repentance is as majestic and remarkable as the changing of the tide. It is more magnificent than all the oceans suddenly switching from one way to another. God says that every person shows that they hear truth by how their behavior reflects the workings of their conscience and thus will answer for any secret rationalizations. To respond is the switch of the current. Suddenly, an enormous mystery occurs.
Jesus says He provided every solution to every problem in His death and resurrection (John. 15:22-26/Romans 1:20).
God does not reveal any special way to change that is different today, for you, then He did ten years, or a thousand years ago, to men in the exact situation. His ways didn’t change.
It is we who must yield so as to be taken over by His current. His ways don’t need some kind of unique revelation. He cites individuals who dealt with the exact same sufferings and same exact answer. God is not going to come up with a different or new gospel than what Jesus has already done on the cross. There is no other salvation coming to earth. It’s tough. It’s hard. It requires death to self but man is the reward FEE NOM IN ALL!!!!!!!
The cliche “Where there is a will there is a way” is common but profound. It is the clincher. If you want to hear God , if you want to change, if you want to follow Jesus then do so. The power of the free will brings you into everything in Christ that you need. It is a two way street. A two way tide that brings new things in and old things out. You can rest in High Tide. You can be carried into the plan of the living Father.
LETHAL RESISTANCE – You know those thoughts that stalk your mind like dark dragons? That’s because unrepentant sin lingers in your conscience . Dragons can be replaced by butterflies of hope and promise. You must set your will to want to surrender yourself, not resist Him. Then all the crap will be resolved. Yes, changing your mind is difficult. But if you couldn’t do Jesus would never have come; in like the tide to take you out with Him.
I can remember the first time I threw myself face down on my bed, terrified that I couldn’t change and follow Jesus because I knew my wickedness. No way was I going to be a phony. I just talked to Him. I reflected on how He dealt in Scripture with the very worst individuals with such Personal mercy and compassion. I just believed He would show me, teach me and empower me, the same way, despite my fears and weakness.
Right this very moment, brother, you know whether you are resisting God or not. Go a deeper contrite. It may be way down there and seemingly so tiny. Almost indistinguishable. Don’t deny it. He sees it and loves you and wants to deal with it. Resistance is not usually some dominating feeling or outward rebellion. Pride rises up in tiny packages of little rationalizations, almost unnoticeable; “You’ve done enough”…”Nobody knows how hard you tried”…”That’s good enough” are common little lies and fears of pride. It won’t let you change. Excuses come in all shapes and sizes. You can’t come up with any new fear that hasn’t stopped billions or been used by those who almost made it. Don’t fight the tide. Let go.
God IS speaking to you my dear brother or sister. No doubt. Right this moment. He clearly says so (Psalm 19:1/Rom. 10: 18). The conscience, the skies, clouds, the air, trees and leaves and branches are His actual voice speaking to you of so many thing in the silence of. your concentration. Paul says we interpret through the medium of faith (Romans 10:9-18).
HEARING depends on your choice to trust the living Father and interpret them as His love for you. The main reason people are not blown away by the love of God in creation is solely because of entitlement. So consumed with self they don’t realize they are on the edge of hell fire. If you realized how wicked you are in God’s sight and yet God gives you breath in your lungs to inhale and the scent of millions of flowers, the song of a million birds, etc. then you would see His revelation as men of old.
The “old man”, of Adam, does not disappear because we feel bad for our sin (2 Cor.4:16). The “old man” is in our blood bro. We need a “blood transfusion” in every single decision to BELIEVE JESUS instead of ourselves. When we believe His blood it overshadows our bad blood and everything that goes with it. All sin, past, present and future.
Bad blood loses its life influence. It must be identified and crucified constantly. Paul says “I die daily” and “We are sheep to be slaughtered” and “constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus” (1 Cor.15:31/Rm. 8:36/2 Cor. 4:11).
I was so thrilled to get off the sea and on to dry land I literally laid down and kissed the ground when we sold that ship. It was so humiliating to admit how wrong I was. I had to reach into a deeper contrite. It was funny how the High Tide instantly caught me and took me into His precious Presence.
On the “sea trial” of selling the boat a huge storm hit at the very moment and the steering ran out of hydraulic fluid. It could have been a disaster but the guy was so impressed with “how I handled the boat in such horrible seas” it finalized the deal. It wasn’t me. It was the outcome of stopping my lingering ways and being carried in the High Tide of the redemptive currents of the Most High.
I once converted a 40 foot GMC old bus into an RV to take to Europe to provide for us to live in on the other side of the ocean. But it had one “little” problem. The emergency air brake did not completely stop. It would almost stop, but then roll forwards a tiny bit. I had more than one accident of it rolling into something. I had to always chock the tires until I got it fixed (caused many a nightmare to this day). Many people tell me how they have “accepted Christ” while anxiety exudes out of them like a gushing fountain.
There was a very definitive moment on the ship that I had to STOP and admit I made a mistake. I was being driven by my own self-pity and a lot of confusing currents.
It is no little thing to completely STOP. To admit the truth before God. Stop your mind. Stop your anxiety. Stop your thoughts. Listen. Can you be still? How long? Because if you can, and when you do, is the time that you can examine your conscience. Don’t be afraid. What words are turning in your head? Grief or blessing? Paul says we must realize any little “encumbrance of sin” that interferes in this effort. Whatever bugs you butterflies are waiting. It is an outcome of one or all of the Big Three: Guilt, shame, remorse, are like the three “friends” of Job always speaking words that carry some morsel of truth but not the full truth. They trip you up.
The cleansing of the conscience by the interpersonal work of the Lamb is not some theoretical mental gymnastics (Hebrews 10:19-22). His impact is as real as a car wash. Before and after. If your conscience is not washed, the flesh will constantly leak into the engine of your mind, and take you against the tide of God’s Spirit. Don’t play games bro, or sis, time is short. It’s all that matters and your eternity is all that matters to Him. “Fixing your eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:1). Focus. For one time in your life.
We are immersed in a vile culture and its influence is inescapable. This is the generation where Christian truths are twisted and delusion has become mainstream. We will soon face the final judgement and eternity in heaven or hell. Yield to the High Tide my friend. He comes in Jesus to take you out to heaven. Soon He will go out never to return. I love you man. You matter so much to God He gave His Son. “All day long I stretch out My arms to a people who walk in their own ways” (Isaiah 65:2-3,,66:2).
The Tacumbu prison in Paraguay is in the top five of worst prisons in the world. Created for 800, now holding 4,000. Appoximately 18 people die there every year.
THIS CONCLUDES THE COMPLETION TO THE FIRST PART OF THE PRIOR “TACUMBO” BLOG. We had spent several days sharing Jesus throughout the third world city of Asuncian, Paraguay. We contacted the main prison there and were immediately welcomed in. Warden Luis opened the door for us to enter this huge prison yard. The sight of thousands of shattered men, openly crying, begging for help, or just talking into the air, hit me like the wave of a catastrophe. A few guys were actually climbing the walls on drain pipes. It was almost unbearable. I walked over and sat next to one brother, after another, trying to diffuse the internal anguish that ignites panic into such human frenzy.
Five years of graduate studies never prepared me. It shook me to my core and haunts me to this day. This tragic scene was NOT due to it being an isolated jungle-prison in a 3rd world culture. These brothers were not from Mars. No antenna. No space ships. It is actually a similar scene in scores of places throughout America and the entire world. The torture of feeling you are a reject or unfit for society is a lie and contradicts our God imparted conscience and reason. The fears, tears, and desperation of those brothers in Tacumbu arose out of the exact same stupidity we are all taught: happiness is determined by our individual ability to achieve it. Brother, this is a lie and a vicious scheme of Satan.
Brother, we have been lied to all our lives. Since childhood we are told humanity is just wonderful. Really? Why then does evil dominate the world? It is a fact: God created Adam and Eve as perfect and wonderful. However, they corrupted themselves, and through procreation, all mankind with SIN (Genesis 3/Romans 5). The greatest tragedy of human existence is not even considered, and no where mentioned in this world . You’ll never hear on the NEWS about sin as the reason for crime, suicide, drugs, homelessness, prison, war, even though it is the essence of all hell on earth every human being is tormented by 24/7.
Despair makes us not only vulnerable, but also gullible to the debilitating lies and defiance of religion and society.I know you’ve been bombarded with “answers” and are tired of being let down. Disillusionment takes a mighty toll on our soul. When you feel cold and angry being open can seem like a mountain range away. But it’s not. It’s right here. One choice away.
Behind closed doors is the reality of inexplicable dark and fearful thoughts that we hide inside. Dark stuffhas no definitionin a Websters Dictionary or psycho babel. Yet it eats guys like you and I for lunch. It ain’t nice. No “diagnosis” for darkness.
Like you, I was raised thinking there are good and bad people. I was a ‘bad people’. Feeling shame, guilt and condemnation hits us at an early age and never stops. It picks up momentum as we get older. Little bad things blow up in our face. We feel like a unique… monster. Dark streams of mental anguish trickle into our subconscious. Then, one day, you go to prison and are condemned by society. Like a steel ball bounced around, in one of those old pin ball machines, all you wonder is “What’s my next hit?Am I a pawn relegated to a destiny of chaos and hell, both mental and literal, by a Puppet Master in the sky?”Brother, I know this feeling.
Hopelessness is no little thing.What purpose is there to live if you are locked into a destiny to do evil, because you are evil, and are evil because you do evil? Where can the mind go from there but down?
Brother, enough already with Mr. Macho. We’re at the bottom of life here, bro. A false sense of “Everything’s going to be okay” don’t help. It’s not going to be ok, if you don’t get a hold of TRUTH. This is not one of many options to have a nice day.
I don’t mean to insult you bro, I love you, man to man, eye to eye. But no matter how old you may be, it’s time to open your eyes. Truth is kick ass. It automatically creates mental clarity. It’s like fire. Truth burns away lies and half truths and supplies the beauty of warm glow. The brain is wired to process truth not lies. If you force your mind to accept a lie as truth YOU WILL SUFFER A MENTAL WARP. Indeed, all men are created by God with the inner “wiring”, in the conscience, to bring us into forgiveness and the interpersonal saving love of Jesus. This is provided a person comes into walk in THE LIGHT OF TRUTH.
If a person deals with God in transparency everything will flow as God intends; i.e. abundant life, joy, the fruits of the Spirit; Mental clarity. But look, all men live in sin, all of us. Thus everyone deals with the mental conflict of the conscience as a self-warning, inbuilt mechanism, that troubles us with the mental condition of being out of fellowship with God, separated from the Father. So, if you live, not in repentance, but according to the lying nature of man, innumerable ways will push you into mental anguish. Until we recognize, and learn to deal with our sinful state, according to the Word, a “hypocrite” imposes the lie, of being “fine”, or a ‘good person’, upon his mind.He becomes diluted. When a person insists he is following Jesus, but is not, he walks a mental tight rope and risks varying degrees of mental imbalance. There is an enormous amount of information that requires supreme accuracy of Spirit-tested motives so as to align and adhere to the living revelation of Jesus. It demands sharp, clear mental acuity. Imagine a baseball coach coming into a football team and using and imposing baseball terminology and strategy to define everything. Total chaos evolves in the mind when a person “comes to the Lord” while living according to the world.
It is no little thing to discern between condemnation and conviction of the Holy Spirit. It can sometimes seem like walking a tight rope. A depth of spirit and truth is required (John 4:24.
Condemnation is a raging monster wielding a club and beating a personal into despair and razing havoc due to a lack of secure personal identity in Christ. When a man thinks of himself as a mere target for punishment, depressiondischarges unbearable internal devastation. In low-tone mutterings of distress the mind whispers:“Breakdown.”Yet, there it is, front and center, for all to see: our mask.
We all face a twisted bondage to self-pride: “I’m ok. I’m fine. I’m together”. NO. You’re not. I’m not. Nobody is ok. And God cares and I care. A contrite heart learns to filter reality and welcomes the conviction of the Spirit because He leads one into actual security in the living Jesus. When you ‘bottom out’ in grief and anger; “If You exist God where are You, darn it all?” That’s ok. It’s real. It’s then when you are actually at your closest point to God (This is what Jesus is refereeing to in John 4:24). When we make a vertical drop, out of image, into recognizing WE ARE IN our animal nature of basic human instinct: rage, it is called the transparency of repentance.
Sometimes, way down deep, where even we won’t admit it, we curse God and ourselves. It is Adam in us. We feel the same sense of loneliness, isolation and sorrow that Adam incurred and it fills our mind with silent screams. Absolute darkness. Separated from our Creator. It doesn’t disappear but resides in our blood. We feel torn apart inside by an unseen “IT”.Do you want to know the truth? Really? “What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus. Not a concept… Jesus says “I am truth” (Jn.14:6).
The living Jesus brings the truth of our individual sin to us by His Spirit. He knows our agony, in our moments of the dark winds of sin, as if a physical thing. Cancer atemy mom alive like a monster from the inside out. A perfect description of“IT” within each of us. If we play games with IT, it will play games with you. You will fall off the wire of conscience into the abyss of darkness. Jesus says if His light becomes darkness “how great is that darkness” (Mt. 6:23). We think God can’t see this pain, or He is against us for it. That is a religious lie.
Truth be told, all men are cut from the same cloth of a humanity… BORN into misery. The actual composition of our very body is explained in Scripture; nobody “better” than another due to “IT” (Rm.3:9-18). It is denounced by all societies yet obliterates us all. Why?What is “IT?” 3 letters: S I N.
My friend, just like we need a doctor to diagnose our vast array of bodily functions, so too we must humble ourselves to resolve our darkness. God is not angry. God is love. He yearns to heal this very illness that killed Jesus: sin. This is the source that condemns us: sin.It does not go away through warm fuzzies but is disabled by gut-wrenching truth.
When our humanity breaks down we see through our own frailty and have the golden opportunity to understand a hidden “mystery” that changes our lives completely (2 Thes.2:7). God enters our sinful flesh.
Over 80,000 are currently in solitary. It is considered severe punishment because it forces a man to sit alone and ponder the darkness of his own nature.
When you sit alone, you are forced to look within; what you see is not “wonderful humanity” but a dark enigma. “IT” is a hidden “mystery” that devours our life then prances off never to be caught or prosecuted for its crimes against humanity (2 Thes.2:7).It is neither an animal or a monster.Somehow it is intertwined with our very identity.
I had no idea my inner torment was a direct result of a human phenomenon in my soul of the collision between sin and conscience. Not Michael, but human mechanics. I had nothing to do with “IT”. And my “pious” feelings of feeling “Sorry” wasn’t enough. Growing up Catholic, I went to confession. But after a million times, ya kinda figure “I can’t keep up. I’m going to hell anyways.”
The downside of this “upside” is the real side of ego. It is a revolving door into the abyss.It’s where you wonder “Who the hell am I?”It leaves youspinning in dark space. Mental anguish festers mental distress and little bad thoughts explode into huge storm clouds. At any moment, in any place, you can float into “Tacumbu.”
I had figured my life was awash,didn’t count for crap, destined for No-wheres-ville. I had sat in isolation, wasting hours, days and months licking my wounds.No one knows my pain. Left alone on the dance floor of life with the last ugly dame… Miss Selfpity pacified my mind but gave me no love. I think you might know her. She gets around.
I’d walk home, after my public appearances, to quite a different scenario than the flamboyant dude in public. There, all alone,I’denter the ring of my 12 round bout with conscience. The spin-cycle of confusion and gut-wrenching truth: “THIS AIN’T ME” vs. “YES IT IS. NO IT AIN’T! WHAT AM I THEN? NOTHING?!” It was a mental Armageddon destined for the final act that occurred, not in a church prayer-service but Notre Dame football stadium.
My desperate heartfound precise articulation in a “violent” act of will. A final resolute choice that Jesus was worth me, if He would have me. I ran from,laughed at, and betrayed Him for years. I said, ‘Don’t believe that stuff’. No more. Finally, I stood on the precipice of destiny. Defiant to defiance.I chose to follow the One each of us hears calling and sees reflected in all creation:“Come to Me… I love you” says the Lord Most High (Mt.11:28, Is.43:4). If you can silence the big-mouth ego long enough to ignite intelligence the heartkicks in withcalculation of solemn purpose to tap into the love of the Father.
Righteous Defiance(Ez.3:8/Matt. 11:12).
I’ve always felt sorry for the word Defiant. It’s a phenomenal word but always gets a bad rap cuz it was born on the wrong side of the tracks. It’s the only word with backbone.It’s what a man needs to be free; not to do dark but understand light.
Defiance to condemnation for forgiveness. Ever see anyone defiant for Jesus? Let me rephrase that. Ever see a real normal person? I don’t think so. They aren’t out there.
It’s either be a religious-do gooder or hard cold pagan. From youth, we were NEVER schooled in sin. So it had full reign to build its castle of lies in our head. Alittle more important than geography? But we were distracted, caught up in umpteen diversions; career; parties, booze, drugs, etc. It’s like soldiers sent to fight in a war only to learn it was all a diversion from the real battle. We never sat alone to ponder life and look within. So when all that“fun stuff” faded, well, we wereforced to sit alone,and what we see is not “wonderful” humanity.
Some guys concede to the “bad boy” image cuz they just can’t put a finger on that hidden evil.This pride blinds and takes a man into an out of control nightmare. It runs you wild but you never realize that this “IT” that is down there, is thehostile source planted in us by Satan to kill us. No “Sinners Anonymous.” No buddies to help figure this. On your own.
I’ll never forget the face of the guy who killed his wife and family. In a world of hurt and tears he said “Darkness took control. I can never again make things right.”Most “experts” would agree but Gods plan is specifically designed to redeem us from the conundrum of the secret world in us called SIN. I told him the following.
Check it out bro. Don’t lose me. Our outward display of evil can cause a 4-alarm fire in the eyes of society, in any number of ways. But its origin and potential is exactly the same in every man. It does not indicate, whatsoever, who YOU are as a person.I thought this way for 30 yrs.
I watch so many brothers concede to a tag put on them because they just don’t understand that evil is strangely intertwined with our own desire. Stay with me. How can something we don’t want to do, be something we want to do? Lack of knowledge breeds confusion and makes us vulnerable to accept labels of being ‘abnormal’ and compelled to admit to some quirky “criminal” personality or DNA; as if you are a lower class of being.
The “experts” affirm this cosmic lie in which “the bad” (us) are divided from “the good”(them). Such “therapy” magnifies already present despair. A ‘Tacumbu’ begins from over pressuring the mind to accept this lie as fact. It contradicts the witness in man’s God-created conscience of being loved by God and having beautiful potential.
Guilt, shame, and condemnation do not result from outward actions but an inward “principle” of sin (Read Rm.7:17ff). HOWEVER, THE SOURCE OF EVIL IS NOT INDIVIDUAL (Rm.5:12). Get that?! It means YOU didn’t come up with it. The source is a completely foreign entity within you. Ya, I know. It sounds like the ultimate ‘cop out’. But truth is truth. The reason Jesus comes to us in such profound unconditional love is because He knows this absolute reality: “I did not come to condemn but to save the world… not counting their evil against them” (John 3:19/2 Cor.5:19).
This means, Jesus comes to you completely based on seeing you in His love for you, not on whatever you may have done.
Sin flows like a stream from the abyss into our conscious life (2 Pt.2:19 ). And we just sit there like a dummy letting it destroy us. It leads multitudes to question the significance of their own existence. What we think of, as some unexplainable evil coming upon us ‘out of nowhere’, in a certain time, or crime, has actually always been within us.We don’t understand it and can’t get rid of it so we feel ashamed, guilty, and condemned.
It is not YOU any more than a poison in blood. Man does not create darkness. It comes out of the ABYSS; the “bottomless pit” of hell. It is NOT a “mental issue”,“personality flaw” or faulty DNA. (Eph.2:2/Rom. 10:7,3:10/Lk.8:31/Rev.20:3,17:8,11:7,9:11/Jn.12:31,14:30). Sin is a generational consequence of Adam’s rebellion. It is in the human nature he passed to us through procreation. It is 10,000 years old. We merely recycle its very predictable behavior. We see it demonstrated in every facet of life throughout past generations (hatred -murder-bitterness-pride-lust-rage). Paul understood this. He killed many people, yet, in the turn of his will says “I forget what lies behind” (Phil. 3:13/Lk.9:62). Sin is the same in us all, in its quantity and end “the wages of sin is death” (Rm.6:23).
Where The Law Comes In:
God gave the 10 commandments to expose sin. So when we try to do them we see sin in us, that is, we see ourselves. Sin = pride, image, ego, self. It must die for us to be free in Christ (Rm.6:6). Sin renders us totally inadequate of “good behavior”. It may seem good on the outside but the motives of pride render it “filthy rags” (Is.64:6). “Through the law comes the knowledge of sin…” (Rm.3:20). We don’t see that we are good. We see that we are evil. Paul explains that “through the works of the law, no flesh is justified” (Gal.2:16-21, Rom.3:20).
Every Bible verse that defines sin: 2 Cor. 10:3-5/ James 4:17/ Rom.14:23, 3:10-18/1 Jn.3:4, 5:16/ Prov.21:4,9/Ps.14:1-3/ Jer.17:9/ Isaiah 59/ 2 Thes.2:7
So brother, here we go. Let’s take the horizontal road into the vertical climb. It is the road of the living Jesus, Who as God on High, became man, like us to meet us on our road and LIFT us beyond ourselves. Jesus is the answer to all this. So don’t jump this Bridge. Walk it. God says He gives everyone a chance in life to “HEAR” the truth. This is your chance. It is your golden moment to “see” Him, so He can help you understand what the hell is going on inside you, that the majority reject. How does He come into you as you yet remain a wicked sinner (Col.1:27)?
