My (Preferred) Alter-Ego (come find me here!)

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Monday, April 26, 2010

give me Your Name...

"What an idiot!"
"You're such a doofus!"
"Did you see that jerk just cut me off?"
"Why are you being so stupid?"
"Ugh--he's so annoying!"

The pastor of the church I visited this past Sunday spoke on the tripartite nature of man. In the course of his sermon, he reminded us that everything we learn in life about the world, we receive through our five senses; everything we learn about God, He communicates to us through our spirit.

In the middle of it all, our souls seek identity, trapping our spirits in the fabric of self-consciousness. No longer are we totally God conscious, centered on His will (as Adam was in the beginning); instead, we are a product of the "I-will" oriented nature of Lucifer in Isaiah 14, which he passed along to Adam and Eve at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The sense of self that was absent in Genesis 2:25 suddenly surfaced in Genesis 3:7, and we have been running around seeking identity ever since.

There are two identities competing to imprint themselves on our souls. There is an identity we receive through our physical senses from the world (reading magazines, watching television, listening to people around us), and the identity that God tries to communicate to our spirits. Hebrews tells us that the Word of God is the only thing that can cut through the self-focused nature of the soul to the spirit of man so that God can communicate from Spirit to spirit. What we read in the Word is truth.

Pastor Sino's message deeply resonated with something the Lord has been working in my heart for several months regarding identity. Revelation 2:17 promises that the one who overcomes will receive a new name from Jesus; and Revelation 3:12 promises the same man or woman that Jesus will give to him/her His new name. We thus exchange our identity for the one He gives to us, just like a woman who marries accepts a new identity by adopting her husband's name. People view her through the lens of her husband's name, for better and for worse.

The law of patents makes it clear that only the originator has the right to name the creation. We see this at work in numerous ways throughout daily life, from building names to virus strains and vaccinations. The same principal holds true in a spiritual sense. Only one time in scripture do we see that God relinquished His right to name all things; He gave this right to a man who was completely God-centered and God-focused before sin entered the Garden of Eden.

Therefore, when we take it upon ourselves to tell someone who they are without hearing the Lord's thoughts about them, we are presumptuously setting ourselves up in the place of God in their lives. The Lord uses people to communicate His heart and thoughts to other people, but we must always speak in line with His thoughts and His words about them. Just as a bridegroom does not take kindly to anyone insulting his bride, so the Lord will rage against those who deal with His Bride in any manner that is not tenderly loving.

This is why our words should heal, not hurt--why gossip is so dangerous to those who abuse others in the church (even behind closed doors); they invite the judgment of God on their lives for maligning the Bride He passionately desires. This is doubly true of those who dare to speak against His Jewish people (and since Jewish blood runs through the veins of many without their awareness of that fact, it's best to keep that in mind when talking about anyone).

With that in mind, I've started compiling a (by no means exhaustive) list of what God calls us. I welcome and request your input! I'll be updating as I discover more names... =) Bless you all!
Who does God say I am?

1. Daughter (Matthew 5:9: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.)

2. Blessed (Matthew 5:3-10: the beatitudes)

3. Beloved (Deuteronomy 33:12: "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.")

4. Accepted (Ephesians 1:5-6: having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.)

5. Desired (Song of Songs 4:9: You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace.)

6. Precious (Psalm 72:14: He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; and precious shall be their blood in His sight.)

7. Beautiful (Song of Songs 4:1: How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.)

8. Lovely (Song of Songs 2:14: My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.)

9. Unique and perfect (Song of Songs 6:9: but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The maidens saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her.)

10. Fearless (Psalm 91:5-6: You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.)
11. Satisfied (Psalm 17:15: And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.)

12. Friend (John 15:15: I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.)

13. New creation (2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!)

14. Free (John 8:32: "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.")

15. Loved by God (John 16:27: No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.)

16. Spotless (2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.)

17. Chosen (1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen people...; Ephesians 1:4: just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; John 15:19: If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.) -- [I may be blogging about being chosen here in the next few weeks...]

18. Royal (1 Peter 2:9: ...a royal priesthood...)

19. Holy (1 Peter 2:9: ...a holy nation...)

20. Called out of darkness (1 Peter 2:9: ...who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.)

21. King and priest (Revelation 5:10: "And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”)

22. Enlisted soldier (2 Timothy 2:4: No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.)

23. Fruitful (John 15:16: You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.).....and bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.)

24. Dead to sin (Galatians 5:24: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.)

25. More than a conqueror (Romans 8:37: all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.)

26. In covenant and remembered (Genesis 9:15-16: I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.")

27. Blessed, especially when I bless Israel (Genesis 12:3: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.")

more to come....

Friday, April 23, 2010


Thick, black smoke billowed across the sky, hanging like thunder-heads on the horizon. Orange streetlights glared down into the pavement. Orange flames licked the blazing car stalled on the interstate. Shards of glass littered the black top, glinting red and spiraling light in all directions. The seatbelt cut into my shoulder when I braked; and scudding squeals filled the air as those in cars around me did the same.