The truth is: more evil thoughts don’t make you more evil bro. Thoughts are thoughts. Evil is evil. Sin is sin. No matter what level you experience,Jesus died for all.
It’s not Christian-lingo-sville, USA. It is not magical sinners prayers. You can’t pluck reality like an apple off a tree. It’s about the grind of true grit, all about your individual fight for sincerity. You are the master of a ship that can be lost at sea or come into an awesome understanding of a master helmsman. This is a personal journey, brother. It’s going to take time. But it’s more sure than night and day.
Since we had nothing to do with Adam’s sin, we couldn’t stop it then, or now. So God created an easy way out. It is a mere ATTITUDE change. Repentance is called faith. Instant. No other requirements. Can you imagine if all the darkness you have accepted about yourself is a lie? Could you possibly deal with all the negativity as having nothing to do with YOU? Years of lies done away in a second. Sounds almost funny, hey bro? Certainly sounds crazy.
It is a very sound, Biblical “craziness”, based on the death of One Who chose to give up His Godhood to become a fellow Brother and demonstrate unfathomable personal love to get you to heaven (Phil.2:7). Better than drugs or medical terminology wouldn’t you say, bro? Now how about that WILL of yours? It is closer to you than your hand.
West Virgina has a massive cave system for mining coal. A guy starts ‘above ground’ then goes down into darker interconnecting tunnels. No matter how deep, the danger is the same, but the imagination causes panic. Like sin: The deeper you go, the more you start to panic. What if I can’t escape?You have all these extremely dark and bizarre feelings. You think you are becoming far worse. Your mind starts to fry… but it’s all a LIE.
We are God-created beings. Our brain functions at a mechanical level designed to process truth.
Truth is not a vague theory but the answer to all pain. Jesus says “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free…”(Jn.8:32). Understanding disseminates freedom. The cure to “Tacumbu” is understanding how our Creator designed REDEMPTION.
It is a substantial, documented, proven intelligent love of the living Jesus for YOU. Life-changing reality begins not with a “prayer service” but with sincere individual transparency.
I got no problem admitting I AM wicked (1 Tim.1:15). Do you? It’s logical. We see our sin constantly. To deny it, is to force our mind to swallow insanity (Ecc.9:3). I’m thrilled God loves me, knowing I’m a scumbag. Not “WAS” but AM (1 Tim.1:15 ).This little morsel of reality highlights how to defy sin with the mental clarity of reality (Mt.11:27ff).
If we force our brain to accept lies (that we are good), as being truth, we subject our mind to suffer subconscious stress. It’s illogical to think deception will not have substantial consequences in our mental state.
JESUS DEFINES SIN as immaterial substance of darkness (John 15:25,1:3ff,3:20). Far beyond deeds. It is a dark wind that permeates all of life. Inescapable. It has no edges to grab and say, “Here, this is it.”You can “see” it in the world but not in a microscope. It is hostile to us each day, as we battle emotional, mental, and physical conflict.
No snap of a prayer or “good” behavior makes it disappear in a poof.Some religious guys brought a woman in the act of adultery to Jesus for Him to stone but He said they were more guilty of sin than her because of their pride (Jn.8:44). Sin is a conduit of demonic intelligence (Ecc.9:3/Eph.2:2). Satan “prowls about” our mind with his darkness of the Abyss. He comes like a lion to devour you in the night (1 Pt.5:8).
Brother, it wasn’t a few wacko dudes, but all of us, in our “wonderful humanity”, that united in our depravity, through proxy of our human ancestors, who crucified Jesus. Anything evil we might do today could never equal what we did in those 3 hours (John 15:25). Our human family despises His light upon our darkness (Jn.3:19-21,15:25).
Check out this Biblical definition of faith:
Abraham was a warlord. Awesome dude. Pagan at heart. Yet he was “made righteous” WHILE he was a pagan. He merely looked at the stars and believed: “God, I see You there and believe You must be awesome. I trust You”. Don’t just think about Him… TALK TO HIM. God yearns to make you righteous. He will do it in a blink, as soon as you believe Him. Abraham became the father of this righteousness by faith because he was the first guy to believe (study Romans 4/Heb.11). God called him “My friend” (Is.41:8/Jm.2:23).
Society defines what is “right” by cultural norms, but God doesn’t listen to a world that killed His Son to tell Him what’s right. All men are criminals in His sight: “Not one is righteous”(Rm.3:10). The ONLY thing God sees as RIGHT-EOUS is faith in the work of His Son. Redemption trumps rehabilitation.
For God does not require good behavior over bad behavior but faith in the “finished” perfect behavior of Jesus. He didn’t die for a limited number of outward sinS but for the “whole 9 yards”; all ramifications. “He who knew no sin became sin… so we can become right-eous” (2 Cor.5:20). My brother, this gospel brings mental clarity.
I am not a good man. I am a pagan believer like Abraham. Faith alone “credits” me the righteousness of Jesus. Like a hillbilly “reckoned” right, I cannot fulfill laws, so I believe in the living Jesus (Phil.3:9/Gal.2:16,20/Rm.1:17). Faith puts me in His Light which is the only thing darkness can not permeate. I live in eternal forgiveness (John 1:3-4/1 Jn. 1:5-10). This is what it means to be “born from above” (Jn.3:3).
“There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” whether murder, rape, crimes against humanity, cannibalism etc. (Rm.8:1).
I have seen many rescued from a “Tacumbu”. Sometimes ‘authorities’ tell me I don’t grasp the magnitude of crimes by prisoners. I tell them they don’t grasp the magnitude of forgiveness credited by He Who became the greatest Prisoner of all time.“Get behind me Satan” is what Jesus said to the “Accuser of the Brethren” who uses people to lie to us (Mt.16:23/Jam.4:7/Rev.12:10).
Resistance works bro! All negative feelings and thoughts may seem very intense but the truth is;just ignore them.
Sound too simple? Righteous defiance requires not a period of time but a lifetime opposing lies of Satan. God promises Satan will flee (1 Pt.5:8-9/Eph.6:12). Since that June morning in the stadium of Notre Dame, I have seen victory despite ongoing failure. As a man of iron will I have learned to defy his lies and live in the joy of my sin dead with Christ(Ez.3:8/2 Cor.10-3/Rm.6:6). I threw all my ugliness upon His Ugliness on the cross. His love reigned down (“wounded more than any man”-Is.53).
My friend, “How could I do, or think that?” is a man that lacks the heart to believe. Salvation is not an “experience” but a cold, resolute decision. I believe in what You did Jesus. Done (Rm.8:5-13). Give up and give in. Long after Jesus was crucified, Paul says “I have been crucified” (Gal.2:20) . To “take up your cross” is not some morbid self-flagellation but a joy of being rid of your greatest foe: the old self (Mt.16:24). Jesus gives His Word to bear all our ‘baggage’; past, present and future (Heb. 10:22,9:14). The Word of God is the ultimate weapon of truth (Lk.4:1/Heb.4:12). Some spurn this answer as too simplistic for their “complex” problems. They “work” hard trying to better themselves to appear “good” (Jn.8:5,9:44/Rom4:4/Jn.6:29/ 2 Pt.2:19 ). But you can’t hide the darkness in the eyes.
The answer is not fixing your past but faith in Jesus for a future.Mental anguish starts early and ends either in dying with Christ, or facing death when it will be too late.I love you my precious friend.
“Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to the people
‘Behold the Man'” (John 19:5).
Imagine Jesus. Common. Poor. Low key. All alone. Isaiah 53 says He was “like one from whom men hide their face” (v.3). Imagine that. He would never be the one picked out of a crowd as God in human form. Behold this, blood drenched, God-Man barely standing, only by the power of love for you and I. Behold the Man, Jesus, walking down a road coming to you, with the work of agony He accomplish . Hopefully, for you, to follow Him. Whatever your situation and conditions, wherever you are at, regardless of your state of body, mind and life He comes to you, for you, offering a living redemption He was building while standing in front of Pilate and that hostile mob. A mob He was dying for. Not sentimental religion, brother, but hell-saving substance.
Within the agonizing period of standing before Pilate, to hanging on a cross, every single person to ever walk the earth, would flash through the mind of Christ by the divine plan of our compassionate, merciful Father. Jesus was walking towards you even as you were walking away from Him.
Like one of those alien movies of a creature landing on earth, His first steps were towards YOU. Not a generic “sinner”, but your face, your mind, your personality, YOU. Boom. He landed. His feet ‘hit the ground running’. Took a bit for His little baby feet to grow into big boy feet, big enough enough to be a man’s feet and begin to walk our earth, towards you. But, in His heart of hearts, even though you were not yet even born, He was thinking of YOU alone (Romans 5:6-8). You see, by walking towards the cross, Jesus was walking towards loving YOU with all that was within Him.
Jesus came to earth for you, even if you were the only person on earth. He started walking towards you 2000 yrs. ago. Jesus was coming to you.
Behold the Man?! What in the world was that supposed to mean? Pilate said “the Man” not “a man” (‘Ecce Homo’ in Roman Latin, emphasizing THEE). Not just another of the thousands who died by the torture of a scourging and crucifixion. This One was extraordinary. What was it about Jesus? Bleeding from head to toe, standing silent in utter humiliation and rejection. Absolutely devastated, weak and vulnerable. Jesus didn’t flinch. Unintimidated, even by Pilate’s power to kill. Why? YOU! He loved you. He loves you.
“I have come into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). It was Pilate who was intimidated by Love, personified. His cynical mind defied his own conscience. He was a ruined man. No one could care that much. “What is truth?” Pilate snickered, then did everything he could to get Jesus off the hook, proving he knew that he knew Jesus was “the Man”. How can brotherhood love exist for an obvious evil humanity?
Surely there was an extreme unparalleled tension in the air that rang louder than any siren. God’s love had landed on earth. Satan was vexed. He thought mankind no longer had any hope since he corrupted Adam and Eve.
“Two worlds collide….Lamb found dead” read the headline in hell. God and Satan collided in One: Behold the Man. But Satan thought he won. Imagine his shock when Jesus lifted up in the tomb.
Who, how and why would, or could, anyone, in this modern-day era, capsulize and minimize the scope of such a magnificent and eternal One by repeating the common mentality of this perverted culture: “Oh, ya, I got IT in my heart. Been there, done that. Prayed that sinner’s prayer. Been saved. You don’t need to tell me.”? Really? That’s what you’re going to say to the Lion of Judah? You would say that to a cheap car salesman. It is the same cynicism of Pilate. It is the delusion of religious redundancy because you lack the truth of God-reality. Token will get you through a Toll Booth, but not the Gates of Heaven.
Come on, my man. Before it is too late. Wake up. Nobody is going to chase you down. Not one person is going to confront you. The end is so near. You will answer for your decision. Hell is not for a minority but the majority. What proves your life? Words? Time to utilize the days you have left to follow “the Man”; the God-Man; the living Jesus.
Jesus travels the roads, through us, to your house to draw you to the narrow road that leads to His house.
Jesus didn’t float. He was driven by the love of the Father to rescue any man from the lies of Satan. At time He would just stand up and start preaching (Jn.7:37). He studied the “map” from the Father, in His living Scriptures, with the plan; where to go, how to go, what to do and how to be with Him and others.
Divine Love: personal and individual fellowship directly with God, redemption, forgiveness, healing, grace, etc. No building needed. No other person needed. The cross is made for us to unite our sinful flesh with Him. To now live His new life by faith. No flight by plane to fly to Israel. Fly only by the Spirit in Him.
I’ve never met one man say he wants to preach Jesus but I’ve heard scores of “christians” tell me “Oh that’s not my calling or ministry”. And even laugh at my suggestion that raising our voice for Jesus is not a “ministry”. It is obedience. It is love. It is compassion. You raise for voice for a job, in anger, over a football game. You don’t even have to raise your voice just your mouth. Talk. Of course it’s awkward. What isn’t in life?
“I WILL SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT UPON YOU”
The Book of Acts is all about how we can be moved by a greater power than our own flesh (Acts 1:8-9). The Holy Spirit led Jesus and He will lead you. This is the Spirit of “the Man”. He comes through the same means, as in that exact moment, in the still night air, when Abraham found FAITH. It is the only means we can be “credited” righteous to receive the blessing of God of His actual Spirit within us (Rm. 4:3,9,22/Gal.3:14). Moral righteousness can never attain God’s favor. Men shy away from the Spirit in unbelief.
Jesus walked our common steps to know our weakness, fear and vain efforts to be “right”, “good” and “better” by human effort (Romans 3:9-19). He does not condemn you for this fear but prompts you to trust Him and step out into His footsteps. He will meet you and bless you. He washed our “feet” to make us qualified by His blood (Col.1:12). So don’t walk away. Walk towards. Be drawn into His walkway of unlimited forgiveness, compassion, brotherhood and intimate care.
The Father and the Son designed this plan by the Spirit for a redemption to Adam’s sin that would touch every evil act aspect of our evil and painful experiences. Jesus “landed” to spread the news, to bring us back home, where we belong. Return. Repent. Rejoice.
All the obstacles to this fulfillment, all the negativity, failures, rejection, hurt and pain that He knew would be involved and that you would have to deal with, all that you fear, all that you have done, or not done with regret, was taken into consideration in making the plan perfect and bringing it to perfect execution. Two thousand years ago, my friend, way before you were born, He knew, all the way back then to now, here, today, that He would come to you with His plan. Behold the Man. Behold the love. Behold such a Warrior. Behold the salvation. Paul warns of the fierce battle we face with Satan and how to fight (Eph.6:12). Pa
Paul said “I BEG YOU….” (2 Cor. 5:20). My friend, my plea to you , PLEASE, listen to me! In order to see beyond the veil, you HAVE to learn to “bind and loose” effectively. You do not realize it now, or stop to consider, but Jesus warns that we live in this world just outside the “gates of hell” (Mt.16:18-19/2 Cor.3:16).
Jesus actually walked into the very interior of hell. He faced down “the Dragon of old”, Apollyon. So He alone must give you the real power of “the testimony” that “binds” Satans power over your life (Rev. 20:2,12:11, 9:11). If your testimony is not real neither is your power or your life.Don’t be lax over such eternal consequences.
God toils, 24/7, to reach us. But He can’t violate your will. You hassle needlessly, because Satan uses natural pride as his incentive. But the Father fights back “I will never forget you….can a mother forget her nursing child….even so I will NEVER forget you”. Never forgotten. Always forgiven. Life does not give life. Quite the opposite. It burdens our time.
Meaning and purpose are the center of our heart beat. Satan tell us we are worthless. So we think “Why do I live? Who am I? We live Satan’s lies. What is my life and what about my death? No one knows me. No one cares. I make little, if any, impact or difference in this world.” But one moment of testimony to the Name of the living Jesus to anyone is the power of the Holy Spirit.
We were created to engage in the constant activity of the joy of divine love. Period. Satan is real. He OWNS the world which is all men and every aspect of life around you. He will win if you don’t lose, your life, to Jesus (Lk.4:6/Mt.4:8-16:24-26/Jn.8:44,12:311 Jn. 2:15). Every day offers us another chance to change. But then it is gone forever. Can you imagine if you go to hell and realize the torment of all the days you had to change? We cannot get back yesterday no matter how much we wish and pray. We had a chance yesterday. Now we only have now. Obviously, through my writing, you can see that I realize Jesus no longer walks in His once body of flesh. We connect with His past to bring us into His Presence. But He “walked out” of His body of flesh, through the resurrection, beyond the tomb and in the Holy Spirit, to us today to bring us such divine revelation which is true salvation.
I always wish I could give others my experience of “double-session hell week” ( 7 AM and 3 PM) at college football camp. It burned a gut wrenching of sweating buckets to work forth my full potential. Today people are fluff-buckets and whine over any mention of “fighting” to work for Jesus. Cheap “grace”. Check out Paul (Col.1:29/1 Cor. 9:27). I have been a fighter my whole life against lies, hypocrisy, wickedness and my own sin. It took me over five years of concentrated fight to understand that the truth (lit. Althea = Reality) is worth fighting for. I know that when death comes I shall NO LONGER fight because all my fight has been for the reward death shall render: eternal life. The life we live each day offers two options. One that forever fades, natural life. The other found forever, the life of the living Jesus.
The sign of Abrahamic faith is not a somber religiosity but an infectious sense of humor. The freedom to laugh over eternal life and at your own human ways comes from the promise of doing the impossible in Isaac meaning “laughter”. Can you truly laugh at yourself? I am a regular “stand up comic” in seeing my stupidity and phony ways. Think about it. We actually HIDE our worst stuff, thinking that God only sees what we present to Him in our image. Like He can’t really see inside us. God doesn’t hate you. He is not anger. God is love. The very ways of thinking we try to hide, in reality, is exactly what God demands we give Him ; the truth of a broken and contrite heart (Ps.51:17). Truth comes only by revelation. It is the only power to set us “free indeed” from ourselves (Jn. 17:17, 8:32,34).
CONCLUSION- that others might “Behold” the only Risen-Man, no longer wearing that purple robe of Pilate, but one “dipped in blood” (Jn. 6:40/Rev. 19:13).
There is much talk by men “trying to find God’s will”. They think it is a set occupation, goal or marrying a certain person. But Jesus clearly says the will of the Father is to “behold” Him (John 6:40). The way we do this is simple. We “go” against our selfish nature to stand for the living Jesus. We behold the Man so others can behold Him in us. How else can others hear unless we obey (Romans 10:14)? When we flew out of the States headed here to Brazil, we had a day layover in Panama. In the hotel lobby there was a large Christmas tree with a gigantic box-like “present” under it. In the spur of a moment I said “God has a present to give us this big in Brazil”. I had no idea what I was saying. Just hope. A month later on my very birthday my son Abraham bought me a large cooking pot. In one instant I knew. Feeding the poor in mass numbers was the Christmas tree gift to us.
Since then we have developed a strategy and means of feeding the homeless with a large bowl of “Abraham’s Stew”, with the discounts from local merchants, we got down to thirty cents a person. If you’d like to help us we greatly appreciate, and so would those who will get fed. When Jesus said “I was hungry” He means just that. It is not something we do FOR Him but TO Him. We behold the Man and the hunger that His life touched, in them.
Feeding the poor is not just giving ‘hand-outs’. It is obedience to the love Jesus has for the multitudes all over the world who, like Him, knows what it is to go hungry each day. When we show up gigantic lines automatically form and it creates the perfect opportunity to preach open air of the living Jesus.
We are now praying for His leading and provision to go to from here in Brazil to South Africa and surrounding countries.
Can you relate to the prophet Jeremiah who said “My soul has been deprived of peace: I have forgotten what happiness is.” (Lam.3:17-18).
Some folks have told me their formula for “peace” is a cup of hot coffee, a snack, and maybe some mellow music. Well, I enjoy that too. Sometimes people say peace is going on a vacation or (not) being with their family. Some say just plopping on a bed. Right on! Gotcha. Others talk about some meditation process or alone in silence. Yup. Got it. But all this is common peace of this world and can not resolve the complex unexplainable hostilities we feel inside us.
THE CURSE OF TIME AND SPACE
God asked Adam, after the tragedy of his sin: “WHERE are you?” (Gen.3:9). Instantly, Adam was aware that he had fallen out of his eternal fellowship with God into a tragic space of self-obsession, cursed by the time: “from dust to dust” (v.19). His body degenerated from eternal bliss into a wretched 930 years of pain and sorrow (Gen. 5:5). Imagine his experience!
Today the life span for us human critters is a measly 70 to 80 years. It may sound long but life is like a car flashing by on the expressway or a set of waves crashing on the shoreline. Time and space are full of deception. They are the curse of sin on Adam’s race, thats us. (All my fellow old codgers out there know these pains we feel ain’t what we expected in younger years).
I remember looking through a photo album in my parents attic. At the beginning was a photo of a little boy. The next page was of him with friends at a job. There were pictures of him with his family. Then in JUST A FEW PAGES, there was my grandpa, very old, wrinkled and sitting in a wheel chair. The last photo was of his funeral and grave site. Life is JUST A FEW PAGES in a photo album. And most people won’t even be remembered in a photo album. The Bible is full of men who mourn the vanity of life.
The impact of our immediate surroundings, the things and people we see, touch, and are touched by, define our little space and time on earth. The majority wrongly think our immediate space determines our level of peace. But nothing in this world, offers the peace we seek. This world has nothing but the curse of sin and all its deception, distractions and illusions: “The present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire” (2 Pt.3:10/1 Jn.2:15-17,5:19).
We wake up every day yearning for peace. We hope for something, or some one, to confirm the relevance of our existence. Our minutes, hours, days, months and years lie deceive us. They make us think our purpose is found in them. When you are all alone, you are forced to look within your inner space. And what you see is a nothing. God says Adam put “hostility” in us (Gen. 3:15). Neither time, knowledge or experience gives you peace. What if God offers you something you don’t know?
What is divine peace?
No matter how define it, peace of mind is usually something you hope for, or search for, to be found in the future. It is dependent a better time and place. What I mean is that procrastination is a monster born time. It says “Later….someday. At this time you’re fine”. Inlaid in our “Adam” nature, is a pride that insists “I’m fine”. But anxiety contradicts this lie. The “spirit in the air” says just roll on along, let time and space determine your future (Eph.2:2)
My brother, or sister, I’m not writing this for my ego or health. I love you man. I want to see you on the other side. The reality of your state does not occur on a surface level but at the subconscious level. The faint echo of “subconscious” fear leads into human frenzy. God alone sees our grief and offers His peace. You don’t know when your life will end. Today, you can grasp something you put off. JUST A WORD AWAY. Jesus loves you so much. He is waiting to reward your humility.