It shocked me a little to discover that such small flames could cause such billowing clouds of smoke. The accident hadn't taken place too long before I rounded the bend--a barely perceptible increase in temperature, worried yells of men calling to each other, a brief downshift in speed and then I was rolling past, all carnage behind and open road before me. The overhanging smoke was the only sign that anything had happened.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the glory of God. The heavens declare His glory, the same glory that led the children of Israel like a pillar of cloud by day and a burning pillar of fire by night. The Lord has said that He will reveal His glory so that all mankind will see it; it will hang over the people like a canopy. This same glory so filled His tabernacle that Moses and the elders could not enter it; this glory passed before Moses when God hid him in the rocks so that he would not see God's face; this glory was so great that it killed the high priests if they did not offer enough incense to shield them from His greatness--this is what is coming to the earth.

The statement the Lord has been turning in my spirit this week is this: "It is not a matter of whether or not you will see My glory; the question is, will you be ready when you do?" People get ready. Something bigger than we've imagined is coming to the earth--and we are not ready for it.

I don't think it's a coincidence that fog machines have had such an enthusiastic reception at concerts (and even some worship services). We cling to shadows and Christ fulfills all. The pervasive deception in the society is that religion is boring; we cling to the poor copy and don't see the reality for who He is. He is light. And He's bigger than we think.

This is the beauty of Jesus shining through us. When we seek to be a burning and shining lamp (even as John the Baptist was), our sphere of influence changes--not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Smoke always dwarfs the fire, even as the relatively small fire surrounding the car produced enough smoke to cover the sky for miles. When we allow the Lord to consume our hearts in a blaze of love for Him, He comes in with the cloud of His glory. The Lord sits enthroned as King of glory.

"This little light of mine" may only shine bright enough to impact a tiny circle of people, but His glory fills the heavens. As we pray, "Lord, let Your glory fall," I believe He answers, "I will--but where there's smoke, there's fire." Let our hearts burn within us, releasing fragrant incense-prayers that draw the smoke of His glory for the world to see. This will happen; will we take part in the process?

Even so, Lord, come quickly.

Grace over you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the meekest one

In the beginning was the Word of God incarnate. The Word took a physical body and lived with us. He was light shining in the darkness, hope in the face of despair, love blooming in hate, beauty in squallor, perfection in brokenness, God walking and living on earth. We rejected Him because we loved darkness. Our hearts embraced death when crucified the Life.

But because of His submission to the Father's will that He should suffer, He brought life from death; and by His unprecedented love for us, He gave to us the gift of freedom through pouring out His blood. All we have to do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and confess His lordship with our mouths, and we are free from the condemning law of sin. This is the simple message of salvation.

1 Peter 2:23 captures the message I'm trying (and often failing--thank You, Lord, for grace!) to learn:

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered,
he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly

I've read that so glibly and so thoughtlessly in the past, without coming to terms with the vastness of what it means. The Word of God was silent. He spoke the universe into existance; the creative nature of His very breath animated dust and formed man, and yet He was silent.

Louis Giglio's message, "How Great is Our God" has helped to pull things into perspective for me so much about how big God is, and how small we (well..."I" anyway) try to make Him. We live in a universe with stars trillions of light-years away--places so distant that we would die before ever arriving there, and yet He's greater still. Deuteronomy 33:27 says that God is our refuge, and the strength of His arms upholds us forever. The fullness of this enormous, mind-blowing God was in the One we chose to kill; and He accepted it without comment.

It will take a lifetime to understand this sacrifice. My biggest struggle in life is the desire to defend myself; it's an urge that surfaces when I'm wrong, but even more so when I'm right. Yet Isaiah 53 tells me that the Jesus after whom I strive to pattern my life made no protest when we mistreated Him. He embraced the cross in silence for me. If He did it, He expects us to follow His lead when we crucify our flesh. Ouch.

The lens of Easter was still fresh in my mind when I was reading in Psalms this morning, and I found myself tearing up over this verse:

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your
righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday
Psalm 37:5-6

This must have been such a comfort to Jesus in His life on earth. The context of verse 6 is that of the vindicating God. The Father is seeking those who will willingly lay down our right to be right and trust Him in the face of others misunderstanding us. He has covanented with us that if we will just trust Him with our reputations and quit trying to defend ourselves, we will shine in the light of His glory like the summer sun at noon.

The process of meekness is difficult. Our flesh never wants to take the lowest road; but God truly does give grace to be humble. If you're anything like me, it's a process of daily (sometimes hourly) confessing to the Lord that you've cared more for man's opinion than for His and allowed the fear of man to dictate your decisions--but He's so kind and so tender in our brokenness.

May the beauty of His relationship overwhelm your heart yet again today, friends. Blessings in Jesus' name.