THE WORD OF THE CROSS (1 Cor.1:18/read Eph.2:13-16 )
Jesus says “My peace I leave with you” (Jn.14:27). The very peace in Jesus is what He left. But where did He leave it?In the Sea of Galilee? Hidden in a cave? On the Mount of Olives? Where do we go? Seriously. This is a matter of life or death, brother. In this insane dying world, afflicted with sin from within, and from around us, it is not a luxury. Peace is the only way to rescue your mind. We don’t have to fly to Israel and start a massive search. There is no record of Jesus leaving anything behind. So, where is His “peace”?
Jesus said, Look guys, it’s better that I go to heaven so I can send you the Holy Spirit, cuz when He comes, He will give you MY ETERNAL LIFE, here and now (John 16:7).
Finding peace starts with recognizing that there is no “IT” factor. Peace is not something you GET by getting “better”. It’s not a formula or prayer package. It doesn’t come from a warm fuzzy “good work”. It comes by dealing with the truth of your REAL condition. By facing your lack. By admitting that the “peace” you now have is defined by circumstances you manipulate. By admitting “I don’t understand”. Jesus says reality is where He will meet you (John 4:24). Being transparent and sincere is His only requirement. The cross is understood by all men, as here in the villages of Brazil.
You see, my precious brother or sister, something very real happened in Jesus on that cross. In His heart, Jesus bore the hostility in every one of us on earth, every lie, every fake pretense and ego, the deepest evil, against each other, and against God. Sin is not an act. It is the deep, unexplainable hostility in our nature. In His body He took on this nature and killed it dead. In that time and space, between the death and resurrection, the Father gave Jesus eternity as a reward for His sacrifice to give to us. Thus Jesus created a “new man”, freed of the hostility of sin. And freed from striving to attain goodness by obeying the law (read Eph.2:14-16/Rm.5:1). It is a gift.
This offer is no little thing. It cost Jesus His blood. It is not a fairy tale. Tortured for three hours, Jesus actually bore the pain of all time. In that time and space, He created the specific provision to our every need. He created the detailed means by which we can be fulfilled by love in Him. He was confined to the dimensions of a wooden cross. Every space in His body reeled with pain. He bore the agony of the most wicked ways in every man, in every moment of his time on earth.
Jesus entered every vile space in this world, including a jail cell, a street corner, every decrepit room in a ghetto, every place where vile sin was committed. Out of the nothing the Father exploded eternal life in His Son (Rm.4:17). There is no place or time He did not bear. He broke through the agony of all limitations put on every man.
Now the Father could finish His plan of redemption, because Jesus gave Him access to us through His own body. Jesus conquered the entire natural realm of man, so that in His resurrection body, full of eternal life, we can be freed of all hostility in our time and space on earth. He yearns to bring His space of victory into your space of defeat. Imagine being totally forgiven and never fearing death or hell. No matter what your burden on earth may be, this is the peace He offers us, here and now.
The living Jesus is the very substance of eternal life. He alone can regulate, negotiate and mediate our sin to His cross and by it reconcile us to the Father. No church, preacher or group can do this.
A soldier told Jesus, ‘just say the word and my servant will be healed’. You don’t have to climb a mountain. We don’t have to change our space or time. His space will fill your space. JUST A WORD AWAY (Rm.10:9-10).
Jesus says “IN ME” you will have peace (Jn.16:33). Peace is not a virtue He gives apart from Himself. Paul says “He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14). His peace is the sign of real salvation. Be anxious for nothing. Peace is not an absence of conflict. It is not faith. It is the end of faith; the living Jesus.
ETERNAL LIFE; eternal “space and time”
Read Romans 1:20/Psalm 19:1- We are falsely told we can’t see things that are eternal. Every single thing created by God has a reflection of eternity. And all it takes is one real, eternal glimpse to look for more. The clouds, wind, rain, storms, trees, leaves, oceans, etc. reflect His Eternal Character. When we breath His air or feel the breeze, HIs eternal hands touch our heart with His love for us. Every day, all day creation “speaks” of His eternal glory (Romans 10:17-18).
When you ponder the achievements of man, they reflect the ways of a man. When you contemplate the creation of God Almighty, you contemplate His eternal character. You see a plan and a majesty. You see spectacular intelligence and creativity; love, kindness, purpose and meaning. You and I are His handiwork.
You are seeing eternal things when you look in a mirror and consider thousands of working parts and blood running through thousands of miles of veins and arteries, laid in microscopic places throughout your body. Your muscles move, protect and grow. You can’t hear even one valve open and close, yet there are hundreds. Your eyes blink and ears hear with no deliberate effort. My brother, all this and millions more reflect eternity. When we read the Word of God about Jesus, we touch eternal logic and divine sacrificial love.
All the stress and anxiety can be traced back to our grief of sin. It alone keeps us in lock down to the time and space fixed in our carnal mind. It blinds us with a kind of pouting self-pity. So, think about it, if we can open our heart we can find the wisdom leading us to eternal things f (1 Cor. 2).”This is the will of Him who sent Me….that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life” (John 6:40). When you “SEE” the Son, you crystalize eternal things (John 3:3).
Can you remember a time when you were a kid having so much fun you told your mom “I lost track of time and where I was”? I do it all the time when I go fishing or I’m sitting on a mountain. I get ‘caught up’. Well, this is an earthly example that you can escape time and space. How much more by something spiritual? Paul says THIS peace “passes all our human understanding” because the unseen defies the pressures of the things of this earth (Phil. 4:7).
“THIS IS ETERNAL LIFE: THAT THEY MAY KNOW YOU” (Jn.17:3).
My brother, or sister, eternity is not an illusion of the smart or elite but a gift for the downtrodden and the poor of heart.
Do you realize the entire Old Testament, of a complex system of sacrifices and laws, was written solely for God’s purpose to give back to men His peace, which Adam lost by sin? The Hebrew word for peace is SHALOM. The ancient Jeru (city) shalom (peace-healing-alvation) was a “type” of city where God reflected His ultimate purpose of an eternal peace in “New Jerusalem” (Jn.2:19/Mt.12:6/Rev.3:12, 21:1ff).
Jesus says that the peace, or rest, He offers us, here and now, “is not as the world gives” (Jn.14:27).
It is not in a brief personal experience or in the space of a “Sunday service”. The “sabbath” (rest), is fixed in the living Jesus, because His sacrifice resolved the obstacle of sin and created for us a new man in His Spirit. Shalom is the disposition of Christ; i.e. New Jersusalem. He is eternal life (Jn.17:3). Everything you have tried, in this domain of time and space, and everything you may yet try, can never give you the One Who comes down from heaven (Jn.6:33,50/Rev.3:12/ Heb.4:1ff ).
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and our government (the ruling of our lives) will be on His shoulders (on the cross). He will be named…PRINCE OF PEACE” (Is. 9:6).
Jesus promises all men His peace will cleanse you of all sin and remove the weight of guilt and shame. Imagine unlimited forgiveness. (Jn.3:3,4:24/1 Cor.15:45/Heb.10:22). Time and space need no longer have jurisdiction over your life (Col.3:15) Hope is the courage to believe God Who will take you BEYOND yourself. His Word is waiting to release eternal rivers of living water (John 7:37-38/Hebrews 4:12). Just A Word Away, in spirit and truth (Jn.4:24/Rom.10:6-10).
“Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead and the Messiah will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14)
People fight for a thousand things in this life: health, healing, work, success, recreation, entertainment, family. But when it comes to Jesus, eternal life, heaven or hell? Well, a gesture of presumption is about it: “No need to tell ME. I already know all about that”. Now, how will that statement sit with you… in hell? Please, I say this solely out of love for you my friend.
Presumption is a fatal blinding to the reality in your own life. Tormented inside, yet men insist, “Oh I’m fine”. This attitude is “boxing the air”. You never engage the very thing destroying your life. How does such a conundrum exist?
Please, I beg you, listen to me. Multitudes fall victim to a fraudulent teaching of “grace” ignorant to the effective fight with sin. Satan is real. He has “designed” this “speculation” to justify self-comfort and keep men from truth. So Christians wrongly presume salvation doesn’t require an all out fight. The Scriptures clearly warn otherwise: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling….His grace was in vain…I worked more than any…yet not I but God’s grace..striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.” (Phil.2:12/1 Cor.15:10/Col.1:28).
It is understandable, when facing this world, to be afraid to get in “the boxing ring” and fight for Jesus. But the reward is boundless joy, both now, and for eternity. A man named Jacob received the immediate reward of finding God’s destiny. In his fight to know God, he changed into a new man: “Israel” (Gen.32:24). Individual fulfillment is not a sentimental pipe dream. It is the effectual experience of fighting to engage Jesus in the accomplishment of His salvation (Rm.6:6/ Phil.3:8/ Gal.2:20/2 Tim.2:11).
When a man decides to “fight” for Jesus he goes beyond himself; beyond obligation to heart desire. He is not looking for excuses but eternal identity in the living Christ (Eph.3:18-20). So, as your loving brother, I exhort you to put up your fists in a fighting position. Catch the vision of a life yet waiting to discover. There is something you don’t yet know. Fight for it. Can you say within yourself “I know nothing Lord. Help me.”? My precious brother or sister, you are under siege by a fierce unseen enemy ‘out for blood’. Humble yourself and He will exalt you (Mt.11:25/1 Pt.5:6). Satan can push you around, punish you, bust you in the mouth, break your jaw and knock out your teeth. This description is allegorical for some, but for many it is literal. It could be by an accident, situation or person. If you don’t fight, Satan will destroy you (Jnn.10:10).
It begins with mere thoughts, ignorant to the ways of sin. One thought leads to another and suddenly you do something, or find yourself in circumstances, out of your control. If you think I’m nuts, you may already be “down for the ten count’. Cuz like how often do you wake up in the morning with a deep sense of wanting to just give up? How often do you think “No one cares about ME. No one knows MY burden. I’m all alone. Does anything matter?” Do these thoughts come to you while by aliens while on some distant planet? No. They come in the ebb and flow of every day earthly life. They are common. Every human being on earth is tormented by these feelings of self-pity and deep alienation. Of course, they won’t admit it. I feel it every day. It is not weird. It is not our fault or personality. I would say it is not about losing your mind, but in reality, this is precisely about reclaiming your mind.
I know this sounds strange, but our body is reeling, every moment of every day, from the “hit” Adam took 10,000 years ago. He was “punch drunk” by sin. Man was created perfect but sin defiled every pore of our humanity, because, through procreation, Adam’s sin renders all mankind depraved. At any moment we become vexed in inexplicable sadness. We are lonely and afraid. Selfishness saturates every cell of our composition. It permeates our mind with crazy and bizarre thinking. We blame bad circumstances but the truth is all problems derive from our body of human nature being separated from our Creator. This world says it is a ‘personality disorder’ and turn to prescription or illegal drugs, booze, ‘therapy’ and, of course, religion. No one identifies sin because no one understands it.
Ego was born when Eve ate from the tree. The “I am” in man defied the great “I AM THAT I AM”. We went from living in eternity to a 70 yr. span. Bam. Our inner core is frazzled. Adam’s sin diminished our composition from being God-consciousness to self-consciousness. We suppress and deny the inner despair and misery sin implanted in the center of our human existence. No surgery can remove it. No medicine can treat it. No prayer or ritual can stop our vulnerability to the lying voices Satan channels in our mind through sin.
Problems are not resolved by changing outward stuff, but changing the way we deal with our inner state. The debilitating effects of sin can shake you to your core, ruin and linger in your life, until you deal with it. As I’ve said a thousand times, sin isnot a mere act. It is what WE ARE in our human nature; sin…ners. It never goes away. I am more aware of sin today, than I ever was 50 yrs. ago before I received the light of Jesus. It requires an attitude of humility not a sinners prayer or confessional.
I will spend my life fighting to explain, to anyone who will listen, how to effectively win the fight with this enemy within, inherited from our forefather Adam. Pride leads every man’s ship into the fierce storms of our own darkness. Christians, today, think that Bible knowledge somehow spiritualizes their body into a Christian state. As if a “sinners prayer” zaps their wicked flesh into a “better” state than other human beings. So they are perplexed when the complexities of sin invade their lives.
“SPECULATIONS” – THE DEEP SPACE OF DARKNESS-(2 Cor.10:3-5)
Jesus says “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Mt. 6:22-23).
Just think about. If what you identify as “light” is actually the presumption of light, then everything you identify as truth, is deception. The seriousness of such reality demands the fight for repentance. True repentance results in accurate discernment between light and darkness and eliminates the conundrum of presumption. The Bible defines sin as foolishness, lawlessness, unbelief and unrighteousness (Rm.14:23/1 Jn.5:17.Pr.24:9/Jn.16:9). But how is it that God gives us a specific and detailed picture of sin and darkness? The witness and discernment of the Holy Spirit defines sin. Jesus says “I will give you…the Spirit of truth…and He will convict (expose) us…concerning sin” (Read: John 14:17,26,16:8,13).
Repentance is metanoia- change of mind. When the Holy Spirit “cuts and divides” our heart we must change our attitude and motives (Heb.4:12/Ps.51:17). Repentance involves the fight to “cast down speculations (imaginations) raised up against” the knowledge of God Who reveals Himself to us in 3 ways to which we are accountable: 1) creation(John 14:9/Rom.1:20/2 Cor.10:3-5), 2 )Scriptures and 3) and the revelation of the living Jesus. Speculations and imaginations are packages of lies. They are our opponent in “the boxing ring” of our mind. We must directly identify, engage and counter the “punches” of lies with truths in God’s Word.
Our mental capacity was designed to process and establish perfect peace. So it will do its part, if we do ours. It is a mechanism divinely created into “hemispheres” designed to regulate, filter and define the light from the darkness. Sin is imbedded in our mind and draws us into darkness, evil, self-obsession, self-pity and rebellion. Repentance is the conscious fight to receive Light and gain control. This is the process by which we recover our mind from darkness (Rm.12:2).
The idea of “space” (i.e.open unoccupied area or room) helps us understand that sin is not merely a one time action but a conscious existence in our daily perception that emanates from within. Our eye sees life out of whatever occupies our deep space. Is it darkness or is it light? This space determines the standard of our intelligence, creativity, will power, love, humor, depth of experience, memory recall and all related operations of our human capacity. Into what is our mind immersed? The scope of our individual choice is an outcome of our desire. The source of our space, sin or Jesus, determines how we function as a person. Simply put, a self-centered obsession exposes the dominance of sin and consciousness of darkness. To destroy the stronghold of sin is dependent on your desire for Jesus.
The term “Deep Space” is a speculation by scientists of an hypothesis that unknown galaxies exist beyond our skies. They speak of it as an eerie darkness, void of time and oxygen. It is freezing cold. It is an utter vacuum. Yet so heavy it will crush you. Sin is like this darkness. It is a realm of the unknown and undefined space so deep it can swallow us into a warp of misery so that we lose track of all time. Suddenly years have gone by and such dread can be a “knockout”.
Self-pity can consume your consciousness to the extent that you have no other awareness but “Poor me”. It is the reverberation of Adam so long ago vexed in his “new” state of sin. Sin is dark “space” where despair, regret, loneliness and unexplainable sadness pull us into unknown corridors of darkness. Scientists say a “black hole” pulls everything around it into a vortex with a power and speed beyond measure. Fear, anger and pain can be like this. We feel we can do nothing to stop it. But this is just another lie. Sin causes insurmountable damage to each person on earth yet remains hidden and undefined by this world. Never hear about it on the news or in a government report. It hides as the culprit of massive destruction. It gets away with murder.
Satan channels lie-formulas of speculations, proven effective throughout generations; thought patterns, that subtly permeate the human mind with dark space. There is no physical or practical way to identify sin. It can not be caught like an animal. It can not be shown on a screen or subject to scientific observation. The 10 Commandments expose it but do not supply the power over it. The law merely defines our lack, so if it is eliminated, so too is the obligation to fulfill it (Romans 4:15). The Holy Spirit offers the space of freedom (2 Cor.4:17). It is like the wind (Jn.3:8). He provides the sight in which to “see” sin and understand what happened on the cross so as to live free in the access to His power (Rm.8:1-4, 3:20/Gal.2:16,21). This is sacred space (Ps.91:2/2 Cor.19:13-15).
REPLACING DARK SPACE
WITH SACRED SPACE
loneliness into solitude (Jn.14:23).
The power of individual choice can not be overstated. What do you see when you stand in a field? There are the trees, grass, sky and maybe a hill. Can you be there? What is your consciousness? Do you see depression, grief, regret and a dim future that occupies your presence?
To defeat an adversary it is up to you to drive the fight. Can you, will you, identify what you see and engage any unseen obstacles that block your line of sight? The power of the fight is determined by your desire to engage reality and win.
When I ran Cross-Country in High School I had absolutely no desire to do so because I had no hope of ever winning. I ran “aimlessly”. The only reason I ran cross-country was because I had been shot in the eye with a B-B gun the previous year and could have gone blind if I continued to play football. I had to wait a year to see if my eye healed. So I ran only as an athletic outlet.
I loved football so much that the next year I defied my eye doctor and went back to playing football. I was driven by desire. Desire comes when you see that your fight has reward. When you engage reality, all cylinders fire. When you do what you thought you couldn’t do, you want to do more. You want to be what God shows you you can be. For this reason Pauls said;
“I discipline (Greek- bruise-buffet-beat black and blue) my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified”(1 Cor.9:26-27).
When I first read this, I saw the pride in my disdain; “Oh Paul, don’t say that! You are a man of God”. But the greatness of Paul was not seen in his travels or miracles but in the profound humility of his transparency over sin. Paul feared presumption. He did not fight based on his accomplishments but the accomplishments of Jesus.
“I have been crucified” Paul said, and I “buffet” my sinful body to make it my slave. Obviously, he wasn’t speaking in physical terms but explaining the depth of his fight against sin. He was fighting himself, not the air. Who admits such stuff? One who is intimately aware that sin and hell are real. He was not stupid and presumptious.
After he said “I do the very thing I hate” he defies human logic by concluding it with “yet it is not I but sin which dwells in me” (Rm.7:19ff). In other words, Paul was “crucified with Christ” and could “see”, by the Spirit, that sin no longer was his essential identity (Gal.2:20). The cross is not feel-good notion. It literally kills the subjectivity of sin (ego) and renders it an objective non-issue (1 Cor.1:18).
Jesus didn’t die for ten trillion individual acts of evil because, when He died in the very flesh of man, as a Substitute for man, he bore God’s “hit” of wrath upon the nature of Adam. By death, Jesus KILLED sin, for all time. One perfect Man for all sinful men. The 2nd Adam of the resurrection race replaced the 1st Adam of the sinful race (Rm.5:10). When you are born again into His new world, the domain of light floods the dark space with the sacred space of His Presence. Light will open your eyes to sin (Jn.3:3-8, 8:23-24,32-26/1 Jn.3:9).
LIGHT AND DARKNESS MEET IN THE PERSON OF JESUS. The cross was the ultimate depiction of reality. The darkness killed Him but the light raised Him from the dead. So we can go to Him in any moment of stillness and find compassion. He can expose and bare any darkness and release the power of His light (Luke 22:53). As the Lion of Judah, Jesus devoured darkness as the nothingness it is to such great Light.
I inhabit a body of sin but but when light invaded my world, I could “SEE” the kingdom (Jn.3:6,18:36). Beyond darkness. The grass and Notre Dame stadium was the same but I became a spirit-man into the domain of eternal light (1 Cor.15:45). The Holy Spirit is like the oxygen of God. He clears up our “brain fog”. He inhabits our void. He is the escape from the darkness within us. The darkness doesn’t disappear but the Light makes all things clear. One problem. One answer.
I can not cage the monster of sin. I had to die to “see” it. The reward is my destiny as a son in the fellowship in His divine love. I escape the vortex of dark space, not by striving, but by my “seeing” the light of Jesus. I desire to fight in the light. I love my plight. My desire is love from Him to give to you. It is the love God manifested 2000 yrs ago (Rm.5:8).
My friend, if you do nothing, nothing will happen. If you don’t change your mind, nothing will happen. The fight of repentance is always the gateway to new revelation. At first thought, these things may sound complicated. They are not. You are fully aware that the basic step to truth starts in your innermost being. It is “where” Jesus promises to meet you (inner space)(Ps.51:6-10). It is the step of opening your mouth to Jesus, not in a passive lame “prayer”, but in the fight of your heart. Jesus said His power to face the cross came out of His desire to please the Father (Heb. 10:7). He promises to put this heart in us (Heb.10:15-22).
Faith working through love is the voyage that takes you beyond the limitations of selfish-obsession. My bald head will never again grow its once blonde hair. Rats! But my born again spirit is growing in His multi-dimensional eternal expanding love.Jesus says to tell everyone the answer is “Repentance (change of mind) for forgiveness” (Lk.24:47/Acts 3:19). There was an adulterous lady who met Jesus and her consciousness was altered by simply being in the Presence of His light. Her space became His (John 8:14)
When you fight for heartfelt repentance, you will discover His sacred place of solitude is always LEARNING (Jn.14:23). Jesus says “learn from Me” (Mt.11:27ff/Eph.5:10). The greatness of Paul was not all the letters he wrote but the letter of his character for all to read displayed in the treasures of a humility so as to write:
“I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air” (1 Cor. 9:26).
Jesus came to earth, conquered every tendency of Adam-nature, and promises to enlighten us with HIS DIVINE FIGHT. No, it is not easy, but it is within our mental capacity to become more than we are. No one is exempt from the barrage of sin. Everyone suffers. Everyone, at some time, wants to hide. We all know the human curl of the fetal position. But the Spirit of truth neutralizes all speculations with truth; that we are NOT all alone; that we are NOT destined for misery and gloom, etc.
My friend, you ARE in “the ring” whether you want to be or not. Defeat is not a mere possibility. It is inevitable if you box “like one beating the air”. You must fight.
Paul feared the tragic consequences of hypocrisy so much he developed this visual description; “boxing the air”. It is making the motions of boxing without hitting the enemy. It is appearing to do something while doing nothing. It is pretending to be a Christian in the pride of sinful flesh. It is christian words and smile with no heart for Jesus. It is self-righteousness. You can see it if you want to. You can change if you desire to. Boxing the air has no value. No correlation to reality. No triumph over the enemy. It is religion.
The proof of “boxing the air” is the dark space of aimlessness. It is the consistency of hypocrisy. It is floating in deep space with no tether to reality. It is the lack of fellowship with the living Jesus. It is the lack of fulfillment promised in the living waters of Jesus (John 7:37). Salvation is the outcome of our FIGHT FOR THE LIGHT to be in Jesus. Paul says “I have fought the good fight of faith” (2 Tim . 4:7).
Paul says “…everyone exercises control in everything…but we do it to win a crown that will never fade…” (1 Cor. 9:26).
Please my friend. You made it all the way to the end of this, so you have more than a little fight. Receive God’s “light”. Increase the personal fight. Understand Scriptures such as John 9:39-41 and Romans 4 (esp. v15,17-18). Learn how to learn. Counter the speculations he puts in your mind (Eph. 6:12). Be a warrior. You can plant seeds of light into the dark space of a desperate man.
Over a hundred thousand people overdosed on drugs last year. Suicide became a viable alternative to existence. Do you care? 17 veterans kill themselves each day. Why? Will you fight for someone else? Venture out of your comfort zone to plant a garden in dark space? They are blinded by the darkness.
My family and I have fought our way through the darkness in countless cities throughout the world. We have joyfully beheld the Endeavor of our salvation. He is the living Jesus. If I can help you it would be my privilege. If you’d like to help us we sure would appreciate it. We work with all our heart to reach countless lost men and women in the love of the living Jesus. We have PayPal account with the Email address of: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greetings my friend. I’m not trying to write here some kind of exclusive super-spiritual far out thinking. I am a very simple guy but the gospel I live is not a flippant or trite “good news”. It requires, and then produces, a depth of heart, to understand, in order to withstand, the brutal difficulties of life in this world.
As my family and I deal with thousands and thousands of people we touch their meaningless sad loneliness. It kills me to see how everyone assumes there is no real answer, other than to mimic Bible talk. Multitudes claim to “be saved” yet dwell in the cellar of heartache and misery. This is a contradiction to the answer of God to provide a “live-feed” into the living Spirit of Jesus.
The feelings of hurt, pain and sorrow is like a “land” within us that determines our thinking each day. we must find the noble courage to escape our “castle” of fake IMAGE which is the source of our portal of pain.
What is “hurt”? Where is it? How do we measure it? With a bushel or a yard stick? Is it made of steel or tin? How does it come to us? Can a person, a fear or experience fire rockets of pain? Is it like a sun ray that can burn our skin without us even knowing it? What is the place within us that registers pain? My dear friend, we must learn to access our intelligence and will power to determine the impact and influence of pain. If we believe the work of Jesus we can control, determine and harness our pain to help eliminate our pride and build a warehouse of wisdom.
As a consequence of ignorance we can become bewildered by our struggles.
We are actually born into pain. David says “in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5). We live with the agony Adam incurred from the sin of mans defiance to God. He passed on to us his exact same human nature with all its shattered feelings of absolute devastation. Image how you would feel if you caused the fall of mankind from fellowship with your Creator. You don’t have to imagine. Sin hurts. It drives us into dark thoughts and hopeless despair. Satan exploits our ignorance of this plight. Paul says Satan attacks us out of the very air we breath each day ( eph2:2). His demonic thoughts are closer to us than our nose. So effective is Satans power that we automatically assume our sad feelings are a personal unique problem. No one else has it. So we suppress and deny this existence of inexplainable sorrow. We lie. “We have no portal of pain” (2 Cor10:3-5).
Oh my friend, is it not crazy to deny and hide this very real struggle that operates deep within us? Do you not yearn for relief? It is a relief that comes by simple accurate understanding.
“He Himself bore our sin in His body on the cross SO THAT we might die to sin and LIVE to righteousness; for by His wounds YOU WERE HEALED” (1 Pt.2:24).
It is sheer madness, this craziness of hiding what is really going on within us. It is playing into Satans hand. We pause, ponder, grieve, hesitate ALL ALONE in this place of ‘Go-Between’, of who we pretend to be and the real pain going on within us. The masses spend heir entire lives, waisting precious years of energy trying to negotiate with themselves which life is more real. Afraid to face their pain, afraid there are no answers and afraid that telling someone else who might not hear or care about our highly sensitive expression. We have seen, firsthand, how no one really listens or cares.
Jesus cares so deeply He alone actually, already, bore your exact pain and in His shadow we find shelter (Ps.91).
Right now, at this moment, you don’t realize the impact of your hidden pain upon your daily existence. It determines your attitude, perspective on hope, relationships and words. The majority LIVE and DIE in the portal of pain never getting to other side to find Gods answer. They never realize God is waiting to be “found” in the very pain we hide. To participate with Jesus to answer the “Why?” that torments your consciousness. Jesus says “Come to Me….I am the way”.
It is in fellowship with Jesus where we learn how to build a “spirit in truth” (Jn.4:24). The Door awaits anyone brave enough to be truthful and thus understand how to face and deal with the portal of pain. Then fight to get through the cross to the tomb. Most people spend hours, days, weeks, months and years, trying to construct a better image, a castle, of defense to their self-pity.
The Portal of Pain is not some pyscho-religious babel. It is the place of decision to choose or walk away from the cross. It is the Door into participation with the living Christ in His overcoming battle with the world. It is the choice to believe. Jesus fought every single pain you fight. It is this understanding that contextualizes all pain of sin and sorrow. To relinquish the “right” to complain and take on our accountability for sin results in true salvation. It is the beginning and end of dealing with the complexity of suffering.
Paul explains”We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that Jesus’ life may also be displayed in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:8-11). This passage presupposes one thing: PARTICIPATION. This is word never heard amongst christian circles. It is reiterated in Philippians 3:9.
How do we “participate” in the gospel? Choice. Humility is like turning the lens on a camera to find sharp focus of reality. Self-pity is not humility. Humility is backing down from everything we insist we already know so that we can know that we don’t know. Self-pity is self-pride and holds us in the gallows of pain. To participate in the cross of Jesus is to relinquish ALL pride. The power of the cross is transferred by the Holy Spirit into a humble man when he releases the natural tendencies of self-pity into the light of His Spirit. This is participation, involvement, engagement and joining in redemption.
All the practical benefits of the big words: redemption, atonement, sanctification, forgiveness, reconciliation happen through our participation in the cross. It’s like moving furniture around in a house. Repentance is a definitive change.
For you see my friend, regardless of all the things we think and say about our own identity, the sum total of how we live is traced to how we are responding to the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Can it still our sinful ways? Do we fully yield or persist in our own ways? We are either melted by His love or hardened by our own isolation. Do you have compassion on what Jesus actually went through for you? What does it do to you? Pain has no meaning in an of itself. It only takes on purpose when we stand and gaze up at the cross. It is not meant to isolate us but break us into His loving Presence. This is the answer to the “Why?’ of pain. Jesus said “Father….WHY have You forsaken ME”? In that very moment He Himself was answering this cray of all mankind as He BECAME SIN (2 Cor.5:20-21). The answer? SIN IS.No reason. No logic. No excuse (Jon.15:25).
If you want to see your pain actually become a good thing it is by the sole act of faith. God says “the word of the cross is the power of God” (1 Cor.1:18). To believe that eternal life can come out of the other side of your situation can start right now. God is with you in this solitude. Speak to Him. Jesus injected His entire self into His suffering on the cross. He “designed” His work to transform the will of every single man ever to walk this earth. “I’ll meet you and change you here, in my cross” says the Lord. Become “united” with Him (Rm.6:6).
He brings His suffering into our suffering like well-fitted clothes to take on and wear.”Ahh. This is the humility to extinguish my pride” I’ve said so many times. In every situation when I have dealt with physical, emotional or mental pain God has met me with a maturity and love. Another word for love is “compassion” that comes from “passion” which means suffering. All of life only makes sense through the portal of our pain into His ultimate act of love on the cross.
This is why Paul defines his essential credential, not as knowing doctrines, “accepting christ as savior” or theology, but as being “crucified with Christ” (Gal.2:20). He entered The Portal of Pain and learned how to negotiate life according to the very heartbeat of Jesus. God’s will. When we enter the portal of pain contemplating the sufferings of Jesus; we come out the other end and find His eternal destiny. It is explicitly laid out in Ephesians 1. The finished product is not a better you but a love far beyond you. Jesus says “I AM LIFE” (Jn.14:6). His life was death so that His death could be our gateway to His life.
“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to
His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection…being united with His death” (Phil.3:10-11/Rm.6:6).
There is no other way. The answer to our pain is to understand His pain. To have compassion ON Jesus is to learn FROM Jesus. To understand His pain is to contexualize our pain. The Word of God is not my interpretation or view. Paul explicitly explains that sharing in the suffering of the cross is that with which he finds “fellowship”. It has to be because IT IS. There is no other grounds to touchJesus other than to be touched by Him. It is where you become “spirit and truth” as the only means out of which to know God. It has to be personal suffering because every relationship with God is personal, individual, unique, your name, you, you, you.
In order for God to ‘touch’ you and ultimately for you to touch someone, in order to establish divine connection, in a real way, we must learn how to speak out of our fear and pain, like a caterpillar struggling to become a butterfly. In order to relate and communicate with anyone in spirit and truth, we must learn the fellowship in suffering, pain and hurt.
My friend, how are YOU? I have dealt with tons of brothers and sisters all over the world. No matter your background, I meet you on your grounds of sorrow and hurt. Not in superficial words of shallow greeting and token exchange. Please believe that I am just like you. Open your hand and let me grasp it with a firm hold as we walk together through the barrage of dark feelings and thoughts. What I write is not some far out thing. It is the real of our lives. It is true access to God’s answers.I love you and I mean it.
It is my profound privilege to bring true hope and joy to you, maybe as we have performed, possibly at some time for you, as we do for people all over the world who suffer terribly all alone. The most endearing experience is not dancing, singing, doing magic, comedy, or hearing applause. It is the time before and after the show meeting individuals, hearing their personal stories. Most of all, it is engaging someone, one on one, in the look we all share, of longing to be loved; longing to be understood. A thousand words are written in the expression of one face. It is eternal joy to share real answers of the gospel and not sentimental hype.
The gospel is “magic”. It is the magic to disarm the tragic. It is marvelous to transform pain into power. The greatest power in the world; love. It is the culmination of the cross. The death of self is the seedbed of Jesus. It can be your magic. Instead of being irrelevant and forgotten in the dark shadows of a heartless world, you can take this magic on the road of the Majesty on High.
I can show you how to switch your mind from the grievous burdens of self-autonomy into the freedom of marvelous discovery. People often ask me to do a magic trick. I love to accommodate anyone. Let me share the most powerful move I have learned. You can do it too. In fact, it’s right at your fingertips. My fellow magician, we can pull a switch on our life from grief into a phenomenal privilege. The secret to this trick is to make life NOT all about us. We get so obsessed with talking about ourselves that, to make this switch, midcourse, defies imagination. So the secret requires we “see” into the eyes of another, to reach into their suffering, and touch them and draw out the LOVE that makes magic happen.
It’s really not magic. It’s God. “God is love” (1Jn.4:8). Everything about God is love. Love is bigger than us all. It magically shrinks big problems. We replace hostility with maturity and shock the world. It is the power to trick our own minds with change. A miracle takes place right before our eyes. It makes us do things we can’t and think things we never would. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a face is worth a million. So I want to tell you, my precious friend, I hear YOU, I see YOU, I care about YOU. You matter so much to God that He gave His only begotten Son to die for you to live forever (Jn.3:16). You matter; to me; to others and most of all to God. Your words are not lost in the sea of humanity. Your life is not a blade of grass in a sprawling meadow. God sees your face and can pick out your voice from the chatter of an overflowing cafeteria or downtown crowd.
So many times, when talking to people, I spot one individual in the crowd. Our eyes lock onto each other. Suddenly, in one instant, we “speak” to each other, while uttering no words. That look of longing in our eyes is louder than any sound. Two kindred spirits who have never seen each other suddenly engage in that one so special moment. I describe God’s love as magic, not in heathen irreverence or foolish ignorance but in allegorical license because it contains a dazzling but lasting aspect undefined by religious jargon (1Cor.2:9). We may not know each other but we are the same in the common nature of our humanity and can come to the same love offered in the Presence of a merciful Savior. The shambles of sadness, the loneliness of isolation, the crumbling rubble in a broken life, and so much more, are transmitted by waves and frequencies of a music called pain. We understand it is the language of HURT. It is the essence of why God became Man. It is the essence of the love demonstrated in Jesus as He died and rose again (Rom.5:8). The Spirit of Jesus is called “the Comforter” because He synthesizes the agony of the cross with the power of the resurrection and brings us divine life (Jn.14:26/1Pt.2:24). I remember one time after a prison performance holding a fellow brother. He was sharing the injustice of his sentence. Suddenly I saw water dripping on my tennis shoes. I looked up for a leaking pipe only to realize it was his tears pouring onto my feet. One hug of two strangers speaking in the language of HURT: an overflow of pain. God so loved the world. It’s called catharsis. It’s called healing. It’s called love and it’s in high demand. But there is no factory that can supply the huge demand. No, my brother. The Father is asking you to make your heart a “factory” of His love. As long as there is one or two or three who will pay the price of their life to be a supply-chain of His love there is hope; there is BROTOCOL. It can occur any time anywhere. It’s yours to give as a performer on your stage of life. But how do we find this magic when we are so caught up in our own pain and sorrow? Ahhhh. Pain. No other way. Dying to self is a tough adventure (Rm.6:6, Jn.12:24-25). But the question is; do we wish to only watch the magic or learn how to do it? I have performed on hundreds of city streets, ghettos, campuses, prisons, and military bases not to entertain but appeal to the Deep Heart within each man. Because each man has a deep heart which needs to be released; born again into the manifestation of God’s love in the living Jesus. Anyone who is willing to believe will “see” this kingdom. Jesus says “Come to Me… learn from Me… anyone who comes I will certainly not cast out.” He offers “…rivers of living waters…” to bring us His divine healing (Jn.3:3, 6:37, 7:37/Mt.11:28). Some say, “How is it that I feel so void of God even though I do believe in Him?” My friend, the Son of God cried, “My God…why have You forsaken ME?!” (Mt.27:46). The Father’s answer to Jesus is the same to us: Deafening Silence. But no ordinary silence. A silence so full of answers so loud it demands you listen, you think, you understand, and realize. God cannot make sin disappear. This world is not neutral. It is hostile against us, ruled by Satan (Lk.4:6/Jn.12:31/1Jn.5:19/2Cor.4:4). Look and hear a world gone mad. Listen to the cries all around you. What do they sound like? SIN. The catastrophic outcome of Adam setting His heart to defy His loving Creator. The echo of his cry transferring into the chambers of the nature we inherited in procreation. Sin has ruined us all (Rm.3:10, 5:12). Jesus actually bore all the “Why?” issues of a thousand generations. Now we can find the answer through one substance an old pagan guy named Abraham gave us: FAITH in His resurrection and redemption (Rm.4:1). God won’t violate our will, but He will turn us around to see His love in using bad things to cause good things (Rm.8:28). Imagine the eyes of the Savior locking eyes with you, saying He feels your pain while knowing His plan, but allowing you to choose. Imagine the eyes of an ultimate Brother, Who has literally been through hell for you. My man, this love is not religious feelings. It is factual history. Discovering His divine love hinges on your decision to believe. It will be released to you when you come directly to the living Jesus. Faith is a “conviction of things not seen” (Heb.11:1+6). Jesus really did walk in our shoes and feel all our pain in His body on the cross. He became the sacrificial Lamb to atone and cover our sin. One Brother for another. The Substitute. He bore the wrath we deserve so we could live forever. Jesus rose to live to send His Spirit to you. My precious brother or sister, don’t give up. You are meant to fly. Faith is real, to rise up, to mount up, to be lifted up. By faith in His resurrection, we can sprout wings out of our valley of morbid self-pity (Is.40:31/Ps.23).
ESCAPE THE INNER NOISE
After being in the midst of the chaos of war and death Elijah escaped to a mountain. Each of us bears within us the chaos of our sinful torment. To hear God, beyond issuesof stress, anxiety, past memories, regret, that today constitute PTSD, requires a will to discern God’s Presence.
Elijah did not hear God in the realm of experiential sensation ofrushing wind or fire but rather it was in his own cherished suspended silence “where” Elijah heard God in a still whispering breeze.
This “place” is the outcome of thoroughly relegating ones self to the cross to pass THROUGH his own portal of pain into the victory of Jesus. It is a silent space that one must create inside oneself before one can fellowship with God and express pure love for others.
God wants to speak to you and teach you how to master your sin like a horse champion. The cross is contoured to suit your individual pain. All you need do is yield to His wisdom and work. Learn to be still and actually hear God speak to you in through His living Word.
I know the byline of Try, try, try but never attain the desired goal of happiness. Multitudes give up on God because they simply can not attain the standards set by self- righteous. Jesus nullified all our human righteousness in one sentence; “He who is without sin… let him cast the first stone” (Jn.8:7). God’s plan is not to make you “better”, but to draw you to Himself so He can make you new (2Cor.5:17). Salvation is not some THING you must DO but Someone Who has done everything for you.
We all feel ugly, damaged, useless, or forgotten because we have all failed in many ways. But God “CREDITS” the very righteousness of Jesus to any sinner on the basis of faith – unlimited, unmerited, automatic, forgiveness and redemption (Rm.4:1-9). The Scriptures are not flowery words of an untouchable religious man. Jesus demonstrated the greatest “macho” power in history. He went to the lowest regions of depravity to eliminate any excuse not to be lifted beyond our darkest abyss and discover the heights of His Spirit. In His DNA was written every thread of mental anguish, personality type, sociological stigma, and label known to mankind. He walked away from that tomb to free all who believe and speak His Name: JESUS.
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When I played college football, at Central Mich. University, we won the National Championship but I lost everything (Jn.12:25). Little did I comprehend what was going on in and around me. I could lift 405 lbs., but I could not budge the weight of pain-filled loneliness. I could halt a linebacker by a crushing block but could not stop the oncoming devastation of personal rejection. I could run a 40 yd. dash in 4.4 seconds but could not outrun depression.
I was just saved. I had just met Jesus but I was torn up inside and felt like my entire life was crumbling before my eyes. I did not understand The Inner War and how gut-wrenching truth would get beyond it.
Within a matter of hours and days I was confronted by the enormous clash of two opposing realities within my mind. I did not understand then but what what happened to Him happens to all who follow Him: Two Worlds Collide – Lamb Found Dead. Up until the first day of football camp I was welcomed as a fellow comrade and teammate. But in that one afternoon arriving on campus for double-sessions I faced dimensions of hostility from teammates, that simply baffled my thinking.
Hey man, I was just a dumb, beer-guzling, polish kid, from the west side of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I cheated my way through school and Mass on Sundays, after the bars on Saturdays, was about it for my duty to God. I had no clue to the divine ramifications of what it would mean to actually get personal with a living God and experience the switch from darkness to light.
How could such contrast and hatred arise due solely to one decision? I left college in the Spring as one man and returned in the Fall as another. I was seen and despised as a traitor because I made an uncompromising stand for “the Other side”; Jesus.
When my teammates looked to my mouth to spew wicked words of dark inspiration they were shocked to watch my lips formulate light; “It’s all about the living Jesus fellas”. I took two pieces of medical tape and made a cross on the back of my helmet and used a magic marker to put one on my wristband. I went from a “Badass” to a ‘weirdo’. Smash stuff and mock others and I was “cool”. Love people and help others and you’re a “nut”. It would be a long time before I could begin to normalize this abnormal reality.
Mockery is no little thing. I did it to others but never had it done to me. It shattered my entire mind-set of people, the world and my own identity. I felt like a building collapsing from being detonated by an inward implosion. I was left in the rubble of wounded isolation not knowing this destruction of my old man was God’s answer to a ‘deal’ in which I came directly to Jesus to build me a new man. Now He was fulfilling His end by bringing me to Himself.
God was becoming my Father and was leading me into the place, where a boy becomes a man, and a man becomes a son. It is the place designed to render every son the lesson of turning loneliness into the solitude of contemplation, to discover awesome stuff, that every human craves, whether they admit it or not, like meaning, and feeling intimately loved, having a purpose and a joy of “streams of living water”. Not mickey mouse poetry but deep piercing supernatural reality. I had entered what is known in the animal world as a “cocoon” (i.e. the cross-Rm.6:6/Jn.7:37). Butterfly… yet to fly.
One year earlier things were totally different. I was treated like dark royalty because I did the things that caused “the guys” to revere me. Like one night, I got drunk and started a barroom brawl. Things were broken. Police were called and sirens filled the night air. I fled down a back alley and up a chain-link fence. A cop threw me in jail. My football reputation kept me out of prison, but the inner war was spiraling out of control.
Over the next year I learned how to switch the force of my will from being subject to the lies of darkness to grasp the truth.And when we do this life changes for the good. It involves turmoil. I don’t mean to sound corny, my friend, but I love you and can help you find happiness. It is crucial to face and identify subconscious fallibility.
My friend, there exists today, a twisted thinking that combines cynicism with Christianity. It involves the confession that Christ is the answer; “No need to tell me. I already know and have IT” BUT the underlying thinking is “Hey, ya I know I got loads of “issues” in my real life, but there’s no real answers. Nobody is perfect”. So go to the extreme. As if anybody is saying this.
Being honest and understanding the inner war is essential to avoid the tragedy of being blindly driven by subconscious fallibility.So please, pause a second and don’t say “Oh, no need to tell me about Christ. I already know”. When the reality of day to day life is full of denial of sad contradictions it only increases the misery and depression. Jesus says “The truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). To replace this bad stuff with blessing merely requires simple humble honesty. So let’s go beyond this crumbling paradox of abysmal cynicism.
Look man, I get it. I thought it. I did it. But please, give me a chance. There is a purity of reality that has been so defiled, and set aside as UNATTAINABLE, that it is accepted as normal Christian thinking but is straight from the pit of hell. You don’t have to go on with the inner war that you are dealing with. I am not lying, exaggerating or trying to sound ‘better than thou’. A life in the Holy Spirit is beyond the inner war and only requires truth.
The force of your will can bring you out of any darkness if you do what is necessary. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t know it all, hey? Maybe you haven’t “Been there, done THIS”. Let me help talk you through the most serious deception that most people accept as truth. After I met the living Jesus, I couldn’t figure out how to deal with ongoing depression and “issues” that I was told by “Christians” would disappear by a ‘sinner’s prayer’.
So let me go back, for a second, to cite a microcosm of today’s cultural dilemna. My dad was a very angry selfish dude, but man, he was obsessed with church. So one day, out of nowhere, my mom comes home and says “I met the living Jesus.” My dad got furious. I was shocked. Why would a “christian” rage against a wife who talks about Jesus? I began to probe their conflict and came to understand the absolute tragedy of christian hypocrisy.
Stay with me. First, can we agree our pride can be a tricky beast? It blinds us and drives us to say or do stuff that we later regret. We yearn for true understanding, forgiveness, meaning, identity, and love but pride insists “Oh I’m fine.” God promises to heal and fulfill us but how do we really get to God? Can you possibly put aside any self-righteousness presumption?
Deception does not wave giant red flags. Truth demands humble character. We face a need for a bandwidth of discernment. There are 67k denominations, 300k churches, and a glut of TV “preachers” mimicking gospel terminology with ersatz “compassion”. Like sheep, the multitudes do not question, but quickly accept, a lethal counterfeit of prosperity-tithing that exploits desperate men like pawns. Do you dare be an individual and seek the Word of truth of a living Jesus (2 Cor.11:3-4)?
I grew up seeing my parents and many others destroyed by religion and refused to be a naive hypocrite or forlorn and cynical. I decided to make a straightforward deal with God. I asked for, and received, an “All-City” fullback award that I needed it to be recruited. But I “chickened out” of my part.I even got worse into booze and drugs. Recruited by Central Mich. Univ. the team called me “The War”: badass image, but inside, terrified of hell. Why was I running from God?
Injuries threatened my football world. I couldn’t afford to stay in college so I made another deal with God. This time I contemplated the Scriptures and found out that our part of the deal is to come directly to Him and surrender our self; “lose your life to find it” the very answer to the inner war with self (Jn.12:25/6:37/Mt.7:7/Malachi 3:10). So, in my mind, faith was squarely on the line, dependent on whether a living Jesus would come to me.I had also been reading a book about a caterpillar, a process of a dark cocoon, and a butterfly. Very relevant.
One spring day, my coach calls me in to his office and awards me a full-ride scholarship. I exploded with a “butterfly” dream. I was “playing with fire.”JESUS IS ALIVE! This was about not about football but my future life.I walked outside and dove into a pond (I was later told it was filled with insecticides. Whoops). A few months later, I visited Notre Dame. While sitting in the stadium, I gave my self to the living Jesus. I didn’t know it then but Iwas “born from above” on June 14th, 1974 (Jn.3:3-8).
I share all that, to say this: Jesus says “Come to ME… Learn from ME… MY ways are easy…” (Mt.11:28). He knew, back then, that He wouldn’t be in Israel when we read this. And He sure wasn’t calling us to a religous system, that ended up killing Him.His Word is relevant today because He is here.Give your self to Him. He will give Himself to you; a “life-giving spirit”; an inner manto conquer the inner war (1 Cor.15:45/Eph.3:16).
We look inside ourself for answers, but the need is to just be still, reflect, contemplate His promises, and look upward, call on His Spirit. The inner war is not some unique “personality flaw”: “Oh nobody knows what I’m dealing with”. It is in all of us like a poison in our blood. Satan tricked Adam to defy God (Rom.5:12). Sincorrupted our entire flesh with a blotch of pure evil.
I was thrilled to finally understand the evil in me as objective sin. God knows this yet loves me.Ignorance to sin tricks us, ruins our lives, works death, and leads to hell (Rom.7:19 Rom.6:23/Rev.21:8). Paul speaks at length, contrasting a man of the Spirit to a man of the flesh. The ultimate purpose is to live beyond your problems so that other lost men can know the true gospel of Jesus. Jesus says forget about trying to make yourself perfect. It’s just more self-obsession. Love will take your mind off yourself.
Anyone who tells you that you can “better” your self is as ignorant as the phonies who dragged a sinner to the feet of Jesus. In one sentence, God, in Christ, nullified all human “righteousness”: ‘he who is without sin, stone her’ (Jn.8:7). There is no one righteous.. our heart is desperately sick… Pride must be “excluded” (Rm.3:10,27/Jer.17:9). We can never “better” our self because there is nothing in self better than self. We must look outside of ourselves. Run to, not away, from God. Today “Christians” want no part of suffering. Yet this is the true gospel. When Paul said he was “crucified” with Christ he meant it.
We all crave to be, do or say what is right. But sinful flesh cancels out this possibility. We are tormented by failure. In Love, God designed a plan to rescue us from self; sin, ego, pride. It is not striving to be a Christian by applying Bible verses to our sinful flesh. It is coming to Jesus Who alone can mediate His plan to reconcile us to His Father. The plan demands our faith. It “reckons” to us the perfect righteousness acquired by the Risen Jesus.
This faith is the ultimate force of the universe. It instantly and automatically cancels all failure and sin and makes you right in God’s eyes (Rm.1:17, 10:9-10). This is the healing to your scars. It takes you beyond the inner war, onto the road of purpose and destiny. Joy proves and reflects this faith. God can finally look on us with the same favor as He does upon His Son (Rm.4:9/Phil.3:7-11).
If we do not have clear discernment between the flesh and the Spirit, we will mistakingly identify the operations of the conscience as the Spirit, which will only result in legalism. Once a man comes into the Spirit the conscience must be cleansed because it fights against the Spirit. It must be “washed clean” from driving us to do good works to justify ourselves (Heb.9:14,10:22).
The term living Jesus is not a novel cliche. It is Biblical revelation and the only legitimate identity of theliving One waiting to come to our side right now.He took on all your sinful ways, in His flesh, on the cross (Rm.6:6,8). Imagine replacing guilt with untouchable triumph; Free as a “butterfly”; a son of the Father (Jn.8:32,36/Gal.2:16-21/ 2 Cor. 5:17,6:17-18). A “deal”for a material blessing does not compare to the exuberance of unlimited forgiveness, meaning, and things you never imagined from His Holy Spirit. To learn discernment of the Spirit requires the breaking of the “old man” and the witness of the Spirit to the inner man.
Upon graduation, I went to three seminaries; MST, the priesthood and later Fuller Seminary but saw further into how Christianity is a counterfeit institution of with no answers but theology and social-political values. A system about Jesus is not the living Person of Jesus. You can learn tons of Bible knowledge, but none of it means that you have come to Him (Read Jn.5:39).
The true church is seen in the live in the Book of Acts 4:32. The ways of the Spirit are not some deep, hidden mystical formula. That kind of stuff is rooted in self-pride. The Spirit honors only childlike humility of faith. Having your guts ripped apart for Jesus and dealing with emotional struggle is part and parcel of the gospel (2 Cor.4:8-11). It is turmoil beyond time, with an eternal purpose and reward. Glory to God!
A systematic approach to God of “Do’s” and “Dont’s” and striving to BE RIGHT dulls the instinctive impulse of our conscience to find the Personal love of our Creator (Rm.2:14/2 Cor.3:6). It exposes a clear void of the Holy Spirit. The downfall here is to instantly feel defensive and try to distance yourself from this reality. Rather, choose transparency before God. Be grateful to see the problem and identify your ignorance to the ways of the Spirit. There are scores of“christians” strewn across the battlefield of life. You don’t have to physically go to a church on Sunday to confirm the influence of our culture.
Everyone builds their own inner “church” of self- isolation. The question is whether it is built on your “righteousness” or His? The snare of group think is man-think. So you don’t have to attend a building to be part of the system. You give up to man-thinking because you do not give in to Jesus thinking. A 1 hour system of 5, 10, or 20-minute segments, that you or others orchestrate, cannot heal the inner war or give you “rivers of living water” (Jn.7:37-38).
We must come to understand that the edge between being in the Spirit and walking in the flesh is a mere decision of transparency away. It is the choice between humility or to remain proud and confident of carnal ways you choose to identify as God. I remember when I was riding in the hearse with my Dad, after my mothers funeral, he turned and said to me “I cannot recall even one of the reasons that I constantly fought with your mother”. It took him his whole life to reach this moment of subtle and partial humility. Full humility is no little thing.
I can not imagine how anyone lives their whole life in this lost world never knowing the individual touch of the love of Jesus. Stupid pride leads men to hell.Please, my friend,dig deep into humility. Get real. Learn the power of contemplation (Rm. 4:19). Don’t let the scars win. Talk to God.In a moment, you can choose childlike faith (Mt.18:3). The Spirit of Jesus has led me over decades to 50 countries to walk the city streets, campuses, prisons, ghettos, etc., and bring the living Bread to all who hunger. He is calling you by name to fulfill your destiny. Game?
If you’d like to help us reach people with the living Jesus, everything helps. We have no group that supports us. Thank you. More than anything we’d love to touch base with you if you’d like. We love you my friend!
Have you ever heard people interpret the rugged misery of their broken lives as God’s will? As if using positive claims, Bible cliches and spiritual terminology magically hides grief and transposes sadness into happiness. As if a desired reality is created by interpreting things with ‘happy words’. My friend, random circumstances, occur from self-centered living, not God’s will. It is heart-breaking to deal with this.
If only a little humility was used the outcome would be to UNDERSTAND God’s will. Then, the happiness that people pretend to be real, could actually become real.
The common death-trap is to claim “I already know what is necessary to be saved”. It is poison. I have never met a musician or artist who says anything like this. They express a natural humility in light of the vast sum knowledge of their field. Yet, todays “Christian” conveys presumption as the apt tendency of spiritual pride. What person, in their right mind, would equate 10 words (I accept you Christ as my personal lord and Savior) to a fixed end of knowing the omniscient eternal will of God?
The truth is that we all, as sin infected human beings, wander into the rugged scenes of this lost world. God does not display Himself like an image on a TV. There are no defined paths on this earth. Every choice renders unknown consequences. No signs posted: THIS WAY TO GOD’S PERFECT WILL. We define reality by our senses. We want a feeling like a sugar-high from coffee and donuts. But God is Spirit and says we must become spirit to find His will (John 4:24,3:3/1 Corinthians 15:45).
In fact, be honest, everything seems a guess, so vague, both in, and around us, that natural human instinct ultimately predetermines the outcome of our choices to be whatever is most safe, comfortable and familiar. Right?
But let’s consider the supernatural. How do we get THERE? Let’s consider what truth might bring us. What if one day, we see a wrinkle, or two, or three in the mirror, and realize time is on a fast track rushing us to death. We get scared. We choose to challenge the rugged appearance of things. We slap fear in the face. We demean comfort for not being all it claims. What if we replace compliance with defiance to our natural instincts?
A professional photographer ventures into the wilderness with just a hope and a camera. His goal: capture that one picture when all the fascinating elements of nature converge to display the absolute glory of one pristine happening. What if you could venture into the rugged challenges of life and learn how to acquire the capacity to capture moments of divine destiny? To “see” the Son in you is His promise (Col.1:27)?
The Wasted Grief over “Accidents”
People expend so much human energy on grief rather than discernment. Accidents and failures can become the means to become spiritual, rather than remain natural. You see my friend the truth is that ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, all of life, in this world, is an accident. But long ago the Father designed a plan to turn everything around THROUGH FELLOWSHIP in His Son.
Everything in life is a result of Adams sin. Everything in us and everything we touch and see is corrupt. Nothing we will ever experience from this world is perfect. Everything is held in the grip of Satan. It holds the potential for tragedy because sin is the essence of this world all around us. Sin is the curse upon this world and every man (Galations 3:10-16).
All our encounters with this world, with people, places and things, are in the rugged setting of the “accident” called sin. Our senses are inaccurate. But we can find destiny in every accident by a simple choice of faith. To bring faith to determine, rather than allowing things to determine. Jesus appeared in order to transform our every encounter with this world. When we are IN HIM He does this by bearing the grief in every situation, through the cross. He takes on the bad stuff of every encounter, then uses all the struggle to bring us into His Spirit, to see how everything it geared to glorify “the ONE seed”.
Instead of an accident we can enter His destiny; the Presence of the Father.
Everywhere we turn, everywhere we look, everything we touch in life is abounding in sin. Nothing is right. No one is right. Everything is an accident from what it could have been if Adam did not sin. Everything is rugged. But being IN CHRIST we can enter beyond the veil of outward circumstances to inward promises of God.
To consign ourselves to the safety and comfort “promised” by this world we settle into a future in a canoe headed over a waterfall.
Please my friend, let me explain something very beautiful. It scares away some but it offers the the thrill like walking a high wire. It is walking on the edge of divine reality. No other way to describe what the Father offers us.
The secret of “IN”
The Word of God is exactly this. He speaks and reveals His will but who “hear”. Who obey? Paul writes “Now the promises (words to find His will, here and now, His blessing in our inner experience; the actual eternal Character of Jesus) were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ” (Galations 3:16). In other words ALL activity of God is towards, in and with Jesus. Nothing He does is towards us; i.e. our body of flesh.
To claim that God is blessing YOU and YOUR life, when indeed, all men are under the curse of sin is just plain ignorant of truth and stupid. God does not bless any man. His blessing is to His Son; “not referring to many, but rather TO ONE”. Period. So unless we are IN Christ, what we claim to be a “blessing” is nothing more than good feelings of the flesh. The only way out of the flesh is IN Christ.
Paul uses the term “in Christ” over 220 times.
Faith is the only means to be in Christ. There is no ritual required. Remember any specific times when you were playing as a kid? Go back to those moments. Go back before the age when the world began to poison your mind with all it’s complicated pressures. That’s where you find faith. Remember when you first laid under the stars or realized the magnificence of creation? That was the “place” of innocence that God built His image for you to identify Him in all of His creation. That’s where faith is born. Abraham was the father of faith and it was conceived when he simply looked up at the stars and believed in God.
Abraham (Isaac, Jacob) became….IN CHRIST. David became…IN CHRIST. Job became…IN CHRIST. Every prophet became…IN CHRIST. Christ came upon men in the Old Testament but could not yet come within man due to sin. So Paul explains that the promise of Abraham, which was long before the giving of the law, actually supersedes the moral behavior demanded by the law.
Paul goes on to explain how ‘obeying the law’ (“trying to be a good better Christian”) can not “impart life”, but indeed, only results in further sin; self-righteousness (v. 21-22). In other words, the presumption of becoming a good Christian, is nothing but proud flesh. To relinquish this is to still the flesh and allow the spirit to believe God and receive His Son within you.
Scores of people claim God’s will is this or that: a job, marriage, car, circumstance, etc. They claim something that is not. God’s blessing is found in one simple way; to be IN CHRIST. Jesus fulfilled all things concerning the demands of the law for perfect moral behavior.
Paul explains that everything God does, is never an isolated focus on “seeds” (men), but always solely focused on Jesus. As wicked sinners we are unworthy of His holy eyes. Unless we are IN JESUS we can never receive His promises. Never. Our fallen flesh is despicable to Him.
My precious brother or sister let me help you figure out how to break through this rugged world and travel the terrain of our disgruntled human nature. You can yet capture and live in the Spirit of the Son. You can yet enter the destiny of God’s plan of redemption IN THE LIVING JESUS.
God brought all His “high and lofty” ways down to earth in Christ. He brought the very destiny of Jesus within our grasp. Don’t let this world win. Don’t let the picture of the rugged scene cause you to settle. God is waiting to lead you within His Son that you might be His love here to men. There is no greater joy than to be in the actual compassion of Jesus to men.
P.S. Over the last month we have been to over 20 prisons throughout the South. It has drained us beyond anything we’ve ever faced. Performing in 90 degree prison yards. We have touched such brutal suffering of so many individuals damaged by a system that breeds mental illness. Just imagine, every day behind barbed wire, secluded to one room, facing 30 years as a 20 year old living in a room full of thirty guys. Every night hearing screams, crying, coughing, sickness etc. Please, I beg you, do not turn a deaf ear. I am not lying or exaggerating. In our nothingness we have clearly seen the magnificent workings of the Spirit bringing the gospel of Jesus to wounded men.
If anyone is in a position to help us we need a Cargo trailer. We almost bought one before we went to Brazil and when Covid hit all the prices soared so when we got back things were double the price. It’s been quite rugged. Now what used to be three thousand is twice the price. We just don’t have the room in our RV for all the stuff to work in the prisons. Surely the Lord can provide and I hope that mentioning it here might be a way. Thank you very much! We love you.
Fascinating is the word I use to describe the intimate activity of the Father in the life of His Son, and, by consequence, in me living the life of a son. I base this on the revelation of Galations 3:16. Paul explains that everything God does, is in, through and towards Jesus. He does nothing, in a sense, in isolated focus on us. We are not worthy of His eyes.
So therefore it is to our utmost expediency to figure out what it really means to be In Jesus (THE seed). Only then can a man discover the design of God’s plan and eternal destiny.
This may sound a bit lofty, but actually anything about a Supreme Eternal Being is lofty. But God brought all His loftiness down and dirty in Christ to earth. So it simply means that everything about salvation depends on being IN the living Jesus. Cuz we can’t get what He offers by prayers, church attendance or moral behavior. Only Jesus. Repeating 9 words in a “sinners prayer” does not quite fit the bill.
So our focus must become what does it practically mean to be IN CHRIST. What does it mean to be “anointed with Christ”; i.e. a Christian.
When John the Baptist saw this “guy”, walk up to him at the river, Jesus outwardly looked like any fellow human man. But John said “Behold, the Lamb of God….” (Matt.3:13/John 29,36). Why? John saw the unseen. Pilate saw Jesus and said “Behold the man….”(Jn.19:5). Why? He chose not to see the unseen. When the Jews saw Jesus they said “He has a demon….” while others said they saw someone who was insane. (John 10:20).
What do you “see” inside Jesus?
Are you left with your self-pity and feelings of inadequacy or His majesty and living power? Do you engage or rationalize? Some people think, they not only deserve God’s favor, but that John 3:16 implies God could not resist loving them because they are so ‘lovable’.
The truth is that your life will reflect exactly what you see? If you force yourself to “see” the unseen, then this work will give slowly but ultimately give birth to heart.
My friend, it surely is my utter privilege if I can be used in any way to help anyone come to know the living Jesus. This is my life focus. But it’s not up to me to save you. It’s up to you. It’s up to you to bring forth a heart to Jesus that shows you see inside of Jesus and realize His salvation is the most serious thing in the universe.
Have you ever read Proverbs 17:16? “Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, When he has no heart?”
It’s a like someone who thinks he is a marathon runner because he watches, observes and expresses interest in a marathon. He’s run a bit and knows the feelings of sweat and exhaustion. But his deliberate choice to “jump the line” and see inside himself the capacity to run a marathon can be described as nothing other than stupid pride. This absurd presumption is what Paul describes as the result of spiritual blindness and the curse and consequence of hubris.
Salvation occurs only if a person fully engages his will and consciousness to calculate and conclude that he must break with self and turn away from pride, once and for all (2 Cor.4:3-4 and 2 Cor. 3:16).
IT IS NO LONGER “I”
When Paul met the living Jesus he instantly explained “it is no longer I (ego, pride, self) who live” (Galations 2:20). This may be the most insightful verse of the Bible into the gospel because it defines the absolute necessity of replacing self life with the life of Jesus. It can only happen through the cross; “I (self, pride, ego) have been crucified with Christ”.
Sometimes people write me some token words on a page in an obvious sense of expecting me to feel giddy and privileged that they did so. As if “Here I am. Now honor me by responding as I expect”. Like they are doing me a favor. Like they already know it all, but want me to see them as a peer and give them some “spiritual stuff”. If you are side by side, with me, then show it by seeing Whom I see Jesus to be, and doing what I’m doing and living WHOM I’m living. See inside me with heart to “see” the living Jesus, not me.
My dear precious friend, do you not see that He sees inside you?
Your salvation is not up to you to define. The Scriptures reveal that, like Paul, we must receive, and obey, the REVELATION from God, not the culture or traditions of American Christianity (Galations 1:12).
It is not up to God to do something “special” for you. You don’t need some personal “vision” or “experience”. Salvation is finished. It is up to you to now believe, repent and receive the Spirit of the living Jesus. God did everything and Jesus completed salvation. It is a work so phenomenal that nothing needs to be done for you or anyone ever again. For you to realize this is totally dependent on the depths of your repentance.
God doesn’t need you. You desperately need God. Jesus says “If I be lifted up I will draw all men…” (John 3:14, 8:32,34). This term “lifted up” refers to the cross and is as impactful as when Israel obeyed God and physically riveted on the staff of Moses to be spared being bitten by snakes. When I focused on the Jesus my only question was such a One alive today Whom I could come to? It is the only “drug” from despair, guilt and depression. Paul says “But we SEE Jesus…” (Hebrews 2:9,12:2).
What are you going to see? It’s up to you. How serious are you about eternal life?
To go to heaven requires the full engagement of your will. It’s not a part time hobby. I seek the living Jesus with a panting heart, like a deer craving water; like a runner dashing towards the finish line. Everything in my life is consumed with Him. This ‘race’ it is not, like the story of the turtle and the rabbit, where “slow and easy wins the prize”. No turtles. Just rabbits. Paul says “I beat my own body and make it my slave” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
It’s about snapping your mind into subjection and changing your ways. It’s about exerting heart. Replace a lazy slothful disposition with a ‘heads up’ awareness. Changing the words you say and the way you say them. Replace defensiveness with quick-twitch humility and sorrow. Find HEART. Force yourself to “see” the unseen (John3:3ff). To comprehend and contemplate into the deep heart of Jesus.
You got to get out of the quick sand of self-pity. It will kill you a slow death. Then you got to see it as poison. Self-pity is NOT entitlement due to God’s neglect but the wall of separation from God. The very first commandment of Jesus is to love the Lord with all your heart.
Everything, and I mean everything, in the words of Jesus in the Scriptures is a command to ACT. It is a summons and a call to CHANGE. Not to sit back and “wait” (The Hebrew word for “wait” in Isaiah 40:31 is “expect”) by listening to lazy lies and excuses. Expect the living God to bless obedience not to bathe you with compliments over an appearance of religiosity because of occasional good works.
God is no beggar. He needs nothing from you. He is King. He only desires heart. To see Him for Who He is. The great “I AM THAT I AM”. It is not for us to be in control and He to be our Butler so as to serve us whatever we think we need. Anything and everything we can do is only what we should do out of heart (Luke 17:10).
The cross is not a past historical event but a living power (Phil.3:10/1 Cor.15:31/Rom.6:6). It is the only “place” for a wicked filthy wretch. It is the only “experience” where the essence of salvation can take place. It means one thing: death. It stands front and center for us to see. Without it there is no reality of Jesus. The cross is the only living active “power of God” (1 Cor.1:18).
Whenever I mention the cross people instantly become ‘deaf’ because they do not understand its practical positive implications.
The cross is the only place to start; to learn. The very first command of Jesus is “If anyone wishes to follow Me he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” (Luke 9:23/Matt. 10:38).
The cross results, not in morbid misery, but in unspeakable joy of freedom from self. Jesus then fills this void with love and creative intelligence to care for others. To have compassion and make others laugh instead of cry, to lift prisoners and the homeless, drug addicts and the suicidal out of the dungeons of darkness.
There is a fascinating Scripture in Matthew 11:7-19. Jesus asks the crowds what the exact motives were that drove them to go out to see in John, in responding to the rumors of a man in the wilderness baptizing people. He first refutes the typical expectations for self-comfort or appearance. Jesus cuts through all the games and ignites dynamite with the declaration that what they were SEEING INSIDE John was greater than anything seen in any man before him.
Right there, in a common shabby, weak, human being resided the ultimate manifestation of the Most High. It is what happens in someone who chooses to engage God in Jesus. Jesus gave great esteem to John because what it required from him to “seize” this revelation was an attitude of “violence” (v. 12). John was not exactly sitting around waiting for God to “lead” him or “bless” him. Obedience starts with true faith to act.
It’s almost as if Jesus is ‘tongue in cheek’ when He asks “What did you go out to see? A reed blown by the wind?”. As if what was in John resulted from him being a religious wimp. In fact Jesus doubles down on the power of will in John by saying “no one has ARISEN amongst men” like him. It was Johns choice to “arise” from living amongst the ways of a lazy human race to LIVE for what he saw inside Jesus. Does you will blow in the wind like a reed? Seize control my brother or sister. It will blow your mind.
It was John who exerted the engagement of his will to such an extent that it literally made Jesus pause and marvel. It was kind of the same response when Jesus watched King David deploy his heart on earth.
This was a similar situation with a woman whom Jesus called a dog and she responded “YES….but even dogs will eat crumbs from your table” (Matthew 15:27/Mk.7:28). In a very mundane common day experience for Jesus in the house of lowly woman one of the most profound things was revealed: our nothingness is our only gateway to His love.
Then in the following parable of Matthew 11:16-19 Jesus lets us have it. He basically says that people expect God to do a song and dance for them if they wiggle a little ‘bait’ in front of him by a feigned twitch of religiosity. As if acting christian just blesses the socks off of God. Like “WOW! You actually might consider MEEEEE!”.
Jesus didn’t tell this parable because it is a rare attitude. People, in general, act like God owes them answers and should be at their feet if they clap their hands to Him. No, my brother, this ain’t it. You got a loooong ways to go before you have a clue. The darkness and evil of our wicked nature has only one vortex upon it and that is from the winds of the fires of hell. For God to actually have done what He has done in Jesus is so far beyond anything we will ever deserve, the only appropriate response is absolute worship.
So what I am saying my dear friend, is that all that attitude of thinking that you deserve answers is very… ready for this… “sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). We ‘deserve’ nothing but hell. Entitlement is sin. It is self. It is pride. It is the world of “ME” first. No matter what you ‘think’ you deserve, in the eyes of the Master of the Universe you are nothing. Any sense of “Hey, I’m here for you to love me” means you are totally missing the gospel.
The Father has provided, not only the way, but all the means necessary, grace, wisdom, forgiveness, etc., for you to SEE INSIDE and enter into the heart of the livingJesus. And this is the judgement “Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light…but he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deed may be manifested…” (John 3:19ff). Jesus is soon to return. This is no game. Please, wake up.
Someone who comes to the Light shows Jesus to the world so they can SEE INSIDE.
His ways… are High-ways. They are the roads upon which the lowly travel.
“As high as the heavens are above the earth so are My ways above your ways”
Imagine the journey of learning hand in Hand with Jesus of His comfort and compassion. (Com-”with” /Passion- “suffering”)How can such a word express the ultimate love of God? Because it IS the greatest love another man both needs and wants; a suffering love. This is the kind of love He offers you right now through His Spirit.
So many times in dealing with people, I can see by their lack of response they don’t get what I’m saying. I see a “blank look”. So I realize how far away they are because they just don’t understand my terminology when speaking of God’s ways. It’s not that I am speaking in a sophisticated manner with big words and lofty ideas. Quite the opposite. My tone and words are in the realm of “nothingness” and this language is simply and deliberately not understood by those who do not want to walk this road.
I walk a highway. On this highway, I have walked for over 45 years. It is the highway of the cross. I know even this very word “cross” is not understood as a way in which to walk unless you walk it. But it has brought me to the lowlands where there is absolutely NOTHING.
This “highway” is humility. Not false piety. It is the seeing of myself as dust and ashes. It is here on this road of nothingness that a man can choose to believe and thus begin to “see” the Kingdom of the living Jesus(Jn.3:3). It is out of the ruins of our sinful ways that we realize the utter futility of all earthly striving. The only stimulus is pride and when that pride collapses we are left to see the nothingness. And when you truly see that you are nothing then there is nothing to be proud of.
When I speak to people about this kind of humility I see instantly that the natural man is offended. He has no idea how to find this highway because all he travels on is the highway of mankind which is pride. This is quite a remarkable reality.
How can a man NOT find humility?! It’s right there, in front of his nose. Duh! But it’s true. The “highways” of humility are those that automatically lead to the revelation of God’s wisdom, truth, grace and ultimately His Son, the living Jesus.
It’s not a way that is at all common to men. It’s not like just one description away. Like, if I can spend the time and vocabulary and articulation then, ahhh, finally, you will understand what I’m saying. No. You will never understand if you travel the highways of man.
Jesus says “I praise You, Father,….You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants…this is WELL PLEASING in your sight” (Matthew 11:25-26).
The highways of the Father are an entirely hidden way. You have to go down broken roads and evaluate “pot holes” of the past obstacles in your mind and heart. Transparency is the map which leads beyond all obstacles to the High-ways of the Spirit. Most people who start out just refuse to travel in such a way. They don’t want to “lose face”. They hold on to what they have, afraid to let go of it. Unbelief.
Truth is another highway of thinking that is just so far beyond the roads of men. Lies and pretense are so built into the psyche of men that they accept it as their truth. So the real truth is defined as non-truth. Truth is a painful road because it shows us the reality of who we are and who we are not. But truth, apart from the Spirit of truth, results in cynicism. Truth in the shadow of the Most High results in light and ultimately rebirth.
I realized how blessed I am to have chosen to travel the roads of humility and truth, so long ago, that today, these days, I instantly know “where“ they are. I know how to find them. I watch the majority of men travel the low roads of nothingness that lead to the low ways of constant failure, grief, blame, accusation, unbelief, pride, equating material wealth with spiritual blessing, and the selfishness and rebellion which all of it breeds.
They are going nowhere. My friend, please listen to me, one little choice can make a world of difference. The High-ways of the Almighty lead to high hopes and high times of wisdom and joy and the blessing that only comes from His hand in a lowliness of spirit. He makes them appear out of the ‘wilderness’ of our brokenness (Is.43:19). It is absolutely beautiful that God has chosen that a man does not have to be “somebody” but rather nobody.
It always amazes me that He chooses to reveal His High- ways to the rejected, the weak, the contrite, the crushed (Is.57:15/1Cor.1:27-28).
Jesus says, “…I am lowly of heart” Matt.11:25-28. This is the ‘down to earth’ disposition in which He reaches out to introduce and teach of the manifold roads that unfold within us to the Father’s character.
When you step out beyond your weakness to draw your strength from His…
this is when you find the “highways to Zion” are paved from within
His High-ways are inviting saying… “Come follow me”…
Create feathers out of failures and turn your wounds into wings.
A “pinnacle” is the highest peak of individual fulfillment. Ever since childhood we each hope for such fulfillment. But bad things can happen that make us feel like our dreams are lost. But I am living proof that all things are possible for him who believes.
Pin·na·cle / pinək(ə)l/ Latin- pinna: wing
1. A towering peak, as of a mountain, or rock high above the ground. 2. The word used to define greatness, to be the best. The highest point or the culmination of one’s potential.
I know an inmate from a 3rd world prison. He was falsely convicted of a capital crime and headed for Death Row. Imagine: His hands and feet were shackled as he shuffled past cages with a stench like a zoo and sounds of shouting, crying and screaming. So I’d like to start here, at the bottom of life.
The word “Truth” comes from a Greek word: alethea. It means REALITY. It is an illusion that happiness rules this world. The truth is that suffering rules this world. Injustice, corruption, greed, lust, rage, divorce, drugs, homelessness, orphans, financial ruin, sickness, physical and mental scars are reality. Every single on of us deals with our own level of unique pain. But the abyss of hopeless despair is the same.
THE ORIGIN OF WINGS
Imagine a carpenter in his workshop. One day, Jesus is working on a table for a neighbor. He strikes a nail with His hammer into the wood from a tree he cut down. Suddenly, His mind launches into anguish of thoughts over the pain of nails piercing His own very hands and feet as He is soon to be sprawled out upon a cross. He can’t escape the living nightmare because He knows it’s real. It’s going to happen. He is no longer “there” as Josephs’ son, but transfers into the contemplation as the Father’s Son. He ponders His purpose, His mission, His agony.
“Can I endure it?” He wonders. “I must… I will.” Jesus knows He is our only hope. He knew He would carry heavy wood, step by step, up the hill, that would become the very altar upon which He would sacrifice Himself for us. So right then, right there, in those moments, in his carpenter’s workshop, Jesus forged THE ATTITUDE He needed to make it through the life He chose to live. This is how you make wings. You forge them in His “workshop” of anointed heart and mind contemplation in His Holy Spirit (Jn.14:23).
It is not up to God to equip you to serve Him. You see, my friend, this is what it means to make wings. It’s about you. Your will. Your choice. Jesus was able to ‘fly above’ death itself because He forged such will. You must learn to use your faith to draw upon this same attitude of His Spirit: WINGS.
I sometimes recall the night I was face down in a jail sewer hole. I saw into the abyss of my nothingness. It scared me. I felt as a slain soldier looking for a place to crawl off the battlefield of life. A few weeks later my college football buddies and I were downing beers and eating cookies that my mom sent in a huge box.
All of sudden “BOOM!” My buddies fled like a hand grenade landed at our feet. A little book appeared in that box that scared them silly. But I refused to let the refusal of others, to be real, keep me from finding reality. I began to read that little book and it began to lead me down the path to my pinnacle.
You must fight, like your life depends on it, because it does.
When God came to earth, He didn’t come in a circus act as a ‘fat cat’ in fame and fortune.That would have given us false happiness. You see, my friend, Jesus is that prisoner I mentioned above on Death Row, in my opening. He chose the bottom of life, so He could show us that He can lift anyone to their pinnacle, no what their circumstances are on earth, no matter what our past has done to us.
Wings are portrayed as a Hollywood gimmick or fantasy. But I’m here as your brother who loves you, like an archer with a loaded bow, to pierce through the lies with a straight arrow of absolute truth: WINGS ARE REAL!
Everyone knows that the labels men put on other men make them feel “better”, while degrading the victims with twisted facts and accusations. The truth is we are all offenders, all the same, potential “drug addicts”, “murderers”, “perverts”, “drunks”, etc. and God loves each one of us. No one is “better” than anyone. God does not see lust, booze or drugs as hereditary, personal, “addictions” but as the result of isolated pain and our desperate need for salvation by the revelation of His love.
Depression is not a unique “personality disorder”. It is a common struggle resolved by understanding and “seeing” human nature as God does9. All thoughts can and must be deactivated by truths (2 Cor.10:3-5).
God is not a Monster spewing wrath but a compassionate Father waiting to help you find your greatest gift. Wings are the unparalleled capacity to see divine reality and by this “seeing” to be empowered to act accordingly. And by this personal dynamic, we learn how to transform our own wounds to rise above everything we face. You don’t need a doctor, church, pastor, drugs, therapy, etc. You need to change.
Ignite your will. Wake up my friend before it is too late. If you think “Oh no problem. I can be truthful” then you ain’t got a clue to the truth. It is in fear and trembling that I must fight to reckon myself to the cross so that the Spirit of Truth might have His way. Doing what you know you should do is what you must DO (Hosea 4:1). It starts with one step. Step by step, results in getting to your pinnacle! Let the wind of the Spirit kiss your face with the vision of eternal life.
Wings begin as you begin to turn away from phony pretense to gut-wrenching truth of who you are. My friend, your life can become INCREDIBLE. I hear thousands of people tell me the same exact line of regret over the time waisted and the wish that they could go back and do it over. God says you must not think like this ( Ecc. 7:10,8:12 / Rm.8:28/ Eph.1:11).
If you can read this…You can yet reach your pinnacle.
You can turn your failures into feathers by allowing your suffering to crush your pride and release your faith.
What is your “True Grit”? If you are willing to switch natural instincts for trained responses, you can elevate your 5 senses to see, hear, touch, sense and taste divine reality. You must take divine promises and put them into your daily thought process. In order to make a delicious meal a chef must take ingredients off the shelf. He uses his own ingenuity to put together a meal to eat. Spiritual ideals do no good sitting ‘out there’. You must take them from being “out there” and put them into practice.
My story is not born from an “altar call” or “sinner’s prayer”. It is born from above, where eagles glide in the freedom of open skies. Jesus says “Unless a man is born from above he cannot SEE the kingdom of God”24. I was in the football stadium of Notre Dame when I RESOLVED to follow Jesus. I didn’t demand or expect any “experience”. I just conceded to what my conscience had long craved. What is there to lose if you know you are nothing?117 Jesus says “the truth shall set you free”(Jn.8:32). I ‘died’ to take a chance. Now
I see… therefore I’m free.
Faith is not fairy dust or wishful thinking. It is calculated resolution of individual heart. It is intimate engagement between you and God alone. It is acting according to God’s Word. Faith is like an instrument that God created. But He leaves it to us to compose our music.
It has been 45 years that I have been making decisions of how to turn my failures and wounds into feathers and wings. I have spent day after day, night after night, in deep fellowship with Jesus, exchanging attitudes of failure and wounds for feathers and wings. David says he learned to fly “under the shadow of His wings”.
People ask “How can ancient Scriptures impart wings?” They don’t. It is by our faith that we “see”, beyond the black letters on white pages in the heart of the living Jesus Who and are thus compelled by His Spirit to act. Feathers are offered in the “I see” moments of Biblical revelation. Jesus says “My burden is LIGHT…”. 80 You can replace a heavy heart with this “feather” of God’s Word. The impact of your life depends on the degree you expend of your will power (Mt.11:12).
We can heal our own sorrows, regret and pain by a simple choice of individual faith. We can choose to touch, taste, feel, sense, and see; to BELIEVE in the reality of the living Jesus, more than what our physical or emotional senses dictate our situation should be.
When you hurt someone or are hurt by them, humility is reconciliation. 9 You have hurt God, and been hurt by Him. The wounds that break you can also provide the wisdom to learn to “see” your failures and His redemption; wings (Read Jeremiah 30:12-17).
The strategy of hell is to take advantage of self-pity and ignorance, and thus cripple our mind with confusion and subtle accusations against God. Slowly this can harden our heart. Our will falls limp, and we give up. This is the strategy of the devil by which he wins countless souls. No one else knows it or sees it but God, and you. But we can turn off the dripping faucet of negativity by engaging our will, intelligence, and shut down thoughts from the abyss.
Jesus conquered The Abyss and every hellhole on earth (Rev.9:11). So He can cover every aspect of every struggle. There are not 10 abysses. There is only one. We see into it through the hole in our heart. Jesus can reach into this “hell hole” because He overcame the human wound of sin with His new divine wings of a resurrection heart.
This is exactly WHY I dare to fly. I know how to transform my failures into feathers. My wings grow bigger because His love has no measured limit.
There is something terrible “in the air” (Ephesians 2:2). The bothersome depression “I just can’t ‘put my finger on it” is designed precisely to keep you from doing so. We are subject to a fierce unseen battle of hostility and hatred. The Scriptures warn “in the last days lawlessness will increase… ” and “Satan prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (Mt.24:12/1 Pt.5:8).
The pinnacle of your will is required to triumph in these last days. Please, listen to me.
You can’t change or eliminate evil. It’s not going to go away or get better. But you can learn to cover, compensate and rise above it. This is the endeavor to build-out WINGS. God does not drop His power out of the sky. We must each learn how to receive and express His love out of which comes the desire and investment of will to build our wings.
We each choose our level of response to Jesus. Thus, I create my individual manner of tone, vocabulary, sensitivity, creativity, investment of my own belongings and personality to express my love for God and each person I meet. I choose the level of my energy in how, or what, will be most effective. His love comes under me and I choose to sprout my wings. We choose every aspect of who we are. What I’m saying is that God does not give us wings. We must learn how to create them.
If wings can lift someone out of the worst situation how much more anyone in a lesser situation?
Reach for your pinnacle, and find something you never imagined. If you won’t try to find wings, you can’t deny that they exist. “Oh, but you don’t understand how bad I got it”. You’re right. No one can, but the Father does. His love can redeem even the worst situation (Rm.8:28)
In conclusion, my friend, I ask you to ponder that facial look of unflinching courage on the face of an eagle. This is the attitude we must build within our will, to build our wings here and now. God cannot lie. He “swears” to “bless” (total package of help, grace, strength etc.) to create your wings in The Pinnacle of His Son (Hebrews 6:13-19).
God told Ezekiel ‘I have made your face harder than your enemies…like a rock’ (Ez.3:9). This is godly defiance. To defy yourself and this world for the sake of faith in the living Father; Abba! Daddy! It is the very first thing a man receives, and proof of, the Holy Spirit (Galations 4:6).
In the cold shivering of this brutal world, the Father calls you by name. He yearns for you to understand the language of “Abba! Father!”15 It is the Eagles screech that God teaches us as we learn to build our wings. This prayer is the language of desperation. Begging is the norm. Like a majestic eagle on high, His silent voice screeches across the blue skies…
‘Why do you say that the justice due you escapes My notice’…Lift up your eyes and see Who created the stars…because of the greatness of My power not one is missing…Behold, the Lord God will come to you with might…His reward is with Him…Like a shepherd He will gather you under His arms…though you grow weary and tired and stumble badly yet those who EXPECT the Lord to come will mount up and ascend on high with wings like eagles’ (Isaiah 40) .
Not a ‘prayer formula’ of passing sentiment but God’s ultimate provisionfor real answers.
Sometimes I just want to cry out “Is there anyone out there who will care about the gospel being preached ?! Anyone? Will anyone think about what it must be like to be homeless, an orphan or a prisoner?”. I offer you a direct channel. My dear brother or sister, Jesus says YOU AND I are accountable to help them. Will you turn your head away from these uncomfortable words? We are not a group or system, just a simple family.
I believe there are people, who know me, and read this, but find their hearts cold to my words for whatever reasons. What do I have to do? I would beg you to reevaluate your response, for your sake, for my sake, but most of all for His glory. Because Jesus is worthy of whatever change we must make, to forget what others think, and conform to His Spirit. Despite what others may say about me, I am a true brother and friend. My works bear witness, because Jesus is my Lord and His redemptive love is obvious in my labors. No place or time for cynicism. Time is flying by. Jesus is coming soon. This is the fierce urgency of NOW.
So please, don’t let your only response be excuses and rationalizations. Make this a moment to reach deeper than ever before. It is to your advantage and well being of heart, mind and conscience. I am not the issue. Sin is the issue. Though you may not want to admit it, hardness of heart, from the cold world that surrounds, is the issue. Jesus warned of it (Mt. 24:12). I am not the man I was years or even months ago. A man, sensitive to the Spirit, changes and matures. And the twisted false accusations made by outsiders is real persecution.
Ultimately, Paul says he doesn’t even care about the motives of the one who preaches but just that the gospel is being preached (Phil.1: 18). So there is no excuse for one who claims Christ to ignore opportunity to reach the lost. Can I get a break, for the scores of desperate men whom I reach in the prisons of the world?! Please, my friend, listen to me. We MUST do something NOW. I am not being melodramatic or “radical”. I am being a normal Christian.
I was in a prison recently (the largest prison in Paraguay) where a huge courtyard was swarming with men whom I actually watched losing their minds. No exaggeration. In fact it was far worse than I have space to describe. You may ask “What does that look like?”. It was so terrifying I will never forget. Hundreds of men were screaming and crying. One here, one there, would just break down and lose it, overwhelmed by tears. They would sob uncontrollably in the arms of anyone who would hold them. Many were just walking around yelling out. Such conditions are why many prisoners fear they will commit suicide. This is REAL, my brother.
In another prison we realized something was wrong as we performed. The men seemed very disconnected. When I asked why, they explained they were starving. They had not eaten in days. We begged the guards to let us out to take a drive for food to bring back and they allowed us. The men appeared like the Jews in Concentration camps. They were starving and so grateful. This was JUST ONE of many.
Another prison the security warden refused to let us in. After much of persistence he relinquished but with a “Ok. You’ll see how horrible these guys are”. He angrily led us through the multiple gates into “Deep Lock”. Opened the door but kept back any guards from going in with us. It was like “There. Now you’ll see what you get”. He didn’t want to think these men were redeemable . Two hours later, as we left in tears, the guys were chanting “PLEASE COME BACK> PLEASE COME BACK”.
Imagine being forced to live in horrendous conditions, day in and day out, being treated as animals and knowing you will never escape. I am not lying or exaggerating. This is why I am willing to feel awkward by sharing our needs. Please, help me. God promises, it is in giving that you will receive. My family and I have given ourselves to Jesus that we might bring His gospel to these totally forgotten and despised men. Get beyond me, and beyond your excuses, to them. DO SOMETHING. However small. God holds you accountable for them, and right now, I am a direct access to them. (We are praying about the prisons in Africa, if possible, this spring.)
So I ask for any help, not as a fat-cat preacher hoarding riches upon myself, but in sincerity to reach as many as we can. I can document every penny for you if you want. God knows this is very difficult and dangerous. Living in a third world is not easy. No one is doing this. Please, don’t be mad at me for bringing the truth of the gospel into your world.
When I long ago began to seek Jesus I was in college. Many “nice” campus groups and denominations offered to pray a “sinner’s prayer” with me. I had a reputation as a tough guy so I just couldn’t relate to the nice guy ‘package’. I grew up with little Biblical exposure but still felt a little prayer formula seemed trite and token. When I “met” the living Jesus I was instantly struck by an accountability to go and tell the world of this discovery. I could never tell a prisoner that the answer is to just pray a little prayer and everything will be fine. Most of them have already done it many times. We bring them to the living Jesus.
Many would have you believe that people should not think about “meeting” Jesus. We are just supposed to be content with praying a prayer and doing the best we can. Maybe not. The idea of challenging American Christianity made me think “Who am I to think that I know better?”. Well, it’s about eternity, in either heaven or hell. A religious system did not walk the shores of Galilee. Jesus was not an untouchable. He says “Ask. And you shall receive…Come to Me…and we will come to you” (Mt.7:7,11:28/Jn.14:23).
How about you, my friend? How are you really doing? When everything, and everybody, is put to sleep, and you are wide-eyed before a careless world, what thoughts are ticking away in your heart? My conscience was slain with guilt. I knew I surely didn’t know God. I knew I was all alone in the world. And, when you truly comprehend this, it can shake you to your core. I was left facing my wicked ways. Could God offer me a real way out? Could I experience forgiveness and know that I am saved from eternal hell? Today people talk about salvation like it’s an added item to a grocery list. “Oh ya, I got that”. Will you dare to confront the “living Word” all alone, with a heart of resolution (Heb.4:12)?
Jesus makes it very clear. He declares;
“Unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-8).
Listen to me. I am not your enemy. The command to be born again is not some lofty demand to become ‘super-religious’. Actually, it is quite the opposite. It is child based. It is a wonderful process (conversion) whereby Jesus recreates us to be fitting to enter the Presence of a holy God. He makes us “new” (2 Cor.5:17).
If you will be honest this term “born again” scares you. You fear that you can’t ‘get it’. I understand. None of us wants to approach an unknown. And sometimes our brain just seems “VACANT”. Where do we start? What do we do? Being born again seems so huge but it starts with a mustard seed of personal heart. “Ok God. Let’s go. Show me”. It has nothing to do with meeting legalistic demands for moral perfection. It has everything to do with talking to God as a friend. It is the love of SOMEONE for you; a Father; a yearning to give you help from SOMEONE; the Holy Spirit; and the specific manifestation in the Character of SOMEONE; the living Jesus.
When Jesus says “the kingdom of God” He means that He will intersect your daily life with an entirely new perspective related to knowing Him. Every detail of your work will be drawn under His rule. Every fear and failure will be met in His fellowship and redemption. Every thought is slowly subject to His thoughts. Daily routine now takes on a second look. When you step on an escalator you know it will take you to the end. No worries. It’s not up to you. Just surrender.
There is one thing the Father requires. It is the “place” where His Son gave His blood for us. The cross happened long ago but in some marvelous way it continues today to be the power of God (1 Cor.1:18). It is able to work in us. Paul confirms “I….have been crucified”. God requires that we pass through this world, as through a dream, via the cross. Our goal is to come out the other end; the resurrection. To enter His kingdom (way of thinking) of sacrificial love. “Lord, how can I show my love for You?”.
Total surrender is the touchstone. It involves our suffering and pain because we are brute beasts of selfishness and pride and we resist letting go. So we struggle. But Paul says that beyond all the phenomenal accomplishments of his life he boasts in only one thing (Gal.6:14). He boasted that he was dead (Gal.2:20). Ahhh. Finally. Because dying to yourself provides a garden in which we can plant new seeds.
This opportunity, here and now, far out weighs the loss (Phil. 3: 7-8). Of all things that I would say made me different from the carnal minded was how they spoke of “having gotten IT”, and I spoke of “knowing HIM”. I instantly reaped from the seeds I planted. They spoke of what they could do and I spoke of what He was doing. The switch from life to death is the only way to touch new birth. And for this reason I suffer enormous suffering. I joyfully say “No” to hypocrisy and “Yes” to the cross of the living Jesus. No to striving-flesh and yes to broken flesh.
Never did I imagine this would result in being painted with terrible false accusations of hatred and jealousy for serving the living Jesus. Why would people twist my efforts to help the lost? Because all men despise the cross. It strikes at the god called EGO. Jesus says “They hated Me without a cause” (Jn.15:25). He says “They will hate you for My sake”. There are those who hide away, in self-made castles of comfort, and malign those who challenge their false conclusions on what it means to be born again (John 3:19-20). We pray for forgiveness and mercy on them.
Today, some forty-five years later, the effects of seeing eternity, while bearing, and fighting, against time, sin and persecution, have written many lines of pain in my face. But each one contains a story of joy. The groaning for Him, for Whom I long, causes me to both die and rise. To die on this side of the grave, and to rise in Him on His side of the kingdom. To understand my sin and know His redemption. But most of all to be consumed with a compassion that I know is not mine that drives me with a burden for others for them to see Whom I see. This is the purpose of why we are to live.
A practical way to think of “born again” is to leave off “again”. You must be born. Period. It is that extreme. There is no life in existence. Existence is a kind of limbo where death rules. Your heart yearns to be born into our Creator. We are like a “Mr. Magoo” without his glasses; “Where am I going? What am I doing?” You really don’t know because you really aren’t born. Jesus did not approach men by looking for what they could offer Him of theirselves. Rather He asks how much are you ready to receive from Him. God says “we grope along a wall, like a blind man,” in search of a breakthrough (Isaiah 59:10).
Jesus repeatedly warned men that to walk in this world is a walk in darkness. Our conscience flashes upon our moments with a light of accountability. It tells us we must get beyond this world to God. How many times have you heard the expression “Oh, I see”. Someone suddenly “sees” some truth. “Hmmm. Wow. That’s something” is the response. You see what you never did before. All in one moment a convergence your heart, mind and life experience bears upon your will to understand and SEE.
Satan actually has the power to “blind” the human will “so we cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” ( 2 Cor.4:3). There is no wand to wave. Dealing with spiritual darkness is no little thing. Our minds are blinded by a thousand things; motives, fears, lust, desires or past hurt and resentment. We don’t realize that as a loving Father God does not oppose us in our sin but appeals to us to let Him free us by His kindness, love and sympathy (Rom.2:4). It is easy to SAY we want to follow Christ but Jesus says when we are truly WILLING to follow Him then we will see (John 7:17).
I used to shy away from Matthew 5:8 where Jesus says “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”. No way. Me? Pure in heart? I refused to be a phony and say I am pure. Then I researched this word “purity” and, as with all invested study, received profound understanding. I could finally say “Yes. If this is what You mean I will follow You”.
The word “pure” is from the Greek word katharos – “cathartic”. It is not a finalized absolute moral state but an outcome of a deep purge. Another way of understanding this verse is “Blessed are those who have been intimately dealt with by God, for they will “see” and know His ways and love Him because of it”. To be pure is to know heart to Heart breakage over your sinful ways. To not skip over your sin with the false sense of “the blood covering”. But to be broken before a Father’s Heart.
Jesus says “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He purges, (cleans, purifies) so that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). This is why the sinner’s prayer is so detrimental. It convey God saves you and that’s it. Consequently, people go on in life with serious grief, scars and unbroken sin. They think that they’re already saved so they don’t know what to do. True salvation in the living Father, Son and Holy Spirit involves a purging and maturing glory into His child. So that all those inner hang-ups are healed and now become a gift to help others.
We’ve all heard the expression “complex”. Most of the time we think of High School when others mocked us for having any kind of peculiar thing that made you different. It can cause deep hurt, fear and insecurity. These things are also true in adulthood. It can be little things or big things. We need to be “purified”. A “catharsis” is a moment when a “complex” is eliminated by surrender to the cross of Jesus and with a depth of expression in prayer.
Prayer is a fight. It doesn’t come easy. Talking to Someone unseen requires that we see the unseen (Heb.11:27,6). Doctrinal gymnastics may prove your Bible knowledge but it does not bring God into your daily life. Prayer is the only way to establish RELATIONSHIP. Short and long, detailed or general, prayer is everything. Paul said it is “groaning too deep for words” (Rm.8:26). The complexities of sin can rip your soul to shreds. You can feel like you just can’t get things “right”. Like no matter how hard you try you fail. In the stillness of solitude is His Presence is waiting to show you. In the meditation of His Word waits the understanding of the gospel.
One prisoner, with eyes full of tears, in reflection of a murder, said “I can never get things right”. So many people think this because they do not understand the gospel. They are slaves to feelings and inclinations. Their mind is not exposed to the Scripture. The essence of salvation is solid understanding of what it means to be “right” with God. In God’s eyes no man can make their life ‘right’. We can never “get it right”. So God offers His “righteousness” (get it right) by faith. In God’s eyes, there is only one right thing. It is being “reckoned” right by faith (Rom.4). It is not what must do but that you must believe.
We correspond with about 800 guys. (And each letter costs us 25 cents, most letters costing several stamps, which mounts up to a lot.) We work to bring them to the purging (repentance) of Jesus. Many are released from ignorance into understanding the gospel. It takes hard labor of mind and heart. It is a great joy to hear men express their relief of complex issues by by faith. It is a common principal of Scripture that suffering is meant to lead us to search for His deeper ways so we MUST be a fighter.
“But we do see Jesus…crowned with glory and honor…” (Hebrews.2:9).
We teach men to fight like men of old. Like David and Paul. No one initially understands what Jesus was saying. But slowly or suddenly, those who have heart ‘got it’ (Matt. 16:7-12). It is worth being a “laborer” of the harvest. Because to “see” the truth of Jesus is like seeing music. It’s not just in your ears. It’s in your eyes. It’s in your heart. It turns your mind. Suddenly you realize “Wow. There really is another kingdom on earth, other than the world I see with my eyes”. Jesus is the Perfect Song Who permeates our sorrows and makes us whole.
But it is crucial to realize that it is not the Scriptures, the blood, faith, grace, love, truth, etc. that causes you to be born….again. These are all doctrines that Jesus regulates with a believer. Jesus is Jesus. He alone is the One Who has the power to birth you. If you have no fellowship with Him you have no salvation from Him. Jesus made this very clear (Mt.7:21/John 5:39/Phil. 3:8/2 Tim.1:12). He is the filter; the Purifier.
I often tell people that His Name is not “church”, Christ or Lord. His Name is Jesus. If you do not articulate His exact Name, amongst men, with your mouth, He is not in your heart. Not my word, His (Matt. 12:33-37/Rm.10:9-10). When you ‘see’ Jesus you get His living rhythm (Heb.4:12). You receive His “witness”. You start to walk a path and see stones on which to step across every raging river. The blur of life comes into focus. We dare to leap upon His commands. We experience His crescendo of resurrection.
Every time my wife sings a certain song when we perform I anticipate the crescendo where she reaches a beautiful high tone. There are times when so many “badass” guys are brought to tears because we “see” the Spirit of Jesus reach through her words, singing about the Father’s love for them, and bring men into a purging of their deepest pride and fears.
The Father is playing His song “JESUS” throughout the universe. Who will hear and respond? The crescendo is the resurrection. The only cemetery that ever failed in keeping men in their grave is the one in which Jesus escaped. His power lives today working to bring men into His kingdom. Jesus says “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see and the ears that hear what you hear” (Matt. 13:26). Some people say “I’ll believe it when I see it”… God says, “believe and you will see” (Mt.11:40).
(AAA)-Mountaineers describe the wind that is on high peaks as “rarefied air”. It is invigorating, pristine and inspiring. I have been in many places where the mountain views and lakes are astounding. But the most exhilarating thing is the air. It literally takes me into the sweetest sensation of a wakeful dream.
One day, 45 years ago, a twenty year old dude named Michael (Oh, hey. That’s me.) became riveted on the words “the wind blows where it wills so is everyone born of the Spirit” (Jn.3:8/Jn. 4:24/1 Cor.15:45/Heb.4:12). In a world where every image of a man of God is a self-righteous fat-cat, a religious monk, weirdo nutcase, or just down right boring, the image of being caught up in the WIND captivated me with wonder; What does this mean? What does this look like?
Wind was the perfect description used by the only Man Who rose from the dead to describe what it would mean to follow Him. I was fascinated to the bone. I heard instant authorization to break with status quo Christianity and become a “Mountaineer”. Not through a “sinner’s prayer” or weekly sermons. Wind.
My dear friend, Jesus does not exaggerate. This “wind” is not a moral life style. The Spirit is waiting to baptize your “senses” with “rarified air”. God’s heaven scent can take you beyond the grief of living in this world (Heb.5:14/2 Cor. 2:14-15/Jn.18:36). It is not my promise. It is His; the Spirit of the living Jesus (Matthew 3:11/Mark 1:8/Lk.3:16/Jn.1:33/Acts 1:4-8). The air of this world is the stench of dark depression, hypocrisy, apathy and agonizing routine (Eph.2:1/1 Jn.2:15).
As a young man I saw how churches like Assembly of God, Pentecostal, etc. falsely exemplified the “Holy Ghost”. It didn’t require much discernment to realize it was a fake and emotionalism. Such nonsense as being “slain in the Spirit” causes immense disillusionment and delusion. The ways of the Spirit do not violate but employ a man’s free. Today deception fills the land in regards to the activity of the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts reveals the true church of those who stand in Deep Heart.
Jesus said, It is better that I leave… so the Helper (the Holy Spirit) can come to you…He will guide you into all truth…and explain sin, righteousness and judgment. Most of all He will not leave you as an orphan, without identity, ALONE, to the crippling sadness of loneliness (Jn.14:27,16:7ff & v.13& v.32). His Presence is life altering. He is the Paraclete, the Comforter, the Defender (against accusations), the One Who comes alongside. The Holy Spirit can reach into our every problem out of His high places if we will simply humble ourselves.
When I carried the football in college, there was a breakaway play in which I felt so alive. The opportunity for a full expenditure of all my individual ability was exhilirating. It is a greater thrill to sense and live in His wind. It is to be freed, from bondage to men, through suffering, into the “air” of the Father. It is the release into His anointing of divine intelligence and perspective (1 Cor.2:7-16/Romans 8, 11:33). It is to be carried by a power unmistakably beyond yourself.
We only live once, my brother. Will you settle for man’s ways? The systems of men have proven, over generations of time, to offer nothing other than typical phony ways. The “revival” invention of the “sinner’s prayer” (“to process the multitudes”), in the 17th century, by John Wesley and Charles Finney, established the institutional tradition for salvation and no one has since challenged it as the unbiblical formula that it is today.
Nothing today even remotely demonstrates divine reality of the Spirit. This is why multitudes of “church people” contradict their “testimony” by a life of misery consumed with self-pity no different than unbelievers. It’s like members of Salvation Army processing used clothes. Nothing new. And a great deal of it reeks with hypocrisy. The truth is that the Father yearns for interpersonal involvement by His Spirit in the redemption of all phases of our failures to Personally touch our pain and lift us into the beautiful ways of His High Places.
God promises to make us “higher” than our situation (Jn.10:10). The Holy Spirit promises to anoint our behavior mechanisms, like intelligence, logic, reason, experience, common sense; so that we are not subject to the impulsive emotional reactions of our sinful human nature. The composition of faith is calculated resolution, as seen in Abraham, to believe God will provide everything we need, when we bow our inner knee before Him.
Rachel sings a song, that we changed a bit for our prison ministry. It is by Roy Orbison from the series “Prison Break”. It is called “Crying”. It is the Father’s answer to our every problem; “What more can I do than give My Son?” When faced with problems, the natural tendency of pride is to insist “I can do it”. As if God expects us to handle what He knows we can’t do. The Father yearns to provide us with the living Jesus in Whom we concede to His rest. Give up. Give in. Many wrongly identify God’s grace as self-striving and thus actually nullify God’s will to bring them to a place of humility.
“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you…I dwell on a HIGH PLACE…and also with the lowly of spirit (1 Pt.5:6/Is.57:15).
If you have no answers it is because you have not yet humbled yourself as you ought to humble yourself. Paul warns not to stop short of the “rest” waiting in true faith (Hebrews 4:1-12). It’s at that final, last step, when lingering pride can spook you away from total surrender. The Father is crying out for the one who will ‘go the distance’ and truly die with His Son (2 Chron.16:9/Is.65:2/Rm.6:6). He promises, to anyone who will invite Him, to walk through all things and intervene in every detail as the “Helper”.
Satan plays our pride in so many ways when we refuse to see it. The “I’m trying harder than ever before” is not the answer. Neither is the “Oh, heck. I give up.” The third answer is called persistence. It proves desire. Going somewhere, we never went before, is the answer. Finding that “place” and time, to be alone, think alone and talk alone to the Father is the difference-maker. When we just can’t do something we want to do, the one and only answer is to enter the massive grounds of transparency escorted by faith.
I remember when I was a little guy I was terrified to go into the damp and spooky basement of my parents huge house. It was scary. I just knew someone lived under those creepy stairs. At any moment I imagined being slain by a monster. I could never tell my friends. I couldn’t even admit it to myself.
It may sound funny, but it took me until I was a teenager to stand alone in the pitch black. I remember it like yesterday. I had to humble myself and recognize that these ways were stupid. I had to seize the courage to take control. That experience was of extreme significance for me to become a man. I had to realize the destructive power of imaginations (2 Cor.10:3).
The only way to get out of our basement and approach the high places of divine reality is to face our total inadequacy. So many things, known or subconscious, can determine a behavior we don’t even realize. The Father is waiting to do in you what you cannot do, to take you to places you cannot go. To do something beyond our imagination. The Father’s mercy is greater than anything our crazy little brain can muster up to keep us from Him.
One time in Bogota, Colombia, we were performing on the streets. My children had just finished such an amazing dance choregraphy that an old dude like me could only sit back and think of younger days. But without even realizing it, I started sharing these thoughts with the crowd and, by the Spirit, finished by saying “But I can offer you these moves that can take you to the top of those mountains (pointing to the peaks in the distance)”. Then I got on my knees and then on my face.
The floor, or ground, beneath our feet, is waiting for us like an elevator at the bottom floor. “Going up?” asks The Attendant. Indeed, it need not be a physical floor but simply a placemat for our “face”. I admit: “I am nothing. And the more I try, the more I fail. I really am “worthless”. I deserve hell-fire. I am a maggot”.
Repentance requires accurate contemplation of our deprivation. Where are you in life? What is your experience? How old are you? How many times have you “tried?” How bad have been your failures? Such thinking touches reality. “Come, Holy Spirit, scan my life, see any presumption and convict me” (Ps. 139:23). Such thinking will not only destroy the slightest glimmer of false natural hope that “We can do it”, but it will leave us bare and open-minded to His voice.
It is here that we can implement the Abrahamic “hope against hope” (Rm.4:18). You see, my friend, natural hope is actually a hostile hope because it promotes procrastination. It’s like a fairy tale Alice-in-Wonderland. It is mere wishful thinking. We dream about this, or that, but when we realize it is not happening we give up. Satan wins. The hope of Abraham, was not for some THING, but in Someone; the Character of God. He has clearly proven, beyond a shadow of doubt, His love for us (Rm.5:8). He will never fail because He cannot fail. God IS love (2 Tim.2:12-13/Heb.6:19). We can hope in His redemptive outcome IF we come to Him.
It is written “Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool…But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word‘” (Is.66:1-3). “God is opposed to the proud….but gives grace to the humble”…” (1 Pt.5:5/Jm.4:10).
Such is the very attitude that God displayed in His redemptive holy ways of dealing with our wicked ways. He “came down” (lit. condescended) from His high place to walk this earth in the utter humiliation of Jesus becoming a man. Jesus stooped low to wash our feet, to cleanse our heart, and by so doing reflected both the low and the high places as the One Mediator. He has proven His Character. Therefore our hope in Him is sure and steadfast. He can and will redeem us if we obey His plan.
We are to love others more than ourselves because humility is a high place.
If you want to enter higher ways of living life the only way is to go low.
I have been a fighter all my life. I won awards in wrestling and football and learned to transition this “violent” grit to stand in Him. Never did I realize back in college, that all the while God was using injuries to bring me lower, He was actually bringing me higher.
I learned to accept that God does not necessarily redeem events, relationships or things. He redeems my mind so that I can rightly process my thinking in regards to them. I have learned ‘the only way’ to enter His redemptive process is to instantly identify the inevitable downward spiral of self-pity as sin and choose faith. Jesus confirmed such an attitude is God’s will when He said “I am lowly of spirit” (Jn.14:6/Mt.11:29). It is THEE way because it was His way.
I too could have easily become deceived by my own hurt and bitterness, but all it would have done is expose that I really never believed that His ways are higher than mine, and that His redemptive love will bring me into His destiny. I can’t emphasize enough how I constantly was brought to my end by my numerous injuries, only to, much later in life, realize God was protecting me, not only from my ego, but from serious head trauma.
I chose then to surrender, despite my lack of any understanding; “Maybe I don’t understand God as I think I do”. I chose to ‘wrestle’ with God Who might actually answer my question: “Why?”. Among others, I learned from a man named Jacob who did exactly the same (Gen.32:22). God is much closer and willing to respond to us, if we humble ourselves, than we can possibly imagine.
The question is how does His Spirit work in our life? Good old-fashioned honesty is a rare commodity, especially with “Christians”. Not little “white lies” or subtle exaggerations. Just cold blunt force reality. It’s like an ancient art form. Today’s Christians are afraid of truth when their security in Christ is in question. Consequently, the Spirit of Truth restrains His blessing. The vex of the law remains. Blessing only comes with truth (2Cor.3:17). The only reason to fear truth is if you don’t believe His grand plan of mercy.
I am not afraid of my wicked ways and thoughts because I am grafted into His ways and thoughts. My teensy little brain and body cannot possibly create or process a wickedness greater than His mercy. This is the Cornerstone of the building in which I live. All things start with nitty-gritty heart alignment to the witness of conscience. Here is where the Spirit will meet you. Truth is the stairway to heaven.
How much do you really want to breath “rarified air”? Ultimate, Spirit-led humility is our concession to the cross where we are brought to the death of our pride. Our final give-up. His reward is to elevate our inner man into the ultimate perspective of His Spirit (Col.3:1ff/Heb.11:6). We see Jesus (Heb.2:9,12:2). Can’t go any lower. Can’t go any higher. He is all in all.
When you open all the doors to every nook and cranny of your character, His wind will drive out the stench and odors of the outhouse called self. True conversion is to go beyond the “falling short” token ways of a carnal Christian; a prayer, a passing sense of remorse, trying to talk or act more Christian. Humiliation is a step beyond humility. It is staring shame in the face and welcoming it’s full say. No more excuses. No more “Ya, buts….” “Maybe tomorrow, next month, some day”. Today is the day of salvation.
The Holy Spirit does not start making you better. Rather, He starts showing you the truth of your wickedness and you become more aware of how evil you really are. At the END of his ministry Paul said “I am the worst of all sinners”(1Tim.1:15).
When I began to breathe the rarified air from the Scriptures, I slowly began to “see” and “touch” the spiritual realities of the intimate love the Father Hand-delivered to me… unworthy Michael (Jn.3:3-8/1 Cor.2:1-16/Rm.8:1-17/2 Cor.5:19/Rm.5:6). If any of this sounds “out there”, it is because you do not understand the “there” of there; the Spirit. It is because the system of Christianity has long established an institutional “salvation” identified by shallow answers to deep problems, and men accept them as the only alternative to their predicament. It is actually rooted in a dead Jesus because their “answers” always come down to trying to emulate His past teachings. There is nothing real of God. This is the curse of the “works of the law” rather than the work of the Holy Spirit (Rm.8:3/2 Cor.11:4/Gal.2:16,21).
When I was a lost dude, I never imagined that some of my greatest pain would come from the rejection and accusations of carnal Christians who defy my testimony because it is not to a “preacher”, church or prayer. My spirit bears witness in truth to the living Jesus alone. The Father cries for anyone to come, taste and see these High Places of His Spirit (Psalms18:33/Hab.3:19/Phil.3:9ff).
A natural man cannot understand how Jesus can live in a man (1 Cor.2/Acts 17:24/Jn.4:24). How can a man no longer be vexed by things of this world? A spiritual man is able to “more than overcome” because spiritual discernment is a phenomenal provision (Jn.14, 16/1 Cor.2:11/Rm.8:37/1 Cor.9:20). It is the ability to decipher deception and regulate the thoughts and feelings of the old man and new man (Heb.4:12/2 Cor. 10:3/Lk.17:21/Mk.7:15/Mt.12:34,5:18).
Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on my vines or produce for food and no cattle or sheep. Yet I will exult in the Lord…the Lord Is my strength..He has made my feet like deer to walk on my high places (Hab. 3:17-19). If this is possible without the resurrection, surely how much more we can do this with the Spirit.
We are dead people. Kind of like zombies only we made it all the way through death into new resurrection life so we don’t stumble around making weird sounds. Although I do occasionally drool on myself.
You can actually perform a Self Test on your heart right here and now. No piece of paper or pencil required. Simply evaluate the focus, content, quality, and tone of the words you speak each day (Mt.12:34). Are the words proud or humble? Instead of pride “I already know”, we say “I don’t know anything. Please Lord, help me. Fill me. Teach me the ways of your Holy Spirit.” Such prayer is the essential ‘groan’ of the Spirit (Read Rm.8:26/ 2 Cor.5:4/1 Cor.2:6). The inner flow of “living water” produces an outer flow to “lift up” Jesus (Jn. 7:37,15:26,3:14,8:28,12:32).
When He changes us inwardly, we reflect Him outwardly.
Think of all the struggles people have in life with alcohol, drugs, divorce, a job, etc. Compare these struggles, of death and misery, to one that produces eternal light. Paul says we “carry about the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Cor.4:10-11). Imagine the Risen Jesus living within your conscious life, despite your sinful humanity. This is a marvelous struggle(2Cor.4:16-18). We can tap into how Jesus thinks, see as Jesus sees, love as He loves, plan as He plans, touch men with His Spirit and know His eternal glory (Col.3:1-4, 1:27/1 Cor. 2:16).
I surely don’t mean to sound “super-spiritual”, because I am a scum bag. But I know Whom I know and His Spirit compels me to write of His love for you. Don’t be tricked by the one-and-done “sinner’s prayer”. It is the sales pitch for a “tithe”. Salvation is not found in a prayer but in the Person of Jesus. He is the only One Who can give of His Spirit to you. He is the beginning into a grasp of the height, depth, length, and width of the Father (John 17/ Eph.3:20). Jesus says “Come to ME… learn from Me… My words are spirit and life” (Mt.11:27/Jn.6:63,7:37). Discover Him as a Brother, Shepherd, Savior, Warrior, King and living Bread.
Passive acquisition of Bible knowledge may be helpful, but to breathe His air requires you fight with all you are. Jesus says “The kingdom of God suffers violence and violent men seize it by force” (Mt.11:12). Within the black letters on white pages of Scripture is “the living and active Word of God” (Heb.4:12).
My friend, agreeing with what I write does nothing for you. At any time, out of nowhere, anything can come upon anyone, who is outside His Lordship. (Col. 1:21/Mt.28:18, 3:11/Lk.3:16/Acts 2:3). So don’t play games. You must go low. You are vulnerable to the random chaos of this world as long as you stand in your high places of ego. God’s redemptive destiny is designated only for those of the cross who fight that “violent” fight “in such a way so as to win this prize” (1 Cor.9:24/Mt.11:12/Col.1:11/2 Cor.10:3/Phil.4:7).
If you find yourself asking yourself the question “Why?”, over your situation in life, it is an absence of His revelation. It was answered by the Son; Satan rules this world through the random chaos of sin (Jn.10:10,15:25/1 Jn.5:19). Come into His Spirit and uncover His redemption. God’s voice is not audible. It is “heard” by understanding His Word and learning to love someone else as He loves you (Jn.10:27/Rm.12:2).
Don’t sell yourself short. Cultivate a solitary inner life in Christ. Reaching into the high places of God’s Spirit in Christ is the sole means to champion all obstacles on earth (Ps.51:17).
I am a soldier. I am a branch. I am a sheep. I am a son. I am a brother of the living Jesus. Join me.
“…a woman came to Jesus with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant (incensed, full of rage) when they saw this and said, ‘Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold…and money given to the poor …this woman has done a beautiful thing” (Mt. 26:6ff)
I sure would have loved to meet this amazing woman. What it must have been like in that room, while she poured her perfume upon His head. Her disposition of depth and love, totally contrasted a room full of angry and jealous disciples. A single “weak” woman, doing a unique utterly profound act, amongst “strong” men, acting in an utterly disgusting manner. She proposed an entirely new paradigm of relating to the Messiah.
What were the moments in her life that made her who she was? What caused her to think in such a way? Oh, how wonderful are the ways of God seeing individuals and responding to them according to how they respond to His Son.
How much is it worth to you to spend time alone playing on a swing and talking to Jesus? How many times has He called to you be alone but you did not respond? How many times have you considered something, or someone, to be a waste of time, when, in truth, it would have turned your life into an experience of something special?
How do you determine what is important and what is a waste? We are hard pressed, from so many angles, of anxiety and stress in this world. What are the levers and buttons within you, that you pull and push, to put you on the narrow path to still waters (Mt.7:14/Ps.23) ?
What some may determine to be a waste of time or money may be the most important decision to your future. It could involve the investment in, or the separation from, a relationship, an event, etc. It is directly linked to your state of life tomorrow. Will you miss God because you do not “see” that Jesus is worth everything in life?
As we travel and minster, at an extremely rapid and intense pace, reaching multitudes, we constantly encounter the tragedy of those who choose to devalue the treasure of salvation (Mt.13:46). What value do you put on Jesus and the matters of His gospel and kingdom? From the words you speak, and how you speak them, to what you do, and why you do it, to where you go, and for how long, you are the captain of your own ship. Jesus says you show what you treasure by where you invest your time, energy and heart (Mt.6:21).
Think about it. There was no person on earth as poor as Jesus. But yet the disciples never considered this. Jesus had nothing; “taking the form of a slave…He emptied himself” (Phil. 2:7). There was no one more deserving of “very costly perfume” than Him. Yet His closest brothers totally missed it because they improperly determined the value of Jesus. It took a little woman to bestow on Jesus the glory He deserves.
In retrospect, it is easy to be self- righteous and think you and I would never think this way, or say what they did. But what if the very same thing in them, at that time, could be within us right now, at this very moment? In the ebb and flow of boring routine life the majority devalue the worth of all things Named JESUS.
The high value that men put on pride assures them that they are more than adequate to accurately appraise the value of Jesus. But all men are wrong. The error is shown when they walk by a homeless man. What other reason would there be not to invest the humility and time necessary? Mundane life causes a man to devalue the currency of faith and the commands in the Word of God.
Men use “common sense” in their appraisals but God works in uncommon ways of humility and brokenness (Is.55:8ff). So only the uncommon man discerns the accurate value of God’s things (1 Cor.2:11f).
Surely the disciples did not consciously offend Jesus. They did not realize what they were saying. But the thing about Jesus is that He has total security in knowing that the Father has placed within us everything necessary to accurately discern His Spirit. We are accountable for our choices.
Presumption is poison. It permeates the entire being with stress, anxiety and strife. Humility is the only defense. Instead of thinking “Nothing escapes ME. I’m already a disciple of Jesus”, we should think, “I know nothing. At every turn I fear my own selfishness”. God does not defer to our thinking. Paul says “Do not conform to this world but be transformed by the will of God” (Rm.12:2).
Jesus esteemed two pennies as of more value than “all the other contributors to the treasury” (Mk.12:42). That little ‘no nothing’ woman, that poured the perfume on Jesus’ head, did such a supreme act of worship before God, that Jesus gave her more honor than anyone could imagine. She did not scale some spiritual mountain or preach to a gigantic crowd of heathens. She simply happened by the place where, she beheld a common man, saying uncommon things, Whom she discerned to be worthy of everything she had.
Our knowledge of God is NEVER exclusive. We have nothing to brag about as if it substantiates our standing with Him. He can snap it away in a heaven’s breath. Unless we treat His gift as everything, we are in danger of losing it all.
The carnal nature of the disciples kept them from treating Jesus appropriately. The crowds insisted that Jesus was no different than they were (Matt.13:55). You can see it everywhere today. Men deem that Jesus deserves no higher respect or consideration than a football game, a soccer game, a big time event, or anything else in this world. A job is more important. A broken door is more important. A shoestring is more important.
Men are lulled into the delusion that all moments in life are the same. Where is a living God? Common is the norm. There is nothing new. Nothing special, unless so determined by the world. What was yesterday will be today. Thus, they miss the Son of God in His glorious Presence Who is right in front of them. He is sitting, waiting, hoping for that special recognition of “perfume”.
Various Christians were furious at Paul because his walk in Christ shamed their carnal life style. Being in his presence compelled those around to stand fast and take heed. Paul expressed a sensitivity to the constant activity of the Holy Spirit. God isn’t boring. He doesn’t hem and haw and waste precious moments of life. His eternal love reaches out all day long with His profound provisions to save men from this miserable world.
Jesus says the way we treat His brothers is the way we treat Him. So you prove your appraisal of Him by how you treat His brothers. Instead of recognizing Jesus in Paul many devalued his life (Phil. 1:15). They treated him in a very ordinary manner because this is how they saw themselves. “Why should we revere him? He’s no different than us”.
Anyone who claims to speak things, that demand more for Jesus than common ordinary attention, becomes a threat to those who walk in lazy pride. God warns “Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy” (Pr.27:4). Jealousy drives away the very thing a man claims to desire. If a man truly wants the Spirit then he is willing to pay the same price of humility and the brokenness of the cross.
The only thing that transforms a common perspective into the reality of His glory is the individual choice to ignite a fire of faith in the living Jesus. A “Ho hum” perspective on life will result in missing God. Jesus expects a believer to honor Him as God if we claim to be His disciple.
It is no wonder Paul severely warned that “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Tim. 6:10). It pacifies a man with a false security in this world.
Worldly comfort neutralizes a need for faith, and thus eliminates a real participation in the gospel. A beggar must beg to live. A child of God lives desperate before the cross. I have watched men squander ideal opportunity to participate in moments of eternal destiny in serving God’s kingdom because they are held in the grip of monetary comfort. Of course, they will never admit it.
The glory of God in all creation beckons us to awaken our spiritual senses to His voice. It is not a waste to get alone, to be still, to spend quality time before God on your knees. On your face… that you might see His.
These are evil days my friend. My family and I rejoice in our nothingness because His Spirit bears witness to unfailing love. Our suffering and obscurity reflect the living Messiah. His Presence is only seen by those lowly folks who have the inner constitution to pour very expensive perfume upon the head of the Lamb of God.
We stand and proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of every nickel and dime, of every day and month, of every ache and pain, of every effort and breath. The truth is that we are living what we preach. So we are seeing Whom we preach.
One day of seeing is worth far more than 30 days of hearing.
Hallelujah! Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
We have seen God use us for a profound impact to hundreds of people in many kinds of venues; including college campuses, city streets, prisoners both men and women and youth centers. The response to the gospel has been “desire realized”. So many open hearts hidden behind the “bad dude” or together image. We are full of awe and praise to Jesus. Every day we continue to receive signicant letters, emails and phone calls from those we have touched.
I would ask anyone who realistically does not see themselves doing such things to consider helping us who have worked very hard to put ourselves in this situation to help them. Which has not been easy, but extremely difficult and time consuming.
It is no easy thing to attain the logistics, administration authorizations, transportation and security clearances that are required to navigate at this level of ministry. It is easy to imagine yourself doing such things but it is quite another thing to accomplish all that is required. You can do so immediately by helping us. We are somewhere on the road, in this country, at this precise moment dealing with many needs to minister at numerous venues. Even a small amount would be extremely helpful.
If you not in a position to be able to help us, we ask you to please pray for us. And not just us, but for the men and women that we minister to as well. Prayer has a tremendous effect. Makes all the difference.
Over the time of working in prisons, both here and abroad, I have found myself face to face with countless individuals in the despair of impossible circumstances.
Instinct and impulse got the worst of them. Anger, greed or lust drove them to rage. They killed someone. They did the unthinkable. God explains that the nature of such guilt carries enormous torment (Gen.4:9-15). Now they face 20, 40 or 60 years in one acre of hell. Some have several life sentences.
God has opened the doors to so many prisons it is hard to keep pace. We are moving every other day. No matter how many we visit it is always a gripping image to drive up to hundreds of yards of barbed wire. We carry our hundreds of pounds of equipment down long hallways of a cold institution amidst a deep sadness of shattered lives. We do we all we can to connect with each individual. They laugh, they cry, they grasp the gospel of Christ, and we take with us the stories of the men God has given us to pray for.
Recently we went into one of the largest prisons in the U.S. It has “lethal” barbed wire. Some prisons have 3 to 5 layers of barbed fences. Every fence of layer indicates the level from minimal to maximum security. So you can imagine the implications of a “lethal” barbed wire that instantly kills.
I feel at a loss of words. I’ve seen how token words, doctrines and prayer formulas offer nothing substantial. So I have sought God, for how to help such men. It is no little thing. It is profound compassion provided only in the brotherhood of the living Jesus.
The key is not getting to them, but getting to Him, while amongst them, to give Him to them. So I am learning to “wait” upon Him (Is.40:31). His deep heart is expressed in the heart of the gospel. It demands our brokenness and sincere identification with the cross, which is the power of God (1 Cor.1:18/Phil.3:7-11).
It is only in being able to see and refer to another man in as a natural brother that we have any hope of drawing him into the spiritual brotherhood of Jesus (Mt.25:40). All men die… but not all men LIVE. And a man can only live when he discovers “a brother’s love”.
One of the first thoughts Jesus had, after rising from the dead, was what He had created with His brothers so He wanted to get to them to explain exactly how He actually rose from the dead. Imagine. I sure would have loved to be there. He wanted to see their faces as He blew their minds (Mt.28:10).
This was, and is, the goal of the living Jesus, to explain to us the power of His resurrection. He says “My sheep hear My voice” (Jn.10:27). This is happening in me. It can happen in you, wherever you are, whatever your circumstance.
The only people on earth who find God’s intended worth, in their time on earth, are those who give their time on earth to walk with Jesus in the giving of His LIFE to create resurrection brothers on earth. It is LIFE beyond your life.
Both ways to describe Jesus, as a brother, or the Brother, offer unique insight. As a the most humble brother, Jesus lacks any imposing ego or intimidation. He is the ultimate Sympathizer. He is willing to be just a brother to get down and dirty with us in the trenches of human warfare.
Yet His words and Presence is so wonderful He instantly draws us into the awe of THE Brother. There’s not a lot of people who can offer forgiveness and resurrection life, at any moment, in any place. Come to think of it, He’s the only One. So He is THE BROTHER.
I “run the way” of His way and watch His love “enlarge” my heart (Ps.119:32/Jn.3:8). Someone Who is so Big is willing to come to someone so small. He welcomes us into a family where His brotherhood replaces our alienation and deprivation.
“For both He (Jesus) who sanctifies and those who are sanctified (us) are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying” I will proclaim your Name (the Father) to My brethren (us)…for those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Hebrews 2:9-18,12:1/Rm.8:29).
In other words, Jesus yearns to meet us in the moments of our frailty because He sees how the Father Himself is willing to recognize us as a fellow brother. The enormous ramifications of the death and resurrection breaks every obstacle tiny and huge obstacle we face.
The term a brother, connotes someone who understands the common and ordinary struggles of life. It is as of a family member who has a lock-down, side-by-side, loyalty of help, in the worst of situations. A brother shares with you in things that mom and dad, a wife, or